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What happened to topo maps?

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Well Jeff is now with Unlostify and I think the maps will be awesome
too bad the new owner of his old company is fleecing people
 
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I'm looking forward to seeing Jeff's work with Unlostify; and have nothing but respect and admiration for him.

I love maps, especially topos. Whoever suggested papering their walls with them, I heartily agree. I don't have many, they tend to get dog eared and beat up. I'm enjoying making my own digital maps, though it is a steep learning curve for me. I navigate through the options and layers, label and line them, scale and save them, print and waterproof them. And just when I think I have a good trip collection safely stowed away, I realize I missed adding something, and then it's back to the drawing board. Alas, paper is cheap and so's my time. Rejects become note paper, gift wrap or envelopes. I store several routes stapled and ziplocked inside different books for later. Nothing like an evening "planning session" with a cup of joe and some good music.

toporific.jpg - Click image for larger version  Name:	toporific.jpg Views:	1 Size:	70.4 KB ID:	77115
 
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My maps arrived from mytopo.com. They are great! and what fun!!!! I couldn't figure out how to use the website, but a quick call to their main phone number straightened me out and after that it was easy-peasy. Not cheap, but topos never were cheap. These are perfect, coated with something so they are a bit sturdy and water resistant. I am so happy!!!!:D:D:D:D

Thank you for all your help finding this source.

Erica
 
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Mytopo.com makes some good waterproof maps, but for tripping they lack portages. You can combine areas of various USGS quads to get only the areas needed mosaiced onto the fewest possible maps. If you can add the portages from another source, they make great maps.
 
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Here's an interesting article that discusses the pros and cons of our quickly progressing electronic world.
https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/...des-hiking-app
I love maps and compass but I could learn to love a GPS as well. Spending several hundred $$ for a device is still an impediment to me but it may be one I overcome some day. The easy peasy peace of mind of knowing in real time exactly where I am at any given moment is attractive but at what cost? But using an electronic device needn't mean the user loses touch with the real world. Isn't that the whole point of being there, it's to really be there? A device or method is merely to safely find your way through it from start to finish. When I'm using m&c I find I need to concentrate on route, landmarks and bearing. There've been times my mind has drifted and consequently so have we, off course to an unfamiliar shoreline. It would be nice to have an illuminated screen to tell me "Hey Mr Daydreamer, you're now HERE." Instead I have to figure it out myself. A GPS might permit me more daydreaming time, which is not altogether a good thing. The obvious lesson learned is to always know where you are on the map, identify landmarks, and only do your daydreaming while stationary.
 
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I use both
For the big picture a map is great
Or chart
For the little picture a GPS
I have trouble reading GPS maps in the bright sunlight or when the screen is wet
A GPS is very useful in featureless terrain or too cluttered terrain (now that of the 100 islands was that one? Which mangrove am I next to?)
 
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Here's an interesting article that discusses the pros and cons of our quickly progressing electronic world.
https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/...des-hiking-app
I love maps and compass but I could learn to love a GPS as well. Spending several hundred $$ for a device is still an impediment to me but it may be one I overcome some day.

You don't need to spend big money on a GP, use your phone. It has a GPS chip that will still work out of cell service. Download an app like Gaia GPS and switch to airplane mode to reduce battery use and it will serve as a GPS unit. Pay the $25 annual subscription and you can have topo maps and aerial images. You can create routes on your computer and upload them to your phone. As well as storing waypoints and tracks just like a standalone GPS.
 
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I would never trust my wilderness navigation purely to an electronic battery operated device. I use a real orienting compass as a compass, and when I am recreationally in the backcountry myself, I am exclusively using a paper map with my compass as my preferred navigation method. Navigation is what I do for fun and skill maintainance when I am out there . When I am working officially on a SAR incident I do use one of a variety of real GPS units that I own for the purpose (loaded with maps and routes from Basecamp or Gaia and other nav maps as my tools for a specific job. My cell phone is an older flip phone (no GPS chip), used for voice contact and talking to another person only. More often than not it is not with me anyway when I am away from my vehicle. Sorry, it is a stupid not a smart device, but otherwise it is all I need for communication by voice to whomever.

That being said, I have dual real GPS units mounted in front of me during the Yukon River races.I download my turnpoint, shortcut, and main channel waypoints from study of the river on Google Earth maps, 793 waypoints in the case of the 1000 mile race. This to plot the most efficient and fastest route downriver that I can.
 
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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
I use MyTopo too. I like being able to create a custom map that includes parts of different quads for the areas I visit frequently.

