How Metal Detectorists Can Use Mapping Software to Find Locations of Old Structures

How Metal Detectorists Can Use Mapping Software to Find Locations of Old Structures

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Background & Basics

Guest Article: By Brandon – North Alabama Metal Detecting blog

I do a ton of research for metal detecting.  Usually not a day goes by when I’m not researching, looking at maps, reading battle/skirmish stories.  It’s always something.  My mind never stops thinking about that next place to go.

Normally I start with aerial maps and begin trying to use present day satellite and regular map images.  Sometimes I use google, drop a “pin” and try to figure out where things used to be.  With the way google maps works, you can drop a pin and then find it with your phone when you’re on site.

jh_track.pngBut it’s not an exact science and as hard as I try to put myself precisely where I’d like to be, it’s still complete speculation.  You may miss it by a little bit on your computer screen or on your phone, but that could result in hundreds of feet when you standing on a site trying to find something that no longer exists.  And time is precious.  You might have a few hours to metal detect, or you might have an hour.  The more time you spend looking for something, the less time you’re spending finding actual relics.

Don’t like wasting time?  Me neither.  Insert Maprika.

This software was designed originally for skiing.  That’s right, skiers use this software to create routes they want to take, or routes they have already taken, on mountains.

So how can it help us metal detectors?  Glad you asked.

Well it’s complicated, but let’s go basics in bullet fashion:

  • You download the Maprika software onto your computer (I have a PC, not sure about MAC’s)
  • The software has two sides once you open it
    • On one side you put an old image
    • On the other side you pull up a modern image
  • You use the software to “pin” commonalities between then and now
    • Street intersections
    • Buildings that were there in your old photo and still there in your new photo
    • Landmarks
    • Churches
  • Basically you’re able to “narrow down” the map and what you’re looking for
  • You save that map, upload it to the Maprika Server
  • You use the Mobile App for your android or iPhone and you’re able open up that map that you made and use it with your current location factored in!

If you’re thinking of closing this page, don’t.  I’m going to put it all together for you in the following pages, hang with me!

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There are 6 comments for this article
  1. Brandon at 2:53 pm

    Glad to see some discussion on this. I originally intended on writing this just to get my thoughts and process down on paper, and why not share it with others? When I do part 2, I plan on helping narrow down on the deviation between the old and new map, as that can be the difference in getting the location right. Part 3 will detail the transfer between the PC and the phone software, and then how to get to that specific spot.

    I didn’t realize at the time what an endeavor this would be, but now that I’ve done it and shared it, I have to follow through with it.

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