Free full screen topo maps & display GPS track

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Re: Free full screen topo maps & display GPS track

by visentin » Mon May 09, 2011 7:44 am

See this ;)

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Re: Free full screen topo maps & display GPS track

by Jelf » Fri Sep 16, 2011 4:05 pm

Gmap4 has been updated to version 2.1.5 dated September 14, 2011. For a full list of the changes in this version please see

Remember, Gmap4 lives in the cloud and does not require you to download or install anything. Anytime you view a map with Gmap4, you automatically will be using the most recent version.

The big news is that you can now strap on a personal jet pack and fly around in 3D anywhere in the world. (The Gmap4 ‘Search’ feature is a useful way to zip you to the spot where you wish to begin flying.) This feature runs Google Earth in your browser.

You can zoom in and fly over any map that has a GPS track (or other data) and see the world in 3D. No sweat, no bug bites, no blisters.

All you have to do is download the Gmap4 ‘Help’ pdf file dated September 14, 2011 (or more recent) and search for ‘Tips for flying’. Anyone can quicky and easily learn to fly with just a mouse by taking a quick trip through flight school by reading those tips. Those tips give you step-by-step instructions that will show you how to fly over the John Muir Trail in California starting from the summit of Mt. Whitney. This is ability to fly with a 3D view is easily the coolest feature in Gmap4.

Gmap4 ‘Help’ file:

For most people this updated version of Gmap4 works fine. However, a few people have reported that all they see when they try to use Gmap4 is a blank screen. If you are having trouble viewing maps with Gmap4, then I have a favor to ask. In addition to updating the code I also put together a short list of easy things that you can do to try and get the latest version of Gmap4 working on your system. Here’s the favor: Please download the ‘Help’ file and search that file for ‘tips on flying’. Near the end of that section you will see a heading that starts “Background...”. That section gives you a peek under the hood and suggests several easy/quick things you can do to try and get the current version of Gmap4 working on your system.

Some of those suggestions have worked for others, so I hope if you are having problems that you take a few minutes and give them a try. And if nothing else works, then the last suggestion gives you a link to the prior version of Gmap4 that does not include the new ‘Earth’ feature which seems to be the source of most of the problems.

In addition, the ‘directions’ feature has been re-written. Right-click the map and then click either ‘Direction from here’ or ‘Direction to here’. After the route appears, you can drag it to make changes. You can build a Gmap4 URL that will open with the directions panel displayed and the destination filled in. This will be useful for helping people obtain directions to a meeting spot. Search the Gmap4 Help file for ‘Tips for using directions’.

Also, information on how to donate has been added to the ‘Action’ menu and the Gmap4 website.


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Re: Free full screen topo maps & display GPS track

by Jelf » Sun Sep 18, 2011 5:13 pm

Gmap4 has been updated to version 2.1.6 dated September 17, 2011.

Reminder: Since Gmap4 lives in the cloud (1) you never have to download or install Gmap4 and (2) you are always automatically using the latest version of the code. But if Gmap4 does not seem to work then please clear your browser’s cache and try again. To see the Gmap4 version number you can click Menu ==> About on any map.

This update fixes the ‘blank screen’ problem that some users experienced after the September 12th update. If you experienced that problem, then please try Gmap4 again.

In order to use the new 3D ‘Earth’ view, your computer system needs to have the Google Earth browser plug-in installed. The Gmap4 code now checks to see if your system already has this plug-in installed. If your computer system does not have this plug-in installed, then you will see a message telling you that and a link to Google where you can download the plug-in if you decide to install it. If you decide to install the plug-in, please follow the instructions in that message. You need a broadband connection and a reasonably modern computer to use the 3D ‘Earth’ view.

Also, your security software might ask you to give permission before this plug-in will work.

If you decide to not install the plug-in, simply close the message window. You can continue using all the other features of Gmap4 except the ‘Earth’ view.

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Re: Free full screen topo maps & display GPS track

by Jelf » Mon Dec 05, 2011 5:43 am

Gmap4 has been updated to version 2.2. The full list of changes is posted on the Gmap4 “what's new” page (see hompage link below). Here are some highlights.

