Subscribe Contribute Advertise Facebook Twitter Instagram Forums Newsletter
Requesting tips for printing TOPO! maps...
Display Avatars Sort By:
billy goat
(billygoat) - F

Locale: West.
Requesting tips for printing TOPO! maps... on 05/17/2011 02:20:43 MDT Print View

I'm getting ready to print a route created with NG's TOPO! States software and I'm looking for tips on scale...

I'd like to print these maps in the greatest detail level possible which, in TOPO!, are USGS 1:24,000 (7.5' quad) maps. When I open the print menu, the drop down menu in the preview panel says "Normal 100% (1:30,750)". This is odd because the maps are based on 1:24k maps. Anyway, I can change it to "Magnify 125% (1:24,000)" but I'm curious why the software is set up this way.

Also, any comments on getting the best detail possible but still having nice crisp resolution (ie I want the maps to be reasonably large and usable but I don't want lines or text to be blurry or pixelated)? I intend to print on 11"x17" paper.

Edited by billygoat on 05/17/2011 07:46:25 MDT.

Hobbes W
(Hobbesatronic) - F

Locale: SoCal
Re: Requesting tips for printing TOPO! maps... on 05/17/2011 06:56:46 MDT Print View

Just buy the official 7.5 USGS map; after all, they're only $8. Then find a cheap compass, or craft your own, and plot the respective path(s) and mileage. It's really the only way to go - you can't beat the resolution, nor satisfaction of getting a chance to really study the terrain as you plot the lines.

Because the isn't supposed to be competing with private businesses, about the only way to find the 'official' USGS store is to go there directly:

Warning: this site is extremely user surly. You first need to know the exact name of the map you're looking for in order to have a returned result. After that, you then need to run the gauntlet of a pay system that may or may not work. But, if you are successful, you may discover a new addiction of acquiring maps for whatever suits your fancy.

Nate Davis
(Knaight) - F

Locale: Western Massachusetts on 05/17/2011 07:00:21 MDT Print View

Just go to and get a cheap, water resistant map at the resolution you want. I swear by that site.

billy goat
(billygoat) - F

Locale: West.
Thanks for the suggestions but... on 05/17/2011 07:43:58 MDT Print View

...neither of them answer my questions.

Greg Mihalik
(greg23) - M

Locale: Colorado
Re: Requesting tips for printing TOPO! maps... on 05/17/2011 08:14:25 MDT Print View

"...but I'm curious why the software is set up this way."

Aren't we all. Ask the folks in Evergreen the hard "WHY?" questions.
This is a '70s legacy program genned up by a couple of geeks, purchased by NG.

But to get more control over the situation -

Define your print area with File/Print Map
Tweak it to get what you want, moving the frame edges and center as needed.

On the right edge of the Topo screen is a Page Setup box.
Select Custom. That will give you ultimate control.
Between Scale and Scale Factor you have a lot of size control.

Use File/Export Map to Disk to generate a JPG that you can further modify with something like GIMP or PS Elements. Short of an editor, you can at least look at your result in detail to see it is what you want.

As for resolution vs sharpness, you can only do what the program offers. Topo is not using vector generated imaging. These are raster scanned images of the quads. And USGS didn't print them at 1200dpi. The fine resolution data is not there. You'll have to try a few to see what you are willing to tolerate.

Edited by greg23 on 05/17/2011 08:43:16 MDT.

billy goat
(billygoat) - F

Locale: West.
Thanks Greg! on 05/17/2011 09:14:28 MDT Print View

Alas, 1200 dpi it is not

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Re: Requesting tips for printing TOPO! maps... on 05/17/2011 16:04:58 MDT Print View

When I get my map outlined in TOPO!, I export it to Photoshop. There, I have slightly more control over details. I can edit, sharpen, and then print at the actual size I need.


Bill Markwood
topo printing on 05/17/2011 19:59:23 MDT Print View

my version of topo lets me choose the size of the print out that I want. I choose a 7.5 minute and then the size print out that will allow me to get the info I want on one page. I then copy the map to a disk, take it to Kinkos and let them print it in color on the appropriate size paper.
Hope this helps.


Eric Blumensaadt
(Danepacker) - MLife

Locale: Mojave Desert
MYOG topo maps on 05/17/2011 22:28:50 MDT Print View

1. Print the map on water resistant print paper (at REI).
2. Brush on Thompson's Water Seal on each side to protect the ink.

Now there's no need for a big Zip Loc bag to protect topos.

Jon Anderson
(muleyjon) - F
topo! fix on 07/22/2011 10:05:29 MDT Print View

I think I know how to ix your problem. Select the map detail you want (7.5'), then to change the printable area go to "more options", "printing exporting", "magnification", and play with the number in "print maps with scale factor" I usually use a scale of 35%. Hope this helps.

Mike Gerty
(michael.gerty) - F
Copying a map to a disk on 07/24/2011 09:09:31 MDT Print View

Bill, you said you "copy the map to a disk" and take it to Kinkos for printing.

I've been trying to figure out a way to print the maps I create in TOPO on 11x17 paper (I don't have a large format printer) but I'm stuck at how to create a file type that can be used at Kinkos. In other words, I assume Kinkos doesn't have TOPO software so simply saving the map file won't work. So how do you get the map into a file type that Kinkos can use?

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Copying a map to a disk on 07/24/2011 12:04:19 MDT Print View

In TOPO!, you can copy the map to your desktop (it is a raster file). Open up Photoshop or similar image editor, then File New (which sets the dimensions for the new work), then paste the raster file into the Photoshop window. Now you have it. Save As, and save it as a JPEG file.


Mike Gerty
(michael.gerty) - F
No Photoshop on 07/24/2011 12:16:50 MDT Print View

Thanks Bob. Unfortunately I don't have Photoshop. Is there a free alternative out there that I could use?

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: No Photoshop on 07/24/2011 12:21:22 MDT Print View

Yes, there are free alternatives, and I would bet that there is already one image editor on your computer.


Aaron Benson
(AaronMB) - F

Locale: Central Valley California
Re: No Photoshop on 07/24/2011 12:22:29 MDT Print View

There are free programs that let you print (it's more like "save as") to PDF.

Can you simply print/save to file as a PDF, then take that to Kinkos?

EDIT: GIMP is supposed to be pretty powerful (and it's a free download). I'd be surprised if that couldn't do what BG suggests above.

Edited by AaronMB on 07/24/2011 12:23:25 MDT.

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: No Photoshop on 07/24/2011 12:25:43 MDT Print View

Paint does it. I believe it comes on every Windows machine.


Mike Gerty
(michael.gerty) - F
Thanks on 07/24/2011 13:07:02 MDT Print View

Thanks guys, I didn't realize something so simple as Paint would do what I need to do. I'll play around with it and hopefully be good to go!