Archive | April, 2012
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High Adventure Topo Maps Via Gmap4

Joseph Elfelt wrote to us at the U.S. Scouting Service Project and asked whether we could mention his new Gmap4 topographical maps on our site.  I took a look at his topographical mapping tool and was instantly impressed with what it can do.  So of course, we are going to mention it right here!

With Gmap4, you can view topographical maps on any device using a browser and an internet connection.  It is as simple as that.  So let’s take a look at what it can do.  We’ll start with Philmont Scout Ranch and go through some maps.

Outline of Philmont Scout Ranch


Philmont Headquarters

Philmont Headquarters


Cimarron, New Mexico - Showing Data Available with Right Click

Cimarron, New Mexico - Showing Data Available with Right Click


Philmont - Showing Pack Trails near Deer Lake Mesa and Upper Bench Camps

Philmont - Showing Pack Trails near Deer Lake Mesa and Upper Bench Camps

Next, let’s have a look at the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness, which is home to the Northern Tier National High Adventure Bases.

Boundary Waters Area Showing Ely, Minnesota

Boundary Waters Area Showing Ely, Minnesota

This tool will allow you to zoom in to the maps for detailed information.  Very cool.

You may ask, how do I zoom to the right place to see these things.  Use Google Maps to get the latitude and longitude of any place you want to see and plug it into Gmap4 – easy as that.  The browser will display a menu button that expands to show an option for search where you can use an address or the information from Google Maps to get where you want to go.

Gmap4 Menu

Now as promised, here is the email from Joseph telling about Gmap4 in his own words.

My name is Joseph Elfelt and once upon a time, ‘lo those many years ago, I was an Eagle Scout in Minnesota.

I am a software developer working with online map technology.  The following link displays an interactive topographic map showing the Philmont boundary.  As you zoom in you will see more detail.

And here is a interactive topographic map showing the town of Ely, MN at the edge of the Boundary Waters Canoe Area.,-91.860552&t=t4&z=13

I developed the Gmap4 software that displays these maps.  The topo maps cover the USA.  The two buttons in the upper right corner provide access to various features.

Can you mention Gmap4 on your site?

Gmap4 is part of my way of ‘paying it forward’.  Since Gmap4 runs in your browser there is nothing to download, nothing to install.  It runs in most browsers on phones, iPads, iPods, notebooks, laptops and desktops.  However, the browser has to be online to the internet.  If the browser is not online, then Gmap4 will not work.

If you are concerned that Gmap4 is some kind of spam/scam please note that NOAA checked it out and is linking to it as a free tool for displaying KML/KMZ files.  Go to the bottom of any NOAA weather forecast page and click ‘Credits’.  Scroll up/down to the Gmap4 link.  It is 100% free for non-commercial use.

Gmap4 can display several different file formats.  Anyone can make a data file, put it online and display that file with Gmap4.  For example, think about the various Philmont hikes, treks and itineraries.  If a GPX or other data file exists for any of those trips and that data file is put online almost anywhere, then anyone can make a URL to display that file with Gmap4 and then fly over that trip in 3D.  A basic Gmap4 URL to display a data file looks likes this:

Here’s an example of a pinpoint map that does not use any data file:,-105.056121&t=t4&z=15&symbol=prs

And here’s the default map of the world:  (The topo maps only cover the USA and Canada)

All scouts are welcome to use Gmap4 to help plan trips and to share maps after returning home from a trip.

The Gmap4 homepage has a new user FAQ, examples, a detailed Help file, a links page with more examples, the latest beta code (with a phone skin and better geolocation) and a bit about me.

Gmap4 homepage:

Thanks for your time and I’m happy to answer questions.

Joseph Elfelt, the Gmap4 guy
Redmond, WA

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