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Harry Dolphin

Topozone

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Bummer :o I used topozone alot to plan routes to triangulation stations on mountaintops around here. I guess I'll have to rely on mapsource more.

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I was able to get a close-in map view of a benchmark location by clicking on the link from a benchmark page on Geocaching.com. As soon as I tried to change the view, I was sent to the sign-up page...so it isn't very useful.

I wonder how long it will take for the link to disappear from the Geocaching.com pages?

I did notice the maps look a lot better now than they did last week.

Since I have both NG Topo and DeLorme Topo I doubt I'll miss their site.

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They get you hooked and then start to charge. Don't be surprised if you see the same thing happen with Google Earth and even Google Maps.

 

I payed for ExpertGPS about 4 years ago and haven't regretted it one bit, it has a lot of good features plus all of the quads and aerial imagery that you found a TopoZone.

 

CallawayMT

Edited by CallawayMT

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The Trails.com folks are certainly being disingenuous when they say, "And just like TopoZone.com, Trails.com is a subscription-based service." Perhaps there were subscription-only features of TopoZone, but viewing the maps was free.

 

Guess I'll have to download maps from now on. FYI, in case you aren't aware of where to download free DRGs for your state, try this list. And since yours truly put it together, please let me know about any updates (new URLs for existing states, or sources for states I couldn't find downloads for).

 

Patty

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Perhaps there were subscription-only features of TopoZone, but viewing the maps was free.

There were a LOT of subscription-only features on Topozone. If you didn't know this, then you didn't try to get much from the site.

 

And unfortunately, I'm sure that's why he sold out. Ed McNierney, who ran Topozone, appears to have been nearly a one-man operation -- whenever I wrote for help, he answered personally. Full time one-man operations can't serve up maps for free forever without something to balance it, and subscription services were where he made his money.

 

Now, I'm not saying we all should have subscribed. I did for one year, but could not justify continuing the cost. From some comments he made, his target market was people who needed maps professional. Well, that's kind of a duh -- selling to recreationalists is a lot harder than selling to professionals.

 

So I too will mourn the free service, but I'll also regret that Ed McNierney was unable in the end to make a go of it. (Though it's possible that trails.com made it worth his while to sell out, rather than merely picking up the pieces.)

 

In the past year or two, I've gotten most of my topo maps via LibreMaps. They redirect to free downloads of good-quality TIFFs of the map scans. Photoshop Elements displays them cleanly and scrolls perkily. A few maps are missing, but overall I've been happy. Recently I've used Topozone mostly as a way to look up feature names to figure out what map they are on.

 

Oh, and finally, this wasn't totally out of the blue. Last September, I got an email announcement from Topozone: "for the next four weeks Trails.com is offering TopoZone members a one-year UNLIMITED subscription at half price". I didn't think much about it at the time, but it sounds like they were working on something at the time. Perhaps the response was good enough that trails.com made McNierney a good offer.

 

Edward

Edited by paleolith

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I would guess that Trails.com will be disappointed if they think they will make money on what was always free. With all the map services out there (MSN, Yahoo, Google, etc) which are driven by advertising, charging for content is becoming a thing of the past. Their business model needs to move forward, not backward.

 

And remember, the USGS maps, although we all love them, are almost all obsolete as for what's on the ground. Although I agree it used to be a great tool for benchmarking, I usually use Google Maps especially the satellite view these days. The only thing we might miss is finding old features (like train stations) - but the historic old USGS maps are still available for that.

 

My problem will be fixing the hundreds of embedded Topozone links in my reports.

 

I use Google more and more and I have a version that uses the USGS map tiles so going forward I won't suffer from this. Besides the new "Terrain" map type is pretty good for most purposes.

 

My opinion: don't join Trails,.com - you'll do better learning to use one of the free map services.

Edited by Papa-Bear-NYC

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And remember, the USGS maps, although we all love them, are almost all obsolete as for what's on the ground. Although I agree it used to be a great tool for benchmarking, I usually use Google Maps especially the satellite view these days.

