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  #1  
Old 13 Mar 2006
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GPS maps for Canada?

Hi,
I was thinking about buying Garmin MapSource TOPO Canada for my GPS V. Is this a pretty good map as far as back roads go, or are there any better ones for a GPS-V?
I'd also like to increase the memory in the GPS with either a 32mb or 64mb chip. Any problems with doing that? Thanks for any replies.

wally
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  #2  
Old 16 Mar 2006
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Hi Wally,

I've got the Topo map for Canada and it seems to have lots of good stuff here in the Rockies. We are planning to hike the Skyline trail near Jasper this summer so I thought I would see what the terrain looks like on the Topo map. I was surprised to see that not only was the trail on the map but that it was "routable" on the GPS!

Seems like there are lots of the back roads in our neck of the woods but I haven't got any experience with other areas. We are heading up to Alaska and hopefully Inuvik this summer so I'll see how accurate the detail is up there. I am using this map on a Quest II so I can't comment on how it will work on your unit.
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  #3  
Old 16 Mar 2006
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I'm using Canada Metroguide, from Garmin, with my eTrex Legend-C. It has been great on my trips around Ontario last summer. This year we're travelling across Canada. I've been planning my routes with Metroguide. We'll see how well it does this summer. There are a few roads that aren't included in this software, and I suspect Canada doesn't get updated as frequently as the US.
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  #4  
Old 20 Mar 2006
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Thanks for the help. I gues what I'm looking for are the logging and/or dirt roads in Quebec and Newfoundland. I also enjoy using paper maps when trying to explore. I'm going to give it a try with the Mapsource Canada. I've had pretty good luck with the US version so far. I also want to find quad maps of the area. I want to avoid asphalt as much as possible.
Thanks again.

wally
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  #5  
Old 25 Mar 2006
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I have the garmin 2610 and have found this great i have used it in the states most of europe & Australia with a 2 gig card it has saved many an Argument.
good luck
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  #6  
Old 25 Mar 2006
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Dirtman:

I have been using Garmin GPSRs in Canada for the last 5 years. I just finished a trip from Toronto to Winnipeg a week ago, during which I compared three Garmin cartography products: CityNavigator North America v7, MetroGuide Canada v4, and Topo Canada v2. I was using a Garmin 2720, and I had all three products loaded on it, so I could switch from one to another as I wanted to. Note that it is not possible to view more than one product at the same time on any GPSR, meaning, you can't overlay Topo over MG or CN. It's like a television, you can only watch one channel at a time.

The short story is this: It's very much a 'horses for courses' issue. No one product is better than the other, and to try to compare them would be like trying to compare screwdrivers with different bits on the end. Since I doubt you want to buy all three, I'll try to give you a quick summary of the strengths and weaknesses of the three different products.

City Navigator North America v7
The first word in the name of this product is your big clue. This is the absolute top of the line product if you want automatic route calculation for travel within large urban areas (greater than 300,000 people). Each entry for a street or road contains not only the vector drawing of the roadway, but up to 60 different characteristics of each street - the speed limit, number of stop signs and traffic lights, turn restrictions, whether a median exists, whether the road is paved or not, whether it has bus bays or left turn lanes, etc. If you want the best possible automatic route generation within large cities, this is the product to get. The cartography comes from Navteq.

MetroGuide Canada v4
This product also supports automatic route generation. It doesn't have the incredible level of invisible detail (road attributes) that CN has, but it does contain a heck of a lot better coverage of smaller towns than CN does. For example, CN has virtually no coverage of Winnipeg other than the major arterial roads. MG Canada v4 has every street in the city. CN has nothing whatsoever for small towns in Canada (towns of less than 50,000 people that are not part of a larger urban area, e.g. Toronto suburbs), MG Canada v4 has street level detail for just about every town that is big enough to have a gas station in it. The cartography was compiled by DTMI Spatial (a Canadian company) based on information they collected from a variety of sources - including Navteq.

Topo Canada v2
This product does not support automatic route generation, either on a GPSR or on a personal computer. That's a major drawback if you want to use it for navigation, rather than just spatial orientation. However, if you want to get off paved roads and ride trails, logging roads, that kind of stuff, this is the product that has the best coverage of unpaved roads. It also has phenomenal coverage of streams, rivers, lakes, no matter how small, not to mention amazing coverage of forest service roads (fire roads), private roads put in by logging companies, listings of ruins and abandoned townsites, dams, fire ranger towers (and the access roads to them), and so forth. If it's not paved, you'll find it on Topo Canada v2. For paved road navigation, though, it's the pits - it will tell you where the town is, and you can figure out where you are (more or less) in the town, but that's about it.

If you are the type of person who likes to use paper topo maps, and wants the GPSR to simply confirm your location on the paper topo map so you can be reasonably sure that you are following the route you have planned out on the paper map, then Topo Canada v2 is probably the best product for you. The information in Topo Canada v2 was collected entirely from topographical maps published by the Government of Canada. Because these have a much slower revision cycle than the information for highways and city streets that is used for the other two products, Topo will often be out of date with respect to paved roads. But, the landmass doesn't change much from year to year, and the dirt roads don't get improved and changed much from year to year either.

