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Thread: Maps for Hunt Planning

  1. #1
    webmaster Michael Strahan's Avatar
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    Default Maps for Hunt Planning

    I would be really interested in learning more about the digital mapping products out there. What scales are available for Alaska, or are they the same as USGS? What programs are you guys using? When you print them on the waterproof paper, are you any better off than with the full-sized ones from the USGS (in terms of coverage per sheet)?

    I have used Maptech and the USGS program and have found both to be satisfactory. But I'd really like to see something that integrates the GPS into the program. Here is a list of features I'd like to see (please let me know if this is already out there- I'm looking!)

    1. Macintosh computer / GPS interface
    2. Ability to customize maps on the computer, and export back to GPS
    • Freehand draw on maps
    • Shade in areas on maps
    • Drop icons on maps
    • Add waypoints and tracks in GPS in the field and have those show up on computer when syncing
    3. Ability to print custom maps
    4. Same custom map on GPS
    5. Ability to export map electronically to someone else for upload into their GPS

    I would be interested in hearing from anyone out there who is doing this, and learning how it is working for you. What brand of GPS do you have to have, etc.

    Thanks!

    -Mike
    LOST CREEK COMPANY: Specializing in Alaska hunt consultation and planning for do-it-yourself hunts, fully outfitted hunts, and guided hunts.
    CLICK HERE to send me a private message.
    Web Address: http://alaskaoutdoorssupersite.com/hunt-planner/
    Mob: 1 (907) 229-4501
    "Dream big, and dare to fail." -Norman Vaughan
    "I have climbed my mountain, but I must still live my life." - Tenzig Norgay

  2. #2
    Member JamesMac's Avatar
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    Default Try NatGeo Maps

    I recently downloaded the topo explorer software from www.natgeomaps.com but I have not had the time to play around with it to much. This down load is free but I think you need to purchase the specific maps and or a serial code?. It dose look very interesting none the less….

    http://www.natgeomaps.com/hunting.html

    Additionally I think you can purchase many of the apps your looking for? And I do know that this will work with both MACs and PCs.

  3. #3
    webmaster Michael Strahan's Avatar
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    Default On editing maps electronically

    I have all the USGS topos they ever built for Alaska (43 CDs, cost me 6K), so I have brought them in to Adobe Illustrator and can of course draw on them there, but I'm looking for a mapping program that allows me to do this, plus print the map, or export the overlain data to another GPS. Or perhaps even host it on a computer for later download?

    -Mike
    LOST CREEK COMPANY: Specializing in Alaska hunt consultation and planning for do-it-yourself hunts, fully outfitted hunts, and guided hunts.
    CLICK HERE to send me a private message.
    Web Address: http://alaskaoutdoorssupersite.com/hunt-planner/
    Mob: 1 (907) 229-4501
    "Dream big, and dare to fail." -Norman Vaughan
    "I have climbed my mountain, but I must still live my life." - Tenzig Norgay

  4. #4
    Moderator LuJon's Avatar
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    Default

    The National Geographic maps use the USGS quads and mold them into a seamless interface. I don't like the scroll tool on it however, it is the highest detail mapping program I have found at a reasonable cost. It doesn't link to the Garmin GPS units (at least not easily). Supposedly Magellan has designed it's new titan GPS to interface with the Nat Geo software but I had so many problems trying to get a titan last year that I went to Garmin and likely will never own a Magellan unless it is given to me.
    Garmin has their own software that is easy to navigate and easy to load to a GPS but it is not as detailed as the Nat Geo software.
    I personally own both software packages and use the Nat Geo software for planning and printing maps. I use the Garmin software to plot my route and save it to my GPS unit.
    I use a Garmin 60CSX which is a great GPS but looking at the new garmin products it may be time to upgrade in a year or so.

    Final note you can download all the GMU boundaries off the web for the Nat Geo software.

    Garmin Topo U.S 2008

    National Geographic

  5. #5
    Member icb12's Avatar
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    Default

    I use a Lowrance H2Oc. I just use the sd cards,
    but Lowrance has software called mapcreate, that allows you to create routes, and custom maps and such and then put it into your gps, it is probably only compatible with Lowrance units though.
    No point for me really, the sd card pops right into my gps and has all of Alaska, as much detail as I could ever want.

    I always use a paper back up, the 10 dollar printer dealy at sportsmans, i believe that is the national geographic..?..

  6. #6
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    Default

    OziExplorer lets you import your maps. Then you would need a pda with gps and the software.
    Don't remember the software name, but the downside was very short battery life. I was able to import .jpg our anything else you wanted to use.

