Category Archives: GPS Data

Pacific Crest Trail Weather Forecasts

Rain along the Pacific Crest Trail in Southern Oregon.

Rain along the Pacific Crest Trail in Southern Oregon (photo by Halfmile).

Several hikers have asked about Pacific Crest Trail weather forecasts. We use the National Weather Service (NWS) point forecasts from Weather.gov. These point forecasts are for a 2.5km grid and using Halfmile Project data makes it easy to find the forecast for a specific location along the PCT. Point forecasts are for the elevation of the PCT which are often thousands of feet above nearby towns.

Links to NWS weather point forecast along the PCT:

Mile 0 — Southern Terminus of the PCT — Desktop Link | Mobile Link
Mile 42 — Mount Laguna — Desktop Link | Mobile Link
Mile 110 — Warner Springs — Desktop Link | Mobile Link
Mile 179 — Saddle Junction (near Idyllwild) — Desktop Link | Mobile Link
Mile 210 — Highway 10 (near Cabazon) — Desktop Link | Mobile Link
Mile 275 — Van Dusen Canyon Road (near Big Bear) — Desktop Link | Mobile Link
Mile 374 — Vincent Gap (near Wrightwood) — Desktop Link | Mobile Link
Mile 454 — Agua Dulce — Desktop Link | Mobile Link
Mile 565 — Tehachapi Pass — Desktop Link | Mobile Link
Mile 652 — Walker Pass – Desktop Link | Mobile Link
Mile 704 — Kennedy Meadows — Desktop Link | Mobile Link
Mile 767 — Mount Whitney — Desktop Link | Mobile Link
Mile 839 — Muir Pass — Desktop Link | Mobile Link
Mile 943 — Tuolumne Meadows — Desktop Link | Mobile Link
Mile 1017 — Sonora Pass — Desktop Link | Mobile Link
Mile 1153 — Highway 40 near Donner Pass — Desktop Link | Mobile Link
Mile 1265 — Bucks Summit — Desktop Link | Mobile Link
Mile 1388 — Hat Creek Rim — Desktop Link | Mobile Link
Mile 1507 — Castle Crags — Desktop Link | Mobile Link
Mile 1597 — Etna Summit — Desktop Link | Mobile Link
Mile 1716 — Callahans Lodge (near Ashland, OR) — Desktop Link | Mobile Link
Mile 1836 — Crater Lake Rim — Desktop Link | Mobile Link
Mile 1905 — Willamette Pass — Desktop Link | Mobile Link
Mile 1998 — Santiam Pass — Desktop Link | Mobile Link
Mile 2095 — Timberline Lodge — Desktop Link | Mobile Link
Mile 2211 — Indian Heaven Wilderness — Desktop Link | Mobile Link
Mile 2292 — White Pass — Desktop Link | Mobile Link
Miel 2391 — Snoqualmie Pass — Desktop Link | Mobile Link
Mile 2461 — Stevens Pass — Desktop Link | Mobile Link
Mile 2518 — Mica Lake — Desktop Link | Mobile Link
Mile 2630 — Harts Pass — Desktop Link | Mobile Link

Note: The “current conditions” for these point forecast are from the nearest weather reporting station which could be many miles away from the actual forecast area and may not be as useful as the actual forecast.

Tracking Hikers With Google Earth

Entering the latitude and longitude from a Delorme inReach satellite message in Google Earth with Halfmile data.

Entering the latitude and longitude from a Delorme inReach satellite message in Google Earth with Halfmile data.

Many Pacific Crest Trail hikers are using satellite messaging devices like the Delorme inReach or SPOT Messenger to communicate with friends and family. Using Halfmile Project data from PCTMap.net and Google Earth can make these messages easier to understand for your followers back home.

Halfmile data is available in several different forms — and the data matches exactly, no matter which form you are using. The data is available as follows:

  • Printable PCT maps
  • Android or iPhone Apps
  • Google Earth KML files
  • GPX files for loading into a GPS or third party Smartphone GPS app
  • Trail Notes

A Halfmile point on the printable maps is the same in Google Earth or the Halfmile smartphone apps. If a satellite messenger sends latitude and longitude coordinates, these can easily be viewed by friends back home in Google Earth or simulated in the Halfmile smartphone app.

Here are the steps to follow a hiker using a satellite message and Google Earth with Halfmile data:

    1. Download and install Google Earth.
    2. Download the Halfmile Google Earth KMZ file.
    3. Open the Halfmile KMZ file in Google Earth and save it to “My Places.”
    4. Expand the satellite message and note the latitude and longitude [see screen capture above].
    5. Enter the latitude and longitude in the Google Earth Search field [see screen capture above] and select the “Search” button.
    6. Google Earth will zoom to the location and show a marker [usually a pushpin] at your hiker’s location.
    7. If you have followed the steps correctly, the path of the Pacific Crest Trail and Halfmile waypoints will also be shown in Google Earth. It will be easy to see the location of your hiker in relation to these landmarks. In the screen capture above, the hiker is at a waypoint named WA2658, between PCT miles 2658 and 2658.5. You may need to expand the Google Earth “Time Sliders” to see all of the Halfmile waypoints.

