Side-Project: FreeGunSales

Once again, we wanted something to be available for free … so we built it and made it free.

Once upon a time only gun shops (registered dealers) could advertise guns for sale. Some gun sale sites were set up which charged money for you to advertise on them. These days, anyone can advertise guns as long as they meet the basic rules, but of course sites like gumtree and ebay don’t allow guns to be advertised, and everyone else want to put their hand in your wallet, if not today then tomorrow.

So the problems I’m trying to solve here include:

  1. I reckon you should be able to advertise your guns FOR FREE, just like selling a toaster. Not free-for-a-limited time, not free to post then you pay later, not cheap … FREE.
  2. I want to be able to upload high-resolution images, not the tiny pictures some sites restrict you to, and lots of them, not just a few.
  3. I want to be able to post your own ads. Then edit them yourself. Then take them down yourself. Not email people then wait for them to do it for you. 
  4. I don’t want to wait for ads to be approved by a human. I want them live when I post them.
  5. I want to be able to register an account and get posting, or buying in under 30 seconds with no excess personal information handed over, just the minimum.

So that’s what I’ve done.

  1. It’s free. It will always be free. It’s in the title. It’s in the URL.
  2. You can upload massive images, and a dozen of them. 
  3. You are in control. You post your own ads, you take them down. 
  4. All ads go live as soon as you submit them. They come down as soon as you delete them.
  5. You register, the “are you actually a person” email arrives almost instantly, you click it and you’re done. You start posting. That’s it. 

That’s the project. It’s done, it’s working, it has ads on it.

It’s free and it will stay free, just like Getlost Maps.

Version 10 Released

Version 10 is now on The Map Table for download. Altogether it’s about 71GB representing 1360-something maps in 8132 files with 3 image formats, if you need the whole lot … which you probably don’t.

25k, 50k and 100k series have been updated, as well as the whole of the state at 100k, and each half (East and West) as massive 50k maps, in OZF format. All the standard maps have been sent to Avenza for processing, and should then replace existing maps for those who have older versions already.

The shading has been changed up quite a bit to make deep-layered areas clearer, and make the distinction between tree-cover on private land and tree-covered public land much clearer. Historical location shading has been altered. Walking track representation has been changed, and will be changed again in future to take into account the common case of a track being designated for both vehicles and walking (and often seasonally closed on top of that). The burn history layer was removed because the data density still makes it too unwieldy. We might release it as a separate layer for those who want it.

25k series sample

Bush Huts

Huts and ruins have been updated in the new maps, and are even more up-to-date again in the downloadable POI files available separately (at The Map Table) so you can put them in your GPS or App of choice. This is definitely the most up-to-date and complete dataset of bush Huts of Victoria available anywhere on the web, and incorporates all other public datasets, with information then manually corrected and curated using trip notes, satellite images and field surveys. If we missed any – let us know!

Corrections, download issues

We’ve had a handful of reports of missing .map files when downloading particularly the 25k sets of Ozi maps. After checking, all the files are there, so we can only guess it’s some kind of transient error at the Google Drive end during the zipping process. We moved to Google Drive to avoid this kind of thing! If you’re missing one or two files, it’s probably easier to just go in and grab them individually (you can use the search to help) or you can even search for all the .map files in the folder and download them as one. As we can’t replicate the error, it’s hard to say what’s causing it.  

It turns out that Avenza played some games during the map upload, swapping some files with some names. Yarrawonga and Foster had their names swapped, as did Hume and Gammon, and some others … these were the names on the 50k maps – the maps themselves were fine and if you had downloaded by picking the map for a given location you’d be fine, but if you went looking by name you’d find the map of somewhere else.  These ones have been fixed, but if you find any more let us know. 

Avenza also did some even more exciting things in swapping whole maps around, putting the wrong map in the wrong place – the couple we know about were fixed. 

If you come across any other file issues like this please let us know. We have had about 850,000 maps downloaded so far, and we’re working on Version 8 which hopefully won’t have these problems, fingers crossed. 

New Download Location

With over 40,000 maps downloaded and the data allowance on the server running low, we needed another option. 

Some people were reporting problems downloading entire folders of maps, while others were not, and even when there were problems they were not consistent. This needed solving too. 

So, we signed up for a 100GB Google Drive account and started copying the maps across. It took a while, but they’re now all in place. 

We have updated our Downloads page and all the relevant links have been changed, so arriving at the website and looking around for downloads will take you to the right place.

Please let us know if you have any problems downloading from the new location, and thank you all for your patience.  

25,000 Maps And Counting

We’re on day 8 since we launched, and about 25,000 maps have been downloaded so far. 

