Open Source TOPO map/GPS software...

Cartography, maps, navigation, GPS and more.
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Koda
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Open Source TOPO map/GPS software...

Post by Koda » August 27th, 2010, 6:40 pm

I am wondering if anyone here on PH knows of any open source (or freeware) TOPO map programs?

Ideally, I would like to find something that works similar to the National Geographic TOPO program with USGS 24,000 scale maps... and of course connects with my GPS (Garmin Rhino 130).

I currently use an old National Geographic TOPO upgraded to version 4.0... which transfers way-points, but does not download tracks/routes to any GPS. Overall, I have never been happy with the interface and functionality of the NG TOPO program and actually think its a rip off since I still have to buy NF maps for road navigation.... The level 4 (100K series) maps are a joke for forest road navigation, the only usable maps are the level 5 (7.5 series) but I am finding the trails on the maps being more and more outdated. which leads me to two other questions: 1) is the brand new NG TOPO worth upgrading? 2) is the $125.00 Garmin TOPO West CD worth buying?

*edit to add the following list of electronic mapping applications...
Software:
  • Edit GPS tracks list of more applications here is a list of more track editors to explore when I have time.
  • Viking, Viking is a free/open source program to manage GPS data.
  • Prune, GpsPrune is a free/open source application for viewing, editing and converting coordinate data from GPS systems
  • http://www.topofusion.com/, proprietary software with GPX output. Windows OS only :(
  • http://www.easygps.com/, EasyGPS is the fast and easy way to upload and download waypoints, routes, and tracks between your Windows computer and your Garmin, Magellan, or Lowrance GPS. Free :) Windows only :(
  • http://www.gpsbabel.org/, the ULTIMATE GPS file translator filetype converter utility. Up/Download to any GPS device.
  • Google Earth, what? your not using this already..?
  • ArcGIS Explorer Desktop a free GIS viewer that gives you an easy way to explore, visualize, and share GIS information.
  • Mobile Atlas Creator (MOBAC) supposedly a PC desktop utility for creating maplayers for use with Backcountry Navigator phone app. The end use of this software seems unlimited. difficult to use.
  • Garmin Basecamp software to view and organize your maps, waypoints, routes, and tracks and send them to your Garmin device. Free maps from switchbacks.com load nicely for use into Basecamp software. Mac and Windows.
  • http://www.gpstrackeditor.com/ freeware, windows only, what little I have used with this looks like a great software to edit, merge, split multiple tracks and waypoints into onw GPX file... getting good reviews.
Web Browser Utilites: Smartphone GPS Applications Complete Maps and Misc: I'm certain there are more feel free to add your favorite. Some of these I have used or tried, the majority I have not... Will update the list as I find more.
enjoy

*edited to update list as needed
Last edited by Koda on December 31st, 2014, 3:45 pm, edited 31 times in total.
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n.bumppo
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Re: Open Source TOPO map/GPS software...

Post by n.bumppo » August 28th, 2010, 12:54 pm

Koda wrote: 2) is the $125.00 Garmin TOPO West CD worth buying?
Good question. The maps don't look like the NG Topo! or printed topo maps. Here's a screen shot in Base Camp.
mt Adams.jpg
Notice the streams aren't labeled. It has label for the Mt Adams wilderness but, doesn't show the boundary. Feature names come and go as you zoom in and out depending on whether there is room to print the name without colliding with other names. Etc.

The contour lines look nice.
Dave

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Tito goes hiking
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Re: Open Source TOPO map/GPS software...

Post by Tito goes hiking » August 28th, 2010, 3:12 pm

http://www.pctmap.net/download/p/mapdl.html
this covers all of the PCT if that helps at all.

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Koda
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Re: Open Source TOPO map/GPS software...

Post by Koda » August 29th, 2010, 1:57 pm

thanks for the screen shot n.bumppo. The topography looks good, but still I don't see much of an improvement to justify the $125 even assuming the tracks up/download with the GPS unit.

Tito... some well done mapping of the PCT.

I figured it was a long shot if anyone knew of alternative TOPO software, especially anything open source. At least I know I don't need to buy the Garmin
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Koda
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Re: Open Source TOPO map/GPS software...

Post by Koda » August 1st, 2011, 8:47 pm

thought I would add to this, I have found 2 open source (free) alternatives to proprietary GPS mapping software such as NG Topo and Garmin map source.

Viking
Prune

I just recently found these, so I have not put them to the full test yet. The one I like the most is Viking, because you can overlay your GPX data on a USGS. Prune works well with OpenStreet cycle maps. Viking can be ran with Linux or Windows systems, Prune runs on Linux, Mac, and Windows...