Halfmile data is updated each year, usually in January. For constancy, use the latest data. If you are using 2015 Halfmile maps, be sure to use the 2015 Google Earth or 2015 GPX files. If you are using other PCT information sources, the mileages may not match exactly.

Note: A version of this blog post first appeared on the HalfmileProject.org bog.

Waypoint Abbreviations

Waypoints

Waypoints

We have been asked by several hikers about the abbreviations used for waypoint names on Halfmile Project PCT maps, apps, GPS data, and Google Earth files. Here is a list of the most common abbreviations:

BB — Bear box or bear locker (mostly in the Sierra)
CG — Campground
CS — Campsite
GT — Gate
JMT — John Muir Trail
Hwy — Highway crossing
NF — National Forest boundary
TH — Trailhead
TR — Trail
PL — Powerline
PO — Post Office
RD — Road crossings
RR — Railroad track
Ski — Ski lift
Wild — Wilderness boundary
WA — Possible water source (not on www.pctwater.com, mostly north of mile 700)
WR — Possible water source listed in the PCT Water Report at www.pctwater.com
WACS — Possible water source and campsite
WRCS — Possible water source from the Water Report and campsite

Curious which waypoint types are most commonly used? Here is a list from the new 2015 Halfmile Project data:

3161 — total number of 2015 waypoints
972 — WA waypoints
745 — CS waypoints
498 — TR waypoints
466 — RD waypoints
152 — WR waypoints
73 — GT waypoints
61 — Hwy waypoints
54 — PL waypoints
33 — Wild waypoints
21 — CG waypoints
16 — BB waypoints
12 — TH waypoints
8 — PO waypoints
6 — NF waypoints
6 — Ski waypoints

About the 2015 Halfmile Updates

Updating maps for 2015

Updating maps for 2015

The 2015 Pacific Crest Trail hiking season is rapidly approaching and understandably we have been getting questions about what’s changing in the 2015 edition of Halfmile’s PCT maps and when new maps, apps and GPS data will be ready.

2014 was a massive data collection effort for the Halfmile Project team. Halfmile and Dirt Stew thru-hiked the PCT (Halfmile northbound, Dirt Stew southbound) carrying very accurate custom GPS devices designed for mapping long hiking trails. 8,296,179 new data sample points and 5,065 new waypoints were collected.

GPS reception can be challenging along some parts of the PCT due to tree cover or terrain such as mountains or canyons that sometimes block GPS signals. This is especially true in Oregon and Washington. The custom GPS logging hardware performed amazingly well because of the outstanding performance of the ublox NEO-7P GPS module, external mast mounted antennas, and the merging of multiple GPS data sets using software developed by David Lippke. We are confidant this is the most accurate data ever collected of the PCT.

Overall the new 2015 data has an average horizontal accuracy of 1.9 meters. Here is the horizontal accuracy by PCT section:

CA Sec A: 0.67 meters
CA Sec B: 1.26 meters
CA Sec C: 1.11 meters
CA Sec D: 1.19 meters
CA Sec E: 0.81 meters
CA Sec F: 0.98 meters
CA Sec G: 1.18 meters
CA Sec H: 1.44 meters
CA Sec I: 1.62 meters
CA Sec J: 1.51 meters
CA Sec K: 1.61 meters
CA Sec L: 0.49 meters
CA Sec M: 0.57 meters
CA Sec N: 0.46 meters
CA Sec O: 0.68 meters
CA Sec P: 1.92 meters
CA Sec Q: 2.37 meters
CA Sec R: 2.19 meters
OR Sec B: 2.66 meters
OR Sec C: 2.49 meters
OR Sec D: 2.57 meters
OR Sec E: 2.32 meters
OR Sec F: 2.45 meters
OR Sec G: 3.78 meters
WA Sec H: 3.45 meters
WA Sec I: 2.94 meters
WA Sec J: 1.75 meters
WA Sec K: 3.34 meters
WA Sec L: 2.42 meters
Continue reading

2014 update change list

Wondering what changed in the 2014 version of Halfmile’s Pacific Crest Trail Maps and GPS data? Here is a list:

Changes to all sections:
Gain/loss estimates on elevation profile pages recalculated for improved accuracy and consistency with smartphone apps
Acrobat bookmarks added to .PDF files
Mobile optimized .PDF files created (smaller size due to increased compression)

CA Section A
RD0064 – corrected typo
WR091 – updated location

CA Section B
No Changes

CA Section C
Updated track near mile 220.5
Moved half mile point 220.5
Renamed WR226 to WRCS226
Added WRCS229
Added WRCS231
Added WRCS232
Added WR233
Removed WR234
Renamed WR235 to WRCS235
Renamed WR239 to WRCS239
Renamed WR240 TO WRCS240
Renamed WR256 to WRCS256
Added RD0258
Added WR258
Added RD0258B
Added WRCS258
Added Cougar Crest Trail
Removed BigBearHostel waypoint from GPS data (it’s not on any map)
Removed BigBearLakePO waypoint from GPS data (it’s not on any map)
Removed Nature’s Inn

