Dashes and Dots

fatdawg's Avatar


18 Aug, 2020 12:51 AM

What's the difference between the dashed lines and dotted lines in the MapBuilder layer on CalTopo?

  1. Support Staff 1 Posted by akaufmann on 18 Aug, 2020 01:33 AM

    akaufmann's Avatar

    Hi there,

    The dashed red lines indicate a hiking trail whereas the dotted red lines generally indicate a poorly maintained, difficult to maintain, or abandoned trail.

    The coloring and pattern is based on open street map data (which may not always be up to date). More specifically, a red dotted trail indicates a trail which is rated as T1, T2, or T3 on the SAC hiking scale and whose visibility is rated as "intermediate," "bad," or "horrible." Any other unpaved trail with SAC rating of T1, T2, or T3 will be a dashed red line.

    In my personal experience in the Sierra Nevada a dotted line normally indicates a game trail or an abandoned trail and a dashed line indicates a maintained trail.

    In this instance I'd recommend using the "Shared Maps" layer to see if there is a Map Sheet for the local forest or wilderness area which should have the most accurate information.


  2. akaufmann closed this discussion on 18 Aug, 2020 01:33 AM.

  3. fatdawg re-opened this discussion on 18 Aug, 2020 03:57 PM

  4. 2 Posted by fatdawg on 18 Aug, 2020 03:57 PM

    fatdawg's Avatar

    This is great info, thank you!


  5. 3 Posted by Ben Lantow on 18 Aug, 2020 04:09 PM

    Ben Lantow's Avatar

    One other mention here is dotted BLUE lines represent mountaineering routes, often chossy and sketchy and imprecise but specifically mountaineering. Red v. black is trail vs. road.

    We do have on our list building a legend for all of this.


  6. Ben Lantow closed this discussion on 18 Aug, 2020 04:09 PM.

  7. fatdawg re-opened this discussion on 18 Aug, 2020 05:04 PM

  8. 4 Posted by fatdawg on 18 Aug, 2020 05:04 PM

    fatdawg's Avatar

    Thank you for the additional info! A legend would be most helpful! I’ve been using the free account, but as I’m finding the site more and more useful I’m definitely interested in supporting its development with a subscription.

    Thank you for your help,

  9. Meghan closed this discussion on 18 Aug, 2020 05:33 PM.

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