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Thread: GPS with detailed topo maps for AK?

  1. #1
    webmaster Michael Strahan's Avatar
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    Default GPS with detailed topo maps for AK?

    Hi folks,

    As near as I can tell, Garmin only offers Alaska topo maps in the 100,000 scale? I'm looking for more detail and have been out of the GPS market for a while. I'm a Garmin fan, but I need at least 1:63,360 maps if I can get them.

    Ideas?

    -Mike
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    Moderator LuJon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Strahan View Post
    Hi folks,

    As near as I can tell, Garmin only offers Alaska topo maps in the 100,000 scale? I'm looking for more detail and have been out of the GPS market for a while. I'm a Garmin fan, but I need at least 1:63,360 maps if I can get them.

    Ideas?

    -Mike
    Mike,
    I think you may be SOL on that one. Both Magellan and Garmin only offer the 1:100K for the onboard software. You can get the Nat Geo TOPO! software which will get you where you want to be for planning on the PC. What I do is print maps using Nat Geo software on my computer then pull them out when my Garmin comes up short. The only things that really seem to kill me using the Garmin is deciding if I will be able to make it over a particular ridge and just how steep it is on the other side if it is marginal.

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    As far as I know no one has higher res maps for the gps at this time. Garmin is working on 24k maps. However, they are only releasing a couple of states at a time. And you know they will do Alaska last if ever. I also would just use the paper Nat.Geo maps for now.

    Depending on what you are using them for. I have started to like using aeronautical sectional charts as my backup maps. They are more up to date than some of the USGS info as far as boundries and buildings and roads. I think they have to be updated every 6 months or so. But I think they are only 1:500,000 so that probably wouldn't help you.

  4. #4

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    What about the Delorme PN-40 with their Topo software?

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    I like the looks of the PN-40. It says you can download scanned USGS maps and aerials for yearly $30 subscription.

    joe_jack have you used it? If so is it easy to piece together the maps.

  6. #6

    Default Pn-20

    I have the PN-20 and just downloaded some maps from the Delorme website. I printed them off at about 1 1/2"/mile...which is a lot better than 1:100,000! The PN-40 has a few upgrades that mine doesn't have and Delorme is pretty good about offering nice map packages with their GPs. I got $100 worth of downloadable maps from their website free when I bought mine.

  7. #7

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    I do have a PN-40, it is my first hand-held unit and I like it a lot. The reason I bought it was because of the maps, I live in Colorado but I don't stay here and I didn't want to buy a bunch of different maps for different states. This is the first non-Garmin gps that I have owned.

    Right now it has Colorado loaded and all of the Alaska maps as well for my up coming trip. Loading the maps can be a bit slow, but it isn't difficult at all.

    Delorme's forum is a great resource as well.

    It's also nice that you can load aerial maps, other topo maps and a bunch of other things for it if you want to.

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    joe_jack, would you recommend getting the 7.5Gb internal memory?

  9. #9

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    I don't know that the internal memory is all that important, the access times on the SD card are plenty fast enough and SD cards are cheap.

    The one accessory I would recommend is the travel package so you get a rechargeable battery. If not you have to take them out of the unit, recharge them, take the back off and replace them. Kind of a pain but no big deal. With the travel pack you just plug it in to the wall, cigarette lighter or PC. You can always use AA for a back up if necessary. I didn't get that option originally but went back and got it later, plus I got a larger SD card than the 1 gig one it came with. 1 gig would hold all the Colorado maps but that was about all.

    There is a guy on e-bay that is supposed to have a battery pack that you can use in the unit but I went with the Delorme one.

    Later
    Joe

    They also have the PN-30 unit now that is cheaper but it is missing the compass and altimeter I think (double check me on that), it just depends if that is important to you or not.

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    Michael and Lujon

    For some things the Nat Geo online maps are too old. I was hunting in Kachemak Bay with a 1:63,360 Nat Geo map printed on a Topo Explorer machine from Sportsmen's Warehouse. I also had a Kachemak Bay map I bought at REI. The mouth of the Wosnesenski River is in entirely different locations on the 2 maps. THe National Geographic map I bought at REI was correct. If we had only the Topo explorer map we would have wasted an entire day of the hunt. I went back and let SW know the map was incorrect. I was just online today it hadn't been updated.

  11. #11

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    So far from what I have seen with the Delorme maps they are pretty accurate, but then here in Colorado things don't move much

    I have seen a few places that lakes were not on the Delorme map, but since I could download the USGS map and in their TOPO software view them side by side it wasn't a big deal. Also on the GPS itself you can view either map.

    Not sure if that would have helped in your situation or not.

    Later
    Joe

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    joe_jack how is the quality of the aerials for Alaska? Are they the same as Googles? There are several areas up here that Google has horrible quality and way outdated aerial photos.

    Otherwise I like it. For my work I often carry a printed out quality topo along with an aerial and my gps. This would put everything in one place. Too bad I just bought new Garmin last year.

    I do disagree on the rechargable batteries though. I am a firm believer in Lithium AA batteries over the rechargables. The lithium's are unmatched at -40deg. And, there is nothing worse than having a dead rechargeable battery and no way to recharge them. In a pinch AA's can be found in nearly every store, roadhouse, lodge or buddy's pocket.

  13. #13

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    Hey PSC210

    To be honest I'm not sure how good the aerials are, that is one area I haven't played with. Even here I download the Delorme TOPO maps and the USGS maps to the unit and that is it. My guess is they are probably about the same as google earth. Sorry I'm not much help there.

    You could always use the rechargeable pack and then have the AA's for a back up. The rechargeable is just a battery pack that can be removed and replaced with AA's no problem. When I go hiking I usually have the unit fully charged but I take some AA's with me just in case.

    Good AA's probably last longer than the rechargeable battery pack.

    Later
    Joe

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