#1  
Old 09-16-2012, 04:44 AM
Js_TechX Js_TechX is offline
Newbie
 
Join Date: Jan 2012
Location: Downingtown, PA
Years Playing: 10.7
Courses Played: 103
Throwing Style: RHFH
Posts: 10
Niced 0 Times in 0 Posts
Default Course map creation usable for GPS apps

I have about 2 years seriously playing DG on roughly 15 or so courses, some played multiple times (maybe 100 or so rounds thus far). I find the DGCR site quite helpful to both identify courses in an area and often provide a course map to give an idea of the layout and where to park. Many courses still leave you confused as to tee and pin/basket locations until you play the course a time or two. Having a hard time to locate a pin or worse playing to the wrong one is often discouraging.

Being tech savvy, I have given thought to ideas on simplifying the map issue for use with standard GPS apps to better show your location relative to the tees, pins, and other details of the course. I have spent some time poring over the details of the GPS world in regards to the apps and data (markers, trails, overlays, etc). I notice that www.EasyScoreCard.net has courses with tee and hole info which seems to be an ideal goal but maybe intimidating for most to input or manage a course seeing minimal DG courses there (just a guess). So my thoughts were drawn to how to take a graphic of already drawn courses (if to scale) or easily create it using Google/Bing/other satellite images (available graphics could be used as a guide). The GPS-data world has a thing called ground-overlays which is essentially a graphic image (JPG/PNG/etc) bound by GPS coordinates and drawn over the location in your GPS app. The data is imported using a KML-file or technically a KMZ which has the image-file within and KML detail to display it at location.

OK that's fine, sounds good, but is it possible? The answer is yes as I did do that with a variety of freeware or commonly available software. For now, I'll summarize it as acquiring satellite images (several screen shots pieced together), save as JPG for background, use a graphic editor to add boxes/circles/lines/etc for tee/pin/path details, save as new JPG (the course layout), then create a KMZ that can be downloaded and imported into the GPS app. The KMZ-file can be created using a freeware app called "KML Builder". The course layout is best done in any graphic editor that can create the squares, circles, lines while keeping the imported satellite image graphic locked in place while you add the course details. MS-Publisher or MS-Visio as well as many other apps can do this. I can elaborate with detailed steps but keeping it short for now (I hope anyway).

Before going further with this, I thought it useful to get input from those who have ventured the course layout and GPS usage details as to whether or not this is a sensible yet relatively easy to implement and useful idea. I would have attached a sample KMZ-file which I have created and test imported into a free Android app "Locus Free" (Menu/Data/Import/Local File) for a local course but those file-types are not allowed. The end result is the course layout graphic showing in your active GPS app display.

-JS-
Sponsored Links
Reply With Quote
  #2  
Old 09-16-2012, 10:39 AM
Speedly's Avatar
Speedly Speedly is offline
Birdie Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2010
Location: Sacramento, CA
Years Playing: 9.7
Courses Played: 12
Throwing Style: RHBH
Posts: 421
Niced 0 Times in 0 Posts
Default

Speaking as someone who has personally put in a big chunk of our local courses into the Easy Scorecard database (including GPS mappings), the process is really simple, and I can't help but say that you definitely went the hard route by far.
Reply With Quote
  #3  
Old 09-16-2012, 11:33 AM
Dave242's Avatar
Dave242 Dave242 is offline
* Ace Member *
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: Lake Forest, IL
Years Playing: 25.8
Courses Played: 386
Throwing Style: LHBH
Posts: 4,508
Niced 23 Times in 10 Posts
Default

Have you ever used the app from www.maprika.com?

I imagine that it would be a whole lot easier to make maps using aerial photography and just mount them into Maprika than mapping coordinates for every tee.
Reply With Quote
  #4  
Old 09-20-2012, 01:44 PM
Js_TechX Js_TechX is offline
Newbie
 
Join Date: Jan 2012
Location: Downingtown, PA
Years Playing: 10.7
Courses Played: 103
Throwing Style: RHFH
Posts: 10
Niced 0 Times in 0 Posts
Default

Interesting feedback from both (Speedly & Dave242). I have taken a look at both options presented and agree they have some merit. Of concern is the bigger picture in managing course change updates (of course this applies to any method) and GPS inaccuracies that so many commonly used devices have (if methods rely on field data collection).