Wow, I guess it depends on how you look for benchmarks, because I've been using the USGS maps more in the past year or two. Once I realized that the "X"s on their maps were a heck of a lot more accurate than the scaled coordinates in the NGS datasheets, I started religiously going through quads, deriving coordinates for marks I want to find. It's been an extremely successful approach.

 

Patty

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Embedded Links:

 

At the moment, the old links bring you to a topo map all right (but not the USGS map tiles), but if you change the view in any way (pan, change map size, zoom in) you get another screen selling maps and services. (Try the link from one of the Geocaching pages). I'll have to experiment to see what works and what doesn't.

Edited by Papa-Bear-NYC

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I liked using them too.

But will not miss them.

And will not subscribe to the new one.

 

I have All of TOPO!'s for the most searched states so I am not going to worry about it.

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I see an opportunity for Google to add another "view" to their maps.

Actually, I'm kind of surprised they haven't already done so.

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I see an opportunity for Google to add another "view" to their maps.

Actually, I'm kind of surprised they haven't already done so.

This has been done a number of times by sites using the Google Maps API. I use it myself on my web site. Here's an example: MY3792- Wachusett Edited by Papa-Bear-NYC

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I have to say that you regulars on here are MUCH better then me at using topo maps to find marks and solve questions. With that i mind - can someone tell me (besides for google earth which I do use) what the BEST free program is online to look at topos in my area?

 

I have seen a few thrown out there - but I am wondering which are best, most comprehensive, user friendly etc.

 

Thanks very much, as always, in advance.

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I have to say that you regulars on here are MUCH better then me at using topo maps to find marks and solve questions. With that i mind - can someone tell me (besides for google earth which I do use) what the BEST free program is online to look at topos in my area?

 

I have seen a few thrown out there - but I am wondering which are best, most comprehensive, user friendly etc.

 

Thanks very much, as always, in advance.

 

Well, the Topo view on Terraserver is still free.

 

It's not quite as good as what Topozone was; it doesn't put an X on the spot you click, or even put that spot in the center of the map, and the coordinates it displays aren't for where where you clicked either.

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Oh, and finally, this wasn't totally out of the blue. Last September, I got an email announcement from Topozone: "for the next four weeks Trails.com is offering TopoZone members a one-year UNLIMITED subscription at half price".

WARNING to anyone who took them up on this offer. Unless you opt out before the next year, they will automatically charge another year to you at full price.

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WARNING to anyone who took them up on this offer. Unless you opt out before the next year, they will automatically charge another year to you at full price.

Sorry, I know that I'm getting off topic here, but this is one reason why I love "virtual account numbers" for credit cards. At least with the way it works for CitiCards, not only do you not have to give out your real CC number, but the number also expires in a couple of months, so there's no way that the merchant can bill you again a year later.

 

Patty

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What an irritation. I've been a TopoZone subscriber for many years. Although my account was moved to Trails.com, I am not pleased. It looks very cumberson to use, and does not have many of the features. Wonder if I can get a credit for my remaining 4 month subscription? :laughing:

 

 

Fortunately, many North Carolina counties have similar info on their GIS websites. [see below.] But I'll miss the fast access from the PID, and the little red "X" that moved from topo map to road map to aerial photos.

 

 

-Paul-

 

 

8fc0eabc-ec2b-43a5-9874-8ff86ed238d1.jpg

 

GIS Web Site, Orange County, North Carolina

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Maybe it's just the areas where I've been looking(mostly PA, OH, WV), but the NGS descriptions have been sufficient to locate whatever I've been seeking. The maps were interesting to look at, but not very useful for me.

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Maybe it's just the areas where I've been looking(mostly PA, OH, WV), but the NGS descriptions have been sufficient to locate whatever I've been seeking. The maps were interesting to look at, but not very useful for me.

