Today, using just my phone, I managed to download GPSBabel source code, build it, use it to convert a GPX track into waypoints, and load the waypoints version into the Topo Maps app. It’s a fantastic app, it lets you download high res scans of USGS quads and do all sorts of things with them. Including overlaying GPX waypoints. But it doesn’t work well with GPX tracks yet, only waypoints. The distinction is not really clear to me either.

There are readily available downloads of the entire AT as GPX tracks. But not as waypoints. That’s why I had to go through all that.

The other app that let me do all that was iSSH, which I blogged about before. I didn’t really do all that “on my phone” of course, it was on a remote Linux box. But I did it all from my phone.

So anyway, I can now view the entire trail clearly labelled, with shelters marked, on top of high res topo maps. It’s much better than the dedicated GPS unit I sent home today.

Also, you don’t need any maps to hike the AT. It is very clearly marked everywhere and a guide book is really all you need. But I do still love gadgets even on my restricted electronics diet, so this was a fun exercise. I’ve looked at the maps on my phone and the GPS while out hiking to update my time estimates during the day, but at no point has it ever actually mattered!

Also also, I probably could have gotten putty running on the guest windows machine in the motel lobby and done all of this a hell of a lot faster, but what fun would that be?

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