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desertdog

Mapping resources

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So this post is really about 2 mapping resources - SARtopo.com and Avenza PDF maps.

I was recently accepted into the training 'academy' for the Sheriff's Search and Rescue group (all volunteer, with LE oversight).  Although we're long past the land navigation part of things, one instructor mentioned SARtopo.com (which I believe is affiliated with caltopo.com in some way).  On that page, you can build customized topo maps with different layers and objects.  Most useful to me (now that I finally was forced to learn the system!) is the UTM grid.  lat/lon is nice, and I'll keep using it, but I'll also back and forth between that and UTM (since air and maritime assets prefer lat/lon).  That, coupled with the ability to just take a chunk of a map with me is great.

Avenza is an interesting app, and lots of vendors seem to hawk their wares through it's in-app purchases (that's basically what happened with the old National Geographic TOPO software).  It will also support importing and using georeferenced PDF maps, which SARtopo readily generates.  Between those two things, and Dropbox (to transfer maps), it's a really handy solution. 

It's also helpful because UTM will let me take a paper map and a bare bones GPS and figure out exactly where I am without having to do much thinking (just some simple counting).  Under stress, simple is better.  For this reason, I'm starting to regain my old love of paper maps, but with those pretty blue UTM grid lines included. 

Anyway, I just wanted to share, for anyone that may have never come across those resources. 

 

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When I helped with an archaeological effort with BLM in 2000 at a ghost town site near Death Valley, I was issued a huge, government GPS and used it to follow an old water line running from springs to the townsite. Our mission was to note any artifacts and other notable things, all coordinates were in UTM.

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We may need a separate thread for SARTopo...  Anyone else notice you can set the base layer to historical maps from 1885-1915? 

I'm still trying to figure it all out, so dang may features.. just tried right-click and 'view from here'... I could see that being hugely helpful for SAR...

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It's useful in so many ways.  Historical maps are great, but I dislike the inability to create a georef'd PDF that includes Google's layers.  

For SAR it is useful.  I need to look at the site more closely and see if they mention how they do the georeferencing.  I've neglected to see if there are OSS packages to do that.  

I'll try to get another thread going later today unless someone beats me to it.  😝  

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