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Thread: Topo Maps....National Geographic Topo Alaska

  1. #1
    Member ripnlip's Avatar
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    Default Topo Maps....National Geographic Topo Alaska

    Anyone use this software? If so, how does it work for ya? If not, what else do you have? Does it work as easy and print as nice as they say it does?

    Any other advice is appreciated!

    Thanks in advance,
    Jason

  2. #2
    Member byrd_hntr's Avatar
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    Default Version 3.4.3

    I have Version 3.4.3 and Im not too impressed. It does work but its kinda clunky. It interfaces with my Garmin well. The maps are ok quality but if I want a printed map I still go down to the UAF map office and get the USGS quad.

    Has anyone found anything they like better short of ARC GIS?

  3. #3
    Moderator LuJon's Avatar
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    Default

    I really like the quality of the Nat Geo topo maps, it is clunky to operate though. The Garmin Mapsource software is more user friendly but the maps are not as good. The mapsource software is like having a very userfriendly electronic "Alaska Atlas and Gazatteer". The Nat Geo is comparable to the USGS quads (they claim to use the USGS maps) I will say despite being less user friendly than Google Earth or Garmin Mapsource it still beats paper maps, plus you can print the area you need seamlessly. There is nothing more frustrating than hunting a drainage that split between two maps! If I could make one suggestion to make the Nat Geo software MUCH easier to use it would be to add the "standard" drag icon that is on every other map software and is standard on adobe reader! You know the little "hand" tool where you "grab" the page and move it around, instead of that Nat Geo uses either arrow tools that you move to the edge of the screen to pan the image or you can use the centering tool which is how I usually navigate around, it's not perfect but it works. For a free program google earth is unbelievable they have the entire chugach park in very high quality 3d images. The some of the talkeetnas are in lower quality but still useful and the Alaska Range is neat but not really usable for trip planning. Google earth won't let you really print topo maps but I still find it usefull especially in the areas with the high quality 3d imaging!

  4. #4
    Member ripnlip's Avatar
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    Default

    Is 3.4.3 the version currently sold at REI? So, you still go buy the USGS maps? I was hoping I could use nat geo topo program instead of buying all those maps.

  5. #5
    Moderator LuJon's Avatar
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    Default

    No 4.0 is the current version.

    here is a screen shot of at the highest level of zoom. it is 1:23,000 I think the next level is 1:50,000 which is what I use most of the time.

  6. #6
    Member danattherock's Avatar
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    Default Maps...

    I have learned to value the University of Alaska Fairbanks Geophysical Institue maps. You call them and tell them where you are going, and they mail you the map (different scales available) and that is it. They are very high quality maps. They have a "master map" of Alaska you can order, then you look on it and it tells you the number of the map you need. You can use that if you order maps very often. I often get them laminated at a local print shop, roll it up, and throw a rubber band around it. Works great for the float trips I take. Your needs may vary, but I thought it was worth mentioning. Below is a link...

    http://www.gi.alaska.edu/services/MapOffice/
    The two loudest sounds known to man: a gun that goes bang when it is supposed to go click and a gun that goes click when it is supposed to go bang.

  7. #7
    Member GreenTea's Avatar
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    Default

    I've been using this for years and absolutely love it. I had to check, but I've got version 3.4.3, and I don't have any problems with it. I don't know what the other posters mean by "clunky", but I'm at a very basic level of computer competence and they probably have higher skills and expectations.
    The program has more features than I've been able to learn, and I love being able to create my own maps with my own desired scale and boundaries. I can plug in and print out GPS coordinates, track elevation changes on intended routes... all kinds of stuff. It's a lot of fun to play with, and for trips I print out a series of maps of varying scale and location on regular printer paper and store them in gallon zip-loc bags (perfect fit).
    I'd highly recommend it.
    Last edited by GreenTea; 04-09-2008 at 01:43. Reason: add recommendation

  8. #8
    Member ripnlip's Avatar
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    Default topo

    thanks everyone!!!!

  9. #9

    Default lat/long or utm

    For those who print out their own maps, do you use UTM coordinates or LAT/LONG? And why? I'm so used to LAT/LONG for boat navigation, but bumped into a fellow in the woods who suggested I switch to UTM for land navigation, but unfortunatly he didn't have the verbal skills to explain why. Your thoughts and direction (no pun intended) would be appreciated. Thanks

  10. #10
    Member byrd_hntr's Avatar
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    Default clunky

    Quote Originally Posted by GreenTea View Post
    I've been using this for years and absolutely love it. I had to check, but I've got version 3.4.3, and I don't have any problems with it. I don't know what the other posters mean by "clunky", but I'm at a very basic level of computer competence and they probably have higher skills and expectations.
    I just think that for the amount of money ($100 bucks I think) It could work a little more seamlessly. IMO. I use it for work quite a bit and I acutually end up going to google earth first just for it ease of uses. Then I go back to Nat Topo. I do use it to store my waypoints from my garmin gps. Id be interested to check out 4.0 to see if it fits my needs a little better.

    Has anyone used Maptech Alaska Pro? I see there is a copy for sale on the Swap and Sell forum.

  11. #11

    Default Topos in google earth

    Sort of off topic, but these folks have a topos for google earth: http://forum.gina.alaska.edu/forums/7/topics/41 .

  12. #12
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    Default Topos

    The Google Earth Topos are nice, but very slow.....

    I have been playing around with creating my own topo maps for a Garmin GPS and have had some luck. All the data is free and you can down loaded it off the web. It does take some time and computer skills to get the data into a GPS map.

    The images attached are examples of the GPS maps at the highest level and the lowest level of detail.

    Tim
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