Viewing 20 posts - 1 through 20 (of 20 total)
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  • #570257
    Ecobrad
    2068 Posts

    Yo–I need to buy a topo software program, which ones do you guys recommend/despise?

    #607069
    dishwasher-dave
    460 Posts

    Yo Eco,

    I tolerate TOPO classic on my mac. It works, it could be better. For printing a simple map it competently does the job, though I think the fine quality could be slightly better (aren’t maps supposed to be beautiful?). I think I have heard that the PC version has a slightly better interface.

    Something interesting is the newer NG TOPO! Explorer (NG TEX). I need to research it more, but it’s pretty much all online. One reviewer compared it to Itunes. Apparently it’s also integrated with the Magellan Triton GPS.

    I would be curious to hear what you decide on.

    Good luck.

    #607070
    Ecobrad
    2068 Posts

    Thanks Dave. I was checking out NG explorer yesterday. Looks awesome but I can’t tell if it includes the USGS 7.5 quads or not. It must but I couldn’t find the info on the website easily.

    I had Topo on my old computer and liked it enough but it does seem arcane compared to the shit I hear about that can coordinate a handheld GPS, google earth, watches, etc.

    My problem is that I’m lazy and won’t use all the bells and whistles of whatever program I buy. I’ll probably just surf the program endlessly looking for trails/turns and end up printing a map here and there to take on trips.

    #607071
    mmcpheet
    98 Posts

    I like the California TOPO cd setfrom National Geographic. Works well if you are interested only in CA. Allows you to plan routes, get distances, elevation changes, etc and load them to GPS. Also allows you to load GPS data to calc the same stuff after a trip. I still think $100 is a little steep, but I’ve printed hundreds of maps with it and still use it often.

    Teh explorer looks like the same info, but with a per map charge and the requirement of being connected to the internet. It’s nice to have a laptop along with the set in a new area.

    One thing I don’t like about the set are that I always seem to be looking at areas on the edges of the cd territory (there are 10) and have to keep switching cds.

    #607072
    kjkrow
    353 Posts

    I’ve got the Washington version of the NG Topo! software, and have used the Colorado version too. While the one hundred dollar price does seem expensive, I think it’s reasonable if you use the program enough. I figured after about 10 trips it pays for itself in not having to buy specific maps each time you go a new place. I think the GPS connectivity is a big plus as well, and definitely makes for easier trip planning.

    As for being on the edge of one CD’s data set, it is definetly annoying, but I think you can tell the program to cache the data on the edge of the map, so it’s available when you swap CDs. Not perfect, but works.

    #607073
    jimw
    1420 Posts

    I checked out Topo Explorer when it first came out this summer. My impression is that it looks nice, but has a long way to go. There are many things that the old TOPO! did that Explorer can’t do yet. For example, GPS integration isn’t there. For me, that’s a no-go. I haven’t checked to see if they’ve fixed things in the latest version, but overall I was less than impressed. The superquads do look nice though, and it is great to be able to fade between topo and satellite imagery. Plus it’s cool that you can buy just the quads you need.

    But for real use, I still use the old version of TOPO! I can plot routes, view elevation profiles, print, and upload/download to the GPS. It’s not great, but it does everything I need (not always elegantly), which is more than I can say for any other programs I’ve tried.

    I also have been using Google Earth a lot lately. I paid for the Plus version which adds GPS support. You can also just use GPSBabel to convert between your GPS data format and kml (and many other formats). This is nice because then you can view your GPS routes in Google Earth. The one thing I haven’t figured out yet is how to create a route in TOPO! and then get it into GE as a path (not a bunch of waypoints).

    Dave – make sure you have the latest version of the old TOPO! Earlier versions were real dogs. The latest version made things a lot more tolerable. I’m running version 4.2.8 on OS X 10.4.11. I think there was a nominal fee for upgrading from earlier TOPO! versions to 4.x.

    #607074
    jimw
    1420 Posts

    @mmcpheet wrote:

    Teh explorer looks like the same info, but with a per map charge and the requirement of being connected to the internet.

    I don’t *think* this is a requirement if you’ve purchased superquads – you should be able to browse those offline.

    #607075
    splitChimp
    49 Posts

    I’ve used Topofusion for map reconnaissance and to gps plot a 700 and 300 mile mountain bike route. Topofusion was used to upload the plot to my garmin. I also use Topo! and Google Earth reconnaissance but Topofusion is my “bread n butter” – I really love the Topofusion feature that toggles back and forth between a topo map and an aerial photo. The Topofusion maps are downloaded thru the internet so highspeed internet connection is a must. good luck

    #607076
    Tim Ryan
    24 Posts

    I like National Geographic TOPO! a lot. I can trace out a route on the computer, have it calculate and save a GPS route, and upload the route and any waypoints to a GPS.

