Author Topic: Alaska; new USGS topi map  (Read 3210 times)

Hugh Westacott

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Alaska; new USGS topi map
« on: September 06, 2013, 06:49:05 PM »
This shows how fortunate we are to live in a tiny country and have the Ordnance Survey as our mapping agency:
http://www.adn.com/2013/09/03/3057221/new-usgs-topo-maps-of-alaska-will.html

Hugh
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Paul Hitchen

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Re: Alaska; new USGS topi map
« Reply #1 on: September 08, 2013, 10:01:10 AM »
Amen to that Hugh, never knock OS.

I'm doing some climbing in Italy at the mo' and some of the maps here, 1:25 is not the scale, it's the chance of the map being right !  ;D

Even brands like Kompass are not great. I was on a wander weg yesterday coming off a via Ferrata and a refugio and a chapel were not marked. I'm guessing the chapel was not built yesterday!

Makes you appreciate OS.

Cheers

Callum

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Re: Alaska; new USGS topi map
« Reply #2 on: September 08, 2013, 10:48:59 AM »
A couple of years ago, we decided to tackle Via Ferrata Giuseppe Olivieri up the southern aręte up Punta, having read that it is almost entirely equipped with cables and full-on climbing with big exposure and views to die for – all these details were spot on.

The view onto the south face of Tofana di Rozes is incredible and an after a total ascent of 1500m the views across the dolomites at 2700m were worth the climb.

To reach the start we had marked up, our maps well, as the weather in late October can change at the drop of a hat. In addition I had taken the UTM coordinates from the colourful map. When we arrived at the start I waypointed our location.

Back from our holidays I always load up the waypoints, tracks and routes we have followed onto Google Earth, so you can image my surprise when the start waypoint marked from the map and the one marked when there using my satnav were 280m different – the scary thing was that on Google Earth the one I had taken in the field was spot on!!!!!!! Long live Ordnance Survey :)

Wish I was there with you now Paul ;) as we are back to swimming in The Lakes, the great summer being over :(

Paul Hitchen

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Re: Alaska; new USGS topi map
« Reply #3 on: September 08, 2013, 12:41:24 PM »
You live in the Lakes? Lucky fella! I Was there last week with Duke of Edinburgh groups around the Langdales. Crackin spot. We have a tiny place in Elterwater as my plan is to spend a year or two there when I retire and walk the lot and support the local micro breweries  ;)

Sounds as though you were much more organised than me in planning your via ferrata trip. My planning was to buy a new map and via Ferrata set as mine was a few years old and there have been a lot of product recalls. I'm managing to stay attached to the rock at the mo' which is always a result.

I think I'll pay even more attention to the map detail (or lack of it) now after your tip!

I'll say hello next time I'm in the Lakes back with OS luxury.

All the best

Lost Soul

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Re: Alaska; new USGS topi map
« Reply #4 on: September 09, 2013, 08:41:30 AM »
I was using some Kompass Maps on the Dolomites late June.  The 25K were OK.  Colourful and usefully printed on hard wearing waterproof paper but as you say chaps odd bits of critical information were missing - like complete footpaths.  Long live OS.

Having said that I picked up a couple of French IGN Carte de Randonnee.  They are 25K and provide levels of detail that are equivalent to our own OS 25K  Usefully, in flatish areas, contours are provided at 2.5 metre intervals.   Have not used them in anger so unable to comment on their true worth but as an example of the modern cartographers art they look equal to OS. 

captain paranoia

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Re: Alaska; new USGS topi map
« Reply #5 on: September 10, 2013, 12:52:14 PM »
Well, whilst it's true that OS maps are generally very accurate and well-produced, if you dig down to some of the things the USGS is doing, they are quite interesting.

For starters, the mapping is free.

Then they're making the digital maps 'live', with the ability to control the display of different layers, using extensions to PDF.

http://nationalmap.gov/alaska/ami_ustopo.html

These are very nice ideas.  Even nicer would be the ability to add your own layers; this may be possible.

The use of PDF for mapping might make for difficulties with digital mapping programs, as it looks like each PDF might be a digital, layered version of a 'conventional' map, with border, legend, etc.

The other thing to bear in mind when it comes to mapping coverage is the areas covered, and the population density.  Alaska has an area of 1.7 million km^2, whereas Great Britain is only 230 thousand km^2.  The population of Alaska is 730 thousand, whereas GB is 63 million.  So the ratio of population densities is about 640:1.  Thus, the drive to map the entire State is a little lower...  This new mapping project will produce 11 thousand new maps; that's a lot of work...

Lyle Brotherton

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Re: Alaska; new USGS topi map
« Reply #6 on: September 10, 2013, 01:49:55 PM »
Some years back I climbed my first Via Ferrata – in the Lake District of England!