    I use a Garmin 60csx now. Lots of info available for making your own maps for Garmin GPS.
    Even though I'm a GPS geek, for me, nothing beats a paper USGS map for readability.

    I've downloaded the lat/lon for section corners and put them into my Garmin as points of
    interests. Also put GMU's in as tracks. But that kind of stuff takes lots of time. Something to do in the winter.

    I think what it boils down to, there really isn't one GPS that will do what you want without
    short battery life, or they are just too expensive.

    I use Maptech, OziExplorer, GPS Trackmaker, USA Photomaps, Mapsource.
    None of them will do everything.

  7. #7
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    Default Map's

    Before my hunt last fall I went on www.MYTOPO.COM, you can custome make maps on any area of Alaska. You pick the scale, the area and even the paper you want them printed on. I was pleased with the quality, and they dont break the bank. My outfitter wanted to keep them when I left.

  8. #8
    Member Stogey's Avatar
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    Default Thread..

    There was a great thread ... somewhere on the internet. Might have been here, but have had little luck searching.

    At any rate...
    The gist of the thread was this:

    You could download 'trackfiles' of Alaska's GMU's into a map editor... export that data, and create an overlay that would fit on one of the 'higher' end GPSr. I say higher end only because of the amount of space needed to hold these less than memory friendly overlays.

    It can be done, most of the software is free or shareware.
    But then, you threw the Mac into the equation.

    I play in the the computer world professionally. I like Macs. I own a few. This is an area that the Mac just doesn't shine. I have Mac GPS Pro. A very nice program... has lotsa Topo maps that allow for GPS importing, but you can't export the maps to the GPS.
    The maps that come the Mac GPS Pro are essentially scanned US topo maps. Works great when you import your tracks, waypoints, etc, and lay them on the maps - print on waterproof paper and you have some awesome stuff.

    If you have an intel mac, let me know... then there are still options.

    Good luck!

    Rob

  9. #9

    Default

    Maptech.

    I cyber scout a LOT and I work for an engineering and SURVEYING company so I use topos daily - and programs.

    USAphotomaps is great and free and gets aerial photos, but much of AK is not available.

    maptech lets you print maps, and size any scale. You can also get aerial photos. I love the program, I can pick GPS points and download them into my GPS before I ever leave home. I have found remote glassing points, trails, water etc in the lower 48 and POW using this stuff, and went there - for the first time ever in the dark with my GPS no problem.

    With Maptech you can creat profiles to see how far a hike is and how much elevation you change, start to finish and total elevation gain/loss. I use this to determine the best way into a remote area.

    I have tried them all and Maptech is the best - and most guys who have tried them all agree.

    I got a great deal on Maptech and I bought a few and I have one left listed here for sale, not plugging me, it is a GREAT price and will sell - but an FYI. I have total conidence saying it is the best mapping program I have used. You have helped me out in the past and I would gladly sell it for what I paid, which is 1/5 the normal cost.

    Try USAphotomaps do (JDMCOX software) I actually use that more since it toggles between aerial and topo, but to print clear topos I use Maptech.

  10. #10
    Member 6XLeech's Avatar
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    Default Nat Geo Topos and Mac?

    I guess it's likely that everyone posting is using PCs unless Mac specified.

    Of course, operator error could be a factor but my initial efforts with Nat Geo Topos didn't give me much to show.

    Question for Stogey: For Intel Mac users, what other options?

    Thanks to all. Great thread.

  11. #11
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    Default

    You can get an awful lot done for free using Acme Mapper. Toggling between the map and the terraserver or google earth overhead photo is pretty doggone convenient.

  12. #12
    webmaster Michael Strahan's Avatar
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    Default Mac Compatability

    The National Geographic TOPO! program is Mac compatable.

    The Maptech mapping program is not, but can be operated in PC emulation mode (I did it with OS9, but have not tried it with OSX yet). Anyone out there running it with OSX?

    -Mike
    LOST CREEK COMPANY: Specializing in Alaska hunt consultation and planning for do-it-yourself hunts, fully outfitted hunts, and guided hunts.
    CLICK HERE to send me a private message.
    Web Address: http://alaskaoutdoorssupersite.com/hunt-planner/
    Mob: 1 (907) 229-4501
    "Dream big, and dare to fail." -Norman Vaughan
    "I have climbed my mountain, but I must still live my life." - Tenzig Norgay

  13. #13
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    Default

    You could give DeLorme TopoUSA a look, but I'm thinking that it may not be Mac compatible........I've never looked at it for that capability.
    The Marines I have seen around the world have the cleanest bodies, the filthiest minds, the highest morale, and the lowest morals of any group of animals I have ever seen. Thank God for the United States Marine Corps! (Eleanor Roosevelt, 1945)

  14. #14
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Stogey View Post
    There was a great thread ... somewhere on the internet. Might have been here, but have had little luck searching.

