Canadian Canoe Routes

Help finding and using public Open GPS Data
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Author:  Prospector16 [ March 5th, 2018, 4:02 pm ]
Post subject:  Help finding and using public Open GPS Data

Hey folks, this is a carry over from this thread on Algonquin GPS data ... 07&t=46559

I would like to get some help accessing the Ontario data first and foremost - what exactly am I looking for and then once I have it what do I do with it?

My end goal is to collect up a lot of this data and put it together into a more accessible format like google maps and downloadable GPX or KML files. I've got a few things already on my new website but right now that is in its infancy.

I am totally keen on this and have already figured out a number of things that I can do with GPX and KML data.

Also looking for recommendations on what tools I should have at my disposal for doing this kind of thing.

Author:  MartinG [ March 5th, 2018, 7:02 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Help finding and using public Open GPS Data

I'm curious. Why are you making Google Maps of these canoe routes? How would they be used? I understand the use of topos with kilometer markers. I understand why you might want a .gpx or .kml file to overlay on a digital topo. But how would you use these Google Maps?

Author:  Prospector16 [ March 5th, 2018, 7:13 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Help finding and using public Open GPS Data

Google maps are way better for planning as far as I'm concerned. You can also download the GPS data from the google map and load it into your handheld GPS. Or load it into offline mode on your smart phone. Or you can take the GPS data to a place like World of Maps here in Ottawa and get the route and site info printed onto any map you like.

You can copy any of my google maps to your own google map and then make changes as required. For example plotting your own route with specifics as to each days' trip.

Once that data is in google maps the world is your oyster - do with it whatever you want!

Author:  Prospector16 [ March 5th, 2018, 7:16 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Help finding and using public Open GPS Data

For example my La Verdendrye Map - you can copy that to your own google maps space then delete everything that does not have to do with your planned trip. Eventually I hope to get to the point where you can select circuit 10 or 15 or whatever and then just copy what you need. What I have right now is just a starting point.

I also want to get to a point where I can allow comments on object on the map. So you click on a campsite and you can see comments from 15 other users. Or click on a portage and see the same. Or click on something and add your comment. Exactly what made Jeff's maps so popular but in real time.

The world is your oyster once you have the data!

Author:  MartinG [ March 5th, 2018, 7:44 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Help finding and using public Open GPS Data

I see, is there anyway for you to develop this project with a more useful background layer than Google Maps? Does Google Maps have the ability to replace their somewhat useless road map layer with a Topo layer.

Or perhaps you could add all your data to a more backcountry oriented service like ... -maps.html

Years ago I came across a GPX file which had thousands of campsite and trail locations across Ontario. I'll see if I can dig it up.

Author:  Prospector16 [ March 5th, 2018, 8:05 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Help finding and using public Open GPS Data

Yeah that is built right into google maps. You have a choice of about a dozen base maps and any google map you see online lets you choose between them.

I'll have a look at those other guys but really it is just export and re-import for the most part. Though there are some gotchas.

But the thing with google is that is is an API - that's the part I'm only just starting to tap into. My eventual goal is for it to BE a more backcountry friendly resource. Something like what Paddle Planner is trying to do right now.

In any case, a lot of these resources need to be converted into raw data first. Like my La Verendrye map. As far as I know that does not exist anywhere else and now it is available to anyone who wants it. See my other post on the Noire river - the current resources for it really have to be classified as terrible. I'm willing to put the effort into improving it.

Go to my La Verdendry Map

Then in the top right click the square box to pop it out into its own map

Then from there look at the bottom left to switch base maps.

Also look in the menus for "copy map" - make a copy for yourself if you want then do whatever you want with it!

Author:  Prospector16 [ March 5th, 2018, 8:13 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Help finding and using public Open GPS Data

Yeah see what I'm talking about? Your 2nd link above is to a resource that is doing exactly what I am talking about - using the google mapping engine to make a useful backcountry tool. That person is using google maps.

Author:  Prospector16 [ March 7th, 2018, 9:12 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Help finding and using public Open GPS Data

OMG look what I found!!!

Oh, I'm going to be having LOTS of fun with that one!