I like the idea of accurate GPS-locations of tees/pins/etc. as supported by the Easy Scorecard database and its related device app. The concern is of the potential for "garbage-in, garbage-out" related to devices of the users (map makers) and GPS inaccuracies per above. I guess the big question here is whether or not the data collection must be done in the field (the DG course) or if there is a simple means to mark the points while there and update later offsite (of course markings under the trees would be a challenge too). The website could also use a guide or some info to outline the process. (Speedly) I would be interested to know your thoughts on this or your streamlined process in creating maps having done a few.

The "Maprika" option seems to do the same as the "KML Builder" once you have the map created and probably has an easier method to align the map to the Google-map it overlays. With "KML Builder" you align the 4 corners but also assume the base map is not rotated (as in North is at the top). The "Maprika" app does have some interesting features for map usage. I presume the end map is a KMZ-file. I guess map creators could go either route here.

If apps like "Maprika" use KMZ-files (a standard in the GPS world), maybe the DGCR site should support them for download as well as to promote their use. Of course there would need to be some guidance on methods to create them. Many DG-courses already have some course layout graphics available as a start. Ideally those who created or manage them could be encouraged to convert them for use with GPS-enabled apps if we can outline the simplicity to do that. And of course we would not want to exclude the point-accuracy options provided by "Easy Scorecard" or similar apps for those map makers that can support them.

One thing I can say about creating a custom graphic map is that nowadays you can get a good baseline of the grounds from piecing together a few screen captures of the satellite image, import it as background to any program supporting graphics editing, then add your circles/squares/lines/etc for pins/tees/paths/etc (preferably using vector graphics), and text to mark parking or other important notes. The accuracy within 10-20ft should be OK but the map maker can provide useful details that will show in the map view of the GPS app. My guess is that all maps created have gone this route somehow or another to create those downloadable from the DGCR site. Its not really that difficult or a "hard route" to go for those comfortable with using the many graphic editor programs available these days.

Getting back to the main idea of moving the DGCR mapping to the next level (GPS enabled), I think we have a good start here being that the feedback thus far indicates some technical savvy and experience in applying this to DG game and typical users. The significance of the mapping is more for use on unfamiliar courses (regular and newbie players) as opposed to those played on a regular basis. In general, the common software tools and devices available (GPS-enabled phones) are at a point where we should be able to mass support GPS-enabled DG maps (KMZ-files on DGCR site or GPS data from Easy Scorecard database).

I would like to know any thoughts or ideas on moving this forward or if its more hopeful than realistic for mass support.
Reply With Quote
  #5  
Old 09-20-2012, 02:07 PM
KenTyburski's Avatar
KenTyburski KenTyburski is offline
Eagle Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2010
Location: Raleigh, NC
Years Playing: 10.6
Courses Played: 155
Throwing Style: RHBH
Posts: 959
Niced 2 Times in 2 Posts
Default

In my experience, the problem with GPS is that most portable devices (iPads, iPhones, etc.) don't do super well with distances smaller than 20-30 meters, so it might be hard for a GPS system to get the pinpoint accuracy that a simple map overlay would give you. On the other hand, I live, work, and play disc golf in an area that's marginally devoid of great 3G or better network coverage, so that may be what's informing my skepticism. I would love to get my GPS-enabled phone or iPad out in a more urban park covered by 3G/4G networks and see if the accuracy is any better.

I love the idea of a GPS-based "app" for course maps - so much so that I have tried toying with that here where I work/live (a private school campus where I practice half of the time, and where I am planning on setting up a temp course). But the coverage issues make it frustrating. Mapping utilities and overlays have been the best option by far for what I am trying to do.
Reply With Quote
  #6  
Old 09-20-2012, 02:38 PM
Dave242's Avatar
Dave242 Dave242 is offline
* Ace Member *
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: Lake Forest, IL
Years Playing: 25.8
Courses Played: 386
Throwing Style: LHBH
Posts: 4,508
Niced 23 Times in 10 Posts
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by KenTyburski View Post
In my experience, the problem with GPS is that most portable devices (iPads, iPhones, etc.) don't do super well with distances smaller than 20-30 meters, so it might be hard for a GPS system to get the pinpoint accuracy that a simple map overlay would give you.
In very heavily wooded settings with leaves, I have seen the 20-30M innaccuracy you speak of (doing geocaching with my kids). That accuracy is not quite good enough for geocaching or DG, IMO.

