[GEM 49+] GEM 49+ for maps above the border

Toporama changed their API a little and I fixed GemPlus on 2006-Dec-31. Please download version 1.0 again and verify (with Help -> About) you have build #243 or higher.

Standard GEM

Living in Canada

The problem with many GPS/GIS programs is that the maps are very USA focussed. The fact that I'm one of those living above 49° latitude was even the reason to develop Gem in the first place. Mapquest has always been one of the better mapping sources for people outside of the USA. Not perfect, but pretty OK.

For those living "north of the border" (or those planning to visit), the availability of online maps was always a bit limited. Toporama was there, but the quality was not that good. This has changed with the release of Toporama II. With topographic maps of a variable scale starting at 1:20,000 this has become a great source of mapping for Canada.

Therefore, good enough reason to create a new member in the Gem family, which I've baptized "Gem 49+". No offence of course to those Canadians living at lower latitudes than 49°. And because plus-signs don't do well as part of filenames, I will use the alias GemPlus wherever it's more appropriate.

[download GemPlus]

How it works

Because Gem 49+ is very similar in functinality to the original Gem, please read the web-page for that program first.

To install the program, simply download and unzip it into a suitable directory, like "C:\Program Files\GemPlus\". In the program directory you will find an executable and some configuration files. When running the program for the first time, a subdirectory with the name "Maps" will be created to store the maps you download. It is a good idea to create on your desktop a shortcut to the executable.

Gem 49+     Gem 49+

Gem 49+     Gem 49+

click on images to enlarge      


Lambert Conformal Conic

Especially for people living in the Pacific or Atlantic provinces of Canada, the projection method used by Toporama looks at first a bit weird. Mmm, at second it still does :-).

The Lambert Conformal Conic (LCC) projection, as adopted by National Resources Canada for Toporama II has pro's and con's, but the biggest problem for those living "on the side" is that "North" is not the same as "Up", therefore, by default, a North arrow gets drawn in the corner of the map.


Satellite images

Toporama II, doesn't have the high-res aerial photos that we know so well from Google Maps and Google Earth. But still it makes available a nice set of satellite pictures from CanImage.

Gem 49+     Gem 49+



As Gem regulars know, some of the program's features can be tuned from the gem_ini.txt file. Besides the regular parameters, there are a few special for Gem 49+. With Grid=Yes maps will be downloaded from Toporama including gridlines and topo mapnumbers. But be aware that because GemPlus is caching maps, you have to do a Gps->Reload if you want to reverse this action.

Another feature controlled from gem_ini.txt is the disabling of the north-arrow. With Rose=No, maps will not have these overlays, which can be useful if you like to stitch maps together.


The nitty gritty stuff

Gem 49+ is shareware. A few features (such as the satellite images) have been disabled to encourage you to pay the required fee. To register the program and get a license key, please visit the registration page.

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  Willem van Schaik, Calgary, October 2007     http://www.schaik.com/wwwillem.html