Printing your own Topo Maps?

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Printing your own Topo Maps?

Post by HardLuck682 » Thu Jun 02, 2011 4:02 am

i tried a search, and all i found was info on topo maps for GPS. what i am looking for is information as to where i can find a FREE way to print my own paper topo maps. i mean GPS is cool, but anything electronic will eventually fail you. with a simple map and compas, i can pretty much navigate anywhere.

So, if anyone has any insight on this topic, please speak up

Thank you
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Re: Printing your own Topo Maps?

Post by Jamie » Thu Jun 02, 2011 4:17 am

http://www.digital-topo-maps.com/topo-maps.shtml" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

I would recommend getting copies of the DeLorme Gazetteer for your home state, and all of the adjoining states...it is a road atlas with topo maps of your whole state...

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Re: Printing your own Topo Maps?

Post by KnightoftheRoc » Thu Jun 02, 2011 4:39 am

While you're printing out all these maps, consider- are you going to laminate them all? How big an area are you going to be covering with them? How much of that area do you actually NEED maps of? Paper adds up in weight pretty quick, faster than you realize as you stack it up, and farther than you thought when you pick it up. Laminating just adds to it.

Also, what scale will these maps be printed at? Will they all come out the same scale? Do you plan to use overlays on them, and do you have overlays for ALL the scales you'll be using? And, since I have no idea of what your skill level may be, I'll toss this out as food for thought for those who are new to topos- do you know how to USE them if you have them? If not, I'd stick to one topo that covers the area you live in, for learning with. I prefer to use the USGS topo maps; I am assured of a constant level of scale and quality, I know at a glance how recently the information I'm looking at was amassed, and so much of the information I need is already printed on the map itself.

I get what you're saying about the electronics, and I agree. However, I'd use the electronic version of the information for as long as it would last, if I had it to use- electrons are a LOT lighter than paper, and don't tear or soak up coffee stains. I'd carry a GPS, and keep the paper maps back at my base camp or BIL/BOL.

Thanks, Jamie, for the link- I'll be checking that one a lot, I can see now.
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Printing your own Topo Maps?

Post by paladin15132 » Thu Jun 02, 2011 6:00 am

I have wondered about this. I know when you copy a map it looses definition, will these maps be scaled accurately after printing? I have been meaning to try it but have not wanted to dump the ink nor been headed out to try them out yet.

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Re: Printing your own Topo Maps?

Post by Redbad » Thu Jun 02, 2011 7:06 am

The Libre Map Project http://libremap.org/ has USGS topo maps (1:25k) from all 50 states in pdf and tiff formats. When printed from pdf at 100% you will get an accurate map (one that is scaled identically to the original).

I concur with the comments made before -- you might want to consider a smaller scale set of maps covering a general area and then specific maps (or sections of maps) for the location you intend to be in.
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Re: Printing your own Topo Maps?

Post by TheFishinMagician » Thu Jun 02, 2011 7:34 am

Jamie wrote: ...I would recommend getting copies of the DeLorme Gazetteer for your home state, and all of the adjoining states...it is a road atlas with topo maps of your whole state...
Plus one. The DeLorme Gazetteer is great. It's a little heavy to carry in a BOB or something, but you could always just rip out the pages that cover your bug out routes or areas of interest and then laminate them. I have one in my vehicle at all times, and it's been indispensible.

Here's a pretty good free program that uses Google maps...
http://www.mappingsupport.com/p/gmap4.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
It gives instructions on how to print them.
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Re: Printing your own Topo Maps?

Post by PWA2600 » Thu Jun 02, 2011 8:32 am

HardLuck682,

I would just spend the $100 for the MyTopo Terrain Navigator http://www.mytopo.com; with this DVD collection you can have topo maps of your state or any other for that matter. With this program you have the ability to change map scale from 1:24,000 to 1:250,000 and integrate the maps with Google Earth. You can create routes (layers) and when you print your maps they will be on there automatically. This program also gives you the ability to be seamless or have it by specific quadrangle location for the state.

One thing I love is that you can customize what you want on the map before printing. This also has the ability to import and export .GPX files; so if you create routes waypoints etc, you can send them to your GPS. I have printed entire quad's from this thing, and merely had to trim and laminate the paper to have a full size map.

SO it is up to you to decide, but this program has so many benefits, and I believe it is what you are looking for. SO go buy it!
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Re: Printing your own Topo Maps?

Post by CipherNameRaVeN » Thu Jun 02, 2011 10:13 am

I use USGS. They have the best maps and i believe the most accurate.
Try this link:
http://store.usgs.gov/b2c_usgs/usgs/map ... 009%29/.do" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
Having said that, unless you know how to size these maps to scale and print them, it will be a very difficult and frustrating process.

MyTopo.com really suck IMO. I actually have an account with them that I paid for and I don't use it. Their maps are very crude and lack detail. USGS are far better.

The best way is DeLorme atlases. They are usually sold in any office supply store. I saw them in OfficeMax, OfficeDepot, and Staples. However, in store they sell for $20. If you buy them on Amazon they will run you about $14. Link: http://www.amazon.com/s/?ie=UTF8&keywor ... 5f7e8xf5_b" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
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Re: Printing your own Topo Maps?

