August 31, 2008

Speaking of GPS Tracks...

In the previous post, I talked about AnalyzeMyTracks, a nice little web application that can evaluate and display various GPS track statistics.

Well, now I've just discovered WikiLoc, another free GPS web application, but this one lets you upload and share GPS tracks. Or, as it states on the WikiLoc home page, "Show your favorite trails", "Discover new trails". That pretty much sums it up.

You can search for other peoples' GPS tracks by activity type, including hikes, bike rides, kayak rides and many others. There's even a "geocaching" category! Or, you can use the world map feature to zoom in to your local area and see all the track data that has been posted there.

It's really simple to use, and it gives you the option to view any trail in Google Earth. You can upload your track and waypoint data in just about any format, including, GPX, GDP, KML, and of course, LOC. It also lets you upload pictures to go with your track data. Here's a sample of what you see when you select the "view details" option for any given trail:

And I'm not the only one who's impressed. Apparently, Google is as well, as they just added a WikiLoc layer in Google Earth (under the Gallery folder)! Now you can see all the track data that's been uploaded to WikiLoc right in Google Earth.

Give it a try. I think you'll like it.

August 24, 2008

Analyzing GPS Track Data

In a previous post, I talked about one of my favorite web sites for converting and viewing your GPS track data, called GPS Visualizer. Now I want to introduce you to another web tool that can analyze your track data, called, conveniently enough, Analyze My Track. As stated on the home page, this nifty little tool evaluates gpx logs from your GPS device and provides the following information back:
  • reverse geocoding: track points labeled with names of nearby features;
  • maps: view your track on Google Maps;
  • stats: distance, elevation, speed and time;
  • graphs: interactive elevation/speed/distance;
In the words of my kids, "it's way cool". Here's an example of what some of the results look like, using GPS track data from a geocaching / bike ride I did just this morning:

This is the first page you see after the web application calculates various statistics from your track data.

The tool also provides you with different interactive graphs as well as some Google Maps showing certain aspects of your tracks.

Here's part of the Google Maps map it created showing my route, color-coded by elevation (using a green to red color gradient):

And here's the elevation profile it provided:

The tool also gives you a speed vs. distance graph as well. Give it a try when you get a chance.

Cache On!

August 15, 2008

Geocaching Resources

Whether you are new to geocaching or you just logged your 5,000th find, you will find that questions about geocaching may still arise from time to time. While you probably spend most of your time looking at the individual cache pages on, don't forget about all the tools and information resources that Groundspeak provides and continually updates:

Resource Page
Includes detailed information on "Learning the Basics", "Contributing to Our Community", "Tools and Downloads", and "Third Party Resources".

Groundspeak Knowledgebase
A great geocaching support center with a searchable knowledgebase, troubleshooter, and download tool.

Groundspeak Forums
A fantastic way to get information on a specific geocaching issue or topic from those that have "been there, done that".

The content on all of these sites is continually updated, so if you haven't checked out these resources in a while, it's time for another perusing.

Cache On!

August 9, 2008

Adding Topo Maps To Your Garmin GPS

If you're a geography data nut and a cheapskate like me, then you owe it to yourself to bookmark the Free Geography Tools blog. In an especially relevant, recent post, Leszek Pawlowicz explains how to make your own Topo maps for a Garmin GPS. Rather than copy and paste the entire post here, I suggest you click on this link to read it for yourself.

Leszek notes that Garmin is beginning to make the 1:24,000 scale US topo maps available on microSD cards, for those units that can utilize them. Unfortunately, the Garmin microSD cards sell for around $100 a pop. Luckily, Leszek goes on to describe other, cheaper options for getting the topo maps you need, with plenty of links to other GPS Topo data resources. There's also a link to a tutorial site that explains how you can make your own Garmin Topo maps.

Thanks for the great information, Leszek!