How to make a good, accurate map of a small village

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Caduceus
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How to make a good, accurate map of a small village

Post by Caduceus » Thu Feb 21, 2019 6:17 pm

I want to make an accurate, detailed map of a small area (only about 1,000 residents, maybe about 400 buildings, many abandoned). The area is small but incredibly dense (some of the sidewalks are so narrow that only small adults can squeeze through) with interesting hidden landmarks in odd places (many ancient shrines/religious artifacts in forgotten corners).

Does anyone have recommendations about how to go about doing this?

I don't want to use hand and paper because I am not trained in cartography and will most likely get the bearings and measurements wrong. The roads are not modern roads and don't progress in a straight line.

Are there any good computer programs/software/equipment that would help me to map a small area accurately in a cost-effective manner?

Thanks

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aspirit
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Re: How to make a good, accurate map of a small village

Post by aspirit » Thu Feb 21, 2019 6:19 pm

Drone. Good luck.
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Ice-9
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Re: How to make a good, accurate map of a small village

Post by Ice-9 » Thu Feb 21, 2019 6:25 pm

GIS software? You can use the free open source QGIS, with a bit of a learning curve. Might be able to trace everything you mentioned from an aerial photo.

Download https://qgis.org/en/site/forusers/download.html

Intro https://docs.qgis.org/2.8/en/docs/gentl ... roduction/

If in US, you could find and download aerial photo from USGS National Map: https://viewer.nationalmap.gov/advanced-viewer/

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gtownsend
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Re: How to make a good, accurate map of a small village

Post by gtownsend » Thu Feb 21, 2019 6:32 pm

Take a look at openstreetmap.org. It's a crowd-sourced mapping project covering the whole world. Start from what's there and add the details of your village. The map editor runs in your web browser.

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Bammerman
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Re: How to make a good, accurate map of a small village

Post by Bammerman » Thu Feb 21, 2019 6:36 pm

How about this: (1) select the area of interest in Google Earth; (2) print out that area (maybe using four area selections = four print-outs); (3) use tracing paper to trace the outlines of the roads, houses, streams, etc. (if necessary, glue/tape the tracing paper sheets together); (4) photograph, or photocopy, the finished (attached) tracing papers.

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Epsilon Delta
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Re: How to make a good, accurate map of a small village

Post by Epsilon Delta » Thu Feb 21, 2019 7:50 pm

There may already be a detailed accurate map. Try asking whatever government organizations work there. Highway departments, planning boards, tax department, etc. Sometimes public records are in the public domain so you can use them freely.

adamthesmythe
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Re: How to make a good, accurate map of a small village

Post by adamthesmythe » Thu Feb 21, 2019 8:32 pm

> (1) select the area of interest in Google Earth

Google Earth is amazing. And free.

Although Mr. Google will know what you are interested in.

livesoft
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Re: How to make a good, accurate map of a small village

Post by livesoft » Thu Feb 21, 2019 8:36 pm

If you live in/can visit the small village, then you can walk every street/nook/cranny while having your smartphone track your progress. Plenty of GPS apps will do this for you. Upload the data and you are all set to superimpose it on a satellite or aerial photo or other map.
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AerialP
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Re: How to make a good, accurate map of a small village

Post by AerialP » Thu Feb 21, 2019 8:51 pm

gtownsend wrote:
Thu Feb 21, 2019 6:32 pm
Take a look at openstreetmap.org. It's a crowd-sourced mapping project covering the whole world. Start from what's there and add the details of your village. The map editor runs in your web browser.
Yes yes, give openstreetmap dot org a whirl. They have several kinds of interfaces with aerial imagery where you trace and draw your own geobase.
In fact, they contribute to humanitarian relief with their tools, having folks in the comfort of their own chairs crowdmap by tracing and encoding infrastructure after disasters.
Otherwise, if you're ready to learn some shade-tree GIS then the opensource QGIS software is another avenue. Create a layer with a public domain imagery provider and then in a different layer begin placing your lines (vectors) and your symbology.

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Caduceus
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Re: How to make a good, accurate map of a small village

Post by Caduceus » Fri Feb 22, 2019 12:18 am

livesoft wrote:
Thu Feb 21, 2019 8:36 pm
If you live in/can visit the small village, then you can walk every street/nook/cranny while having your smartphone track your progress. Plenty of GPS apps will do this for you. Upload the data and you are all set to superimpose it on a satellite or aerial photo or other map.
This is a very promising idea. Thanks, Livesoft. Can you elaborate a little more please? I am not familiar with GPS apps - what is an example of what you are speaking of? And when you say "upload the data" do you mean that the app will be transmitting my coordinates and recording it as I move, and that I can then "connect the dots" subsequently in order to trace an outline of the map? Is that what you mean?

I really like this idea. In fact, if this is workable, this would be exactly what I'd love to do.
Last edited by Caduceus on Fri Feb 22, 2019 12:22 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Caduceus
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Re: How to make a good, accurate map of a small village

Post by Caduceus » Fri Feb 22, 2019 12:19 am

AerialP wrote:
Thu Feb 21, 2019 8:51 pm
gtownsend wrote:
Thu Feb 21, 2019 6:32 pm
Take a look at openstreetmap.org. It's a crowd-sourced mapping project covering the whole world. Start from what's there and add the details of your village. The map editor runs in your web browser.
Yes yes, give openstreetmap dot org a whirl. They have several kinds of interfaces with aerial imagery where you trace and draw your own geobase.
In fact, they contribute to humanitarian relief with their tools, having folks in the comfort of their own chairs crowdmap by tracing and encoding infrastructure after disasters.
Otherwise, if you're ready to learn some shade-tree GIS then the opensource QGIS software is another avenue. Create a layer with a public domain imagery provider and then in a different layer begin placing your lines (vectors) and your symbology.

