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What happened to topo maps?

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It has been a long time since I needed a new topo map. As far as I can tell now, topo maps are available online and there is even an app for all Canadian topos and all American topos. I am used to ordering them, waiting weeks and then spreading them out on the floor to peruse and dream. How does anyone get anything out of the area of a map that can be displayed on a monitor, ipad or iphone? I am not being sarcastic. I really don't understand this new system. I see references to "download the map and then print it out," but how do you print out a map the size of a topo map? Are paper topos still available? I have missed about 20 years of technological development here. I hope someone can catch me up, please.
 
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Topo are still available, at least up here they are, I go tot my book store and they have hundreds of them.... I also have a friend geologist that can print anything I want.... I know my wife printed a few for her snowshoe trip she did with her students, but I can't remember what was the site. that said you end up with smaller maps that you have to tape together to get a big map!!
I'll ask her the site she used!
 
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We have a DVD that covers Manitoba and part of NW Ontario. You can scroll through them and trace out routes etc. Then print 8.5x11 sheets and either trim and tape together or make a booklet like we do. It you want you can mark them all out and them laminate them too. very handy for routes you do more than once.
 
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I like mytopo.com.

You get to choose the printed size and scale of your map as well as fine tuning the coverage area. So rather than buying 4 maps because the area you want is in a corner you can center that area over one single map. Really cuts down on the number of maps you need to buy.

The maps are waterproof and available rolled or folded. The 2'x3' seems to be a nice size for tripping.

I also don't quite understand how people go about printing their own full size maps. I don't want want to juggle a bunch of 8.5x11" sheets of paper.

Alan
 
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I make custom maps from online sources like Hillmap.com or Caltopo.com and save as a .jpg image, then add any notation in a photo editor then go to a copy shop and have them all printed in color either 11x17 or 8.5x11. A lot cheaper than the cost of having a big sheet printed. I use one of those sea to summit waterproof sleaves to hold the maps. Since the sleave is clear on both sides, there's more than enough room maps for a long days paddle without having to open it up. It's nice having something that can be out in the rain or lay in the bilge water without messing up the paper maps.
 
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I also don't quite understand how people go about printing their own full size maps. I don't want want to juggle a bunch of 8.5x11" sheets of paper.

Alan

I don't want a map that is bigger than my (on the water) map case! I print map sections on 8.5 x 11 paper (laser) (3000 x 2400px sections maintain the scale of full sheet maps). For an overview of a larger area I do the same with 1:250 topos.

Generally speaking in my map case I just have the maps for the current day plus the next day so it's only 2 - 4 sheets to "juggle".
 
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For topos in my home State I just visit the Maryland Geological Survey HQ. They carry every State topo, and lots of other interesting maps, including 5 color country maps and even some river and tributary drainage stuff.
 
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I love topo maps. I got piles of them. I would wallpaper a room in topos if I could. Mine have notations on them, portages and campsites, pictographs and logging roads that don't rate enough to get on the map. Browsing over the maps imagining what that stream would look like or wondering how to get into that lake. Not something i can do on a screen. Chaltrek in Thunder Bay is my source for maps. They excel in that department. I think once you've settled on a route printing custom topos from software would be just fine but I always bring surrounding maps with me just in case I get lost, or diverted or just want to do some exploring.
 
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I have a couple of hundred full size USGS topo maps. Most of New York State, all of the Adirondacks, and a few from other states as well. When I get a SAR callout, I quickly go through my catalog to pull out the appropriate maps. if I do not have right one, I will use one of the online services to print out the area I need, and maybe later will order a USGS map of the area. The Forest Rangers will always print out the exact map for my assigned search area as well.

There is a definite technique for folding maps to expose the needed area of interest. You can find out how with an internet search. NY Forest Rangers mount their patrol area maps on light cardboard with slits for folding and unfolding.
 
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I get my topo maps from Canada Map Sales in Winnipeg. I usually pick them up in person but have also ordered online and received them within about a week.

They come in regular or waterproof paper. There is a Canoe Route Map index for several popular Canadian canoe routes listing which map sheets are needed to cover the trip.

http://www.canadamapsales.com
 
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Firstly, there are online sources for hard copy topo maps in Canada, such as maptown.com, canadamapsales.com, jeffstopos.com, worldofmaps.com...these can be ordered by phone or online.
Also, there are waterproof topos available for several provincial parks (in sections), including Temagami (comprising several parks), Algonquin, French River, Killarney, Missinaibe, Mississagi etc., provided by Chrismar Adventure Maps. These can often be found in outdoor stores if you don't order them. I pick mine up this way. I like to compare where sheets end for different routes.
Secondly, it is easy once you get used to it, to use free online mapping such as Caltopo, NOmap.ca, or Gmap4. There must be others. I like Caltopo.

I take 2 full topos as backups (like a Chrismar or similar), but rely on day to day navigation with a series of 8.5"x11" printed pages stapled in sequential order of our route. She has one complete set with her in the bow, I have another with me in the stern. No fumbling necessary. Both in Ziplock bags. (I know, I still haven't bought real map cases.) The large topos are folded to show our day from one side to the other (when possible), so just flip over as we go to route find. The smaller page maps might have a high detail map (in the case of islands or shorelines), along with the days (or mornings) route. If need be we open them up to flip the page, usually near midday or at days end. I generously overlap each map. Scales tend to be varied, but I make a point of showing that on the map, as well as mag north and a highlighted route. I make simple notes in the margins with distances between chosen campsites. I go over our intended route with my partner each morning; we also discuss where we are as we go along. "Do you want to explore the shoreline coming up on our left? Looks interesting on the map." "Um. No. I'd rather paddle over to check out the little island further along on the other shore, just beyond the point." We look at the larger topo for an overall view, the smaller maps for route finding. We each have a compass. This is working for us. Hope it's been helpful for you. At journey's end I stash the printed maps away somewhere, usually in canoe books. I tried but failed to post a couple of these I kept in Word to show you.
 
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I love topo maps. I got piles of them. I would wallpaper a room in topos if I could. Mine have notations on them, portages and campsites, pictographs and logging roads that don't rate enough to get on the map. Browsing over the maps imagining what that stream would look like or wondering how to get into that lake. Not something i can do on a screen. Chaltrek in Thunder Bay is my source for maps. They excel in that department. I think once you've settled on a route printing custom topos from software would be just fine but I always bring surrounding maps with me just in case I get lost, or diverted or just want to do some exploring.

Yes, I love topo maps too and just like you say...browsing over the maps. I can spend hours doing that. During trips, I also am marking campsites, unnoted roads, occasionally an unnoted ledge! I am grateful for so many responses and resources now to get topos. I always carry at least two copies of maps, in different packs; sometimes three copies. For the copied maps, I have noticed that they do not hold up as well,l as in fading, losing ink at the folds, etc. This is why I am leery of having maps printed. If I have a partner, he likewise has a copy and knows where we are going. We both keep track of where we are. I have used the river maps from FQCK which are stapled together and I find these somewhat tricky use because each page requires a reorientation. BTW, I also use ziplocks, but see the wisdom of a map case. I keep the proposed day's route very handy and the rest packed away. At camp, I take out the big map to see where I am in the grand scheme of things. I note things like cross country distances to nearest rail track or logging road, any notable ridges or hills, if I got disoriented, which way should I head, etc. Entertaining games.

Anyway, thanks again. I now have some resources to track down and will be doing so in the next few weeks. Planning to paddle a week on the Suwanee in March. Don't need a topo for the Suwanee, but it would be a good test run for the maps resoures for a Canadian trip this summer.
 
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