It's been a while since the last update - 2-1/2 months, which I believe is a longer period in-between releases than ever before for this project. There are a lot of reasons for that, primarily that I've been busy and winter is in general a slow time for people hiking and submitting trails. However, I also wanted to focus on overhauling the background map for Northwest Trails (and Northwest Snow Trails). Way back when I started this project I wanted a fast solution so I could quickly locate trails against a background map. In my haste I just grabbed the background from one of my old Garmin mapsets and trimmed it down, then soon forgot about it. Later I was reminded about that when Garmin changed the way that background maps were handled in Mapsource and background map zoom levels could no longer overlap with the detailed map zoom levels. Still, I needed a quick solution and so I just reduced the resolution of the background map to remove that overlap. That left Northwest Trails with a fairly ugly and inaccurate background map, but it was better than nothing, plus it didn't upload to the GPS anyway.
Fast forward to a few weeks ago when I was reminded by a mapset user that I was still using Garmin data and that as a result I was in copyright violation. I realized that I was guilty of a transgression I had never intended, and so I have spent the time since then overhauling the background in the mapset. Using public data, I've created a background tile that is far more detailed than what was in the project previously. In fact, it's no longer really a background map. You'll see that it is actually a detailed map that can be uploaded to the GPS (although you'll likely want to avoid doing so). Handling the background this way allows me to avoid the ugly low-resolution map seen in previous releases of Northwest Trails as I can give it zoom levels that overlap with the other dedicated trail map tiles. Just be careful when selecting tiles to upload to your GPS that you avoid the "Detailed Background" tile (unless you really need and want to have that data loaded).
This new background map has also been extended to Northwest Snow Trails. However, because of the work that went into creating it, I haven't had time to increase the coverage area for Northwest Topos. Rest assured, though, that I've kept NW Topos up to date by updating all of the tiles with trail changes in them.
Enjoy, and as always, let me hear your feedback!