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Trail Maps | GPS Tracks NAXJA's New Trail Map Source - Utilizing topographic maps and GPX files.

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  #1  
Old March 31st, 2008, 10:12
Handlebars Handlebars is offline
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Location: Albuquerque, NM
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Exclamation About this forum: please read before posting

The purpose of the Trail Maps/GPS Tracks Forum is to share information about trails. This is the only forum on where posting file attachments is encouraged, allowing us to share GPS tracks for our favorite trails. The preferred format is .gpx, which is about as close to a generic, free file format for sharing GPS waypoints, tracks and routes we have at this time. This is also the place to discuss trails, post maps or directions to trails and trip reports. Photos of trails are always welcome! Feel free to ask questions about trails or post updates of conditions, .gpx files of new trail routings are the best way to do this.

Assuming that you already have a GPS and the cable to connect it to your computer, there are several ways to get these files into your GPS.
  • Download and install EasyGPS on your computer. This free program supports 95% of the outdoor-oriented GPS's on the market.
  • If you already have a mapping program that you like, you can use GPS Babel to convert the file to any of about 90 other file formats. Note that to input a .gpx file you would select "GPX XML".
  • Those of you with the Garmin Mapsource program that comes with many outdoors-oriented Garmin GPS units can use that program to transfer track files. Before you start make sure that your Mapsource is updated to the current version, some older versions do not support .gpx files. There is a free download available here that updates the Mapsource program and operating environment but does not affect the map data or coverage that you currently have.

You may be alarmed to have track files and other detailed information about the location of your favorite trails floating around the internet for environmentalists to see and try to close. The time has passed where they even have to bother. The Forest Service and BLM are currently in a nationwide process of creating new travel management rules. Before, trails were considered open unless posted as closed, cross-country travel was also permitted in many areas. Once the new travel management plans are recorded, vehicles will only be permitted on trails that are marked open, all other areas are considered closed. We can not assume that the BLM and F.S. know where our trails are to include in their travel plans. The best way for us to help them keep our trails open is to be able to show them where they are located in an easy to understand manner. Your GPS becomes our most valuable tool for this job, giving us the ability to show the location of our trails on a map. The BLM and F.S welcomes comments from anybody at their travel management meetings, as well as by internet or the mail. If nobody submits an established trail during this process it is possible for it to be left out of the travel management plan and closed forever. So please, start archiving the GPS tracks on your computer from your trail rides, share the ones you think that others will enjoy and above all, participate in the planning process!

To make this forum easy to browse and use:
Use the format, "state- trail name" to title your posts. For example, "CA- Rubicon Trail".

Try to edit your track logs to get rid of all the wrong turns and such. ExpertGPS and Garmin Mapsource have tools to do this easily.

Be aware that there is a maximum amount of track points per imported track for many GPS units. Check the length of each track before and after importing it, if the track is shorter in your GPS than it was in your computer and you get a message like "track truncated" you will have to use one of the above mentioned programs to reduce the number of track points per track to an acceptable amount for your unit. My Garmin GPSMAP 60Cx is limited to 20 saved or imported tracks of 500 points each, my old GPS V was limited to a paltry 250 points per. This specification is sometimes difficult to find in the manual, usually it only mentions the size of the raw track log created by the unit itself, not imported logs.

Let's keep discussion in this forum strictly to trail talk. Ask your technical questions about GPS units, mapping programs and transferring data between them right outside the door in the Adventure Forum.

Happy Trails!

Last edited by Handlebars; March 31st, 2008 at 10:16.
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Old March 31st, 2008, 17:15
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karstic karstic is offline
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Re: About this forum: please read before posting

Awesome!!!

Good to see this up and running.
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Old April 2nd, 2008, 16:57
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WayneXJ WayneXJ is offline
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Re: About this forum: please read before posting

When I try to open the files in Mapsource I get a message that says ________.gpx is not a valid Win32 application. What am I doing wrong?
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Old April 3rd, 2008, 07:17
Handlebars Handlebars is offline
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Re: About this forum: please read before posting

Wayne, what version of Mapsource are you running? Does your current version support .gpx files? When you have a file open in Mapsource and select "save as" you should get these choices:


Go the "help" tab at the top, select "about Mapsource...", a window should pop up showing what version you have. All of those files were written with version 6.13.6, go here for the update to version 6.13.7. I haven't bothered updating to the .7 because none of the bugs fixed from .6 apply to me.

Do you have a Pritchett Canyon GPS track? The forum could sure use a writeup of that trail and you know it as well as anyone!
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