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Topo CD-ROMs and road riding(6 posts)

Topo CD-ROMs and road ridingDrPete
May 11, 2001 12:30 PM
Has anyone used the National Geographic Topo CD-ROMs for mapping road routes? I'm interested in the elevation profile features for planning rides and I wasn't sure how much detail they have as far as roads go. I'd be most interested if you've used the greater DC regional CD since that's the one I'd be buying. Thanks.
re: Topo CD-ROMs and road ridingCliff Oates
May 11, 2001 2:12 PM
I think Delorme's software is probably better in terms of having up to date road information. Their new version also apparently contains some nifty route tracing features, but my copy is still in transit so I can't say this for sure. I like Topo, it produces beautiful maps and the elevation profile it generates seems to be more flexible than Delorme's. Delorme's software has the edge right now, I think. There are a bunch of Topo maps here: http://www.coates3.com/bike.html
re: Topo CD-ROMs and road ridingJL
May 11, 2001 2:48 PM
Nice website Cliff. That Delorme software looks cool. Good luck on your 2001 goals.

JL
I use Delorme's TopoUSA...biknben
May 11, 2001 7:20 PM
I have last years version which I find to be good enough. Haven't tried others so I can't compare. It allows route tracing, displays the profile, and sums up elev. gain and some other tidbits. It does have some things that I find annoying. It's slow, especially the 3-D features (my machine isn't a dinosaur either). It only exports to bitmaps and the files it creates are huge. It also has a habit of crashing. I guess that's not such a stunning review. I don't have money to spend on other stuff so I just put up with it.

The newest version has the entire US on one CD for $60. It allows you to print plan and profile at the same time. Hopefully they've cleaned up some other stuff.
Me too ...Humma Hah
May 12, 2001 2:13 PM
I'm using an older version that is a bit tedious to make long route profiles on. The new version is claimed to automate much of this. The big bitmaps can be converted into JPEGs using conventional art programs, but they really should give you the option of making JPEGs directly, at the desired resolution, so we could send them efficiently over the internet.

One thing I've discovered is that the grades calculated are not actually the road grades -- that data is not in the 15-minute maps Topo USA uses. What it does instead is use the unmodified topographic data, the surrounding terrain, to determine the route profile. So if you're riding a graded road that has bridged or filled in ravines and cut thru ridges, you may be on a uniform grade while the automatic profile shows a lot of up and down, plus your actual climb may be significantly less than shown.

But generally I've found it helpful, useful, and a great product for the $99 I spent. I might eventually get the higher-res 7.5 minute map version.
DeLorme 3D Topo QuadsCliff Oates
May 12, 2001 4:54 PM
That't the DeLorme version that I presently have. Don't bother, it's not worth it. The real value of DeLorme comes in their road data. This disappears when you view the quads at a normal magnification and you're left viewing the quad map. Unfortunately, the last time the USGS produced a quad for the area where I live was 1983 and there have been a _whole_ lot of changes since then. If you want quads, I'd be inclined to get NG's Topo!. After all, you've already got the DeLorme software.

The automatic route feature in version 3 of the DeLorme Topo product caused me to immediately whip out my credit card and order a copy. Marking routes for long rides is incredibly tedious, the automation is very welcome and would probably let me make more use of the product.