As you may or may not know, I like backroading a lot, and one of my passions these days is chasing and photographing trains.
Besides chasing trains, backroading in general requires the means to know where you are at at any given time. To keep myself found, I have 3 GPS devices mounted in the radio stack that resides in my mobile.
Now you may be wondering why I need 3 GPS devices, and the reasons vary, but one of the devices is strictly used for APRS mapping, and is paired with my VHF transceiver which allows local APRS stations to be shown on the screen of this GPS device, as well as allowing my mobile to be placed and seen on Google maps.
Another GPS device is connected up to my HF transceiver, and is used for HF APRS, that allows my mobile to be heard across NA, and placed on Google maps.
The 3rd GPS device is used for navigation while I'm out and about, and allows me to see my surroundings on the screen of the device.
Back to railroading and in particular chasing trains, the Garmin Montana mounted in my radio stack is loaded with southern Alberta GPS topo maps which allows me a very detailed screen as seen in the insert photo of the display, with a partial view of the Aylth yard located in Calgary shown on the screen.
When I'm backroading, the Montana gives me a birds-eye view of my surroundings, and comes in particularly handy for getting an idea as to how the various railroad tracks are layed out that are of interest to me at the time.
As informative as these GPS devices are, a good mapbook is also very important for additional information it provides. For example, I noticed that there was an abandoned railway line shown on the map as depicted with the arrow you see pointing at it.
Further exploration while I was in the area allowed me to find it, and the insert photo I shot, was taken where the arrow points to on the map.
This railway that began at Cosway junction as seen on the map, was abandoned 50 years ago, yet is of interest to the person like myself that likes the history that goes with abandoned railways, this one dating back to 1908.
So bottom line is, you cannot be too informed when going down the road, and in particular backroads, as a good GPS device along with a good mapbook goes a long ways in keeping yourself informed as to your surroundings.
Just so you know, mapbooks are not all created equal, as depending on what mapbook you pick up you will find they do not all have the same information included on the maps. For example, my Backroads mapbook produced in Canada, and my copy a 4th edition for southern Alberta, shows abandoned railway lines, this being of importance to me.
Backroad maps topo maps loaded on my Garmin Montana, also includes points of interest included in their GPS topo mapping, allowing the GO feature of a GPS device to be used for navigating to these POI's.
Expand the photo full screen for a look at the old abandoned railway line I found on this day.