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VERY Disappointed with Birdseye Topo map subscription

Is it just me or does the Birdseye topo map subscription leave you unimpressed?

Downloaded my home area as a 24K topo map and loaded into my Montana 680.... wait a minute... were is my house?... where is my street?... where is my neighborhood?.... my house and my neighborhood was built in the 1990s... Go on the USGS map finder sight, download the map of my area circa 1957 and i get the exact same map I just downloaded from Birdseye! Seriously, 1957!???

I checked another area in NY.... same story. Map is from the 50's. Is this other people's experience or am I missing something?

I did not just shell out $400 on a Garmin handheld so I can navigate using 1950s maps...

Someone please tell me there is a better option.


  • Boyd 1998 Points
    edited May 2016
    Birdseye Topo gives you the "classic" USGS topo maps. For the most part, they stopped making these at least 20 years ago. They are available for free from the USGS and other sites (USGS products were created with public funds and are therefore available without charge).

    Many people (including me) like these old maps because they have interesting little details and they are hand-drawn in a style that you don't see anymore. I like them just for the nostalgia value, since they are the paper maps that I used long before GPS was invented. But if you want a current map, they are not the right product. Anyone familiar with cartography already knows this. Unfortunately, you were not aware of this. :(

    The USGS has moved to a new computer-generated product called "US Topo" now.

    Personally I dislike these, because they are lacking some of the details of the old hand-drawn maps and are rather ugly to my eyes. But things like streets and waterbodies are more up-to-date. Garmin does not offer any form of these.

    Garmin has their own version of the 24k topo maps that are rather expensive (about $100 for a map that only covers a few states, for example, I have this one:

    I don't really care for these. They are ugly and cluttered IMO, and they don't show landcover, buildings or other details found on the classic USGS maps. But they are accurate, they have routable roads and trails that can give you turn by turn directions and have 3d elevation data. So many people seem to like them.

    Now for the bigger question, "did you waste $400 on a Garmin handheld"? Well that is a personal decision. I have spent thousands on Garmin devices. Still have a GPSMap60csx and Montana 600. Previously had an Oregon 400t and Legend C plus a number of automotive units. As I have written elsewhere, I'm done. They still make nice, rugged devices with decent battery life that are reasonably accurate and easy to use. But I don't think they represent a good value in today's world of smartphones. And they are falling way behind in terms of processor speed and storage.

    A smartphone in a rugged case is a better option for me today, and there are many apps to choose from that are inexpensive or even free. There is a wealth of free mapping available for these as well. I make my own maps, and these apps give me a lot of flexibility there.
  • nevw 88 Points
    edited May 2016
    Comment retracted
  • truckinguy 116 Points
    Yea... Birdseye you couldn't give it to me..... I use the plain Jane Garmin 24K or 100K topos..
    I don't agree with Boyd at all on his Smartphone idea....We take hand held GPS seriously. We've had and do have a few smart phones... My wife use to hike with her's... she bought a Oregon 600T recently and loves it as I do.. I have the Monterra now and love that over any smartphone... We hike and snow machine.... a smartphone is really totally unacceptable for us in serious gps work. This goes for cars as well. Love my Dezl 760 and 2797...
    Battery life is pulled down in temps fast and even in warm temps.. harder to change out a battery.. rugged cases get in the way and makes it a PIA to use. Can't read the screen in bright daylight .. Most 3rd party apps are hoaky.. There are many other reasons why on my end..
    But just one of those reasons would not have me use the smartphone.. were as the Oregon and Monterra etc. does all well. I leave the phone in the car.. no cell service were we go anyway..
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