View Full Version : Maps

Ed C
10-24-2009, 10:49 AM
Does any one use Terrain Navigator?

Terrain Navigator Pro?

What mapping software are you using.

I use store bought USGS 7.5 maps. Grid them, waterproof them and wear them out. Spend a fortune. Have to order some if they are out of state.

I am ready to come out of the dark ages and spring for a mapping system.

10-24-2009, 11:15 AM
Never used that one, I have National Geographic TOPO.

Costs about $100 for the state. Best thing about software is, you can center the map where you want and print on waterproof stock. If you print on both sides of an 8 1/2 X 11 sheet, centered on your area, you can cover a lot of ground with one sheet.

You can also print grid lines right on the map, makes it easy to pick coordinates right off the map.

David in OR
10-24-2009, 11:17 AM
Ditto the above.

Ed C
10-24-2009, 11:28 AM
Smokepole and David in Wa.

I have used the Nat Geo in Kiosh sp. in stores like REI or Sportsman Warehouse. Have you ever used those? and are your maps the same quality as the stores?

Good idea printing both sides of the paper! I would have thought of that if you would have given me enough time maybe.

I am going to Sportsman Warehouse tommorrow with a bud to print him a map. Will have more questions then.

David in OR
10-24-2009, 11:31 AM
Never used the kiosks, but my maps come out fine from an old inkjet printer. Best to give them a minute to dry when they come out, if you're using waterproof paper, or they'll smudge a bit when you handle them.

Jim N
10-24-2009, 12:27 PM
Terrain Navigator is pretty darn good. It is now called MyTopo.

I have been printing on 11 x 17 paper which leaves you with a pretty good sized map. The Navigator Pro version allows you to print on 13 x 19.

10-24-2009, 12:52 PM
TN (My Topo) is what I use. Never saw the need for the Pro version. I own 3 states. I started with it when Dick Blust recommended it here back about '04 and at the time it was hands down the best mapping software. Price is the same for it as for NG Topo. NG Topo is the Johney come lately of the 2 but has been better at marketing their name and it has hurt Terrain Navigator's sales plus TN went through some divesting blues from the original developing company and that hurt them in the marketing arena IMO. It still is equal to (at least) the NG program IMO, and I'll stick with it as long as they remain competitive. With the improvements in Garmin Mapsource and all of the wonderful shareware maps that integrate with Mapsource, I am using TN less than I used to. Still, it is the bomb for printing dedicated area maps. I have moved away from buying the USGS 7 1/2' series, (I used to buy them from USGS direct out of Denver for $.50 a piece and now what are they? $10?) I buy the USGS 100k metrics in the BLM land ownership version to use for general overview purposes and then print my detail maps in Terrain Navigator on "iGage" waterproof paper. While the paper may be waterproof, regular inkjet inks aren't so the maps will still smudge when wet. Waterproof inks are available but they are expensive. so, to answer you're question, yes I would recommend getting Terrain Navigator, (My Topo, non pro version) it will pay for itself.

10-24-2009, 01:17 PM
Alternatively, one could just download USAPhotomaps and have all the states/areas one might be interested in, with all the detailed map data one could possibly need pulled directly from USGS servers, in most any format you like. Picture data too with contour/trail/route/grid overlay if you like.

For free.

And you get to save all the data on your hard drive(s) so that it is instantly accessible whenever you like without having to have the cd drive whirring around.

For free. Forever.

10-24-2009, 11:59 PM
Didn't know about that,thanks!

10-25-2009, 09:09 AM
Smokepole and David in Wa.I have used the Nat Geo in Kiosh sp. in stores like REI or Sportsman Warehouse. Have you ever used those? and are your maps the same quality as the stores?

Same quality.

10-25-2009, 10:30 AM
Hey Ed.... you can give me a call and stop by my place @ Deception Pass on the way if you want to get a couple printed up off of TOPO USA. I don't have any fancy waterproof paper though. ;)

10-25-2009, 10:45 AM
I too use NG Topo and have been for years. Still to lazy to figure out all the features but it works for me. I print on waterproof paper but good point on letting the ink dry. My last one smudged from premature folding. However, it held up really well yesterday in some heavy/sleet rain even with standard ink. Whatever disks you buy (I have Colorado for some reason) can be saved to your hard drive so no need for whirring disk drives. Not free but good stuff. I'll have to try out Bushcraft's idea if I ever do anything out of state. Are there any specific links I should try or just "Google is my friend"?

