All Topo Maps
by Jeff Porcaro
Have you ever gone to your local map outlet and looked for a USGS 7.5 minute series map just to find that the one you need is not there? Well have no fear, the information age has come to your rescue. Today there are many different digital map programs available and if you need maps from Utah, Colorado, Idaho or Wyoming, All Topo Maps comes to the rescue like a super hero.
All Topo Maps includes all of the 7.5 minute USGS maps for a given state on a four CD set. The CD's contain digital images of the maps that you can view using the All Topo Maps viewer. The images are quite clean and are scanned at 160 dpi, equivalent to the low resolution setting of most scanners.
The installation process is quite easy and quick. Once you're looking at the maps, you can zoom in and out to provide a better look at the detail. To find a specific location, use the search feature, which prompts you to insert the proper CD. You can search for a place or map name, and see the names of adjacent maps so you can select them when needed.
All Topo Maps support Latitude/Longitude, MGRS and UTM display formats. The maps are geo-referenced, which means that as the cursor moves, the display updates to show you the coordinates at the cursor location. All Topo Maps do not use the Digital Elevation Model (DEM), which would allow you to view elevations as you move the cursor around the map. iGage feels that DEM is not very accurate and, since it is not created from the public domain information, it would increase the cost of the product. Distances can be measured by clicking and dragging the mouse along a path. The distance is shown at the bottom of the screen in the status bar.
All Topo Maps can be printed for use in the outdoors. We found the printouts accurate enough to place our UTM grid on the map and match the grid lines to the printout. All Topo Maps support printing maps to scale or you can zoom them in or out. The print option prints only what fits on a 8 1/2 X 11 page. Entire maps or viewed portions of maps may be copied to the clipboard as bitmaps to paste into other programs or graphics.
All Topo Maps have a simple waypoint feature for marking places of interest on the map. This process is simple, and allows you to enter waypoint comments. Advanced users can use the Waypoint Editor, a text editor you use to change the font face, color, size and also include hyperlinks. There is documentation on the commands for changing font colors and sizes as well as some hyperlinks. Although the ability to create a hyperlink that can be clicked in the map is a great feature, the creation of the hyperlink is not simple enough for novice computer users. Perhaps adding a dialog box for adding annotations to the map with font properties and hyperlinks would simplify the entire process.
To use All Topo Maps with a GPS you need to hand enter the coordinates from your GPS to the waypoint editor. There is no upload or download capability.
The suggested retail price for All Topo Map is: $118
With disk sets only for Utah, Colorado, Wyoming, and Idaho, All Topo Maps limit the users of their product. We found the product to have a simple interface for viewing and printing maps, though the waypoint feature could be made simpler. If you live or hike in the four states covered, are not using a GPS with your maps, and need printed maps, this is the product for you. This product is reasonably priced and is great for the more value-minded customer. To find out the latest on product updates visit iGage on the web at www.igage.com.
- MicrosoftĆ WindowsĆ 95/98 or NT
- 486 CPU or better
- 16 MB RAM
- 28 MB of available hard disk space
- 2x CDROM
Jeff Porcaro is a Contributing Editor at GearReview.com, and co-founder. He specializes in stoves, GPS navigation, mountaineering, and trips to Utah's remote backcountry.
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