Iphone USGS topo map navigation app
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Roleigh Martin
(marti124) - MLife

Locale: Moderator-JohnMuirTrail Yahoo Group
Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Iphone USGS topo map navigation app on 03/25/2009 08:23:35 MDT Print View

Martin, has Tom H. said he's going to release the 13 page JMT map set in this Iphone format this year? Maybe before July?

Cool!

I'm wondering about the Superior Hiking Trail (the 220 mile trail in MN), do you know if maps for the SHT can be downloaded to the Iphone too? I bought the app but haven't really used it yet.

By the way, I came across a review of a 1.3 oz GPS device loaded with tons of user-friendly features, have you used this device too?

http://www.brettonstuff.com/index.php/backpacking/easy-showily-ultralight-gps/#comments

Easy Showily – Ultralight GPS

M G
(drown) - F - MLife

Locale: Shenandoah
Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Iphone USGS topo map navigation app on 03/25/2009 09:18:45 MDT Print View

http://www.earthrover.org/Earthrover_Software/Earthrover_Software.html

This is the link to Tom H. maps no word on tyhe whole JMT yet but several titles available and more on the way. May be a bit expensive by title considering the JMT paper map pack is 18.95.

Have not checked out the unit you mentioned. It looks very promising. I'm wondering whether it can report coordinates in UTM. If it does I will certainly be getting one. It could be very useful for long trip where only a minimal GPS unit is required.

Roleigh Martin
(marti124) - MLife

Locale: Moderator-JohnMuirTrail Yahoo Group
Easy Showily 1.3 oz GPS home page. on 03/25/2009 09:46:23 MDT Print View

The Easy Showily 1.3 oz GPS home page.

http://www.wintec.com.tw/en/product_detail.php?pro_id=77%20style=

M G
(drown) - F - MLife

Locale: Shenandoah
Holux Unit on 03/25/2009 10:07:57 MDT Print View

http://www.buygpsnow.com/Holux_M241_Bluetooth_GPS_Datalogger.aspx


This unit also looks promising at 39gms and only one AA battery. It only reports position in DMS lat/longs according to the user manual however.

Seems a bit cheaper too

Edited by drown on 03/25/2009 10:08:31 MDT.

Eric Brod
(elbrod) - F
Re: Iphone USGS topo map navigation app on 03/25/2009 15:33:33 MDT Print View

There's also another Topo map for the iPhone: TopoPointUSA. It's at:

www.TopoPointUSA.com

or:

http://itunes.apple.com/WebObjects/MZStore.woa/wa/viewSoftware?id=307561619

Nia Schmald
(nschmald) - MLife
Re: Re: Iphone USGS topo map navigation app on 03/25/2009 16:00:31 MDT Print View

My understanding is that TopoPointUSA does not have a zoom feature which seems quite limiting.

There is also an app imaginatively named "Topo Maps" which does have zoom and will show current location, but that's it. No waypoints in any form. One other advantage is that it's only $3.99.

John Carter
(jcarter1)

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: Re: Re: Iphone USGS topo map navigation app on 03/25/2009 16:04:35 MDT Print View

"Topo Maps" does not offer seamless quads; you have to open individual quads as you cross over them. However, the maps are better quality scans.

Nia Schmald
(nschmald) - MLife
Re: Iphone USGS topo map navigation app on 03/25/2009 16:14:32 MDT Print View

Thanks John. I assumed they were all using the same sources for the digital maps. Thanks for correcting that.

When you say that "Topo Maps" has better quality scans is that compared to TopoPointUSA or iTopoMaps or both? I am considering buying iTopoMaps for the waypoint bearing feature.

I like the idea of getting a bearing from the iphone and then using a compass to navigate, saving battery life, but still want to be able to read the maps on the screen.

Roleigh Martin
(marti124) - MLife

Locale: Moderator-JohnMuirTrail Yahoo Group
iTopoMaps Help from Developer on 03/25/2009 21:47:08 MDT Print View

I have been interacting offline via email with Tracy Harton and he gave me permission to repost the help he gave me. It might help others.

[me asking]
Hi, I bought your software for my Iphone, but what I would like is to get the Superior Hiking Trail (in MN) and the John Muir Trail (in CA) maps for it, do you know where I should turn next?

Thank you.

[Tracy answering]
Basically, you must navigate to the area of interest, and mark the relevant quads for download. (Tap the grid-icon to enter/leave quad selection)

Depending on your familiarity with the region, this can be easy or hard.

For the Superior Hiking Trail:

Tap the waypoint icon and have it search for "hiking" in MN. It should find a feature for the Superior Hiking Trail at 47.57361N/-90.83611W. You can add a waypoint
at that location and then zoom in on the area. You should see a few dirt roads along the shore, and then a trail that leads off to the west past the ranger station.

