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Route Planning Where to go, when, what are the interesting places to see
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  #1  
Old 24 Feb 2007
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Thumbs up Free Maps For Everyone - Everywhere

I've just posted this reply to another query, and it occurred to me that not everyone will read it, so here it is as a seperate thread. The post is as below, but just to let you know that I'm using the software to help plan my trip around the world starting this summer. It does not have every little road in the data, but it does have most as far as I can see, and it is uncluttered, lets you see where the roads go, but not the topography. If you want that you can superimpose your own scanned maps or even use Google Earth. (not tried that yet, but will do.) btw I am not affiliated to the site in anyway, except in gratitude for such a great tool.........

Checkout this website and download the FREE software. Load up a map from the site and you will have most of the roads on tap. Just print them off. It does not have topography though, you do not have to be a GPS expert, most of it is intuative, but if you do have GPS then you can download or upload your route. It even has a pre-planned Alaska to Ushuaia route on tap, plus several S.American trips. Try this link GPS TrackMaker


Here is a screenshot


You can also scan in your own maps, or Google Earth shots, all sorts of stuff. It's great and like I said, IT'S FREE.
If you get stuck in working with it, email me or reply to this post, I'm no expert, but someone will help I'm sure.



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  #2  
Old 24 Feb 2007
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Brilliant !!! Cheers dude will be of great use for me and my mate for next years trip. Have you come across any other map sites? What we are planning next year does not allow us to use GPS so we are looking for something that be downloaded to a PDA, Mobile phone or simply printed and then laminated.
From the small ammount of research I've done so far the maps seem to be a bit sketchy once you hit the ex soviet countries.
Any tips would be great
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  #3  
Old 24 Feb 2007
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From Russia with L.......um.....best regards

Quote:
Originally Posted by Skorpion660 View Post
we are looking for something that be downloaded to a PDA, Mobile phone or simply printed and then laminated.
From the small ammount of research I've done so far the maps seem to be a bit sketchy once you hit the ex soviet countries.
Hi mate,
My problem exactly. The only other place I have found good online maps free is of Canada here The Atlas of Canada - Toporama – Topographic Maps
Otherwise I'm using the GPS Trackmaker loaded into a 10x8 tablet pc with all the maps in place. N.America; S.America; Australasia; Asia and Europe. (not planning to go through Africa this time) Then all i need to do is zoom in where I am and check out what direction the next town is. From notes I add to waypoints, I hope to know roughly where I can camp or get fuel or eat etc. All of this does not need a GPS. only a compass and your speedo. like you I like maps I can handle and draw on, so I will simply take a screen dump of the map I'm looking at in GPS Trackmaker and print it out, and there you go, A4 map pages in one of those flexible folders with clear inserts and I have my own atlas.

As to the ex soviet states, this is a problem and I'm trusting that the info is ok, but everything I have compared so far has been, so why not Asia!

Here is a screen shot of that area just above Vladiovstock to show you the sort of detail included. I think it is enough. You will notice that there looks to be a main road on the Chinese side of the border, but b- all on the Siberian side. I even got to thinking that I would have to en-train, but noticed a track that runs alongside the railway in the area I was looking at.
I've enhanced the last shot as the downloaded quality is poor to keep the file size reasonable, but check out the link to see a jpeg of the screen dump.
Asia

zoom in to China/Siberia

zoom a bit more on Tu and it's area


You can see a full size screen dump of this by clicking on this link (although this has also been reduced in quality to, - try clicking the little + thingy in the bottom right corner of your browser screen for a closer look)
http://snap33.photobox.co.uk/5616960...bc2678a5e7.jpg

Hope this is of use.

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It is not the Journey nor yet the Destination, that is the Prize; it is the people you meet on the way.

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  #4  
Old 24 Feb 2007
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Doesn't work for Macs... damn shame!
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  #5  
Old 24 Feb 2007
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Mac users left in the rain

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tully View Post
Doesn't work for Macs... damn shame!
I'm not a computer geek, but there must be mac>pc emulators out there somewhere try Operating Systems: Win/Unix on Mac, Mac on Others, for starters, or one of the mac forums, otherwise your stuffed I'm afraid.
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  #6  
Old 27 Mar 2007
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For someone (like me) in the early stages of planning a trans african trip, this is an awesome tool. Thanks a bunch Stagbeetle!