Sent from my SM-N920T using Tapatalk
 
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if you want a very easy demonstration of people's love for topos just go to the visitors centre in Algonquin Park! there is a giant 3D relief map on the wall with brass tags listing the lake names. On any day of the week there are at least 3-4 groups in front of it reminiscing over old trips or looking for new adventures. on weekend there can be literally crowds 3 deep looking. a great many then turn, and enter the bookstore to buy any of a half dozen maps (I admit to owning them all) on paper or cd, the vast majority being paper!
It's hard to drool over a 1 mile square piece of 8x11, but to get down on your knees over a 5,10 or even 20 mile piece of 2x3 or even 3x4 paper is ecstasy!
 
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1:50,000 is just a really nice scale to work with. I download topo maps from open.canada.ca in pdf format and print them in poster mode, then fill in portage and campsite info from paddleplanner.com. I find it even more enjoyable than my coloring books. :)
 
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Here I am again planning for another trip. Just a long weekender this time, 3 nights/four days.
As usual a small set of printed topos of our route and 2 waterproof larger scale topos; and this time I've finally gone high tech with the Avenza app and a set of topos on my cell phone. I will play-practise with this. I am technically challenged so paper maps and compass will be relied upon. https://www.avenza.com/
I intend to use the app mapping to confirm hard to find and follow portages etc. I don't really want to rely on it often.
 
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We just got back from five days on the Buffalo River. Brad was quite insistent on using GPS and the "maps" that come with that. I don't trust these things because what if the phone stops working? I'd hate to be way out from nowhere.

I brought the topo that was provided by the park. The first day I got discouraged because I would want to find where we are on the map and then he would say he already got it and start paddling again while I am still opening the map.

But by day two, I was having more fun. I would check the map and tell him what I thought and we were usually within a bend or two of each other.

I get how nice the GPS is, and safe, etc. But I hate to lose map reading and compass skills.

Good luck Odyssey. I hope you have a great time.
 
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I never use GPS. I can take a look at a map, coiupled with sat photos and just go walk or paddle a route with no trouble. It is a skill I developed over many years and see no reason to change.
 
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Totally agree- the GPS can be a crutch and can be distracting. I always have one just in case and use it more for planning and measuring distances before I go.

Bob
 
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I never use GPS. I can take a look at a map, coiupled with sat photos and just go walk or paddle a route with no trouble. It is a skill I developed over many years and see no reason to change.

Basic land navigation with precision is a vey valuable and enjoyable skill to use and maintain. When hiking off trail (or even on trail), one of my main purposes of being out there is to use traditional land navigation techniques with map and compass only to travel to my selected destinations. The joy is in the journey as much as in arrival at the destination. I take pride in being able to pinpoint my location at any and all times on the topo map, and to accurately calculate arrival time estimates to any point ahead.

I use a GPS and consider it as a necessary tool for two purposes only. As a SAR crew boss, I must use GPS to ensure that I with my crew cover with precision our assigned search block of land and report our end of day coverage track back to the incident command for analysis and further search decision making if necessary.

Secondly, I use GPS during canoe races, mainly for speed monitoring, but also for staying on track during long or complex preplanned routes on large and/or highly braided rivers such as the Yukon. Google Earth with its fairly recent imagery happens to be more useful than the typically much older government made topographic maps that are too often severely outdated and inaccurate, especially when it comes to river courses.
 

Glenn MacGrady

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I haven't used a paper topo map since I got my first mapping GPS in 2004.

I like to have my Garmin running on downloaded topo or bluechart maps continuously as I paddle. I can get about 40 hours of continuous use from two lithium batteries. My backups for my newer GPS are (1) extra batteries, (2) my older GPS, and (3) my phone, which I'd never use as my primary GPS.

I also usually do have some sort of paper map for my semi-wilderness paddles, but I have no desire anymore to invest in a whole bunch of expensive topo maps or to print out gigantic sections of digital maps.

dFo88rw.jpg
 
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I use a combination of self printed topo maps and a Garmin 60csx
A while back my son and I failed to reach Clockmill pond via Sand lake inlet because I followed my printed map and my gps topo map.
Both represented where the intended water route USED to be.
haha, the beaver activity had slightly altered the stream course and we were far enough off that we would run out of daylight, since it took a while to realize the error.
Had I not trusted those maps so much, or at least glanced at a satellite map, we would have made it to our destination.
It was still a nice day.
 

Glenn MacGrady

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Had I not trusted those maps so much, or at least glanced at a satellite map, we would have made it to our destination.
It was still a nice day.

Sometimes getting a little lost or discombobulated is part of the fun. For those who don't know, you can download satellite images into modern mapping GPS units to accompany street maps, topo maps and coastal bluechart maps.
 
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