10-25-2009, 10:54 AM

Heres a few I had saved, still maps though

10-25-2009, 11:07 AM
I'm a big fan of Terr Nav. Need to explore the USAPHOTOMAPS referenced to see what features if any I'd have to give up. I have access to a plotter at work for larger maps to help me scout and get around the unit via truck and print 8-1/2" x 11" for waterproof maps that go with me in the field.

10-25-2009, 12:55 PM
I've been very pleased with USA Photomaps. The retired airline pilot who wrote the software does ask for a paypal donation. If you're using it and liking it, please do so.

I've used the national geographic 8.5x11 waterproof map paper with my inkjet printer. Seems to work pretty well so far.

edit: I like how small and light maps on regular paper are compared to the map paper though. If you can keep your maps dry, it's probably preferable.

Ed C
10-25-2009, 05:24 PM
Hey Ed.... you can give me a call and stop by my place @ Deception Pass on the way if you want to get a couple printed up off of TOPO USA. I don't have any fancy waterproof paper though. ;)

Darn the bad luck!
I was already through Deception Pass before you posted this, but maybe you planned it that way:D.

What is TOPO USA? I guess I should google it up.

10-25-2009, 05:45 PM
Darn the bad luck!
What is TOPO USA? I guess I should google it up.

I should have checked in here earlier. :)

It is the Garmin topo program that interfaces with Map Source. I also have the DeLorme program. But since my Rino and zumo (motorcycle gps) are Garmin I just stick to the Map Source & topo USA 2008 deal. It is nice to plan routes at home and transfer it to the GPS - print the maps with your info on it. It also lets you toggle back and fourth from a topo to Google Earth whe planning. I am no expert with any of these but it seems to works for me.

David in OR
10-25-2009, 06:06 PM
Shoot. It doesn't appear that USAPhotomaps serves us panty-waisted latte-sipping designer eyeglass-wearing Mac users. I'm happy with NG Topo, but it would've been cool to get maps for states other than OR and WA free gratis and for nothing.

Ed C
10-25-2009, 06:08 PM
I've been very pleased with USA Photomaps. The retired airline pilot who wrote the software does ask for a paypal donation. If you're using it and liking it, please do so.

Evan and Allen I have USA Photomaps, and I look at it quite often to look at out of state or new country, or try to figure out the best route. Then I go get a map to navigate with. I printed some out, they looked like chit, poor quality.

The thing I don't like, or don't understand, or don't know how to down load is the scale?? I can put UTM lines on it, but no known scale?

It's a bad map after its printed contour lines don't show up well, which I consider a necessity. By poor quality I mean nowhere near the same as a kiosk Nat Geo [that Smoke says is the same quality as his home mapping system]......So do yous guys have any tricks or what am I missing??

I am ready for lessons and knowledge let me have it please.:)
Need scale and better printing quality?
I know there is a zoom in and zoom out, but that don't tell me the scale.

I don't mind paying the $100 bucks for a mapping program, but if I can get it for free:confused:. I am no where near the cheap skate Allen is:D, but maybe that's why he has money and I don't. Knowing what a right wing whacko he is; he probably doesn't want me to have the knowledge that would lead to some wealth:D:D[keep em poor they're dumb any way]
Just kidding please help if I am missing something.

10-25-2009, 08:42 PM

Hmmm...dunno why you'd need the scale per se since you've got the UTM grid printed right on the map. I think the highest res is 1:24,000 when you are at full zoom on the topo stuff. Obviously its quite a bit more on the aerial photos.

I couldn't ever get mine to print worth a crap straight from the program either. So, don't feel alone on that regard. I have friends that print 'em out without color problems straight from the program, but mine always came out like...well, like "chit" as you say. The printout was passable in a pinch, but not what a guy really wants if he's going to be poking around in an out-of-the-way alpine area where it helps to be able to see just how close those contour lines are running together. I turned Evan onto the program and I think his print out just fine if memory serves. Maybe he's got the techo-answer?