That’s great! But it’s also a problem. We’re getting through our data allocation like it’s free beer at a summer wedding, so we’re going to run out of bandwidth. 

We are also still having trouble with people trying to download some folders, with the downloads failing.

The work-arounds, like the Web Drive access, are not as easy to use as we’d like, and they don’t fix the bandwidth issue. 

New Plan

We’ve signed up for a Google Drive account (they are rebranding them to Google One shortly, but it’s the same thing), which is big enough to hold all the map data. It’s a monthly cost, but it’s Google, so I’m hoping it’s pretty close to bullet proof. From what I can see from my reading, we shouldn’t be at risk of us reaching their download limits. 

The upload to this new location will, of course, take time. Probably days, maybe a week. Until then, the current download methods will stand. Once the maps are all uploaded, we’ll change the links, update the website, fiddle with the DNS … techy stuff, but basically we’ll let everyone know how to use the new system and make it live. 

Watch this space for updates on when the new system is up and running. 🙂

Download Methods

Some users were reporting problems with downloading certain folders, even though other folders were working fine. We haven’t found out what is causing these errors, but the effect is the zip file ends too soon and is therefore too small, corrupt and won’t open. 

We have taken a couple of steps to change the downloads to make things more flexible. 

3-Part Split

Taking feedback about where people actually go, we’ve divided all the 25k mapsets into three groups instead of two. 

Instead of East and West, you will now see East, West and Far West. The divisions are by map number; 7000-7499, 7500-7999, and 8000+. The new Index file in those folders (and in this post) should help you understand where the split was made. Lots of people go East, lots go West, but not so many go Far West (a line though Buangor, roughly).

This is the same split we’ll be using in the upcoming Avenza Maps series.

Web Disk

We have also added Web Disk support. 

This allows you to connect to our server almost as if it was a USB drive plugged into your computer. You can then download files or entire folders at your leisure, and if the download stops, just start it again and skip the files you already have.

We built pre-defined scripts to do the Web Disk setup for you, and they’re available, with instructions on how to use them, from the Downloads page. 

If you’re having trouble with any of the downloads, please let us know

East vs West

We’ve decided to split up Western maps (7XXX) and Eastern maps (8XXX) so you can just download one group or the other. This will go live shortly. 

The main reason is that of people find they just want the high country etc, so they just need the East. Maybe you just do the Wombat and around there, so you only need the West. Save you some time and some downloads, eh?

Of course you can still download both – and even download them both together, using the download button in the top right (just use it when both directories are on screen – don’t go into either of them. 

Note that the 7xxx/8xxx East/West divide line might not be where you think it is – it’s not the CBD. The updated 50k index files show it more clearly, like the image below. 

Basically the line puts the Bunyip in the East, and the Dandenongs in the West.  

50k index, East vs West, click to enlarge

And … we’re live!

The new website appears to be fully functional, and all the latest 1:50k maps are uploaded and live – ready for you to download as you please. 

A big thanks to everyone who helped make this possible, offering time and expertise. 

A special thank you to the people who threw some money at the problem by making a donation. That’s what made it possible to get this all up and running on a commercial server so that people can download as much as they like, and at a reasonable speed. 

So download whatever you need, and head off into the bush to seek whatever it is you’re looking for, with a map to help you find it. 

Find your own treasure

Thick and fast

Thanks to another donation, we are now upgrading to a paid server plan! We have to wait until they activate it before we fan finish the upload, but hopefully that’s soon.

We have increased the upload speed by about 6x, so those maps should be ready to download in no time. 

They’re literally uploading two at a time right now to so whatever is there right now is ready, and whatever is missing is in the queue. The queue will continue once they process our paid hosting plan. 

The big zip files will be last, and at 2-3GB each they will take a bit longer, but they’ll be there eventually and we will let you know once they’re ready. 

Thank you all for your support!


Preview the new download location

The files are uploading now to this new server. 

If you want a sneak peak, you’re welcome to see how they’re going – they are on their way to You can see for yourself how many are there and how many are still to upload! Any you see you are welcome to download, of course.

Want to see a sample but can’t work out which one to look at? 
Try this one: It’s the Version 5, 1:25k, 8123-3-N_JAMIESON_NORTH

Paying the piper

When you visit you might notice you’re actually being sent to – that’s because we’re still running this whole thing on a free server at the moment. It’s one of the very few free servers which can hold this much data and doesn’t meter monthly downloads. It might even be the only one!

If we can get just $20 more donated, we can upgrade from the free service and get access to a lot more features, including fixing the URL problem. 

New website!

We’re throwing up the old content to start us off, and will edit things from there. 

Still having trouble with downloads of the big files (well, the upload of them, and having somewhere which can hold and facilitate access to 50GB of maps), but hope to have it sorted shortly.