Navigation Preferences

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Navigation Preferences

Postby Ms_Mudd » Wed 19 May, 2021 12:10 pm

Thought I would throw this out to the brains trust here on the forum, to get an idea of the ways in which people prefer to walk.

Background: I am section walking a 202km trail local to me that was created in 1988 but has since fallen into disuse due to the passing of its creator and also changes to its original route due to both private property ownership changes and the Pacific Motorway charging right through the trail.
Two amazing women, one of who is a forum member, spent countless hours researching the trail and how it could be rerouted so that that they could run(!) it to create a fastest known time. In doing so, they created a gpx file and have been generous in sharing it with others in order to revive the trail.
Due to Covid and a scuttled international walking trip, I decided to finally get around to this trail seeing as it was a decent length and in my backyard. After knocking off the sections, I will do it as one big push sometime in the next year or so.

Question: The trail relies on the gpx file for nav. There are some very worn, old trail markers in some sections, but they are infrequent, in poor repair and also do not account for the reroutes. The gpx file is accurate and easy to follow, I am really bad at tech, but imported the file to OSM and have walked all the re-routed sections now and the file was solid.
Would people who are planning on doing a longer walk, feel confident/happy to set out with an electronic map to follow only? Obviously with the option of obtaining topos (if hard copies still exist) on their own whim.
Or
Do people prefer detailed paper maps in sections?
Or
Are trail markers at key points important to you? If so, would a simple marker to confirm direction, such as a logo or a coloured blaze do the trick? Or do people prefer directional signage?

Some active community minded locals are encouraging me to do some grant writing for signange, as there is much interest in the route for mountain biking as well as bushwalking, we live in an area that relies heavily on visitors coming to our region for outdoor pursuits. The trail crosses National Parks, State Forest and 3 LGA's, so the issues are complex. I am happy to put in a bit of effort if I must, but it would be useful to know how that effort is best spent.
Last edited by Ms_Mudd on Wed 19 May, 2021 2:58 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Navigation Preferences

Postby FatCanyoner » Wed 19 May, 2021 1:47 pm

I wouldn't install any permanent track markers without discussion with the relevant land managers.

Taking something from an informal route, to one that is aimed to a much larger audience, raises lots of issues. These include environmental sensitivity (the route may head through a sensitive ecological community), spread of weeds / pathogens, suitability for increased traffic (will there be issues with erosion, environmental damage in sections if usage is increased), along with conflicts with land use plans (is mountain biking, for instance, allowed in the relevant plans of management?). Even things like where people camp, get water, go to the toilet, etc need to be considered if something is going to be made a more popular route.

Another issue to consider is the safety of the people completing the walk. If it currently requires a good level of navigational experience to complete, that will stop people who lack adequate skills and experience from attempting it. If you set up lots of signage, that will appeal to inexperienced people who may get themselves into trouble. Subtle blazes that help an experienced person may not be enough for the inexperienced, who could get themselves into real trouble.

I'd do some serious research, and talk to the local land managers, before attempting to formalise it further. What may seem like a good, community-minded initiative, could be quite problematic. The people who maintain these areas and know them intimately will be able to help you work out which is the case for this track.
Last edited by FatCanyoner on Thu 20 May, 2021 12:13 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Navigation Preferences

Postby Ms_Mudd » Wed 19 May, 2021 2:57 pm

Thank you for such a thorough reply, much appreciated.

It makes me feel like less of a shirker to not undertake any effort on the project, I was walking it purely for my own personal enjoyment and then have been encouraged (nice way to say:politely pressured) to do more.
Edited to add: I hadn't realised I was hoping for an absolution of guilt regarding this 'project', however, subconsciously it must have been lurking in the darkest recesses of the cesspool of my mind. Reading your very well composed response, FC, had me breathing a massive sigh of relief. Thank you.

The route is there, it is walkable in its entirety for someone who is interested enough to dig slightly. Looking at the file before leaving allows track notes to be made which I have done myself before complex sections, so even if my electronic device crashed, I would be fine. My thoughts were- the nav is simple for anyone with a bit of knowledge with the gpx....why do anything physical to confirm the route?

Again, I really appreciate your well considered response, I know from reading your posts here it comes from a stand point of an experienced walker.
Last edited by Ms_Mudd on Wed 19 May, 2021 3:26 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Navigation Preferences

Postby Warin » Wed 19 May, 2021 3:04 pm

OSM can be used to generate paper maps. It can even be overlaid on other imagery - e.g. satellite images.

So while OSM can be seen as a GPS map, a Phone map .. it can also be a paper map.
Last edited by Warin on Thu 20 May, 2021 1:10 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Navigation Preferences

Postby johnrs » Wed 19 May, 2021 5:06 pm

And a vote for Avenza maps Ms Mudd.
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Re: Navigation Preferences

Postby mtrain » Wed 19 May, 2021 6:22 pm

Interesting project. Re nav options if the gpx file is downloaded to Gaia you can then print paper maps which match your navigation app so you have a back up whichever way you choose to navigate. Also I am not a fan of lowering the barrier to enter for every walking route around. Having routes with different levels of available information enables people to have there own adventures at their own level of ability and also gradually increase their skill level.
Organising a formalisation of a route with multiple land managers is going to be a major project, that’s why they end up being so expensive when the government does it.
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Re: Navigation Preferences

Postby Ms_Mudd » Wed 19 May, 2021 6:49 pm

johnrs wrote:And a vote for Avenza maps Ms Mudd.


