Drew S., a rancher in West Texas, asks:
I am a rancher in West Texas. I need mapping software that can print out maps for planning use on the ranch. This is what I need it to do:
1) import GPS routes to create roads and boundary fences and fields (using Garmin GPS 76), and waypoints.
2) The ability to edit the roads or to freehand a road or line on to a Nat. Geo. Topo or to aerial photos or to USGS soil survey maps.
3) Save different maps for each year (where deer blinds where in past years).
4) Use editing tools to mark, name and use symbols to identity areas on the map.
5) Be able to print out a map using my home printer.
Can your software do all this?
Yes, ExpertGPS will be able to do everything you’re looking for in a ranch mapping software product. ExpertGPS will retrieve the Garmin waypoints and tracklogs you record around your ranch, marking roads, fences, and fields. ExpertGPS has a bunch of built-in styles so you can give all of the gravel roads on your property a different look than the paved ones, and you can color-code your fields based on crop type or any other attribute.
You can create roads by driving them with the GPS in the truck, or you can draw them in freehand with the Track tool in ExpertGPS, using the aerial photos for reference.
In addition to the built-in aerial photos and USGS topo maps in ExpertGPS, you can add your own Scanned Maps. I’ve written detailed instructions on calibrating a scanned map which will allow you to view your USGS soil maps or any other map of your ranch in ExpertGPS.
ExpertGPS stores your data in GPX format, which is the standard format for exchanging GPS data. If you want to compare deer blind, deer feeder, and scouting locations from different years, just save each year’s data in a different GPX file. You can view any GPX file over any map in ExpertGPS, so it’s easy to compare changes in deer behavior and sightings and place your blinds accordingly.
I’ve written a paper on using ExpertGPS, your Garmin GPS receiver, and your digital camera to build a photographic map of deer sign or any other data you’d like to collect on your ranch.
ExpertGPS makes it easy to add GPS data, photos, and your own notes to any map – there are tools for drawing directly on the maps and adding symbols and markers. Any map you create can be printed on your home printer, or you can export a huge (8000×8000 pixel) image file to send to a print shop to make a wall-size map for your ranch or hunting lease.
Download the 30 day free demo of ExpertGPS and give it a try. If you have any questions about using ExpertGPS for ranch mapping, hunting, or mapping your property, I’m always here to help.