Unfortunately, Openstreetmap is useless for my purposes. They have good basic details for many areas of the world. But for the village that I'm looking at, they have only the nearest roads. Everything else is a big patch of nothing. It is like looking at a blank piece of paper, so there's not much it's offering me to start with.

The roads in the village are organic and are like a labyrinth. I would not be able to draw a basic outline using software on my own. I could do that - I think - in a city area with modern roads and buildings, but not for this.
Last edited by Caduceus on Fri Feb 22, 2019 12:21 am, edited 1 time in total.

Jeep4Life
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Re: How to make a good, accurate map of a small village

Post by Jeep4Life » Fri Feb 22, 2019 12:21 am

+100 bammerman and adamthesmythe. Google Earth is incredibly accurate, even doing elevation mapping. Like another poster said, all your results wind up at GoogleCentral, but hopefully you aren't doing anything to interest them.

livesoft
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Re: How to make a good, accurate map of a small village

Post by livesoft » Fri Feb 22, 2019 3:28 pm

Caduceus wrote:
Fri Feb 22, 2019 12:18 am
This is a very promising idea. Thanks, Livesoft. Can you elaborate a little more please? I am not familiar with GPS apps - what is an example of what you are speaking of? And when you say "upload the data" do you mean that the app ...
I was thinking of something like alltrails.com or mapmyhike.com

I have never uploaded data, but I keep seeing GPX file stuff
https://fileinfo.com/extension/gpx
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adamthesmythe
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Re: How to make a good, accurate map of a small village

Post by adamthesmythe » Fri Feb 22, 2019 4:17 pm

A further note about Google Earth- if you have a GPS unit (like a Garmin) then you can save a route that you have walked and import that directly into Google Earth. I think you can also import annotated waypoints.

It's not particularly transparent (Garmin in particular is not strong when it comes to designing software interfaces).

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celia
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Re: How to make a good, accurate map of a small village

Post by celia » Fri Feb 22, 2019 4:56 pm

I am an OpenStreeMap.org editor too. It's a worldwide map that anyone can edit, like wikipedia is. But takes a while to get the hang of it.

I use "Edit with ID" where you see an underlying aerial map. Unfortunately, the aerial maps for large urban areas are updated more frequently and are better resolution. It your village is remote or not near an urban area, the aerial maps might not be of much use, but you could sign up for a free account and look around using "Edit with ID".

For example, all of California is clear on the aerial maps and many things are fairly well labeled since lots of tech people live and travel in the state. When I went to Maine a few years ago, I looked at the aerial map and the parts not on the coast (where most of the population lives) were fuzzy. But I straightened out many roads to match the aerial map as best I could before the trip and outlined the larger buildings. When I got there, I saw what company was using each building, and tagged it with the company/school/government agency name on my iPhone using the Guru Maps app (formerly Galileo app for older phones). Then when I got home, I edited the map online using my computer again with the names of the company/school/government agency).

In your case, you would want to edit as much as you can determine from the aerial map before you go. But if this is for something like an archaeological dig, this will likely not be what you want

wanderer
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Re: How to make a good, accurate map of a small village

Post by wanderer » Fri Feb 22, 2019 11:11 pm

To create a "track" as livesoft suggests...
I use the "MotionX" app on an iPhone 7 to record my tracks. There are other apps. You can then save the "track" and send it to an email (such as your own) to use on a computer. MotionX sends both a "GPX" and a "KML" version of the track for your convenience. To save the location of houses, or other "points of interest" as a "waypoint.

You could also buy a dedicate devise such as a Garmin Montana GPS device.

Once you have the tracks and waypoints on a PC you can view them in Google Earth and create some basic "maps".

To create other map styles, including street maps you can use QGIS (a "Free Open-Source Software"). Load in a background basemap from OpenStreet maps, Google, Bing, and many others. See reference above.

Depending on your experience, this may be a steep learning curve. But I did it a few years ago for my volunteer work.

Good luck!

retire2022
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Re: How to make a good, accurate map of a small village

Post by retire2022 » Fri Feb 22, 2019 11:23 pm

Op

I own 89 acres, and used Trail Maker app on iphone to mark the spots on my property using GPS data inputted as I walk around property, then I exported the data to Google Earth. This was simple, and easiest to do.

https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/trail-m ... 98801?mt=8

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Caduceus
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Re: How to make a good, accurate map of a small village

Post by Caduceus » Sat Feb 23, 2019 8:21 am

Thank you all for the suggestions. I will continue researching the options you have given me.

One thing that complicates some of the suggestions, I have since discovered, is that the the village is located in one of the regions in the world where Google Earth may not have accurate data (I am not sure why - maybe for national security reasons or maybe commercial reasons). I've looked at the area on Google Earth and the data seems off. Lots of white squares, blue squares, trees in the middle of roads, etc. It is a little strange. It's not an important area at all - it's actually fairly poor, economically, but extremely rich in its history and heritage.

If someone knows a program that is capable of tracking my footsteps, and transmitting that information into a program that can chart out the spatial dimensions accurately, that is all I need, really. I do not need the GPS satellite portion of it. I just need to be able to trace out the entire topography by walking the entire region and have it map out the lines on some software program.

Thanks!

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