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post #1 of (permalink) Old 04-22-2008, 05:50 PM Thread Starter
Off the Beaten Path
 
Join Date: Dec 2003
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Default Softmap Topo Maps

I have a friend interested in purchasing these - anyone have an opoinion about these or a similar product?

http://www.softmaptech.com/en/volume...bc_topo50.html
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post #2 of (permalink) Old 04-22-2008, 09:07 PM
Headed for the Mountains
 
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They might check out the free maps provided at:

http://www.ibycus.com/ibycustopo/
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post #3 of (permalink) Old 04-22-2008, 09:12 PM
High on the Mountain Top
 
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They could just download the NTS maps from the government directly...

http://ftp2.cits.rncan.gc.ca/pub/canmatrix/
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post #4 of (permalink) Old 04-22-2008, 10:55 PM
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Quote:
quote:Originally posted by David and Karen

I have a friend interested in purchasing these - anyone have an opoinion about these or a similar product?

http://www.softmaptech.com/en/volume...bc_topo50.html
Don't do it. The data is freely available now (and better quality). Most of the "viewing" software those programs come with aren't that great. All you're really doing is paying $100 for someone to take free scanned images and hook them up to a software program for you.
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post #5 of (permalink) Old 04-22-2008, 10:59 PM
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Here's a link to some good FREE software that you can use the view the FREE government topo maps.
http://gi.leica-geosystems.com/LGISub1x516x0.aspx

Here's the BC index map (4.6 Mb) that you can use to look up the map you need before you download the maps from nrcan (from the link that swebster posted).
ftp://ftp.nrcan.gc.ca/ess/topo/NTSin.../bc_150dpi.jpg
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post #6 of (permalink) Old 04-23-2008, 09:23 AM
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Hey Mag; thanks for the ER viewer link. I have a number of those free maps downloaded but couldn't figure out how to work with them as far as selecting a section and printing it out.
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post #7 of (permalink) Old 04-23-2008, 09:59 AM
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Quote:
quote:Originally posted by darrenbell

Hey Mag; thanks for the ER viewer link. I have a number of those free maps downloaded but couldn't figure out how to work with them as far as selecting a section and printing it out.
If you are just talking about the large TIFF images then you can use basically any image editor to select an area and then crop the image. Then print.
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post #8 of (permalink) Old 04-23-2008, 10:46 AM
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There are some advantages to having SoftMap over the now freely available Gov topos. For instance, when I do long ocean trips by canoe I can cover allot of KM in three weeks time, SoftMap allows me to select any sized area of terrain I want and then print that area to any scale I want. For those with access to a plotter you can also use SoftMap to print to any size page you want, and often what I want are a couple of 46 inch wide by 40 inch long maps I can fold up nicely. I only use these large plotted prints for when I'm in camp and for use on the go, I would also print letter size pages that I laminate (two sided) which cover simply a page sized region of my large plots but in the same scale or even smaller scale and, which also include my UTM grid. Lastly, and not so important to many but, I can include my own information with each Softmap print such as tidal info or moons, as well as the map datum and grids of my choice.


The now free Gov topos are great as well but do have their limitations such as only being available in their fixed regions, meaning that quite often one of your trips may require just the very corner of three or four different maps. You can always get around this by downloading all of the maps to cover the area you'll be in and then cropping just those corners you need for printing but this is a work around. Lastly, the Gov topos are only available in two scales (as far as I know) 1:50,000 and 1:250,000. This means that hikers and paddlers are essentially left with just one scale, 1:50,000. This is possibly the best scale for hiking short distances but it is not the ideal scale for being on the water or some of the longer hikes because it is just a little too big. Perhaps others haven't found this to be an issue but to the eye, and when looking at a large section of shore line, 1:50,000 tends to make everything look unrealistically large. Again this isn't a big problem for most and especially when on foot and doing trails in the forest but if you like to match what you see of the landscape visually to the shapes and contours you see on your topo, then I have found the 1:75,000 scale to be far more visually correct.

