Mapping software?

I’ve been considering the TOPO! state program. Is it worth $99? How up-to-date is the data? I thought it might be helpful for finding coves and creeks off of some of the lakes in the state, or potential put-ins off the usual path.

I imagine it’s of great use for hiking, etc. But what about for a paddler? Is it worth the money?

Take a look at USAPhotoMaps
USAPhotoMaps creates scrollable/zoomable aerial photo and topo maps from data that it downloads from Microsoft’s TerraServer Web site. Latitude/longitude at the cursor is shown. Waypoints can be displayed and transferred to/from most GPSs. Routes can be created, displayed and transferred to/from most GPSs. GPS tracks can be transferred and displayed. GPS position can be displayed. Text can be overlayed. And much more.

The best thing about is it’s Free!! I prefer it over the Mapsend topo software that came with my gps.

Your question is kind of like asking which is the best kayak—you’ll get differing opinions from all sorts of folks.

Personally, I use MapSend which came with my MAP 330M Magellean GPS the majority of the time. However, when I need to print out a large map I transfer the data to MapTech’s Topo because it shows so much more detailed terrain. (Guess that’s why its called “Terrain Navigator”.) And, if I want a third opinion, I can load up DeLorme TopoUSA. Data is current as per USGS updates.

However, before investing in a program have you checked out and navigated through your paddling area? It’s free and you can print out your own maps. Also check out your Texas state website for anything that may be available through the state Recreation/Wildlife Department.

Stay safe on the water,

NC Cal

Do you have a Garmin unit?
On their site one can view all of their maps. I am really impressed with their software and the City Select CD. I looked at the topo maps and was not impressed. Would be great for backpacking. They also have their fishing hot spots which now include many inland lakes.

I will use the City Select that includes all the shore and island details and then add my own waypoints and landmarks in the water.

I also received the Blue Water CD. I am sure it is good but I was really, really disappointed with it. I thought I was getting the whole CD but could only unlock 1 tiny portion of the coast. You have to pay to get each little section unlocked. I am impressed with everything else but very disappointed with their Blue Water policy.

ToPo Maps

– Last Updated: Jun-25-04 1:49 PM EST –

I have the Delorme State ToPo Software for SC, and I love it. I can map out a course and place way points on it and use the GPS to track our progess as we move down the river. It was well worth the $99.00 to me. Data for large lake and offshore are not covered. Shore lines for the lakes are covered.


Second recommendation
USAPhotoMaps was simple to use, had all the features I wanted, and you can’t beat the price.

make that a third recommendation

The two URLs above a from my photos of a recent paddle trip

these are two examples of what a GPS and USAPhotoMaps can do for you.


Free Online
Take a look at before you spend a $100 on software. Online topo access that you can print and tape together for free.

Check Ebay, I got an NC highlands Topo! cd for about $13 bucks after shipping, not this is NOT the national Geographic Topo!

It looks pretty decent, I don’t have a GPS so I can’t play with the interaction, one thing I’m curious about is if I can upload way points from my GPS back into the map.

MapTech has a free demo you can download, the software is quiet impressive alowing you to render in 3D and even use 3D glasses with it. The demo at Topozone for their pro service is impressive as well and covers more then one state and is the only one I know of where you can overlay the satalite photos on the topomap, being able to add a steet map layer is nice as well but alas no GPS connectivity. I suppose you could manually enter your waypoints maybe or add them into the the base steet map and then print out and take a paper topo but its still not ideal.

yep the money is in the software
marginal cost for your unit about $5.00 also yo can only unlock a few sections from any one CD even if you are willing to pay for each.

There are hacks from non-proprietary databases, but you’ve got to do them yourself and if you ruin your gps unit garmin will not help you. ON the other hand perhaps you could do a full reset and download the firmware again. If that sounds scary or strange best not to mess. Then again if the alternative databases work as well for you as they have for some others, you’ve got a lot of free electronic charts. Mess things up you’ve got a very expensive (but attractive)paperweight.