How to use edofe mapping

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This blog is a practical guide to using edofe mapping: software that’s available to Duke of Edinburgh’s Award participants and leaders to produce maps and routecards for expeditions and training days. In the blog I’ll cover:

  1. How to find edofe mapping in a participant and leader account
  2. Creating a new map
  3. Creating the route
  4. Editing the style of the route line
  5. Creating a route card
  6. Printing maps and routecards
  7. Merging maps and routecard pdfs
  8. Importing and exporting gpx files
  9. Sharing maps and routecards

Let’s get started…..

How to find edofe mapping

So the first step is to log into edofe using this url and your edofe username and password:

https://edofe.org/

Once you’ve logged into your account the way to finding edofe mapping depends on whether you have a leader a participant account.

LEADER ACCOUNT: Select Resources, then Click on Mapping (see below)

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PARTICIPANT ACCOUNT: Click on your award (e.g. ‘My Silver DofE‘), then click Expedition, then click on Mapping.

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Creating a New Map

Once you’ve got into edofe mapping the next step is to create a new map. You’ll need a separate map for each day of the expedition. So if you want to create a bronze route you’ll need to create two maps, repeating the following steps twice, or if it’s a gold route, repeating it four times.

To Create a new map fill in the following two fields: ‘New map name‘ and ‘New map description‘ (see below). Once you’ve done that click ‘Create new map‘.

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A message will pop up saying ‘Do you want to create a new map‘, click yes.

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You will be presented with this screen (see below). Now you are ready to create the route.

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Creating the route

This next stage is a little tricky. You need to zoom into the part of Britain your expedition route is taking place. To zoom in don’t double click on the map. If you do you’ll add a Waypoint in a random place. To zoom in and out use the + and – buttons on the right hand side of the screen. To move around the map hold the left hand button of your mouse down (keep it pressed down) and then drag the map about using your cursor.

TOP TIP: There is a glitch in the edofe mapping system. When you click on the + button for the first time to zoom in, the system jumps into the 1:50,000 map scale at a random place. When this happens you’ll need to zoom all the way out again. When you start zooming in for a second time it zooms in incrementally, which is what you want. 

Once you have found the area your expedition is happening in zoom in incrementally until you can see the start point and you are presented with either the 1:50,000 or 1:25,000 scale map. Which map scale you use is up to you. The 1:25,000 map has more detail, showing field boundaries for example. In some instances, despite having less detail, the 1:50,000 map is clearer and easier to use. The scale of the map you are on is shown on the right hand side of the screen: the red segment is 1:50,000 and orange segment is 1:25,000.  Once you can see the start point and you have the right map scale click on the start point. A green dot will appear. This is your starting waypoint. I’ll be illustrating the steps in creating a map and routecard using a mock silver route: Day 1 of a silver expedition route in the Pentland Hills to the East of Edinburgh in Scotland.

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TOP TIP: If you have been given a grid reference for the the start point and want to find out exactly where that is on the map, zoom in to the rough area of the start point and then click on the ‘Grid Ref‘ button on the menu bar. In the centre of the screen you will see a cross and slightly to the right a box that displays the 10 figure grid reference for the cross. Use your cursor to move the map around until you find you the grid reference for your start point. Once you have finished with the ‘Grid Ref‘ mode click on the ‘Plot‘ button on the menu bar.

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TOP TIP: If you make a mistake in positioning the starting waypoint you can delete it by selecting the ‘Remove‘ button on the menu. Click ‘Remove‘, then click on the waypoint to delete it. Once you’ve done that click ‘Plot‘ and try to position the waypoint again. You can also move a waypoint by placing your cursor over it, holding the left hand button on your mouse down and then dragging it about.

Once you have got a green dot (the starting waypoint) in the right place you are ready to plot the entire route.

To start creating the route make sure the ‘Plot‘ button on the menu bar is selected. Next just click along the line of the route you want to take, taking care to follow the line of the path, or track or road you intend to journey along. Keep creating the line of your route until you reach the end point. As you create the line notice that the profile of your route (the ups and downs) together with the distance, total height gain and total time are shown on the left hand side of the screen. If you have a grid reference for the end point or for key points along your route you can use the ‘Grid Ref‘ button to help you.

