Entries by mtjacobs58

New Visitor Maps

Visitor maps – the nice brochures they give you at park entrances or the giant Forest Service road maps with nary a topo line on them – aren’t terribly useful for backcountry navigation.  However they can be great for visualizing roads and trails at a 10,000′ view and then switching over to other layers as […]

New Forest Service Maps

Without much fanfare, the Forest Service recently redid its 7.5 minute quads. The previous version, on CalTopo until now, was called the Primary Base Series.  They were produced “back in the day”, offset printed, and then scanned into TIFF files.  They had roads and trails that were lacking on USGS maps, and perhaps just as […]

Custom DEM Shading

While rendering the new slope shading layers, I also rendered data tiles for elevation, slope and aspect.  CalTopo can now use these to create custom shading for the continental US.  Want to color all north facing aspects above 7000′ and steeper than 32 degrees blue?  Create an elevation relief map?  No problem.  Unfortunately I haven’t […]

Slope Shading Revisited

The CalTopo slope shading layer, originally done as an experiment of sorts, is overdue for a makeover. From a usability perspective, there are not enough colors – a wide variety of terrain gets lumped together into a few categories.  From a technical perspective, tiles are rendered on the fly using Mapnik and prebuilt polygons.  Not […]

Garmin Custom Maps

Newer Garmin GPSs (including the 62, Oregon, Colorado and Montana series) allow you to use KMZ (Google Earth) files as custom map layers.  You can now export CalTopo’s map layers and use them with these devices. Go to http://caltopo.com/kmz.html or click Print and then choose KMZ. Navigate to the area you want to export Set the […]

Nationwide Google Earth Coverage

I’ve supplemented the existing KML export capability with a new feature that dynamically generates KML files as you fly around in Google Earth.  This means that you can get nationwide coverage from a single KML file, without needing export small areas on a one-off basis. Try it! Click here for USGS Topo mapsClick here for […]

Printable PDFs

CalTopo has always allowed you to print maps directly from your web browser.  That feature isn’t going away, but it has some disadvantages: Poor Browser Support.  You can make nice prints with Chrome, but Firefox doesn’t respect CSS print margins and if you’re not careful the map can easily bleed over into a second page. […]

Custom Map Layers

Taking an image and turning it into a custom map layer through georeferencing is something that was previously supported – poorly – as a SAR-only feature.  Storing and rotating the image server side took too much memory and wouldn’t scale well to a broad public user base.  Now that all 3 major browsers support CSS image […]

Canada, eh?

I’m happy to announce that a topo layer for the canadian rockies is finally live.  The “nrcan” WMS source has always been available from the candian government, but I’ve wanted to create my own tiled source as well.  Why? There are 3 sets of topo maps available from the canadian government: Toporama is a WMS layer […]

Exporting Map Tiles to Google Earth

Sometimes a flat map just doesn’t cut it.  You want to be able to rotate it, skew it, project it onto real-world terrain.  Google Earth is great for this, but their aerial imagery only takes you so far in the backcountry.  You need trails, contour lines, streams – and you need to be able to […]