What do like about Avenza over OSM? Interested, as I have used both, but nearly exclusively choose to use OSM as I find it easier. I am not super tech savvy, so am always interested to learn more.
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Re: Navigation Preferences

Postby FatCanyoner » Thu 20 May, 2021 12:17 pm

Glad it was helpful Ms Mudd.

Land managers are often criticised for taking forever to do things (I'm guilty here), but that's often because they are more aware of all the complex issues that need to be juggled.

The older I get, the more I realise the answer to just about every question is "it depends on a lot of things". Simple solutions often come from a place of inexperience. The more I learn, the more I realise everything I don't know, which is why it's nice to be able to talk to experts who know a lot more and take their guidance.
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Re: Navigation Preferences

Postby Ms_Mudd » Fri 21 May, 2021 8:47 am

FatCanyoner wrote:
The older I get, the more I realise the answer to just about every question is "it depends on a lot of things".


I think I need to make a bumper sticker with that slogan.
Thanks again, FC.
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Re: Navigation Preferences

Postby johnrs » Fri 21 May, 2021 9:39 am

Hi Ms Mudd
I liked the quality of the mapping, the ability to import nsw topos as well as the avenza maps and the general ease of use and features.
But i have not used osm at all.................
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Re: Navigation Preferences

Postby Neo » Wed 26 May, 2021 8:13 pm

My two cents.
Navigation is with a map in hand. Reading the land.
Devices aren't quite my definition of 'navigation'.
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Re: Navigation Preferences

Postby crollsurf » Wed 26 May, 2021 9:35 pm

I'd give it a crack and see how it goes. My attitude has always been, well I'm here so may as well have a go. Worst case, it doesn't work out. Nothing lost, nothing gained.

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Re: Navigation Preferences

Postby Warin » Wed 26 May, 2021 10:06 pm

johnrs wrote:But i have not used osm at all.................


Some places in OSM are mapped well. Others not so much.

What I try to do is,say, 2 months before I go .. edit the OSM data so it is as good as I can get it from what is legally available to OSM. Then I up load the new map and use it. Anything I note while on the trip I add to OSM if I think that serves the community.

You have to be aware that some map renders don't update frequently .. mapsme was yearly? OSMand is monthly, but best with android phones.. the Iphone implementation is not as good.
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Re: Navigation Preferences

Postby ChrisJHC » Thu 27 May, 2021 10:32 am

Neo wrote:My two cents.
Navigation is with a map in hand. Reading the land.
Devices aren't quite my definition of 'navigation'.
From the Collins Dictionary definition of navigation:

“NOUN
1. the skill or process of plotting a route and directing a ship, aircraft, etc, along it
2. the act or practice of navigating”

No mention of maps, compasses, GPS devices or even sextants!

I like the look and feel of maps and compasses but routinely use GPS as well.
Have only used a sextant a couple of times (at sea).

Each to their own!
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Re: Navigation Preferences

Postby north-north-west » Thu 27 May, 2021 11:37 am

Neo wrote:My two cents.
Navigation is with a map in hand. Reading the land.
Devices aren't quite my definition of 'navigation'.


Maps and compasses are devices.
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Re: Navigation Preferences

Postby amyannick » Thu 27 May, 2021 12:47 pm

Warin wrote:OSM can be used to generate paper maps. It can even be overlaid on other imagery - e.g. satellite images.

So while OSM can be seen as a GPS map, a Phone map .. it can also be a paper map.


I find Caltopo to be the most flexible and powerful thing I have used for creating maps and gpx files for use on a device or printing out to paper. It can overlay NSW topo maps, OSM topo maps, etc etc plus many other data layers (e.g. sun exposure, slope angle). The only downside is that it has a steep initial learning curve and the wealth of features can be overwhelming. Once you get it set up it is easy to use though. I am very happy to talk anyone through it. I don't think it is beyond anyone's technical capabilities.
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Re: Navigation Preferences

Postby Neo » Thu 27 May, 2021 12:49 pm

Semantics.
I will eventually get used to GPS style too but learnt manually.
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Re: Navigation Preferences

Postby wildwanderer » Thu 27 May, 2021 1:47 pm

I like Orux maps as a nav application. (for android)

Can use OSM maps and Government topos (and most other map formats) and switch between them easily during a walk.

It also has some advanced navigation tools built into the app if needed
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Re: Navigation Preferences

Postby tom_brennan » Tue 01 Jun, 2021 8:38 am

Returning to the original question - I think a GPX file is fine at an early stage.

As FatCanyoner says, there are other issues to consider in relation to track markers and large numbers of people.

And as other posters have noted, it's not that hard to overlay a GPX file on to actual topographic maps for printing if people want hard copy maps.
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Re: Navigation Preferences

Postby CraigVIC » Tue 01 Jun, 2021 7:01 pm

Even though it's frowned on by many you could easily tape it. Common enough way to keep historic or little used tracks open.
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