Post by PWA2600 » Thu Jun 02, 2011 11:07 am

CipherNameRaVeN,

I am unsure why you stated that MyTopo is not a U.S. Geological Survey product, for I am looking at all of the maps I have included with this program and they all state USGS. Now unless you now how to use a map in the first place any map is worthless. I can not say with any certainty, the quality of purchased maps from their website; for I have never had to buy one since getting this program. From my experience the convenience of this program, ease of use and customization are bar none.

I went to the link you provided (USGS), and frankly I think the quality is horrible, let alone that is merely the use of Google maps. The picture quality of the "Map" and "Satellite" are great on the computer screen, but the "Topo" is horrible.

The DeLorme might be good for driving in a vehicle, but they are freaking huge! Not only that, from the brief "Look Inside" from Amazon, there wasn't the detail that is included with MyTopo.

So all in all I still back MyTopo Terrain Navigator.

YMMV :D
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Re: Printing your own Topo Maps?

Post by Dogan » Thu Jun 02, 2011 11:41 am

Tagged, as I've been looking at getting USGS maps for a while now.
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Re: Printing your own Topo Maps?

Post by CipherNameRaVeN » Thu Jun 02, 2011 11:48 am

PWA2600 wrote:I am unsure why you stated that MyTopo is not a U.S. Geological Survey product , for I am looking at all of the maps I have included with this program and they all state USGS. Now unless you now how to use a map in the first place any map is worthless. I can not say with any certainty, the quality of purchased maps from their website; for I have never had to buy one since getting this program. From my experience the convenience of this program, ease of use and customization are bar none.
I never said that MyTopo is not a U.S. Geological Survey product. They probably are. What I said is, I have an account with them and when I was trying to use their online software, maps came out very crude looking. Thick lines, big block letters. Very computerish like. I could never get a descent map from their online utility. It is possible that their DVD based product is far superior.

PWA2600 wrote:I went to the link you provided (USGS), and frankly I think the quality is horrible, let alone that is merely the use of Google maps. The picture quality of the "Map" and "Satellite" are great on the computer screen, but the "Topo" is horrible.
That is because you did not read the instructions right. Instead you just skimmed over the page and called it a day.
Step 1. You locate the place that you are interested in using their Google map utility.
Step2. You click on the marker. It may offer you several different township maps. The same exact maps that civil engineers use. Some times you may have two different variations of the map with different features.
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Once downloaded you can unzip it and open it in you Acrobat Reader. It may have some features on the left that you may/may not want to see/be printed.
Image


In the bottom of each map, it shows you what township to download if you want to see the adjacent map.
Image

EDIT:
Oh, and it is FREE!
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Re: Printing your own Topo Maps?

Post by Raydarkhorse » Thu Jun 02, 2011 11:58 am

I went to MyTopo and was not so happy with the maps I found there. I looked up an area that has manmade (lake McGehee lake near Atoka Ok) it has been there for more than ten years that I know of and while the recreation area shows the lake itself is nonexistent. It still shows the original creeks and valley instead of a 1000+ acre lake. Now if there are mistakes like this one in other areas it could mean a lot of backtracking on an outing where a person was using these maps or much worse in an emergency.

Moral of the story only use maps that you can trust 100%.
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Re: Printing your own Topo Maps?

Post by CipherNameRaVeN » Thu Jun 02, 2011 12:01 pm

Raydarkhorse wrote:I went to MyTopo and was not so happy with the maps I found there. I looked up an area that has manmade (lake McGehee lake near Atoka Ok) it has been there for more than ten years that I know of and while the recreation area shows the lake itself is nonexistent. It still shows the original creeks and valley instead of a 1000+ acre lake. Now if there are mistakes like this one in other areas it could mean a lot of backtracking on an outing where a person was using these maps or much worse in an emergency.

Moral of the story only use maps that you can trust 100%.
You got me curious now. May I ask you to download the map from the link to USGS I provided and do a comparison?
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Re: Printing your own Topo Maps?

Post by Raydarkhorse » Thu Jun 02, 2011 12:17 pm

HUH I didn't got to the USGS site before because I have a USGS map of the area that I use quite a bit that shows the lake and all the hiking trails around it. However since you asked I did go to the USGS site and found the exact same thing as I did on Mytopo. Now I'm not sure what to make of the whole deal.
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Re: Printing your own Topo Maps?

Post by CipherNameRaVeN » Thu Jun 02, 2011 12:21 pm

Interesting! :shock:
In the right bottom corner of each map there is a year. Can you tell us what year you have downloaded and what year you use?
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Re: Printing your own Topo Maps?

Post by Raydarkhorse » Thu Jun 02, 2011 12:29 pm

Both were from the free section where you zoom into the area you wish to see from the US map, like from google or yahoo maps. Not from any individual quadrangle maps
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Re: Printing your own Topo Maps?

