Which GPS mapping software to use?



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  • Which GPS mapping software to use?

    Ever since getting lost in blizzard conditions on an elk hunt in Oregon, I have carried a handheld GPS (Garmin Rino120). I have no maps loaded for this area yet and was wondering what you folks use on your handheld GPS graphic units? I saw in the Outdoors Directory bookstore there was a set of CDROMs entitled "Terrain Navigator 2002: Alaska." But it was unclear whether or not you could transfer the maps to your GPS unit or just the user-inputted data from the maps (like tracks and waypoints).


  • #2

    I have used Garmin's MapSource with my GPS both to download better map base and to upload into the computer tracks, waypoints etc... Retail is about $100. I would definetly get something on your GPS that shows some detail, as the regular base map is crap in my opinion.
    I have national geographic disks for the state (12 disks) also that are nice for making your own topo maps with your waypoints... But you can not download these maps into your garmin. The only reason I mention these N.G. disks is that they were sold to me under the impression they were compatible with the Garmin GPS. Yes and No, yes you can print maps with your routes from your computer with TOPO, No- you can not download the topos into your garmin.

    Good Hunting


    • #3

      are there any that you can download into your gps I also have a garmin (vista c)would like to get a ak map into it?


      • #4

        like rooster said, mapsource is what you use to download maps to your garmin, however, your gps must be capable of recieving them, and if I remember correctly, my vista wanst able to. I now have a legend, and while there are better ones, its an affordable unit that can store maps that you download to it.


        • #5
          nautical charts

          I have a magellan meridian. How about nautical charts? any ideas?


          • #6

            With the garmin GPS units, as most have said, you cannot download the N.G. maps on the GPS, but you can download the routes and waypoints from the map on the computer to your GPS unit. This way the routes are downloaded just not the map. The reason that they do not download is that the scale is different on the National Geographic compared to the Garmin systems. The N.G. maps carry more detail, which in turn create better maps to carry.

            In my opinion, if you want a map to actually download you should go with the Topo Mapsource. Garmin also makes a several map systems for road use. For you marine guys that want marine charts go with the Bluechart mapping system from Garmin. All of the CD's sell for around $100 with the Bluechart usually costing a little more.

            Also, any of the Garmin GPS's that have the internal memory can be downloaded with maps this includes all Vista's (new and old). They even have new ones out now that the maps are loaded on a card that goes into the GPS.

            Sorry fishfinder don't know much about the Magellan's.


            • #7
              GPS with Paper Map

              In my opinion there is no better navigational setup than a gps used in conjuntion with a paper map of the area you are working. The GPS units simply will not give you the visual topo display you need for navigation. I have a Garmin Map 76 csx which has a large display for my aging eyes. Also, I print out maps using Bigtopo pro from Alltopo by Igage. I prefer the UTM coordinate system for the map prints as well as in the GPS. It is much simpler and quicker to transfer your GPS reading to the printed map. The UTM mapping system covers the planet in 1000 meter grids...yes the military system. Nothing works better when calling in air strikes.


              • #8
                Garmin TOPO

                I have used the Garmin etrex, legend, vista, 76 and 276C all with great results. I own the GARMIN TOPO CDs for the US, AK and Hawaii and they are great (as well as the roads and Bluechart for the ocean). Using the mapsource you can load waypoints, routes, etc into all of them, the memory is the only issue. The detail is pretty good and gives decent resolution of GPS's though screen size is "Bigger is better". I would recomend them to any based on my experience. I can't make any comments on the National Geo or any others but I assume they do well, since they are still being baught.
                I will caution that while they are great, USGS maps have much finer detail and they don't run out of batteries or break when you drop them, a Map and Silva compass, while not used as a primary means of Navigation, can be life saving if technology takes a dump.
                Good luck and if there is anything else you need......



                • #9

                  In short, you have to use the Garmin software to load maps into a Garmin GPS. They have a proprietary lock on their GPS, therefore, only their stuff will work.
                  Mapsource has decent quality topo maps... and same goes for the Nautical (Blue something or another).
                  Use other software (Google Earth, National Geographic, etc.) to import your waypoints, tracks, routes, etc., to print out hand carried maps. Makes for a decent pair of navigation tools.
                  Good luck!


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