RogerBW's Blog

Walk Planning with Viking 19 June 2019

Viking is a powerful, but not always intuitive, program for handling geodata (position log recordings, maps, etc.). This post deals with how to plan a walking route using it.

First, set up Viking with a map layer. (I have it configured to bring up OpenStreetMap Mapnik tiles on start; OSM has become my preferred mapping service, both because it's properly free and because its coverage of non-car routes – and increasingly car routes too – is the best available.)

  • Pick an approximate area. I'm going to plan a short walk round a local (but hilly) wood.

  • Make a TrackWaypoint layer (right-click on the layer subwindow, or on the "+" at the bottom.

  • Start a track ("Create Track" or shift-ctrl-T). You'll be asked for a track name when you click on the first point. Click on points as necessary to make your series of straight lines more or less line up with the paths you want to take. (Strictly speaking you should only need to click on each point where you have a choice to make, but that's often not enough to be clear about which path to use, especially if there are multiple paths between the same pair of points.) Right- or middle-click deletes the most recent point; ctrl-arrow keys let you scroll around, and ctrl-+/- or mouse wheel lets you zoom in and out. (Or you can shift over to the normal panning control with ctrl-shift-P, and back to the track creation mode with ctrl-shift-T.) You'll get a total distance readout by the mouse pointer.

  • When you've finished, right-click the TrackWaypoint layer and "Finish Track". If you click on the triangles and go down to the actual track layer, then right-click and select Properties, you can add automatic distance labels. "Statistics" will show you the total length of the track.

  • You now know how long this route is, but not what the hills will be like; I tend to try to avoid hard climbs, or at least keep them for shorter walks. For this information you need digital elevation model data. First, click the tick-box by the Default Map layer to turn it off, so that you can be sure of what's happening. The version of Viking I'm using can't deal with the redirects on the NASA site (the best data still come from the Shuttle Radar Topography Mission in 2000; the more recent ASTER-GDEM data set is much rougher), so I've downloaded them by hand; I'll go into both methods here.

  • Add a new "DEM" layer. Select it, and Tools → DEM Download. Left-click, and if the map turns brownish-yellow you've already downloaded the relevant file. Otherwise, it should automatically download and save it, but it won't work. Right-click somewhere on the map to "Show DEM File Information", and select and copy the URL. On Unix, download that (e.g. with wget) into ~/.viking-maps/srtm3-Eurasia/ – or another directory as that File Information tells you – and then left-click on the map as before to load it.

  • You should now see shades of brown rather than grey. (Then you can turn the default map back on, because this isn't helpful in itself.)

  • Now go into the Track layer again, right-click, and Transform → Apply DEM Data → Overwrite. This looks up the elevation for each track point.

  • Now when you pull up Track → Statistics, you'll have Elevation-distance and Gradient-distance tabs. You can click on a spot within one of those graphs to jump the centre of the map window to that location. (It's only approximate, because SRTM data are at about 90m resolution outside the USA, but better than nothing.)

  • In this case I have some excessive climbs that I can try to eliminate. So back to the track layer, and Tools → Edit Trackpoint (shift-ctrl-K).

  • Clicking on an offending point will bring up a window with details. You can move that away and drag the trackpoint to where it's wanted. Insert After will put in a new track point half way from this one to the next one, which you can then click on and move. And you can delete points.

  • When you've finished making adjustments, Transform → Apply DEM Data → Overwrite as before and look at the track statistics. Repeat as needed.

  • What you do from here depends on what sort of navigation system you use while you're walking. Saving in Viking native format will be helpful if you want to edit again, but that can't be directly loaded onto a device. You can print, or generate image files for printing, if you want to look up the route on paper maps. For portable GPS devices, either Export Track as GPX or Transform → Convert to a Route, then Export Route as GPX. These will each generate a GPX file, in one case with a <trk> entity, in the other with an <rte>; how these are used depends on the device you load them into. In a future post I'll go into how to use these files with OsmAnd.

Comments on this post are now closed. If you have particular grounds for adding a late comment, comment on a more recent post quoting the URL of this one.

Tags 1920s 1930s 1940s 1950s 1960s 1970s 1980s 1990s 2000s 2010s 3d printing action advent of code aeronautics aikakirja anecdote animation anime army astronomy audio audio tech aviation base commerce battletech beer boardgaming book of the week bookmonth chain of command children chris chronicle church of no redeeming virtues cold war comedy computing contemporary cornish smuggler cosmic encounter coup covid-19 crime crystal cthulhu eternal cycling dead of winter doctor who documentary drama driving drone ecchi economics en garde espionage essen 2015 essen 2016 essen 2017 essen 2018 essen 2019 essen 2022 essen 2023 existential risk falklands war fandom fanfic fantasy feminism film firefly first world war flash point flight simulation food garmin drive gazebo genesys geocaching geodata gin gkp gurps gurps 101 gus harpoon historical history horror hugo 2014 hugo 2015 hugo 2016 hugo 2017 hugo 2018 hugo 2019 hugo 2020 hugo 2021 hugo 2022 hugo 2023 hugo 2024 hugo-nebula reread in brief avoid instrumented life javascript julian simpson julie enfield kickstarter kotlin learn to play leaving earth linux liquor lovecraftiana lua mecha men with beards mpd museum music mystery naval noir non-fiction one for the brow opera parody paul temple perl perl weekly challenge photography podcast politics postscript powers prediction privacy project woolsack pyracantha python quantum rail raku ranting raspberry pi reading reading boardgames social real life restaurant reviews romance rpg a day rpgs ruby rust scala science fiction scythe second world war security shipwreck simutrans smartphone south atlantic war squaddies stationery steampunk stuarts suburbia superheroes suspense television the resistance the weekly challenge thirsty meeples thriller tin soldier torg toys trailers travel type 26 type 31 type 45 vietnam war war wargaming weather wives and sweethearts writing about writing x-wing young adult
Special All book reviews, All film reviews
Produced by aikakirja v0.1