First, Gmap4 can add labels to Google maps. The labels are built from the waypoint names in your file. Your existing maps will work with this feature, except KMZ files are not yet supported. Labels can be styled with your own HTML and CSS. The following link displays a GPX file that is hosted at Topofusion and displays with labels turned on. ... 2&label=on

To open Gmap4 with labels turned on, include this parameter in your Gmap4 URL: &label=on
To toggle the labels after a map is displayed click Menu ==> Label On/Off

You can style the labels with your own HTML and CSS. This label feature works with all the file formats that Gmap4 can read except KMZ files. Label support for KMZ files will be added in a future update.

Below is an example of a map I made with fancy labels. Note that (1) each label is clickable and (2) when you shift to an aerial map view then the labels acquire a solid background so the text does not disappear in shadows on the aerials. This map uses a delimited text file that is hosted at Google Sites.

Second, a number of features have been added to the delimited text file format that Gmap4 can display. The section of the Gmap4 Help file titled “Delimited text files - Some details” has been completely re-written and now starts with a series of example maps that will let you rapidly learn the basics. If you want the most control over your map, this is the file format to use.

Third, the internet security features of Gmap4 have been enhanced. If you look at a file that causes Gmap4 to display a security-related message on your screen and you think that message is a ‘false positive’, then please go to the Gmap4 contact page and send an email. Include the URL to the map (Menu ==> Show map URL) in your email.

Fourth, Gmap4 can now display files that include a '?' character in the URL for the file.

For more information please see the Gmap4 homepage:


Joseph, the Gmap4 guy

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Re: Free full screen topo maps & display GPS track

by Jelf » Thu Dec 22, 2011 6:38 pm

The Gmap4 production code is now version 2.3. This is the first version that includes special features for smartphones and other mobile devices.

1. Gmap4 can now find your location on the map. This service will use some or all of:
* Your IP address
* Cell towers
* Wi-fi hotspots
* Any GPS chip in your phone or other mobile device

Simply open any map in your phone’s browser and then select Menu ==> Findme. You can try this right now on your desktop/laptop just to see how it works. However, your desktop/laptop location will likely not be very accurate since in many cases only your IP address will be used.

You can also build Gmap4 URLs that will automatically run the Findme feature when the map opens. Simply include the parameter ‘findme=on’ in the Gmap4 URL.

Since Gmap4 uses the Google maps Application Programming Interface (API), this feature only works if your phone’s browser is online to the internet.

Also, because Gmap4 is a web application, you do not need to download or install anything in order to use Gmap4 on your phone. To open Gmap4 on your phone:
A. Open your phone’s browser. (Remember, that browser has to be online.)
B. Do a web search for Gmap4 - the first hit should be the Gmap4 homepage
C. Select the link just under the homepage title. That link opens Gmap4 and displays a map of the world.
D. Select Menu ==> Findme

Of course you can save the Gmap4 URL as a bookmark in your phone’s browser.

Gmap4 does not save your location or report it to anyone. For more details, please search the Gmap4 Help file on ‘mobile’.

Here are two links with more information if you are curious how this works: ... 894&src=cb

2. You can turn off the coordinates in the lower right corner

Turning off the coordinate display in the lower right will let you see more of the map. You can toggle that display by selecting Menu ==> UTM - LatLng - Off

To open Gmap4 with that display already off, include the parameter ‘&coord=off’ in the Gmap4 URL
Example: ... &coord=off

3. Tweaking the mobile interface

Gmap4 is not a ‘native’ app for your phone. Instead, the exact same code that runs in the browser on your desktop/laptop also runs in the browser on your phone. Amazing! But this means my options for improving the interface when running on a phone are somewhat limited. What I can do fairly easily is add buttons. However, each button would cover part of the map.

Question: Are there any features of Gmap4 important enough that they should have their own buttons? One obvious candidate is the ‘Findme’ feature. Any others?

