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How-To: Planning a Trip/Route (with Google Earth, GPX, KML, and more)

Discussion in 'Off-Roading & Trails' started by turbodb, Jun 12, 2018.

  1. Jul 13, 2018 at 1:46 PM
    #21
    SIZZLE

    SIZZLE Pro-party

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    A little a this, a little a that...
    Thank you so much for doing this! Super helpful for a Luddite like me.
     
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  2. Jul 25, 2018 at 6:15 PM
    #22
    Rosy Posy 88

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  3. Jul 26, 2018 at 2:56 PM
    #23
    MTNyota

    MTNyota Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for the write up, great info. Anyone use the Gaia GPS app? I just got it and started creating a few routes, very easy stuff. I really like how I can make routes on my computer and they automatically transfer across devices. For those using the Gaia app, any tips or tricks you've learned along the way to share?
     
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  4. Aug 5, 2018 at 10:20 PM
    #24
    ramonortiz55

    ramonortiz55 Not A Well-Known Member

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    Turbo, thanks for this!

    I'm planning a trip to Utah this Thansgiving and Ill put all this into use.
     
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  5. Aug 5, 2018 at 10:27 PM
    #25
    ramonortiz55

    ramonortiz55 Not A Well-Known Member

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    I have used Gaia before on a tablet and my Garmin Inreach Explorer. The Garmin unit is the GPS unit and is synched with the tablet to ensure I'm on the correct route.
     
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  6. Aug 23, 2018 at 3:16 PM
    #26
    JerryW

    JerryW Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for a fantastic tutorial. I've had Google Earth for quite a while, but had no idea all of this was available.
     
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  7. Nov 28, 2018 at 8:34 PM
    #27
    Elkyri

    Elkyri Living on the Raggedy Edge of the 'Verse

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    Excellent tutorial! Thanks so much for putting this together. A question or two, if you don't mind, from someone totally new to tablets, apps, etc.

    I followed the link to BackCountry Navigator at Google Play. Is that at all subscription based or does a one time shot of $12 get you a totally unlocked program? I ask only because of some of the recent comments on that page. Are there other apps you might recommend?
     
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  8. Nov 28, 2018 at 8:50 PM
    #28
    turbodb

    turbodb [OP] Well-Known Member

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    OK, a simple question with maybe not-so-simple answer :).

    Simple answer to your specific question
    BackCountry Navigator (BCN), the app on Google Play today, is a $12 one-time charge. It's what I (and a lot of others) use.

    Longer answer
    BCN is great after you pay $12. That's all I've done. But there are add-ons (overlays) you can purchase as well if you want to add even more functionality. There are two classes of add-ons that I think are worth considering:
    1. Motor Vehicle Use Map (MVUM) overlay - shows you the roads that various classes of vehicle can drive on in USFS lands. This is a $16 add-on and covers the entire USA.
    2. BLM (really BLM+NF) overlay - this shows you an outline around BLM and USFS land - useful if you're looking for a camp site and want to make sure you're not on private land. This overlay is sold per state at $10/state.
    Even longer answer
    The maker of BCN has started work on an eventual replacement. Eventual is measured in years - 5 or more according to him when he's been asked in the past. That replacement is called BackCountry Navigator XE and was funded via Kickstarter. The plan is that it will be a subscription product when it's released. It's about a year behind schedule as far as release goes, it seems.

    Other options
    I don't really know much about other software having not used it. But I think the main other piece of software out there today is Gaia GPS. It's a subscription, much like BCN XE.
     
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  9. Nov 28, 2018 at 8:56 PM
    #29
    Elkyri

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    Well done explanation, again. Thanks for that.
     
  10. Nov 30, 2018 at 7:25 PM
    #30
    Elkyri

    Elkyri Living on the Raggedy Edge of the 'Verse

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    Dan, is there a way to load a whole slew of maps into BCN for use offline instead of putting together only maps to be used for a particular trip?

    For example, this page is a couple years old but reading through it I get the impression I could go to openandromaps and download topo maps for my whole state in one go and have them stored on my tablet and available for use while offline.

    https://crittermap.zendesk.com/hc/en-us/articles/215563663-Using-Topo-Maps-From-OpenAndroMaps-org

    I haven't tried it yet (waiting until I get an SD card before downloading any maps) so I don't know if that page is obsolete, whether it will work at all, or if the maps will be at a scale I would find useful (1:24k-ish with decent contour intervals) but I was wondering if you have tried it and what you think of the results if you have.



