Tag Archives: Maps

Why no Melways of the Bush?

I remember years ago wondering why there wasn’t a Melways (street directory) of the entire State of Victoria, including the bush areas.

And here’s one reason….

This is going to be just a rough calculation, so don’t get upset about decimal places and rounding off.

An A4 sheet of paper is 21×29 cm. Leave 1cm margin (each side) for bindings etc, so we’ve got 19x27cm of printable area.

A bushwalking map is usually in the scale of 1:25,000. Hence 1cm on the map is 25,000 cm in real life, or 250 m.  It follows that 4cm of map = 1 km etc.

So an A4 map of this scale would be about 5km x 7km, that is 35 km²

Right, so how big is Victoria? According to the government it’s about 227,400 km².  So do a simple division and you’ll need about 6,500 A4s. Printing double sided means ‘only’ 3,250 pages.

And if printed in the main Melway’s scale it would be worse. The majority of their maps are in a smaller scale, 1:20,000.  So even more that 3,250 pages would be needed.

Not so Shonky Maps for the GPS

I’ve been playing with the free Shonkymaps for the new GPS. Basically it goes like this: the GPS only comes with very basic maps.  Just the ‘big picture’ stuff, no street names, mountain names, height information (topographic data) etc.

You can buy commercial maps and load them into your GPS. Actually you load sections of them in, for the area of interest.

…or some kind souls create ones for them – and us – to use.

On example being ShonkyMaps (the name is the users account name, not a reflection on the quality; “shonky” being Austrlaian slang for something a bit dodgy or not quite legal or legitimate.)   The best way to describe it is from the author themselves:

Shonkymaps are a set of unofficial Garmin compatible topographic maps that cover the whole of Australia.  The author was not satisfied with the Garmin base map that came with the Garmin gps, and at the time there were no other topographic products either official or unofficial.  He created his own set of downloadable topographic maps as a hobby / labour of love.

That quote – and the maps themselves – are from the Shonkymaps web site. I won’t go into detail on how to get the to work (it was VERY easy), but work they do.

Something went astray with my usage on the recent Mt Macedon walk, the map layer(?) seemed to vanish, but I’ll look into that. I could have pushed the wrong button or clicked on the wrong menu. The waypoints and log/track were still visible. Strange.

Anyway hats off to Shonky for a great job. The amount of detail is fantastic.