Boyd's Map of the Pines beta available

Boyd

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All,

I have started making a new series of Maps of the Pines, and have mentioned them in a few other threads, but this seems like a better place to consolidate the discussion.

Traditional Garmin maps are vector-based, meaning they consist of geometric objects defined by a collection of coordinates which the GPS connects. Garmin has recently announced a new type of map which they call "custom maps". These are raster-based maps, which means they consist of images that are geo-referenced - calibrated to display in the correct proportions based on their location. These images can consist of anything, but the main attraction for us will probably be scans of real USGS 24k topo maps and the New Jersey 2007 digital orthophotography (aerial imagery).

These new "custom maps" are only compatible with the Garmin Oregon, Colorado and Dakota series of GPS'es. In order to use them, you must update your GPS to the newest firmware. It's easy: download, install and run Garmin WebUpdater from this link. It will guide you through the process: http://www8.garmin.com/support/collection.jsp?product=999-99999-27

Since they are geared to do this sort of thing, I have been uploading these new maps to GPSFileDepot. You will find all of my maps there (including maps for other places) at this link: http://www.gpsfiledepot.com/maps/byuser/282/

Here's a quick rundown of my maps of the pines (screenshots are from the Oregon):

Wharton State Forest (USGS 24k topo):
http://www.gpsfiledepot.com/maps/view/242/




Belleplain State Forest (USGS 24k topo AND NJ 2007 orthophotography):
http://www.gpsfiledepot.com/maps/view/246/






Forked River Mountain (USGS 24k topo AND NJ 2007 orthophotography):
http://www.gpsfiledepot.com/maps/view/241/






What areas would you like to have mapped? Post your suggestions here and I will try to work on them - time permitting! But first take a minute to understand the limitations of this map format. For USGS 24k topo's, I find that 10 feet per pixel is the lowest resolution I can use and still get high quality results. This will limit the maximum size of the map to a little smaller than 400 square miles (for example: ~20 miles x 20 miles).

The 2007 orthoimagery is another matter. If I use the native resolution of these photos - 1 foot per pixel - I can only map a very small area, a bit less than 4 square miles (for example: ~2 miles x 2 miles). Maps at this resolution look terrific, but you have to carefully choose your target. I can reduce the resolution of the images and still get pretty nice results at about 4 feet per pixel, which would allow coverage of almost 64 square miles (for example: ~8 miles x 8 miles). They can also be sampled at lower resolutions, but of course the details will suffer. I suggest you look at some of the examples above at GPSFileDepot. I have indicated their resolution on each map's page there.

The map area must be rectangular, so visualize a box drawn around your area of interest, and the entire area inside that box is used in the calculations above.

Finally, you can make your own custom maps as well. The info on Garmin's site will get you started: http://www.garmin.com/garmin/cms/site/us/onthetrail/custommaps. Also look at this freeware program: http://moagu.com/?page_id=155

These maps don't work in mapsource, but they can be opened directly in Google Earth, or any other program which can read .kmz files. To install them on your GPS, create a folder named CustomMaps inside your Garmin folder, then simply drop the .kmz file into it. Unfortunately, you can only have ONE .kmz file stored on the gps. You will need to swap them with your computer, or place them on separate SD cards to change maps. You can enable and disable them on the GPS however. If you enable a topo map or City Navigator map at the same time, the roads and any other line or point features will be drawn on top of the custom map. Area features (like lakes or park boundaries) will be hidden by the custom map.

Enjoy, and let me know what areas you would like me to do next !
 

Boyd

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Sure, I will have a look at that next. But remember, these maps only work in the Oregon, Colorado and Dakota units. No other Garmin models will recognize them.
 

46er

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Very nice Boyd, mucho thanks!! I have the 300 ordered that you gave us a heads up on. Your building a very nice library :D
 

Boyd

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Cool - let us know how the 300 works out for you. As cool as the aerial imagery is on the Oregon, it is sort of a "worst case scenario" for the screen on a bright cloudy day. The photos are kind of dark and don't have a lot of contrast. This can make them hard to see. The USGS topo's are better since they have more contrast and more clearly defined features.
 

Boyd

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New Map of the Pines "GS" version coming soon

All,

I am in the process of updating my Map of the Pines and hope to have the new version available for download around the beginning of the new year.... think of it as a late Christmas present. :) I am calling this the "GS" version because the goal has been to create it in the style of USGS 24k Topo maps.

This version will be "tuned" for the Garmin Nuvi and Oregon series. Unfortunately, I can't support older models like the GPSMap 60 and eTrex series with this release. You can load it on these older models, but you will have issues. Unfortunately cgpsmapper still has a bug which prevents lowercase road names from displaying correctly. The map also won't "play nice" if you install it along with other maps on an eTrex or 60csx. But this version will finally be compatible with Mapsource and will include an installer.

I still have a lot of work to do during the next week. I'm working on road detail in particular to make it match the USGS style. But I am also trying to correct some errors in the previous versions by overlaying it on both USGS quads and aerial imagery. This is a big project which I will probably never finish, so I will just be concentrating on certain areas for the time being.

