PDXWalk.com

My PDXWalk app for Android has two primary functions.

  1. Create GPX track files.
  2. Show me where I am on an off-line map.
    (Jump to Downloadable Maps list below.)

I have chosen to keep this app in Beta, for now. I need Beta testers. You would first need to opt-in to become a Beta tester. Links:

Older sample output for an ONLINE web based map (testing use of 512x512 tiles):
ZigZag Trail

Got my first Android 10-11 device.

Scoped Storage broke my scheme of sharing .geojson files that a user would access from Downloads folder.

Must use .json file name extension, then add step to "pick" file from Downloads to copy to internal folder.

Fix in process, as of May 20 2021.

What is my most frequent use of PDXWalk when hiking?

To answer: Where am I?:
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Blue line above is drawn from most recent track points. Little blue and green squares with 1s and 2s are from optionally gathered and displayed cellular signal strength data in number of bars.

Note: You will first have to get a MBTiles map and then choose one to display in MAP, otherwise you will only see a blank map and maybe your blue line for recent tracks. Keep reading to learn how to set it up.

Path name search feature, using separately downloaded vector data:
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Note: Search text is ignored when we
instead just want to find any close
path or track.

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This Path Name Search feature is designed by me for me when I get lost. All I want to know then is how can I get out. Is there a nearby forest road, etc?

Another Path Name Search example we can walk through:
  1. The menu option is circled, starting point still visible left of menu.
  2. Much longer list of "Lines" with precision drag bar one step less precise than far right.
  3. .. list continues
  4. Again, narrow the precision to limit listing to only the closest paths.
  5. When the Dogwood Trail is selected here (Long Pressed) the MAP is centered on the Centroid of the path. Here that point is far enough away to trigger display of my HereThere arrow, with a distance in miles to that point from current location.
  6. Tap on the selected line -- green here -- and elevation gain/loss and length pops up. Dogwood Trail goes mostly down hill here even though the gain/loss is calculated starting on the other end.
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At start of hike or walk start "Rapid Track" to save tracks:
  1. The circled RAPID TRACK button navigates to the Rapid Tracking activity page.
  2. A "16 Hours" option is for the benefit of the super human long distance through hikers. "2 Hours" is plenty for me. Adjust settings to suit your needs. Less frequent and further apart will eventually make for a smaller GPX export file with fewer points.
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When finished, you can let it expire or go to the Rapid Tracking page again and stop. When I test I start many devices before hiking, then stop them at the end of hike. (Must look silly as I keep pulling devices out of various pockets, one after another.)

Note: Android has greatly improved the ability to gather these points without burning up all your battery power. But, the original "Background Locating" feature, potentially always on, now only collects data points every 5 to 15 minutes or so and delivers them even less frequently to the app. To be useful now you have to invoke "Rapid Tracking."

Creating GPX export track files to share via eMail requires set up.

The setup is specifically designed to thereafter make it easy to simply tap the "CREATE TRACK FILE" button, and be done. Or, following that to tap SEND EMAIL W/TRACK FILE to craft an eMail with that GPX track file as an attachment ready for you to send to someone.

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I usually just hit the blue send button to send to myself.

Page to send One Many or All your GPX export track files via eMail, using same eMail set up as before.

Note:: When GPX track files are created an .geojson file is simultaneously created.

  1. Use main menu to Show Track File List.
  2. Select files, then hit EMAIL. Triggers same flow (asking for your preferred email app ...) as with sending just one track file.
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[TODO: Looks like I need to sort this list.]

From same Track File List you can draw a saved .geojson file on MAP.
  1. Select one .geojson track file, hit SHOW SELECTED GEOJSON FILES.
  2. The light blue line here represents your tracks.
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Note:: The cell signal strength markers optionally displayed here are just a subset, filtered based on proximity to center of MAP.

Similarly, you can show .geojson files on MAP sent to you via email by another user of PDXWalk.

Here I sent myself an eMail with the same Forest Park hike displayed above.

  1. You must first download the attachment from within your eMail app, which puts the file in your shared Download folder.
  2. From main menu Show Downloaded GeoJSON List.
  3. Select a geojson file from list, if any.
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This would draw the same track as that above in Forest Park.

Note: GeoJSON files output by PDXWalk have just one line feature. The GeoJSON schema enables much more and some folks output huge files. The PDXWalk app cannot process files from other programs.

Note: "Track Receiver" page name is a left over from failed effort to have email app send my app the geojson attachment. Searching the shared Download folder seems to achieve the same end -- displaying someone else's track that they sent us.

Note: You can also download eMail attached GPX and GeoJSON files into the Download folder of your personal computer. From there you can drag the files over the free program GPXSee for display.

"TEXT MY LOCATION" button on home page requires set up.

This was one of the earliest features, for me to tell someone where they could pick me up.

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You can list up to ten numbers separated by commas.

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You can modify the text, etc. just you can when creating any text message.

"RESET TRACKS" button on home page deletes all GPS track info from local database.

If you accidentally hit RESET TRACKS you will be asked to confirm deleting them.

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"SNAP GPS" button on home page opens page to try to get a GPS point that is an average over time as you sit still for a short time.

