Alternative method for free NSW topo maps (and others)

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Alternative method for free NSW topo maps (and others)

Postby tom_b » Sat 14 Jul, 2018 12:10 pm

I just thought I'd write up a quick thing about how I have moved to using maps on my phone. It lets you download any custom area of any map source that you can import into Gaia GPS. I have walked the AAWT, the TA and the GSCW all with this app and all the maps have been free. You only pay some small amount for a yearly subscription.

You can get access to NSW Topo, NT Topo, Tas Topo, Strava Heatmap, NZ Topo, a bunch of quality European topos, and of course all the standard OSM variants which cover the entire world.
Anyway here are the steps:

1. Download Gaia GPS on your phone (Android or iOS).

2. Go to your laptop/computer and go to to Gaiagps.com

3. Create an account and sign in.

4. Go to https://www.gaiagps.com/mapsource/add/ (note you need a premium account for this. However all the maps are free...)

5. Paste this link in for NSW Topo maps: https://maps4.six.nsw.gov.au/arcgis/res ... rver/tile/{z}/{y}/{x}

6. The range 4-16 is suitable. Add a name and then save the map. Note to see the maps on the link you will need to input some coordinates from within NSW (but this isn't necessary).

7. Paste this link for NSW Satellite maps for another custom map: https://maps2.six.nsw.gov.au/arcgis/res ... rver/tile/{z}/{y}/{x}

8. Go back to the main map and select your new Topo maps! Note that you can also create and download areas (or get it to automatically download an area around a gpx file).

Enjoy!

The 'technical' aspect is finding what link (in step 5,7) you need to get. There are some web resources that are useful that are easy to find on google. Just google 'Adding Custom Maps Gaia GPS', or 'Creating Tilejson file for Gaia'.

You can also scan physical maps and then georeference them but that is another post...

I will be away for the next week cycling but can answer questions after that.
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Re: Alternative method for free NSW topo maps (and others)

Postby LachlanB » Sat 14 Jul, 2018 2:09 pm

tom_b wrote:You can get access to (...) NZ Topo

How did you manage to get the NZ Topos? I tried connecting to the file server for them using Motion X, and utterly failed.
(and sorry for the somewhat off topic question)
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Re: Alternative method for free NSW topo maps (and others)

Postby Tyreless » Sat 14 Jul, 2018 3:03 pm

Thanks muchly, tom_b. Worked a charm.
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Re: Alternative method for free NSW topo maps (and others)

Postby tastrax » Sat 14 Jul, 2018 3:11 pm

Try this for NZTopo 50 Gridless

Code: Select all
https://tiles-a.data-cdn.linz.govt.nz/services;key=3197c6d0e5cb494a95d58dc2de3216c2/tiles/v4/layer=2343/EPSG:3857/{z}/{x}/{y}.png
Cheers - Phil

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Re: Alternative method for free NSW topo maps (and others)

Postby ribuck » Sat 14 Jul, 2018 4:48 pm

What happens if your subscription expires in the middle of a thru-walk. Do all your maps suddenly stop working?
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Re: Alternative method for free NSW topo maps (and others)

Postby tastrax » Sat 14 Jul, 2018 5:03 pm

I dont think they do expire at LINZ

https://www.linz.govt.nz/data/linz-data ... an-api-key

The one in the link is from OSM-Labs

https://qms.nextgis.com/geoservices/1260/
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Re: Alternative method for free NSW topo maps (and others)

Postby LachlanB » Sun 15 Jul, 2018 9:01 am

tastrax wrote:Try this for NZTopo 50 Gridless

Code: Select all
https://tiles-a.data-cdn.linz.govt.nz/services;key=3197c6d0e5cb494a95d58dc2de3216c2/tiles/v4/layer=2343/EPSG:3857/{z}/{x}/{y}.png


Thanks, I'll give it a go!

ribuck wrote:What happens if your subscription expires in the middle of a thru-walk. Do all your maps suddenly stop working?


That's one of the reasons I like Motion X on my (i)phone. The subscription cost is a one-off upgrade, and you don't have to pay an extra subscription fee.
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Re: Alternative method for free NSW topo maps (and others)

Postby LachlanB » Sun 15 Jul, 2018 9:02 am

Oops, double post. Sorry.
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Re: Alternative method for free NSW topo maps (and others)

Postby andrewp » Sun 15 Jul, 2018 1:36 pm

tom_b wrote:You can get access to NSW Topo, NT Topo, Tas Topo, Strava Heatmap, NZ Topo


Thanks for the info.

What is the url to use for for NT Topo? Do they also have an interactive mapping website? I've never been able to find one.
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Re: Alternative method for free NSW topo maps (and others)

Postby tom_brennan » Sun 15 Jul, 2018 9:45 pm

For the skinflints, see previous thread on OruxMaps (free) and NSW topo/satellite imagery:
viewtopic.php?f=21&t=21989
Bushwalking NSW - http://bushwalkingnsw.com
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Re: Alternative method for free NSW topo maps (and others)

Postby ribuck » Mon 16 Jul, 2018 1:22 am

tom_brennan wrote:For the skinflints, see previous thread on OruxMaps (free)

I use the paid version of OruxMaps, but...