Anyway...here's what I do to get a nice, hi-res map.
Get your map looking just the way you want it while you are in the USAPhotomap program. UTM grids, points of interest named with Lat/Lon coordinates, routes, brightness, etc.

Note that the Lat/Lon in the upper left hand corner changes as you move the mouse around the map.
When I've got everything just the way I want it, I place my mouse EXACTLY over the main point of interest on the page I want to print. (For example, like where I intend to park my rig, go off-trail, camp or some other destination).

Then I take a screenshot (press the "function key" - it's the one down in the lower left part of your keyboard, and then the "print screen" button simultaneously.
Open a Word document and orient the paper horizontally to "Landscape". Set all margins to .5"
Type a label at the top if you like (trip, date, declination, etc.)
Paste the screenshot image into the Word document. You can either do this by right clicking and selecting "Paste", or pressing Ctrl+V, or click the little paste icon on the toolbar. Whatever is easier for you. I usually just do the Ctrl+V.
Voila! Map image is pasted and you are ready for printing. You may want to play with the size of the image somewhat. The finished. product usually fits nicely in a gallon ziploc freezer bag depending upon the brand.
You can also print out satellite imagery (Google Earth, FlashEarth) almost perfectly to scale to your topo map if you like, or you can just repeat the process with the oftentimes dated b&w aerial USGS photos.
<O:p</O:pLike so...Note that since I held my mouse over the point of interest, I always have a quick and easy reference that I can plug into my GPS for a "Goto" point. UTM rules!



This process works for me easily enough since I more or less use it as template for pretty much all the trips I take. It is just a matter of updating the labels, map(s) and forecasted weather from NOAA. Then when I take notes on whatever it is that I come across,...let's say I'm scouting or hunting or fishing for example...I can take down notes of where and when I saw the game, sign, trail and off-trail conditions, water conditions, vegetative quality/quantity, what flies or fishing tackle worked and what didn't, any gear issues or reminders for later, where I cached some fuel bottles (just kidding), etc. and then can catalog and eventually/maybe reference those valuable data points for future trips.


10-25-2009, 09:10 PM
I have a ton of Green Trails and USGS maps that I waterproofed (one of these days I'll have to total them up, I'm sure I've got some cash invested in those). Deciding I had spent enough in the map kiosks I got TOPO for WA state and Topo USA for the Western Region. - - Lots of good map mentions in this thread; I'll have to check them out. I'm a map and navigation fanatic I guess ! :)

10-25-2009, 09:37 PM
Since the mid 90's I have used All Topo from iGage and have never had a need for another.


10-26-2009, 07:12 AM
Like Smokepole and others here I use NG's Topo!. If you're on a Mac that is really the only reasonable game in town. There is MacGPS Pro but unless they just changed it you can't freehand draw a route which I believe is the strongest selling point for Topo. I can draw a route by hand and then see a elevation contour or do a 3D flyover. Great software.

10-26-2009, 07:48 AM
I don't use it much but that 3D flyover is a nifty feature. Pretty cool to run. The elevation contour is of more practical use I think.

David in OR
10-26-2009, 08:35 AM
What I like about the elevation profile feature is that you can drag the top of the window down to flatten out the profile. Makes the trip a lot easier. Then when you get home you can drag the top of the window up to steepen the profile and impress your friends. ;)

10-26-2009, 10:27 AM
Nothing special about how I print straight from USA photomaps. It only works on the 4 meters / pixel zoom though (closest zoom). If you try to print at anything less detailed it doesn't work very well. That's a bummer, because I think I'd prefer 8m/pixel most of the time.

I just discovered that the NOAA data can be retrieved as XML based on a lat/long, so I might email the guy who wrote USA Photomaps and ask him to consider retrieving the weather forecast for the area you are looking at for display on the screen and separate printing.

Ed C
10-27-2009, 09:01 AM
I am going to try printing a couple out using the Bushcraft method.
If that doesn't work I guess I am paying $100 per state. With either Terrain Navigator or Nat'l Geo.

Thanks for the info