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[pct-l] Topo USA vs. TOPO!

> recapping my recent 30-day / 21.3 mile backpack. 

holy smokes - 0.71 miles per day - what a GRINDER !!!!!!

----- Original Message ----- 
From: John Mertes <jmertes@gte.net>
To: P C T List <pct-l@backcountry.net>
Sent: Monday, May 14, 2001 4:57 PM
Subject: [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
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