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Topo Software

Postby peninsula » Fri Jun 24, 2011 12:27 am

Been using National Geographic "TOPO!" for past 10 years starting when I got my first Garmin handheld GPS. Had to manually enter waypoints due to lack of Mac support with the geko 201. FINALLY upgraded this year, got a Garmin 60Cx, and due to Garmin's propensity to be PC only (ridiculous, in-package software Mac incompatible), I was forced to spend another bunch of bills on Garmin's PC/Mac "BaseCamp". The good news is the extra bills are worth it as I finally resigned myself to learning this later technology, and I'm impressed enough to share it in a post for us suffering Mac users (please, someone explain the stupidity) who may be stuck with outdated topographical software. The basic user interfaces are much the same in both handheld models, but similarities are few otherwise. Uploading waypoints via a USB cable, now my agonies with manual waypoint entries are behind me (miserably archaic it was). BaseCamp's 3D projection on the computer screen is crazy cool, it is truly like seeing the terrain from a birds-eye view. Picking waypoints is vastly more user friendly.
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Re: Topo Software

Postby Buz Groshong » Fri Jun 24, 2011 2:34 pm

I bought a Garmin 12 about 12 years ago and later bought some of the TOPO! software (before it was bought by National Geographic). I've got a PC, not a Mac, and I have been able to upload and download points since I first got the software. Two problems, though. The connection to my PC is with a serial cable rather than USB. Other problem is that National Geographic is no longer selling the TOPO! software on CD. I think they are selling it as a download. One of these days I'll have to get a new PC and it won't have serial port, so I'll also have to get a new GPS (have to do that some day anyhow). I'll probably also have to get new map software because the CD's I have definitely don't have 32-bit programs on them. Sometimes progress is a bitch!
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Re: Topo Software

Postby peninsula » Fri Jun 24, 2011 3:14 pm

Buz Groshong wrote: Sometimes progress is a bitch!


You got that right, I have learned so many software applications the past few years, putting off upgrades becomes mandatory!

Sounds like you are overdue for a new PC and/or Windows upgrade (64-bit alone makes it worth the effort and expense). After upgrading, definitely check out the newer Garmin handheld GPS units, you'll be glad you did even if it is a pain in the butt. You would really appreciate the software upgrade to BaseCamp as well; TOPO! has been relegated to the dustbin since I finally got around to working with BaseCamp.
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Re: Topo Software

Postby jspeigl » Fri Jun 24, 2011 4:11 pm

Does BaseCamp have the same topographic scale as TOPO!, 1: 24,000? Is each state $100 like TOPO!?
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Re: Topo Software

Postby peninsula » Fri Jun 24, 2011 4:48 pm

jspeigl wrote:Does BaseCamp have the same topographic scale as TOPO!, 1: 24,000? Is each state $100 like TOPO!?


Yes, it does come 1:24,000, and unlike TOPO!, you can get DVDs with more than one state. Good question on the cost... the DVD I purchased covers WA, OR, CA, and NV, all for $129.00: https://buy.garmin.com/shop/shop.do?cID=255&pID=35407

They have several options on coverage where the US is divided into five or six regions instead of state by state: https://buy.garmin.com/shop/shop.do?cID=255

I have not tried out the "Birdseye" upgrade, it provides live satellite images with remarkable resolution one can download into their handheld GPS. I guess you can pick the exact spot to set up a campsite if you wanted to take it that far, more than I need for trip planning, but something others may find useful.
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Re: Topo Software

Postby Buz Groshong » Fri Jun 24, 2011 5:05 pm

peninsula wrote:
Buz Groshong wrote: Sometimes progress is a bitch!


You got that right, I have learned so many software applications the past few years, putting off upgrades becomes mandatory!

Sounds like you are overdue for a new PC and/or Windows upgrade (64-bit alone makes it worth the effort and expense). After upgrading, definitely check out the newer Garmin handheld GPS units, you'll be glad you did even if it is a pain in the butt. You would really appreciate the software upgrade to BaseCamp as well; TOPO! has been relegated to the dustbin since I finally got around to working with BaseCamp.


