USAPhotoMaps by Doug Cox, Display GPS Tracks and Waypoints on Aerial Photos or Topo maps
Instructions by Jack Yeazel
(9 Dec. 2002 -Add feature to show contour lines on the aerial photos with Ver.  2.05.1)
(28 June 2004 -Add feature to show 1/4m per pixel resolution, color photos in urban areas with Ver.  2.26)
(Apr. 2005 -Add GoTo feature, quick contour retrieval, Big Jpeg file, and Garmin USB transfer with Ver.  2.65)
(1 May 2006 -Added New Features from Ver. 2.65 to 2.75 -Plus Default Coutour Procedure for Ver. Past 2.75)
Obtain Ver. 2.75 (HERE)

Main Menu
USAPhotoMaps will automatically download aerial photos or topo maps from Microsoft's Terraserver from a simple Coordinate starting point, and then fill up the screen with as much map info as you desire -or your computer can hold!

Download the Full Install of USAPhotoMaps, then click on the install program (USAPhotoMaps.exe), and follow the simple install directions. (The first .exe program creates a second .exe program which is the actual executable).  You can save or delete the install program after the installation.  This program is shareware and the author would appreciate a donation!

A drop-down menu allows one to select: Address, Populated Place (any community), USGS Landmark, or Lat/Lon.
The Address lookup (which covers the whole USA) has worked well in the few we've tried.
In GoTo a Populated Place (community), you first select the state.
To GoTo a USGS Landmark, you must know the first letter, but then you get all (within the current UTM Zone)  with that first letter.  Once selected, you will see all the Landmarks in that Zone (which can be turned off and on by pressing "L".)  The Lat/Lon can be in any UTM zone.  (These are the new easy ways to create maps.)

NEW from 2.65 to 2.75:
Corrected URL for Elevation data, added capability to change size of USAPhotoMaps window, added File -Export Tracks to GPX [format], added File -Import -Geocaching .loc files, added View Big Jpeg, added Map of USA (shows all Map Locations coordinates), and added capability to download and view Topo maps from 64 thru 512 meters/pixel (these are 1:250,000 topo maps).

NOTE: The elevation files should be in an Elevation sub folder to the USAPhotomaps folder.  Also see (HERE) for all the other changes.

The Lat/Lon coordinates can be either ddd.ddddd,,, or UTM

Downloading map squares is simplicity itself.  Just select: View, Map Type, Photo or Topo.  Then: File, Download Map Data, Fill Screen  -and the screen squares will be filled with aerial or topo images.  These images will be stored permanently in sub directories.

If you select File, Create a Big Jpeg file; you'll first see an instruction message box.  Follow the instructions.  (I find it quicker if you drag the rectangle first to the RIGHT, and then UP.)  When you release the mouse button, you'll see a progress bar at the bottom of the USAPhotoMaps screen, indicating the progress of creating a very big (temporary) file containing the uncompressed data for that area. Another progress bar will then appear, indicating the progress of creating the big jpeg file. When it's complete, you'll see a message box with something like "e123456n1234567z12p.jpg" at the top, and "has been created in the USAPhotoMaps folder."

Comm ports have been increased to 15, the Help menu adds Get Date of Photo/Topo, Routes can be converted or appended to Tracks, clicking on a waypoint that's outside the current UTM Zone takes you to that UTM Zone, and if there's no Map Location in USAPhotoMaps.ini, it asks you for a name for the new Map Location, allows text to be seen at any specified zoom level, allows Urban Area zooms to more than 2 meters/pixel, and allows more imports under File -Import.

USGS 1:24,000 and 1:250,000 topographical maps are now selectable from View, Map Type, Topo.  Topo maps can be zoomed from 4m/pixel to 512m/pixel.  They will match-up going from topo to photo, but not necessarily from photo to topo because each 4m/pixel topo image is 4 times wider and higher than a 1m/pixel photo zoomed to 4m/pixel.

(Small sections of) 4 meters per pixel topo maps and 64meters per pixel topo maps

USAPhotoMaps can also be used to show your position on the maps in real time.  Place the Garmin unit in the Garmin mode and select: GPS, Show Location.  A cookie trail of up to one hour of blue dots will appear and  will not disappear when they scroll off the screen.

 1 meter per pixel, Show-Position Track on Aerial Photo map (same area as topo map, above)

Track made while driving around the perimeter of a shopping center parking lot.  The green dots are waypoints, the eastern-most one being a survey station where the coordinates are known to within centimeters. While moving, the closest APPROACHING waypoint is displayed on the title bar.

These maps (which have four times the resolution as the black and white maps) are available by selecting: View, Map Type, Urban Areas.  Then just do: File, Download Map Data, Fill Screen.  Page Up/Down selects 0.25, 0.5, 1, 2, 4, 8, 16, or 32
meters-per-pixel resolution.  NOTE: These maps are available in only a few select areas of the US: Washington, DC, Houston, Atlanta, Los Angeles, Denver, the Bay Area, Seattle, and Chicago for now.  More cities are being added every month or so by Microsoft.

See (HERE) for a test of the accuracy of these maps.  However, see (HERE) for a registration error in the color map of the Houston, TX area and the error in an Atlanta topo map.  Microsoft's Terraserver Urban Area maps are a little off in Houston, Dallas, and Colorado Springs. Maybe they'll fix it someday.

The same corner as the below-left black and white photo map (dots) which has 4x greater resolution

This has been incorporated into USAPhotomaps (File -Download Map Data -Elevation Data) and is now much simpler.  But remember elevation data is only visible in the 1 though 8 meters per pixel zoom ranges and not in the 64 m/p grid display.  See (HERE) for an example of the contour lines (green lowest, yellow/orange highest).

