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GIS overlays

GIS teams create daily fire maps that are yours for the asking, or downloading.  Downloading the map data allows your moving maps to display exact fire information.  This is an indispensable tool when trying to find hand cut line or flying over any point in low visibility.
 
Before flying:
Some preparation is needed so when flying the moving map GIS starts up correctly with no questions asked. These steps are all done before getting into the airplane.  Make sure you have an internet connection. XMap 7 Professional w/USA Topographic Data is preferred because it imports ESRI .shp files directly.  Topo7 and Terrain Navigator Pro will import GPX files, but these don't normally exist.  You can ask the GIS to create GPX files, but often they don't know how to.
 
How-to: Import ESRI .shp files into XMap
(these instructions are best effort.  Because the softwares change, you may need to improvise)
Pre-setup: Install DeLorme XMap Pro to the Tablet PC.  Place a shortcut in the Windows Starup* directory, so XMap automatically loads whenever the Tablet is started. At the Welcome screen first time after installation, choose Open a recent project, and checkmark on the bottom left of this dialogue box "Use selected project option at start and hide this dialog"
 
1-Make sure DeLorme XMap is loaded and running in the background according to the above instructions.
2-Goto the NIFC site and find your fire data: ftp://ftp.nifc.gov/Incident_Specific_Data/ . You must hunt around and drill in to find your fire since this site is always changing.  This may not be easy, so ask someone on your fire "where to download fire maps as ESRI shape files". 
example: ftp://ftp.nifc.gov/Incident_Specific_Data/CALIF_S/2009_fires/CA-YNP Big Meadow/GIS/INCIDENT_DATA/20090902 (the last number is a date: 2009Sept2)
3-Download all .shp files and all of the other associated files. If there is a ZIP file with .shp files, then open the ZIP file (click on it) and download all of the files.  Create a new sub-directory on your Tablet PC in Desktop\My Documents\DeLormee Docs\FireNameDate, and name the new directory as the italics to the left indicate. Remember this name, because you will soon navigate back to it. There are multiple ways to copy/download these files, and because each GIS team loads the .shp files a little differently, it is not possible to describe one way to do download. Use your favorite way, and download/copy all to your Tablet PC.
 
Drag and Drop method (easier):
4. Position the just downloaded files on one side of the Tablet's display so the XMap topos are also visible underneath on the other side. Click the Type column so files are sorted, and the SHP files are all together. Click the first SHP file and Shift down cursor until all are highlighted.  Or Ctrl-Click/Touch for the specific SHP files desired. Drag and drop all selected Shape files and over to above the XMap Topos and let go (drop them).  All files will start the import process.  Files of the same name will replace/update existing files.  Files of a new name will import.
 
5.The Import dialogue box will appear, and the first time the Database will need to be selected as:  DeLormeSampleDB - (LOCAL)/XMAP7. Click/Touch Next.  If the SHP file name is over 64 characters, and error box will display and the name will need to be shortened.  This name field is not crtical, so randomly delete 10-20 charaters out of th name
6. Once loaded you can change the colors, line thickness and other items by double clicking exactly on the small icon at the front of the new table listing.  Each .shp file must be loaded one at a time, and the color attributes changed one at a time.
 
7. When done, save as a native XMap file: hit Ctrl S
 
Manual method inside XMap:
4-Return to XMap and go to the "GIS" tab along the bottom
 
 
5-Click Layers under the GIS tab (Layers plural not Layer), and then click Import>New Layer
6-A dialogue box appears, and in it click on the right side of the first Data File line in the small box with "..."
 
7-Navigate through your disk directory structure to where today's.shp files were downloaded. Often you can click on the left border My Documents, and then click into the DeLorme Docs directory to find your sub-directory and enter into it.
 
8-Choose a .shp file by reading the name to identify the important ones.  Some .shp files are not needed because they are redundant or historic. Double click to choose.  Back inside the Import Dialogue box choose a Database on the bottom line (DeLormeSampleDB - (LOCAL)/XMAP7) if it is not already chosen.  Click Next.   If the SHP file name is over 64 characters, and error box will display and the name will need to be shortened.  This name field is not crtical,so randomly delete 10-20 charaters out of th name
9-Once loaded you can change the colors, line thickness and other items by double clicking exactly on the small icon at the front of the new table listing.  Each .shp file must be loaded one at a time, and the color attributes changed one at a time.
 
10-Save as a native XMap file: hit Ctrl S
11- While flying out to the fire, you simply turn on the Tablet-PC and your exact GIS data is auto-loaded.  When you look again at the Tablet PC your plane shows up as contrail crossing over the overlayed GIS data on the moving-map topos.
 
