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Gps unit for stand mapping

Started by ekirk37, March 05, 2024, 03:21:11 PM

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I own a 400+acre forest farm and I am looking for a handheld gps unit whereby I can map stands, trails, corners, etc and be able to transfer that info to google earth or some other mapping program. Looking for one that will give me acreage. Any ideas?


I use (to the best of my very limited ability with such tech things)
OnXhunt for mapping. It's a free downloaded phone app that works pretty well and might just be great in someone else's hands. 
When I was looking into these "apps" there were others, this was recommended by a friend who showed me his mapping on his phone. 


As a forester, I use a Garmin 66st, it's a few years old now. Disclaimer, it is not anywhere near survey grade so don't rely on a consumer product to mark boundaries. But it can get you pretty close. You can transfer the tracks, waypoints, etc. to the Garmin basecamp app on your computer. With a little work I can transfer between my GPS and ArcGIS.

I do find Avenza or OnX helpful, but not as good as a dedicated handheld Garmin. There is a function on the Garmin handheld to calculate acreage, but it is almost painful to use. Better off recording the tracks and figuring it out on the computer. 

There is probably a way to put the tracks, waypoints, etc. on Google earth, I just haven't done it yet.


CalTopo on an iPad is my tool in the woods. Free version, download layers for $20/year, $50 gets the layers I need in the field, including parcel data with APN, $100 for a desktop app. I need Assessor's Parcel Number. OnX and GaiaGPS only have owner name and address.

Web version has different capabilities than the app, use both. 

You can draw points, lines, and polygons. Measure length and area.  Produce profiles.

The built in layers can be stacked. There is a slider for opacity. Try the shaded relief layer.

"Prints" GeoPDFs that can be used in Avenza and other programs. 

Easy to share maps to view or edit. Import/Export in .KML and other formats. 

CalTopo was started to support Search and Rescue with online mapping and runs SaR specific servers. 
Carbon sequestered upon request.


Garmin GPSMAP 64SX to collect tracks and import into Google Earth Pro under 'Tools' check 'GPS' and it will import the files and place them on a map that has photography of your land. I've used property line maps in Google Earth, I bring them in as kml files, can also be shapefiles and 40 other formats. Google earth has measuring tools for length and area. If you want something more than that you can use ExpertGPS, which is hugely popular in forestry. An annual subscription gives you photography on the maps. You don't need a subscription to run the software, just one time purchase, but you have access to the photography for just one year. I collect track data over the span of a week that is worth more than the GPS. I used to run expensive Trimble units that costs several thousand $$ and I saw no difference in areas or shapes that would be within the 3% allowance. Never had a single complaint from government or mills that data was submitted to. I also use Mapwel to create my own custom maps to run as a map overlay in the GPS, you can turn the overlays off/on in the GPS just like you can of Garmin's maps. I put property boundaries, streams, forest roads in mine, as well as an outline of the perimeter I want to walk on the ground to measure, used as a guide. Local maps are way more accurate than Garmin's generic maps. Basecamp software has been useless to me.
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Most smartphones will do what you want using free apps
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I really like the Caltopo app!  Lots of fun stuff. I'll have to play with it more to see what levels I need. An iPad would be nice with this when used with a stylus to draw polygons, etc.  My fat finger on an iPhone is not very accurate. 

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