Australian Geographic Outdoor - - Tech: Maps -

So how does all the GPS equip­ment in the LC79 Map Pa­trol ac­quire the rel­e­vant data?

“In map­ping there are three ba­sic build­ing blocks of con­tent to col­lect,” ex­plains Rob Boegheim. “There are points, lines and ar­eas.

“The field work is all about cap­tur­ing the lines, the tracks, the roads and the points of in­ter­est – a home­stead, a camp­site, a gate – the road or track it­self and any­thing at­tached to that road or track.

“All of the con­tex­tual stuff – the creeks, the to­pog­ra­phy, the im­agery, the rail­way lines, the na­tional parks – all that, we can source through other data sources back in the of­fice. Our pri­mary fo­cus has al­ways been the road and track in­for­ma­tion that the ma­jor­ity of four-wheel driv­ers are in­ter­act­ing with.

“The whole fo­cus of the Map Pa­trol is to make sure all those roads and tracks and the points that re­late to that are in the right spot, be­cause that’s the driver’s ref­er­ence point, on that road or track.

“So, num­ber one, the road or track that they’re ac­tu­ally driv­ing on has got to be on the map to start with. Tra­di­tion­ally you can use aerial pho­tog­ra­phy or satel­lite im­agery for Aus­tralia, but be­cause the con­ti­nent’s so vast that’s al­ways been hugely ex­pen­sive, and there’s still noth­ing like get­ting out here and in­ter­act­ing with the track or ter­rain and check­ing it first-hand.

“It’s very much ground-truthing. We use the half-me­tre ac­cu­rate GPS be­cause peo­ple are us­ing this map­ping data now with all of our map­ping prod­ucts; you don’t need that ac­cu­racy for a printed prod­uct where the width of a mil­lime­ter on a map could be hun­dreds of me­tres or half a kilo­me­tre on the ground, but as soon as you’re get­ting into a full-blown nav­i­ga­tion sys­tem, where you’re do­ing voice guid­ance, then every­thing’s got to be in the right spot.

“Most other map­ping com­pa­nies, par­tic­u­larly street map­ping com­pa­nies, would say ‘it’s all out­back, it’s dirt road, take all that off the map be­cause it’s not rel­e­vant’. But for us, that’s ex­actly the kind of in­for­ma­tion we need to high­light and bring to the front.

“Our goal has al­ways been to map ev­ery pub­lic ac­ces­si­ble road or track and put that on a map, and take out all the other noise that just cre­ates con­fu­sion.”

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