Evan's Creek GPS Mapping for a New Trail Map - JeepForum.com
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post #1 of 11 Old 11-18-2008, 03:51 PM Thread Starter
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Evan's Creek GPS Mapping for a New Trail Map

Hey guys. . . just posted this in the Trip Reports section. Thought I'd mention it here, too.

I've started work on creating a new trail map of Evan's Creek ORV park. It'll be similar to the Reiter Trails Map I did a few months ago in terms of look and quality when it's done.

So far I was able to GPS map all the trails there on November 15th in one day. Here's the trails as they were recorded. One or two obvious glitches but otherwise the data is very accurate. With a new auxillary GPS antenna the signal reception was boosted 3-5 time over normal. Even in the deepest tree cover I was picking a ton of solid signals. At times the accuracy hit 5 ft +/-.


- Jay
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post #2 of 11 Old 11-18-2008, 04:33 PM
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What make/model GPS do you use?
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post #3 of 11 Old 11-18-2008, 05:23 PM
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Hey, it was good to see you. Good work!

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post #4 of 11 Old 11-19-2008, 10:15 AM
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Originally Posted by yyoon View Post
Hey, it was good to see you. Good work!

Can't wait to see it, I need a good Evans map.

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post #5 of 11 Old 11-19-2008, 01:27 PM Thread Starter
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My GPS Setup:
  • Garmin GSP60 reciever
  • Plug-in cig adapter for power + battery back up for when the engine is off
  • Gilsson MCX auxillary antenna mounted on hood.
  • National Geographic TOPO! mapping software.

Garmin GPS 60
When shopping for a GPS receiver about 2+ years ago I just wanted something to map the trails. I already knew where I was going so I just wanted a recorder, pretty much. The GPS 60 was the cheapest I could find that had a good built-in antenna, and the WAAS stuff to help refine the signal and it also interfaced with my Mac. I could turn it on, run the trail, then hit record. Very simple and straight forward. I really didn't want a lot of features. Also, being that it's hand held I can take it with me outside of the Jeep easily. That said, if I were to get another one I wouldn't mind a color screen and ability to load topo maps onto the unit. Garmin has some other GPS60 series units that have more features and I'd look at those.

As nice as the GPS 60 is, it's compromised by the need for the small built-in antenna. Factor in the fact I didn't have a good mounting spot (I had it dangling from my rear view mirror) AND the dense tree cover in the NW and signal reception was a bit of a problem. On the Reiter run there'd be some significant gaps in signal coverage. Not a big enough problem but it was there.

Gilsson MCX Auxillary Antenna
Wow. HUGE FREAK'N DIFFERENCE in signal strength. This antenna gives similar performance to Garmin's own external antennas but it retails for ~$23 instead of Garmin's $99. It was simply amazing how much the signal improved with the use of the antenna. I figured I was getting at minimum of 3 times better reception and probably averaged 5-6 times improved reception. Before I'd get strong but partial signal on 2-3 satellites and maybe a full-bar signal on another. With the Gilsson antenna I'd get 5-6 full solid bars of reception and another 2-3 very strong partial signals. It'd also take just a fraction of the time to pick up the satellites that without the antenna.

Also, the antenna has a 9 ft wire and magnetic base. I was able to stick it on the hood where it had an unrestricted view up from the Jeep. This also let me stick the GPS 60 receiver in my cup holder where it was significantly more secured and much less annoying. The antenna cable was thin enough to run through the weather stripping on the passenger door.

National Geographic TOPO! Software
What can I say. . . it works. But it's very clunky. I like that is uses the 7.5' USGS base maps and that you can turn shading on for improve map readability (helps define the contours and land shape). But the software tools really suck and are difficult to work with. I've found work-arounds to speed up and ease the use of the software but it's just poorly designed. Unfortunately, it's the only software that I know of (at least at the time I bought it) that works on the Mac platform.

For the Reiter Map (and what I'll do for the Evan's Creek map) is import the GPS data into TOPO! to get the trails mapped out over the base raster map images. Then I'll re-trace the routes if needed to clean them up and get continuous trail routes (instead of cut up into separate sections we ran at different times). Finally, I'll select all the trails and change their line colors to what I want. And I'll generate some extra content such as the elevation profiles, note trail milages, and any 3D perspective views. All this gets exported into Photoshop where the final map is composed. Icons added, text written, borders drawn, titles typed, etc.

- Jay
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post #6 of 11 Old 11-28-2008, 08:45 PM
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Cool thanks!!

Do you think Evan's Creek is still drivable? I'm only here for another 2 days and I would love to go down there with my dad.

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post #7 of 11 Old 04-30-2010, 05:26 PM
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Nice work... a little bump for prosperity sake.

I hope you can finish an Evans Creek map like what you did for Reiter.

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post #8 of 11 Old 05-06-2010, 03:28 PM Thread Starter
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Oh yeah. . . the map.

Forgot. . . I finished that about a week ago. Mostly had to do a color check before saving as a PDF for download. The greens and blues for the trails look a little "bright" on screen but they should print out just right (not too dark). It's a big file, about 36 MB. But it's now available.

For a direct link to the PDF, click here.

To see my Evan's Creek Trail page, click here.

Like the other maps available from my website, this one is designed to be printed double-sided on 11x17 inch paper. If you don't have access to that kind of printer, either set your print option to "scale to fit page" or take it in to an Office Depot, Kinkos, or other print shop. For about $2 they'll print it out in color on 11x17. Another ~$2 and they will laminate the page for you so it is more durable. This is what I do to all my maps I print up and they hold up great for year and years in the Jeep on the trail in the rain and mud. Well worth it to get it laminated.

Sorry for the looooooonnnnng delay guys. Enjoy the map. Here are some smaller pre-view shots of the front and back. For best quality, of course, download the PDF from the link above.

Front of Map

Back of Map


- Jay
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post #9 of 11 Old 05-26-2010, 12:32 AM
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Links are broken.

Nice to see my old YJ made it into the pics though.
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post #10 of 11 Old 05-26-2010, 01:00 PM Thread Starter
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Yeah, I need to pay the hosting fee for the next year. Gotta wait until next pay day which is in a week. Check back June 2nd or 3rd and they'll be back up.

- Jay
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post #11 of 11 Old 04-27-2012, 12:35 PM
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This map is great, thanks for making it available!

Last edited by SkawtNW; 04-27-2012 at 01:42 PM.
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