I haven't yet tried downloading waypoints to my Garmin Quest, but it seems simple enough and very simillar to other programs I have used.

However, one thing eludes me; calculating total distances for a track. Creating waypoints is simple enough as is connecting those to create a route/track. But whenever I have created a track and seek info on the total distance of it (by default a blue line), only the distance between two waypoints is available. If I right-click between wp 9 and wp 12, only the distance between these two points is displayed. Eventhough it says "track 1, from waypoint 1 to 13". I'm unsure if I am simply not pushing the right buttons (most likely), or is it perhaps a feature only available in the pro-version of Trackmaker? Hope you can help me out.

Regardless, the tool is a plethora of routing that I would propably not have thought of otherwise. Thumbs up mate!
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  #7  
Old 2 Apr 2007
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Great stuff. I'm doing a European month long trip in May. This will be helpful.
Nathan
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  #8  
Old 3 Apr 2007
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Sorry for delay replying McThor

I think I know whats going on McThor, but watch this space. I seem to remember you can have the distances displayed as 'legs' or 'total'. Remember that 'Tracks' are a sort of planning tool and only 'Routes' and 'Waypoints' mean anything to the GPS. (at least on my ancient Magellan unit) but I'll get back on what I find.
I used it to plan a route to the Superbike race meeting at Donnington on Sunday (about 120 miles) and it worked a treat. Not all small roads are listed, so I went onto Google Earth, found the Lat & Long for the villages on the way and fed them into the map, then downloaded as waypoints (or landmarks in Magellan speak.) into the GPS, we missed all the traffic congestion of the major routes and only had about 200yds of traffic to contend with at the car park.

Got into a muddle using 'backtrack' on the GPS to come home though, but sorted it out after a few miles of going up and down the same bit of road, my fault as I took a shortcut which confused the unit because it hadn't found the first expected LMK and wanted me to go back and find it . Now back home I can download everything back into my pc and it will show me where I went, what height I was at and how long it took.
I think this will be very useful as you can put photos into the maps at exactly the point they were taken, and talking last week to someone who took loads of photos in SA but is not quite sure now where some of them were taken, I think on a long trip this will be a very useful tool.
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  #9  
Old 3 Apr 2007
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Route Defaults and feedback please

Hi McThor,
If I've read your query correctly then.....

The Track and Route properties are set by going 'Tools'>'Options' and this opens a window with a series of tabs. On this 'General Window' is a 'Show Data Properties-Configure' in the bottom left hand corner.
This opens a tick list and halfway down is 'Total Length' and 'Segment Length'

If you tick both, when you hover the 'Select Data' arrow-head over a Track or Route you will get a box with; for example:-'Track0001|T#=1|Tl=7.191mi|Sl=1.629mi'

Where Track0001 is the track id you have given it
T#=1 is the track number the programme has assigned it
Tl=7.191mi is the Total Length of the Track
Sl=1.629mi is the Segmant Length

You can change the distances from miles to kilometers in the next tab 'UNITS' if you prefer
I'm not an expert on this you understand but have been playing with it for several months now. I will try and put together some form of 'plain English' notes of what I have found and post them somewhere so that those amonst us who are not well versed in computers can make the programme do what they want.

If there is any interest out there I could put together a working demo presentation for the meeting at Ripley in June, give me some feedback to judge if there is any interest in this idea.

As I'm starting my AWT in July (I hope) I may also be able to demonstrate it at other meetings for those not living in this sceptered isle, so just because you can't get to Ripley doesn't mean you can't voice interest.
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  #10  
Old 3 Apr 2007
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Yup Beetle. That was exactly what I was looking for. Thanks a lot.

I've been browsing around for other usefull programs that can help plan a trip. So far I haven't found my "favorite" allthough this one is currently in the lead . It has the most usefull features from Mapsource in it (including transfers to my GPS) without requiring a 6 disc installation pack to operate. Did I mention the price ?

As you know doubt now are aware, I am no computer wizard and can sometimes choke on even the simplest of operations. My only stumbling point was that which you have just helped me with. As for a users guide I'm not realy sure if it's necessary. Even for someone like me it seems pretty straight forward. At this point I am only using it as a planning tool and haven't "field tested" it. Eventhough the basics will be nothing new in a demonstration, I have found that it is always good to see other approaches to the same "problems". You can often pick up easier or alternative ways to doing things that you thought there was only one solution to.

