I got a hold of some sample Voyager Maps for the BWCA, and they’re very nice. Also, they cover the whole BWCA in 10 maps, which is much better coverage than the other brands, but I want coverage in less than that.

Anyone know of BWCA maps out there with portages/campsites marked in the 1:75,000 range? Suggestions on how to make my own?

Check National Geographic
Weekend Explorer software, Twin Cities area. It includes the BWCA and Apostles.

You can download an overlay with portages and campsites, and then print in 1:24K or 1:100K, or scale the area you want to print to fit your page.

Another way is to simply make your own portage and camp notations based on the web-published maps.


Thanks, Jim. I have that software. Isn’t it just scans of 1:24,000.

I hoping someone will know of digitized sources and know how to print those on 20x30 waterproof paper or have resources to do so.

I’ve found GPS files of portages and campsites, but haven’t been able to find a way to put all that together onto a scalable vector image map like the computerized navigation charts. And then print them…

I shopuld have known you would
have that software.

I have bought many maps from (eastern shore areas etc) and I was always cheezed that they could not add a compass rose. Their response was that they “were looking at adding additional features” which meant that I was the only one who ever asked for it. I doubt that portages and campsites would be high on their to-do list. Too bad.


I own

– Last Updated: Apr-14-08 10:00 AM EST –

everything. ;-) I don't have the McKenzie map software. I should look at that. I guess there is a free demo of the software here:

I found a place to will do custom maps with GPS waypoints and tracks, but it's limited to to few tracks and waypoints and no way to add length of portages to the map. It's this place:

If you have access to the USGS Digital Raster Graphics 1:24,000 7.5 min Quadrangle maps with the borders removed and you can get your portages and campsites into an ERSI shapefile format in the same projection you could use ArcExplorer to make your maps. Better yet if you knew someone who has access to GIS software your problem could be solved. With the data sets I could easily do it in about an hour. I could make your 20" x 30" 1:75,000 map, then could take it to a reprographics place and have it laminated and roll it into a 20" x 2" tube.

Yikes! Word I don’t know.

– Last Updated: Apr-14-08 7:15 PM EST –

I have PNG files of 1:24,000 that are seamless. I have them reduced to five files for full coverage of the BWCA. The maps come from here:

I'm not exactly sure how to get the data into ERSI shapefile format. The data that I have is from here:

I just found this also:

I'm a little confused about the ArcExplorer and making maps with it. Any easy to understand tutorials out there?

Are there any Open Source GIS software products out there?

And how about a place that prints on tyvek or waterproof paper with waterproof inks? Lamination would be a bit heavy and unwieldy to navigate from.

This stuff is incredibly complicated for me.

BWCA maps
It appears that the .png files contain portage and campsite info already. Is that info complete? If so, all you need to do is print those out on a large format printer. I know there will be some manipulation to get your scale and coverage where you want it. I’ve never heard of waterproof inks on Tyvek, sounds expensive. I’ve been using laminated maps for years.

ArcExplorer will display the images (raster data) and I believe there is public domain conversion software that will take GPS-compatible routes and waypoints and convert them into shapefiles (vector data). If the map images and routes and waypoints are in a common coordinates system like UTM then you would be able to map them in ArcExplorer. I’ll keep looking into this.

Laminated Maps
Thanks for the help on this. I’ll look into that software.

Is there anyway to obtain vector graphic topo and lake info for the BWCA? For readability, I think that vector graphics would be preferable to the 1:24,000 scans reduced. Thoughts?

By laminated maps, do you mean the thick lamination where there is a plastic sleeve that the paper fits into and then is run through a heat press or some other type of lamination?

The National Geographic map printing machines use tyvek paper for the maps they print. I also have a tyvek map from Georgian Bay. It’s fantastic. I looked into it a bit and it seems like it’s just a special coating that allows any ink jet to be used for printing.


– Last Updated: Apr-15-08 4:31 PM EST –

You can use these data with ArcExplorer. They have the DRGs, 1:24,000 Hydro and other planimetric features.

As far as laminated maps go, yes I use the ones that put a layer of plastic film on both sides sandwiching the paper map. I roll them up and put them in a map tube. They are kind of unwieldy, but cheap.

Thanks for the help. Any idea what data I should download to get the info shown on the zoomed view at the MN compass:

Weekend Explorer
How do you go about downloading the overlay with portages and campsites?