Good Sam Club Open Roads Forum: Yet another great mapping resource -- NFS topo PDFs
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Open Roads Forum  >  Public Lands, Boondocking and Dry Camping

 > Yet another great mapping resource -- NFS topo PDFs

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profdant139

Southern California

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Posted: 08/07/19 10:19pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

For those of us who rely on topo maps when looking for boondocking, I just stumbled across another forest service resource -- if you zoom in on a given area, the USGS topo maps appear. Just click on the relevant square to download it. You can choose PDF or geo tiff -- I chose PDF, since I don't know what I would do with the other format! (Yes, I am technologically ignorant. Sorry.)

I am old enough to remember having to buy each hard copy quadrangle -- and they were not cheap -- in order to get decent topo maps. Life in the age of the internet is (in some ways) better than the old days.

Link to mapping resource


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dave54

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Posted: 08/07/19 10:43pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I posted that link several years ago as a map source.

The scale of those maps is 1:63360, or 1 inch = 1 mile if you print them on a standard 8.5x11 sheet of paper. Printing on photo paper makes a clearer image and makes the fine detail easier to read. It works on regular paper, but may 'bleed' a bit and the small symbols may be fuzzy.

They cover only National Forest land, but if a tiny portion of the quadrangle is NF, the entire quad is available. So parts of many National and State Parks are there, if adjacent to NF lands.

National Park visitor maps are available on this site:

https://www.nps.gov/carto/app/#!/parks.

These are the same maps you get at the entrance station and at each individual Park website.


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caver

Missouri, The Cave State

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Posted: 08/07/19 11:23pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I use a dedicated Garmin GPS (Montana 600) with topo software and then research certain areas where I may not have a cell signal before a trip. I use ExpertGPS if scanned topos are needed. If you have an android phone there's' an app US Topo Maps Free or Pro ($) That's a great program even if it sometimes crashes on my older android system. When I get a new phone I will pay for the Pro version. Many of the newer topos seemed to be sanitized for your protection.

BarryG20

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Posted: 08/08/19 09:43am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Another good resource is Avenza maps. They have a free app you can use to download maps. They have a map store and I believe the NFS, NFS MVUM maps and others are free at least everyone I have downloaded has been free. They also have other maps for sale that you can download that are not NSF maps. I have used them for hiking and atving. On your device (phone in my case) with its gps it will show you your location on the map which is nice.
https://www.avenza.com/avenza-maps/


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profdant139

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Posted: 08/08/19 09:56am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Barry, have you been able to get Avenza to work with a computer, rather than a mobile device? I have not.

4runnerguy

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Posted: 08/08/19 11:00am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Thanks for the link. Haven't seen it before.

I often use Peakbagger to get to a continuous topo map of the U.S. Just search for a name of a nearby peak (top right) or just use their random peak and click on it. When you get to a peak page, go to the lower right where you'll see a "Dynamic Map". Below that map click on the full screen link. You can then move the map to anywhere in the U.S., even places where there aren't any "peaks" and zoom in. Upper right is a drop down menu allowing one to shift between several topo options plus a satellite view. No ability to download the individual topos, but a handy reference.


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BarryG20

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Posted: 08/08/19 03:27pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

profdant
I have not tried as I have only used them for hiking and atving. I have used it mainly for the mvum maps (which are pretty much horrible for anything other than identifying the correct use type, location and seasonal restrictions of roads/trails) but I can also download the quad map/s of the same area I will be in and can switch between the two of them to get all the info I am looking for while on the trail. I have read about being able to layer the maps on Avenza but haven't tried that yet either. I use it mainly for on the go info while out.

bpounds

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Posted: 08/08/19 04:10pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I also use Avenza, and it does work on my PC with Win 10. That's not real useful, since my PC doesn't have a GPS, but on the other hand if you want to print a map the PC can do that easily. The beauty of Avenza for me though is that it uses the GPS to show me where I am on the map, and it doesn't need to be connected to the network once you've got the map. The major complaint I have with Avenza is that if you are not within the boundaries of the map you are looking at, it will not show you anything to reference what direction or distance you are from that map. Takes a little planning in advance before you can make use of it.

What is outstanding about Avenza for me as a boondocker is using it with BLM maps. Makes it easy to see when you're in a dispersed camping area.


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profdant139

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Posted: 08/09/19 09:37am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Ken, if you want to capture a topo using that Peakbagger app, I think you can take a screen shot and then save the image as a PDF.

4runnerguy

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Posted: 08/09/19 12:10pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

profdant139 wrote:

Ken, if you want to capture a topo using that Peakbagger app, I think you can take a screen shot and then save the image as a PDF.
Oh yeah, I can do that. But downloading the whole quad is what I liked. With the Peakbagger site I listed above, I go to the map of the place we are heading and get the topo. Then even if I lose connectivity (common in the mountains) I can still refer to it while on the trail as long as I haven't closed that tab. The PDF come in handy at home. It's gotten to the point that I rarely take a paper copy into the backcountry anymore. Of course I can't do the backpacking thing anymore (shoulder injury and all [emoticon] ) so I'm not out multiple days.

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