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Discussion Starter #1
Any idea if one brand's map software for their gps outclasses the competition? Played around with the Garmin Mapsource and found it leaving a lot to be desired when it comes to backcountry mapping(at least the section of Idaho I was concerned with). Does anything stand out for the backcountry user(contour lines, creek names, lake names, etc.)

Thanks,

Jim
 

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Which brand offers the most detailed maps o

The new Magellan MapSend Topo 3D USA is pretty good. It uses the USGS 30 meter digital elevation model and produces the contour lines in software. You have to remember that many of these maps are derived from USGS products, with many limitations.
 

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Which brand offers the most detailed maps o

National Geography has topos you can download GPS data to. They are said to be the real USGS stuff.
 

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Which brand offers the most detailed maps o

Anyone see that new Lowrance Mapcreate Topo 6.3 that came out a few months ago???

Jim
 

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Which brand offers the most detailed maps o

The USGS State series is far better then Garmin's Map Source. But I have Garmins Map Source because that is the only mapping product that will load topo maps to my Garmin GPS. You can upload or download tracks, waypoints and routes to the USGS State Series The level of detail of Map Source on the small gps screen is adequate for most of my field use. But I sure would like to conduct a side by side comparison.

The new 3D Magellan Topo software looks interesting.

I normally have a Forest Service or BLM flat map in my vehicle. They are more up to date then the topo maps. USGS is the source for the other products on the market. I believe Garmin uses the 1:100,000 scale. The USGS State Series is made up of both the 1:24,000 and 1:100,000 scale. Most of the information on the USGS maps that the vendors get their base data from is many years old. The current Forest Service and BLM base maps are getting old. I understand that funding is an issue. I do not recall the exact number but there is an acceptable margin of error on USGS maps.

The Map Source software can be adjusted by the user to show more or less detail. A very handy feature of having MapSource Topo maps loaded on my gps units it the Points of Interest feature. I can be on a 8000 foot ridge line, and check Points of Interest. Starting at the nearest and going out it will give me mines, lakes, and many other natural or man made features. A good tool.
 

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Which brand offers the most detailed maps o

It appears that Lowrance uses the 1:24,000 scale maps. That is good. I have not held a Lowrance in my hands or worked with the MapCreate software. From reading the spec sheet Topo 6.3 offers a lot.

If I had a Lowrance gps I would have the MapCreate software. I am going down to a Fishing shop in a little bit. I'll poke around and see if they have a Lowrance and see if I can find out anything.

P.S. I just went to the Lowrance website and found the MapCreate 6.3 manual. I suggest that you look at the manual and it might help you decide if you want to buy this product.
 

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Which brand offers the most detailed maps o

Thanks Siskiyou! Please let me know if you get to handle one...

Thanks,

Jim
 

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Which brand offers the most detailed maps o

Just back from the fishing shop. They had a number of Lowrance fishfinders and Lowrance Ifinder Pro handheld gps unit. I played 20 questions but it was clear there was a lack of expertise. I should have been asking about fishing instead of a handheld gps.

The question/statement that confused the guy was that I wanted to use it for hunting, hiking, and fishing. He clearly understood fishing. He told me that there was another clerk who hunted and he could create "cards" for me cheaper then they sell them. From that statement and a quick overview of the manual I have some thoughts on the IFinder and the software. It may not be for those who are not willing to take the time to work with it.

I asked him about the quality of maps printed from the software. He stated he had never seen a map printed from the software. I understand it is tough being in retail in a shop that has a lot of products on the shelf.

These folks have a history of being very helpful, I just caught them in a weak spot.

Are you looking for a gps and mapping software?
 

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Which brand offers the most detailed maps o

What I am looking for is a gps that has detailed maps to download on it... I didn't find the Garmin maps to be that great...didn't have a lake named that EVERY map names, but showed a site of some indian battle a hundred years ago??? Seemed to me to be more geared towards car use.
The Lowrance intrigues me since the company makes GREAT fishing electronics and their maps sound like they sport the kind of detail I am looking for. The taking of SD cards is a big bonous, too.
The problem is that around here it is all Garmin or Magellan. The shops that do have the iFinder Hunt, don't have any on display to play with.

Jim
 

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Which brand offers the most detailed maps o

Two rare items are a shop that have gps units a customer can play with, and knowledgeable sales folks.