CA Section D
Renamed MessengerFlat to MessengerFlats
Removed ActonMetrolink from GPS data (it’s not on any map)

CA Section E
Updated description, location for the spring at WRCS494

CA Section F
Added BV0570
Added BV0571
Added CS0571B
Added CS0573
Added CS0574
Added RD0575
Added RD0579
Updated description WR583
Added PL0584
Added GT0590
Added RD0600
Added RD0601
Added TR0602
Renamed WR602 to WRCS602
Added RD0605
Renamed WR609 to WRCS609
Added RD0609
Added RD0618
Added Gully0620
Added DoveSpringCynRd
Added WR620
Added RD0622
Added RD0624
Added RD0625
Added RD0628
Added RD0630
Updated description of WR631
Added CS0634
Added CS0635
Added TR0637
Renamed WR638 to WR637
Added RD0641
Added RD0644
Added McIivers Spring track to map and GPS data
Added Willow Spring track to map and GPS data
Added Robin Bird Spring track to map and GPS data
Added Willow Spring Alternate track to map and GPS data
Removed PO0652 from GPS data (it’s not on any map)
Renamed water warnings from mile 620 – 664
Updated Lake Isabella PO hours
Updated Onyx PO hours

CA Section G
Added bear canister information on map pages 6 and 14

CA Section H
Updated Red’s Meadow description

CA Section I
No changes

CA Section J
Corrected small error in track near the Sonora Pass picnic area

CA Section K
Renamed WA1194 to WACS1194

CA Section L
Survey grade GPS data collected for this section (sub-meter accuracy)
Improved mileage estimates based on more accurate GPS data
New half mile waypoints created based on more accurate GPS data
Added track to rest area
Renamed WA1182 to WA1181, moved to switchback 1/10 mi south
Renamed WA1194 to WACS1194
Removed Red Moose Inn

CA Section M
Survey grade GPS data collected for this section (sub-meter accuracy)
Improved mileage estimates based on more accurate GPS data
New half mile waypoints created based on more accurate GPS data
Renamed RD1204 to RD1205
Renamed WA1205 to WACS1205
Renamed CS1211 to CS1212
Renamed WA1211 to WA1212
Removed CS1216
Added WACS1216
Removed WA1216 (at cow pond)
Added trail to WA1216 track
Added new WA1216 at piped spring
Renamed WA1219 to WA1220
Renamed WA1224 to WACS1224
Renamed WA1231 to WA1232
Renamed CS1232 to CS1233
Removed PO1236 from GPS data (it’s not on any map)
Renamed RD1241 to RD1242
Renamed RD1244 to RD1245
Removed CS1251
Renamed WA1251 to WACS1251
Renamed RD1263 to RD1264
Renamed WA1267 to WA1268
Renamed WA1277 to WA1278
Moved WA1278 to more accurate location, renamed WA1278B
Renamed CS1278 to CS1279
Removed CS1280
Renamed WA1280 to WACS1280
Moved WA1284 to better water source

CA Section N
Survey grade GPS data collected for this section (sub-meter accuracy)
Improved mileage estimates based on more accurate GPS data
New half mile waypoints created based on more accurate GPS data
Renamed CS1295 to WACS1295C
Renamed CS1302 to CS1301B
Renamed WACS1303 to WACS1302
Renamed WACS1309 to WACS1308
Renamed RD1309 to RD1308
Renamed WA1332 to WA1331
Renamed WA1339 to WACS1338
Renamed WA1345 to WA1344
HatCreekView added
CS1384 added
StandByMeBridge added

CA Section O
Survey grade GPS data collected for this section (sub-meter accuracy)
Improved mileage estimates based on more accurate GPS data
New half mile waypoints created based on more accurate GPS data
Renamed RD1425 to RD1424B
Renamed RD1453 to RD1452
Renamed WA1468 to WA1467
Renamed WA1469 to WA1468
Removed waypoints from GPS data that were not on any map

CA Section P
No changes

CA Section Q
No changes

CA Section R
Removed waypoints from GPS data that were not on any map

OR Section B
Updated Fish Lake Resort zip code

OR Section C
Updated Mazama Village shipping address

OR Section D
Updated Shelter Cove Resort phone number

OR Section E
Added information about camping restrictions in the Obsidian Limited Entry Area
Updated Elk Lake Resort shipping information

OR Section F
No changes

OR Section G
Updated Timberline Lodge shipping address, phone

WA Section H
No Changes

WA Section I
No Changes

WA Section J
New GPS data collected for this section (five new tracks merged for greatly improved accuracy)
Improved mileage estimates based on more accurate GPS data
New half mile waypoints created based on more accurate GPS data
Added note that the Chevron Station may not accept packages
Renamed WACS2445 to WACS2446
Renamed WA2455 to WA2456
Corrected description of Goldmyer Alternate (mile 11.4), where you do not cross the bridge but continue on E side of river

WA Section K
No Changes

WA Section L
No Changes