How To Build APRS Maps From the USGS CD ROM

SUMMARY: There are three other important MAP README's. MAPS.HTM is the overview and tells how maps are distributed. MAPMAKIN.HTM describes the format of APRS maps and how to make them and MAPSHST.HTM tells you how to make maps simply by driving and saving a track history! But NOW we can make maps directly from the USGS CD ROMS!

KB4XF has written MK100K3.EXE which will generate street level maps from the USGS 100K CD ROM in one BIG step.! SEE MK100K3.HTM ! With this program, anyone can make street level maps anywhere in the USA!

This program by KB4XF can make a typical 32 mile map from the USGS 2,000,000:1 CD in a single step. THese maps will only contain major highways.
OVERVIEW: There are two areas of CDROM map development ongoing in the APRS community. One is using MAKEMAP1.EXE to build big 32 mile maps from the 2,000,000 CD ROM data. THese will have MAJOR roads, railroads rivers and streams and county lines on a typical 32 mile scale. The other is using the 100K CD data for making 2 and 4 mile detail maps of city streets. Notice that using 100K data to make maps larger than 4 miles generates TOO many points, and using 2,000,000 data below about 32 miles gives too little. For most mobile applications, steet level detail is NOT needed, considering that your radio range is 20 miles or more using digipeaters.

There are 3 problems with the USGS data that causes excessive points in an APRS map. First, lines begin and end at EACH intersection. Second, these short segments are not always consecutive in the file, and Third, the USGS data guarantees 100 points to the inch at the original map scale (1/3 mile for the 64 mile maps) whether it is needed or not. A 10 mile long straight road is stored as 30 points in USGS vice 2 points in APRS. At the 100,000:1 scale, this puts a point every 100 feet!

BIG MAPS: Information on using the original 2,000,000:1 USGS CD ROM has been moved to the end of this file, since by now, (fall 94) almost all of the US population centers have at least the ROADS from this data base. The 2,000,000 is also still useful for making 30 mile maps bringing in all of the rivers, streams, county lines, and railroads. You will not gain any more roads than what is already in most APRS 64 mile maps, but the other features can make a more colorful and geographically filled map.

DETAIL STREETS: Making APRS maps from the 100,000:1 USGS CD ROMS is now EASY! Use KB4XF's MK100k3.EXE and get a copy of the $32 CD ROM from USGS that covers your area. USGS sells 13 diferent 100K CD's. To see which CD covers your area, hit the 1 KEY on your APRS screen to get to the whole USA map. Then press the MAPS-ALT command to see the which is under the USA map. This display shows you the areas of the 13 different ROMS. To obtain one of these CD ROMS, send $32 each plus $3.50 per order to the USGS Earth Science Info Center, 507 National Center, Reston, VA 22092. Or call GeoDATA 573-308-3500 for credit card orders. BE SURE TO SPECIFY THE Digital Line Graph (DLG) 100,000 OPTIONAL format and the correct ROM for your area. Useful phone info numbers. But you may as well skip right to the FAX, or mail them a check. 703-648-6045 AND 1-800-USA-MAPS - VoiceMail INFO 800-435-7627 - A real HUMAN (and the old fashoned HOLD) 303-202-4693 - FAX will accept credit card orders

To beat the 2 to 4 week delivery times promised by the Government, you can also call MAP Express 1-800-627-0039 and pay $38 for the ROM plus $5 handling and get it faster. THey will also FEDEX it too...


MK100k3.EXE: This program is a ONE STEP process for generating street level maps of your area from the 100K CD rom for your region. It was written by KB4XF and GREATLY simplifies what had been a LABORIOUS process. It still takes a lot of manual effort to smooth the map down to the final 3000 point APRS limit and to add map labels, but the effort is WORTH IT! This program obsoletes most of the rest of this file! See MK100K3.HTM on how to use it, AND IGNORE THE REST OF THIS FILE.


Most of the initial 64 mile and larger maps were made by XTRACTING only the ROADS from this CD. But NOW (May 95) we have the new MAKEMAP1.bas program which makes these 2,000,000 type maps (including county lines and streams and railraods) relatively easily but only for maps about 32 miles in size. The first such new map that includes ALL features on the 2,000,000 CD is in the N. Tennessee map,

MAKEMAP1.BAS The new precedure uses the MAKEMAP program by KB4XF that XTRACTS data directly from the CD and saves it in APRS format. Simply choose the state and specify a LAT/LONG and range for the center of the map. By choosing a small enough area (30 miles or so in the east, maybe 50 or more in the rural west) you get a resulting map with about 4 to 5000 points. THen load this into MAPFIX and use the alt-SCRUNCH command and finally go through each point and use alt-DELETE to get the number of points below 3000. This is a nice painless process. But remember that the detail on the 2,000,000 CD ROM is about the same (or worse) as looking at a typical state highway map through a magnifying glass!!!

USGSMAP1.BAS: This is a modified version of MAKEMAP1.bas by Dan Reilly, W4NMK in North Carolina which will work directly on USGS files obtained over the internet. Get these maps from:{area of interest} /{transportation/hydrographic/political/railroads}/

Chose the area of interest and the features from the menu. You will then generate ROADS.GRA, WATER_BO.GRA, STREAMS.GRA, POLITICA.GRA and RAILROAD. GRA. Combine these all into one file. One way is with the COPY command:


Where the file named ALLSTUFF will be your new source file. Then follow the instructions in the program (just like MAKEMAP1).

SEE MK100K3.HTM for details on making street level maps.

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