Map making

I am interested in map making, and have been creating maps of our area and making these available for offline navigation. To make the maps, I primarily use two programs: GaiaGPS (for geographic data) and Ortelius (to render the graphic art). I have also geotagged some of my maps for offline navigation use. Below, I will describe my map making and geotagging process, and how to use geotagged maps with Maprika and GaiaGPS. If you have questions or comments, please contact:

(1) GaiaGPS  

GaiaGPS consists of an online catalog of maps that can be viewed via their website and on smartphones (iPhone; Android). You can annotate these maps with your own routes, waypoints, and geotagged photos. With paid subscription, you can download your maps for offline navigation. The catalog of maps includes a variety of topographic maps, including Gaia's own topographic map and the classic USGS topographic maps, satellite imagery, layers indicating land ownership, and much more. For map making and offline navigation I primarily rely on Gaia's own excellent topo map.  

(2) Ortelius 

Many contemporary maps are made using graphic art software, such as Adobe Illustrator. I use a program that was specifically developed for map making. It is unfortunately no longer being updated, but is available online for free. It is a Mac only program.

(3) Map making process

My first step is to annotate GaiaGPS with routes. I then take a screenshot of the area of interest and import it into Ortelius as a base layer. Next, I create other layers where I create roads, water features, labels, and other elements using the base layer as a guide. Once I am finished, I turn off the original base layer and export an image file. I sometimes use other sources as base maps. For an example of a completed map, see below.

(4) Geotagging  

Geotagging is the process of adding data to a digital image of a map so that it can be used for offline navigation on a device (such as a smartphone). 

(5) Geotagging in Maprika

Maprika is a smartphone app that includes a repository of geotagged digital maps that can be used for offline navigation. You can search for available maps as well as upload and geotag your own maps. Everything is free. Uploading and geotagging your own maps is an easy process. For more information and to see maps I have geotagged, click here.

(6) Adding geotagged maps to GaiaGPS

I have uploaded some of my geotagged maps for viewing within GaiaGPS. For more information about this process, and to add my maps to your GaiaGPS, click here. For an example, see below.

(7) Example maps

Below is a map I created of Starker Forests' Tum Tum Tree Farm. This was made by importing two maps to serve as base layers in Ortelius: a screenshot from GaiaGPS and a map I obtained from Starker Forests. I then drew the map, turned off the base layers, and exported the image.

The second map is Starker's map of Tum Tum that I geotagged and imported into GaiaGPS for offline navigation on my iPhone. 

Starker Tum Tum imported to Gaia.PNG

(8) Editing Open Street Map

Open Street Map is an open source mapping project that is like a "Wikipedia" of maps. Anyone can learn how to edit the map. I have been adding and correcting features on OSM in our area. 

(9) Future projects

Two programs that are commonly used for professional level map making are ArcGIS and Adobe Illustrator. Unfortunately, these are expensive. I am interested in exploring the open source alternative to ArcGIS (QGIS) and an Illustrator alternative such as Affinity Designer

Galleries of maps I have created are linked below.

Northern Tier

Middle Tier

Southern Tier