1:100,000 vs 1:24,000 topo's.

dentheman 0 Points
edited November -1 in GPS Discussions
How suitable are 1:100,000 scale GPS topo maps for hiking and mountain biking? Is the scale too small? Will the GPSr zoom function make them almost as useable as 1:24,000 topos? I am asking because I don't want to pay the high price for Garmin 1:24,00 maps if Garmin 1:100,000 will work.

Comments

  • wasabi 0 Points
    100 is better than nothing, so it is worth having 100. 24 will obviously be much better. Sometimes I am disgruntled by the lack of detail you get with the 100 maps because it won't always show a moderate slope/hill, unless of course it is a raelly steep hill and you can get several 100 contour lines together. I think 24 will be real nice when they come out.

    Depending on your unit and needs, I find the free mapsource and free 100 topo map (from gpsfiledepot.com) to satisfy my 100 contour needs. No need to buy the 100 from Garmin. Then wait and/or buy your 24k topo map.
  • I have my eye on the Vista HCx. I am just a little leary about getting the free maps because I am not very computer literate and the thought of trying to find/load/and use third party maps scares me a little. Also, what receiver functions won't work with free maps but will with Garmin maps? (Maybe I should just get the HCx, then plunge into the free maps, if I run into a problem I can always ask on this forum.)
  • wasabi 0 Points
    I don't know if Garmin offers it, but maybe you can find thet GPS unit for sale in a bundled pack that includes the staanrd garmin 100k topo maps. Then you have the real deal.

    I have been using the free map for several weeks, although I have actually had the official Garmin maps on DVD but never intalled them. Out of curiosity I installed the Garmin maps tody and they look really close. The people who make the free map packaged it all up into a nice install program so you don't have to be a computer whiz to install it. It intalls like any kind of basic download you can pull down off the internet. It is automatically available in mapsource after the install.

    Again, this is all about free vs. official maps in the 100k range. You were originally asking about 24k.
  • Boyd 1332 Points
    I have my eye on the Vista HCx. I am just a little leary about getting the free maps because I am not very computer literate and the thought of trying to find/load/and use third party maps scares me a little.
    You might step back for a few minutes and consider all the options. First, I suspect you will be quite happy with the 100k Garmin maps. They could be better, but for general recreational use they will serve you well, especially if you're new to all this.

    If you really prefer not to mess with computers, give some serious thought to purchasing the Oregon 400t. It is ready to go "out of the box" with the 100k topo maps for the entire US. You won't ever need to connect it to your computer (unless you want to). Just turn it on and start hiking. The touch screen interface is also much more intuitive and user-friendly. See if you can go to a store and play with the different models to appreciate the difference.

    If you don't want to go this route, then purchase the topo maps on pre-loaded memory cards. You could get either the the 24k or 100k, depending on what you want. One plus for the 24k topos is that they can be used to calculate routes, but the 100k topo's cannot. Either way, if you buy them on data cards, you will not ever have to mess with a computer.

