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  1. #1
    Spike
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    I just bought a Garmin Etrex 20 GPS bundle for a trip out to Ohio this fall. The place were I am going, Wayne National Forest, has a lot of private land mixed in with the public land and I want to use the GPS to stay on the public land.

    I am planning on using my new GPS during early bow to get used to it here at home in New Jersey before heading West. Do any of you guys use Plat (Private land boundary) maps to overlay your topo maps on your GPS units in NJ? If so how do you do it and were do you get the Plat maps from online? I can only find the Plat maps in hard copy form (Paper).

  2. #2
    Spike bergenguy's Avatar
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    I've used them in the past in NY. Unfortunately there is no standard way to get them. You just have to dig. In the two counties that I was interested in, I dug through their websites, usually in the tax assessors portion and found them there. At the time, I had to overlay them on google maps to create a GPX file which had the appropriate coordinates in it. Both counties used two different systems (3rd party providers for the maps), so it wasn't the same process to get the maps I needed.

    One thing you may also want to try for your purposes is to check out the state level resources. Sometimes, the state DNR/fish&game/DEC sites will post fairly detailed maps with private prop boundaries.

    A few months back Outdoor Life printed an article on GPS maps. I tore it out and it is on my desk in front of me right now. I haven't had a chance to check out the sites they noted, but. For pay maps, they identified huntinggpsmaps.com for free maps they called out GPSfiledepot.com. I haven't had a chance to check either out.

    Hope this helps a little, let us know what you find out.

  3. #3
    Spike
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    bergenguy...thanks for your reply...that exact same article in Outdoor life is what got me going on the GPS kick. I checked out huntinggpsmaps.com and a their pre-loaded plat map SD cards are just what I was after, but they only sell them for way out West like Montana and Illinois. So far as I can tell there is no ready to buy GPS plat map set for NJ. Looks like I will have to do some digging and create the maps for the GPS from scratch as you have suggested. I should get the new GPS from Cabelas early next week so will start working on it then.

    I still find it hard to believe that GPS compatible plat maps do not exist for NJ as our taxes pay for the creation of the hard copy plat maps and you know we pay enough taxes.

    bergenguy...thanks again for the information, now I know what I have to do.

  4. #4
    Spike bergenguy's Avatar
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    Your welcome!

    I was curious to see what was available in NJ, so I did quick scan of the bergen county site. There, I found a bunch of maps pretty quickly under the parks & recreation section. Basically, looks like they took PLAT maps as the basis of creating the park map which shows the boundaries of the adjoining plots. If you're in north NJ and want to play around with maps and boundaries. Here is the link

    http://www.co.bergen.nj.us/bcparks/LocalParks.aspx

    use the selector on the upper right to pick a park and on that page will be a link to its map.

    Some things to keep in mind when making/using your own maps are:
    - some GPS units have file size limits on importing custom maps, so you may need to play with size/resolution
    - When taking a map of a larger area, even though the boundaries are pencil thin, when you zoom down to a usable elevation on your GPS that pencil thin line may be 40ft across. To get the resolution that you'll want, you may want to break up large maps into small sections.
    - Due to terrain, curvature of the earth, etc. your accuracy of laying down boundary lines for properties from a 2D map is going to be limited
    - The nature of creating a GPX file using a google earth overlay is also soemwhat imprecise. You can get close and sometimes dead on... but you still need to be mainain a little skepticism when relying on GPS for exact boundaries.
    - In hilly and rough terrain and sometimes just 'because', the GPS reading doesn't match where you are. As tests, I've imported and live recorded GPS readings at the property pins of my parents place in upstate NY (some of which are deep in ravines). I rarely get the same reading and sometimes it will say I'm on top of it withing 10ft of accuracy... but I know that I'm at least 60ft away. Sometimes it is dead on.

    I guess the point is, GPS units are great, but you'll still need to use some commom sense and awareness to make sure you don't stray into places that you are not supposed to be. Give a little cushion when bumping up against those property lines and you should be fine.

    Good Luck and Have Fun

  5. #5
    Spike
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    Bergenguy...thanks for all the info and resetting my expectations on GPS accuracy. The GPS I ordered is the etrex 20 which is the first Garmin to use both GPS and GLONASS (Russian Federation Satellites) for more accuracy, but if the overlays are even slightly off I could be way off. I will use your advice while I try to create the maps for my area and give at least a 50 yard cushion for boundaries.

    Thanks for the link, but I live in South Jersey (Salem County) and it looks like all the plat maps are on paper only. I guess I can scan these to convert to digital images. I am also looking into signing up for Garmin's BirdsEye Satellite Imagery to help me find transition areas on "new to me" property.

    My main focus is getting used to and testing my GPS before heading out to Ohio. The state forest where I am going is 160,000 acres so I can give more cushion for the private boundaries out there and the GPS should give me another layer of comfort when coupled with my magnetic compass to navigate back home.

    Looking forward to playing around with the new GPS.

    Thanks Again,
    Dave

  6. #6
    Fawn JRinWV's Avatar
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    Plat plotting software

    Quote Originally Posted by hedown View Post
    I just bought a Garmin Etrex 20 GPS bundle for a trip out to Ohio this fall. The place were I am going, Wayne National Forest, has a lot of private land mixed in with the public land and I want to use the GPS to stay on the public land.

    I am planning on using my new GPS during early bow to get used to it here at home in New Jersey before heading West. Do any of you guys use Plat (Private land boundary) maps to overlay your topo maps on your GPS units in NJ? If so how do you do it and were do you get the Plat maps from online? I can only find the Plat maps in hard copy form (Paper).
    I wrote some software to plot a plat online in Google maps & generate a file (GPX) that can be plugged in to a GPS. In fact the example I have for the online 'quick start' is a local hunt club. Would like to get your opinion on whether it works for what you are trying to do:

    Plat Plotter User Blog: About Plat Plotter
    Plat Plotter v1.17.7

    Jason

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