Wednesday, February 27, 2013

What's Coming Downstream - March 2013 Report

Here's what's hatching:

  • A digital set of all East Tennessee tailwater maps similar to that of 44 Park stream maps on a flash drive, Item 100D.
  • One or two Tellico-Citico area headwater maps.
  • A digital set of maps geared to hikers, and possible angler prospects, but only of trails along and/or crossing major streams and tributaries. Will feature GPS waypoints with supplemental notes as needed for each stream and trib crossed and for waterfalls, springs, historical artifacts, etc. Maps will be printable at letter size or larger and optimized for inkjet printers. 

Here's what's itching

  • My mild case of psoriasis
  • Me... to go fishing

French Broad River - So Broad In Fact (and Long) Four Pages Required

Just in time for the spring spawning run and some great paddling!

Douglas Lake Tailwater (French Broad River) Map now available for purchase at Two 2-sided 11x17 prints cover from Douglas Dam north of Sevierville to the Tennessee River at Knoxville. Includes canoe launch sites, boat ramps, GPS coordinates and more.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Can Observe GPS Headings Enroute to the Head

It is not GPS handheld-worthy still, but some progress has been made in that direction.

I created a custom map of our subdivision using the Android CustomMaps app ( Using it's KMZ on my Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 7.0, I am able to observe my location coordinates and heading as I make my way from my man cave (excuse me) my office to the bathroom, an oft travelled path. More field testing planned today... I may venture out as far as my shed… armed, of course.

Mrs. Maps and I made some inroads into things last tonight using her iPad 2, but it's a steep learning curve for us older folks.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Douglas Tailwater Maps Due Soon

The two doubled sided 11x17 maps of the French Broad River from Douglas Dam to the Tennessee River should be available for purchase within a few days... well in time for the spring spawning run. I am really anxious to see who has an interest in the waters and if it is more about fishing or canoeing/kyaking. I think you'll like them either way.

Custom Maps for Android Devices - Steep Learing Curve

At some point Saint Clair Mapping wants to supply some select custom fishing maps for Garmin and other compatible GPS devices (likely for free) of the Smokies and possibly other area fishing streams in Tennnesee. But to better see the results of my iterations, I would need to buy a handheld GPS. Not in the budget as of now.

But first, I would like to see what capabilities exist for creating custom topo GPS maps for Android phones and tablets to help me up the learning curve. In have Droid Razr and Samsung Tab2 7. It appears Verizon's VZ Navigator is not capable of importing custom maps of any type.

After many goes at it in Google, here is an app I found that I though had promise:
BackCountry Navigator PRO GPS (
Developer: CritterMap Software (
Description: "Use your phone or tablet as an offroad topo mapping GPS with the bestselling outdoor navigation app for Android! Explore beyond cell coverage for hiking, and trekking. Download topo maps for the US and some other countries in advance, so you won't need cell coverage when navigating.

This (app) uses many publicly available map sources as free downloads. It also has some additional content available as an in app purchase..." (including Accuterra Topo Map Source).

Have downloaded the free BackCountry Navigator Pro Demo version on my Android tablet and phone. (The actual product is $9.95). Looks to be a good app... and as of recently can import KML or GPX files. I haven't mastered that yet, however. User guide is somewhat lacking in this regard. The product description goes on to state "You can create your own maps with Mobile Atlas Creator (MOBAC) ("

I want to believe I won't need MOBAC, preferring to create the custom KMZ/KML maps using JPEG as Ground Overalys in Google Earth, which I have. I haven't figured out how to inport these into BackCountry Navigator, possibly since it is more geared to import of track data. I just don't know to be perfectly frank.

I had a go at creating a custom map directly on my tablet using what appears to be very good free app, but even on a 10 inch tablet, it would be extremely difficult to line up points on the overlay with the Smokies terrain. This fact may be at the heart of why there are no graphics rich detailed stream GPS custom maps for the park.

More to follow in future posts, but not real soon. I have bill paying type other projects in my stack. Your comments are most welcome.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Park Announces Implementation of Backcountry Changes

Come next week, any butterflies in the Park are free. That will not be the case with permits for backcountry campsites and shelters, however. 
January 22, 2013 : Park Announces Implementation of Backcountry Changes Great Smoky Mountains National Park officials announced today that changes to its current backcountry reservation and permitting process will take effect on February 13, 2013. As reported last March, the National Park Service approved the park’s proposal to begin collecting fees for use of the park’s backcountry campsites and shelters.
Full News Release: 

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Camping at Elkmont

A Turner boys first: My son David, his two men, Rusty and Sam and I camping in the Smokies. I was impressed by how the three made quick work of erecting their huge tent. Sitting by the fire at Elkmont we covered topics ranging from crafting the perfect smore to the pitfalls of entitlement programs. We discussed survivor skills, gaining strength through adversity, zombies, and, on the eve of her birthday, Mammaw's troll-under-the-bridge story. It was a heart warming experience, especially for Rusty... as the photo illustrates.