    I think the free maps at GPSFiledepot are great. But am just reacting to your concerns about screwing around with computers. If you don't purchase a Garmin product on DVD you will need to install mapsource using a method which Garmin does not support, and you won't get any help from them if you have a problem.
  • dentheman 0 Points
    edited August 2009
    Thanks all, for the replies. I really have my heart set on the Vista HCx, the Oregon costs more than I want to pay and I don't know that I care for touchscreen (call me old school). I had decided to give the free maps a try, then Boyd says I have to install mapsource in a way that Garmin doesn't support. That came at me out of left field! Can someone explain how it must be installed, if I don't use Garmin? What doesn't Garmin support, updates, etc? Or will customer service just not help me if I have a problem with it?
  • Marc 191 Points
    Actually what I think Boyd is referring to is the fact that it is possible to get Mapsend for free without purchasing anything. There is a well documented way to do that. However, when you purchase an Etrex you get Mapsend on a CD as part of the package, so I don't think that point is relevant. You just put in the CD and install it. No matter what maps you buy after that, unless they are on SD cards you put directly into your GPS, you will then have to use Mapsend to transfer them to your GPS. The means is identical no matter if they are Garmin maps or not.
  • dentheman 0 Points
    edited August 2009
    Yes, I misunderstood. Thanks for clearing that up. I still have a question that hasn't been answered, that is: Would I get some functions on my GPS using the Garmin maps that I would not get with the free maps, such as tracking, waypoints, etc? I am just exploring all the possibilities.
  • Marc 191 Points
    I have heard, but don't know for a fact that the new Garmin 24K are routable, perhaps even through hiking trails. This means that if you put in a start and end point it will choose a path for you. I don't have any experience with these maps, so I can't tell you if it is true/ and or useful. You won't get this with any of the free maps. You have to create your own routes.
  • I went to GPSFileDepot and compared some screenshots of the free maps (TX, NM Topo) with Garmin's maps. I am sold on the free maps! If I don't like them after time, I can always buy Garmin's 24 or 100!
  • Boyd 1332 Points
    Actually what I think Boyd is referring to is the fact that it is possible to get Mapsend for free without purchasing anything.
    I think you mean Mapsource... right? Mapsend is a Magellan product. :)

    Didn't realize that they send you a disk with the Vista. If so, then that's a plus. Although there is a well documented way of getting it for free (which I have frequently explained here myself), if you have any problems Garmin isn't going to help you because they don't advocate this. But if it came on a disk with your GPS, then it will be a supported version.... sort of. They should help with any problems of mapsource not working on your computer, but they won't want to talk to you about problems you may have using free maps. We have a couple threads where people called Garmin about issues with their units, and when they learned they were using free maps they declined to offer any suggestions.

    This is not a big deal, but just something you need to be aware of. And the only reason I mention it is because you said "I am not very computer literate and the thought of trying to find/load/and use third party maps scares me a little". This is also why I suggested the Oregon which is ready to go right out of the box with no computer needed. But it seems like you are now less concerned about this issue.

    Garmin sort of "looks the other way" when it comes to free maps. Their map format is proprietary and they have never published it. The free maps are made with third party tools which have reverse-engineered Garmin's map format. Garmin could go after them for this, but I think they realize how the free maps help them sell their hardware, so they tolerate them. I make my own Garmin maps as well, so I think it's a great feature. By all means, use the free maps! I regularly suggest this to people around here. But you may encounter some problems, so you must also be willing to deal with troubleshooting. I'd suggest you also register for the forums on that site as you can often get help from the author of the map if you're having a problem.

    I haven't used the Garmin 24k topo's either Marc. But people say they have more or less the same Navteq road data as City Navigator and are routable. There's a in-depth review here with lots of screenshots:

    http://gpsinformation.info/penrod/24Kmaps/twofourmaps.html

    There is another way in which free maps will differ from Garmin and that is the POI data. I really have no opinion about this one way or the other, but it's up to the map author to find POI data and include in their map. This is not always so easy. I suspect you will find more POI's on the Garmin maps, but don't know whether or not you will find them useful.
  • Marc 191 Points
    Actually what I think Boyd is referring to is the fact that it is possible to get Mapsend for free without purchasing anything.


    I think you mean
    Mapsource... right? Mapsend is a Magellan product. :)

    Yes, of course. That's the problem when you have used both and they have such similar sounding names.
  • dentheman 0 Points
    edited August 2009
    Yes, I am getting more comfortable with the thought of using third party maps, due to what I am reading on this thread. It's the same as when I got my computer. It scared me a little at first, but then it got much easier and friendlier as I used it. I am not computer literate, but I am not afraid to use it, either. (Maybe I am more computer literate than I give myself credit for!) I am not too concerned with routing or POI's on a topo. If I eventually get city maps I will want routing for sure, and will purchase them from Garmin.
  • Well, I just placed my order for the Vista HCx and a 4GB micro SDHC card for it, it should get here in 5-9 days.
  • Boyd 1332 Points
    Cool, let us know how it works out.
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