Now that I own a GPS, what do I do for maps? - ClubTread Community

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post #1 of (permalink) Old 04-02-2010, 06:03 PM Thread Starter
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Default Now that I own a GPS, what do I do for maps?

I just bought myself a Garmin 60CSx (which comes with MapSource) and while I managed to familiarize myself with its basic features, I am at a total loss - well almost - where to get maps. Don't give me any links, I spent hours reading the often conflicting opinions and pieces of advice contained in the various threads. These are the options I have been considering:
1. Canada Topo Maps which are free but don't seem to provide a lot of detail.
2. Garmin Canada Topo Map - $150 for a DVD covering all of Canada, or $86 for an SD card or download covering Canada West. Trail user reviews of the Garmin maps seem to indicate that they're not bad for US Maps, but don't expect a lot of trails shown on the Canada Maps.
3. Ibycus as recommended by several posters on this forum (no longer free - he wants a donation, $20 I think). Trying to watch the tutorial provided on the Ibycus website is more painful than a visit to the dentist.
I don't need anything fancy. I will not be hiking anywhere except in B.C. I don't intend to bushwhack through uncharted territory and it's not often that I will be off-trail. However, I'd like to know where I am in relation to my surroundings and therefore would like a map that shows the trail I'm on. Cost is not a consideration, but before I fork over another $150 for a Canada Topo Map DVD from Garmin (on top of the $300+ for the GPS), I'd like to know whether this would be a prudent purchase given my hiking habits. What do you think? Thanks for any advice.
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post #2 of (permalink) Old 04-02-2010, 06:19 PM
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Ibycus is worth it, at whatever price he's wanting.

Just download and follow the directions.

-Ryan
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post #3 of (permalink) Old 04-02-2010, 06:31 PM
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I second what Ryan says. Post a message here if you have any problems. It is really straight forward to install.
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post #4 of (permalink) Old 04-02-2010, 07:01 PM
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I don't see that you'll get any extra "detail" on any of those packages - they are all based NTS 1:50,000 data and most Canadian trails are not well covered on the NTS series maps.
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post #5 of (permalink) Old 04-02-2010, 07:13 PM
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Give Northwest trails a try for some trails that can be downloaded to your GPS via mapsource.
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post #6 of (permalink) Old 04-02-2010, 07:18 PM
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You can find the Northwest Trails at Switchbacks.com
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post #7 of (permalink) Old 04-03-2010, 10:33 AM
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I know this is not what you are looking for, but I have not found any digital maps to go on my Garmin 60CSx that I prefer over a traditional printed NTS map. Digital maps are (in my opinion) lacking detailed information for most of Canada - maybe the maps are better in the lower mainland, but I doubt they include many trails. The most useful GPS data you may come across is a waypoint file from a person who has previously hiked a trail. For instance, I have noticed several entries in our "Trails" section contain waypoints. This site doesn't seem to support uploading a GPS track (for example, a .gpx file), but that is the ideal way of sharing a route. You can then upload a set of waypoints or a GPS track to your receiver to follow while out on the trail. This is not a digital map, but a way to navigate the trail.

My approach when going to a new trail is to search for information - trip reports, route details, GPS information, and the NTS map - prior to heading out. While on the trail, I refer to the printed map and the route information that I have. I run my Garmin to track my route, and to see statistics like distance or elevation. To find out where I am in relation to my surroundings, I do cross-reference my Garmin's UTM position to the UTM grid on the NTS map.

This is just my two cents. There is nothing wrong with digital maps and many people use them. I just have found that the information is not useful enough when hiking on trails.
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post #8 of (permalink) Old 04-03-2010, 10:51 AM
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Quote:
quote:Originally posted by greyowl
However, I'd like to know where I am in relation to my surroundings and therefore would like a map that shows the trail I'm on.
Practically, there are no marked trails on Garmin topo maps. Yes, there are some, but they are very rare, and not too accurate - more like approximate. You wouldn't rely on these maps to show you trails. If you want trails, you have to draw them yourself in advance before you go. I'm sure you already have some trail maps in your backroad map, or from the internet, that you could use to draw the track for your GPS. However, logging roads are marked pretty well, and it is very helpful in finding your way to the trailhead or wherever you're going. It would be hard to do just by following a paper map alone. There was a word that Backroad mapbooks are coming out with digital maps for Garmin GPS, and this should be a million times better than what Garmin offers, based on my experience with their paper maps.

