Creating GIS Data

If your organization doesn't have a full-fledged Geographic Information Systems (GIS) program, you can still create basic geospatial data for usage in OuterSpatial using tools that are inexpensive or free. This article outlines some of the solutions that may be of use to your organization.

Please note that we do not endorse specific solutions, nor do we provide support for them. We're happy to make general recommendations and help with high-level troubleshooting, but we do not have the capacity to support the plethora of tools and workflows that are available.

Paid Tools

The following solutions are not free, but they support collecting GPS data and they're available for iOS, Android, and the web:

  1. Fulcrum: Fulcrum supports easy-to-use mobile data collection, and you can sign up for a free 30-day trial. After the 30-day trial, a Fulcrum license starts at ~$25/month per user.
  2. Survey123: If your organization has an Esri license, you may want to look into Survey123.

There are plenty of other solutions out there, but these are the ones we have experience with.

Free Tools

geojson.io

If you're looking to create basic area (polygon), trail/outing (line), and/or point of interest (point) geospatial data and the area you're looking to create data for has high-resolution satellite imagery available and little-to-no tree cover, you can use a website called geojson.io to digitize your features.

  1. Load geojson.io in a web browser
  2. Pan/zoom to the area you're looking to create geospatial data for or use the search tool in the upper, right-hand corner of the map to enter a zip code, address, etc. to go to
  3. Use the line, polygon, and point tools on the toolbar to draw area polygons, trail lines, outing lines, or points of interest point on the map. Note that you can only submit geospatial data for one type of location (area, point of interest, trail, and/or outing) at a time for import into OuterSpatial. So, if you're, for example, creating a points of interest dataset, just draw points of interest on the map, send those to us for import, then create a new geojson.io session and start drawing another dataset for another type of location.
  4. For each feature that you draw in geojson.io, after drawing it, click on it and enter the attributes you want to submit into the table.
    1. For areas, a "name" property is required.
    2. For points of interest, no properties are required, but you can submit "name" and/or "type", if desired. For a list of supported point of interest "types", see the table that starts on page 20 of the OuterSpatial Data Guidebook. Make sure you use the "field_value".
    3. For trails segments, a "name" property may be submitted, but is not required. To keep things simple, we generally recommend segmenting trails at trail intersections. Segments that have the same "name" property will be automatically grouped together when imported into OuterSpatial.
    4. For outings, a "name" property is required. Additionally, directionality must be taken into account when drawing outing lines. So start drawing at the starting point of the outing.
  5. Once you've finished drawing the set of features for areas, trails, outings, or points of interest, click the "Save" button in the upper, left-hand corner of the web page and select "GeoJSON". This will save a ".geojson" file to your file system.
  6. Email this ".geojson" file, changing the name to either "areas.geojson", "trails.geojson", "outings.geojson", or "points-of-interest.geojson", and email it to organizations@outerspatial.com. Our Customer Success team will import the file and let you know when it's available in OuterSpatial.
  7. Once the geospatial dataset is available in OuterSpatial, you'll be able to view the individual features in OuterSpatial Manager and update its name and description, add photos and tags, etc.

Google Maps

You can use the Google Maps app for iOS/Android or the Google Maps website to collect point of interest data. To do so, follow the instructions laid out in this help doc: https://support.google.com/maps/answer/18539.

The best way to submit this information to OuterSpatial is to compile it into a .csv spreadsheet, with each point of interest represented by a row in the spreadsheet. Each row should have, at a minimum, "latitude" and "longitude" attributes. Each row can also optionally have "name" and "type" attributes. For a list of supported point of interest "types", see the table that starts on page 20 of the OuterSpatial Data Guidebook. Make sure you use the "field_value".

Once your "points-of-interest.csv" file is ready, email it to organizations@outerspatial.com. Our Customer Success team will import the file and let you know when it's available in OuterSpatial. Once the geospatial dataset is available in OuterSpatial, you'll be able to view the individual features in OuterSpatial Manager and update its name and description, add photos and tags, etc.

Strava and MapMyRun

If you want to create trail and/or outing lines for import into OuterSpatial by walking and collecting GPS data, you can use apps like Strava and MapMyRun to collect the data. Here's what the high-level process looks like:

  1. Use the app to start tracking an activity when you're at the beginning of the trail or outing.
  2. Walking along the trail or outing.
  3. When you're at the end of the trail or outing, stop tracking the activity and save it.
  4. Export the "activity" from the app and/or website in .gpx format:
    1. Instructions for Strava here (read the "Export an Activity as a GPX file" section).
    2. Instructions for MapMyRun here (scroll to the bottom and read the "How do I export GPS data from a workout?" section).
  5. Rename the .gpx file, using the name of the trail or outing as the file name: e.g. "waterfall-trail.gpx" or "emerald-peak-backpacking-loop.gpx".
  6. Email this .gpx file to organizations@outerspatial.com. Our Customer Success team will import the file and let you know when it's available in OuterSpatial.
  7. Once the geospatial dataset is available in OuterSpatial, you'll be able to view the individual features in OuterSpatial Manager and update its name and description, add photos and tags, etc.
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