But if there are any sight-lines to the sky, it is more like 20-30 feet.....which is fine for basic mapping/navigation (but not good enough for calculating hole lengths).
Reply With Quote
  #7  
Old 09-20-2012, 02:41 PM
Tfire25's Avatar
Tfire25 Tfire25 is offline
Double Eagle Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2011
Location: grandview tx
Years Playing: 8.7
Courses Played: 38
Throwing Style: RHBH
Posts: 1,167
Niced 15 Times in 12 Posts
Default

Not to be an ass or hijack your thread but was any of that in English? J/k. It's like you drank 12 cups of coffee and decided to write something down.

In regards to your question, I dont know how many people would use that. The first tee is usually easy to find and most courses flow well together. It just seems like you spent a lot of work/time for something the masses may not use.

Then again I may be completly wrong in my interpretation of what you said. Actually, I'm pretty sure I am. Its all good though cause I'm munching on some taco casa and who can concentrate while molesting some Mexican food.
Reply With Quote
  #8  
Old 09-21-2012, 12:57 AM
Js_TechX Js_TechX is offline
Newbie
 
Join Date: Jan 2012
Location: Downingtown, PA
Years Playing: 10.7
Courses Played: 103
Throwing Style: RHFH
Posts: 10
Niced 0 Times in 0 Posts
Default

I presume you're commenting on my long post (Tfire25). Yeah it's long but never easy to post something loaded w/ technical content in a short blurb w/o losing context. The most time spent was to create the graphic map of a local course I play with an outdated DGCR map. Taking that map to a GPS supported KMZ/KML file was actually the quick and easy part.

Anyway, constructive criticism is good especially if it has merit. For playing on familiar courses I think you're right that most would not bother or find it useless. It's when we visit a new or unfamiliar course that it helps to find the park entry and parking areas, first tee, and course layout of all holes. It might also better promote the sport.

Something I stumbled on today from another DGCR thread is a course laid out using "GPS Visualizer" at the following link:
http://www.oregondiscgolf.com/course...s_Hideout.html

I checked into "GPS Visualizer" using "sandbox" mode and find it another option for map creation but probably a learning curve for most to easily create a map like that in the link. It does have all the useful stuff though.

Again, its the question of promoting downloadable maps on DGCR that can be used on a GPS-enabled phone and show your location on the course layout. Using the above example, imagine your first time there and having no signs or decent path between hole-4 and hole-5. Locating your whereabouts on the course map would avoid a lot of confusion and wasted time.
Reply With Quote
 

  #9  
Old 09-21-2012, 04:24 PM
giles's Avatar
giles giles is offline
* Ace Member *
 
Join Date: May 2008
Location: Pagosa Springs, CO
Years Playing: 23.2
Courses Played: 212
Posts: 2,204
Niced 28 Times in 22 Posts
Default

I'm having trouble uploading files to my Garmin. They don't show up as selectable poi just as proximity. I need a simple fix?
Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Disc golf GPS apps? livedoen4 Other Gear 2 09-21-2012 12:00 PM
Usable Disc? Rockiesfan4ever General Disc Golf Chat 18 07-08-2012 03:23 AM
GPS apps for iPhone or Android Jeterdawg Vacations & Road Trips 12 01-20-2012 07:21 PM
Question about using GPS to map out a new course. kurtdemarra Discs 4 10-12-2011 05:43 PM
Critique welcome. (usable distance help) TBpantsReaper Form Analysis/Critique 7 10-12-2011 02:18 PM


All times are GMT -4. The time now is 05:43 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.10
Copyright ©2000 - 2020, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.