Thursday, August 6, 2009

New Trail Map: Utah's Paiute ATV Trail System

After I developed the Utah Arapeen Trail System Map people began requesting that the Paiute Trail System get equal time. With all the updates recently I'm starting to feel a bit "time shared"; but, here it is — at least the beginnings. [For a free Google Earth file of this route see: Utah Paiute ATV Trail System]

I have to tell you that this effort has been quite an experience, and it isn't over yet. Unlike the Utah Arapeen ATV Trail, this trail is a bit massive — and quite disjointed (as far as obtaining and plotting maps are concerned.)

The internet-available map is NOT anywhere as accurate as the one I found for Arapeen and there are quite a few trail/number variations/differences between them.

And, believe it or not, the tiny trail lines that Google actually uses for its map database, is MUCH more accurate in the Arapeen area than in the Piaute area. I don't know why that should be the case, unless the USGS or USFS (or whoever made the database) put much greater effort in making the Arapeen accurate with GPS coordinates.

I'm not crazy about reality, but it's still the only place to get a decent meal.”
Groucho Marx

Google Earth's little white lines are many yards off all along the Paiute system while up in the Arapeen they were spot-on with the satellite image! That gives one much more confidence that what you are doing compares favorably with reality.

Additionally, it seems (to me at least) that every time I turned around, what information actually WAS out there was deliberately being made nearly useless in an effort to sell that flippin' "NatGeo" map (available ubiquitously at varied prices). They made the viewport so small and the navigation so useless such that the whole effort felt like it was just that … useless. There is absolutely NO way in ($#%%) that anyone would be able to ACTUALLY USE such stuff for his trip.

And you must know my now my opion that after the exhorbitant tax and license fee they charge us in Utah AND the taxes we have already paid for the USGS to develop the database - THE DATA IS ALREADY OURS! We shouldn't have to pay some commercial venture all over again just to see the data - that's what the freedom of information act was all about!

At any rate, enough ranting, just in time for the Paiute Trail UTV Jamboree I've released the map, as it stands now.

This in the hope that some far-minded Jamboree participant will recognize the benefit to the sport that this map will have and will turn on his GPS while he rides the trails — and send them to me of course!

How about it guys? (used here in the unisex sense) Be a "Volunteer Verifier" and help expand the FREE information available to all. We also need written trail descriptions and waypoints for points of interest — so nearly everyone can help.


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