Proprietary digital mapping query

Just in case any of you are experts in this kind of thing, here’s where I’m at:

  1. Data collection is fine. My Garmin eTrex Vista HCx doesn’t get near the sales claim that “Deep foliage, nor canyons phase the rugged eTrex Vista HCx”–it gets lost quite easily between quite modest buildings in down-town Barcelona–but it’s OK.
  2. Data editing is fine. I plug the waypoints and tracks into an excellent, free, open source GPS data manager and editor called Viking and it lets me manage and edit the basic data most dreamily.
  3. Data rendering for publication is not fine. Viking doesn’t seem to do stuff like track name overlay or must-have track display aesthetics, and blocks (eg for squares, public buildings) don’t seem to be there yet. I think this is partly because Viking is seen as a tool to prepare data for the similarly excellent OpenStreetMap, rather than as the final link in the publishing chain. I want to produce some crazy shit, so OSM is not the place to be.

    So, dear expert, is there another tool out there that will accept an export in a variety of vector formats from Viking and enable me to publish splendiferous maps of my own?

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  1. Thanks Graeme, but I need software to actually create entire maps from scratch using GPS data. Ozi Explorer suffers from the same basic problem as Viking: the assumption that you’re going to create rough and ready mapping on top of high quality copyrighted or open source base mapping imports. If you use the copyrighted imports, the cost of rights makes publication prohibitive for all but major publishers. If you use open source imports, you lose the rights to any derivative publications.

    (I don’t know Ozi Explorer at all well, but I can’t figure why people would use it when Viking is free.)

  2. When you say you’re trying to create entire maps does that include additional digitising, or just conversion of what you have captured with the gps? I guess the question is how much extra work do you need to do on the data? If it’s a lot then you need to consider investing in a “cheap” GIS like Manifold with its associated learning curve. Powerful software but too much if all you want to do is simple editing. Simple stuff you can convert to kml and then use Google Earth tools to add polygons or lines which you can then save together with what you want from the original data – converting to other formats with or directly with gps babel which is what the web page uses anyway.

  3. I’m just converting captured data and then using the tracks as a basis to join waypoints and turn them into roads, squares, and stuff to make good maps. Thanks very much for the suggestions – I’ll probably end up going with something like the first.

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