You can maneuver around and explore at this point.

To cache this area for off-network access, hit the grid icon to enter quad-selection mode. Double-tap on the screen and it should ask you if you want to download this quad. Do this one for every quad you are interested in. (A progress bar should pop-up at the top. You can pause the download by hitting the right-triangle to improve responsiveness).

Alot of this is streamlined in Version 1.1, which should hit the App store any day now, depending on Apple's famous review process. In 1.1, it will properly display USGS quad names and you can enter them by coordinate. This can be useful if you have a list of relevant quads from a website, for example.

You should be able to do the same for the John Muir Trail, but there will be many quads to cover that long one... ;)

hope this helps,

[later, Tracy adds]
So I did a little more research on the Superior Hiking Trail.

First, it helped to have this up:

http://www.shta.org/Trail/TrailMaps/index.php

The feature waypoint in the database is for the center, around the Temperance River State Park.

I then just proceed to move up the shore, double-tapping and adding quads, until I got to canada. Repeat going south down the short to Two Harbors.

Attached is a screen shot.

I've been working on alternative graphical ways to selection an area for download, but the poor little phone seems to struggle under the load...

[Roleigh responds]
Tracy,

What does downloading a quad do for you? I have downloaded the surrounding quads but not sure what it has done for me other than change the map to being more green.

Can you please remind me of the 5 icons at the bottom of the screen:

Bluebox Clock or Compass Icon:
Red Flag Icon:
Circle Z Icon
Square Gridline Icon:
Circle I Icon:

I can guess some of them:
Circle I Icon: - press for Information
Square Gridlline Icon: press to get into map quad double click mode
Bluebox Clock or Compass Icon: if double clicked can lose zoom and revert back to your house (where're your currently at) icon

I'm not sure I have complete awareness of these icons and what they do/represent.

Also the circle play-triangle icon at top -- what does that bar to the right of it mean or pressing "play"/"Pause" mean.

I looked for a userguide manual on the web page but did not find one. Is there one?

ps -- there is a big thread going on at backpackinglight.com on your software:
http://www.backpackinglight.com/cgi-bin/backpackinglight/forums/thread_display.html?bo=watch&forum_thread_id=19739

Is it okay if I post some of your comments/answers? Or do you want to join the thread? You don't have to be a paid member to join the thread.

[Tracy responds back]

Downloading a quad makes it available when you are away from wifi/cellular coverage. It also saves battery life. If you're in a region of great coverage, or just exploring at home, you do not need to download quads. You should be able to explore pretty much the whole US w/o downloading anything.

Can you please remind me of the 5 icons at the bottom of the screen:

Bluebox Clock or Compass Icon:

locks the map center to your current GPS location. The map will follow you as you move.

Red Flag Icon:

Lookup a feature of interest by name, and optionally add it as a waypoint.

Circle Z Icon

toggle between max and min zoom (instead of using the two-finger stretch)

Square Gridline Icon:

toggle between quad selection mode and regular mode. You only want to be in quad mode if you are selecting quads for download.

Circle I Icon:

access the text settings page.

Also the circle play-triangle icon at top -- what does that bar to the right of it mean or pressing "play"/"Pause" mean.

That is showing your progress as you download tiles. Depending on your internet connection, it can take a few minutes per quad. You can pause/play the
download if you don't want it to get in your way. (Downloading that much data taxes the phone and its slower to respond)

I looked for a userguide manual on the web page but did not find one. Is there one?

I need to get one on there. I've kind of been hoping the new version would get released as it is much more polished.

Is it okay if I post some of your comments/answers? Or do you want to join the thread? You don't have to be a paid member to join the thread.

You can post anything if you think it will help people. I'll go check out the forum now.

Tracy Harton
(topotracy) - F
iTopoMaps on 03/25/2009 21:47:21 MDT Print View

Hi everyone. I'm a hiker/backpacker/rock climber/mountaineer, and also happen to be the author of iTopoMaps.

If I can help answer any questions, please ask, or come to www.itopomaps.com. I have already incorporated many user suggestions into the next version.

But, just to answer a few posed, yes you can access maps w/o cell coverage. You can graphically mark quads for download and it stores them in your flash memory. You can use the maps in "airplane mode".

The GPS does work without cellular coverage, although as someone noted, it is not the most sensitive GPS out there...

You can add waypoints by touch on the screen, by coordinate, or by looking features up in the GNIS database. iTopoMaps will then give you a bearing (magnetic and true) and a distance based on your map position or GPS location.

