Google Maps for Trails?

2:14 p.m. on June 7, 2012 (EDT)
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This looks interesting!  I wonder of this means we'll start seeing trail mapping capabilities in Google Maps...  maybe this will finally lead to being able to map out projected routes & distances on trails with hand-held GPS units, like we can now on roads.

http://news.cnet.com/8301-1023_3-57448293-93/google-takes-street-view-off-road-with-backpack-rig/?tag=mncol;txt

3:21 p.m. on June 7, 2012 (EDT)
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I like the 'free' topo capabilities such as:

http://mapper.acme.com/

It is generally easy to determine distances by just laying down a Pentil .9mm pencil along the route.  That is about a day (10mi) with my wife along.

Google will be a formidable competitor in all of mapping.

3:33 p.m. on June 7, 2012 (EDT)
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I use various free map services, and one paid. But for most of the terrain and areas I travel, measuring the route with a string only gives a very rough idea, and is usually quite a bit off. The reason is that the trails almost always have much more winding and variation than shown on the map, and have many large and small changes in elevation, which increases the mileage actually walked. For this reason I rely on a combination of personal knowledge of an area, trusted personal sources, and guide books for determining. 

A consolidated information source with reliable mileage and route planning functions would be amazing.  

3:42 p.m. on June 7, 2012 (EDT)
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I've wished for a long time that there was the equivalent of "Google Maps" (for roads) for Trails - for use on a mobile device.  Sure, I can use Topo North America (for my DeLorme GPS) on the computer... but I'd love to be able to do the same thing on a mobile device.

8:47 p.m. on June 7, 2012 (EDT)
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Closest thing I've come to Google maps for trails.

http://postholer.com/gmap/gmap.php# 

10:24 p.m. on June 7, 2012 (EDT)
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accuterra (iPhone trail god app) is amazing. It is incredibly accurate and can operate without data support. I remove my Sim card if I'm on a longer trip and I don't have phone coverage.

10:26 p.m. on June 7, 2012 (EDT)
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GPS, not God app. Lol

9:59 a.m. on June 9, 2012 (EDT)
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Our main recreation areas are the Rockies, Sierra and Cascade (area)

Distance between camps or destinations are not too important to us usually.  More interested in the time and elevations.  If the destination planned for is too close or far, we either press on to the next good looking place on the map or stop short.  We rarely stop at prepared camp areas unless permits administering the route requires it. 

There have been several times we got interested in something else en route and never really did follow the plan.  Good reason to carry a map of the area. 

Destinations and time are more important if going very high or near tidal areas.

If a dicey trip we carry SPOTs and always have a 'come get me' time out.

9:47 p.m. on June 11, 2012 (EDT)
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i have had notoriously bad luck with maps and posted signs so google maps would be awsome.  they would have to be better than the preschool art projects i usually end up with.

8:40 p.m. on June 21, 2012 (EDT)
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Another option that uses Acuterra maps (for a fee) is the Android app: Backcountry Navigator.  I use it daily to track my 4-5mi dayhikes.  You can download the maps in advance for an area you'll be hiking.  The trick is only using it occasionally since the display drains the phone battery.  I carry a solar charger strapped to the top of my pack to keep the phone up to voltage. 

Anyway, it's a useful app and recommended if you have an Android phone.

12:43 a.m. on June 22, 2012 (EDT)
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OldCodgerMe, what solar charge are you using that you can strap to the top of your pack?  The ones I've checked out all seem to open up to around 29 inches or so.  Maybe you're carrying a FlexTrek Whipsnake Edition pack?

1:54 p.m. on June 22, 2012 (EDT)
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Has anyone tried Googling a trailhead?

I know that trying to get a Google map for a place like 'Jacques Lake Trailhead, Jasper National Park' gets you a map of how to get to the town of Jasper, and there's no record of the trails themselves.

Hopefully this would fix it.

The rig they're using looks awful top-heavy though, and it must weigh a fair bit. I wouldn't expect to see someone carrying that to the top of a mountain, or down a 50 km trail.

2:02 p.m. on June 22, 2012 (EDT)
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I tried googling a couple trailheads, and got mixed results - mostly not useful.  I did find "John Muir Trail Yosemite Valley", and it pointed to a place kinda near the trailhead.  But other results were more varied and  not generally useful.

2:02 p.m. on June 22, 2012 (EDT)
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OldCodgerMe, what solar charge are you using that you can strap to the top of your pack?  The ones I've checked out all seem to open up to around 29 inches or so.  Maybe you're carrying a FlexTrek Whipsnake Edition pack?

 

Check out Goal Zero.

Their Guide 10 Adventure kit can be strapped to the back of ones pack so you can charge on the go:

http://www.goalzero.com/shop/p/79/Guide-10-Adventure-Kit/1:1/

2:27 p.m. on June 22, 2012 (EDT)
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Free government of Canada topo map guide. You can zoom in if you know where the trail is, and get a pretty detailed topographic map of the area, with or without roads, buildings..... Any trails shown are pretty outdated, though, so you have to know what you're looking for.

http://atlas.nrcan.gc.ca/site/english/maps/topo/map/

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