Just a quick post to discuss a new project I’ve started up. I’m calling this the Ontario Trails Project.
At the heart of it is my desire to have accurate trail maps on my GPS unit. I presently wander the trails with a Garmin Colorado, which has a fantastic ability to show a ton of location data. I’ve been hiking the entire 800km-long Bruce Trail with a group of Geocachers. So far, we’re about 300km completed – we hike a couple times in the spring, and a couple times in autumn. What I have noticed along the hikes we have completed so far, is that the 4-6 year old topographical data tends to mis a lot of trail reroutes, and it quickly becomes not so useful. The other thing I noticed is that, after the hike events I have 300km of GPS tracklogs.
That’s when it hit me.
I need to get this information on my GPS somehow. Two weeks ago, I didn’t have a clue how to do this, except maybe clutter up my ‘routes’ and waypoints, not leaving room for any other information I might want. One of my twitter contacts, Moun10bike, tweeted that his North West trails project was updating and people could download maps to their GPS units with all the trails in the North West USA, BC and Alberta. A few tweets back and forth, and I had enough information to start poking around with a custom map.
After a few days of dabbling, I created my first ‘custom’ map for my Colorado. Boy was I proud of myself at the time. A few more days, and I’ve learned about merging more tracklines and I decided it was time to take this a little farther. The next step was to create a website, and invite others to share their GPS track logs – after all, I can’t hike all the trails in Ontario, and frankly I don’t need a trail map for the trails I’ve been on – I need a map for the ones I don’t know all that well.
I’ve released 4 maps so far, growing from a few scattered trails around my hometown, to now covering most of the more well known trails. The maps will load on any of the Garmin handheld units, maybe more. I’ve also released the source data so others can expand upon my work and create maps for their devices. I will eventually start categorizing the trails by usage type and trail type. If you have any GPS tracklogs for hiking or biking trails in Ontario, send them to me and I’ll be sure to include the trail on the next map release. You can find contact information on the official website:
The software I’m using to make these maps?