How do I turn my GPS track logs into a nice-looking trail map? Do I need a GIS package?
I'd like to make some high-quality maps of the hiking trails near my house. I have a handheld GPS, and I already have the downloading and conversion to GPX
of the track logs worked out. However, that's as far as I've gotten. Starting from this big pile of data, which needs to be cleaned up substantially, how do I get a nice vector map?
I can load the track files into Google Earth right now, but that's not really what I'm looking for. I need some way to edit the tracks, choose how they're represented (some are the actual trails, some represent the boundaries of the park, some are surface roads, etc.), add labels, and generally turn it into something that people can use.
It seems like this is getting into GIS territory, but I admit to knowing next to nothing about GIS packages or really what they do, beyond a vague idea that it has something to do with maps. Do I need a GIS package? If so, which one? I'm willing to spend some money on this (although not the $2500 that ArcGIS apparently costs). Windows, Mac and Linux are all options, although Linux/Mac are preferred.
Some things I've looked at include GRASS
, which seems to be raster-based; GeoServer
, which seems intriguing but seems like more of a middleware/server component than a desktop editing application; Mapyrus
, which seems something like what I'm looking for; and QCAD
, which isn't a GIS at all but a CAD program, but maybe that's more what I need?
I've seen surveyors working with GPS units, so I know there must be some way of transforming that data into useful maps — how do I bridge the gap?