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Thread: Garmin and All Topo software

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    Member Antleridge's Avatar
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    Default Garmin and All Topo software

    I recently purchased a Garmin Legend HCX and have had the All Topo map software for years. Anyone know if I can download a map from the All Topo software onto a blank micro SD card and use it as my basemap on the Garmin?

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    No, you cannot.

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    I was searching for a how to on converting some shape files to tracks to put on garmin and remember seeing some software recommended for making your own transparent maps to load on your garmin. Briefly read through it and sounded like it takes some work, but not impossible to do. May have been on geocommunity.com but not for sure.

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    Member Antleridge's Avatar
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    Thanks - I'll let y'all know if I find any way that works.

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    Moderator AKmud's Avatar
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    I've got MapSource CDs of the entire US and have all of AK on a 2gb SD card for my base map... Is there something different about the All Topo software?
    AKmud
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    Quote Originally Posted by AKmud View Post
    I've got MapSource CDs of the entire US and have all of AK on a 2gb SD card for my base map... Is there something different about the All Topo software?
    All Topo is not a Garmin product. A separate company like Maptech or OziExplorer.

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    Member Rod in Wasilla's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AKmud View Post
    I've got MapSource CDs of the entire US and have all of AK on a 2gb SD card for my base map... Is there something different about the All Topo software?
    AllTOPO is basically a digital copy of the USGS TOPO maps. There's much more detail than the Garmin maps. In fact, my AllTopo Alaska set is on eleven CD's (more than 8 gigs of data!). Only a quarter of the state would fit on a 2 gig card. So, there's about 4 times as much information in the AllTopo set than there is in the Garmin set.

    The problem is that Garmin has a proprietary system, so you can't load other maps on their units. At least not without a lot of work converting them.
    Quote Originally Posted by northwestalska
    ... you canít tell stories about the adventures you wished you had done!

  8. #8

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    Speaking of topo software... What is the best PC based software for AK? I like ACME mapper, but I need something I can use offline. The Garmin stuff is not very detailed....

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    Quote Originally Posted by 1911-MW View Post
    Speaking of topo software... What is the best PC based software for AK? I like ACME mapper, but I need something I can use offline. The Garmin stuff is not very detailed....
    Check out Maptech, OziExplorer, AllTopo, Nat. Geo. I use Maptech and Ozi. Ozi lets you do lots of things, but requires more setup. Nat Geo seems to have more downloads for recreational users. All of the above use USGS Topo maps as Rod in Wasilla mentioned.
    Maptech has some elevation issues in an area in Alaska that effects the maps when in 3D mode. Ozi is cool because you can load your own maps or any map, but it isn't as plug and play as the others. Can't say much about AllTopo or Nat Geo. I've used both a little, but not enough to know the pro's and con's.
    Also Maptech doesn't "save" files in the typical PC fashion. I like to save my waypoints and such in Mapsource and will view them in Maptech or Ozi.
    I bet Rod in Wasilla could fill us in more about AllTopo.

  10. #10

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    I kinda gave up on the software for offline use... Bought some USGS maps and am using the online stuff for detailed analysis... Looking forward to the day Garmin builds a better topo program for their units....

  11. #11
    Member Rod in Wasilla's Avatar
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    For those who were asking, here is a comparison between the Mapsource maps that can be uploaded to Garmin GPS's and the AllTopo maps that can't. As you can see, the AllTopo maps have much more detail. I would imagine that other map software that use USGS maps would have similar detail.





    You can use AllTopo for trip planning, including making waypoints, measuring distances, and making annotations. It also has a tool that lets you set up your printer to print maps of any size at any scale, including maps that span multiple sheets of paper. You could print a giant wall sized map of the State on a single sheet if you had a printer that big. And if your printer won't print that big (and who's does?), you could make the same thing using multiple sheets of regular paper. And you can transfer waypoints to and from your GPS. You just can't upload maps, which really is a shame.

    You can do trip planning in Mapsource, too. But since the actual map data has so much less detail, you can end up selecting poor locations for routes and waypoints, such as swamps, ponds, or creeks that don't show up. And the amount of detail changes with the zoom level. So, if you want to print a map, you have to choose between detail and scale.

    Neither is a perfect product, but both have their good points. I use each for different reasons. I also have a copy of Delorme Topo and some paper maps that I use occasionally.

    I hope this helps ...
    Quote Originally Posted by northwestalska
    ... you canít tell stories about the adventures you wished you had done!

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    Supporting Member AlaskanSD's Avatar
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    Reviving an old thread here rather than starting new.

    I just sold my old Garmin Vista C, but I kept my MapSource TOPO CD's from 2005/2006 era.

    I just purchased a new Garmin Vista HCX, however I don't have a laptop running Windows XP anymore, only Vista or Win 7.

    I'd like to use my old Mapsource software for my HCX versus purchasing brand new software. Anyone know if this is possible???

    I haven't spent too much time, but my Win 7 machine couldn't seem to "see" the unit via USB with the old software, only the new one that accompanies the HCX. Of course that doesn't have any additional maps with it.

    Thanks in advance.

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