 

Hi, Shorebird,

 

I should have clarified that being a real estate professional, I used TopoZone for commercial purposes. But even on the hobby side, it was useful for advance planning when going after a mark which was set several decades ago. That remote mountain top is now a ski resort, or the center of a "cultivated field, at the corner of the barn" is now a residential subdivision. TopoZone gave me a tool for creating a new "to reach" description, prior to leaving home. <_<

 

In addition to GIS websites, my Streets & Trips will zoom to a set of coordinates with a road map and aerial photo. On occasion, I can get the cool "Bird's Eye View" which allows me to look at a scene from the north, south, east, or west. (We recently added this to our MLS system.)

 

Nevertheless, I'm eager to try some of the alternate sites listed in the above posts. Because TopoZone "did it all", I've not taken time to use any of the other services, but I shall check them out, now that the Zone is history.

 

TopoZone was unique in another way. As some others have pointed out, the owner always answered inquiries, personally--even on weekends. For me, the $50 annual fee (which was tax-deductible for a Realtor) was well worth it. But it also is obvious that this was a Sunset product which would soon be left behind by newer innovations. The vendor was wise to sell while he had the opportunity.

 

So, folks, keep those links coming. This Old Dog might learn some New Tricks. :laughing:

 

-Paul-

Edited by PFF

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Terraserver Issues

 

I found some information on another board of some "registration" issues with tiles served from the Terraserver using the Google Maps API . This would therefore affect sites like Acme.com which has been mentioned as a replacement to Topozone as well as several projects by members of this board such as monkeycat and myself.

 

To quote:

 

1. The 1:24,000 maps for a large chunk of California, from Yosemite

down through the Sierra, Mt. Pinos, and Santa Barbara, are NOT

REGISTERED CORRECTLY. Any Terraserver links to this region will NOT

BE ACCURATE. Northern California, the Bay Area, Lake Tahoe, and the

greater L.A. area are all OK, but be sure to check your California

links by looking at a 4-corner quad junction to see if the maps are

jumbled. For example,

 

http://terraserver-usa.com/image.aspx?T=2&...;Y=5067&W=2

I have also noticed similar problems in southern parts of Hancock and Washington County in Maine.

 

Notice the break in the splicing of the map tiles at the bottom of this map (my map using Google API and Terraserver tiles). This is similar to the problem on Terraserver map linked above: PD0894

 

And this one shows the actual problem with the "registration" or what we would call map control is off by about 150 feet. See the discrepancy between the triangle on the map tile vs. the plotted point. Zoom in and you will see it quite clearly. On Topozone, this was not a problem: PD0894

 

If you use the Map Type Selector (upper right of map) and choose "Terrain" you will see the correct registration.

 

Bottom Line: Terraserver is free and very comprehensive, but there are problems to be aware of.

Edited by Papa-Bear-NYC

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I posted this in reply to a similar topic, but I thought you all might find this useful. I don't intend to Forum-spam.

 

The company I work for, MyTopo.com, has decided to step in and provide free browsable topo maps similar to what TopoZone had. We have Canada as well. They're all here, free, no ads:

 

http://www.mytopo.com/maps.cfm

 

I know there are a number of sites with topo maps using Terraserver as a source. One advantage to our system is that we have all of the newer U.S. Forest Service maps that show inholdings, forest routes, etc.

 

Our main link above doesn't have a lat/lon search, which I'm sure many of you use. I just added this page so you can search by DD.DDD or DDMMSS:

 

http://www.mytopo.com/mapslatlon.cfm

 

I've enjoyed TopoZone for many years, and it's too bad that it's going away. We want to make topo maps easily accessible again. Let me know if you have any suggestions. Thanks!

 

- Doug

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Topozone was extremely important to me as that was all I used to find caches. Of course I was in contact with the new owners yesterday when the site essentially became useless to me even with the subscription. I don't know how much they can do to get it where it was but they seem to want to make it useful, but I'm nearly dead in the water until they do something. Did one cache today with their map, but in an area I already knew extremely well. The site is slow and cumbersome. The default settings are many clicks away from anything that is useable unless you want a topo at about 1:1,000,000,000. No aerial photos at 1:10000... no way to mark a location on the map. (I used a ruler to draw the waypoint on the map for the one I did today) I emailed them a shopping list of things they need to do. Don't know if that will help, but I hope Geocaching.com keeps the link live until we find out.

