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  1. #1
    Mr. Cellophane RainmanP's Avatar
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    Responding to Hunter's question I started thinking about some map software I have that might be of interest. It is Topo USA from DeLorme. Costs $99.95 and includes topographic mapping of the whole country. You can zoom to change the scale, which is always shown and prints on any map you print. At small scale/closeup zoom, street names are even displayed so it is useful for city maps. Contour lines are only about 20 feet. 10 would be nicer, but 20 is OK. You can also look at the lay of the land in 3D and even print maps that way. Great way to get a visual idea of how hilly an area is. I think you can mark routes then print out customized maps for a trip. DeLorme also makes Street Atlas which, I believe (I don't have it yet) will print detailed directions from one point to another. It also works somehow with Topo USA. You can also get actual quads on CD, but they cost about $99.95 per state. I find Topo adequate for my needs. Topo USA doesn't really show points of interest, etc., but it strikes me as a pretty handy supplement to other maps, especially for getting the real story on how hilly an area is. You could print a full size (8.5x11) map of each day's planned ride and feel free to write all over it. Just thought I would throw this out to those planning their summer tours.
    Anyone else have handy suggestions along these lines?
    Regards,
    Raymond

  2. #2
    Mr. Cellophane RainmanP's Avatar
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    More Map Stuff

    Feels wierd to reply to my own thread but here goes.
    If you have access to a CompUSA store you may want to check this out. In the more or less regular Sunday advertising flyer on 2/4/01 they have Microsoft Streets and Trips $4.95 after rebates. I bought one but have not loaded it up so I can't really give a report, but for 5 bucks what's to lose? This will do point to point driving instructions, trace a map, has road map and terrain views (probably not exactly contour lines but at least gives a hint about the terrain). It has points of interest, hotel, restaurant and other travel info as well as , allegedly, 9000 campgrounds. According to the box, you can go to a website and get updates on road construction.
    I don't see software like this as a substiture for detailed cycling oriented maps like Adventure Cycling's, but for rough trip planning and printing out daily route maps it looks pretty handy. And as I say, for 5 bucks what have you got to lose?
    Regards,
    Raymond

  3. #3
    BikeForums Founder Joe Gardner's Avatar
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    I just wanted to let you know that I ordered Topo USA's regional map (utah. colorado, idaho & wyoming) package, I paid about $35 for the software + shipping, and I should have it friday or monday. This really looks like great software! I cant wait to play around with it and print off my favorite local, and not so local areas. Thanks for the heads up

  4. #4
    Mr. Cellophane RainmanP's Avatar
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    Tourists,
    I just got a mailer from DeLorme software, makers of Topo USA. There is a new version 3.0 that sounds really good. The mapping is updated with the latest elevation research and land cover (forest, clear, etc.) information. This one will automatically highlight a route on road or established trail or you can trace your own route or, if I understand correctly, enter a bunch of way points between point A and point B to customize a route. Sounds like a great tool for mapping a tour or weekend club rides. I plan to get it and offer to update our club ride maps. Oh, it will print written directions for a trip, too. So it offers something for both the verbally and visually inclined.
    I plan to get it in the next day or two. I think Comp USA advertised it for about $60 after rebates. I just checked, it is available at the same price from compusa.com
    I don't work for this company or anything, I just like this software (I own the earlier version already). You can read more about it at delorme.com/topousa
    Regards,
    Raymond
    Last edited by RainmanP; 04-03-01 at 01:51 PM.

  5. #5
    Just ride. roadbuzz's Avatar
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    This is a little off topic, but remotely related.

    Around here, there are two main companies that print detailed state map books, ADC and DeLorme. I was using an ADC map book to lay out a century, using VDOT county maps as a cross reference, and discovered the ADC maps had a ton of errors. Mainly, lots of secondary roads had incorrect route numbers (primary roads were fine). It could be a big problem if you were using their maps for a ride in unfamiliar territory.:irritated:

    DeLorme's cost a little more, but they're worth it!

  6. #6
    Senior Mem. & Trail Sage steve33's Avatar
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    Hello? Did anybody check out topo zone on the web.! they have maps of the whole country , state by state and count by county, all with veryable sizeing and zoom. And its for free too.!!!