Author:  Prospector16 [ March 7th, 2018, 11:11 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Help finding and using public Open GPS Data

Prospector16 wrote:

OK I cannot figure out how to get a legend from this site. Anyone know?

There are a few things that are puzzling me right now.

At various spots in the river there are plus signs +
There are also waves in the river that seem to indicate some type of rapid, but the confusion part is there are also what looks like ampersand @@@ in the river - is that a more serious rapid or just what is it?

Author:  Prospector16 [ March 7th, 2018, 2:51 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Help finding and using public Open GPS Data

OK I found the legend - sort of. You don't seem to be able to get a legend summary as one normally expects. But if you click down through several layers of menus you can see legend info in various categories which makes it a PITA. But I did sort of find an answer to my question. The + are rocks on the water which I kind of expected. The rapid info is as I expected though that is in the legend makes it unclear. There are 3 legend symbols but only 2 descriptions of the symbols so I'm not sure which symbol denotes large rapid and which denotes small. This evening I will cross-reference it with the other linked maps and probably be able to determine that.

Author:  Prospector16 [ March 7th, 2018, 5:17 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Help finding and using public Open GPS Data

Anyone ever try a data point import with this site?

I just tried 219 points from a CSV and it is hung for a good 5 minutes now. Not sure if that is normal and I just need to wait longer or what. I have a popup window that says :

Import Data
Wait for the process to finish. When it is done, you will find the symbology in “Map Layers and Legend(s)” toolbar. If available, you will have a new table in the “Data Table” section.

Author:  Jonathan Kelly [ March 8th, 2018, 9:58 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Help finding and using public Open GPS Data

Hey Prospector16, glad you're doing this! I know we talked about it months back but my heart led me back to making static maps. (Publishing a new one tomorrow actually.) Using Google Maps is a practical choice for a trip planning map, and the API is great.

Toporama is a great resource, but I've never tried importing. It's likely a formatting issue. Are your CSV points in lat/long? Decimal degrees may be best to avoid formatting issues with DMS.

I would just download Toporama's data and bring it in to whatever viewer you're working with. If you don't have ArcMap, QGIS is a free alternative. Download all the layers you want from Toporama as a geodatabase, then bring that into ArcMap or QGIS. You can convert formats in here too so that they're Google Maps-compatible.

More importantly, are you familiar with LIO (Land Information Ontario)? Tons of good public info here. Most pertinent for you is the Ontario Trail Network. Search that here, hit the download button, and fill in your info to receive the download link. ... /main.home

If you need any advice let me know.

Author:  Prospector16 [ March 9th, 2018, 7:33 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Help finding and using public Open GPS Data

That's awesome thanks! I'll start digging and ping back here with questions I turn up.

I'm really keen to dig out some of this public data and turn it into a more useful format for people. So they don't have to do the digging.

Author:  Prospector16 [ March 9th, 2018, 8:00 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Help finding and using public Open GPS Data

OK I had been into the LIO already early this week as it turns out, and I'm not really sure what format the data is in. I just did a search on "canoe" and got some promising results back, and then downloaded a few zip files. When I exploded the zip files I got this - and I'm not really sure what to do with it.

Do I need ArcGIS or QGIS for that?

Wow the "basic" version of ArcGIS is $2500 so that one is off the table :-) And looks like QGIS runs on Linux so I should be OK


$ find FME_73741345_1520263648923_3004 -type f

Author:  Jonathan Kelly [ March 9th, 2018, 10:41 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Help finding and using public Open GPS Data

Yep that's a shapefile. It's the standard data type for vector GIS data (vs. raster data).

At the very least, a shapefile consists of three files (.shp, .shx, and .dbf) but usually more, which is why you're seeing so many items in the data.

When you browse for this downloaded file in QGIS, it'll be a lot cleaner and you'll only see the .shp. Once you add it and other data, you can also add a basemap from QGIS to help provide context as to what you're looking at.

There's a cheaper personal-use license for Arc, but there's no point here. QGIS will do everything you need for free.

It's really not bad to use, especially since you already have IT knowledge. If you take half an hour to watch a QGIS intro video, it'll probably save you hours in the long run.

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