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Mapsend Topo Canada


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The program I have to use for my gps is Mapsend topo Canada, and I think that it sucks. I find it very marginal, limited, awkward, and very user unfriendly. There are soooo many ways they could have made this program better, but they didn't.

But I have no other mapping program to compare it to 'cause it's all that I can find to use with my Magellan Sport Trak Map. Does anyone have a suggestion of what I could use for a sport trak that would be better?

I haven't found anything good except the expert gps, but the trial version is limited, and the full is very expensive, and it doesn't even have maps of canada(i'm in canada), but you can add your own.


Any suggestions?

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Maybe you could give a little bit more explanation of how its user unfriendly. I use it and find it meets my needs. It holds my waypoints, shows me the map of where I'm going, and I can set up my routes. Fine fore me.


The other options for Magllean are Mapsend Streets and Destinations Canada (a bit out of date) and Mapsend Directroute NorthAmerica which provides autorouting.



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Maybe I'm asking too much from a gps program, But it just seems like this program could be a lot better for the money you pay. Now, keep in mind, that I haven't used many other programs and I don't know if I'm just being too picky.

Here are a few of the long list of things that I don't like about it:

First, when you go to plot a route, it should just automatically place a waypoint during the route plotting. I often use this feature to plot a route, since there is no autoroute feature when I'm looking to find my way to a location I've never been to before. I have to place a waypoint for every turn in a route I've never been down, and then play connect the dots with the waypoints to build a route. and by the time this is all done, I've got the route memorized and don't require a gps at all. It takes less time to just write down the directions the old fashioned way.

Second, the points of interest are useless, because about 60% of the locations are wrong. My guess is that the guy in charge of placing the POI's used another coord system or the wrong map datum or was just out to lunch or something. I'll be looking at a lake waaaaaaay up in the secluded mountains miles out of town and notice an elementary in the middle of the lake. I check the address out, and it says it should be 3 blocks from my house.

Third, you can't change the maps, and for me, this is a big one. Many of the roads in the back hills here change from decade to decade. And the roads on this thing seem to be from the 60's. This wouldn't be an issue if there was just some way for me to drive down the current roads to get tracking, and edit the roads, add a few missing lakes, rivers, and other useful terrain that should already be there.

I'd like to take the opportunity to point out that EXPERT GPS allows you to place any image file, jpeg, bitmap, or whatever, in the background. So you can essentially scan any paper map, place it in the background, and align it with coordinates. I have seen other programs do this as well. FREE PROGRAMS. not the ones you pay $125 canadian dollars for.

Fourth. It would be nice if there were a way to put mapsend on your laptop and link it to your gps so you could see your location on the laptop in real time? How awsome and useful would that be? Expert gps claims to do this, but I have not seen it as it doesn't work on the trial version.

Fifth. What if you just want to upload one waypoint to the gps? I don't know about other gps's but it appears that on mine, in order to upload any waypoints, you must overwrite all the existing ones because it only has internal memory. But this problem is easily cured by EASY GPS. Another FREE program. They had no problem figuring out how to make my gps upload a few at a time without losing any. But once again, mapsend doesn't.

Sixth. This program doesn't seem to accept any kind of waypoint, route, track file extensions except the magellan signature ones (.wpt,.trk). Not surprising, but do they really think that I'm going to get every waypoint I ever use, from a magellan product? And I say this because every time I put a waypoint into another program, it accepts it. But when I want to put a waypoint from something else into my gps, I have to find an alternate way to convert it. Once again, EASY GPS is the answer. It automatically converts the .loc (sport trak doesn't suuport .gpx)to a .wpt as it uploads them.


I'm gonna stop ranting now. But there is a few examples. I will give it credit for the topo maps it has. They are pretty acurate as far as i can tell. And don't get me wrong. This program has it's good uses too. It just doesn't seem logical for me to spend over a hundred bills on this program, and have all the Free programs do more than half the work.

Edited by ashleedawg
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I use a combination of Mapsource topo canada and metroguide canada V4. Topo is great on the PC for visualisation as it shows greater detail such as trails and streams whereas metroguide maps are installed in My legendC for autorouting capability etc. On the PC metroguide offers really good search capability right down to specific addresses, valuable outside of geocaching.

I have no complaints other than the dated info on Metroguide. It doesn't recognise roads less than about 10 years old and has problems with highway entrances and exits that don't exist.

Agreed that canadian software by garmin is less than perfect but it's pretty good (Metroguide). I do feel that it is way overpriced for what you get and any GPSr that has autorouting capability should be supplied with software to do so instead of the crap that comes with it.

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Maybe I'm asking too much from a gps program, But it just seems like this program could be a lot better for the money you pay. Now, keep in mind, that I haven't used many other programs and I don't know if I'm just being too picky.

Here are a few of the long list of things that I don't like about it:


I don't think there are many who will point to MapSend products as polished programs; I generally regard them as programs to generate detail map files for my GPS. I usually turn to ExpertGPS, Streets&Trips, NG Topo, or something else to do the other things since they do them better. Magellan has added improvements over the years, but I've concluded that it's just not that much of a priority for them. And from a bottom line perspective, why should they devote the resources to spiff up the program since it's not going to increase sales? A substantial part of the purchase price is the NavTeq licensing fee. Delorme and Microsoft are always going to have more polished products for less money, because they have a substantially larger user base.


