GPS Trail Mapping Fun & Annoyances

Discussion in 'Mountain Bikes' started by Bb, May 9, 2003.

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  1. Bb

    Bb Guest

    One of the things I wanted to do this year was map out the local park; even though its the closest
    thing into town maps, are hard to find (and every topo map I've checked didn't have most of the
    trails). A friend loaned me a GPS, and I started out with my workout ride.

    That thing was beeping and booping all the way through the ride; drove me nuts! I don't know how
    many times I stopped to check it...stop, take the pack off, hit enter if it was saying it lost
    contact...ride, repeat. I don't know if it was the trees, or the fact that I was on the north side
    most of the time. Eventually I just stopped checking it. In the end, it said it has only six
    datapoints. It looked like this would be a bust.

    The next day, I downloaded it into Topo. Fortunately, I came across a webpage that explained how to
    do it; it was really obscure. Surely enough, it had a lot of straight lines where I hadn't gone
    straight, but it wasn't as bad as I expected. And Topo made a cool 3D map, facing due south:

    http://bbauer.gomen.org/images/f12-newton-fromGPS.jpg

    I ride this trail clockwise. While it might have been cool to do a 700' drop over ~1/4 mile, that's
    not how the trail's built! But it did catch most of the climb (on the left), so I drew the rest
    from memory.

    http://bbauer.gomen.org/images/f12-newton.jpg

    Its pretty clear where the nasty part is (that part on the bottom-left), and why its so much easier
    riding it counter-clockwise. But that's why we ride it clockwise. :)

    As it turns out, one of the trailheads NOW had maps available! Their map was pretty screwed up; the
    top was south so I always had to turn it upside-down to be useful, and they didn't have per-trail
    mileage. But I can fix that and add decent descriptions & pics, so this is probably the last trail
    on which I'll use a GPS.

    --
    -BB- To reply to me, drop the attitude (from my e-mail address, at least)
     
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  2. Penny S.

    Penny S. Guest

    BB wrote:
    > One of the things I wanted to do this year was map out the local park; even though its the closest
    > thing into town maps, are hard to find (and every topo map I've checked didn't have most of the
    > trails). A friend loaned me a GPS, and I started out with my workout ride.
    >
    > That thing was beeping and booping all the way through the ride; drove me nuts! I don't know how
    > many times I stopped to check
    > it...stop, take the pack off, hit enter if it was saying it lost contact...ride, repeat. I don't
    > know if it was the trees, or the fact that I was on the north side most of the time. Eventually
    > I just stopped checking it. In the end, it said it has only six datapoints. It looked like this
    > would be a bust.

    See if it will do tracking... this is a trail like dropping crumbs as you go, gives a nice somewhat
    accurate map when you are done. Can you set it to track and then just ignore it? That's what I do:
    turn it on, stick it in my pack, turn it off when I am done. I only pull it out to mark a waypoint
    at something important like a junction. Also, reset your data or be sure to start a new track every
    time you take it out... if you don't, it will give you some interesting maps when you are done - I
    had one where it made a track 11 miles straight across town, connects two different trailheads as
    one trail d'oh!!

    I'm using a garmin summit w/topo cd.

    JD, bite me.

    Penny
     
  3. Ohioburg

    Ohioburg Guest

    "BB" <[email protected]> wrote in message news:[email protected]...
    > On Fri, 9 May 2003 09:37:42 -0700, Penny S. wrote:
    >
    > > See if it will do tracking... this is a trail like dropping crumbs as
    you
    > > go, gives a nice somewhat accurate map when you are done.
    >
    > That's how I made this map; I downloaded the tracking data into Topo. I forgot to turn it off at
    > the end of the ride so it mapped a track all the way home (!), but since I had to re-draw it
    > anyway that was no big deal. The biggest problem was losing contact with the sats a lot. I put it
    > in my Camelbak so I don't know how I could have made it any better.
    >

    GPS works best with unobstructed views of the sky. Can you figure a way to mount it on the outside
    of your pack? I mount mine on the handlebars. How wooded is your route? It's hard to get a good
    signal this time of year due to the leaves on the trees. The best time to map is in the fall and
    winter when the trees are bare.

    I have a Garmin Etrex. I can set how finite to make each track point. The first time I rode a trail
    I ended up with a lot of straight lines and many switchback were not visible. I reset the GPS to
    record at the smallest increments possible and rode back the same way out. Much better trail
    markings this time.

    Rick Ohio
     
  4. Penny S.

    Penny S. Guest

    Ohioburg wrote:
    > GPS works best with unobstructed views of the sky. Can you figure a way to mount it on the outside
    > of your pack? I mount mine on the handlebars. How wooded is your route? It's hard to get a good
    > signal this time of year due to the leaves on the trees. The best time to map is in the fall and
    > winter when the trees are bare.
    >
    > I have a Garmin Etrex. I can set how finite to make each track point. The first time I rode a
    > trail I ended up with a lot of straight lines and many switchback were not visible. I reset the
    > GPS to record at the smallest increments possible and rode back the same way out. Much better
    > trail markings this time.

    I have a mesh outer pocket that works real well. Thanks for the tip about setting increments for
    tracking... we ( hubby and I) are still real new at this.

    penny
     
  5. Check out oziexplorer.com for some pretty slick software. You can use satellite images(from say
    mapquest) and overlay your tracks on them. It's pretty cool to see where you were actually riding.
    And presto! Instant map.
     