4. The MyTopo maps now display ads in one corner. That was not my idea!
For example, this map shows part of Yellowstone National Park: ... &z=14&t=t2

The Trimble Company now owns the MyTopo maps. As the 'price' for being allowed to continue displaying the MyTopo maps at no cost, Gmap4 must display Trimble's ad images when the MyTopo maps are on the screen.

Joseph, the Gmap4 guy
Redmond, WA

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Re: Free full screen topo maps & display GPS track

by ryanerb » Fri Dec 23, 2011 4:39 am

Thanks for all your great work!
I am not able to see the USGS topo at Fourth Recess Lake near Little Lakes Valley, near Rock Creek Lake, CA. It shows up at a zoomed out level, but if you zoom in at all, there is no map loading. ... &label=off

I guess this is a miss by USGS?
Sadly, the USGS maps are not as complete as the mytopo is.


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Re: Free full screen topo maps & display GPS track

by Jelf » Fri Dec 23, 2011 5:03 am


Well that is certainly interesting and the first time I have seen this.
If you drag the map eventually you will find some USGS tiles.

I just did a Google search and found an email link at the USGS related to these map tiles.
I'll send in a report and hopefully they can fix this.

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Re: Free full screen topo maps & display GPS track

by mattyj » Fri Dec 23, 2011 6:46 pm

I wouldn't expect much from the USGS. These map scans have been sitting on Terraserver for 10 years now; I'm not sure if they have anyone actually sitting around and cleaning up the data. The terraserver scans are pretty low-quality compared to the new GeoPDFs the USGS is coming out with, so it doesn't seem worth the effort to keep maintaining the old dataset.

I've been working on a seamless topo layer based on the USGS GeoPDF scans, and in the process I've learned a lot about how MyTopo built their maps. They have plenty of errors and omissions as well; for example, if you go to 48.48874,-113.85973 there's a series of maps where the border was marked as white instead of transparent and overwrote neighboring tiles. Because both MyTopo and Terraserver jump to a different map series at zoom level 12, you can't zoom out and eyeball where the holes are.

I can't speak for Canada, but in the US, MyTopo's maps seem to be built on top of USFS Primary Base Series quads (which have extra road and trail designations) where available, and USGS 7.5' quads where not. They've done some cool map-processing kung fu to make the colors consistent across quads (the original USGS maps aren't consistent at all), but in places where the USGS doesn't have maps, MyTopo doesn't either - for an example, look at the salt flats along I-80 east of SLC at zoom levels 13 and up. The USGS just took a bunch of aerial photos rather than producing full-on topos, and that's what MyTopo used as their base map as well.

I don't want to hijack Joseph's thread, but if you go to,-118.77551&z=14&b=t I have USGS scans for that area.

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Re: Free full screen topo maps & display GPS track

by Jelf » Sat Mar 23, 2013 12:34 am

Recently Gmap4 was updated to version 4.1 and now includes a unique map-in-a-link feature that is worth mentioning. Anyone can now make a custom map and save their data right in a Gmap4 link. You do not need to save your data in a separate file such as a GPX or KML file. This may be the easiest and faster way for you to make a custom online topographic map.

To try out this feature:
1. Click Menu ==> Draw and Save
2. Click the map a few times to set draggable symbols and draw a line
3. Rightclick any symbol and select “Gmap4 display long link”

You can copy the link that is displayed, paste it into a new browser address bar, hit enter and your custom map will be displayed.

This feature also works on your iPhone, iPad, android and other mobile device. Remember, Gmap4 is a browser app and your browser has to be online. After you tap the screen to set some draggable symbols then tap a symbol and select “Action Menu”. The list of actions include two different ways to save a Gmap4 link that includes your data.

More information on this map-in-a-link feature can be found in the following three places.

1. What’s new page
Note the tip about deleting the ll and z parameters from your Gmap4 link.

2. Example page
Scroll down to the section titled “Your map data saved in the Gmap4 link”. The examples range from basic to advanced and give you a quick way to see some of the kinds of maps you can make with this feature.

3. Help file
You can download the PDF file and search it (control-f) for the section titled “Make a custom map with Gmap4 and save it”.

Joseph, the Gmap4 guy
Redmond, WA


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