|Creating the Fundy Footpath Trail Map with Quantum GIS|
The Fundy Footpath is a wilderness hiking trail located along the Fundy coast of New Brunswick, Canada. It is a charter member of the UNESCO Fundy Biosphere Reserve and affiliated with the NB Trails Council Inc. and the Trans Canada Trail. The Footpath takes hikers through the coastal Acadian Forest, home to the world’s highest tides, old growth forests, and several rare and unique types of flora and fauna.
Figure 1: QGIS GPS Tools Plugin for data collection
The process of creating the new Fundy Footpath map with QGIS can be broken down into three different parts:
- Data collection.
Data was collected both with handheld GPS units and from various free data sources. Trail data (e.g. trail centerline, campsite locations, and tidal crossings) was collected with a Garmin GPSMap 60CSX. This data was then transferred from the GPS and to shapefile format in QGIS using the GPS plugin. Free data in vector formats was then obtained from the Natural Resources Canada (NRCan) CanVec website and from Service New Brunswick (SNB) online.
Figure 2:Creation of the footpath map in QGIS
Figure 3: Footpath map in the Print Composer
Once the data required to create the map was assembled and in a usable format the creation of the final map was started. To create the hiking map data was symbolized and labeled with the symbolization properties dialog and labeled with QGIS’s very functional label engine. Once labels and symbolization were in place the map composer tool was run to create the layout. It was very easy to add useful map elements such as a custom north arrow and elevation profile in the print composer. Two layouts were created since it was to be a double-sided map. Once both layouts were created they were exported as PDF files and sent to the printers.
The hiking map was printed on heavy-duty waterproof paper, folded and inserted in the back of the new edition of the Fundy Footpath Hiker’s Guide Book. Quantum GIS was the best and most functional choice for the creation of this map. Being free software the price was right for a volunteer creating a map for a non-profit organization. But the real advantage of QGIS was that it had all of the functionality and tools required to create a highly useful and detailed hiking map from start to finish. I would highly recommend QGIS to both experienced and beginning GIS users alike.
This article was contributed by Jarrett Totton in January 2013. Jarrett is a GIS Technologist living in Alberta, Canada.