You can choose to SEND EMAIL with location. Then from within your eMail app you can attach a file, and it may conveniently list your most recent photos to add to your eMail.

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I watch the "Acc" number waiting for as low a number as possible, i.e., the most accurate.

I use the SET TO CURRENT buttons when at corner post of a piece of property. I can then try to walk straight east west north or south from that point. It lists some data as I walk to say how close I am to the latitude or longitude line. I can't imagine anyone else using that feature.

Get Maps, your MBTiles map data.
  1. From main menu "Show Downloaded MBTiles List" navigates to page that lists MBTiles already downloaded.
  2. Page includes buttons to download sample Forest Park maps, and some for Mt Hood.
  3. Select one from the list then hit "SHOW SELECTED ON MAP" to set it as your new default for MAP, and to navigate to MAP.
  4. Downloading of samples is done in the background by Android. Progress can be seen from main notifications for your device. It will usually ding when finished.
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More Maps, Bigger Maps.

If it all works for Forest Park and for Mt Hood why not do more? Eleven western states. Z## (zoom level) is all important. As you zoom in more the file size can triple in size. The focus for PDXWalk is offline walking, so the maps only zoom in near paths. Find paths by looking for red lines on maps.

  1. From main page "BUY MAPS" button navigates to page to buy maps
  2. Buy Maps page has filters to limit what maps get listed. One button lists those available to buy and the other what has been bought, and thus ready to initiate a download.
  3. Some Maps Represent Groups of States:
  4. Example listing on test device:

Note: Downloading requires a Long Press on the list, and a confirmation. Files can be very large and you will likely want to be near good WiFi. You will be asked too confirm that you want to start download.

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Profile files. Open Street Map (OSM) vector data, paired with elevations at vertices calculated from SRTM DEM data.

One of these Profiles files must be downloaded and then set as default for Path Name Search to work. Enough data is contained in them to draw a nice profile image, even though I have not yet finished that feature. Raster maps show elevation contour and hill shading so that makes it partially superfluous.

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MAP Menu items.
  1. Toggles: (Note: To turn off might require navigating to home then back to MAP, to force a purge of the overlay. On TODO list to fix.)
  2. Continuously Center:
  3. Show Tracks: (If you have Rapid Tracks running, and have not RESET TRACKS, you can retrace your path, or even use it to find your car again in the mall parking lot.)
  4. Change MBTiles Map:
  5. Path Name Search (or nearby path search): (It is the bottom item, but I use it far more often than all the others.)
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Final Notes (for now):

Feel free to contribute to Open Street Maps. Contributions might then show up here in a new replacement series of maps in a year or two.

Be sure to try to download purchased maps within a year. If you have more than one device with the same google play account you can download to that other device too.

This is intended to be complete with a one time investment that is good for many years. (Maybe you might add a map or two later.) Data used for the Maps may change over time, but likely not so much that you can't wait several years before upgrading to a new series. I plan to have a reduced price scheme working to Update maps to a new series. The Android platform and development tools have already killed earlier code several times during the last five+ years since I started playing with this code. I have no control over whether they might make some catastrophic change again that mandates significant recoding.

Logging of tracks is limited to within the lower 48 US states.

SRTM elevation data has a gap in, of all places, the part of the Grand Canyon where the Arizona Trail runs through it. Contour lines and hill shading become useless at that spot.

I look forward to the story of "I was lost. Then I remembered I had this PDXWalk app installed on a cheap old Android phone as a back up tucked away in my pack. I was not lost any more."

Two ways to become a tester (April 8, 2021):

  1. via Android device
    PDXWalk app tester opt-in via Android
  2. via web page on non-Android device (PC etc)
    PDXWalk app tester opt-in via other devices

Link: How To Redeem Android Promo Code

You should always carry a printed map. Electronic gadgets and the programs that run on them are guaranteed to be fickle at precisely the time you need them the most. There are plenty of places to get printed maps. I'll point you to HikeOregon.net to possibly find a printable map. I'll call that site's hikes curated because the author actually hikes them. See great pictures and trail descriptions. Always use common sense. Sadly, having a map on a gadget takes some the original thrill and terror of being lost (temporarily) out of the experience. Knowing exactly which way to go at a fork in the trail, with no signs anywhere, is a weird feeling.

Find me on Twitter at LostRat

Downloadable Maps:

Maps zoom in only near paths.

PCT means Pacific Crest Trail and CDT means Continental Divide Trail. Available at zoom levels 12 14 and 16 for each. PCT map includes John Muir Trail. These specialized maps only zoom in at the trail (and some nearby trails and tracks). Pair them with multi-state maps, for example, to see more detail on trails and peaks away from the PCT or CDT.

California_North and California_Middle are split at a Latitude just north of Lake Tahoe, with some overlap.

California_Middle and California_Bottom are split at a Latitude near Tehachapi, with some overlap.

The choice for boundaries and zoom levels was just a guess as to what a frugal hiker might want.

The expectation is that you might get 2 or 3 maps, and have them to use for many years WITHOUT any annual subscription. If you get more than one Android device or change devices you might have to re-download. Google Play store conveniently keeps track of your purchases.

Pre-Android-11 devices are limited to 4GB files. Most older devices have very limited space. These factors influenced the choices below.