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How do topo maps compare?

Started by Bullshooter, April 18, 2011, 09:15:22 AM

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Can someone describe the difference one would see between the Garmin TOPO U.S. 24K Southeast DVD, for example, vs. the downloadable topo maps on this site?  I have loaded the La and MS topo maps I got on this site to my 60 csx.  If I were to purchase the Garmin map, would it look the same?  If not, what differences might I notice?

If this has already been covered in another thread, please let me know.  I did a search and did not find anything to answer my question, (at least anything I understood!)


At Garmin's website you can view an area(s) of your choice for that product.  The display will be more line MapSource or BaseCamps than any specific model of GPSr.
Garmin's product will also be routable and be able to display shaded relief. 
Unlikely to look exactly the same as Garmin uses NAVTEC data for transporation; we use the available to the public Census TIGER data.  Since Garmin does not specify where their other data comes from or how it is processed, do a comparrison and see what you think and determine which might be better for your needs.


Thanks, I did not know how to view them, but just now had a look.


Quote from: maps4gps on April 18, 2011, 11:10:36 AM
and be able to display shaded relief. 

The topo maps on this website will also display with shaded releif ON YOUR GPS if you have a T model.  The T models have100K DEM data and the 24K Garmin topos have 24K DEM data, so while T models will show shaded relief, it is not as high of resolution as the 24K.  But shaded relief makes the screen hard to read. 


Of course, this is a moot point since the OP has a 60csx and that model doesn't support shaded terrain anyway. :)

However, the 24k Garmin topo's will show shaded relief in Mapsource on your computer and will also show 3d views in Basecamp on your computer. The only maps that can do this are "real" Garmin products.


Thanks to all of you for the input.

What is the advantage to the shaded relief?   When I have viewed it, it seemed distracting rather than helpful, but I think I may be missing something.


Well, as I said, it won't display on your 60csx anyway so that won't be an issue. On the Oregon, it does tend to make the Garmin maps harder to see because it reduces the contrast between the background and map objects.

On the computer, I don't find it all that compelling in 2d view in Mapsource. But in Basecamp it can be interesting since you can view the terrain in 3d, rotate it around and zoom in/out. On the nuvi 3790 you also get a high quality 3d view that can be manipulated just like Basecamp. But none of Garmin's outdoor handhelds have this capability.


I agree with both of you.  I find any large area of shading makes it harder to read the other data in that area (i.e. green for large National parks and forests, etc.).

Indrid Cold

Quote from: Bullshooter on April 19, 2011, 11:55:12 AM
Thanks to all of you for the input.

What is the advantage to the shaded relief?   When I have viewed it, it seemed distracting rather than helpful, but I think I may be missing something.
There's more to the story here. Shaded relief is a by product of an embedded DEM file. By embedding DEM data, you get 3D views in BaseCamp, on some newer handhelds such as Oregons etc. It also allows you 3D views of BirdsEye in BaseCamp. You also get to draw tracks or routes and get elevation profiles. On a GPSMAP60CSx you would get elevation anywhere on the map instead of just at contour lines. To some, it would be very valuable, to others, a waste.