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Computer & GPS

I have used National Geographic TOPO! software for quite some time.  Then along came Google Earth, which is incredible.  Both, however, have their limitations and don’t really talk to each other at all.  TOPO! is great for easily plotting paths and calculating total distance and elevation gains.  Earth is awesome for seeing real terrain and is also great at making its own paths.  I use a GARMIN etrex legend C, which interfaces my computer via Garmin Mapsource software. TOPO! will NOT export its paths to a GPS.  It will, however, export “routes” which are made up of waypoint, which is not super useful for what I do.  So, I often want to go between GPS, Earth, and TOPO!  Here is what I have arrived at for doing this:

1) If I am drawings a course in TOPO! and want to pull it into GEarth I do the following:

  • Draw path in National Geographic TOPO!, save it in its native .tpo format and open in GPSBabelGUI.  The “input” is a .tpo file and the output is a GEarth .kml file.  I “filter” transform tracks to routes and then check “Waypoints”, “Routes”, and “Tracks”, then click “let’s go”.  You now have a .kml file you can read into GEarth.  Once I open it I delete the “points” and keep the “path”.

2) If I have drawn a detailed GEarth path and want to analyze the distance and/or vertical gain I save it as a .kml file and then open it in TopoFusion.

  • TopoFusion will perform a “climbing analysis” for useful information and plots.  There is a freeware version or you can buy it for $40.  It is probably worth buying although I haven’t yet.

3) If I have drawn a detailed GEarth path and want to pull it back into TOPO! I do the following:

  • First off, I use the GPS unit as a “clipboard”.  By default my GPS has a maximum number of points for a saved path of 500.  However, the “active” track can be up to 10,000.  FYI, when I save the active path from within the GPS-unit, it does a “smart” simplification to condense it down to at most 500 points.
  • As above I bring it into TopoFusion and do a GPS export to the “Active Log”.  This will take your high resolution path (of over 500, but less than 10,000 points) and upload it to your GPS unit.
  • I then open TOPO! and do a GPS import and tell it to import the “tracks” and make a freehand route for each continuous track
  • Now I can use the pretty USGS maps for exporting etc.
  • You should clear your track log on the GPS unit after this

4) If I want to take my beautiful GEarth detailed path and upload it to my GPS unit to use when I’m out trying to follow the path I:

  • Draw it in GEarth, pull it into TopoFusion, click the “Simplify/Split…” and set the number of points to 500 or less
  • Then, I Upload it within TopoFusion to my GPS unit as a “saved track/course”

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Responses

  1. Congratulations Jared for the third time you finish the Barcley race ! Amazing ! no word …! and it’s real that you are exceptional .
    We were many persons in France who support you all the race on the website “les frenchies a la Barcley”. thank you very much because the more plaisant for me is that Laz failed his objective !!!!
    keep going your dreams,
    Anne Marie Miquel from Toulouse – France

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  3. Hi Jared,
    Congrat’s on your Barkley marathon run
    I was looking to have a chat to you about it if possible – even via email ?
    My contact is
    Stugibson8@gmail.com

    Cheers
    Stu

  4. Hey Jared,

    I am not sure how else to contact you, but I am a content editor for actionhub.com, and I would like to speak with you, even if it is just via email, regarding your recent Barkley marathon completion. Feel free to contact me via email at lmontemurri@carbonmediagroup.com. I look forward to hearing from you.

    Best,
    Lauren

  5. Hi Jared,
    My name is Andy Johnson. I think this is how I contact you. I met you briefly this year at the Wasatch 100, I was running more or less along side you up Mill Creek. I live back in Colorado now and I am looking at some of the unofficial objectives in my backyard. Number one on that list is Nolan’s. I was wondering if I could pick your brain about your experience and some of the more technical route issues. If this is Okay with you please e-mail me back.

    By the way, you have a really good blog. You get after it!

    Thanks,
    Andy

  6. Hi Jared,

    I would be psyched to talk to you about the possibility of screening West Slabs Of Olympus at the Sheffield Adventure Film Festival next March. Any chance you could drop me an email to matt@heason.net to discuss the possibility?

    Thanks,
    Matt

  7. Hi Jared,
    you’ve done a great job with your blog!I’ve read the post about the last UTMB and I found it really “real”!
    If you want to have a look, I’m working on a documentary about Marco Olmo, winner of 2 utmb (2006-2007).
    You can find the trailer here: http://www.unpassodopolaltro.it/trailer_eng.html
    Bye, Paolo from Italy


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