Gmap4 - Enhanced Google Map viewer with topographic maps

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Joseph Elfelt
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Gmap4 - Enhanced Google Map viewer with topographic maps

Post by Joseph Elfelt » September 3rd, 2010, 10:29 am

I am the author of Gmap4 which is a 100% free no-ads full-screen enhanced Google Map viewer. It includes detailed topographic maps (courtesy of http://www.mytopo.com) for the USA and Canada. Gmap4 runs entirely online. There is nothing to buy, nothing to download, nothing to install.

In addition to surfing topographic maps, you can also view data from the following types of files: GPX, KML, KMZ, TPO & Google MyMap files.

You do need to place your GPX, KML, KMZ and TPO files online before they can be displayed by Gmap4. The easiest/fastest way to place files online is via Google Sites (free). Don’t be shy. You will find hand-holding-step-by-step instructions in the Gmap4 Help file.

Here is the general recipe for building a URL to display a data file with Gmap4 (do not include the quotes, these are not a real links):
For data files showing locations in the USA or Canada:
'http://www.mappingsupport.com/p/gmap4.p ... _your_file'
For data files showing other locations:
'http://www.mappingsupport.com/p/gmap4.p ... _your_file'

Below is a link to the Gmap4 homepage. Check out the 'Examples' button and the Quick Start section of the 'Help' file.
http://www.mappingsupport.com/p/gmap4.html

Finally, if you run a website where people file trip reports you could consider allowing Gmap4 to run in an iframe. Your users could include a 100% free interactive map with their GPS track and waypoints along with the rest of their trip report. Gmap4 has a liquid design and will look decent in an iframe down to 400px by 400px. For examples: Search the Trip Report forum at http://www.nwhikers.net for 'Gmap4'.

Enjoy,
Joseph

Joseph Elfelt
Posts: 155
Joined: September 3rd, 2010, 10:24 am
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Re: Gmap4 - Enhanced Google Map viewer with topographic maps

Post by Joseph Elfelt » December 23rd, 2010, 3:19 pm

Gmap4 has acquired some new features since my prior post. Remember, Gmap4 is a 100% free no-ads map viewer that can display detailed topographic maps. There is nothing to download or install.

1. A powerful search feature has been added. Click Menu ==> Search. You can search on:
* Addresses
* Names of places and natural features
* Latitude Longitude (Geocache format and many others)

Here’s an interactive map of the world:
http://www.mappingsupport.com/p/gmap4.p ... 8&t=t1&z=2.
Depending on what you are searching for, it may help if you include the name or abbreviation for the state/province/region. If you are searching for something in the USA or Canada then you can see the detailed topographic map by clicking Terrain ==> MyTopo.

2. Maps can be printed. In the menu bar for your browser click File ==> Print preview.

3. An icon can be placed at the center of the map. Here’s an example. http://www.mappingsupport.com/p/gmap4.p ... 4&icon=pgs

4. It is easier to get a copy of the URL that will reproduce the map you see on your screen. Click Menu ==> Map URL.
That URL can be used in a trip report, e-mailed, posted on a website, etc.

For more information please see the Gmap4 homepage where you will find examples, a change log and a detailed Help file.
http://www.mappingsupport.com/p/gmap4.html

Enjoy,
Joseph - Gmap4 author

raven
Posts: 1529
Joined: May 28th, 2008, 10:03 pm

Re: Gmap4 - Enhanced Google Map viewer with topographic maps

Post by raven » December 27th, 2010, 12:18 am

Thank you for this very, very nice mapping program. I have been using it since first hearing of it, last winter or spring.

On seeing your latest post, I decided to examine a backcountry area in British Columbia I visited in the 1970s; to get to the correct area quickly. I started by searching for a reference location to scroll from. Worked like a charm. Because of the scale of the area, the remoteness and the few roads to ease zooming in on the correct location, the search function saved a lot of effort, frustration and time.

Keep up the good work, and thanks again.

Joseph Elfelt
Posts: 155
Joined: September 3rd, 2010, 10:24 am
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Re: Gmap4 - Enhanced Google Map viewer with topographic maps

Post by Joseph Elfelt » December 27th, 2010, 5:40 am

Good Morning and thanks for the kind words.

Mike - There is nothing in Gmap4 right now that would do a year end summary as you describe. Here are two thoughts.

#1. I am currently working on a feature that will let Gmap4 read csv files. At a minimum you will be able to build a csv file that will put a marker on the map for each of your trips. Clicking the marker will display more info. At least this is a start toward what you describe. I expect the next update will be the initial launch of this feature.

#2. Have you looked into building your own KML file? The Gmap4 Help file has some info in the appendix. be sure to see the comments in the sample KML files. You could combine the data you collected for 2010 into a single KML file.

But note there are limits on KML file size (good news - One track is only one 'feature').
http://code.google.com/apis/kml/documen ... pport.html

Joseph Elfelt
Posts: 155
Joined: September 3rd, 2010, 10:24 am
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Re: Gmap4 - Enhanced Google Map viewer with topographic maps

Post by Joseph Elfelt » January 2nd, 2011, 7:44 pm

Gmap4 has been updated to version 1.8.3

The present-day magnetic declination for the map center is now always displayed in the lower right corner. This value is produced using software from http://www.ngdc.noaa.gov/IAGA/vmod/igrf.html combined with data from http://www.ngdc.noaa.gov/geomag/WMM/back.shtml.
Since the magnetic declination is always changing, the older value printed on maps can be wrong by several degrees.