Anyway, thanks again.
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  #11  
Old 4 Apr 2007
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2nd choice and a chance of glory

Another programme I use is GPS Utility, it is 'free' as a demo version with these general limitations.
· 100 Waypoints
· 4 Routes + Active Route(00), each of 10 waypoints
· 500 Trackpoints
· 10 Track Summary entries
· 2 Data Set windows (+ 2 Map windows)
· 2000x2000 pixel Map window
· 2 Map Annotations

The full programme costs $55US

May not be worth it unless you particularly want to use what I think is its most useful function that GPS Trackmaster seems to lack, being able to list all the way points as a table and sort them out into routes etc, nice and neatly. viz (tip- hit the zoom button on the bottom right corner of your browser screen to get a better view)


I do like TrackMaker best for planning though. and you can always save your file as 'GPS TrackMaker Text Format' and view it in Word then paste it into Excel

I noticed a request re a fuel map on another topic from McThor, if I had the time, which I haven't, I would ask HU riders to send in lat & lon of fuel locations so that we can share a resource, (unintended pun-sorry ) of a world map with out of the way fuel stations marked on it. Google Earth is ok for most of Europe and North America, but relies on advertising revenues, a dirt stop in Morocco is not going to get publicity there, is it? So anyone with plenty of time and patience available to ferret out this kind of practical info would have the undying gratitude of thousands - think of the glory

I'm also pasting this into the fuel map query so it may get some kind persons attention.
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Old 18 Apr 2007
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I cant get it working

Hi.

I would really appreciate help with this trackmaster stuff...

I have a Garmin 2610 with the latest drivers and software. It works fine with mapsource etc.

On trackmaster, the interface just crashes when i try to send or recieve maps.

Anyone else with these problems ??

Ed
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  #13  
Old 27 Apr 2007
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Cool

Thanks,works for me.
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  #14  
Old 27 Apr 2007
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Now I know I am stupid, but....

How the heck does the program work? The Help section doesn't seem to provide any insight into the basic mechanics of how to use it to draw a route....

However, I am trying to use it without any software from a GPS device -- is that my basic dumb-a$$ mistake?

I love the idea of the program, but seemingly am incapable of working it out. Any saviours out there who might extend a hand to a man who may well be drowning in his own stupidity will be more than welcome! I really want to see it working, so any pointers will be more than appreciated.


br
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  #15  
Old 28 Apr 2007
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What are you trying to do?

Hi Everyone, sorry for not getting back earlier, but I've been off line due to a terminal crash in my PC, I think the big ends gone

But I needed to configure my laptop for my journey anyway.

ROUTES are built between Waypoints and are straight lines connecting them. They string together the Waypoints so that your GPS knows what to aim at next, having reached the current point.

Do not confuse them with TRACKS.
Tracks are for either plotting a path you want to follow in order to find a true distance, or they are downloaded from your GPS after a trip to show where you actually went.

So if I use the first pencil tool and create 5 WAYPOINTS and make a track


(blue line) this gives me 4 segment lengths (legs) which is the actual road I may take and is a total of 9.7 miles long. But if I use the next pencil tool (the one with the R on it) and join the 3 waypoints from north to south, (top, middle and bottom) then we get a ROUTE with 3 Waypoints. My GPS will point to the middle waypoint when I start out and tell me it is 2.9mls away; due south. When I reach the mid point my GPS will switch to the bottom waypoint telling me it is 4.2mls away; due south. But if I turn off to the side, along the TRACK I wanted to follow, then my GPS will ignore the side waypoint I am heading for and continue to point at the bottom Waypoint, telling me it is 4.4mls away to the southwest. As I head south on my TRACK the GPS will point more and more to the west telling me where the ROUTE finish point at the bottom Waypoint is
This means I can prepare a map with hundreds of legs on it, plotting my way along a series of roads, but only a few points on that journey that my GPS needs to pick up. Typically a road junction where I need to choose a left or right fork. It can be used like a streetplotter if you like, that is picking up every change in direction, but on a bike you wouldn't be looking at your GPS most of the time anyway.
On your GPS unit you can either put together the ROUTES from seperate WAYPOINTS you have uploaded, or upload the complete ROUTE in one go.
I have a Magellan 315 (1999 model) so at this point, unless you have one too, your on your own.
If this makes no sense, email me at drx.fairless@virgin.net and hopefully I can get you going.
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