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I posted this in reply to a similar topic, but I thought you all might find this useful. I don't intend to Forum-spam.

 

The company I work for, MyTopo.com, has decided to step in and provide free browsable topo maps similar to what TopoZone had. We have Canada as well. They're all here, free, no ads:

 

[................... ] Let me know if you have any suggestions. Thanks!

 

- Doug

 

Will you have Aerial Photos at a scale something like 1:10000 and the ability of marking a waypoint on that photo and making a print? That was the essential thing that Topozone provided for their $50/year membership.

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I posted this in reply to a similar topic, but I thought you all might find this useful. I don't intend to Forum-spam.

 

The company I work for, MyTopo.com, has decided to step in and provide free browsable topo maps similar to what TopoZone had. We have Canada as well. They're all here, free, no ads:

 

http://www.mytopo.com/maps.cfm

 

I know there are a number of sites with topo maps using Terraserver as a source. One advantage to our system is that we have all of the newer U.S. Forest Service maps that show inholdings, forest routes, etc.

 

Our main link above doesn't have a lat/lon search, which I'm sure many of you use. I just added this page so you can search by DD.DDD or DDMMSS:

 

http://www.mytopo.com/mapslatlon.cfm

 

I've enjoyed TopoZone for many years, and it's too bad that it's going away. We want to make topo maps easily accessible again. Let me know if you have any suggestions. Thanks!

 

- Doug

 

Looks good but, I would like to be able to have a full screen map or at least the ability to enlarge that view more. Would this be possible? Thanks.

 

Shirley~

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Doug, thank you for letting us know about your site, and for adding lat/long search capability. Perhaps you could include DD MM.MMM format and contact Groundspeak about becoming the replacement for Topozone. It's nifty that you have Canadian topos, too.

 

Patty

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Looks good but, I would like to be able to have a full screen map or at least the ability to enlarge that view more. Would this be possible? Thanks.

 

 

I concur. A bigger viewport (twice as big in each dimension, at least) would be great.

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I received a very nice E-mail from Ed McNierney, yesterday. As always, his communication was warm and informative. He shared with me that Trails.com purchased TopoZone about a year ago. (As all of us know, Trails.com has a history of being focused upon recreational uses of topo maps. Although its products do not "dovetail" closely with our hobby, the organization is very good with hiking trails, etc.)

 

Because TopoZone has been so much a part of GEOCACHING.COM, I wanted to pass along the closing comments in Ed's E-Mail. I especially am pleased with what he says in the last paragraph. I hope we can count on that happening!

 

-Paul-

Paul -

 

It's been nice being able to meet and help a lot of people over the last 8+

years.

 

Today's my last day as a TopoZone employee...I might actually get to spend some

time outside geocaching and benchmarking, so

don't be surprised if you see me back on the forum!

 

Ed

 

Edited by PFF

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Well I gave up on Topozone for now. FYI they say they will refund my $ from the time of the change, not the day I finally gave up on them. They say that the new improved version will be out in June, but no one knows exactly what that is nor how it will work. My guess is that it will be less for more but I'm willing to check it out when it happens. In the meantime Google aerials work for caching in my neighborhood, but I know there are areas where they aren't as accurate. And since this was started in relation to Benchmarking, Google won't help there at all. Hopefully someone steps in and fills the void with an affordable alternative.

Edited by edscott

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I ran across this site looking through County Hipointers site: ACME Mapper 2.0. It lets me pinpoint the coords of the X next to the 'BM', which is what I liked about Topozone. It lists the coords in DD.DDDD, but my Gupy knows how to work with that.

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I ran across this site looking through County Hipointers site: ACME Mapper 2.0. It lets me pinpoint the coords of the X next to the 'BM', which is what I liked about Topozone. It lists the coords in DD.DDDD, but my Gupy knows how to work with that.

 

I noticed there is a built-in link to show the 'nearest Benchmarks' page at GC.com...handy!

I also noticed you can change the co-ordinate format to your preference. :unsure:

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