I also updated my links page to show (1) reviews of Gmap4 and (2) sites that are already using Gmap4 to produce online interactive maps.
http://www.mappingsupport.com/p/gmap4_links.html

Finally, if you are interested in the search feature and/or print feature, please check the ‘Help’ file (and use the Table of Contents) to be sure you have seen the most recent info on those features.
http://www.mappingsupport.com/p/gmap4_help.pdf

The link below will display a world map. To test-drive the search feature click Menu==>Search.
http://www.mappingsupport.com/p/gmap4.p ... 5&t=t1&z=2

Enjoy,
Joseph - Gmap4 author

raven
Posts: 1529
Joined: May 28th, 2008, 10:03 pm

Re: Gmap4 - Enhanced Google Map viewer with topographic maps

Post by raven » January 2nd, 2011, 8:44 pm

Interesting comment on declination. According to Gmap4 I have to reset my compass for local use, and the relative declinations of a few areas I've traveled have changed. Of course, I had used old maps' reported declinations during those rambles.

It would be nice to know the ages of the maps shown in Gmap4, considering that the declination is not the only thing that changes. Perhaps the year from which the data shown at map center was drawn could be reported along the current declination.

Joseph Elfelt
Posts: 155
Joined: September 3rd, 2010, 10:24 am
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Re: Gmap4 - Enhanced Google Map viewer with topographic maps

Post by Joseph Elfelt » January 2nd, 2011, 9:34 pm

raven wrote:Interesting comment on declination. According to Gmap4 I have to reset my compass for local use, and the relative declinations of a few areas I've traveled have changed. Of course, I had used old maps' reported declinations during those rambles.

It would be nice to know the ages of the maps shown in Gmap4, considering that the declination is not the only thing that changes. Perhaps the year from which the data shown at map center was drawn could be reported along the current declination.
I wish I could display map date, but that info is not available to me.

There is a company called MyTopo (aka Beartooth Mapping - Billings, MT). They buy all the paper USGS maps as they are issued. They scan them, 'cut' them into tiles and host the tiles on their server. When Gmap4 shows you a topo map, you are looking at those tiles. The only thing my code can access are those tiles. I do not have access to any metadata such as map date.

If you google: declination changing
then you can read more on that topic.

raven
Posts: 1529
Joined: May 28th, 2008, 10:03 pm

Re: Gmap4 - Enhanced Google Map viewer with topographic maps

Post by raven » January 2nd, 2011, 10:09 pm

It was but a dream. You have a fine product as it is. Thanks again.

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romann
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Location: Vancouver, WA

Re: Gmap4 - Enhanced Google Map viewer with topographic maps

Post by romann » January 3rd, 2011, 2:21 pm

I really like the full screen view of Gmap4 topo map viewer - much better than a tiny window at mytopo.com. It's easier to use and print. Thanks!

The only additional option I think would be helpful is the option to highlight the trails but I cannot wish for everything :)

Joseph Elfelt
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Joined: September 3rd, 2010, 10:24 am
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Re: Gmap4 - Enhanced Google Map viewer with topographic maps

Post by Joseph Elfelt » May 7th, 2011, 7:58 pm

I just promoted Gmap4 from version 1 to version 2.

Little reason: I added support for viewing the set of topo maps that used to be known as Terraserver and now are known as Microsoft Research Maps. Click the map type button in the far upper right and select “US Topo”. You can really see the quality difference compared to the MyTopo maps.

The US Topo maps often load a bit slow. Part of the reason is that each map tile must be re-projected on-the-fly in order to match the map projection used by Google Maps. I added support for these maps in case they show old (abandoned?) trails that are not on the MyTopo maps.

Big reason: This update introduces a new text file format that makes it super easy to produce maps. For a quick look, scroll down a bit on the Examples page: http://www.mappingsupport.com/p/gmap4_examples.html

This new file format is so easy that middle school students can quickly learn how to produce maps.

In addition to the maps on the ‘Examples’ page, here’s another example for those that would like to learn about this new text file format. This map shows the lower Mississippi River valley. Click the “i” icon near the upper middle for an interesting story.
To turn the symbol labels on/off click Menu ==> Labels On/Off.
http://www.mappingsupport.com/p/gmap4.p ... 9&label=on

Here is the data file that produced the ‘Mississippi’ map:
https://sites.google.com/site/gmap4file ... change.txt

Maps produced with this new text file format can include:
* Many different kinds of symbols (i.e. markers/icons)
* Lines of any color and any width
* Balloons that appear when symbols are clicked
* Links in the balloons
* Clickable photo thumbnails in the balloons
* And more

Did I mention that this is truly easy?

For the details, you can search the Help file on ‘delimited’. Or just go to page 32 in the 5-6-2011 version of the Help file. http://www.mappingsupport.com/p/gmap4_help.pdf

Homepage: http://www.mappingsupport.com/p/gmap4.html

Enjoy.

Joseph

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