rejectomorph (flying_blind) wrote,
rejectomorph
flying_blind

Time-wasting Internets Map Toy

LostOutdoors.com has a database of GPS data and on-line tools for sharing data and photos for various hikes, climbs, bike trails, etc. The site is still under construction, but they already have operating one of the greatest toys I've found on the Internet. It is their map maker. You can use it to fetch a USGS aerial photo or topo map of any U.S. location, in any of three sizes, and at scales of either 1, 2, 4, or 8 meters per pixel, simply by entering the geographic coordinates of that location. If you don't know the coordinates of the place you want to fetch, you can search the GNIS database by place name or geographic feature. Thus I was able to get the Pasadena Playhouse in the exact center of an 1800x1800 image. Can't do that with Google. Also, you can fetch maps and photos by entering locations directly from your GPS device, but I don't have one so don't know exactly how that works.

The photos are not the most recent that USGS has released, such as the color photos they have on Google maps or Microsoft's terraserver, but they are single .jpg images which can easily be saved to your hard drive. Some maps of Pasadena I fetched appeared to be from the late 1990s, and they were a bit less detailed and a bit blurrier than the color images, but so much easier to save than Google or Microsoft's clusters of tiny, piecemeal images that I don't mind. Oh, I'm going to be squandering hours at this site, I know.
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