If you make a mistake with your route you can move and delete waypoints. To delete click ‘Remove‘ then click on the waypoints you want to delete. To start plotting again click ‘Plot‘.

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TOP TIP: Once you have created the route it is useful to zoom out to get an overview of the entire route on one screen. The map scale isn’t fixed. You have the flexibility to change the scale, zooming in and out, as you like.

Editing the style of the map route

Changing the look of the line that represents the route is easy. Click on the ‘Style‘ button on the menu bar then change the colour, thickness and transparency.

TOP TIP: A thin, slightly transparent line is good because it obscures less of the map detail underneath the line. Take care that the colour of the line isn’t the same as any major roads near to your route because it can make following the route confusing when navigating.

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Creating the Route Card

To create the routecard you’ll need to decide how to break the route up into sections or legs.  Then, for each leg, you’ll be writing instructions to help the participants navigate. Here are some tips for deciding on how to break your route into legs and also on how to write these instructions.

TOP TIPS: When deciding upon how to break up your route into sections consider waypoints where there is scope for navigational error. Path or track junctions for example are places where participants could make a mistake and go the wrong way. Also consider points along the route where you reach something very clear in the landscape. Examples include: a road, a loch or lake, a bridge, a high point on the route or a prominent building. Obvious stuff like this should be straightforward for participants to match up to the map and consequently confirm where they are on the map.

TOP TIP: When writing route descriptions describe the features you’ll see along that section of the route. Describe water features, whether you are going uphill or downhill, areas of woodland, buildings, path and track junctions, overhead power lines etc. Indicate in your instructions whether these landscape features will be on the left or right hand side. Include in your instructions which compass direction you are walking in. If you need to change direction – for example at a path junction – describe whether you are to go left or right and indicate what the compass direction is; e.g. north west, east, south west. The instructions for the leg will finish at the ‘leg destination’: the point feature in the landscape that marks the end point of that section of the route. This should be something that is clear in the landscape (for example a loch, road, bridge, high point) or a point where there is scope for navigational error (a path or track junction).

To start click on the starting waypoint and click edit. Enter text into the two fields: the Title of the waypoint and the description. In the description field just write ‘START‘. Next click save.

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Next click on the waypoint that marks the end point of the first leg or section of your route. Select the edit button, add a title that describes the feature you’ll be stopping at,  then add text in the description field to explain how to get there, what you’ll see along the way, what compass direction you’ll be walking in and notes of how to identify the feature at the end point of the leg. Once you’ve done that click save.

Note that if you don’t add text into both the ‘Title‘ and ‘Description‘ fields your work will not be saved. Also note that once you’ve edited and saved a waypoint it will change from a circle to a diamond. Waypoints are listed on the left hand side of the screen above the gradient profile.

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Repeat these steps for all of the waypoints that mark the end point of legs, all the way to the end of the entire route.

If the preceding waypoint ended at a path junction the first instruction in the new waypoint will be which way to go; e.g. go left at the path junction (south).

Once you have written text in all on the waypoints you are ready to switch to the routecard view and add more detail to the routecard. It is a good idea at this stage to click save in the menu bar.

To switch to the route card view click on the Route Card‘ button above the menu bar (see below).  

Screenshot 2020-02-06 at 19.11.25The routecard will now be presented. Enter information into the ‘Expedition Details‘ section at the top. This includes the date of the expedition, whether it’s a Bronze, Silver or Gold Expedition, whether this is Day 1, 2 or 3 of the expedition and what speed you anticipate walking the route. Normal walking speed, on the flat without an expedition rucksack is 5km, so over an undulating expedition route you might decide upon 3 or 4km per hour.

Next scroll down to the ‘Route Breakdown‘ section. You’ll see that all of the route instructions you’ve written in the map view are there in the route card. Also there in the routecard (added automatically) are the grid references, distances, height gain, journeying time for each leg (one row per leg). The total distance and journeying time are shown as well at the bottom.

