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Thread: Topo map software

  1. #1

    Default Topo map software

    I want to buy software that includes topo maps for all of Alaska. I plan to use it not only for a handy computer-based reference tool, but also to make custom maps for backcountry use.

    Right now, I'm considering the National Geographic Topo series, here:

    shop.nationalgeographic.com/jump.jsp?itemID=3606&itemType=PRODUCT

    Does anyone have any experience with this software, and can you offer your opinions of it?

    Apart from the Nat'l Geo series, can anyone provide info on other products - good or bad?

    Thanks

  2. #2
    Moderator LuJon's Avatar
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    Default Do a search

    The search feature is your best friend on this forum!!
    To use it most effectively:

    1. Select search from the banner at the top of the page
    2. In the drop down select Advanced Search
    3. On the page that opens you will see a "GOOGLE" box. Use it to search just this site just like regular google and you will find tons of info by typing in Nat Geo!
    4. Try a few different key words to catch other threads that you may have missed. for example "National Geographic", "TOPO!", "topographic maps" etc.

    http://www.outdoorsdirectory.com/sea...RID%3A11&hl=en

  3. #3
    Member Daveintheburbs's Avatar
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    Default

    I have used the maptech product availabe at this forum's store. Click on "store" on the very top banner. It works great!

  4. #4

    Default Thanks

    Thanks, Lujon - that's a good tip.

    I had tried the standard search and ended up with so much junk, I lost patience with reading through all of it to find anything worthwhile. The Advanced Search works a lot better.

    Nevertheless, many of the posts I found were a couple years old. If anyone has any recent experience with National Geo TOPO series software, or any comparable product, and they haven't already written about it here on this forum, I'd greatly appreciate it hearing from them.

  5. #5
    Moderator LuJon's Avatar
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    Default

    I have both the Garmin mapsource topo for my GPS and the Nat Geo software. The Mapsource is more natural for me to use as it has a better interface toolsin my opinion. In order to scroll around the Nat Geo map you have to either slide the curser to the edge of the screen and click on arrows or constantly use the "center map" function which causes the map to jump around but is faster. The Mapsource software has the standard "hand" tool that lets you grab the page and move it around just like in google earth. The biggest difference is the Nat Geo has a more detailed scale.

    If you have a Garmin GPS or are thinking about buying one that has mapping capabilites then go with the Mapsource software. If you don't wantor have a mapping GPS then get the Nat Geo software.

  6. #6

    Default Good advice

    Thanks again, Lujon - I appreciate the feedback.

  7. #7
    Moderator AKmud's Avatar
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    Default

    +1 for Mapsource....It is pretty user friendly and has all the functions that I like. Cheapest price I found was on Amazon.com. Now if I could just get a copy of Bluechart for about $50....
    AKmud
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  8. #8
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    Default National Geographic’s TOPO

    I have both mapsource, and National Geographic’s Alaska TOPO maps. I prefer the National Geographic’s maps over mapsource. I’ve found that I use the mapsource maps for my gps, and transferring my waypoints, tracks and routes to Google Earth. For planning, recon, and printed maps I use the National Geographic’s TOPO maps. If I thought I could get the NG maps loaded in my GPS I would!

    What I really hope is that someday my GPS will hold satellite photos from Google earth.

  9. #9
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    Default nat geo topo maps

    what scale would you recommend? 1:24K or 1:63K

  10. #10
    Member B-radford's Avatar
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    Default AK SD card

    Anyone here use the Alaska SD card that garmin sells? I got a Garmin Colorado 400t and was thinking about getting one of the Cards for it.

  11. #11

    Default Nat Geo

    I have Nat Geo and it's vey useful, make notes print at dif scales, measure distances, find Lat/Long, do profiles on a route. and I don't even play on land

  12. #12
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    Default

    For what it's worth, you can download for free all the USGS Topo maps. Just google "The USGS Store", and go there. down toward the middle of the page you will find "Map Locator" and click on it.
    If you know quad or section you want just type that is (i.e. Sitka C-2, etc).

    I tried to paste a link but for some reason can't.

  13. #13

    Default

    To follow up:

    I appreciate very much the advice from this board. In the end, I settled on Maptech Terrain Navigator software, and thus far I'm very pleased with it. I'd like to "give back" to this board by providing my opinions of the product in an informal review.

    I don't have experience with Nat'l Geographic's topo map software, but from as far as I can tell, it's quite similar to Maptech's. One of the main reasons I went with Maptech is the price: I found a brand-new copy of the software on ebay for $50 (standard retail cost = $100). Mine was discounted because there is a new version of the software available, and a map store in Arizona was dumping their old inventory.

    The Maptech Terrain Navigator has all the USGS topo maps for Alaska in both of the common scales: 1:63,360 and 1:250,000. It has a place name search, and zoom in/out functions, and a "hand" pointer to navigate with - similar to how you move around in Google Earth. There is a distance measurement tool similar to Google Earth, and other functions for annotating the maps with text, way points, and routes. Very important to me were the printing functions: you can print seamless color maps in landscape or portrait orientation. My printer allows up to 11" x 14" printing size. There is also a 3D function, where you can view and print maps "tilted" to show relief features - again, somewhat like Google Earth.

    What haven't I liked about it? Very little has disappointed me. I think some of the printing functions were a little cryptic, and I had to play around with them to learn it. Also, the 3D function is not perfect: when you tilt the map, the relief features don't always appear to scale. 3D might be kind of cool to look at, but it's not all that reliable.

    For what it's worth, I had a good experience with the company I bought it from: Wide World of Maps in Arizona. There was an error in the order but they quickly corrected it (the error: one of the enclosed CD's was for "Arkansas" rather than "Alaska" - this was a Maptech packaging mistake, not a store mistake).

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