I learned the other day about a new 10,000 acre tract of public lands near me. There are no trail maps of the area and I am dying to explore it (once all this rain stops). I’ll probably do another post on prepping my GPS for exploring there, but this one aspect warrants its own post.
A quick search turned up a PDF map of the area. This gave me a map of the boundary, but I wanted a way to place that boundary in mapping software where I could create waypoints, layer tracks, and transfer it to my GPS.
It turns out that TopoFusion has a “user calibrated maps” feature. It will only accept .jpg, .png and .bmp files though, so the biggest hurdle was converting the PDF. If you don’t have Photoshop or something similar, you can use a free online converter.
From there it was amazingly easy. One more tip before you get started – it’s best to size the TopoFusion map view as closely as possible to the area covered on the PDF.
If you’re following along with TopoFusion, you can get to this feature by going to Window > User Map Library. Once you add the map, you click on Calibrate Point 1. You can pan and zoom the map as needed. Find a point (I chose a benchmark in the upper left portion of the map) and click on it. The user added map goes away and you can then click the same point on the underlying TopoFusion map. In this case it was a USGS 7.5’ topo. Repeat for points two and three, spreading them apart as much as possible (I try to use points near opposite corners of the map).
With that done, I was able to use the track tool to trace the boundary lines and transfer those to my GPS. You could use this same process to trace trails shown on a PDF park map (though I’d search for actual GPX track files online before taking that route).
I’m sure you’ll be hearing more about how my Rocky Fork trail mapping goes. In the meantime, download the free demo version of TopoFusion and check it out. Get the Pro version, as this feature is not found in the basic version.