Like I mentioned, I don't know all of the functionality of either of these, but they appear to have the basics, import/export to your GPS device and editing of way-points, tracks and routes. The one thing both of them have in common is they are not as 'user friendly' by comparison to NG TOPO. A minor bug in Viking spent me a while figuring out how to overlay my GPX tracks on the terraserver map... or maybe it was just me. Regardless, its hard to complain about free software... I just wish either one would give the option to use maps from mytopo.com

Attached are screenshots...
Attachments
Selection_002.jpeg
Prune
viking.jpeg
Viking
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Koda
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Re: Open Source TOPO map/GPS software...

Post by Koda » August 3rd, 2011, 7:07 pm

geographics wrote:Koda - have you found any documentation for Viking?
the only documentation I know of for Viking is found on the download/help website at sourceforge.com
http://sourceforge.net/apps/mediawiki/v ... =Main_Page

I have not had much time to play with the software... enough to compare its not as user friendly as I want. but it works, both of the screenshots I posted above are from GPX files I exported from my GPS and work fine in both applicatiosns. I hope to use it more, but miss the mytopo 1:24 maps like on NG TOPO4. One thing I notice is while it has a way to upload data from a GPS device, I can't find a way to download into the GPS device... but GPSBabel is a solution for that.

When I get a chance, I will play more with the Prune mapping option. I notice with Prune there is a way to add more online mapping sources, so I want to see if I can add mytopo as a source. if that is possible, then the Prune option would be the way to go. Both are free and open source.

let me... us know if it works for you.
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Eric Peterson
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Re: Open Source TOPO map/GPS software...

Post by Eric Peterson » August 7th, 2011, 10:12 am

Not sure if this is related but I use NW Topos inside my Garmin GPSMap 62,
works great and is pretty accurate most of the time.

Here is a link -

http://www.switchbacks.com/nwtopos/

I have been thinking about making my own maps as well, but still have to do
a lot of research on that...

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Koda
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Re: Open Source TOPO map/GPS software...

Post by Koda » August 7th, 2011, 2:44 pm

Eric Peterson wrote:Not sure if this is related but I use NW Topos inside my Garmin GPSMap 62,
works great and is pretty accurate most of the time.

Here is a link -

http://www.switchbacks.com/nwtopos/

I have been thinking about making my own maps as well, but still have to do
a lot of research on that...
its related, free maps are a good thing.

What I am interested in is an PC application for editing/creating routes,waypoints, and tracks displayed over a topo map as an alternative to NG TOPO or Garmin Mapsource. The reason is I don't like Mapsource is the poor topo map quality, and NG TOPO does not let you export tracks/routes as gpx, only waypoints.

I don't mind paying for software that works well and gives me the freedom to exchange GPS data with anyone... (GPX format). But after investing $100 ea per state, I am not pleased about buying more software.
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Koda
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Re: Open Source TOPO map/GPS software...

Post by Koda » December 31st, 2011, 9:07 pm

Here is something to add to the list. http://www.openstreetmap.org/ and even better TopOSM. I knew about OSM, but just found TopOSM so I will be learning more....

The thing I like about the TopOSM is how detailed the topo maps are, it almost looks like they are using LIDAR as the background shading. The downside is it does not yet show or include any trails in our area around Mt Hood. Check out a mt hood map HERE.

This looks like a great place for some of us here to upload our GPX tracks of trails to add to the database. I'm certain Don Nelson's track log could probably fill the whole Mt Hood/CRG area map.... yeah, I'm promoting it.

here is a screenshot from their wiki page...
Image
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pablo
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Re: Open Source TOPO map/GPS software...

Post by pablo » December 31st, 2011, 9:34 pm

Slightly off topic but I just ran into the problem of NG TOPO! not exporting tracks in GPX but found a nice solution at a site that has an app that will convert a .tpo file to several other formats including GPX. It does this by using gpsbabel on your uploaded .tpo file. It also displays the gpsbabel line used to convert. The site is:

http://www.gpsvisualizer.com/gpsbabel/

I got my results as a zip-file and part of the output on the returned page was:
GPSBabel output

The following GPSBabel command was executed:
gpsbabel -t -r -w -i tpo3 -f "2012-01-01-RimrockTrailPlan.tpo" -o gpx -F "2012-01-01-RimrockTrailPlan.gpx"
Now I just need to install gpsbabel and I can convert all my .tpo files to whatever I want. Oh, and I loaded this GPX file to NG TOPO! and got back what looks to be what I started with.

--Paul

[edit] The app mentioned above was developed by Adam Schneider, a PH poster, he has the link in his sig.
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