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Mapping and Amateur Radio Tim Kirby, G4VXE 9 th June 2009 What tools are available Google Maps Microsoft Virtual Earth Google Earth NASA Worldwind Ordnance Survey OpenSpace Ozi Explorer ‘Heavy Duty’ GIS applications Let’s create a map

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mapping and amateur radio

Mapping and Amateur Radio

Tim Kirby, G4VXE

9th June 2009

what tools are available
What tools are available
  • Google Maps
  • Microsoft Virtual Earth
  • Google Earth
  • NASA Worldwind
  • Ordnance Survey OpenSpace
  • Ozi Explorer
  • ‘Heavy Duty’ GIS applications
let s create a map
Let’s create a map
  • Google Maps are a good place to start (
    • We can add points and add descriptions and HTML
    • We can draw lines
    • We can save the map so that we can embed it in a website or send it by e-mail
    • Finally, we can create KML and export it to Google Earth.
bringing data into your maps
Bringing data into your maps
  • Google Maps API allows you to bring data feeds into your map, using either GEORSS or KML data with a simple command.
  • An example shows Californian earthquakes
what s kml
What’s KML?
  • KML stands for Keyhole Markup Language. Started off being Google Earth specific but has emerged to become an OGC standard
  • XML variant
what does kml look like
What does KML look like

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>




<name>University of Southampton - Highfields Campus</name>








writing kml programatically
Writing KML programatically

Public Function create28MhzBeaconsKML()

Dim dbs As Database

Dim rst As Recordset

Dim Location As String

Dim latitude As Double

Dim longitude As Double

Set dbs = CurrentDb

Set rst = dbs.OpenRecordSet("select callsign, frequency, locator, longitude, latitude from 28MHz", dbOpenSnapshot)

Open "c:\devt\10mbeacons.kml" For Output As #1

Print #1, "<kmlxmlns=" + Chr$(34) + "" + Chr$(34) + ">"

Print #1, "<Document><visibility>0</visibility><open>1</open>"


Do Until rst.EOF

Print #1, "<Placemark>"

Print #1, "<description><![CDATA[" & "Locator: " & rst![Locator] & "]]> </description>"

'Print #1, "<description><![CDATA[" & "Location Value: 0" & "]]> </description>"

Print #1, "<name><![CDATA[" & rst![Callsign] & " " & rst![Frequency] & "]]></name>"

'Print #1, "<name><![CDATA[blah" & "]]></name>"

Print #1, "<Point><coordinates>" & rst![longitude] & "," & rst![latitude] & ",0</coordinates></Point></Placemark>"



Print #1, "</Document>"

Print #1, "</kml>"

Close #1


Set dbs = Nothing

End Function

kml files wot i wrote
KML files wot I wrote...
  • 28MHz Beacons
  • DXCC Listing
  • UK 2m/70cms repeaters

Once the code’s written, you can map anything! I’ve done SOTA summits, D-STAR nodes, Internet gateways..

other places you can use kml
Other places you can use KML
  • Google Maps
  • Microsoft Virtual Earth (except that it seems to be broken at the moment...)
once you have lat lon data
Once you have Lat/Lon data
  • You can export the data to other devices such as SATNAVs. Can create a Point of Interest (POI) file which allows you to see the closest repeaters to your current position, for example.
  • POI files (OV2 extension) are simple text files and you could easily write a script to create the data.
bing microsoft virtual earth
Bing (Microsoft Virtual Earth)
  • If you’re looking at a specific location, it’s often well worth trying all the different packages as the imagery will vary.
  • Bing shows some particularly nice ‘Birds Eye’ views
ordnance survey openspace
Ordnance Survey OpenSpace
  • OS Mappings are available and can be programmed using the OpenSpace API
  • Beware copyright restrictions!
  • Get started here
  • Here’s an example
what ready built mapping apps are there
What ready built mapping apps are there?
  • In the beginning, there was APRS (
find your locator square
Find your Locator Square
  • No more working out your Lat/Lon and doing complicated calculations. Just click...
see dx spots on a map
See DX Spots on a map
  • DXAnywhere ( shows DX spots on a map
dx sherlock vhf propagation
DX Sherlock – VHF Propagation
  • Real-time paths from DX Cluster data
recent d star activity
Recent D-STAR activity
  • See who’s on the air
ais data
AIS Data
  • Not directly amateur radio related, but can give useful tropo indications, as AIS operates in the marine band
satellite tracking
Satellite Tracking
  • Track ISS or any other satellite
what can be done with professional gis tools
What can be done with professional GIS tools?

Analysis – rather than pure display

have a go
Have a go!
  • Try creating a Google Map to show the contacts that you make over a period of time
  • E-mail:
  • Twitter: tim_kirby
  • Slides will be available at