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Outdoor Resources Online: Southwest Trails: Data Contributions

User Data Contributions

Here's How You Can Help

Every trail represented in Southwest Trails is just data...sets of latitude/longitude points that define the location of each trail. That data is easily collected with your GPS receiver though the use of Tracks. If each time you go for a hike/ride/run on a trail somewhere, and you set up your GPS receiver to create a track of your progress, that data can be submitted to Southwest Trails for the benefit of everyone! While I would love to spend my days roaming the country, hiking and biking trails across the US...well, it's just not going to happen! So, I need contributions from the Southwest Trails user community to help fill in the data holes we have. Any track data you can supply is needed and very much appreciated! A data submission form is forthcoming, but, in the meantime, if you can send GPX files to sw_trails@outdoor-resources.com, I'll get those tracks integrated into the next versions of Southwest Trails.

If you would like to collect and submit your track data to the project, please follow these pointers so that your effort can be as useful as possible:
  • Before you start recording track data, access the Setup menu for your GPS receiver and adjust the recording frequency and quality set of your track recording to the best available. On my unit I generally set the recording method to "Auto" and the recording interval to "Most Often".
  • Turn on the GPS receiver and allow it to have a clear view of the sky for at least 15 minutes before you begin recording. This allows the unit to connect with as many satellites as possible, which increases accuracy and helps it to maintain satellite lock.
  • Hold or place the receiver in a location where it can best receive satellite signals as you travel. Be aware of where the antenna is located and the best orientation of the GPSr for signal strength. Patch antennas like those on the eTrex models work best when oriented horizontally, while quad helix antennas like those on the 60 series receivers tend to work best when pointed straight up.
  • Avoid saving the track to the unit's internal memory before downloading. That reduces the number of points in the data and subsequently reduces the precision of the track.
  • Send me the track log with the name of the trail(s) recorded and information on the type of trail (e.g. paved trail, dirt trail, unpaved road, etc.). GPX is the preferred format, but I can convert most formats.
  • Also send along any waypoints along the route like trailheads, attractions, or summits.
Again, your contributions to Southwest Trails is greatly appreciated, and is the only way Southwest Trails can become as complete and accurage as possible. Thanks for your help!

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!

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