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Author Topic: Hints & Tips for data collection  (Read 5477 times)
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The Jester
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« on: June 03, 2009, 07:46:57 pm »

As I was wandering along a new-to-me trail today, I got thinking about some of the things I do while collecting data for NW Trails.

One of the biggest 'problems' I've seen is trying to get all the trails in an area - limited time vs. unlimited trails (it seems in some areas...).  What I started doing is to walk 20-50 feet down the side trail and then back to the 'main' trail.  This leaves a 'stub' on the track, Jon has been nice enough to leave those in the DB so it's easy to see where new data needs to be collected.  When I'm working an area I've also made waypoints in MapSource of these stubs so they are easy to see on the small screen.
  The other advantage of this, is others can see these and if they are in the area can map those trails.  I tend to believe others try to do complete coverage also, but I've learned that's not always the case (and even I've missed a trail or two Shocked).

Another thing that I do, is to mark waypoints in MapSource to leave notes to Jon about something special there - trails that don't touch, but the tracks do (darn EPE!) or 'missing' trails (shown but not in the field).

In the field, I turn the track on and off to 'record' changes in trails (such as, leaving paved trail for dirt).  That way when I'm editing the tracks (to specify the type of trail/road, etc.) it's easy for me to remember where such changes happened.  I also make notes on my PDA of trail names (I also have my little book of cache hide sites, but those I don't share with Jon!) or use a waypoint.
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Moun10Bike
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« Reply #1 on: June 04, 2009, 07:58:01 am »

This is a great idea for a topic!  I hope people will read it and make additional suggestions.

I recommend that everyone also read the data contribution section of the Northwest Trails page.
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Jon
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« Reply #2 on: June 08, 2009, 12:58:56 am »

Yes, I also make a waypoint on side trails I did not go down. Since I use custom icons on my garmin I choose the trailhead icon. These transfer back to Mapsourse real nice. I can't remember if I sent them to Jon or not, but I don't recall seeing them on any released maps.

I'm curious, how do you edit the tracks for trail/road, etc.

Jim
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Moun10Bike
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« Reply #3 on: June 08, 2009, 01:03:45 pm »

I'm curious, how do you edit the tracks for trail/road, etc.

I use Global Mapper, which has very good track editing capabilities.  When I need to make bulk editing of attributes, though, I resort to ArcGIS.
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Jon
The Jester
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« Reply #4 on: August 10, 2009, 09:52:26 pm »

Something that I've just started using this summer, is a 'hanger' for the GPSr on my trek pole.  I took one of the belt clips ($1 dollar at dollar tree, just like the Garmin one but much cheaper to buy) and used zip ties (cable ties) to attach it to my pole.  It sit's cross ways on the pole, so I just have to lift the pole up to eye level to see the GPSr (as the unit pivots on it button it's always right-side up).  The belt clip also allows me to clip a bandanna on the pole where it's easy to get to, and dries nicely.
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« Reply #5 on: January 10, 2010, 12:29:25 pm »

Post hike track processing/preparation for submission to NW Trails: Using Garmin Oregon 400t

For the most part, the trails I hike and record are not too complicated - simple loop, with minimal side trails etc.

However, I've been trying to record some complex trail systems best described as a "maze" - many intersections and entry points. My frustration is preparing the tracks for submission to Jon using only MapSource and it's limited editing tools. I tend to leave my GPSr running the whole time I'm walking so my track file needs to be constantly "split" then rejoined for nice neat t-intersections.

Is there an inexpensive or free program out there providing better editing tools than MapSource? It's time-consuming and cumbersome to use.

Not willing to spend $350 on Global Mapper but I'd fork out $50 on something worthwhile.

If no such program exists then I guess I could help myself by turning my unit off at junctions more often.....
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savant9
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« Reply #6 on: January 10, 2010, 05:08:37 pm »

Mapsource is actually quite fast and efficient at editing tracks.  I would suggest you use the "track divide tool" more often to break the trails up into manageable sections.  If you need to extend a track to join up at an intersection better, you may find that manually adding a track point causes grief(because it is trying to connect it to the wrong end of the track).  Just right click the desired track in the left pane and select properties, then hit the invert button, you will now be adding to the right end of the track.  You may also find it simpler to use multiple instances of mapsource running concurrently to keep all your data in order. 
Stick with it, once you get familiar with all the keyboard shorcuts etc, you can edit up a full days data in just a couple minutes.
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« Reply #7 on: January 10, 2010, 07:04:53 pm »

Mapsource is actually quite fast and efficient at editing tracks.  I would suggest you use the "track divide tool" more often to break the trails up into manageable sections.  If you need to extend a track to join up at an intersection better, you may find that manually adding a track point causes grief(because it is trying to connect it to the wrong end of the track).  Just right click the desired track in the left pane and select properties, then hit the invert button, you will now be adding to the right end of the track.  You may also find it simpler to use multiple instances of mapsource running concurrently to keep all your data in order. 
Stick with it, once you get familiar with all the keyboard shorcuts etc, you can edit up a full days data in just a couple minutes.

Thanks savant9! Didn't know about the "invert" solution! That's a big help because connecting trail sections was becoming a headache for the reasons you stated - wrong end. Very helpful. Discovered today how to bring in multiple files from several days hiking into one file. D'oh....copy/paste! I'll get there! Thanks again.
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Moun10Bike
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« Reply #8 on: January 10, 2010, 07:10:43 pm »

Another application that I've heard good things about is "Topofusion".  I actually have it, but don't use for this purpose.  It might be worth a look if you find things still too difficult in Mapsource.
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Jon
The Jester
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« Reply #9 on: January 10, 2010, 10:13:54 pm »

Mapsource is actually quite fast and efficient at editing tracks.  I would suggest you use the "track divide tool" more often to break the trails up into manageable sections.  If you need to extend a track to join up at an intersection better, you may find that manually adding a track point causes grief(because it is trying to connect it to the wrong end of the track).  Just right click the desired track in the left pane and select properties, then hit the invert button, you will now be adding to the right end of the track.  You may also find it simpler to use multiple instances of mapsource running concurrently to keep all your data in order. 
Stick with it, once you get familiar with all the keyboard shorcuts etc, you can edit up a full days data in just a couple minutes.

Thanks savant9! Didn't know about the "invert" solution! That's a big help because connecting trail sections was becoming a headache for the reasons you stated - wrong end. Very helpful. Discovered today how to bring in multiple files from several days hiking into one file. D'oh....copy/paste! I'll get there! Thanks again.
You don't have to invert the track, when you have the join tool selected right click and select "join from start".

When tracking I just turn tracking on and off (not the unit) to make breaks in the track.
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« Reply #10 on: January 10, 2010, 10:29:19 pm »

The tip about inverting (either method) helped so much that I got all the track editing done for my current project quickly.

In fact, I downloaded Topofusion a few weeks ago and haven't played with it yet....will try it out on next project.

Thanks for the help guys!
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savant9
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« Reply #11 on: January 10, 2010, 11:06:38 pm »

I initially found mapsource a bit frustrating as well, it was almost at the point where it took longer at home on the pc cleaning up the tracks than it did actually collecting the data.  Now I can clean and edit a full days collection in under 10 minutes.  If you backtrack over the same trail a number of times and notice a bit of variance, you may also find it easier to just draw your own averaged track right on top of the others instead of try to adjust many track points.  Once you have your own "averaged" track you can delete the variable underlying tracks.
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TotemLake
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« Reply #12 on: January 14, 2010, 09:33:53 pm »

Nice tips, Jester.
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