In addition to being a responder I was also on the committee of Tweed Valley Mountain Rescue and we were celebrating our 40th anniversary, so I organised for the team to go and stay in the Lakes, near a great pub and climb the Honister Via Ferrata. The first thing that struck me at the Honister Slate Mine Centre, was the poor condition the issued kit was in – helmets that had not been cleaned properly, ropes that were fraying, but worst of all was the wear on the karabiners from traversing the zip wire; they would never have passed our teams kit inspection. The Via Ferrata lanyards were purpose made and seemed adequate, so we swapped the krabs out for our own.

It is a relatively easy climb and I remember climbing it thinking about the men who had worked at the mine and climbed this every day, wearing hobnail boots and without the aid of Y-shaped lanyards.

I guess its lazy climbing, because the route is not only there for you, it is pitched out too.

The following summer I was visiting northern Italy and decided to foray off to climb the original Via Ferratas. These were built as routes across The Alps to allow soldiers and partisans to travel and move with ammunition and supplies to their allies in WWI. They consist of a series of metal cables, rungs, ladders and bridges to ascend and descend tremendous and precipitous climbing routes.

They found use again, especially in Switzerland, during WWII, after which they were commercialised for public use in Switzerland, Austria, Germany and Italy.

Some are maintained, some are not. Some are challenging, some are full on exposure and require climbing as well as I discovered on my first ascent.

This Via Ferrata was in a relatively remote area that required a walk in of 6km. For this trip I had the purpose made Petzl retractable Y-shaped lanyard with tearing energy absorber, a great piece of kit. The ascent started easily enough, the iron rungs rusted but secure in the rock face. After about 30m the rock face inverted, leaning out at around 15 degrees, so you need to hook your feet under the rungs or they would swing out beneath you. This section ended after around another 20m at a ledge where there was a steel rope to support your traverse. Without this steel rope, there were no handholds and it would have been impossible to traverse. This led only more rungs and the ascent began again, however, now rungs were missing and some were loose, so I had to be a great deal more careful in selecting which rung to lock onto and at times had not to be roped on, as the distance apart was too great for my lanyard.

Exposure was full on and I knew that I was pushing my comfort zone. The ladder continued like this for around another 150m when, near the top, they ended. Now I said near the top, not at the top, because the last 10 or so rungs were completely missing and the decision was then, do I free climb these 4m or descend all the way back down.

I remember squeezing my fingers into the holes which were where the rungs would once have been and being right out of my comfort zone!

I will dig out the name of this Via Ferrata and ping it to you Paul - be aware;)
« Last Edit: September 10, 2013, 01:54:31 PM by Lyle Brotherton »
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Pete McK

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Re: Alaska; new USGS topi map
« Reply #7 on: September 11, 2013, 08:36:54 AM »
Skiing in the Alps last winter we came across a couple of Via Ferrata, which the Swiss had 'Closed' for the winter. They are not something I would attempt solo/with Emma, as Bouldering is the limit of our experience so far. Back at the chalet we were staying at, the owner told us that in the summer he led guided climbs, providing the equipment and the history, with stories of how the locals used them during the wars - it's on our ToDo list:)

Paul Hitchen

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Re: Alaska; new USGS topi map
« Reply #8 on: September 11, 2013, 09:19:58 AM »
Pete

It's definitely worth doing as it is so much easier than multi pitching rock, or Alp climbing when you have to be up at daft o clock in the morning.  Don't get me wrong I love all 3, but you can get some great height in, great views and exposure (safe isn) and be down for beer and pizza at 18:00.
Plus there is the history too - gun emplacements and brass everywhere in the rock caves at the top.

There are some reasonable guide books and graded Via Ferrata so you can select and try easy stuff first.  If you scramble grade 3 in the UK I'd suggest you will be fine.  The climbing is usually VD to S in old money, it is more about the exposure.  As Lyle always says you can get a guide.

Just watch out for companies doing 'escorted walks on Via Ferrata'.  I was talking to some at a Refugio a few trips back and after some vino, it turns  out they are students doing a season with no qualifications or experience taking punters up!  It could be your first trip up a Via Ferrata and their second.  Grey hair in an instructor is always a good sign, and they should at least be shaving in my humble view :)

If you decide to go, get in touch, happy to help with ideas if I can.

Happy climbing - Paul.

All the best

adi

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Re: Alaska; new USGS topi map
« Reply #9 on: December 26, 2013, 10:01:41 PM »
We are very lucky to have OS, The OS has mapped many parts of the world in it history basically everywhere where the UK has had an interest or a campaign. This data is very very hard to get hold of now but if you can get hold of it, it is often more accurate than maps from the national mapping agency made today. 
"We do not belong to those who only get their thought from books, or at the prompting of books - it is our custom to think in the open air, walking, leaping, climbing or dancing, of lonesome mountains by preference, or close to the sea, where even the paths become thoughtful." Friedrich Nietzsche