I probably meant to say 64-bit? Eventually the tiny factory-only-replaceable battery that powers the memory in the GPS will go and I'll have to get a new GPS. There are computer programs that I don't want to upgrade - we've got a new version of Word at work and I hate all the "new features" that have been added; they just make it harder to find and get to what you want.

The info on one of the Garmins sounded like you could get a program for it that would allow you to scan in maps and use them with it. That would be great. Of course the data in the GPS would be no better than the accuracy of the map you started with, but it would allow you to use maps of places where no digital maps are available.
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Re: Topo Software

Postby Osterizer » Fri Jun 24, 2011 6:18 pm

Could you post a screenshot of a BaseCamp topo map?
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Re: Topo Software

Postby peninsula » Fri Jun 24, 2011 7:18 pm

Osterizer wrote:Could you post a screenshot of a BaseCamp topo map?


I am currently out of town, but when I return next week, I will do just that so you can see the appearance in 2D; but you won't get the 3D perspective. You will get something of an idea even with a 2D screenshot as goes the user interface which is far more intuitive and user friendly than TOPO! The 3D part is what makes BaseCamp really sing, but it is interactive. With the Hand tool, you click and drag the map to tip it one direction or the other as well as pulling the map into new locations, it really takes the mystery out of reading a topographical map. At first, it is a tad confusing, but once you start setting off-trail waypoints, you begin to appreciate the program's effectiveness. The zoom feature is nice, too. It is pretty much the same as what is used with Google Maps.
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Re: Topo Software

Postby peninsula » Fri Jun 24, 2011 8:03 pm

Buz Groshong wrote:
The info on one of the Garmins sounded like you could get a program for it that would allow you to scan in maps and use them with it. That would be great. Of course the data in the GPS would be no better than the accuracy of the map you started with, but it would allow you to use maps of places where no digital maps are available.


With BaseCamp, the user picks how much of any given map to upload into the handheld device via USB. The limit on how much one can upload is dependent on the SD memory card in the handheld unit. The maps provide by BaseCamp are loaded with information, including all of the established trails one could find on any given National Park paper map (which I still carry with me while in the mountains). Also included are names of mountains, lakes, streams and other such landmarks. There are even names and locations for gas stations, food, etc if traveling on the road (I think all the road detail came preloaded). I'm only using BaseCamp and my handheld unit for mountaineering.
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Re: Topo Software

Postby Luc » Mon Jun 27, 2011 8:29 pm

I use Mapsource, installed it using http://www.gpsfiledepot.com/ info.
I loaded a micro SD card with a couple maps and a ton of waypoints, picked up a new GPS on my way to a great weekend, plugged in the card and tada! all my navigation way-points were there.

Mapsource could get a facelift and making it more user friendly but Garmin probably wants to keep things complicated so that regular users will keep buying their map cards etc.
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Re: Topo Software

Postby peninsula » Thu Jul 07, 2011 4:50 pm

Osterizer wrote:Could you post a screenshot of a BaseCamp topo map?


http://www.summitpost.org/view_object.p ... rm_post=12
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Re: Topo Software

Postby Osterizer » Thu Jul 07, 2011 7:26 pm

Thanks for the post. The software looks nice.
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Re: Topo Software

Postby Luc » Fri Jul 08, 2011 3:13 pm

Just got Basecamp, I'll need to try it out.

Anyone know of a program that can edit Garmin img files without having to run through 3+ different software processes?
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Re: Topo Software

Postby peninsula » Sun Jul 10, 2011 2:14 pm

Luc wrote:Just got Basecamp, I'll need to try it out.

Anyone know of a program that can edit Garmin img files without having to run through 3+ different software processes?


Luc, would mind providing a rough outline on how you are currently editing Garmin img files? Depending on how you go about it, I might be able to offer some help.
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Re: Topo Software

Postby Luc » Mon Jul 11, 2011 3:23 am

I just noticed some missing lakes on a map I downloaded and was wondering how to update them.
I guess mapedit exists, but I keep seeing explanations about a the post-processing etc etc cgmapper?
I haven't delved into enough yet to understand all the jargon and steps.
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