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Best way to share access maps/docs?

What is the best way for me to share items like geospatial PDFs and similar documents showing summit activation information?

73 Paula k9ir


Hi Paula. Have you tried ¨SOTA Mapping Project¨? Here you can share your GPS tracks on many interesting maps.
73 JP3PPL, Takeo

Takeo, tnx for the idea. I know of the track posting feature in the Mapping section. However, I don’t always have tracks. Often I use the real-time geospatial maps on my tablet.

Candidly, sometimes my tracks can be such a jumble. I have my share of a few dead ends and wrong directions ;-). I know those can be edited, but it is tedious and hit or miss to decide what track segments to leave out and which to keep.

I am hoping there’s a way to post the maps I create. I’ve tried embedding, inserting., inserting content only, copying and pasting as a picture, etc., but nothing works well.

Tnx again for your suggestion. I may end up capturing tracks more and get better at editing them before posting ;-).

73 Paula k9ir

Hi Paula,

I had the same issue. I wanted to share an Excel file that calculates distance and bearing between any two SOTA summits worldwide. I went looking for a “FILES” section on the Reflector and realized there wasn’t one. My work-around was to store my file in the cloud (in my personal account) and then generate a link to share the file. I then posted my link in a Reflector message.

I’m wondering if the suggestion of having a FILES section has been discussed and decided against by the admins?

Paul K9PM

I’ve gotten around it before by attaching the file to an email posted to the SOTA NA reflector, and then referencing that. It looks like one also can upload a file in a post to this reflector, in which case it seems odd one can’t do that more directly.Maybe it has to do with concerns with the database, vs. the reflector.

I also could do as you have with a link to a cloud location, but was hoping the SOTA site itself might have something central, or a way to do what I want to do, vs. distributing such info across multiple individual cloud storage locations.

73 Paula k9ir

Try caltopo.com. You can draw tracks and/or import KML, KMZ, GPX, or geoJSON files. You can share the maps with anyone (sharable link) and they can view and/or export to same formats mentioned above. They can also export to geospacial PDF or JPG. It has lots of different layers you can enable. I find it VERY useful - Caltopo and SOTAMaps are my go-to planning tools.

-Josh WU7H

Yes, Caltopo is great. I used it to combine layers for the Philmont Scout Ranch boundary and SOTA summits, then edited the summits to those within the ranch. That map is published at this URL.


I wrote a blog post on it with more links.


+1 for Caltopo aka Sartopo. You can overlay GPS tracks however I often just draw the correct route on there as often I find a better way on the way down and don’t think anyone needs to take the backtracks I take.

Good point Zach - I use Caltopo for that as well. It’s also great for cleaning up GPX files before you share them. I find Caltopo much easier / more efficient for this use than everything else I’ve tried.


I use Caltopo to generate the geospatial PDFs I’m trying to share ;-). I don’t have a paid sub to Caltopo, so unless/until I do that, I can’t save much for very long.

I like using the real-time maps. They contain the path AND terrain info The latest version of Avenza appears to have some cool tracking and navigating tools that I just noticed and used on this last activation trip. I can add and move waypoints, and track to a point and get a bearing and distance. My wrist GPS does that, but it’s much nicer with the 8" tablet’s larger display and full color.

It sounds like the answer to my OP is – for whatever reason – we don’t have any means of file sharing on the summit info page. It’s either post the file as an attachment on the reflector, or draw/capture tracks and post those to the mapping site. Not at all bad options, but not now part of my prep.

73 Paula k9ir

Walt, I am still on training wheels when it comes to Caltopo, though I use it quite a bit now for activations. How did you overlay the Philmont boundaries with the SOTA summits contained therein?

Have you ever layered in anything from Gooegle Earth? I read on Caltopo about a limitation involving Google Maps, at least when trying to print to a geospatial PDF, so not sure anything from Earth can be layered other than for online review.


73 Paula k9ir

I’ve been using the free version of Caltopo for the past 2 years and it has been saving all my maps just fine. I don’t see any limitation, but I don’t try to save PDFs.

Just share the link to your maps and people can generate their own geospatial PDFs on the fly.

On the summit info pages you can enter in text / URLs, so another option would be to start your own blog and then post links to your trip reports (with whatever files you want attached to your blog entry). I host a site called PNWSOTA.org that many folks around here use for that exact purpose.



I’m a huge user of Alltrails. I generally chart my planns there and share with my wife and locals before I leave incase they need to come get the dog and drag my body off the hill. Here is an example. I really like the charting features and overlays when planning a trip, especially to new areas. I can then bring it up on my phone, download for “off-line” use before I leave my house.

Another feature that I really like is the tracking feature. I generally do a writeup at hamninja.com so that I can show people my route but most importantly, I can use it to find a way to the top of a mountain where there are no charted tails. There is one mountain near here in particular that there is no way to get up there unless you find the trail because the chaparral makes any other route impassable. By doing a search, I found someones recorded path. Alltrails let me import that track and turn it into my own map for planning.

Like other charting apps, it allows you to import a list of peaks from SOTAmaps.org.

The most critical for me is that it work on my phone since it acts as my primary navigator. I do print charts out when going into a sketchy area.

p.s., I have no affiliation with the Alltrails dudes. There is another app out there that a lot of SOTA operators use called GIA. I did a small writeup on both, which can be found HERE.

Enjoy, Have Fun, Be safe

I’ll give another vote to CalTopo. I have two maps (for NA and EU) with all my activations, and countless more that I use for planning. I’m not a power user, but I think the paid versions of CalTopo are much more powerful. There’s a CalTopo app too, but it is still in beta.

Hi Paula,
My comment is about cleaning up gps tracks. I use Garmin Basecamp. It is free and can import a track, then edit it quite easily.

Currently I’m using an iPhone with the iHikeGPS app. Pretty nice. Can import/export waypoints, tracks.
Alan, NM5S