Post by CipherNameRaVeN » Thu Jun 02, 2011 12:57 pm

Raydarkhorse wrote:Both were from the free section where you zoom into the area you wish to see from the US map, like from google or yahoo maps. Not from any individual quadrangle maps
Interesting, can you tell me exact steps how to get to that? I've only used pre-formatted quadrangle maps. I might have missed a very important utility there.
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Re: Printing your own Topo Maps?

Post by Raydarkhorse » Thu Jun 02, 2011 1:10 pm

On both sites when you open them they open to a generic map of the US just zoom down to the point you want. Once you zoom down to a certain point it gives you the option to select topo in the upper right of the map. Not sure how valuable this will be considering what I have found so far. I mean the fact that they missed a 1000+ acre lake that was built in 1987 doesn't bode well for their updating this particular part of their system.
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Re: Printing your own Topo Maps?

Post by Rugger » Thu Jun 02, 2011 1:31 pm

tagging this biatch
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Re: Printing your own Topo Maps?

Post by CipherNameRaVeN » Thu Jun 02, 2011 1:35 pm

Raydarkhorse wrote:On both sites when you open them they open to a generic map of the US just zoom down to the point you want. Once you zoom down to a certain point it gives you the option to select topo in the upper right of the map. Not sure how valuable this will be considering what I have found so far. I mean the fact that they missed a 1000+ acre lake that was built in 1987 doesn't bode well for their updating this particular part of their system.
Well wait a second then... Are you talking about the map in the image below? Well, that is just a Google utility that they are using to center on a right location. When you actually download the map, it will be an actual PDF version of the one that is on file with USGS. It maybe completely different from Google. I would give it a try (just for our selfish purposes, since you already own the right type of map :oops: :roll: )
Edit: Since those maps are dated, we would get a better understanding of what is going. Imagine if they have a map marked 2010 and it has such a major error. :mrgreen:
Google maps, on the other hand, rarely get changed. I was looking at the satellite image map of my area, and they still show an empty field where a housing development now stands for the past 3 years or so. :lol:
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Re: Printing your own Topo Maps?

Post by PWA2600 » Thu Jun 02, 2011 1:45 pm

CipherNameRaVeN,

That is an improvement over what I initially saw; in fact I believe that I had looked into the TerraGo and USGS Free downloadable maps before. The TerraGo toolbar with USGS maps are nice, and is printable as a large quad location through Adobe. The problem I see is for people who want more than just that free map, and limited tools to work with it; I do believe this will work for the majority out there, but in my case I wanted more. So I apologize if I seemed to be attacking you in anyway, that was not my intention. I should make a distinction for the Terrain Navigator was actually created by MapTech, but this company was bought by MyTopo.

For all that are interested take a look at the tour for the TN.

http://maptech.mytopo.com/products/tour ... 1&INC=NONE
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Re: Printing your own Topo Maps?

Post by CipherNameRaVeN » Thu Jun 02, 2011 2:10 pm

Wow! Nice! The 3D feature is kinda cool when researching a specific area. I usually have a hard time dealing with all those brown lines. :)
Image

This is a definitely a cool feature:
Scroll Seamlessly from Map to Map. Maptech's Terrain Navigator allows you to scroll seamlessly from map to map... When four maps converge, as seen above, the Seamless Mode displays the maps as one continuous image. This allows you to view and print from four maps at once.
It looks like a great tool! $100 is a bit much though. You still have to pay for printing supplies. It gets pricey. Nevertheless, it looks pretty cool. Their online utility is not the same. Not even close.
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Re: Printing your own Topo Maps?

Post by miles » Thu Jun 02, 2011 11:19 pm

Here is something you might find helpful when you find maps worth printing.
http://www.riteintherain.com/Categories ... f5c320b2ba

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Re: Printing your own Topo Maps?

Post by b.m. » Thu Jul 07, 2011 2:09 pm

PWA2600 wrote:CipherNameRaVeN,

I am unsure why you stated that MyTopo is not a U.S. Geological Survey product, for I am looking at all of the maps I have included with this program and they all state USGS. Now unless you now how to use a map in the first place any map is worthless. I can not say with any certainty, the quality of purchased maps from their website; for I have never had to buy one since getting this program. From my experience the convenience of this program, ease of use and customization are bar none.

I went to the link you provided (USGS), and frankly I think the quality is horrible, let alone that is merely the use of Google maps. The picture quality of the "Map" and "Satellite" are great on the computer screen, but the "Topo" is horrible.

The DeLorme might be good for driving in a vehicle, but they are freaking huge! Not only that, from the brief "Look Inside" from Amazon, there wasn't the detail that is included with MyTopo.

So all in all I still back MyTopo Terrain Navigator.

YMMV :D
I have purchased a map form mytopo and also have purchased actual usgs maps (holding two in my hands right now that I just received today) and there's no comparison between the quality of the mytopo map and the usgs maps. The USGS maps are very easy to read, the lines are crisp and sharp, like a very high resolution photo. The mytopo map looks smudged and blurry in in comparison. I don't know if it's because it was printed on waterproof paper (the usgs maps are not) or if the desktop software is better than the online version. The only thing I like more about mytopo is being able to custom select what area you want included in your map. 7.5minute usgs maps are kind of on the small-ish size, imo.

BM

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