Rating: 4 / 5
Several years ago, I purchased mapping software for a few of the "regional" areas produced by National Geographic. For example, the software included the North Cascades on one disk, the South Cascades on a second disk, and Oregon Cascades on a third disk. Later, when National Geographic introduced a GPS option for its mapping software, the company made the sofware progarm TOPO! available to enable earlier software versions to use GPS features. That was a great move that helped Nat'l Geo's customers who had purchased the earlier non-GPS software versions.
Of particular value to "old software" customers of Nat'l Geo was the fact that when Nat'l Geo next upgraded the TOPO! software, the upgrade not only continued to be supportive of earlier versions of its regional software, but also added more GPS units that would work with the old versions, including Garmin's Geko 201 and 301.
More recently, when I purchased some new mapping software from Nat'l Geo in order to expand the coverage area beyond the areas covered by my earlier software, I discovered that the TOPO! version that comes with the latest, newest Nat'l Geo software (TOPO4!, or something like that) was incompatible with my old software. That problem is easy enough to work around simply by using the earlier TOPO version with my old mapping software (missing out on some nifty improvements that the new TOPO version provided), and just using the latest TOPO version to run only the new mapping software that came with that version.
However, Nat'l Geo has left its old customers out in the cold in a way that's hard to understand. Although the newest TOPO! software adds many more GPS units, like the ForeTrex 101 in particular, Nat'l Geo has not offered an option to upgrade its old TOPO! version to also make use of the additional GPS units. As a result, I can use my Foretrex 101 with the new software that Nat'l Geo sells with the TOPO!4 version, but I cannot use the Foretrex 101 with mapping software that runs only with the prior version of TOPO! (pre-number 4). Nat'l Geo has in the past offered a download from its website to update the prior TOPO! to include adding compatiblity with additional GPS units, so I though it unusual that I couldn't find an update on their website to make my Foretrex 101 work with my old software.
So I contacted Nat'l Geo tech support to ask whether the company will continue supporting its old TOPO! customers by offering downloadable updates to the old TOPO! software (which gives their old mapping software the GPS option), and in particular provide upgrades to make additional GPS units (like the Foretrex 101) compatible with the old software. Their answer was "no" and it appears that Nat'l Geo decided that its old customers just need to get more new stuff from Nat'l Geo.
Other than the above problem that I've experienced as a result of buying from Nat'l Geo in the past and buying from then again more recently, the software has been terrific, and runs with no problems on my PC with Windows XP.
Unlike the earlier reviewer who has experienced crashes when running his Nat'l Geo software with Windows XP, I haven't experienced any crashes or other problems using my Nat'l Geo software (whether old or new versions) on my PC runnning Windows XP, whether I'm setting routes on the screen, or uploading and downloading readings routes from/to my GPS.
I'm by no means a computer expert, and have become more anti-technology (or is that technologically handicapped?) as I get older. However, I do know from personal computer combat experience that problems may arise as the result of a mysterious interpersonal conflict between software and security settings of a hostile computer. Just a wild guess, I suppose. But I can state with certainty that, while kicking the wayward computer feels good, a swift kick (or even several) will absolutely fail to resolve the issue of crashes.