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Maping Programs


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For street maps I use Streets & Trips.


For backcountry I perfer NG Topo! better then Delorme Topo USA. The datum used by Delorme isn't accurate in several of the places I go. Of course, Topo! uses scanned maps that are up to 20 year old, some of the hiways are missing but the land is the same for the most part. Downloading/uploading/adding waypoints is easier in Topo! also.


Hope this helps.

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For street maps I use MapSource (a Garmin program, for Garmin GPSr's). It does a good job with routing.


For topographical maps I use MapTech's Terrain Navigator. It costs the same ($100 per State) and has many of the same features and limitations (e.g. uses older maps from USGS) as National Geographic's Topo! Terrain Navigator has it's pros and cons, but overall I like it.


I've considered purchasing NG Topo! because it appears to be the most commonly used topographical software and makes exchanging maps with others easier, but I've seen some nasty posts from NG Topo! owners (mostly about support, or lack thereof), so I haven't.

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Go get GPSBabel ...You can use this to convert downloaded pocket queries from GC to NG TOPO fomat.

This program can convert .loc and .gpx files to NG TOPO format, as well as MANY others.

Instead of GPSBable, I'd recommend you get Geocaching Swiss Army Knife (GSAK) which uses GPSBabel "under the hood" and can therefore export to all the same file types. GSAK is free to try for 21 days, then you get a nag screen.


GSAK also gives you one click access to a number of online maps (MapQuest, TopoZone, Microsoft MapPoint, Microsoft Terra Server, Multimap, etc). Right click on a cache and choose "Custom URL", then pick your map server - it feeds the coordinates to the mapsever and up comes your map. Very nice if you want to quickly check the location of a single cache on street or topo maps.

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Suggestions to consider;



MapTech Outdoor Navigator $19.95 - GPS capable mapping software with all the FREE (yes FREE) USGS topo or NOAA nautical charts available in the US.


(I'll mention that I have not had the need for but would love to play with Terrain Navigator $99, for the 3d capability and the elevation profiles, and use the results in Outdoor Navigator but you cant - you need to have a pocket PC and buy for another $99 the Pocket Navigator software. :-( )



Mapopolis Navigator - Auto-Routing, all state roads available (for 1 year so download them and burn on CD), Voice prompting, Vinicinity database for all business /w phone numbers and on map display, etc.



PC to Garmin Mapping

MapSource. I've tried the Roads and Recreation and the BlueCharts... Frankly, I like them better on the PC to plan trips, show waypoints, cache locations, than I do using them on mapper GPSrs. Outdoor Navigator is nicer on my Treo w/GPS than any GPS displaying topo info, I've seen. Plus I'm getting hooked on a light, inexpensive wrist mounted GPS for hiking (see my Foretrex201 preview)


Edited by twilliams
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