    At any rate...
    The gist of the thread was this:

    You could download 'trackfiles' of Alaska's GMU's into a map editor... export that data, and create an overlay that would fit on one of the 'higher' end GPSr. I say higher end only because of the amount of space needed to hold these less than memory friendly overlays.

    It can be done, most of the software is free or shareware.
    But then, you threw the Mac into the equation.

    I play in the the computer world professionally. I like Macs. I own a few. This is an area that the Mac just doesn't shine. I have Mac GPS Pro. A very nice program... has lotsa Topo maps that allow for GPS importing, but you can't export the maps to the GPS.
    The maps that come the Mac GPS Pro are essentially scanned US topo maps. Works great when you import your tracks, waypoints, etc, and lay them on the maps - print on waterproof paper and you have some awesome stuff.

    If you have an intel mac, let me know... then there are still options.

    Good luck!

    Rob
    This might be the thread??
    http://forums.outdoorsdirectory.com/...ad.php?t=29070
    Doug

  15. #15
    Member Vince's Avatar
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    Default

    you know i would like a system that overlays the google earth on the computer... i utilize that a lot for planning to show the terrain in detail.. I know much of AK is old photos but it is great for looking up and down a mountain drainage from different angles before you see it in person.
    "If you are on a continuous search to be offended, you will always find what you are looking for; even when it isn't there."

    meet on face book here

  16. #16
    Member byrd_hntr's Avatar
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    Default I use maps a lot here what I use.

    I have an intel Mac running OSX Leapoard. I run Nat Geo Topo on my mac side and map source on my windows side (parelelles 4.0 just upgraded for 35 bucks, and XP for windows). Map source allows me to download maps into my Garmin GPS and Nat Geo Topo does a lot of really cool stuff. Im not a huge fan of the naviagtion of the Nat Geo topo, but the outcome is worth it and it prints very nice maps. You can add routes, symbols and do elevation profiles which are really nice. Im not sure about shading in an area but it might be possible. I don't bother with the waterproof paper, I just print two and keep them in ziplocks.

    I think if you want to do all the stuff you want to do in your request with on program you going to have to go to ARCGIS, and your not going to like that unless you have money falling out of you pockets (it expensive) and you like lerning curves that would kill a PHD scientist. Oh and its Windows only. Anyway thats my opinion.

  17. #17
    Member Stogey's Avatar
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    Default Yep

    Quote Originally Posted by travelers View Post
    Thanks. That be the one... haven't had a chance to give it a good search.

    I have all the GMU's converted for Google Earth... file is about 1.6mb. If you want it let me know I'll e-mail ya.

    Same goes for MapSource (for the fellow Garmin users).

  18. #18
    Member Stogey's Avatar
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    Default Make it a Pee Cee

    Quote Originally Posted by 6XLeech View Post
    Question for Stogey: For Intel Mac users, what other options?
    In essence you get to turn your mac into a PC.
    Personally, I would lean towards a linux release (Ubuntu is my personal favorite).

    Anyway - get Boot Camp... install Windows XP, or Ubuntu for x86. Either way you'll be setup for a dual boot environment.

    In the end you'll be able to run PC (aka Windows) based software and open your doors for that route.

    I like my mac... so that's why I invested in an inexpensive laptop for travel, "PC world needs", etc.
    It dual boots with Windows and Ubuntu (Intrepid Ibex).

    Turns out that my laptop is great for photo storage, GPS software, etc.

    So, personal preference, or wallet preference.

    Good luck!

  19. #19
    Member Fuse's Avatar
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    Default Not sure but

    I used ExpertGPS for a while. Just google it and you'll find it. It runs about $45 but it was pretty nice. It works with your GPS, and also loads the USGS TOPO maps off the web, as well as Sat images if they are available. I liked it because I could look at pictures of the area to see for real if it was muskeg or not. Also, it will export your tracks and waypoints into Google Earth so you can take a 3D look at your area. Only think I can't tell you is if it works for a Mac. It was an easy solution for me, I just printed the maps and laminated them to take in the field where I write on them with a grease pencil.

    Fuse

  20. #20
    Member Stogey's Avatar
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    Default My two cents

    Regarding the Mac and GPS software, I've been very pleased with MacGPS Pro:

    http://www.macgpspro.com/

    It runs about $60... but they have supported me for about six years on my initial investment.

    I also bought the Alaska Topo DVD set. Actual USGS topos (63k and 250k) that your GPS data is overlayed.

    Print that on waterproof paper or laminate it. And you have a great tool.

    Anyway, simple to use. Lots of features.

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