Maps are graphic representations of the Earth. Cartography is the art and science of expressing the known physical features of the earth graphically by maps and charts. No one knows who created the first map, but we have the military to thank for refining maps and designing GPS systems because of their demands for accuracy and detail.

Map Coordinates
Coordinates are a mathematical way of defining a point or a region.
Map coordinates are usually shown in one of two ways: the geographical coordinates, given as latitude and longitude values in degrees, minutes and seconds; or the grid coordinates, given as easting and northing values, in metres. The geographic coordinates system aligns with most Global Positioning Systems (GPS).

Scale
Scale refers to the relationship between the size of the map and the actual size of area that is mapped. If the scale of a map is 1:100,000, then one centimetre on the map would represents 100,000 centimetres, on the ground. For this reason, a scale of 1:25,000 would show much more detail than a map with a scale of 1:50,000 or
1:100,000. Unfortunately, detail is not always practical, especially for maps that cover large areas, because they would be ridiculously large and impossible to handle.

Contours
Contour lines, or some people like to call them, the 'squiggly' lines you see on the map are there to indicate the contour and elevation in the landscape. Basically, the closer the lines are together, the steeper the landscape.

Latitude & Longitude
Latitude and longitude is the most common grid system used for navigation. It will allow you to pinpoint your location with a high degree of accuracy. Latitude is angular distance measured north and south of the equator (equator is 0 degrees). As you go north of the equator, the latitude increases all the way up to 90 degrees at the north pole. If you go south of the equator, the latitude increases all the way up to 90 degrees at the south pole. In the northern hemisphere the latitude is always given in degrees north and in the southern hemisphere it is given in degrees south.

Longitude works the same way. It is angular distance measured east and west of the prime meridian (prime meridian is 0 degrees). As you go east from the prime meridian, the longitude increases to 180 degrees. As you go west from the prime meridian longitude increases to 180 degrees. The 180 degree meridian is also known as the international date line. In the eastern hemisphere the longitude is given in degrees east and in the western hemisphere it is given in degrees west.

UTM
UTM stands for 'Universal Transverse Mercator', and is similar to latitude and longitude except that it uses a different style of output for recording coordinates. TMR utilises the UTM method of recording way points. This means that you will more than likely need to set your GPS to UTM mode, and datum WGS84 if you wish to use any of the way points or coordinates on this site as they are all specifically recorded in Australia for Australia.

The UTM system works by breaking up the entire globe (earth) into friendly usable zones. Each zone is labelled with a number that refers to a region of longitude which is 6 degrees wide; and a letter that refers to a region of latitude which is 8 degrees high. Here is a visual example produce by Peter Dana of how the globe is broken into zones.


 

If you were to zoom in on the Australia, this is what you would see:

 

If you further zoomed in to Victoria (SE Australia), you would be able to see the finner details of the zoning system used in UTM coordinates.

Victoria is split down the middle by 2 zones (West Victoria - 54H and East Victoria - 55H). This means any time your are entering a UTM coordinate into your GPS and it requests a zone, you will need to enter either 54H or 55H depending on what part of Victoria your in.

 

So, a typical set of fully specified UTM coordinates within Victoria Australia would look something like this: E 578315, N 0789240, UTM Zone 54H, Datum WGS84.

GPS
The basic idea behind a GPS is that orbiting the earth are a thousands of satellites. Of these, about 24 are designed for navigation. By reading signals from at least two satellites, a GPS receiver is able to provide you with your location (3 or more satellite signals are required to provide you with your location if you are moving).

In order for GPS to work, its antenna needs to receive the signals from the orbiting satellites. Therefore, you need to be outside with a view of the sky. Mountains, trees, buildings and other obstacles can block the satellite signals or cause the signals to bounce around creating positioning inaccuracies. When you turn on the GPS unit, it will take some time for enough information from the satellite to be processed before your position is "fixed" or known. The weather can also effect the time required for a fix.

 
 
  
 

The Department of Sustainability and Environment (DSE) annually compiles a collection of maps of parks and forests across Victoria, which indicate official tracks for recreational use, and additionally indicate which tracks are seasonally closed for revegetation. Most winter closures on bush tracks take effect from the week after the Queens Birthday long weekend in June and remain in force until the Melbourne Cup Day long weekend. These closures are enforced under the National Parks Act and the Forests Act of Victoria, and breaches are punishable by law.

Below is a key to which state parks and forest correspond to which map. The maps are then listed below by map number, park and forest location. Please note, these maps are in Adobe PDF format. These maps are current as of June 2007.

 
 

 
 
Map 01 - Cann River Map 23 - Rutherglen
Map 02 - Orbost Map 24 - Barmah
Map 03 - Bonang Map 25 - Macedon
Map 04 - Swifts Creek Map 26 - Lerderderg
Map 5A - Dartmouth Map 27 - Daylesford
Map 5B - Pinnibar Map 28 - Otway East
Map 06 - Lake Wellington Map 29 - Otway West
Map 07 - Thomson/Tyers Map 30 - Mount Cole
Map 8A - Selwyn/Dargo High Plans Map 31 - Grampians
Map 8B - Wonnangatta/Moroka Map 32 - St Arnaud Range
Map 09 - Buffalo/Bogong Map 33 - Kooyoora
Map 10 - Strathbogie/Toombullup Map 34 - Little Desert.Arapiles
Map 11 - Mansfield Map 35 & 46 - Dergholm
Map 12 - Eildon Map 38 - MT Korong
Map 13 - Blue Range/Big River Map 39 - Greater Bendigo National Park
Map 14 - Marysville Map 40 & 41 - Mt Bolangum/Paddys Ranges State Park
Map 15 - Warburton Map 42 - Yarrawonga Cobram
Map 17 - Toolangi/Black Range Map 43 & 44 - Mt Beckworth/Enfield
Map 18 - Tallarook/MT Dissapointment Map 45 - MT Granya
Map 19 & 20 - MT Lawson/Burowa/Pine Mountain  
Map 21 - Yackandandah  
Map 22 - Beechworth