Chris Bolstad

GPS Expert
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About Chris Bolstad

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    Minnesota
  1. I'd be perfectly happy if there was a way to reload the layer without restarting EGPS. When on a search, I frequently have a dozen or so gpx files open at a time (things like a master search record, the most recent individual searches,etc.). I also add several files as layers so that I can turn them on/off real quick when comparing with the other data (things like search boundaries, forest type overlays, search facilities, etc.). Unfortunately, these things frequently change during the search (the fence line isn't on the section boundary, or the forest that is shown on the topo map was clear cut last year, etc.). Restarting EGPS in itself isn't really a hassle, except that I have to remember which 12 files I had open and find and reopen them all. It would be very nice if after editing and saving the layer, I could simply Ctrl-click on the layer in the dropdown to force EGPS to reload it. The only other feature that would be a plus for me is the ability to organize the layers list into sub-folders or something. Some of the layers I use were added over a year ago and have never changed. But others, like the search layers, get added and removed again the same day/week. It would be nice if I could group them somehow, so that I didn't have to look through an alphabetical list to delete them. Again, not a huge deal, but deleting one folder containing six layers is faster than deleting the six individual files. Chris
  2. Thank you
  3. This probably won't effect most people here, but thought I would post anyways. I have a Garmin Nuvi 500 that I use in my vehicle. If you are unfamiliar, this is a heavy duty, waterproof unit, that comes pre loaded with Topo maps as well as City Navigator and are designed to be used as a crossover unit for auto plus light duty in the field. For some reason Garmin has decided to remove the water features and Geographic places database from the Topo map in the latest map update (2010.3). After the update you end up with the new CN 2010 maps, and a DEM map that shows nothing but the contour lines. I'm not sure how Garmin expects people to use this off road when it doesn't contain data for water (the biggest obstacles) and doesn't contain the geographic places database (the most likely off road destinations). After several emails and a 2 1/2 hour phone call (most of which I was on hold), I finally talked with someone who sees the problem, and they are going to burn me a DVD of the old mapset with the full topo that I can install, but I will also have to revert to the City Navigator 2009. So, if you have one of these units and are looking at upgrading the maps, think about which data you need the most before you upgrade. Chris
  4. The new info box which displays the grid info when using USNG/MGRS/etc. overlaps with and blocks out part of the Measure track info box. Probably need to move one of these.
  5. I'd like this as well. I use the send command in the right click menu pretty often and it's a pain to have to keep opening the prefs.
  6. I have the same problems when the scanned map is too big. I believe Dan's recommendation is to try to keep the map image under 8000 pixels in each directions. I have gone up to about 10,000 in each direction but it tends to bog down quite a bit. So, you can: 1. Reduce the resolution of the entire image, and use that image when you are viewing very large areas (since you won't need the fine resolution anyways) 2. Break the image into several smaller maps maintaining the original high resolution and use these when you are zoomed in. This will work fine if you are using the ranch map rather infrequently, but if you are using it quite often you might try the following: 1. Use Tim Osborn's Tiler program (you can download it here and the link to an older thread discussing it is here), to split the image into the normal sized map tiles that EGPS uses. 2. Drop these new tiles into the B/W photo folders for EGPS and they will load instead. Then instead of selecting scanned map, you select aerial photo and they will load just as fast as any of the other built in EGPS maps.
  7. The feature you are talking about is under the "Tracking" menu. You will need to set up the tracking section of preferences as well.
  8. What kind of error are you seeing? Are the tracks for example, 10 feet too far east/west, or are the tracks in the wrong county. If they are WAY off, you probably need to calibrate the map (or fix a problem with the calibration). If they are a little off, it could be tweaking the calibration, normal GPS error, or the map being inaccurate/outdated.
  9. I used to be able to send messages directly to somebody, now I get an error. "You are not allowed to use the messenger feature on this board" What's up?
