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Map Choices


raptnblue
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It's me again, Rapt the newbie. Ok, having a few problems with the set-up stuff. I have a new Garmin 60CS and I am fumbling thru its setup. When I bought the unit, I also purchased the Auto Navigation Kit which included the City Select software--- unit also came with a basemap. My question is this, Do I need topo software also? I live 10 min away from the Blue Ridge Mountains and wanted to do some hiking type caches as well as the more suburban/urban ones. If I need this, what should I buy---price isn't really an issue, just want what I want, when I need it. I understand some of the software is just National Parks and Forests---That's cool but I don't want to be just limited to that. Any other tips would be appreciated also and by the way, I already feel as if I found my first "treasure" when I discovered this sport.

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If you have the 60CS, you just have to get the City Select software so the unit can auto-route you to your destinations, as well as tell you where the nearest gas station is and other POIs (Points of Interest).

 

That is just such a time-saver and gas-saver.

 

The Topo software is also nice to have. I have that on my computer with the City Select on my Vista C. You can have both on the 60CS at the same time.

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If price isn't an issue, then buy Garmin's Topo so you can print them and download them into your GPS. By sticking with Garmin, you can use the same program to run both the mapping and topo software.

I have City Select as well, but use Google Earth and the Topo link on the webpages to view the topography. All I really need are the coords of a trailhead to get me started.

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I have an old Garmin E-Map with US Roads and Recreations and Topo. Living in the Allegheny National Forest, the topo is nice because it's more detailed in elevation. The Roads map is nice when I am caching in town, more detailed on the streets. I bought them used so it didn't cost an arm or leg. Now it's just the gas that costs that much.

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Just be aware there are 2 Topo versions. The Topo 24k is much more detailed than the regular Topo (I think it is 4X more info)

 

BUT WAIT!!!

 

The regular Topo covers all of the US and the TOPO 24k ONLY covers national parks. ALL OTHER AREAS ARE BLANK. Even if your STATE park is huge, it's not covered.

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Just be aware there are 2 Topo versions. The Topo 24k is much more detailed than the regular Topo (I think it is 4X more info)

 

BUT WAIT!!!

 

The regular Topo covers all of the US and the TOPO 24k ONLY covers national parks. ALL OTHER AREAS ARE BLANK. Even if your STATE park is huge, it's not covered.

Is that accurate? I know that TOPO 24k is broken into different regions but I didn't realize it ONLY covered the National Parks! If that's true it really sucks hard since it's $100 a pop per region. Are you certain that is correct?

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Here are the differences. These are 'Prnt Scrn' scans from the actual program from me.

 

The first pic is the Topo 24k

 

The next is the regular Topo at same area and same magnification...(looks like more info here but........)

 

The third is 200 ft on the Topo 24k

 

and the last is the map with the regular Topo

 

If you want I can post two more for comparison over the non covered areas of the 24k, you will only see the raw base map. On the first pic you can see the squares where there is info available for download. you can also check this link at Garmin to see the scalable map.

http://www.garmin.com/cartography/mapSourc...o24knpeast.jsp#

 

Topo24k.jpg

 

regtopo.jpg

 

200ft24k.jpg

 

200fttopo.jpg

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An another question, so what if I go across country, how do I load all the maps required to drive there? Won't that be way too much data? B)

Well, the most common approach is load the City Select maps for your starting and ending points, and for any area you might stay in during the trip. The 60C will seamlessly switch from the detailed City Select maps to the basemap to route you along stretches of highway. The basemap has major roads, which most people take on long trips.

 

If you are taking a long trip along back roads, you may need to bring along a laptop, although you can basically get a route from Chicago to LA in 56MB or less.

 

More about maps, and switching between USA Topo City Select, in questions 7-9 of the Maps section of the FAQ.

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My question is this, Do I need topo software also? I live 10 min away from the Blue Ridge Mountains and wanted to do some hiking type caches as well as the more suburban/urban ones. If I need this, what should I buy---price isn't really an issue, just want what I want, when I need it

 

Need, no. But I found Mapsource Topo to be be a very valuable tool. I run it on my 60CS along with City Select. I switch between the programs depending on my needs, but I find myself using Topo about 80 percent of the time.

 

Topo is very handy for hiking and geocaching in the woods. It tells me if there is a stream, ravine, swamp, mountain, cliff, etc... between me and the cache. It helps me play my route. Just last weekend I climbed a pretty high hill to find a cache. Then I saw the next nearest was almost a mile away. A straight line walk would have taken me down, then back up again. Topo showed a ridgeline that connected the two, so I followed that, which made the trek much easier. Topo has been a major timesaver for me.