One of the challenges is to include as much information as possible but still keep a "clean" looking style without too much clutter. I'm including all the data I have on park/openspace boundaries using dashed lines like the USGS maps, but it's tricky to keep these from becoming overpowering because in some areas the data includes all the little parcels which make up a WMA or state forest. You can see an example in the screenshots from Penn State Forest below. When you zoom in to the 500 foot level, a label should be displayed on the boundary lines (note where it says "Penn" on the screenshots).

The forest shading is based on my most recent data and should actually be more accurate than USGS maps. In the Winslow Junction screenshot you will also see that populated areas are shaded pink and commercial/industrial areas are grey.

When finished, I will upload the map to GPSFileDepot with the rest of my collection. It looks like it will be somewhere between 50 to 60mb and will cover everything south of i-195 like previous versions.

I'll post a link when the file is ready.
 

Boyd

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The PinesMap/GS version is now available for download! See the following link for more information: http://www.gpsfiledepot.com/maps/view/276/. It includes an installer to add the map to your collection in Mapsource, which can also be downloaded if you don't have it.



I've spent quite a lot of time on road detail in this revision, and felt the need to wrap it up tonight because I would just never be finished otherwise. I have concentrated on the "core" of the Pine Barrens, and you will find that roads in other areas have probably not been updated since the last version.

The TIGER data that this map was originally based on really only recognizes two classes of roads - highways and neighborhood streets. I have been revising this to split roads into the following categories myself:

Highways
Secondary roads
Minor roads
Unpaved roads
Trails

This has been a judgment call on my part mostly. The secondary roads should conform with USGS topo maps and have red and white stripes. Unpaved roads are pretty obvious, but I have designated the smaller ones as trails based mostly on what I could see in the 2007 aerial imagery. There are also roads designated as trails (thin dashed lines) on the USGS maps, and I have tried to include many of these. I've also designated some roads as trails if they appear on the USGS maps but are not visible on the 2007 aerials. If you look carefully at this new map, you may discover a few details that will surprise you...

This is still a work in progress, but I feel confident in saying that no other Garmin-compatible maps have anywhere near this level of detail for the Pines. I hope they will accompany you on new adventures in 2010! :)
 

Teegate

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Well done Boyd. When and if I made a decision to buy I have confidence your maps will be the best to use.

Guy
 

Boyd

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Thanks - let me know how it works out; it was very late last night when I finished, so I could have messed something up!

FWIW, you can find the Nuvi 205 (as seen in the screenshot) for as low as $85. And of course anybody can use the map with Mapsource even without a GPS.
 

46er

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Boyd, how are the maps opened in Mapsource. After the download and execution of your file I am left with 17 IMG files, a TDB and a TYP file and an EXEC to uninstall. Don't see any GDB's. Should the TDB be renamed? Thanks.
 

Boyd

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That's very odd. You need to choose a folder to install the map, which can be wherever you like. You should never need to look in that folder though. The map should be added to Mapsource and can be chosen with View > Switch to Product or else by using the dropdown menu on the toolbar. Does this not work for you? Inside mapsource you can select the portions of the map that you want (or the whole thing) and use Send to Device on the Transfer menu.

Don't change any files in your install folder. If you need to remove the map, use the regular Windows control panel for adding and removing programs.

I am on Windows Vista and everything worked for me. Later today I will fire up Win XP on my Mac and try to install it there. Heh, making that installer seemed like almost as much work as editing the map!
 

46er

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That's very odd. You need to choose a folder to install the map, which can be wherever you like. You should never need to look in that folder though. The map should be added to Mapsource and can be chosen with View > Switch to Product or else by using the dropdown menu on the toolbar. Does this not work for you?

Don't change any files in your install folder. If you need to remove the map, use the regular Windows control panel for adding and removing programs.

I am on Windows Vista and everything worked for me. Later today I will fire up Win XP on my Mac and try to install it there. Heh, making that installer seemed like almost as much work as editing the map!
I was trying to do a File>Open in Mapsource. The View>Switch to Product worked just as you said. I changed nothing and the install was to a new folder. Everything is looking just fine. Thanks for the assist. :guinness:
 

Boyd

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Excellent - you had me worried there. :)

Mapsource is a Garmin oddity and isn't like other programs. You can't "open" a map file, it must be installed using all kinds of secret incantations, including adding stuff to the Windows registry. Ugh. Garmin thinks of maps as "products" and wants to control them closely, so they need to be "installed". Fortunately, people who know a lot more about Windows than I have reverse-engineered all of this so that we can make third party free maps.
 

Boyd

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If anyone is interested in what has changed, the following image shows the road data by itself in what I considered the "core" of the pines for the purpose of this revision. There are many other changes as well, but this was probably the most time-consuming aspect of the project.

The black and white roads are the same as previous versions. Green roads have been reclassified (such as a paved road that should be a dirt road, or a residential street that should be a county route). The pink roads have been completely redrawn using overlays on both the USGS 24k maps and NJ 2007 Orthoimagery.

Many of these new roads will not have names. I used the USGS maps as my guide, and the vast majority of unpaved roads don't show any names. If they did, I tried to use them but honestly I wasn't as diligent as I might have been. The original TIGER roads almost all had names, but I don't know their origin or how accurate they were. So when I replaced one of these, if I didn't see a name of the USGS maps then I did not name it here either.



And here's a series of screenshots comparing my map to Garmin's products. Note that the example shows each of my road classes (highway, secondary road, local road, dirt road and trail plus state forest boundaries).