  6. Gman

    Gman Guest

    On 9 May 2003 16:26:09 GMT, BB <[email protected]> wrote:

    <snippage>

    > As it turns out, one of the trailheads NOW had maps available! Their map was pretty screwed up;
    > the top was south so I always had to turn it upside-down to be useful, and they didn't have
    > per-trail mileage. But I can fix that and add decent descriptions & pics, so this is probably the
    > last trail on which I'll use a GPS.

    I LOVE my gps. Of course, most of my rides are very barren, so obstruction is not a problem.

    AFA the mapping aspect, that shareware from Scott in Tucson ROCKS! I don't see that I'll ever
    need anything else. http://www.topofusion.com $40 for registration works best with Garmin Etrex
    or Magellan

    Get done with the ride, plug in the Magellan, Topofusion downloads my track points and automatically
    downloads topo (from USGS) or aerial views (from M$ Terraserver) as (zoomable) overlays (for free).

    The demo version is (from what I can see) fully functional with the word "DEMO" watermarked across
    some of the downloaded graphics.

    I can easily take the GPS on any bike, in the car or on a run. I just run it in the mesh pocket of
    my CB MULE on the bikes.

    G
     
  7. Bill Porter

    Bill Porter Guest

    On 9 May 2003 16:26:09 GMT, BB <[email protected]> wrote:

    >One of the things I wanted to do this year was map out the local park; even though its the closest
    >thing into town maps, are hard to find (and every topo map I've checked didn't have most of the
    >trails). A friend loaned me a GPS, and I started out with my workout ride.
    >
    >That thing was beeping and booping all the way through the ride; drove me nuts! I don't know how
    >many times I stopped to check it...stop, take the pack off, hit enter if it was saying it lost
    >contact...ride, repeat. I don't know if it was the trees, or the fact that I was on the north side
    >most of the time. Eventually I just stopped checking it. In the end, it said it has only six
    >datapoints. It looked like this would be a bust.
    >
    >The next day, I downloaded it into Topo. Fortunately, I came across a webpage that explained how to
    >do it; it was really obscure. Surely enough, it had a lot of straight lines where I hadn't gone
    >straight, but it wasn't as bad as I expected. And Topo made a cool 3D map, facing due south:
    >
    > http://bbauer.gomen.org/images/f12-newton-fromGPS.jpg
    >
    >I ride this trail clockwise. While it might have been cool to do a 700' drop over ~1/4 mile, that's
    >not how the trail's built! But it did catch most of the climb (on the left), so I drew the rest
    >from memory.
    >
    > http://bbauer.gomen.org/images/f12-newton.jpg
    >
    >Its pretty clear where the nasty part is (that part on the bottom-left), and why its so much easier
    >riding it counter-clockwise. But that's why we ride it clockwise. :)
    >
    >As it turns out, one of the trailheads NOW had maps available! Their map was pretty screwed up; the
    >top was south so I always had to turn it upside-down to be useful, and they didn't have per-trail
    >mileage. But I can fix that and add decent descriptions & pics, so this is probably the last trail
    >on which I'll use a GPS.

    The beeping would drive me nuts as well. I have the eTrex and I just clear out the track log before
    I start and strap it to the out side of my pack. (I have a neoprene cover for it) Ride and forget
    about it to the end of the ride. There are many nuances of doing the GPS and TOPO thing. One that is
    particularly annoying sometimes is that on rides that ride along the side of steep hill the normally
    GPS accuracy variations (even as little as 14') can equate into elevation changes of up to 10 to 20
    feet. All these little evalation errors really add up and can through off your total elevation
    gained/lost for the ride.

    Oh well it is still fun to play with.

    Bill "Still can use a Compass" Porter www.mountainbikebill.com
     
  8. "BB" <[email protected]> wrote in message news:[email protected]...
    > One of the things I wanted to do this year was map out the local park; even though its the closest
    > thing into town maps, are hard to find (and every topo map I've checked didn't have most of the
    > trails). A friend loaned me a GPS, and I started out with my workout ride.
    >
    > That thing was beeping and booping all the way through the ride; drove me nuts! I don't know how
    > many times I stopped to check it...stop, take the pack off, hit enter if it was saying it lost
    > contact...ride, repeat. I don't know if it was the trees, or the fact that I was on the north side
    > most of the time. Eventually I just stopped checking it. In the end, it said it has only six
    > datapoints. It looked like this would be a bust.
    >
    > The next day, I downloaded it into Topo. Fortunately, I came across a webpage that explained how
    > to do it; it was really obscure. Surely enough, it had a lot of straight lines where I hadn't gone
    > straight, but it wasn't as bad as I expected. And Topo made a cool 3D map, facing due south:
    >
    > http://bbauer.gomen.org/images/f12-newton-fromGPS.jpg
    >
    > I ride this trail clockwise. While it might have been cool to do a 700' drop over ~1/4 mile,
    > that's not how the trail's built! But it did catch most of the climb (on the left), so I drew the
    > rest from memory.
    >
    > http://bbauer.gomen.org/images/f12-newton.jpg
    >
    > Its pretty clear where the nasty part is (that part on the bottom-left), and why its so much
    > easier riding it counter-clockwise. But that's why we ride it clockwise. :)
    >
    > As it turns out, one of the trailheads NOW had maps available! Their map was pretty screwed up;
    > the top was south so I always had to turn it upside-down to be useful, and they didn't have
    > per-trail mileage. But I can fix that and add decent descriptions & pics, so this is probably the
    > last trail on which I'll use a GPS.
    >

    External antennas help a LOT. I have one that I use with my eMap. Garmin's antenna is pretty
    expensive, but someone sells pretty decent ones on eBay for less than half the price.
     
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