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#75187 - 10/21/06 02:49 AM My First MyTopo.com Map
KenK Offline
"Be Prepared"
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 06/26/04
Posts: 2026
Loc: NE Illinois
First, let me clarify that I don't have ANY financial interest in the product I'm reviewing here.

I recently purchased a couple of UTM grid tools from http://www.maptools.com, and while at that web site I found a recommedation for 1:24,000 topo maps from http://www.mytopo.com, so I figured I try it out and give you a quick review.

The typical USGS 1:24,000 topo map is printed ont 22"x27" paper and costs $6 plus shipping.

The MyTopo.com maps come in three sizes:
18"x24" $9.95
24"x36" $14.95
36"x48" $29.95

The really nice thing is that they are custom-centered whereever you choose and printed on either a waterproof, tearproof plasticy paper, OR a glossy high quality paper that is more suitable for posters. They also offer to add UTM grid lines, fold the map or ship it rolled, and print two custom titles and your name at no extra charge.

I purchased the 24"x36" waterproof folded map centered such that it includes both the park I need plus the nearby town on one map - cool!. Its printing is much bolder than the USGS paper maps, I REALLY appreciated the UTM grid (why doesn't USGS do that anymore?), and I was surprised how well the waterproof "paper" handles. The scale matches that of the USGS topos exactly, so the standard UTM grids work just fine. As I recall standard shipping was about $1.50 which isn't too bad.

I'm sure this won't be my last purchase from MyTopo.com.

Ken K.

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#75188 - 10/21/06 03:31 AM Re: My First MyTopo.com Map
tfisher Offline
Member

Registered: 01/29/01
Posts: 186
Loc: Illinois, USA
Our search and Rescue team has been using this source for several years. they are top quality.

Ted Fisher
VCSAR/STSAR Coordinator
_________________________
If you want the job done right call "Tactical Trackers"

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#75189 - 10/27/06 06:52 PM Re: My First MyTopo.com Map
SirJoel Offline
Newbie

Registered: 05/15/06
Posts: 39
Hey, would fire breaks be marked on these? or forest service roads?

I have started to think that those may be really good escape routes when the SHTF.


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#75190 - 10/27/06 07:32 PM Re: My First MyTopo.com Map
ZenEngineer Offline
Journeyman

Registered: 09/15/06
Posts: 86
Loc: Northern California
I'm curious if it is possible to have a topo map printed on one side of their waterproof paper, and a color aerial picture of the same area printed on the other side. Their FAQ doesn't cover that and I didn't see any way to do that in the order form. It would save space in a BOB if both of those were on the same piece of paper.

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#75191 - 10/27/06 09:48 PM Re: My First MyTopo.com Map
tfisher Offline
Member

Registered: 01/29/01
Posts: 186
Loc: Illinois, USA
You may ask them, they are great to work with. If they can't do it...... if you have access to a wide format laminator you could laminate 2 maps to make one.

Actually your idea is pretty good......I wish I thought of that. I may get some put together for my Search Team.

Thanks for the idea.

Ted Fisher
STSAR/VCSAR
_________________________
If you want the job done right call "Tactical Trackers"

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#75192 - 10/30/06 11:46 PM Re: My First MyTopo.com Map
ZenEngineer Offline
Journeyman

Registered: 09/15/06
Posts: 86
Loc: Northern California
Thanks. Another idea I had was, if you are going to have two different scale maps for an area (say a 1:50k or 1:100k for a big picture view, and a 1:24k or better for a specific area) Then you have the wide angle aerial photo on the back of the closeup topo map, and vice versa. That way you can lay a topo map down next to an aerial photo (at the same scale), have two different scales available, and yet only have two pieces of paper. Does that make sense?

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#75194 - 12/15/06 05:31 PM Re: My First MyTopo.com Map
justin2006 Offline
Newbie

Registered: 12/05/06
Posts: 27
Loc: New Mexico
Hi,

I too recently ordered 2 topo maps from mytopo.com; they are pretty good. However, I wonder: for $99.95, I can purchase the Nataional Geographic Topo software for an entire state (e.g. New Mexico) which has both 1:24000 and 1:100000 USGS maps. Anyone have pros/cons experience with the NG Topo Maps?

Thanks

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#75195 - 12/15/06 07:24 PM Re: My First MyTopo.com Map
cedfire Offline
Addict

Registered: 07/10/03
Posts: 659
Loc: Orygun
I've got the National Geographic Topo program. I also have DeLorme's Topo USA (v.4.0) program.

The NG offering has real honest-to-goodness 1:24K scanned USGS topo maps. The DeLorme maps are, if I remember correctly, based on 1:100K USGS maps.

With NG you are getting all the detail that is on the paper maps, but the user interface leaves a little bit to be desired. With DeLorme you are getting their own seamless interpretation of the USGS maps, minus a lot of the detail. Also, DeLorme's user interface, draw tools, and routing is a lot nicer.

You can buy the DeLorme program in national ($99) or regional ($49) editions now. I believe they are up to version 6.0. The NG program is offered in the state versions for $99.

If I had to buy only one, I'd buy the National Geographic software. You can print maps all day long and you're getting good detail.

This place has the software for cheaper ($79):
http://www.gpsnow.com/wftstates.htm

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#75196 - 12/15/06 07:40 PM Re: My First MyTopo.com Map
haertig Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 03/13/05
Posts: 2035
Loc: Colorado
I have the NG Topo! software for Colorado. It works very well, after you get used to the non-standard scrolling mechanism. That's only a minor point though.

The biggest issue for me is the printed map size. Most people can't go bigger than 8-1/2x14 printing with their home computer setups. And I ususally don't have 8-1/2x14 paper sitting around anyway ... only 8-1/2x11. So your printed maps do not cover a lot of area. Topo! adds significant margins on top of this (the newest version is worse, margin-wise, than the older one). Taping seperate printouts together to make a bigger map is no good IMHO.

You can center the printed maps anywhere you want, and print portrait or landscape. This helps out a bit with the smaller paper sizes, but a standard 1:24000 printout on 8-1/2x11 paper is only going to give you maybe 3 to 4 miles of coverage in the short dimension. This usually works for me for day hikes (which tend to be 5 or 6 miles one-way - use the long dimension for printing), but anything much longer would become multi-map problematic.

If you want to take bearings and plot your location on the map, chances are the landmarks you can see to get decent bearings on are off the edge of your map. A GPS alleviates this issue, but takes some of the fun out of figuring out where you are.

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#75197 - 12/15/06 08:09 PM Re: My First MyTopo.com Map
KenK Offline
"Be Prepared"
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 06/26/04
Posts: 2026
Loc: NE Illinois
I too have the NG Topo! software and I really like it - very high quality scans of the USGS topo maps. The problem I've had with it is in printing out maps. I just can't get decent looking maps at the "real" 1:24000 scale - such that I can use standard UTM grids. When I print them the maps are goofy looking. I tried printing them at home, at work (two larger printers), and through Adobe Acrobat, and all get the same result. I'm not sure why.

That is why I ended up ordering the map from MyTopo.com in the first place.

Any advice on resolving the Topo! printing is MORE than welcome.

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