Note the following minimum journeying times for Bronze, Silver and Gold Expedition days:

Award Level Min Journeying time Min Time for Daily Activity (inclusive of breaks and project work)
Bronze 3 hours 6 hours
Silver 3.5 hours 7 hours
Gold 4 hours 8 hours

The next job is to add information into the following columns:

  • Bearing – add text that describes compass direction. If there is a change of compass direction during the leg you can write it like this: Walk in a southerly direction, then south west.
  • Project Work – Add any time you want to spend on project work relating to your aim.
  • Rest – Add time for breaks and lunch.
  • Escape Route – Add some notes on where you would go if you had to get to a point of safety, in the event of an injury or bad weather. If you are close to the start you could write ‘return to start point’. If you are close to a road you could right ‘continue along route to road and telephone supervisor’.
  • Activity Aim – Add notes on what activities relate to your expedition project / aim.

As you add time for rest and project work keep an eye on the total time and the extent to which they meet the minimum requirements for daily activity for your award level.

Remember to click save at the bottom of the route card view.

Printing Maps and Routcards

To print your map and routecard return to the map view. To do this click on the ‘Route Card’ button at the top of the screen. Next click on the Menu button in the top left hand corner of the screen (three horizontal lines).

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Now click ‘Print‘. Follow these steps:

  1. To print the map only select ‘Map only‘ on the left hand side of the screen.
  2. Make sure the ‘Checkpoint‘ tick box is selected (this makes sure the leg numbers show up on the map).
  3. Also make sure you select the paper size; e.g. A4 portrait.
  4. Now adjust the map scale to the scale you want; e.g. 1:50,000 or 1:25,000.
  5. You’ll see a small window on your screen which is the print area. Drag the map to try and get all or as much of the entire route within the boundaries of the print area. Adjusting the map scale from 1:25,000 to 1:50,000 and changing between portrait and landscape may help. If you can’t get the entire route to fit within the print area you’ll need to print the route in two maps (or more).
  6. When you are ready click ‘Preview and Print‘. You can print a hard copy or print as pdf. Printing as a pdf is a good idea because you may want to combine the maps and routecards for the different days of the expedition into one document which you can then email and print more straightforwardly.

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To print the routecard select ‘Route Card Only’ then Preview and Print. Again you can print a hard copy or print as pdf.

Merging Maps and Routecards

To complete your Bronze, Silver or Gold Route you’ll need to repeat the entire process set out above. Before you exit the system save your work using the save button in the menu bar. Now click exit and set up another map and repeat the steps above.

Once you have finished and have produced pdf documents of the maps and routecards for the different days, you are ready to combine and compress the pdf documents. A useful tool for doing this is a free, online bit of software called pdfcompressor.

https://pdfcompressor.com/

Using the software combine your pdf documents into one document. Next compress the combined pdf doc, which makes its size smaller and easier to email.

Importing and exporting gpx files

Another thing you can do is export your map and route card in a gpx format. To do this exit the print menu and click on the ‘Export GPX‘ button.

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A gpx file contains the route and route card information and can be emailed to others. 

To import a GPX file start by creating a map giving it a title and description. Once you’ve done that click on the ‘IMPORT GPX‘ button. You will then be able to browse your computer for the gpx file, then upload it. Don’t upload a gpx file into a map that has a route set up in it already. If you do it will delete all of your work and replace it with the new gpx file.

Sharing Maps and Routecards

You can share your maps in route cards in one of three ways:

  1. You can email a combined and compressed pdf of your map and routecard;
  2. You can email a gpx file (one for each day of the route); or,
  3. You can use the edofe map sharing tool (this is only available to participants).

To use the map sharing too return to the screen that allows you to create a new map. Here you will see a list of all of the maps you’ve created already. Simply select the maps you want to share and then use the ‘Send maps to‘ field select the leader you want to send the file to. You will only be able to send maps to leaders within your Award Centre.

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That concludes my blog on how to use edofe mapping. It is quite an involved process but once you’ve practiced it a few times it becomes straightforward and intuitive. Hope you found it useful.

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