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Outdoor Resources Online: Southwest Trails

Southwest Trails

Current Version : 0.60a (Revision History)

Released February 16, 2011

Download Southwest Trails for Windows (1.8MB)

Download Southwest Trails for Mac (1.7MB)

What is Southwest Trails?

The concept for Southwest Trails is taken from Moun10Bikes excellent Northwest Trails mapset for map-enabled Garmin GPS receivers. While living in Washington for a couple of years recently, I got the opportunity to use this mapset on my geocaching and hiking adventures, and when I moved back to Arizona, I felt something similar was needed here. So, keeping in step with a geographical division of labor, so to speak, I decided to create Southwest Trails for outdoor enthusiasts in Arizona and New Mexico.

In short, Southwest Trails is a transparent map overlay that you can put on your map-enabled Garmin GPS receiver. This allows you to see, and follow, trails using whatever maps you normally would on your GPSr...be it topo maps, City Navigator, or any other sort of map that you have on your GPS. Using data provided by The Trails Co-Op, as well as my own data and user submitted data, I hope to build an extensive mapset of trails across that Southwest. This should help make your outdoor experiences more enjoyable, and more safe.

Southwest trails will be available in both Windows and Mac versions.

Background

My love of GPS began in April 2007 while I was living in the Seattle area. Through my website, Outdoor Resources, I got involved in Geocaching. I bought a small Garmin Forerunner and began using that to find caches. I was hooked from the very first find, and even more hooked on the possibilities of using a GPS! It was also during this time that I gained exposure to Moun10Bike's excellent Northwest Trails, which I installed and used extensively during my geocaching and hiking trips. I found it to be an invaluable asset, and when I had to move back to Arizona, I decided that we needed the same thing for the Southwest portion of the United States.

Using Southwest Trails on your Gamin GPSr extends your ability to have a fun, safe time in the wilderness. No longer are you contrained to adding a few trails or tracks to your GPSr, limited by the design of the device. Since Southwest Trails is a complete mapset, you simply load it with all the other maps you want to have on your device, and any trail in the mapset is available for your use at all times. Now, the only limitation is the number of trails that come with Southwest Trails! It's my hope that Southwest Trails will enhance your wilderness enjoyment, and keep you safe on your travels.

Features

Southwest Trails is a"transparent" mapset, which means that when it's loaded with other MapSource products (or your GPSr basemap) the trails appear as data laid over the other maps. Southwest Trails can also be loaded as the only set of maps on your GPSr. Custon type definitions are used to help distinguis trail types and make them easier to see on the map than the default trail lines. This alpha edition provides a "Normal" type, giving a subtle appearance to trails. Future versions will include a "High Visibility" type for those who want a more obvious look to the trails, and for those involved in fast-moving activities where you can't watch your screen all the time (like mountain biking).

Coverage

This alpha version covers both Arizona and New Mexico. Future (as in the near future) versions will include Utah and Nevada as well. Much of the GIS data is being provided by The Trails Co-Op, but some of it comes from my own travels and contributors like YOU! The intent over time is to have this mapset represent all trails in this geographic area, and to have all this data GPSr verified.

Can We Have A Peek?

Below are a few screenshots from my Garmin 76CSx. I am using the normal type, which provides a subtle trail image for your use.


GPSr Screenshot 1  GPSr Screenshot 2  GPSr Screenshot 3

Here is a screenshot of Southwest Trails from within Garmin MapSource, again using the normal type.

MapSource Screenshot

Installation

The installation of Southwest Trails is straightforward. It can be utilized from within Garmin's MapSource software (on PCs), Garmin's RoadTrip software (for Macs) or uploaded directly to your GPS unit (using freely available utilities.

DISCLAIMER:

The accuracy of the data used to create these maps varies greatly. These maps are to be used for reference purposes only. The author(s) are not responsible for any inaccuracies and no responsibility is assumed for damages or other liabilities due to the accuracy, availability, use or misuse of the data presented. Installation and use of these maps is at your own risk!

Ummm...I Don't Have MapSource

MapSource is a free Garmin application, but the downloads available on the Garmin site are upgrades will only install if you have a previous MapSource installation on your computer. The full install is only available from Garmin's map CDs - or, fortunately, if you download and install Garmin's Training Center software.

Steps:
  1. Download and install Garmin Training Center
  2. Download and install Garmin MapSource

Download Southwest Trails

For use from within Garmin's MapSource (on PCs), download the .exe file from the link at the top of this page and execute the mapset installer. This program will install the map files and register the mapset with MapSource. Within MapSource a new mapset product entitled "Southwest Trails" will be available in the Product drop down selection list (or from the View | Switch to Product menu option).

For use with Garmin's RoadTrip (on Macs), download the .tgz file from the link at the top of this page, unarchive it into the resulting .tar file, then unpack that to a .gmapi file. This file can then be installed into RoadTrip with MapManager and onto the GPS receiver with MapInstall.

GPS Usage

The Southwest Trails mapset should overlay any other mapset present on your GPS unit. It is important to note that when you upload maps to your receiver, the existing mapset on the unit will be deleted. (Newer firmware versions on the Colorado and Oregon receivers allow for multiple map files to coexist on the units, but unless you remember to rename an already-uploaded map file, the new upload will be given the same default name as the existing one and overwrite it.) This means that if you want Southwest Trails to overlay City Navigator maps, for example, you will need to upload the chosen City Navigator maps along with Southwest Trails all at once. To switch between mapsets (if more than one has been loaded to your GPS) simply toggle the hide/show settings for the desired mapsets on your receiver.

Here is a short YouTube video showing how this looks and works in MapSource. You can also view this video on Metacafe.

Note : MapSource cannot show you two mapsets at the same time...meaning, you cannot see Southwest Trails and City Navigator in MapSource at the same time. For that reason I have provided some reference geography (roads, cities, wilderness areas) in the preview map for MapSource. That will allow you a frame of reference. You will not have trail overlays until the maps are actually on your GPSr. Confusing, I know, but it's a limitation of MapSource.

Support Southwest Trails

If you find that Southwest Trails is useful to you, and you would like to see more data added to the mapset, there are several ways you can help out:

Feedback and Spreading The Word

Any and all feedback is welcome and encouraged. If you like it, hate it, see ways to improve it, or want to report an error, just send an email to sw_trails@outdoor-resources.com. If you're on Twitter, you can send a tweet to GoNorthWest and I'll get back to you. Please allow a reasonable period of time for me to respond.

Of course, the best way to improve Southwest Trails is to increase its usage. Feel free to pass a link to this page on to your friends!

Submit Your Own Data

Want to contribute to Southwest Trails? Here is some information on how to help out!

Donations Welcome

If you find Southwest Trails helpful on your outdoor adventures, financial support to keep this project going is greatly appreciated. Even a buck can help me pay for the software, hosting and other expenses that doing something like Southwest Trails incurrs. All donations are greatly appreciated!

Current Version : 0.60a (Revision History)

Released February 16, 2011

Download Southwest Trails for Windows (1.8MB)

Download Southwest Trails for Mac (1.7MB)

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