Symbolizing: Labeling Division Break Assignments, Dips Sites and Drop Points.
After loading a Point file that needs labels by each point, follow these directions:
- Highlight the layer to be symbolized
- Click/Touch Tools and choose Classify
- A Dialogue box appears. Change Type field to Unique Value. Change the Field field to Label. Click Ok
 
- Click/Touch Tools and choose Symbolize
- Choose the items to Symbolize. Multiple layers can be selected by clicking the first and then Shift - Down Cursor
- Choose the appropriate Symbol Set, and then choose the Symbol from the set. Do this for every point you want
- While the items are highlighted you may want to increase the Label Color & Size at the bottom. Click Ok to finish
- To make the Label display. choose Tools, select Label
- The Label dialogue box appears.  Scroll down in the Label Column, and double click Label.  Click Ok
 
* Saving XMAP shortcut  to the Startup directory:
Windows XP, Windows Vista and Windows 7 are all different in their directory structures.  Here is one method that works on all versions of Windows:
- Click/touch Start on the bottom left of the Windows destop
- Follow into All Programs, and find the Startup folder
- Right-click (hold the stylus button and touch) the Startup folder, choose Open. Let this dialogue box sit in a visible place for a moment
- Click/touch Start on the bottom left of the Windows desktop
- Follow into All Programs. Find the DeLorme folder click it, and then click XMAP 7. Right-Click and hold down  (hold the stylus button, touch and hold down) on the XMAP 7 startup icon. Drag this over to the previously opened Startup Folder and drop it inside to create a shortcut.
- Be sure there is only one XMap project in the Startup directly.  Two project files will cause failure to load.
 
 
 
How-to: GPX files into Topo 7 or Xmap
1-If GPX files are available, they are easier to use because there are fewer files and more information is translated.  The downside is that creating GPX files is an extra process for the GIS team, so they won't exist unless your GIS team agrees to make them. Topo 7 accepts only .GPX files.  XMap accepts both ESRI .shp (see above) and also .GPX.
2-DeLorme XMap or Topo 7 needs to be loaded on your Tablet PC.  Both will load .GPX files one-by-one about the same way
3-Goto the NIFC site: ftp://ftp.nifc.gov/Incident_Specific_Data/ and drill in to find your fire.  This may not be easy, so ask someone on your fire "where to download fire maps".  They may lead you to the .pdfs, and in a directory nearby the PDFs will be the GPX files.
If there are no GPX files present you must talk to the GIS team and request they create them.
4-Download all .GPX files. Download the whole directory of files to a sub-directory you create in c:\DeLorme Docs. Name it with the date.
5-Start XMap or Topo 7, and go to the "DRAW" tab across the bottom
6-Click FILE on the bottom left, and then IMPORT on the far right
7-Navigate to your directory with your downloaded GPX files, choose "GPX File (*.gpx)" in the box for "Files of type:" and open a GPX file. 
8-Do this over for as many files as you want to open.  Point and line files are imported the same way
9-Files import and the map re-centers.  Point data shows the label name (drop points show the name).  ESRI .shp files and Maptech do not do this.
10-The order of the fire / dozer lines can be re-ordered to your liking.  You can turn off the check for unwanted layers.  Hint you want the newest layer to be at the bottom so only new fire / dozer lines show beyond existing fire / dozer lines. Click Done when finished
11-Save your data in file native to Delorme: Click the tab across the bottom Map Files in Topo 7 and Map Data in XMap. Click File and Save As.  Give it the same name as download directory (today's data)
12-Change color if desired: Topo 7- Go to DRAW and click the arrow on the bottom right of the Tools menu.  Either point at lines and click it, Shift-click for multiple segments, or drag a box around the group.  Choose your line style, thickness and color at the bottom of the screen.
13-Save any changes to the native Topo 7 or Xmap file.  Place the this natvie file in the Windows Startup directory for easy startup while flying out to the fire.
 
 
 
How to: GPX files into Maptech 
1-Maptech Terrain Navigator Pro accepts only .GPX files.
2-Load all Maptech Terrain Navigator Pro files on to the harddisk
3-Goto the NIFC site: ftp://ftp.nifc.gov/Incident_Specific_Data/ and drill in to find your fire.  This may not be easy, so ask someone on your fire "where to download fire maps".  They may lead you to the .pdfs, and in a directory nearby the PDFs will be the GPX files.
If there are no GPX files present you must talk to the GIS team and request they create them.
4-Download all .GPX files. Download the whole directory of files to a sub-directory you create in c:\DeLorme Docs. Name it with the date.
5-Start Maptech and double click on any map.  Point data is added differently than line data.
6-Click File, Import > Tracks... for line data, and File, Import > Markers... for point data
7-Navigate to your directory with your downloaded GPX files, change the bottom box to .GPX, and Open a .GPX file. 
8-Do this over again for every GPX file.  Remember Point and Line data are imported differently.
9-You must move on the map to where the data is overlayed.  The map is not re-centered as DeLorme does. If you have a GPS moving-map arrangement, the map will be positioned correctly when you fly over the data, but not at the time of download-import.
10-Maptech does not have a save function, but you will be prompted to save when you exit.  Say Yes at the time of exit, but remember these files never go away until you delete them one by one (Layesrs>Tracks or Layers>Markers)
11-To change colors of a fire / dozer line: Choose the ?pointer on the top line of icons/tools. Right click on the line and choose Edit
 
 
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