Just some thoughts to say, there are some reasons why SoftMap can be more effective than the freely available Gov topos, which I love having access to as well.
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post #9 of (permalink) Old 04-23-2008, 11:33 AM
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I've had the SoftMap50 package for western Alberta for a few years and use it with the Fugawi Software. As mentioned in the previous posts there are advantages such as seamless scrolling across map boundaries. If I were buying today I'd look at the Fugawi maps which are available for $50 for each province. http://www.fugawi.com/web/products/fugawi_canada_maps.htm
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post #10 of (permalink) Old 04-23-2008, 01:11 PM
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Quote:
quote:Originally posted by Monster

Lastly, the Gov topos are only available in two scales (as far as I know) 1:50,000 and 1:250,000. This means that hikers and paddlers are essentially left with just one scale, 1:50,000. This is possibly the best scale for hiking short distances but it is not the ideal scale for being on the water or some of the longer hikes because it is just a little too big. Perhaps others haven't found this to be an issue but to the eye, and when looking at a large section of shore line, 1:50,000 tends to make everything look unrealistically large. Again this isn't a big problem for most and especially when on foot and doing trails in the forest but if you like to match what you see of the landscape visually to the shapes and contours you see on your topo, then I have found the 1:75,000 scale to be far more visually correct.
You may be able to print out a map from SoftMap at 1:75K, but all it is is a shrunken (zoomed out) view of the government 1:50K map - not a true rescaling. You could get the same perspective by printing a 1:50K map on your printer at 67% of normal size
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post #11 of (permalink) Old 04-23-2008, 01:51 PM
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Are you sure Dru? I thought the fact that it gives you a corrected UTM overlay grid for the rescaling as well as a corrected distance scale on the print meant that it was a true rescaling?

I dont have my SoftMap installed on the computer I'm using right now but here is a scan of one of the laminated pages I used for my Broughton Archipelago trip. Keep in mind this is only a scan and the actually laminated page is quite a bit more readable... let me know if you think this is just a scaled down version of the 1:50,000 Gov map Dru.

Thanks

[u]Letter size example of 1:75,000 scale from softmap</u>
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post #12 of (permalink) Old 04-23-2008, 02:06 PM
Dru
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Yep, that's exactly what I would get if I scaled down a 1:50K.

The only difference is that if you scaled down a 1:50K NTS topo map on a photocopier, say, the scale would still SAY 1:50 000 (in a smaller font of course . But it would actually measure at 1:75000 and the scale bar and grid spacing would be shrunk to the 1:75000 scale. In this case it's best to correct the text with a pen to read the correct scale so as not to fool yourself later.
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post #13 of (permalink) Old 04-23-2008, 02:14 PM
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Thanks, I didn't know this. It bears mentioning however that this method is still perfectly usable although, now I'm wondering how one would obtain a properly re-scaled map to 1.75 and how it would be or look any different?
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post #14 of (permalink) Old 04-23-2008, 02:20 PM
Dru
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It would not really be any different. That's kind of the point - printing out a SoftMap at 1:75K doesn't give you any advantage over a 1:50K map except fitting more terrain on the paper, which you pay for by making the text font smaller and harder to read.

If you had a Digital Elevation Model and generated the contours by resampling every time you rescaled, you could come up with a custom set of contours for any scvale. But with NTS data you are limited to two choices of scale, 1:50K and 1:250K, and the contour intervals are fixed for those scales. So any map you make will simply display one of those two sets of contours at a user-chosen scale created by resizing the 1:50K or 1:250K map.

With the BC basemap you are accessing the 1:20K or 1:100K (I think) provincial data. So you have an additional two scales to choose from between the two free options, for a total of four.
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post #15 of (permalink) Old 04-23-2008, 02:33 PM
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I've got the BCSoft Map Topos that I rarely ever use. I'd sell them for cheaper than you'd buy it in the store if someone wants them.
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