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[pct-l] Topo USA vs. TOPO!

    I've compared National Geographic's TOPO! (formerly owned by
Wildflower) with DeLorme's Topo USA 3.0 on planning and recapping my
recent 30-day / 21.3 mile backpack. My opinion based on this comparison
is that Topo USA is almost worthless or worse for backpacking. OTOH,
TOPO! seems quite good.

    The main problem with Topo USA 3.0 is that the route of the PCT is
grossly wrong. We started at the trailhead off of CA 44, it doesn't have

this trailhead. It shows the PCT traversing northward down the Hat Creek

Rim escarpment and then steeply back up and along the north edge of Lost

Creek canyon. The PCT really goes northward on top of the escarpment and

then eastward along the south side of Lost Creek canyon before turning
back west along the north side of that canyon. The trail is shown about
1/2 mile west of where it actually is and depicts approximately a 900
foot elevation loss and regain that in fact doesn't exist.
    Further along just above FSR 22, the PCT bows to the west while Topo

USA shows it going straight northward; at the maximum there is again
about a 1/2 mile difference. Also FSR 22 is not even identified as such.

    And near the end of our trip, Topo USA misses the switchbacks down
the escarpment and has the route about 1/2 mile from where it should be.

    To me, these errors are enough to make Topo USA worse then useless
for planning and navigating since one would have bad directions and a
false idea of altitude gain and loss.

`    Topo!, OTOH, is quite accurate even though it is an older product.
My GPS track of the PCT shows some minor deviations from the PCT as show

in TOPO!. The deviations may be small enough to be due to GPS error or
to slight misrepresentation of the actual route. However I found the
waypoints I set based on TOPO! to be accurate to within .05 mile.

    I tried uploading my waypoint set from Topo USA to my Garmin 12XL
GPS. The process is more difficult and involved than with TOPO!; and
Topo USA added an extra digit or two to my waypoint numbers.

    Topo USA seems to me to be harder to use as well as worse than
useless for backpacking. I plan to return my copy for credit.

John Mertes