Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Interstate Exits: Wyoming KML File

One of the deficiencies, if you can call it that, of Google Earth is that it doesn't list the interstate exit numbers as one of its many options for labels. Perhaps it's just us map-making geeks that even notice it but it's been a thorn in my side for years and years while I've been trying to digitize trail maps on Google Earth.

And for just as long I've been trying to get the Department Of Transportation (DOT) to cough up their data in a publicly useable format – no joy. I'm not even convinced that I ever reached an official DOT employee. Now, I've found a source for the coordinates and have spent more hours than I thought it would take in producing Google Earth files for all the western states (where most of our available trails are located.

Because each state takes a substantial amount of time to turn into a map, I'll be releasing them one at a time over the next couple weeks as I'm able to put the finishing touches on them. The first is Wyoming. I'm going to tell you that it's because Gordon needs the help getting around – but you'll notice that there aren't a lot of interstates in the file so it was comparably easier to produce.

Free Google Earth File

The free Google Earth file for Wyoming interstate exits is available at: Google Earth Trail FileOffroading Home on the specialty map resource page. Click to arrive at the page and select the Wyoming map. It is a .kml file that is utilized by Google Earth. You can either save the map on your computer or click "open" to have it open directly inside Google Earth.

Clicking on any of the several "exit" icons will cause popup to appear with the exit number, latitude, longitude, altitude and description. That should give us ample information to correlate with the trail books which all seem to think that we all know the exits in our heads.

In Wyoming I-80 runs east-west along the southern border of the state. I-25 runs north out of Colorado to Buffalo where it ends at I-90. That runs catty-cornered across the northeast corner of the state from South Dakota into Montana.

How To Use The Files

How I'm going to use them is to click them open in the background as I'm trying to locate trailheads and tracks in books that I'm reading and trying to find a new trail to ride. It's the same thing I do with the USGS features files that I made a year or so ago. With both of them open in the background I can follow a books trail descriptions much more easily.

I click and place placemarks for points I need to remember along the way. Then if I decide to take that trail, I create a folder in Google Earth for the trail and drag-and-drop all the waypoints into that folder. I can even hand-draw a tentative track that it looks like I can follow.

Then I do a "save place as" which creates a .kml file with the name on my computer desktop. From there I can use one of several other software programs to change it into the format used by Garmin, Lowrance or other GPS devices. Easy Peasy.

Learn A Little More

Donny Osmond (from "Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dream Coat" and "The Donny and Marie Show"), Dancing With the Stars (watched by zillions of people) and Susan Boyle from (Britian's Got Talent) all came to a confluence one evening with finalist dancers and this is the result: This Is The Moment.

Donny Osmond and susan boyle - this is the moment - dancing with the stars


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