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sotamaps - Overview

This site provides SOTA (Summits On The Air) activators and chasers with various mapping resources.

The site is provided free of charge for all users interested in SOTA and ham radio in general.

Mapping is made possible by use of the Google Maps API, which is a software gateway to the mapping services provided by Google. This gateway requires Javascript to be enabled in your browser - otherwise, the mapping simply cannot function.

The site has five main mapping pages, each providing different sets of functionality.

Main Mapping Page

This is the page most often used, since it is referenced by a link from each of the SOTAWatch Summit pages.

The main functionality of the page is provided by the controls at the top of the main mapping area. These allow the user to choose the SOTA Association, Region and/or Summit of their choice. The ability to choose multiple Associations and/or Regions will be of special interest to those seeking information in border areas, or in contiguous Associations or Regions.

Opening the page with pre-selected values

It's also worth noting that the page can be opened with pre-selected association(s), region(s) and/or summit(s). This is achieved by calling the page with one or more GET-fields in the URL, as in the following examples:

Additional functions

Additional functionality is provided by a window which can be accessed by clicking on the "Export..." button in the Tools Bar situated at the left-hand edge of the main mapping area. This allows the user to create/export listings of SOTA summits in the following formats:

  • Create GPX waypoints file - for import into GPS-enabled devices
  • Create KML file - for import/viewing in Google Earth
  • Create KML Network file - for import/viewing in Google Earth

Range Mapping Page

The main dialog ("Define range and reference points") enables the user to find SOTA Summits within a certain range of a reference point or feature on the map. Both the range (1 to 500) and the units of distance (kilometers or miles) can be specified by the user.

The dialog offers four main ways of defining the range within which SOTA summits should be found:

  • Closed circle - find all summits within the circle
  • Ring/annulus - find all summits between the inner and outer limits of the ring
  • Polygon - find all summits within a user-defined polygon
  • Road-route - find all summits within a corridor around a road-route
Opening the page with pre-selected values

The range mapping page can also be opened with pre-selected values in the main dialog, in a similar manner to the examples given above for the main mapping page.

When pre-selecting values, the following limits apply:

  • only two ways of defining the range are available:
    • closed circle
    • ring/annulus
  • only four ways of defining the reference-point type are available:
    • Address/City/Feature
    • Latitude+Longitude (decimal values only)
    • Locator (Grid)
    • SOTA Summit

Some examples:

Additional functions

Additional functionality is provided by a window containing tab-pages offering the following;

  • Measure distance manually: this feature allows the user to define a path on the map and obtain distances between each point, and the total length of the path. Units of distance - kilometers or miles - can be defined by the user. (This option is a replacement for the Google map measure tool, which has recently disappeared from Google Maps.) Users have the option to export their distance-measurement path in GPX, KML or CSV formats.

Calculate distance and bearings from/to the following types of reference point:

  • Summit to Summit
  • Summit to Point
  • Point to Point Summits are chosen from drop-down lists in the window. Other reference points are specified by the user. Typical examples would include the following:
    • a postal address
    • name of a town or city
    • name of a geographical feature, or well-known landmark, building or monument
    Names of extended geographical features, (roads or rivers for example) will give ambiguous results at best, and should be avoided.

Tracks Mapping Page

Allows the user to view, draw, or upload tracks to SOTA summits. The four main sets of options are:

  • View user-defined tracks on map - view tracks generated by users of the system. Tracks may be downloaded by any user; in addition, tracks may be deleted, but only by the user who created them.
  • Draw track on map - draw your own favourite track leading to a SOTA summit.
  • Import track from file - import a track (in GPX format) to a SOTA summit which you have recorded with a GPS unit.
  • Drag-and-drop a GPX track file: you can load a GPX track file which you have recorded with a GPS unit onto the main map area. After the file has been loaded and displayed, you can edit the track by deleting unwanted sections. The altered track can then be saved to file for subsequent importing into the SMP system.

The tracks page can also be opened with a pre-selected summit. This is achieved by calling the page with a GET-field in the URL, as in this example:

These main options can be accessed from the Tools Bar situated at the left-hand edge of the main mapping area. Click on the arrow at the top of the Tools Bar to expand the bar and reveal them - each main option has its' own "Help" window or section with further information, descriptions and tips to help you to best use particular features.

Help for the Tracks Mapping Page - View user-defined tracks
Help for the Tracks Mapping Page - Draw user-defined track
Help for the Tracks Mapping Page - Import GPX track file / Drag-and-drop a GPX track file to the map area

Alerts Mapping Page

Presents the latest SOTAWatch Alerts in a map. Data are refreshed once every two minutes.

Each Alert as it arrives is presented in the listview on the right-hand side of the main map. Clicking on an entry in the list will cause the map to navigate to the summit mentioned in the Alert and an information window will open, listing all current Alerts reported for that summit.

You can place limits on the Alerts presented in this page in the following ways:

  • by time - you can choose to see Alerts for the next 24 hours only, or for the next 7 days only, or have no time limit and see all;
  • by geographical area - you may choose one of:
    • Worldwide - show Alerts from anywhere
    • by Continent - show Alerts from one particular continent
    • by SOTA Association - show Alerts from any particular SOTA Association
  • by choosing to include, or exclude, expired Alerts

You may choose any, or all, of these options to tailor your view of the Alerts as they arrive from SOTAWatch.

Spots Mapping Page

Presents the latest SOTAWatch Spots in a map. Data are refreshed once every minute.