     
  11. Nov 30, 2018 at 8:11 PM
    #31
    turbodb

    turbodb [OP] Well-Known Member

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    Haven't tried those maps. I've found that downloading maps from Thunderforest Outdoor works great for me, so that's what I go with. Would be interested to hear how it works if you try it though!
     
  12. Jan 2, 2019 at 3:58 PM
    #32
    xtremewlr

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    Just picked up a 7" Tab A and will be using this thread to learn and load maps up. Thanks for this!
     
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  13. Mar 4, 2019 at 6:32 AM
    #33
    turbodb

    turbodb [OP] Well-Known Member

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    How-to: Planning a Trip/Route Part 3 - Planning a Route the Easy Way (Google My Maps, GPSVisualizer, and Earth)
    February 2, 2019.

    This is the third post in the Planning a Route series. If you haven't caught the others, it's probably worth reading at least Part 1 - Planning a Trip/Route Part 1 (Google Earth, GPX, KML, and more) - before making your way through this one, since we'll be building on some of the information there.

    [Part 1] [Part 2]

    Like anything in life, the more routes I've planned, the more efficient I've gotten. Sometimes it's just learning keyboard shortcuts or faster ways to do the things I was already doing. But sometimes, it's learning a whole new workflow that really saves a bunch of time.

    Today, I want to share a new workflow I learned for creating a track / route / path. One that saves a ton of time - minutes at least, and sometimes hours. So let's get started.

    What are we trying to optimize?

    Previously, I related two methods of track creation. The first was semi-automated in Google Earth, where you could create two points, then "Get Directions" between those two points. In some cases (probably about 50%), Google Earth would generate a track between the two points on the road(s) you wanted to travel, and you could copy that track into your project - just a few minutes of work. The second was a manual process of creating a new path, and then clicking along the road you want to drive, building up the track over the course of hundreds (or thousands) of points - sometimes hours of work.

    [​IMG]

    With either of these options, the biggest problem is that if you want to edit the track - say, change the middle section of it to use a different road - it's very difficult. You essentially have to delete all the points that were previously generated, and then manually (slowly) click along the road you really wanted to take.

    What if you could just drag any point on the track to a new location, and have the entire track "snap" to that new point?

    Turns out, in a lot of cases, YOU CAN.

    Read the rest of the post for step-by-step instructions on how!
    Planning a Route the Easy Way (Google My Maps, GPSVisualizer, and Earth)



    .
     
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  14. Aug 13, 2019 at 2:51 PM
    #34
    jbrandt

    jbrandt Well-Known Member

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    Okay, older posts, I know... But I just came back across this thread and read these posts...

    Another option for MVUMs that I have used is the Avenza App. The app is free, and since the MVUMs are a US Government maps, this data is (or SHOULD be) free. Our tax dollars have already paid for those maps, I have slight a problem paying for it twice. You are basically paying for someone else to show you maps they got for free...

    Once you download the App on your phone/tablet, you can go to this website:

    https://www.avenzamaps.com/

    create an account and sign in. Once there, you can search around and find a plethora of USFS, BOR, USGS maps. Most of them are free. They of course have other paid maps as well, like everyone does... For the most part, I have looked at the GeoPDF files. Once you find your maps, you add them to your shopping cart and "buy" them. It's weird, because they're free, but whatever... Go back to your app and the maps will be available to download. Download them when you have wifi, and they'll be saved on the phone/tablet.

    These maps, at least the ones I've used, aren't vectorized, they are all GeoPDF-based maps. But you can set placemarks and export those placemarks to a format that GE can import.

    As we've discussed before, unfortunately there's no one do-it-all app. It'd be nice if Google Earth had MVUMs and other map overlays, but they don't.

    Another option is if you have access to an advanced GIS program like ArcGIS where you can semi-seamlessly ingest GeoPDFs and basically all other formats of GIS data, then export as pretty much whatever you want. Not everyone has that, though.
     
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  15. Oct 28, 2019 at 3:19 AM
    #35
    ready6delta

    ready6delta REGULAR GUY

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    Great read and write up man.
     
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