Lowrance is a company with a good reputation. The reason you find Garmin and Magellan is because they are the number one and number two sellers of gps units. One of the criticisms of Garmin is that it's best selling units do not use SD cards. But one disturbing item that I read with Lowrance software is that it limits you to the number of SD cards you can fill. I do not know how they limit the process. Having worked with a number of people with their computers and more recently with gps units, the KISS principal works. I think the Lowrance Ifinder might be aimed at the more technically inclined. I would love to have one to play with because of the new opportunities it presents. From the sounds of it you process the technical interest to get the most from such an investment.

Some people cannot get the most out of the products they buy. My father-in-law has a very expensive computer that he can only play solitaire on. And I have to give him annual and semi-annual refreshers on his fishfinder. But I give him a lot of credit. He can fly a C-47 over the Hump, keep complicated water systems operating, and do a lot of other things. In turn an electronic game playing teenager finds gps units rather simple.

Map Source provides different information and detail at many levels. Within the software is a BAR that is user adjustable that also changes the level of detail. I noticed the Lowrance software also provides optional levels of detail. What I do not care for is the size of the maps that I print from MapSource. I am only getting half page maps. I maybe doing something wrong.

One of the things that MapSource Topo USA and many other Topo programs do not keep up with is the rapid construction of new subdivisions. The area around my son's house was cattle pasture two years ago. Now it is full of streets, and homes under contraction. Even the auto club maps can not keep up with the new construction. USGS topo maps are years behind. A fact that will not change because of budget problems.

The June 2005 issue of Guns&Ammo has an article on the iFinder Hunt model. It is a quick over view of the iFinder, you might find it of interest.

You do have my curiosity up. If you send me a private message regarding the location of the lake you are referring to and a nearby community I would like to see if I can find it on MapSource. If I find it, I will send you a private message regarding what map level I found it at. If I fail to find it I will also let you know.
 

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Which brand offers the most detailed maps o

I only have experiance with Garmin mapping software, but it suits my needs - at least for now. I do have a side note comment though. Don't order anything from Tiger GPS. I had a bad experiance. I ended up ordering stuff from the GPS Store. Their customer service is good.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Which brand offers the most detailed maps o

Thanks for the heads-up on Tiger....was looking at their website the other day.

Jim
 

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Which brand offers the most detailed maps o

DakotaElkSlayer is correct. MapSource Topo USA does not name the lake he has identified to me. In fact I also checked it out using my DeLorme Topo USA v3.0 which showed the lake but did not name it.

I then went to http://www.topozone.com and found the Lake Name and stream named as DakotaElkSlayer identified in his private message.

A point of interest was that there are a number of lakes in the region that showed on the map but are not identified by name. Then there were many others that are named in MapSource. In fact one with a name is many times smaller then the one he is refereing to.

I cannot explain why this information is missing from two of the software products I checked.

How would I deal with this in the real world. I already have MapSource, and I have two Garmin gps units. I plan a fishing or hunting trip to an area I have never been. I would go to topozone and print a map. If there locations named on topozone map that are not named on the MapSource map, I would create waypoints in my gps. I do this already for my hunting camps. As I mentioned earlier I would also get a Forest Service or BLM map that cover the area of interest.

Curiosity got the best of me. I fired up my Garmin 76C with the MapSource Topo loaded in it for the area that is being referred to. When I put in the Lat/Long for the Lake in question, it was identified in lower case letters as being a small lake.
 

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Which brand offers the most detailed maps o

I'm sure you know this but just thought I'd check.....Map source has a setting for various levels of detail. Are you sure you have the setting to highest?

View, Mapdetail, highest...........I don't have the topo product but assume (we no what this really means don't we?) the detail setting is in that product as well.......
 

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Which brand offers the most detailed maps o

I have mine set on the highest map detail.
 

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Interesting mapping prospect at http://www.maptrails.com They advertise that their software contains topographic maps from the BLM, Forest Service, and local government. They claim their maps are more current then USGS maps. I can believe this having seen some of the in-house maps used for road systems, and contracts.

This outfit has a State Series which sell for about $50.00 a State.

Researching their website I found one item I did not like. The statement that they no longer provide over the phone support.

I will have to check with some friends who are employed by the agencies and see if anybody is using this software.

The maps cannot be loaded on a 99% of the gps units out there. Waypoints, tracks, and routes can be transferred. I do not know if this product works with the newer USB transfer protocol. Lowrance gps units are not supported by this software..
 
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