Obtaining data for the contour lines isn't 'automatic' as with the photo and topo maps.  First one must obtain ConvertSDTSData.
NOTE: This zip file contains TWO .exe files.  The "new" file has been causing some problems on some computers.
Download and extract the files to the USAPhotomap/Elevation sub directory -which produces ConvertSDTSData.exe.

Obtaining Elevation Data:
1. Access and enter the coordinates of the center of you area of interest.
NOTE!: The Lat/Long coordinate format of this program is DD.MM and -DDD.MM.  (It is not DD.DDD.)
2. Download the 30m x 30m DEM data to the USAPhoto directory.  (This covers an area 7 1/2' Lat/Long 'square')
NOTE: Do not download any 10m x 10m DEM data, because it will not be processed.
3. The downloaded file will be of the form: xxxxxxx.dem.sdts.tar.gz.
4. Run ConvertSDTSData.exe to convert the *.gz file to the form: (north and west coordinates in degrees).
5. Re-boot USAPhoto.
6. By pressing C, the contour lines should appear on the photo maps, color coded as to altitude.
7. Repeat for any other photo screen without contour lines.
Placing the cursor on these enhanced maps shows the elevation of the cursor.
You can compare these contour lines with Magellan MapSend, Garmin, and the USGS Topo lines (HERE).

Zooming photos out past 8m/pixel to 16, 32, or 64m/pixel accesses a different database, requiring more map downloading.  In File, Preferences, Everything Else, is an option: -Use 1-meter photos to display 8-meter zoom level in addition to downloaded 8-meter photos (or 'not' -to avoid one step).  When you select File -Download Map Data on the Menu bar, 1 meter/pixel photos will be downloaded if the zoom level is 1 through 8, and 8m/pixel photos will be downloaded if the zoom level is 8 through 64.

Topo maps can be zoomed only from 4m/pixel to 32m/pixel; however, switching from photo to topo maps automatically corrects to the allowed zoom level.  Photo contour lines, if present, will increase accuracy as the photos are zoomed closer.

Panning will also expose new squares to be downloaded.  Once downloaded, the map data  will be seamlessly connected together and stored on the computer HD -never having to be downloaded again.  When running the cursor over the map, its coordinates are shown at the top.  Select: View, Lat/Long, and the displayed coordinates can be set to:  D, DM, DMS, or UTM.

NOTE: Use Ctrl-PageUp or Ctrl-PageDown to center the map at the cursor position.

Setup: Select: GPS, and set Com Port, Protocol, and Baud.  Set the unit to the Garmin mode.  (Garmin USB transfer is possible now.)  From:  GPS, Waypoints, press Receive.  Waypoints will be downloaded and displayed on the map as green dots.  Right-click on the dots to read the name and comments.  To list the waypoints, select: Waypoints, List.  These waypoints can be sorted either by Name or Comment.  They can also be edited, lines & distance drawn to them, deleted, or GOTO.  GoTo is a convenient way to create a new map, because a distant (but in the same UTM zone) GoTo will re-center the blank map to the waypoint where the aerial photos can then be filled in.  With Ver. 2.04.7, one can now adjust the waypoint dot sizes on the various photo or topo zoom levels.

NOTE: Only waypoints within the UTM zone of the map will be displayed and listed.  Once a New Map is created in a different zone, then the waypoints downloaded from the GPS unit in that zone will be listed.   Also, note that waypoints are stored in the *.xml files.

Select: GPS, Tracks, Receive.  After giving the track a name, it will be downloaded to a FILE.  To display this (or any other) track, select: GPS, Tracks, Display.  Tracks downloaded to a map will automatically center the map to the track.

In File, Preferences, are the options: Colors (adjust), Waypoint dots (sizes), and "Everything Else" -which is: (1) Use 1-meter photos..... (normally not checked), (2) Set the existing screen and zoom as the opening screen.  (3)  Sort waypoints initially by Name instead of by Comments (usually checked),  (4) Show current Lat/Long instead of nearest approaching waypoint....  (usually not checked),  (5) Show nearest  waypoint Name instead of Comment...  (usually checked).

By using either a Garmin GPS-V or StreetPilot-III (placed in the simulator mode), one can display the simulation of driving stored routes on the USAPhotoMap maps.  The display is almost like watching a movie!  The track dots start out slowly following the small streets and then picked up speed as the speed classification of the various reads increases -always showing the closest approaching waypoint in the Title Bar.

Pressing "Q" and then running the cursor over the map will expose the row name of the 200-meter square maps, but not the column name, for example z16y18827 where 16 is the zone and 18827 is Northing divided by 200.  This information is helpful if ever one has some rows of maps that are corrupted.  Simply go into the "usaphotomapsdata" sub directory and delete the same-named files.  The size of these files is determined by how many squares have been downloaded to the row.

The row and column name of the center of the named map is explained in the Help, Advanced file, and can be used to fine-tune map coordinates in the USAPhotoMaps.ini file.  For example: Atlanta&X=3709&Y=18764&Z=16 where the numbers are Easting and Northing divided by 200, and the Zone.  Tracks are stored in *.csv files -which can be viewed by Excel, and Waypoints are stored in *.xml files which can be viewed by Internet Explorer.   By opening the Elev.ini file, one can read the names of the 7 1/2' quadrangles containing the DEM data downloaded for the photo contour lines.

This program has been tested with a G-12XL, GPS-III+, GPS-V, GPSmap 76SC(x), and Vista-C(x).

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