  10. Sorry it took so long to get back, I've been REALLY sick. Here are some of the things that I have been doing. I have a set of custom SAR icons that I made for EGPS, and I also have a set of SAR Types for the tracks. I pre-downloaded all the topos for the 5 state area where my team is likely to respond. I downloaded all of the color aerial photos for my own state. Then using Tim Osborn's Tiler program I created color aerial tiles for the 2-3 counties we work most often. I use these instead of the B/W aerials that EGPS normally downloads. All the other counties, I leave the color aerials on my computer as entire county compressed MR. Sid files. When I need something, I open the file and export just the area I need using FWTools and then add it to EGPS as a scanned map. The two best solutions for street maps for me have been either to scan a regular street map and add it as a scanned map, or to download the TIGER data files and import the roads file. I normally scan a street map in towns, scan a plat book in the country, or use the TIGER data in small residential pockets in the country where the roads are two close to distinguish on plat maps, but there isn't a published street map. If I scan a map, I obviously use it as a background, but if I use TIGER, I save it to it's own file and then add it as a layer. I've also found it convenient to add the Official State Highway map, and the State Aeronautical chart as scanned maps. Lots of parks etc. will have trail maps. If you scan these, you can add as a scanned map, trace the trails and then upload them to your teams GPS units. On missions I typically do the following: Add the PLS, ICP, and anything else already known, and print out 1:24k topos with UTM grids for immediate use during the hasty search. Create a "Planning" map showing all the facilities (LKP, Base, Parking, etc.) as well as the search sectors, and statistical zones etc. I add this as a layer so that I can toggle it on/off as needed. On larger searches I may break these into separate files, one for the ICS facilities, search boundary and statistical zones, and another for the search segments. If it needs updating, just edit/save the original file, and then restart EGPS and the layer will update as well (hopefully Dan will be adding a way to refresh without restarting in the future). Create "Transportation" maps. These could be either local maps for getting to and from assignments or larger scale which could be emailed to incoming teams to get them to the search. When briefing teams before assignments, I will upload the boundaries of their search area to their GPS units. I also sometimes upload waypoints or tracks that will help them in their assignment. After missions download the GPS from the team and immediately save the file (I name it Sortie XXX.raw.gpx). I then edit the file to clean up any extra garbage that was in the person's GPS. I assign the track to the correct type. I have specific types created for Canine-Air Scent, Ground Team, Sign Cutting Team, etc. I label the track as Sortie XXX, and use the Description field to fill in all the info about the team etc. I also copy the label to the name field so that the track will be properly named if exported to Google Earth etc. I also edit all of the waypoints giving them all a unique Label and assigning them to the correct type (Clue, Canine Alert, Danger Area, etc.). I again use the Description field to fill in all the info I can about the point (Who What When Where Why), and copy the Label to the Name field. I leave the comment field alone (points from Garmin units normally have a datestamp here which is nice). If the waypoint is a clue, and we have a photograph, I will add it to the waypoint as well. Save this edited file as Sortie XXX.gpx. Using Copy/Paste, add these tracks and waypoints into any Situations maps, Master maps, and Clue Log maps as necessary, and save these changes. I normally get a teams GPS immediately when the return from their mission, then download it while they are putting up their dog, changing socks etc. Then I debrief them while looking at the downloaded GPS data on the computer and have them help me fill in the description fields. If the debriefing forms are completed on the computer I also add a link from the GPS track to the debriefing file. Hooking up a projector (or a large second monitor) to the computer is pretty helpful for large briefings. To measure straight distance, you can double click a point on the map (which will set it as the active point) then the distance and bearing from that point to the cursor are shown in the bottom corner of the screen. The project waypoint tool is also helpful for adding bearing lines etc. There is a grid builder tool which you could use for neat clean grids, though I have never done it. The easiest way I have found of adding the statistical zones is to add a Proximity ring to the PLS at the correct distance, trace the ring with the track tool, and delete the proximity ring. I use the different options of the Measure Track tool to check on how teams did in an area. You can use it to see how fast a team was moving and see if they were possibly moving too fast to be effective etc. I keep a Master file of all of the clues from a search, then I can print off the list view and have a single sheet with all the data for those clues (description, location, date, etc.). If you use spreadsheets for any type of search management (either planning or resource tracking etc.) you can copy/paste directly from the list view to your spreadsheet. After the search, I will send the dog handlers pdf maps of their missions, and the list view showing the coordinates of all of their alerts etc. I also send master maps, and clue logs to Law enforcement and if requested I send the same data as ESRI shapefiles so they can give it to their GIS dept to have large raster maps printed out. If you have questions, just ask. Chris
  11. I am, whatcha wanta know.
  12. 1. Are your waypoints in the United States? EGPS can only automatically download maps for locations within the US. 2. Did you turn on "Enable Internet Map Image Retrieval" ? Are you connected to the internet? 3. Under the View menu, make sure you select either Show Topo Map or Show Aerial Map. The Quick Map is just a blank white screen so you can work without clutter, Urban Photos are only available in select cities, and Scanned maps must be manually added by you. Try these and see if they help. Chris
  13. It would be nice to have a "Refresh Layers" command so that you didn't have to quit and restart when you make a change to a gpx file being used as a layer. Chris
  14. You could also try buying a plat book. In Minnesota anyways, each county puts together a plat book every other year and they are available at gas stations, sporting goods stores, etc. for about $35. They normally show 1 section (36 square miles) to a page and show roads/trails, bodies of water, property boundaries and owners names. Obviously at this scale they don't show the boundaries for small tracts, but you can't hunt around small tracts anyways so it doesn't really matter. Just scan the paper map, and calibrate it in Expert. Then you can have the map to use as a background, or you can trace the property boundaries and save them as a gpx file. Something else you can do with Expert is to make use of the photo geotagging. I mark waypoints and attach photos of scrapes and tracks that I find when I am scouting and do the same for game I take etc. I use the Google Earth maps to help identify locations I might want to scout. You can identify the type of trees etc in the area and will be able to find bottlenecks, waterholes, etc. and other areas to scout. After marking the areas in Google, copy them to Expert and upload to your gps. Then rather than scouting the entire area you can go in and just check out the 2-3 potential areas you identified. Chris
  15. seems to be working for me Chris