Posts Tagged ‘topo’

Scree Painter (Bernhard Jenny, ETHZ)

Monday, July 20th, 2009

snapshot-2009-05-13-12-10-18

[Editor's note: Bernhard Jenny, of the Swiss ETH in Zurich, has released a new software application for generating Swiss-style scree (rock) patterns for topographic maps. It fills user-specified polygons with scree stones. In years past, this technique was a very slow, time consuming manual process. Because of this, most modern maps have abandoned scree depiction or rely on out-of-date raster scans of old maps. This new stand-alone software for Mac, Windows, and Linux allows many GIS inputs like DEMs (DTMs) and settings customize the graphic treatment of dot size, density, and shape. Scree is useful for depicting mountainous areas, often rocky and devoid of vegetation. The rock pattern can indicate gullies and compliment relief shading for sunny and shadow areas by modulating the size and density of dots. Export is provided to PDF format. I hope we start seeing more scree on maps as a result of this software. Thanks Tom!]

Republished from ScreePainter.com.

Inputs and settings include:

Scree: the generated scree dots.
Scree Polygons: the polygons that are filled with scree dots.
Gully Lines: flow lines extracted from a digital elevation model.
Obstacles Mask: No scree dots are placed where this mask is black.
Shaded Relief: Modulates the size and density of dots.
Gradation Mask: Where this mask is dark, the contrast between bright and dark slopes is enhanced.
Large Stones Maks: Dots are enlarged where this maks is dark.
Reference Image: An image that is not used for generating scree dots. The reference image included in the sample data sets shows a map section with manually produced scree dots for comparison.

Read more and download application at ScreePainter . . .

App: iTopoMap for iPhone

Thursday, April 2nd, 2009

[Editor's note: Download free USGS topoquads and use the GPS and maps when you're out hiking beyond cell reception and when Google Maps tiles don't work (and don't have good contour lines, creeks, or trails on them anyways). I've used the app and it works exactly as advertised. Thanks Martin!]

Republished in part from Martin’s posts at BackpackingLite.

Just downloaded and started using a new topo app for the iphone called iTopoMaps ($15) (web site). Looks like someone who backpacks and programs has gotten around to designing a topo map application. (There is another app called TopoPointUSA for $10 but I don’t like it as much.)

This app allows you to download and cache USGS topos on your phone freely downloadable through the phone in advance before your hike so that you can use the iPhone while in the wilderness, no need a 3G or cell phone signal. Turns the iPhone into probably the best mapping GPS with no fees to pay for maps.

I used this in Shenandoah today and it worked well. Still no route planning (track or GPX) functionality but apparently it’s coming. It does allow to create waypoints. This app may be what finally justifies my iPhone after 8 months of love/hate.

Feature list:

  • Full 1:24k USGS Quads that can be locally cached on your iPhone
  • Scrollable multi-zoom map interface (likeGoogleMaps!)
  • Full 50 states
  • Waypoints
  • Goto Waypoint – distance and bearing
  • Magnetic Declination Calculations
  • GNIS Database for looking up features and identifiying them on the map!

I think the app hits the USGS google topo map server and downloads the image pyramids there. But they are free and will likely remain free.

You acquire the topos by tapping the screen while connected to the internet. So it does require a signal initially while planning and also requires some advance planning. But I cached all of Shenandoah yesterday before leaving my house while connected to broadband without any problem ( I have about 12Gb of free space on my phone so that helps). Those quads are now stored on my phone and since I visit Shenandoah very frequemtly they will stay on my phone for my next trips. No memory cards to fiddle with, no extra fee to pay to TOPO or Delorme or Garmin. FREE USGS topo Maps.

Google Maps With A Topographic Overlay (Free Geog Tools)

Wednesday, July 23rd, 2008

free geo tools logo[Editor's note: An alternative to TopoZone.com. Their server can lag a bit.]

Reprinted from Free Geography Tools blog (posted there April 14, 2007).

In addition to the standard image overlays of Map, Satellite and Hybrid for Google Maps, the Active Trails website has an additional overlay button – Topo, for topographic maps. At lower zoom levels, the 1:100K scale USGS topo maps are visible, but if you zoom in close enough, the larger-scale 1:24K maps become visible. Comparing Map, Satellite and Topo overlays, there appears to be a good position match between the three. Active Trails also has placemarks for many kinds of outdoor trails across the country (hiking, biking, equestrian, etc.) entered by site users. You can also install a network link in Google Earth that will let you view the trails there, similar in nature to the new Google Earth layer from Trimble.

Addendum: Fixed the Active Trails links (sorry about that). In the comments, MH points out the ACME Mapper 2.0 site, which is a better choice. It displays black-and-white USGS aerial photos, and also lets you print out a copy of the on-screen map with the push of a button.