View Full Version : Delorme Topo USA 8.0?

mister pooh
10-29-2009, 10:38
I am a complete map addict, and buying USGS 7.5 quads, Trails Illustrated maps and such at the quantity I would like would burn through my hiking gear budget in a hurry :)

I have been looking at the different mapping software suites out there, and am very interested in this one. If anyone else is using it, I have a few questions:

1) Can you make a printout that includes the scale and north arrow with declination? I use a compass, and this has been the dealbreaker for me regarding free programs like Google Earth, ArcExplorer, Google Maps etc.

2) In the same vein, can you print elevation profiles on the same map?

3) Does the default software come with usable trail info? Is it the quality of the paper Delorme state Atlases, better/worse?

4) I know it can download maps to the PN-40/30/20 series GPS units, but does it export good gpx data that I could use elsewhere or on a different GPS?

5) I've heard the interface has a steep learning curve, but I can live with that. But, important for me, is it relatively easy to import gpx data for overlaying routes, etc?

I've used the Nat'l Geo Topo! state series software, and it was ok, but I hate having to pay for each state. The Nat'l Geo Trails Illustrated Explorer Southern Appalachians seems as if it would meet my needs for a lot of my hikes, so it's also a possibility, but it's still geographically limited. If anyone wants to comment on it that would also be helpful.

Any info would be greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance!

10-29-2009, 12:36
I've been using Delorme's Topo 8 for several weeks, mostly as an adjunct to my Delorme PN 20, which I use to create maps of our 31 miles of town trails.

I'm a long ways from being an expert in such matters. And I have only begun learning all the ins and outs of the program. But all my Delorme produced maps have true north and declination arrows. And pretty precise distance data like 1" = 433'. I can't compare Delorme with the competition. But it strikes me as a pretty thorough program.


mister pooh
10-30-2009, 09:32
Thanks for the info Weary! I think I'm going to go for it. Now to scrape up the dough...

10-30-2009, 09:59
If you were considering Garmin, I can eliminate Mapsource Topo 2008 for you - It does not print the TN or declination. It does print Scale though.

Wise Old Owl
10-30-2009, 11:07
I must have an older version of Topo! and it does print those details. It is not compatable with Delorme. You have to run a conversion program. The benfit though is better detail on the maps.

10-30-2009, 11:22
i run an older version of Delorme topo usa and it does the elevation profile and printing as you specify.

mister pooh
10-30-2009, 19:39
Well, I bit the bullet and bought the PN-30 GPS unit with the Topo USA 8.0 software. $199 from Amazon, which was much cheaper than everywhere else.

Get my new toy(s) tomorrow! I'll post a gear review soon.

Thanks to everyone for the input!

10-30-2009, 21:46
Well, I bit the bullet and bought the PN-30 GPS unit with the Topo USA 8.0 software. $199 from Amazon, which was much cheaper than everywhere else.

Get my new toy(s) tomorrow! I'll post a gear review soon.

I'll wait anxiously for your report on the PN 30. I was sorely tempted to upgrade my PN 20 while buying the Topo 8 map program a few weeks ago. I'm anxious to do a second edition of "Walking Phippsburg" with more accurate maps of our 31 miles of trails. Two of us are sharing one GPS. It's frustrating when I get the urge to walk a trail, when someone else has the critical mapping tool.

From the literature, there are only subtle differences between the PN 30 and the PN 40.

Both seem to be greatly superior to the PN 20 in finding tracking satellites. The 20 has 12 sensors vs. 32 for the newer devices.

11-01-2009, 22:59
The PN20 can take five minutes in urban areas to get a fix. Under heavy forest canopies, it sometimes can't get a fix at all. On a long distance hike this isn't the problem it might seem because generally you'll get to somewhere with enough of a clearing within 15 or 20 minutes and then you'll get a fix.

But check out the youtube video on the PN40. It gets a fix very rapidly. A matter of seconds.

Tin Man
11-01-2009, 23:06
I used to carry a garmin, but didn't find it too helpful, at least not for hiking the trail. [Bushwhacking and hunting is another story.] GPS is pretty good in the car at helping find trail heads though. Gee whiz gadget stuff wears off quickly and then what? Think before you spend some serious bucks. Less is more.

mister pooh
11-01-2009, 23:21
I agree that for trail hiking on well blazed trails a GPS unit isn't necessary. I bought the unit just because I wanted the software, and the combo price was too good to pass up. Then again, I'm a geek who plays around with computerized geographical data for a living, and I absolutely love it, so a handheld GPS was going to end up in my toybox at some point anyway :)

Tin Man
11-01-2009, 23:25
that's cool. i finally broke down and bought one for the car. hundred bucks to find my customers quickly is a useful toy. :)