That said, I'm a little surprised that you aren't seeing some of the features you described in the current release. I'm south of the 48th parallel, I have to say upfront that I don't know what MapSend Topo Canada does or doesn't do. The the Topo3D USA does allow for some of them, not for otheres. My comments to your comments:


1. T3D does one-click route leg extension (older Topo USA didn't, drove me buggy too)


2. T3D has updated POI that are reasonably accurate (Topo USA had very old data)


3. No map editing capability. However, take a look here for a program that Mikhail at msh-tools has recently developed to do some additions to Mapsend maps. I haven't tried it yet, but it looks very promising to do things like making a track a permanent feature of a detail map. (Once I can verify that it works as advertised, I'll probably give it a thread of its own).


4. NMEA communication *should* be possible, as the post above notes.


5. MapSend's convention is to first send a "clear waypoints' command before uploading a new file, even if only a single waypoint is in it. That's fine for when you want it that way, sucks when you don't, agreed. With the Meridian, I could send a single waypoint over, then re-load the backed-up file of previously-existing waypoints to restore them, and they would be added to the new waypoint in active memory. A workable workaround (lots of workarounds needed in Magellans...good thing they're often possible, bad thing they're needed so much). Without an SD card, you'd have to save your waypoint files on the computer. Drag for SporTrak owners.


6. Waypoint formats: yeah, that's a drag, too, but here I would say it is a common problem. Some programs (like EasyGPS and GPSBabel) carve their niche out by serving the need of sharing otherwise incompatible formats with other programs. In the best of all worlds they wouldn't be needed, in the second-best of worlds, which we seem to be living in, there are programs such as those mentioned that have been developed to meet the need.


Bottom line: I support griping to Magellan about Mapsend's shortcomings, but I don't hold much hope of them implementing enough feature enhancements to make it my #1 mapping program. You'll probably find that if you get into mapping programs in any depth that you will need a suite of programs to meet the needs that arise. Over time I think that the size of the suite will shrink as programs become more comprehensive, but I'm not holding my breath in the meantime.

Edited by embra
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Embra, For the points you agree with me on, I don't think I could have said it better myself. especially about the workarounds. Thats the word that describes Mapsend topo Canada the best. I also agree that I should expect to have multiple programs to suit my needs.

I am sorry about the way I wrote it, though. I sound like I hate it. I don't. I have Mapsend streets and destinations canada as well, and when I used it, it was great. But I just wished it had more detail outside of the city limits, and I was frothing at the mouth to get my hands on Topo Canada. I guess it just bugs me that I paid so much for it and I am constantly finding workaraouds to get what I need done. For the cash I shelled out for it, it doesn't seem right.

I think the best reason that I'm not seeing these improvements in Topo 3d, is due to the fact that I've never seen Topo 3d. The only way I can test run it, is to buy it, and I am not rich enough to justify shelling out another $100+ dollars to see how good it is or isn't, and I don't know anyone, whatsoever with gps programs, or a gps for that matter, to cross compare with.


Canningclan: I have a Question for you, or anyone. How do I get mapsend linked with laptop/GPS for realtime navigation? Embra, you cal it NMEA communication. I know where this setting is in the GPS. do I just turn NMEA on? And if so, what version do I use?

Anyway, thanx for the info and other possibilities I can look into. The addmagmap link you sent me sounds like a good idea. and I'll probably be aqquiring it soon, if it doesn't cost too much. You all have no idea how much all this helps. Since i came into this forum less that 2 weeks ago, I was entirely on my own. It's nice to get advice from others who are knowledgeable and have similar interests.

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Canningclan: I have a Question for you, or anyone. How do I get mapsend linked with laptop/GPS for realtime navigation? Embra, you cal it NMEA communication. I know where this setting is in the GPS. do I just turn NMEA on? And if so, what version do I use?


Um, nevermind. I got it figured out. I guess al i really needed to know was NMEA basically means pc communication. once I put this together, Idid an index search for NMEA, and there it was.


Once again, thanx guys: Ashleedawg

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glad you got it working...adds a whole new dimention to Topo as you get to see on large screen where you are. With the price of topo I thought it should have autorouting capability, I am happy with the detail (offroad) but am glad I also have Metroguide for city navigating. Turn by turn is awesome and seldome wrong. Even if you miss a turn it recalculates and puts you back on track

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Just a comment about maps and POIs in general. All GPS manufacturers get their maps from Navteq and in Canada often DMTI for topo. Neither Garmin or Magellan do that themselves. Also, POIs are from the same companies. The GPS manufacturers could not afford to have cartograhpy departments large enough to keep up. For example, Navteq did a complete in car survey of Ontario this past year to ensure correct geometry of their road layouts and DMTI pays people to drive around getting POIs and road changes. The GPS folks couldn' t afford that.


So, don't blame either Garmin or Magellan for map contents.



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