I was wondering is it would be possible to use MapSource and the FCC Webpage and have it create maps with locations from the FCC webpage? For example, say I wanted to download every railroad frequency for Dakota County Minnesota from 160.215 to 161.550. I know that I can get reports from the FCC like these, but now what do I do to take this data and create map which will show the tower sites on a map in MapSource?
Could an application be created with Google Earth, Mapblast, Yahoo Maps, or something similar that would allow an end user to just enter what they are interested in and then have the application directly take the data and create maps showing the sites for the frequencies found. Maybe the guys that created the AM and FM Custom POI files have already done this. I think that this would be handy. Or even the Cutom POI files that show the ham radio repeaters or National Weather Service frequencies. I know the FCC uses DDD MM SS.S format, but I suppose that is not that bif of an issue. Actually there are probably other applications for this to. Would a Custom POI file have to be imported/converted to Favorite Waypoints in MapSource and then simply use that to create maps or is there a simpler way to do this? I do some of this now, but just one at a time. I just think having an application that would directly take the data from the FCC webpage and then create waypoints on MapSource would be mighty handy for quite a few of the radio POIs. I did find this site:
Would something like the GPS Coordinate Grabber work with the FCC webpage for an application like I am suggesting?
I have tried it with the FCC webpage, but I can't seem to get it to work. I did get it to work with this site however. http://www.weatherradio.info/usa/techlist.html
The only thing is I would still have to convert it to the type of coordinates that MapSource and Garmin uses. Has anyone here used GPS Coordinate Grabber? It seems like it could lead to some neat applications.
Hope you don’t mind me asking, but what are you trying to accomplish? I really haven’t found it necessary to locate a transmitter to hear it. Usually the location of railroad transmitters is at the rail yard, or on a train. Trains don’t always stay in the same place, so a POI would be useless.
Maybe the train example wasn't the best one. I will use the weather service this time. I would like to be able to create maps with the transmitters shown on the map and the frequency to listen in on. If, for example, I am in Burnsville MN and I don't know where to tune in, I could look on a map and see that the closest transmitter is on 162.550.
The amateur radio repeaters can be another good example. Say I am in Pine City MN and I want to see where the closest amateur radio repeater is located. I could create a map and see that the nearest repeater is on 145.330 in Rush City.
Yet another example is AM/FM/TV transmitters. When my wife, sons, and I go camping in rural Wisconsin we don't know what radio station to tune into since we are not from the area. With a map showing the sites, we could see that the closest FM station is WVCX 98.9 FM in Tomah WI.
When we (The Radio Guys) created our files, we took the longitude and latitude data from the appropriate columns on the FCC database. The data needs to be converted from degree, minute to decimal format. In excel we repositioned the data to approporate position, i.e longitude, latitude, descriptor. Remember to change the long data to negative values for the US. This is an overview, if you need more info, I will be happy to provide it. (Note, will be out of communication for the next several days).
Once the data is in the correct form, you can use POI Edit. Selecting any point will display on a google map. (Note, our files don't load into POI Edit because we have the fourth column with forced linebreaks. However, if you make a file without the forced linebreaks, it should work in that program.
I was looking at the FCC webpage again. When I see a listing like this:
is that for a talking detector? If so, I am wondering if creating a POI file with these along a railline would be helpful to railfans. My reasoning is if they are listening for a train on the radio and they know where the detector is, they can drive do the area and when a train passes the detector will announce, "Milepost 337.8 xxxtons temperature 38 degrees, no defects" or whatever the message is. Are there any railfans here that think this would be worthwhile? I was also wondering about the North Americna Railroad Atlas. Is there any other data in there that might be helpful to convert to .csv files?
I am still trying to gather more data that may be usefuk for other people with an interest in railroads. I have found two places that have atlases:
It looks like they also have a digital map databse, but I can't tell what the price is for that one.
Does anybody here know which of these might be most helpful for locating points of interest along a railroad line? I want to make sure that whichever one I get has maileposts so that when a train calls out that they are at MilePost XXX I can tell approximately were they are and how far they are from me.
As I continue to research this, I find some interesting additional data:
NENA Milepost Operational Information Document 56-502
As a result of their investigation into a railway collision, the National
Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) issued a report in 2001 that identified
certain safety issues relating to this event. One of these issues was the
adequacy of maps used by emergency response personnel for railroad
accidents. The NTSB recommended that NENA should facilitate the inclusion
of railroad milepost markers on all emergency response maps across the
After the formation of this Working Group, it was determined that other
government agencies were interested in obtaining and standardizing this and
other location data. The purpose of this Operational Information Document
is to provide a recommendation regarding the development of a national
database to include milepost information and other data for highways and
railways within the United States.
It is recognized that standards are needed to identify define the data
elements which should be provided on electronic and/or paper maps used by
the public safety community. This will facilitate locating emergency events
and providing coordination among responding local, state and federal units.
It is recommended that railroad and highway milepost and other location
elements be integrated into a common dataset. These data, incorporated into
electronic and paper maps, should be made available to PSAP call takers and
other homeland security stakeholders. It is recommended that standards be
developed to identify the process by which these data are to be
disseminated. These data could also be incorporated into publicly available
maps to magnify their utility.
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