I've been using the device, in the rain, the last few weeks hiking in the Columbia River Gorge. I purchased a smartphone waterproof pouch at REI for $13 that allows you to use the touchscreen/audio in the pouch.

I wrote this app because I personally got tired of $8 paper quads and $100/state map CDs. I find the touchscreen interface to be pretty slick when interacting with waypoints.

In any case, I expect version 1.10 to hit the app store any day now with much better usability and polishing.

Thanks to those who have tried it.

M G
(drown) - F - MLife

Locale: Shenandoah
Re: iTopoMaps on 03/26/2009 06:51:50 MDT Print View

Tracy thanks for your app. It is well conceived and a great addition to my iphone. I think you have done a great job with it and I'm pshyched for version 1.1

I love having the maps when offline in the subway. I can explore maps of where I'm going in a few weeks and be planning routes and virtually exploring far away places. Only limited by the memory in my phone and how many quads I can cache.

What's the most that can be practically cached on a phone?

John Carter
(jcarter1)

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: Re: iTopoMaps on 03/26/2009 09:49:33 MDT Print View

Tracy,

Thank you for the great customer service! Around here, there are many cottage gear manufacturers of lightweight gear that post regularly, and that's what makes these forums so great.

I'm pleased to hear you can access the GPS in flight mode; I remember testing this a few months ago with the google maps application, and was not able to access the GPS when in flight mode, so either Apple updated this or you were able to program around this. In either case, thank you for the clarification. Not having to worry about flight mode whenever I want to access the app will greatly simply things and adds considerable function.

Any chance you will be adding the ability to input waypoint data from .gpx files? I know you've got many features to implement, but I think more useful than tracking at this point would be a waypoint import function for those of us who plan our routes on the computer with programs like National Geographic Topo! I know these things take time, though...

Bradley Danyluk
(dasbin) - MLife
GPS airplane mode on 03/26/2009 09:55:27 MDT Print View

John:

The 3G has been able to use GPS in airplane mode I believe since its inception. I had one, however, that wouldn't give me any location when in airplane mode. Turned out the GPS chip was fried and it was just using cell location when it was on - I took it back several months ago and GPS while in airplane mode has worked ever since with the replacement.
Apparently the GPS chip going bad is quite common on these phones.

Bradley Danyluk
(dasbin) - MLife
Canadian versions on 03/26/2009 10:17:50 MDT Print View

Does anyone know of an app like this that can access Canadian 1:50k maps like the ones here? http://www.topoquest.com/

Seems us Canadians are being totally left out :(

Tracy Harton
(topotracy) - F
Re: iTopoMaps on 03/26/2009 11:04:05 MDT Print View

1) Potential Storage - Depending on the quad, i'm seeing between 7-11Megs per quad. So for my iPhone3G, that's over 1300 quads if I dedicated my storage for that purpose....

2) Importing/Exporting Quadrangles and Waypoints has been on the list from the beginning, I just haven't gotten to it yet. Unfortunately Apple doesn't provide any easy way to get local files on and off the device, so everything has to go through remote servers/email...

3) As for airplane mode / GPS. I want to clarify that I said maps will work, but I'm not sure if the GPS will send any location events. I have heard that this is an available setting (separate GPS and Radio settings) in Jailbroken phones. Or maybe my phone is broken. ;( A

Applications have basically no control over the GPS and you just get location updates as they come in.

Also, if any of have been following the 3.0 Firmware discussions, the rumors of this summer's update indicate you'll be able to connect 3rd party devices via USB and/or bluetooth. So the prospect of connecting one of those $40 bluetooth GPSes that you can wear on your shoulder is pretty enticing... Better sensitivity and battery life all in one!

/tracy

Edited by topotracy on 03/26/2009 11:04:46 MDT.

John Carter
(jcarter1)

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: GPS airplane mode on 03/26/2009 11:04:53 MDT Print View

Bradly,

That's really interesting; I purchased my 3G iPhone the first day it came out. Earlier this year, however, I had it replaced due to some cracks in the plastic back. Perhaps I had a defective GPS in my early unit, which would explain why it works now!

Edited by jcarter1 on 03/26/2009 11:05:27 MDT.

Miguel Arboleda
(butuki) - MLife

Locale: Kanto Plain, Japan
Re: Canadian versions on 07/31/2009 20:08:43 MDT Print View

Seems us Canadians are being totally left out :(

Don't worry, the Mexicans have it even worse! ;-P

I'm not even going to TRY to reflect on the dearth of digital information on trails here in Japan! :-(

Donald Browning
(docdb) - M

Locale: SE USA
iTouch on 08/02/2009 21:06:55 MDT Print View

Does this program work with iTouch? I think it should.......
Don