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Topic: National Geographic Topo! maps< Next Oldest | Next Newest >
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PostIcon Posted on: Feb. 19 2013, 10:54 pm  Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Do you think the NG Topo maps are worth the expense?  I don't have a GPS yet, but will be getting a Garmin GPSmaps 62 next month.  I know some of the disappointment with the maps regards what a GPS can do with them.  But I would
also be printing them and using the hard copy on the trail.  

BTW - it would be used on a PC, and I know some Mac users have had issues.  Thanks for any input.
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PostIcon Posted on: Feb. 20 2013, 2:08 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

My hiking/backcountry modus operandi is topo. Having a GPS would actually spoil the fun of navigating and eliminate a pleasureable component of backcountry travel for me. I use USGS 40 minute maps, folded per a consistent process and laminated for long-term abuse.

I did buy the NatGeo map software for printing at home but found it non-intuitive, not the best print etc. I returned the software.

I would qualify my remarks by adding my backcountry travel is typically in Utah, Colorado, Nevada and Wyoming.

P.S. I do borrow my wife's GPS for business travel within the US where a rental car is involved.
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PostIcon Posted on: Feb. 20 2013, 6:53 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Maps? GPS? Where's your sense of adventure? :p

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PostIcon Posted on: Feb. 20 2013, 9:14 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Before you buy any maps, make sure they will load on the Garmin.

Garmin is notorious for making you spend the bucks on maps.


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PostIcon Posted on: Feb. 20 2013, 10:43 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

I thought the NatGeo topos were a pain to download, and more trouble than they were worth.

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PostIcon Posted on: Feb. 20 2013, 11:00 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

I liked the NG software, but I was using it long before I had a GPS.  And as noted you can't put those maps on your GPS, but you can transfer waypoints , routes or tracks from that software to your GPS and to the Garmin map software.

I was just looking at what they might have for Idaho, and apparently it isn't the same.

You just rent online access?

The first two reviews are negative regarding the changes, the rest seem to like because they can see the maps on their iPhones?!!  It also covers the entire US.
The other problem with NG maps, before and after this change is except for National Parks, they are just USGS maps, you can often find better paper maps for popular areas, that have been updated and show more.  The National Park maps were made by Trails Illustrated which NG bought out (If I remember right).
You can still buy those maps in  the paper version.

I found some free maps online, but I can't draw or make a GPS route with them to transfer to my GPS , and my Garmin maps don't show enough for me to draw a route.  I may have to buy the more detailed Garmin maps(but they aren't suppose to be very good either), but I am going to look for the free (GPSfiledepot?) maps first.  I think different Garmin GPSs accept different types of third party maps but I have only done for mine and for Oregon.  (And on my PC not my Mac)

Did you find a place to buy the old software?


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PostIcon Posted on: Feb. 20 2013, 11:18 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

I haven't used the new NG Topo, but I have a copy of the old one.  The maps printed nice (better than any other software based maps I've seen) but the software is crap for working with GPS stuff.  It didn't support even some of the more basic file protocols that most GPS receivers support.  Useless.  Frankly, I haven't used the software in years.

If you want to put topo maps onto your GPS, you want to look at www.gpsfiledepot.com.  Free.

If you want a computer program for visualizing and organizing GPS data, look into Topofusion.  It downloads maps from online servers like Google Earth, but it does USGS topos, several flavors of satellite imagery depending on where you live and what you're looking for, and can have additional map servers added to it.  It will geotag photos, give you elevation profiles, and do all kinds of other cool things.  It will print maps, but they don't look all that great.  It can load any of its maps onto the newer Garmin GPS receivers that support raster maps.  They don't replace vector topos from gpsfiledepot, but they can supplement.

I'd suggest looking at the new usgs maps if you want to print.  They're the US Topo maps that come in geopdf format and have layers you can enable/disable.  The files come in 8 1/2 x 11 for easy printing on regular paper.  They are also free.


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PostIcon Posted on: Feb. 20 2013, 5:19 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

At least in the past and I don't see why they'd have changed their approach, NG TOPO! differed from the Garmin maps in that the NG were bit-mapped while the Garmin are vector objects. The significance of that difference is that things like trails and roads are selectable objects with vectors while they're simply a different colored pixel on a bit mapped image. And that means you can select a trail simply by "clicking" on a segment in a Garmin map, building your on trail route anyway, as you go, while for NG TOPO! it's a hand trace endeavor which for longer routes get's tedious and depending on how steady your hand is, less and less accurate as your route length grows.

In either or any case for hiking the 1:24K scale are what is most usable having the degree of detail walkers really need.
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PostIcon Posted on: Feb. 20 2013, 10:22 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(wildlifenate @ Feb. 20 2013, 11:18 am)
QUOTE
I'd suggest looking at the new usgs maps if you want to print.  They're the US Topo maps that come in geopdf format and have layers you can enable/disable.  The files come in 8 1/2 x 11 for easy printing on regular paper.  They are also free.

