Hanta Yo TopoGuide GPS
By Jeff Porcaro
Another contender in the digital mapping arena is TopoGuide GPS software from Hanta Yo. Hanta Yo creates mapping software that is scaled to regions, states, and counties. The county maps are the 1:24,000 scale USGS maps and the state maps are 1:100,000 scale.
Product installation is not very simple. To use a map you must first load tables of information from the map CD to the computer. We feel this step should be automatic when you try to use a CD you have not installed before. To use the program you must open or create a workspace and load the maps into that workspace. TopoGuide restores the maps you had loaded in a previous session when you open the workspace. This feature gives you the ability to store information about points of interest for a particular outing or trip.
If you use the index, there is an image that is shown with numbered squares. When you select the squares, the maps that correspond with those spaces are loaded. We found the county index to be useless--without specifying city names or showing any other features on the graphical representation it is difficult to know which maps to select for an area.
Our testers love the seamless maps. After selecting multiple maps in a region those maps show without seams allowing you to view an area on several maps as if they were one.
TopoGuide GPS has simple annotation features. You can mark waypoints on the map and show them with various symbols you select. We liked the ability not only to mark waypoints, but also to mark a region with a shaded box to specify an area. Our favorite feature of TopoGuide is the ability to add user-defined information to the waypoints and search for waypoints based on the content of that information.
The maps are georeferenced, meaning the software shows you the coordinates for the mouse position on the map. TopoGuide GPS supports UTM and Latitude/Longitude coordinate display. You are also able to determine distances between points on the map.
TopoGuide GPS imports and exports GPS waypoints with your Garmin and Magellan GPS receivers. Printing maps is possible, but difficult. It took a few tries until we were able to get the map to print to scale, which is 1" = 2000'.
TopoGuide GPS has a suggested retail price of $114.00, which includes five regional CDs. The state maps are $35.00, and county maps range from $25 to $39 depending on county size. All the continental US maps are available. For product update information and pricing for your area visit their website at www.hantayo.com.
TopoGuide GPS has complete coverage of the continental US. TopoGuide is perfect for users who want to track other information with their waypoints. Most people will find setting up the software to be confusing. The biggest problem with TopoGuide GPS is its price--we find it to be very pricey. For example, full map coverage of Utah in the 1:24,000 and 1:100,00 scale would cost about $1,250. If you need all of the 1:24,000 scale maps there are cheaper alternatives, such as Maptech's Terrain Navigator.
- MicrosoftĆ WindowsĆ 95/98 or NT
- 486/33 CPU or better
- 16 MB RAM
- 25 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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