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I just bought a 60CS as well...it's still in the mail but I should have it this weekend :-)

 

I need a map that is as detailed as 1:24,000 (is that scale a 7.5 map?). I want to jump in the mountains along the App Trail portions of PA as well as navigate through downtown Philadelphia.

 

I thought my BEST choice was the Nat'l Geographic STATE maps because they give me 1:24,000. The Nat'l Geographic East is something like 1:100,000 and has very little detail. I did not know that the 60CS imports ONLY Garmin software...is that true???

 

I need 1:24,000 more than anything, I can MapQuest downtown Philly!

 

I need off-road detail deep in the wood hunting info....Is the Nat'l Geo software the way to go?

 

Oh heck, I'll just go buy some PowerBall tickets and the $99 for each state won't matter, with $340M, I'll buy my OWN state!

 

Army1 (aka George)

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Hey, rap...

 

Just to clarify things a bit -

 

You should actually learn basic map and compass skills before you head into non-urban areas. Your GPSR (the 60CS) tells you where you are and the direction and distance to where you want to go (if you have a waypoint for your destination loaded in). It does not tell you how to get there. That's what you use your map for.

 

The only topographic maps that can be loaded into Garmin (and Magellan) receivers is their proprietary mapping software. To load USGS maps, you need certain models of Lowrance or a PDA that can be linked to a GPSR (some can slide into a proprietary slot, some can connect via USB or serial cables), or you can use a laptop connected to a GPSR. The laptop and PDA route require software such as National Geographic's Topo!, MapTech, or Delorme's TopoUSA. For USGS detail, you need the state series or National Parks series of one of these. NatGeo's BackRoads only uses 100k scanned maps, and Delorme uses vectorized 100k DEM files with a somewhat inaccurate vectorizing scheme.

 

A serious deficiency with Garmin's and Magellan's proprietary topo mapping is that both use a vectorized scheme that is rather inaccurate at the equivalent of the 1:24000 scale. Plus the screens are very tiny. One of the things I keep putting into my evaluations for the companies.

 

Street maps are fine for travel, but not for hiking.

 

Your best bet is to use a combination of the proprietary topo software to give crude locations and terrain appearance, in combination with a true USGS map at 1:24000 scale, such as you can print out to match your area of interest with NatGeo's Topo! State series for your state (New England has several states in one package, most other states are 1 state per package - Delorme's state series are similar). Print out the paper map and carry it with you (the batteries won't die!). A PDA-loaded topo map is ok, as well - both NatGeo and Delorme can load the state-series 1:24000 maps into most Palm and Windows PDAs, but color is advantageous.

 

Oh, yeah, should mention, I do a bit of consulting for some of these companies and worked professionally in the GPS arena for many years before retiring. Some of the features you will see in the software and hardware are derived from my input, and yes, I have a long list of "gotta haves" which have not yet been implemented, some of which will give you submeter locations under canopy someday soom.

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:blink: So Garmin Topo East? I like to cover my bases and want more than just national parks. If its true that I can only download Garmin software into the unit and print, then it's Topo East for Garmin?

 

And thanks for the drive/download info. It's so hard being a newbie.

As far as I know Garmin has a Topo for the entire US, not just the east.

 

There is a way to download non Garmin maps to your GPS but it takes some time, a good bit of computer knowledge and the will to potentially void your unit's warranty. And no one's ever mentioned how well they work when is all done,

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I sometimes printout the 24K Topozone map from the link on the cache page. Then, in the field, with 100K Garmin Topo loaded in GPS, it's easy to locate yourself on the 24K paper topo map. You have the advantage of using the more accurate 24K map and the paper map is easy to see, mark up, etc.

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Lots of great info here...so,

 

If I want to load detailed map data on my GPS, I NEED software that allows me to upload/download data between my GPS and PC. But, I DO NOT need to buy any Garmin, Nat'l Geo, Delorme, etc., software to load map data on my GPS (currently Garmin's 12XL and 60CS).

 

For a well-versed GPS person who is new to mapping with a GPS, the best all-around download is most likely GPSMapper, which is an all-encompassing program that provides great flexibility to work with detailed map data at 1:24,000 scale.

 

QUESTION: If Nat'l Geo software works WITH my Garmin GPS but not ON my GPS, does buying the Garmin product make more sense because (I assume) it works ON the GPS? I don't want to buy a couple of programs...so I'll buy a good base map, and then start learning GPSMapper.