Wow!  Thats EXACTLY what I was looking for but didn't even know it.  For kicks, I looked up the Barr Trail, and the image is detailed enough for me to see the trail.  Thank you very much for this suggestion, and all the other replies on this thread.
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PostIcon Posted on: Feb. 21 2013, 9:13 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

ExpertGPS is another great mapping program that downloads topo maps and aerial photos.  it also allows you to import a photo of a map to create your own style maps.  And it will save your custom maps to your 62s directly without having to go through 10 steps to create a Custom map.

I also use the garmin topo and aerial map service ($30/yr subscription for both) but they are more of a convenience than anything else because ExpertGPS does all i need.
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PostIcon Posted on: Feb. 21 2013, 10:52 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(wildlifenate @ Feb. 20 2013, 10:18 am)
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I'd suggest looking at the new usgs maps if you want to print.  They're the US Topo maps that come in geopdf format and have layers you can enable/disable.  The files come in 8 1/2 x 11 for easy printing on regular paper.  They are also free.

Check the map ages, though.
The map that I was pulling down was near a lake that didn't exist when the map was made.
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PostIcon Posted on: Feb. 21 2013, 12:58 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Here is a post to avoid some confusion on US Topo.

The USGS link to the Map Locator is here:
Map Locator & Downloader

This site includes the new US Topo series as well as previous versions.

Another site that may include better trail information is the US Forest Service version of the US Topo located here:

FSTopo or Primary Base Series / States & Territories

Finally, the caveat is that the trails are only based on the best available data at the time the map was made, so don't be surprised if you are on the trail and the GPS coordinate doesn't align with where the map says the trail is.

Ok, now go and enjoy wasting lots of time downloading topos! :)


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PostIcon Posted on: Feb. 21 2013, 1:11 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

guys - this is awesome info.  Thanks a lot.
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PostIcon Posted on: Feb. 21 2013, 5:25 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

One more question... normally I use 24K maps.  In your opinion, how useful are 100K maps?  Specifically, if I was looking at buying a new Garmin GPS, do you recommend getting the t version with 100K maps, or not, and just adding the ones you want.  Thanks again.

And Nate, BTW, the upcoming Oregon 600 series looks like a real possibility.
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PostIcon Posted on: Feb. 21 2013, 5:29 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

It depends on the application.  For paper, I usually use 24k maps printed at half-size.  On a handheld device, 100K maps might be OK if you just care about the relative positions of major features.  I wouldn't count on one to guess whether there is a passable route between two points.
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PostIcon Posted on: Feb. 21 2013, 6:50 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(OldGuyWalkin @ Feb. 21 2013, 9:52 am)
QUOTE
Check the map ages, though.
The map that I was pulling down was near a lake that didn't exist when the map was made.

I am not talking about the old ones.

I'm talking about these:
http://nationalmap.gov/ustopo/

Updated versions...since 2009 or more recently even than that.

If you buy a Garmin GPS, don't buy Garmin's maps.  get free maps from www.gpsfiledepot.com.  Most are 24k, but 100k is also available if you want it.  All free so try the different ones and decide what you want.  There are also free trail map overlays for many areas.  There's not even a whole lot of incentive to pay for Garmin's satellite imagery subscription, because you can use other programs to load satellite imagery onto the newer models.  I use Topofusion for that.  All the imagery I want for no extra cost.


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PostIcon Posted on: Feb. 22 2013, 11:10 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

wildlifenate

I wonder if I am doing something wrong.  The ones I download are brown on white, except some blue for creeks and lakes.  And the tool bar does not work on Macs, so I don't know if that does something.


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PostIcon Posted on: Feb. 23 2013, 1:01 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(dayhiker9 @ Feb. 22 2013, 10:10 pm)
QUOTE
wildlifenate

I wonder if I am doing something wrong.  The ones I download are brown on white, except some blue for creeks and lakes.  And the tool bar does not work on Macs, so I don't know if that does something.

that's your problem....you have to have to toolbar because of the layering capabilities and embedded coordinate system of the file.  It's not a regular pdf.  

it sounds to me like the satellite image portion is not rendering correctly (brown instead of a sat image).  You should also have roads, contours, and POI's in addition to the water features.


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PostIcon Posted on: Feb. 23 2013, 1:15 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(big_load @ Feb. 21 2013, 5:29 pm)
QUOTE
It depends on the application.  For paper, I usually use 24k maps printed at half-size.  On a handheld device, 100K maps might be OK if you just care about the relative positions of major features.  I wouldn't count on one to guess whether there is a passable route between two points.

I agree with this.  I use "paper" maps at 1:24,000, 1:25,000 or, less preferably, 1:50,000 backed-up by a non-mapping GPS.

I would go anywhere serious without a paper map, but then again maybe I'm a dinosaur.
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PostIcon Posted on: Feb. 24 2013, 7:52 am Skip to the previous post in this topic.  Ignore posts   QUOTE

wouldn't ? go anywhere

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