You need to remember, though, that if you want prompted navigation on any kind of road(turn left here, etc.), or you want to look up points of interest (where's the closest gas station), Topo doesn't support that kind of function. Your GPS V may support rudimentary autorouting in the absence of routable cartography (by using its basemap), but that is 'town to town', not 'street to street'.

I hope this information assists you in making a decision. It kind of sounds to me, based on what you have written above, that you want support for navigation off of unpaved roads. If that is the case, then I think Topo would be best for you. For sure, you don't want City Navigator or City Select, which is very, very similar to City Navigator.

Michael

[This message has been edited by PanEuropean (edited 25 March 2006).]
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  #7  
Old 25 Mar 2006
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Quote:
Originally posted by Ekke:
...I was surprised to see that not only was the trail on the map but that it was "routable" on the GPS!
Ekke:

Canada Topo does not support autorouting on any GPS. What you saw happening was this: Your GSR has a routable 'basemap' burned into it - it came with this basemap, you can't turn it off, and you can't update it. The GPSR was using the information from the underlying basemap to generate the route, not the information from Topo Canada.

There's an easy way to observe this: Remove all the cartography from your GPSR (meaning, pull out the data chip or CF card, or, turn off the maps on a GPSR than stores the maps in non-vol memory), then turn on the GPSR and have a look at the screen. What you will see is the burned in basemap.

The basemap serves several purposes, one is to support rudimentary routing in the absence of loaded cartography that has routing guidance, the other is to give you some functionality if you have no cartography at all loaded, and last is to draw the picture on the map at wide zoom levels (typically greater than the 5 mile / 8 km setting), when the picture doesn't need the detail that is present in the cartography loaded on the chip.

Michael

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  #8  
Old 27 Mar 2006
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PanEuropean wrote:

"..If you are the type of person who likes to use paper topo maps, and wants the GPSR to simply confirm your location on the paper topo map so you can be reasonably sure that you are following the route you have planned out on the paper map, then Topo Canada v2 is probably the best product for you.."


You hit the nail on the head. That's exactly how I like to do things. I have a good sense of direction and of my surroundings, and I'm good at reckoning where I am using natural landmarks. I've never really used GPS for routing. As you say, I just use it to confirm my location, and also to be able to give my location in case of emergency. Being able to zoom out to know the road I'm on actually leads to another road and doesn't just dead-and is also handy.
Thanks for the very informative info.

w


[This message has been edited by dirtman2001 (edited 27 March 2006).]
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  #9  
Old 7 Apr 2006
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Quote:
Originally posted by PanEuropean:
<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="">quote:</font><HR><font face="" size="2">Originally posted by Ekke:
...I was surprised to see that not only was the trail on the map but that it was "routable" on the GPS!


Ekke:

Canada Topo does not support autorouting on any GPS. What you saw happening was this: Your GSR has a routable 'basemap' burned into it - it came with this basemap, you can't turn it off, and you can't update it. The GPSR was using the information from the underlying basemap to generate the route, not the information from Topo Canada.

There's an easy way to observe this: Remove all the cartography from your GPSR (meaning, pull out the data chip or CF card, or, turn off the maps on a GPSR than stores the maps in non-vol memory), then turn on the GPSR and have a look at the screen. What you will see is the burned in basemap.

<snip>

Michael

</font><HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

Thanks Michael, I'm probably misusing the word "routable". When I select a point at a trail head (Topo Canada loaded up) and then another point near the end of the trail (say at the top of a mountain) the GPS will determine the fastest, shortest or off-road route to the mountain top from the trail head using the hiking trail on the Topo Map. That is, it highlights the trail and provides turn by turn directions. I find this quite remarkable!

When I turn off the Topo Canada maps the Quest II will just use the base map to route me from the nearest road (Highway 93 near Jasper in this case) and then off-road in a straight line to the mountain top.

I know you are more of an expert on this stuff than I am but this certainly sounds like routing to me!

[This message has been edited by Ekke (edited 07 April 2006).]
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  #10  
Old 16 Apr 2006
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Hi Ekke:

Wow, I stand corrected. I had no idea that Topo Canada V2 had that kind of capability. That is quite remarkable - if I ever get back to Canada, I will have to try it out!

Michael
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  #11  
Old 6 May 2006
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dirtman2001
Hi,
I was thinking about buying Garmin MapSource TOPO Canada for my GPS V. Is this a pretty good map as far as back roads go, or are there any better ones for a GPS-V?
I'd also like to increase the memory in the GPS with either a 32mb or 64mb chip. Any problems with doing that? Thanks for any replies.

wally
Wally,

Topo Canada v2 consists of 7316 maps and takes 3500.5 Mb, 3786.3 Mb with autorouting. Yes, I realize you can't put all those maps on at once...just stating the specs.

On a 32 or 64 Mb card, you'll need to bring a laptop along to continuously reload maps as you move along.

I didn't know the GPS V was expandable. It always had 19 Mb of fixed memory...why I never considered it.
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