Forum: Questions And Answers About Geocaching
Topic: Best TOPO Software? Not GPS specific
started by: headmj

Posted by headmj on Sep. 05 2002,9:17 am
I have done some searching of the message histories but I thought a thread specific to this might be helpful.  I have a Meridian Gold and I know that only the Mapsend software will load to its map screens and I have purchased it.  However, I would like to buy some really first class topo map software that will be a real help in caching and dashing!  So far I have seen references to three non-gps specific packages.  They are TopoUSA by Delorme, National Geographic TOPO, and Maptech Terrain Navigator.  What have I missed? What are your opinons on this software from geocaching, geodashing, hiking perspective.
Posted by Gimpy on Sep. 05 2002,11:07 am
Welcome, headmj. :grinnin  For topo stuff, I currently have DeLorme Topo 3.0 & 4.0, Mapsource Topo & Maptech Terrain Navigator. Maptech is by far the superior stuff. It costs a little more, but worth every penny. Go to their site:   < > ,& get the free download of a sample region. Pick a section including part of the Apalacian Trail, & check out the detail. Play with it a little & notice the many options & great features. I really like it & use it a lot. Hope this helps. :wave

Posted by mikechim on Sep. 05 2002,11:24 am
The National Geographic Topo software was recently demo'd at work by one of their reps. After being thoroughly impressed a picked up a copy while I haven't used it much yet, I can say that it's definately sweet stuff.  Currently my favorite tool is the profile builder.  Either make your own trails and it builds the profile for you or upload your track from your gps and you have a sweet profile of you hike (unless you have a gps that does that already like the map76s or one of the others, it's a cool feature).  It is also possible to have a starting waypoint and an ending waypoint and the software will connect the 2 via trails in the area (complete with all twists and turns), which you can build  a profile of, or (I believe) download to your gps as a track.  Though you may have to by the trails program to be able to do this.    My only complaint is that they wouldn't give me a free copy, like all good reps should especially since I am the GPS guy at work.  :angry:

The other downside of it is that if you want to higher detail maps you need to go with the individual state programs, ie Topo PA instead of Topo USA which covers the entire country.  This is great for me since I live in PA, which happens to be one of the biggest markets for Topo's.  But unfortunately they don't have all the states out yet, so that may be a problem for some people.

Ohh yeah welcome to the forums.    

Posted by headmj on Sep. 06 2002,7:28 am
It certainly seems that NG Topo and Maptech are the leaders.  In doing some more research it seems that NG Topo is considerably more expensive.  To get the same level of detail I need to buy the state topo from NG for $89.00 and I can get a region from Maptech for $129.00.  Is there a feature or features in teh NG stuff that makes them better?  Mikechim did the NG rep address his competition?

Ny the way I looked a maptech pro and it was $990.00.  (YIKES!)
Posted by mikechim on Sep. 10 2002,6:00 pm
I don't remember if he did address his competition or not.  When it comes down to it I'm assuming they probably have the same level of detail (when you buy the NG state maps, though I'm not familair how far down the maptech goes) since they are all the same maps as the paper US maps from the gov data (or whomever made those).  
I'll check out the features on maptech's website if I get a chance and see how it compares.
Posted by headmj on Sep. 13 2002,10:05 am
I bought the maptech maps for the region conataining PA, NY, Conn, MA and DE.  Haven't had much time to play yet but my initial response is WOW!   :0
Posted by Gimpy on Sep. 13 2002,11:22 am
Quote (headmj @ Sep. 13 2002,12:05 pm)
I bought the maptech maps for the region conataining PA, NY, Conn, MA and DE.  Haven't had much time to play yet but my initial response is WOW!   :0

Excellent choice, headmj. As you've already found, there is such a huge selection of options & features, that it'll take a long time to master the programs use. But the quality is superb. :grinnin
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