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  1. #1

    Default Good maps for Northern Sections of LT

    The GMC Long Trail map has failed me for the last time. Has anyone found any decent maps for the sections north of the applachian trail? I'd like to get my hands on maps that will show contour lines < 100 feet and false summits - something like the ATC map series.

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  3. #3
    4eyedbuzzard's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lone Wolf View Post
    I think that's the one he already has. 1:100000 scale w/100' contours. And I think it's unfortunately the best available "retail" map.

    You might want to look into National Geographic TOPO software http://www.digital-topo-maps.com/nat.../vermont.shtml . I've never used it, so don't take it as a user recommendation, but I was looking at it the other day and it looked interesting. A 1:24,000 topo sure beats a 1:100000 one.
    "That's the thing about possum innards - they's just as good the second day." - Jed Clampett

  4. #4
    Registered User Peaks's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by earlylight View Post
    The GMC Long Trail map has failed me for the last time. Has anyone found any decent maps for the sections north of the applachian trail? I'd like to get my hands on maps that will show contour lines < 100 feet and false summits - something like the ATC map series.
    Please elaborate

  5. #5

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    www.vcgi.org

    The link isn't working right now, but it does have some custom mapping options including topo. Don't think it will show the LT tho.

  6. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by 4eyedbuzzard View Post
    I think that's the one he already has. 1:100000 scale w/100' contours. And I think it's unfortunately the best available "retail" map.

    You might want to look into National Geographic TOPO software http://www.digital-topo-maps.com/nat.../vermont.shtml . I've never used it, so don't take it as a user recommendation, but I was looking at it the other day and it looked interesting. A 1:24,000 topo sure beats a 1:100000 one.
    I'm on the Topo web site now - will report back if I find anything. The GMC map sucks.

  7. #7

    Default Topo is eh...

    Topo is pretty lame on the Long Trail, but I can probably make a map if I had the GPS coordinates to the Long trail.

    Does anyone know how to get these? I need them in the GPX format.

    Thx,

  8. #8
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    why do you need such detailed maps? it's just walking

  9. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lone Wolf View Post
    why do you need such detailed maps? it's just walking
    The northern sections of the LT are not like the AT, where a herd a hikers has pulverized a groove into the trail that even a blind man can follow.

    When the blazes vanish due to blow-downs or lack of maintenance or deliberate pigheaded obfuscation, it helps to know where you are.

    I like to find water between shelters. It adds to the wilderness experience.

    I like to stealth.

    In the catskills, half of the peaks have no trails and you need to bushwack. What would you do without a good map and compass?

    I could go on....

  10. #10
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    i hiked the northern LT sobo last year and had no problem finding my way. water was plentiful even though there was a drought and temps. hovered at 90deg.

  11. #11
    Registered User A-Train's Avatar
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    The LT (even up north) is as well marked and obvious as the AT is. The maps they put out are fine. Otherwise I'd suggest printing some USGS or USFS maps from a program.
    Anything's within walking distance if you've got the time.
    GA-ME 03, LT 04/06, PCT 07'

  12. #12
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    It sure is hard for a map to be all things to all people. When I first saw the current GMC map I was amazed at the craftsmanship that went into keeping things clear even at that scale to put everything on one sheet. Considering the one dayhike I went on using that map on the LT, that particular area was very accurate although pretty small.

    As it happens, I then started on maps for another trail slightly longer than the LT. The senior (i.e. older) folks immediately recoiled from the LT map due to the type size being too small. Eventually the maps wound up being 1:50,000 which will take 4 map sheets to cover the trail.

    The complaints about the old maps were centered on too cluttered (10' or 20' contours from the USGS map base) and too much errant information creeping through from inaccurate or outdated map base.

    Correcting those issues brings up an assortment of others, finding sufficiently accurate public domain basemap information. The hardest was contours - I found that generating contours on closer intervals than 50 meters created too-readily-apparent areas of inaccuracy, and I had to generate contours because I was unable to find enough public domain hypsography that would do better.

    So far I've only received one complaint like the OP's, but I'm sure others feel that way too. A map is by definition an imperfect representation then you have imperfect people, often volunteers with imperfect technique, or perhaps professionals who aren't motivated particularly by the area you the map reader is interested in.

