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Which map subscription for a gift? (PNW)
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Ryan Slack
(RWSlack) - F - M

Locale: Minnesota
Which map subscription for a gift? (PNW) on 12/22/2013 12:16:36 MST Print View

I have never subscribed to a map service (myTopo, etc.) because I don't have as much of a need where I live in Minnesota. My brother, however, lives in Bellingham, Washington. I would like to make his Christmas present a map service subscription to help him get out more, and safely.

Are the custom map services worthwhile for someone like him who lives close to a very big, dense area of wilderness?
Is this in any way better or worse than using the "Green Maps" or similar paper maps?
What problems may arise in using a custom mapping package? Printing, accuracy, etc?

Thanks y'all!

Ryan Slack
(RWSlack) - F - M

Locale: Minnesota
bump on 12/23/2013 13:07:29 MST Print View

Does anyone here use software to make custom maps for trips, or use software to download sets for trips? Which product(s) is/are recommended for Washington state?

jerry adams
(retiredjerry) - MLife

Locale: Oregon and Washington
Re: bump on 12/23/2013 13:42:39 MST Print View

http://switchbacks.com/

except it's free which may not work for you as a gift : ) Make a donation.

They have 24K USGS topo map resolution for Washington, most of Oregon, most of Idaho,...

Download to your GPS or you can view on PC or print on paper

I download to my GPS and the few places I've gone recently in Washington, like the Olympics, the trails are very accurate, much better than the USGS topo maps which are typically out of date some.

When I downloaded to my GPS, I had to get a bigger memory chip, but it was about $8. I now have the entire mapset on my GPS.

Mike W
(skopeo) - F

Locale: British Columbia
Which map subscription for a gift? on 12/23/2013 13:49:08 MST Print View

Check out Garmin's Birdseye imagery. I really like it but they will need to own a Garmin device to make it work (it works in both the desk top (with BaseCamp) and can be loaded on to the GPS). It's a one year subscription but whatever you download you get to keep.

Edit: to add that the Garmin GPS must be Birdseye compatible... the old mapping GPS's aren't

Edited by skopeo on 12/23/2013 14:00:10 MST.

Dale Wambaugh
(dwambaugh) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: Which map subscription for a gift? (PNW) on 12/23/2013 14:29:11 MST Print View

There is an REI in Bellingham, so a gift card would do the trick, pointed to the Green Trails maps they have. I think they are are the handiest for most Washington hikers.

My kids gave me a gift card for Metsker Maps in Seattle if he goes there (90 miles south). I had lots of fun with that. http://www.metskers.com/

Green Trails offers several map packs for Washington and has a 12 map set ($75) for the North Cascades which are in your brother's "back yard" in Bellingham. http://www.greentrailsmaps.com/store/mappacks/

I use the National Geographic Topo! software for research and could print maps from it. It seems that is going away at National Geographic. Perhaps eclipsed by other options?

If he has a GPS and color printer, I would look at map packages that could be used with it.

Another nice map-related gift for hikers is an artist's portfolio for storing their paper maps. I use an inexpensive one like the example listed here: http://www.dickblick.com/items/15103-2007/ That fits my Green Trails maps well and keeps them organized.

We are assuming he has a compass :) Otherwise, a good compass and an instruction book would be great.