It's not always about being a skinflint. For offline use, sometimes free software is more reliable than paid software, because it doesn't try to phone home every 30 days to validate a licence key (or whatever).
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Re: Alternative method for free NSW topo maps (and others)

Postby tom_b » Mon 23 Jul, 2018 10:04 am

Maybe other software works just as well or even better! I am not sure about what happens if the license expires.

For me the subscription goes beyond maps but the whole cloud web interface that lets me do all the 'hard work' on my pc with gpx files and creating map areas to download, and it automatically syncing to my phone, and the phones of my friends who are also hiking with me.
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Re: Alternative method for free NSW topo maps (and others)

Postby Huntsman247 » Mon 23 Jul, 2018 10:04 pm

Tom, how do you cope with the battery drain on your phone?
Or do you just use the phone to orient yourself?
But even then doesn't it limit the use of the phone to preserve battery for navigation.
I'm curious as to what others do.
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Re: Alternative method for free NSW topo maps (and others)

Postby tom_b » Tue 24 Jul, 2018 7:35 am

Huntsman, I have an iPhone SE which has incredible battery life. The battery is something like 1600mAh and I generally get 3 days of photos, navigation and music out of it. If I carry a 10000mAh power bank that would give me around 5 full charges which is a long time before I need to recharge everything!

I also run my head torches on 18650 cells which are 3700mAh and give me 1.5 charges or so as a backup.

This system wouldn’t be very good with most phones. It relies on the efficiency of the iPhone SE (due to the low screen resolution and the simple iOS interface).

If I am doing heavy navigation it might take up 50% a day.
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Re: Alternative method for free NSW topo maps (and others)

Postby wildwanderer » Tue 24 Jul, 2018 10:55 am

Huntsman247 wrote:Tom, how do you cope with the battery drain on your phone?
Or do you just use the phone to orient yourself?
But even then doesn't it limit the use of the phone to preserve battery for navigation.
I'm curious as to what others do.


My experience is im still at 50% charge after 3 days using my phone for navigation and for taking photos (about 30-40 pics) and for readin 30-60mins during the evening. Phone is in flight mode during the day and turned off at night. Phone has 2700 mAh battery with 1920x1080 5 inch screen. 140 gram weight + extra 20 gram for case.

The key is do not turn on the gps and keep it in flight mode. Use the phone like a digital map and compass. The more sophisticated applications will give you high res topo maps, compass bearings, distance and bearing from current location and from two nominated points, distance along inputed route, height data and the ability to create new routes and edit them. All that information is plenty for navigation in most terrain types. If the nav is challgenging I might turn on the gps once/twice a day to double check postion. its only on for less than a minute.

tom_b wrote:Huntsman, I have an iPhone SE which has incredible battery life
This system wouldn’t be very good with most phones. It relies on the efficiency of the iPhone SE (due to the low screen resolution and the simple iOS interface).

I think most modern phones will be fine for atleast 2+ days use. Just keep in flight mode and dont use GPS. Obviously test before heading off on a 3 day trip.
Last edited by wildwanderer on Tue 24 Jul, 2018 11:11 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Alternative method for free NSW topo maps (and others)

Postby tom_b » Tue 24 Jul, 2018 11:11 am

Yep most phones are pretty good. In the end though I don't really care about how many days I get off a charge, I care about battery efficiency (how many mAh per day). The iPhone SE has a pretty awful screen, and very simple operating system, yet still a pretty good camera, which is why it works well I think.

However I'm sure there are plenty of others that are just as good.
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Re: Alternative method for free NSW topo maps (and others)

Postby Huntsman247 » Tue 24 Jul, 2018 11:19 am

Ah right. I like to track continiously for the sake of knowing distance, elevation and so on. Hence the quick battery drain.
Thanks for sharing.
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Re: Alternative method for free NSW topo maps (and others)

Postby LachlanB » Tue 24 Jul, 2018 12:45 pm

Huntsman247 wrote:Ah right. I like to track continiously for the sake of knowing distance, elevation and so on. Hence the quick battery drain.
Thanks for sharing.

Yeah, I like having the GPS running continually too. I find having a track plotted straight onto the map is an incredibly useful way to solve most navigational blunders, especially off track. Plus, the joy of armchair bushwalking; pull up an elevation-speed profile in Google Earth, and it can keep you occupied for hours thinking about how tough that scrub was, or how steep a hill was.

But yeah, I've got an iPhone 5s. Using it for heavy navigation (I'm a sucker for checking it regularly), on flight mode, with no other apps running, I get about a day's walking from my phone. If I check irregularly, it'll last for two days. But if I expect to use it more regularly, use it as an alarm or camera, go walking in cold conditions, call home, or anything else, I need to bring a battery. But I almost always have a map and compass with me as a backup incase my phone dies, even if they usually stay in my backpack.
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Re: Alternative method for free NSW topo maps (and others)

Postby ribuck » Tue 24 Jul, 2018 5:59 pm

Huntsman247 wrote:Ah right. I like to track continiously for the sake of knowing distance, elevation and so on. Hence the quick battery drain.

I track continuously (displaying my path on OruxMaps) on a Samsung A7 (2017 model). The 2600maH battery is enough for a three day trip - provided I keep the phone in flight mode, and remember to turn off tracking when I arrive at camp. And the phone is waterproof too. There are lots of things I dislike about the A7, but for bushwalking navigation it's great.
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