    I printed out the map below on waterproof paper, from iGage (http://www.iGage.com) and took it on a recent hike up Mt. Harvard in Colorado. On the other side I printed the next map, which shows the driving route from Buena Vista to the trailhead in an “overviewâ€

    #607077
    jimw
    1420 Posts

    @splitchimp wrote:

    I’ve used Topofusion

    That app looks great! Wish they had a Mac version…

    #607078
    jcocci
    699 Posts

    @kjkrow wrote:

    I’ve got the Washington version of the NG Topo! software, and have used the Colorado version too. While the one hundred dollar price does seem expensive, I think it’s reasonable if you use the program enough. I figured after about 10 trips it pays for itself in not having to buy specific maps each time you go a new place. I think the GPS connectivity is a big plus as well, and definitely makes for easier trip planning.

    As for being on the edge of one CD’s data set, it is definetly annoying, but I think you can tell the program to cache the data on the edge of the map, so it’s available when you swap CDs. Not perfect, but works.

    Hey Kyle,

    Assuming I’m understanding you correctly you can copy all the data on the CDs to your computer and will never have to use the CDs. I have the Washington NG as well and never have to insert any CDs.

    I too love the NG TOPO software, but wish you could transfer maps to your GPS with it. I also have the Garmin TOPO software that I use solely for transferring maps to my GPS.

    All I need now is a good color printer for printing maps. I’ve got a good B&W laser printer but it doesn’t print maps for crap. As a side topic any good recommendations on good printers for TOPO maps? Has to be Mac compatible.

    #607079
    Ecobrad
    2068 Posts

    I didn’t have to load CD every time either. Load them once and then had five different scales of all of California to choose from. Loading CDs every time would suck.

    #607080
    mtnrider
    740 Posts

    I like the program McPheeters uses also. I can’t say I’m a fan of swapping discs out but there is a reason for it…info.

    8 discs hold a lot more than 1.

    #607081
    jbaysurfer
    947 Posts

    Hey McPheet,

    If you have a big hardrive (I upgraded for this reason, and to get copious Itunes tv shows on my laptop) you can copy all the disks into a folder than point the software to that folder.

    I highly recommend this, I’ve got 2 states worth on their and can check a map at the trailhead if I need too.

    #607082
    Ecobrad
    2068 Posts

    I like the program McPheeters uses also. I can’t say I’m a fan of swapping discs out but there is a reason for it…info. 8 discs hold a lot more than 1.

    Yeah dude, I loaded all eight CDs to my computer once and had full coverage from then on . No disc changing but same resolution and coverage.

    #607083
    drrock
    30 Posts

    Those using Garmin handhelds (I use a GPSmap 60CSx) can load up free 1:24,000-scale topo maps/contours for California. I’ve been using it for fieldwork, and it’s nice to have the 20 foot contours on my handheld (i.e., much better than what you get with the Mapsource 1:100k set, and the 1:24k stuff is only for the national parks).

    http://www.gpsfiledepot.com/maps/view/28

    Similar free maps are available for Arizona, Colorado, Utah, Mississippi, Montana, and Wyoming.

    http://www.miscjunk.org/mj/mp_main.html

    Rock on

    #607084
    tsondaboy
    119 Posts

    Anyone using kashmir?
    Its a freeware program not just for topo maps but also to view digital elevation data, GPS etc.
    The English support is a bit poor, but you can find links to 1:24000 DRG maps covering most of the US.

    #607085
    wavy
    198 Posts

    @jimw wrote:

    The one thing I haven’t figured out yet is how to create a route in TOPO! and then get it into GE as a path (not a bunch of waypoints).

    Yeah, I’ve been trying to figure this out myself, anyone know how? I think I’ve seen google earth images in the past that have gps derived routes laid out on the imagery without all the waypoints, which leads me to believe it’s possible. Or how about a kml file -> a waypoint-less route laid out in TOPO?

    #607086
    jimw
    1420 Posts

    @wavy wrote:

    @jimw wrote:

    The one thing I haven’t figured out yet is how to create a route in TOPO! and then get it into GE as a path (not a bunch of waypoints).

    Yeah, I’ve been trying to figure this out myself, anyone know how? I think I’ve seen google earth images in the past that have gps derived routes laid out on the imagery without all the waypoints, which leads me to believe it’s possible.

    If it’s coming from a GPS, you can definitely get that into GE as a path. GE “plus” version has GPS import built-in, or you can use something like GPSBabel to convert from GPS format to KML.

    Or how about a kml file -> a waypoint-less route laid out in TOPO?

    That’s the one I’m trying to figure out…

    #607087
    dishwasher-dave
    460 Posts

    Just wanted to add that I took Jim’s advice and paid the 29 bucks for the Topo upgrade (from older version to current version) and it does seem much improved.

    If anyone else has the older version, I would recommend upgrading.

    (Thanks for the beta Jim)

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