    So what's the answer? By the time the basemap is updated and generally available for the Eastern backcountry the battery life and display of GPS receivers may have improved to the point where no one will carry maps anyway.

  13. #13

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    That's a different perspective and I can appreciate where you're coming from. I suppose I can live with the current GMC map as it is, but I hope to never replace my maps with a GPS. Reading and holding a map for me is like reading a book. It provides me with a wide horizon and context that I can't get from a little screen. I sit for hours in front of my maps and plan new hikes and trips to places I've never been before. How could we ever replace that with some gizmo.

    Thx,

  14. #14
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    That's a really good point as the GPS, even if displays improve, is unlikely to lead one to areas of new discoveries in the same manner as a paper map or even a desktop/laptop software package. Knowing maps are imperfect just leads the crazy folks like me to buy more of them.

    Feedback such as offered here can be very valuable - in fact it has been the desire for feedback on some of my volunteer trailwork activities that has drawn me into participation in Internet forums.

    Critical reading of maps is as valuable a learned skill as critical reading of any other texts, especially forum postings.

  15. #15
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    While it is true that the northern section of the LT is "tougher" than the AT/LT section the trail for 99% of the time is very apparent. The GMC does sell a foldable strip map with topo contours which is much better than the guidebook maps. I've done the northern section four times and this summer will be my fifth, and for just hiking the actual USGS topo maps would be nice for detail, but IMO not necessary for route planning and land navigation.

  16. #16

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    Quote Originally Posted by ki0eh View Post

    Feedback such as offered here can be very valuable - in fact it has been the desire for feedback on some of my volunteer trailwork activities that has drawn me into participation in Internet forums.

    Critical reading of maps is as valuable a learned skill as critical reading of any other texts, especially forum postings.
    Do you actually make maps? You seem to have a deep appreciation for their inaccuracies and compromises.

    You wrote something interesting in an earlier post about inaccuracies in the eastern backcountry base map. Are such observations collected today by volunteers or using satellite imagery? How would volunteer for something like this if it's still done the old-fashioned way?

  17. #17
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    Yes I do make maps, strictly as a volunteer who knows only enough to be very dangerous!

    Starting a couple of years ago I tried to beat many bushes to find folks who had or would carry a GPS receiver over PA's Mid State Trail http://www.hike-mst.org That's close to being done but the side trails that show up on the maps still need to be checked out.

    By "base map" I mean the roads, contour lines, political boundaries, and stuff like that that forms the background to the theme of the map. The USGS 7.5' quadrangle maps were created using analog methods dating back to World War II in many cases, and a lot has happened to our contry since then. Furthermore, converting the pen and ink maps based on old air photos to digitally readable form has been somewhat spotty and inconsistent, depending on whether an agency was interested enough in the data conversion to finance it.

    To use the example of Pennsylvania where most of my map-making activity centers, there is a project to essentially re-do the entire base map in digitally readable form: http://www.dcnr.state.pa.us/topogeo/pamap/ which is just one state's implementation (though I think earlier than others) of the "National Map" http://nationalmap.gov/ project. But even the PAMAP started at both ends and worked towards the center, and a lot of information resides in individual counties each of which seems inclined to try to sell to recoup its costs, without consistency one to the other.

    Pros who have more skill and who have more time to devote to a project for a larger market certainly have an advantage - but even their maps might not be good enough out to the margins for everything a user might not want to do (example: trying to follow the Allegheny Trail on NGS maps 788 and 791).

  18. #18

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lone Wolf View Post
    i hiked the northern LT sobo last year and had no problem finding my way. water was plentiful even though there was a drought and temps. hovered at 90deg.
    I think ki0eh has helped me realize that I'm a map person. I stare at them for hours everyday. It drives my wife crazy.

  19. #19

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    Quote Originally Posted by oruoja View Post
    While it is true that the northern section of the LT is "tougher" than the AT/LT section the trail for 99% of the time is very apparent. The GMC does sell a foldable strip map with topo contours which is much better than the guidebook maps. I've done the northern section four times and this summer will be my fifth, and for just hiking the actual USGS topo maps would be nice for detail, but IMO not necessary for route planning and land navigation.
    There is a map available in the GMC store for northern VT hiking trails that looks like it's what you're talking about. I never noticed that before. Thanks!

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