 

I got a $100, ten for a few gallons of gas, two for a bag of pretzels, and the rest to purchase ONE mapping software for my Garmin GPS...which one should I buy? I didn't win the PowerBall :-(

 

Thanks again. Army1 (George)

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briansnat -

 

To clarify a bit -

 

Garmin's Mapsource Topo will load topo maps for the whole US (3 CDs for East, West, and Alaska/Hawaii) into certain Garmin GPSRs (including the 60 and 76 series). However, these are pretty crude, vectorized from DEM files, and have significant deviations from reality for roads, trails, and topo configuration. Garmin has 2 packages for National Parks in the eastern and western US that are derived from 1:24000 scale maps. These are considerably more accurate than the whole-US version. Magellan's Mapsend Topo USA (current version is Mapsend Topo 3D USA) is similar to Garmin's whole-US package.

 

To clarify your "use with, not on" comment - What this means is that with NatGeo's Topo! products, you can up- and down-load waypoints, routes, and tracks to most consumer GPS receivers. You cannot load NatGeo maps onto consumer GPS receivers, nor any other commercial mapping products (Delorme, Maptech, etc.). NatGeo has been attempting to make arrangements with the GPSR manufacturers, but they are pretty adamant about using their own proprietary products. The way around this is to use a PDA that is linked to a GPSR, either by way of a slot or a cable. NatGeo and Delorme have the capability of being loaded onto both Palm and Pocket PC PDAs, and there are GPSRs that link to some PDAs to show your track on a USGS-scanned color topo map from the computerized map companies.

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...So which sofware do you recommend?

I would recommend Garmins Topo USA - THE 100K scale maps of the entire us. I f you do hiking in the back woods you would probably want more geographical map detail, and not cultural detail like where the nearest Big Mac can be purchased. The topo maps will give you contour terrain which is useful in that you will know that it looks your going to travel uphill on your given route.

Basssax.

Columbia, MD

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I think the best map is any that get you 1:24,000., right now that seems to be National Geographic's TOPO! software. BTW, I simply CANNOT stand the streets and auto-routing on my new 60CS...anyone know how to turn the street functions off...I really liked the way the 12XL shows routes. Color is nice, but Keep It Simple Stupid works for me :-) --George

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...anyone know how to turn the street functions off...I really liked the way the 12XL shows routes. Color is nice, but Keep It Simple Stupid works for me :-) --George

From the Map page, press MENU » 'Setup Map' » ENTR. One of maps you've loaded will be listed. Press MENU again, then » 'Hide City Select North A' » ENTR. You can use this procedure to hide or show any map (including the base map) that is loaded. More info (and a screen shot) at question 9 of the Maps Section of the FAQ.

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The go to 'setup map' and hide City Select and show Topo.

 

I don't see that option under SETUP, MAP.

 

The selections under MAP include:

--GENERAL

--TRACKS

--POINTS

--TEXT

--INFORMATION (Americas Marine Point Basemap Jan 2001 is the only option)

--MARINE

 

Do I not have something installed?

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I don't see that option under SETUP, MAP.

 

The selections under MAP include:

--GENERAL

--TRACKS

--POINTS

--TEXT

--INFORMATION (Americas Marine Point Basemap Jan 2001 is the only option)

--MARINE

 

Do I not have something installed?

Do you have Mapsource Topo installed?

 

Its not under setup from the main menu. Go to your map page, press menu, then you will see an option for 'setup map'. Select that.

Edited by briansnat
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There are 8 different series (types) of maps:

 

-Topo 24k (very detailed topographical maps, limited coverage)

-Topo 100k (Not as detailed, but covers all the States)

-MetroGuide (all the streets, stores, resturants, entertainment, etc (with phone numbers)....but no auto-routing)

-City Select (I believe it has less listings than Metro guide but adds Auto-routing)

-City Navigator (both listings and routing in a newer format.)

-Generic World Map (major roads for all the countries)

-Blue Chart (Ocean stuff)

-Lakes & Fishing (specialized lake stuff)

 

Some series have multiple sets available for different coverage areas. You can load multiple maps at the same time into your 60CS, have them layered and turn them on/off dependings on your needs at the time.

 

All this info is there on the Garmin 60CS page.

The manual has some pretty good tips too.

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I thought I knew everything, and then Geocaching comes about...jeez!

 

Okay, looks like we need a big get together in Philadelphia...see General >> Meetings and Events forum at WWW.SEPAG.US...I have access to a large facility with a laptop and projector in the University City area ;-) First meeting Tuesday, 1 Nov 05. GBL24@drexel.edu --George

Edited by Army1
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