National Geographic map software

Has anyone used the NG Weekend Explorer software for the BWCA? It is inexpensive and allows campsites and portages to be downloaded and overlaid on 1:24K maps. Here is the coverage area:

I know that the other map makers are the go-to source, but I already use NG software and was curious.


I have it and am some what disapointed
I got the orginal topo SW of the Bedub and also have the NG. It hasnt changed much except I notice that some of the portages are not there with the NG and are there with the old topo. They also dont have the camp sites listed, you have to put them/. Having said that I do like it for planning a trip. But it is not a replacement for the Mckensie maps.

A bit confused
Did you download the campsite and portage overlays? Or were they shown on an old USGS topo?


I first purchased the TOPO software that cost 50 about 8 years ago. It was called TOPO and then they sold the rights to NG who repackaged the SW. I purchased it again for 29 to see if it was updated and if it got any better. It has some good improvements but I was somewhat disappointed that they didnt seem to upgrade the BWCA part of it. The TC part is nice in that you get bubbles that identify the street address but I dont travel the TC and stay away as much as possible. Is there a down load that would put the campsites in place??

Downloads available

– Last Updated: Apr-24-07 12:22 PM EST –

There is a link on the Weekend Explorer age for both campsites and for portages. Piragis sells teh software and makes note of the overlays.


Edit: Tok a while to find, but here is the download page from MapXChange.

LINK IS NOW DEFUNCT. NG revamped their web page, and the MapXchange link is not yet available.

Am I correct in saying that the NG software is only good on your PC, you can’t download it to your GPS (such as a Garmin)?

I believe that is so.
NG software will accept input from GPS waypoints, but cannot be downloaded onto the unit.


I used NG Offroad topo software last yr
at Voyageurs Natl Park and it worked pretty well.

Though, I had previously loaded Garmin maps’ Natl Park software on my GPS.

I used the NG maps as my visual guide maps. I marked all the campsites on those maps and just navigated using my GPS to each site.

Campsites & portages
The download link is still not working, so I used maps from the following site:

to identify locations and simply added dots to teh NGgenerated maps. Interestingly, most of teh portages from the BWCA maps already show on the USGS maps. I am sure that not all of the locations are perfectly located, but that’s part of teh challenge, isn’t it?


Spoke too soon
Sure enough the link is now operable. As soon as I get home I will give it a try.


click “MapXchange”

I use it
I use Topo in conjunction with the Garmin mapping software. Topo or whatever it is that they are calling it now is nice for printing out maps while the Garmin software is great for using in conjunction with a GPS.

What I do is find the area I’ll be paddling in and print out a few large 11" x 17" sheets using the custom sizing option. Throw these in your map case and you’re good to go.