Each Spot as it arrives is presented in the listview on the right-hand side of the main map. Clicking on an entry in the list will cause the map to navigate to the summit mentioned in the Spot and an information window will open, listing all Spots reported for that summit within the time-frame of the query.

You can place limits on the Spots presented in this page in the following ways:

  • by time - you can set a time-limit from between 1 hour and 72 hours, the default value being 12 hours;
  • by geographical area - you may choose one of:
    • Worldwide - show Spots from anywhere
    • by Continent - show Spots from one particular continent
    • by SOTA Association - show Spots from any particular SOTA Association
  • by band - choose any one from: HF, VHF, UHF, or All
  • by mode - choose any one from: voice, cw, data, or All

You may choose any, or all, of these options to tailor your view of the Spots as they arrive from SOTAWatch.

Mapping Pages Common Tools

Each of the five mapping pages, in addition to their specific functionality, also feature several other map controls provided by the SMP.

There are two main groups of map controls common to some or all of the SMP mapping pages:

Map-type controls

The first group comprises the map-type controls, with which the user can choose between various map-types, or mapping styles, from a number of different sources. At the moment, seven map-styles are available:
Map Types graphic

  • "Map" and "Satellite", the "standard offering" from Google Maps;
  • "OSM", mapping from Open Street Maps;
  • "OC", mapping from Thunderforest/Open Cycle Maps;
  • "OT", mapping from OpenTopoMaps;
  • "4U", mapping from 4UMaps;
  • "CT": mapping from Caltopo (USGS 7.5' Topo).

Only one map-style is available at any one time.

Additional map controls and overlays

The second group of controls permit different sets of map overlays to provide additional information to the user:

  • "Position": enables/disables the following:
    • highlighting of the Maidenhead Locator under the mouse-pointer - this will be visible only at map zoom-levels* of 9 or greater;
    • "Go-To" controls by which the user can navigate quickly to a specific location;
    • a position-display box, which shows the coordinates (in either decimal format, or degrees/minutes/seconds (DMS) format) and Maidenhead Locator of the position immediately under the mouse pointer.
  • "Day/Night": enables/disables day/night shading on the map;
  • "Grids": enables/disables the superimposition on the map of either:
    • a Latitude/Longitude Grid, or
    • a Maidenhead Locator Grid.
    Both of these grids will show more or less detail as the map is zoomed in or out. Both the Latitude/Longitude Grid and the Maidenhead Locator Grid are unique in the world and developed exclusively by sotamaps.
  • "Icons": (not available in all mapping pages) toggles display of summit markers between triangular summit icons and activations-count circles.
  • "Layers": (not available in all mapping pages) toggles visibility of the following :
    • summit markers;
    • Region borders;
    • Region borders tooltips;
    • Nearby group borders.
*   Map zoom levels are indicated by the custom map control in the lower left corner of the map area: Map Zoom indicator
Custom zoom facility

In addition to the various map-types and overlays controls mentioned above, each of the sotamaps mapping pages features a custom zoom facility unique to sotamaps. To access the custom zoom, the user places the mouse cursor near to where he/she wishes to zoom into;

by clicking and holding down the right mouse button and then dragging the mouse to a nearby position on the map, a "zoom rectangle" will be drawn. Releasing the right mouse button will then cause the map to zoom as closely as possible into the area marked by the zoom rectangle. In this way, the map can be made to focus very quickly onto an area of interest.

Drawing of the zoom rectangle can be interrupted at any time while dragging the mouse, by activating the <Esc> button on the keyboard.

Extras Page

Provides various tools for SOTA purposes.

To date, these include:

  • Create CSV file - use this application to create a SOTA CSV file suitable for importing into the SOTA database.
    Available options are:
    • open a ADIF file from your favourite logging program and convert it to SOTA CSV format;
    • open a CSV or TSV file and edit it to SOTA CSV format;
    • do not open any file, but simply create a series of records which you can save in SOTA CSV format.
    Individual records can be edited or deleted; new records can be added. Errors in callsign syntax or SOTA summit references will be highlighted.
  • Linked dipole designer - enables the user to calculate dimensions of a linked dipole antenna suitable for SOTA purposes. Features include:
    • design linked dipole antennas for from one to five bands;
    • define main- and end-supports and/or extender for a flexible setup;
    • choose from various wire types;
    • save to, and import from, a list of your favourite configurations: saves having to redefine them every time you return to the designer;
    • export your antenna configuration to PDF file. The file contains full antenna configuration details for the antenna you have just designed, plus useful tips to start building and tuning your antenna.

Contact Page

The sotamaps Contact page offers a convenient way for users wishing to contact the SOTA Mapping Project for any of the following:

  • requesting new features in the sotamaps site
  • reporting bugs/errors in the sotamaps site
  • telling us how good the site is :)

Please do not use the sotamaps Contact page for reporting the following types of error:

  • if you find that a SOTA summit appears to be wrongly placed in the map;
  • if a SOTA summit appears to have the wrong name or altitude;
  • if a summit appears to be "missing" from the listing of SOTA summits.

Real or apparent errors in these categories should be reported to the SOTA organization, which creates, manages and maintains these data themselves. The SMP only displays these data in maps for your convenience.

So, if you do find such errors in summits data, use the SOTA website contact page to inform the SOTA MT of the errors.

Overview Page

Walker   You are here!

About Page

About the sotamaps site - conception, composition and development of the site.

Provides a historical timeline of the various stages in the development of the site.


Downloading SMP Help Sections

It's possible to download all the SOTA Mapping Project Help sections in one convenient PDF file. Click here to start the download.

 
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