  7. #7
    Senior Mem. & Trail Sage steve33's Avatar
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    Oh yes, they are also printable to.!

  8. #8
    Just ride. roadbuzz's Avatar
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    Hey! I can go off topic here, too.

    You can also get aerial photographs, to see what the terrain really looks like:
    http://terraserver.microsoft.com/

  9. #9
    Senior Member pat5319's Avatar
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    I've found County, (Metsker), maps very good for local road rides. Whenever I'm someplace new I get those.
    Your local Federal Building/Courthose usually has topo maps in varying scale, also, if there is a State University or College nearby their Geography Department should have a map room available to the public
    Pat5319


  10. #10
    Mr. Cellophane RainmanP's Avatar
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    Update on Topo USA 3.0
    Well, I finally go to Comp USA to get the software. I did not have a lot of time to play with it, but I did lay out a ride I took Saturday, and was quite happy with the results. You can click a start and a finish then click waypoints at turns or spots that may need explanation. Each waypoint is automatically assigned a number, name, and description. You can then go back and edit the names and descriptions to make them more meaningful where necessary. You can also type notes right on the map. When you click Calculate, the route is highlighted and distances from WP to WP is calculated as well as cumulative mileage. You can then print the map and descriptions to take with you. I guess I am just a bit of a technogeek. I like having a good old-fashioned paper topo map, but for trip planning and custom map making, something like this software allows you to redo maps with a few clicks then print out a brand new one.
    I did notice one potential annoyance. One particular street on my route Saturday changes names at one point, but the street name database apparently does not know this so the street continues as one name. For someone familiar with the area, this is no big deal, but could be confusing. I have found the same thing on MapQuest.com, so I can't really fault the software producers. Just another caveat of which to be aware.
    I know some of this capability is available on line, but I kind of like having this sort of stuff on my own machine.
    Oh, it has some neat 3D views so you can REALLY see how high those hills are going to look. I think you can rotate them to though I haven't had a chance to play with that yet.
    FWIW,
    Raymond
    If it ain't broke, mess with it anyway!

  11. #11
    0^0 fubar5's Avatar
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    Steve33, I just read your post and went to topozone, dude it is the bomb!!! I can't believe I didn't find that site a while back when I was buying a topo map.

  12. #12
    Very Senior Member MikeR's Avatar
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    RainmanP,
    Iím planning a tour for this summer. I contacted a distant bike club to get suggestions. One guy plotted a route for me, then sent me a cue sheet and elevation profile. Neat! I asked what he used - Topo USA 4.0

    I placed my order for the software yesterday. I understand that it works for off road trails too. You can even draw your own trail. Canít wait for the delivery!
    It's better to cycle through life than to drive by it.

  13. #13
    Carfree Retro Grouch hayneda's Avatar
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    Originally posted by MikeR

    Iím planning a tour for this summer. I contacted a distant bike club to get suggestions. One guy plotted a route for me, then sent me a cue sheet and elevation profile.
    This is a good point. With the internet it is often very easy to get that coveted "local knowledge," to use a sailor's phrase. I once did the same for a fellow that contacted me via email about riding through our area. This can be particularly valuable for transiting a problem area like a major city or metro.

    Dave
    Bikes are either fixed or broken

  14. #14
    Very Senior Member MikeR's Avatar
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    This is a good point. With the internet it is often very easy to get that coveted "local knowledge," to use a sailor's phrase. I once did the same for a fellow that contacted me via email about riding through our area. This can be particularly valuable for transiting a problem area like a major city or metro.
    Oh yea!
    I did a search for bike clubs in the area and found a web sight with an email list. I wrote to the list and got lots of helpful info.

    I could look at topo maps all day and still not know the best roads for scenery. One guy I talked to mapped a route that goes through 3 covered bridges. Others gave me great info about traffic patterns and one road that looked good on the map but goes through some aesthetically ugly areas.
    It's better to cycle through life than to drive by it.

  15. #15
    Honorable Member beowoulfe's Avatar
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    Topo USA sounds GREAT. However, be sure to take a photocopy of printouts. Inkjet prints aren't too good in wet weather.
    Greenspeed GTO 1027

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