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Joined: 04/22/2003
Posts: 19
Map Software

I'm thinking about getting buying one of the map software packages. I would like one that has enough detail to get a feel for the terrian, and one that shows land ownership.

I'm thinking about doing hunting in different areas in my state, plus a bit of out of state hunting, and I want a good map package so I can get a good feel for the land and really zero in on areas to scout.

Has anyone used any any of these software packages, and are they any good?
Thanks

expatriate's picture
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Location: Arizona
Joined: 10/26/2002
Posts: 3207
Map Software

I've used Topo USA for awhile now and have had pretty good luck with it. It comes with CDs that cover the entire nation in detail. It's pretty versatile in terms of letting you chart waypoints with GPS coordinates, etc, allows you to zoom in and out, etc. The maps are detailed and shows what you'd expect on a topo map -- things like forested areas, swampy land, etc. You can alter views to turn shading on and off, turn gridlines on and off, etc. It can even give you a God's eye 3D view of the map, allowing you to view it from different angles, headings, change vertical scale, rotate it, etc. You can plot courses and trails, and TopoUSA will calculate distance between waypoints and total distance, and even let you look at a profile view of the route, where you can see grade for particular sections, etc. It does everything I need it to do.

I was hunting on some private land last fall, and I was able to plot GPS landmarks to build a detailed map on top of the topo, showing feed plots, stands, deer sightings, trail intersections, etc. It's a great tool, especially if you're getting familiar with new territory and need to build situational awareness fast.

However, there are some caveats. I can supposedly hook a GPS unit to a laptop and feed coordinates into it, but it doesn't integrate totally with the GPS. If you want to download waypoints direct from your GPS or upload maps to it, you might want to check into software that might be more compatible with your particular GPS unit -- for example, I believe Garmin uses MapSend. TopoUSA also doesn't show land ownership, other than big items like National Forest, State Park, or National Park boundaries. I don't know if any of the products out there will show BLM boundaries or private ownership.

[ This Message was edited by: expatriate on 2003-05-15 18:36 ]

bitmasher's picture
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Moderator
Location: Colorado
Joined: 02/27/2002
Posts: 2973
Map Software

I have never used topo software, but have heard this site:

http://www.mytopo.com

sells maps on-line. Maybe something to look into....

Offline
Location: Georgia
Joined: 08/13/2003
Posts: 29
Map Software

There is software that shows land ownership. It called "GeoQuad". It also shows your coordinates as you scroll over the map.
I use this program to get my initial coordinates and find the numbers on land boundarys, then go to the internet and look at satellite imagery of the areas in question.

Offline
Location: Central Virginia
Joined: 09/10/2003
Posts: 34
Map Software

I use the 3-D TopoQuads from DeLorme. The disc set is broken into counties and you can buy a whole state or half of a state in one package. You can zoom way out for general access routes or zoom in for a 7.5 minute version of the USGS map showing all the contours (20 or 40 feet), drainages, etc. that will allow you to find subtle topographic features. It comes with UTM grid lines for various Datums (NAD27, WSG84...), allows for GPS plug-in, and lets you draw on the map.

If your not into buying the software (usually about $99.00 per disc set) you can download USGS maps for free from a lot of sites. The 7.5 minute quads are the best for looking at terrain. All the maps for the entire country are FREE. Don't let people push you around into paying for them! Its a public information thing. They are a little hard to find online and I'm not sure what state you are looking for. In AZ they can be found at HTTP://ARIA.ARIZONA.EDU, in NM you can find them on the New Mexico Search and Rescue web site. Many universities have them in their databases (web addresses ending in "edu"). Good luck and let me know how it turns out for you.

Offline
Joined: 12/19/2003
Posts: 3
Map Software

I have never used map software, but I have used http://www.topozone.com. I have found it very useful. Best of all, it's free.

Good luck and happy hunting.

Offline
Location: Colorado
Joined: 02/27/2003
Posts: 394
Map Software

I use Delorme Topo. Find it very useful. This year, for instance, after taking an elk I marked its spot with my GPS. When I got back to my Jeep (almost 2 miles away) I used the Topo software and my laptop to find a forest service road that would take me to about a half mile from where the elk was. That made packing it out a LOT easier!

Offline
Location: Central Idaho
Joined: 08/24/2003
Posts: 5
Map Software

I would recommend the Topo! software from National Geographic. They have a series for each state.

Offline
Location: Aleknagik Alaska / Ozello Keys Florida
Joined: 07/05/2004
Posts: 186
Map Software

I guess I'm better late that never here. I have many different types of mapping software. What Delorme offers would be rather hard to beat. It shows most boundaries of major land ownership but not exactly the same as many UFS maps. Last time I checked our government has yet to offer our National Forest maps in a combination package for us to use. ( many of us have gotten use to the ownership boundaries indicated of these maps) I did get a chance to visit the USGS office in Anchorage to see what they were offering for software and again nothing for a usable mapping program, They also suggested DeLorme software. Good luck.

~Jeff~

Offline
Location: California
Joined: 09/04/2004
Posts: 3
Map Software

Another useful tool is a website called Globexplorer.com. It's fairly expensive, but you can get up to date satalite photos. This combined with good topo maps helps a lot when deciding where to start. It costs about $30 a month to join. I joined for one month, downloaded everything I could think of and then cancelled. You can try it for free but the images are a couple of years old and have a water mark on them. When you subscribe, you get much better images. It's also kinda neat to type in your house address and see a satalite photo of it. The photos are amazingly close up and clear. Take a look at the site and decide for yourself. I like it for landscapes that tend to change a lot over a short period of time.

Offline
Joined: 10/30/2004
Posts: 117
Map Software

FWIW

While addressing a new office at our farm our local 911 gal gave me a TX website to look at. You could view all kinds of aerials and print for free. It was only good in our area but I'd bet that for local maps if you called or went by the 911 coordinators office they can offer some up to date free sites.

Jeff

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