Whatever you do, do not try to save $64 on those lousy SD cards. Get a DVD version, because with SD cards there is no way to install maps on your computer for use with MapSource software. The only time you're going to look at your GPS screen is when you're in the field, not when you're at home in front of a computer. That screen is way too tiny to do any track planning or research. You will open MapSource, mark your track, trailhead, some waypoints maybe, and then transfer this info to your GPS. Without computer installed maps, you'd have to do it all on that tiny GPS screen, not to mention its awfully slow processor.
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post #9 of (permalink) Old 04-03-2010, 11:20 AM
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I had a cursory look at Northwest Trails and it looks like their database provides a good trail supplement to the regular topo maps.

Quote:
quote:Originally posted by Arnold
There was a word that Backroad mapbooks are coming out with digital maps for Garmin GPS, and this should be a million times better than what Garmin offers, based on my experience with their paper maps.
I second this. If these maps are comparable to the paper version and easy to use on a Garmin handheld, they will be by far the best digital product available and well worth what they charge. From their site, it looks like some GPS maps are already available under new products - I am seriously considering purchasing the Canadian Rockies maps to try out.
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post #10 of (permalink) Old 04-03-2010, 11:53 AM
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Yeah, those switchback maps look pretty good. Not as many of them in BC as in WA, but still a very nice addition.
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post #11 of (permalink) Old 04-03-2010, 01:24 PM
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Quote:
quote: 2. Garmin Canada Topo Map - $150 for a DVD covering all of Canada, or $86 for an SD card or download covering Canada West. Trail user reviews of the Garmin maps seem to indicate that they're not bad for US Maps, but don't expect a lot of trails shown on the Canada Maps.
If you do decide on the Garmin topo Canada I'd suggest don't get the SD cards as you are too limited in what you can do with it compared with the CD's.
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post #12 of (permalink) Old 04-04-2010, 07:47 AM
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The Garmin topo map is just a quasi-vector package based on the standard raster maps which are just the same as the NTS series maps. Most of the mapping packages you buy today are raster packages and they are just plain old NTS series maps fancily packaged.

The best detail you'll be able to get is by using the BC basemap data. Some trails are shown on BC Basemap now.

Given the well known and extensive inaccuracies in the Backroads series, and the fact that their scale is 1:60,000, I can't see you getting any better information from their package.

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post #13 of (permalink) Old 04-04-2010, 10:45 AM
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Free Garmnin topo
http://thepiratebay.org/torrent/4929...Topo_Canada_v4


Ibycus
http://thepiratebay.org/torrent/5256349/Ibycus_Topo_3.0


But really for the $20, I would donate to Ibycus. As for stealing from garmin well I guess thats up to you (pretty much the same maps as Ibycus as they use pretty much the same source).
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post #14 of (permalink) Old 04-04-2010, 10:51 AM
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I bought the Garmin CD package, and I've been very pleased with it so far. Of course, being a belt-and-suspenders kinda guy I also carry paper maps and compass. Trip planning and route recce are easily done on the computer, uploaded to the GPS, and provide the easy on-the-move nav while on trips.

Don't expect to see trails marked, but unless you're using one of the commercial maps of a known and used rec areas, you won't find a lot of trails marked anywhere.

Regards,

DF
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post #15 of (permalink) Old 04-04-2010, 01:54 PM
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Just to clarify the Ibycus maps are available for free download via BitTorrent. There is a fee if you want to buy them on DVD as explained on the site (link)
Quote:
quote:Unfortunately, due to problems with hosting popular 3+GB files for download, I am no longer able to make the files available via direct download. They are available via BitTorrent (see YouTube videos) or you can contact me to purchase a DVD ($25)
Regarding turn-by-turn street directions the Ibycus maps will not, TopoCanadaV2 will to waypoints and TopoCanadaV4 will to addresses.

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