April 7, 2006

Delorme Ships New Topo USA 6.0

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Delorme has released their new Topo USA 6.0 software with several upgrades that make the new version look pretty good. The software package covers the US with terrain detail on one DVD and allows you to plan trips, print maps and tap into your GPS location capability. It is said that it delivers next generation 3-D, exclusive routing and GPS capabilities, and the most up-to-date detail available in topographic map software.

Full-featured GPS Capabilities
Road or trail routes can be quickly uploaded to a handheld GPS receiver for worry-free navigation in unfamiliar territory. GPS waypoints or tracks can also be uploaded. When the trip is over, users can download any collected waypoints or tracks. Downloaded tracks, whether self-obtained or from a third party, can be easily converted to routable roads or trails. Like the ability to route on user-added roads or trails, this is an exclusive Topo USA feature.
Topo USA 6.0 offers a full range of GPS options, including the ability to preserve on-device file names, comments, and custom symbol sets upon download from a handheld receiver.

The program also reveals the contents of waypoint and track layers for simplified data management. In addition, the new Earthmate Image Tagger feature lets users link digital photographs to a GPS log to see exactly where and when a picture was taken.

For geocachers, this new version supports the most popular file formats, .gpx and .loc.

Dynamic New 3-D
Topo USA 6.0 introduces a new 3-D flyover experience, to scout the terrain for large areas from the comfort of home. Users adjust their viewing angle from vertical to horizontal, to follow a river or trail through valleys or canyons. They can also circle around a location from any compass point, or get an outward-looking 360-degree perspective from any point. The 3-D images can be viewed in split-screen, side by side with the regular 2-D map, or in full-screen mode.

“Our new 3-D capabilities provide an exceptionally accurate way to preview any U.S. destination,” said DeLorme Marketing Director Caleb Mason. “It’s as close as it gets to being there.”

The Most Up-to-Date Detail Available
Other topographic software products and Web sites are based on scanned USGS 7.5-minute maps that can be up to 30 years out of date. Topo USA 6.0 offers a unique combination of the most current USGS topographic data blended with the latest DeLorme highway, street, back road, and trail database—so customers get the best of both worlds in one product.

There are 290,000 additional roads in this latest version, as well as updated trails in national parks and forests, and additional national scenic and historic trails. Users can download BLM lands at no charge, for viewing at a big-picture perspective. Wildlife management units for hunting are also available for numerous states via free download; the remaining states will be made available over time.

$100 Worth of Aerial Imagery, FREE
DeLorme Aerial Data Packets (ADPs) are another rich source of detail. With their component aerial photos, satellite imagery, and genuine USGS 7.5-minute maps, ADPs provide an enhanced picture of what exists at any location—structures, agricultural lands, new roads, and more. Users can download $100 worth of ADPs for free—more than 38 square miles in all. After that, ADPs can be purchased for $1 per square kilometer, minimum 25 sq. km. per download.

Unlike the free aerial imagery available on the Internet, DeLorme ADPs can be easily integrated with Topo USA 6.0 maps. Users can mark structures, trace roads or trails, or add polygons to show features like clear-cuts or farm fields—all on the ADP image. Any annotations performed on the ADP image will automatically display on the Topo USA 6.0 map with GPS-accurate placement. ADP images can be viewed and annotated in split-screen or full-screen modes, and in 2-D or 3-D.

Exclusive Trail and Road Routing Options
Topo USA 6.0 also offers exclusive automatic routing capabilities. Users simply select their start and finish points, and the program instantly generates a route. If you prefer to go a different way, or create side trips, it’s easy to override the program’s choice using the “via” or “route avoid” features.

Only Topo USA allows users to create routes over trails, as well as roads. The routing function even works on user-added roads or trails—for example, any traced from an aerial image.


Collaboration Made Easy
Topo USA 6.0 makes it easy to collaborate with others when planning an outdoor adventure. The program’s MapShare™ feature lets users share maps, routes, directions, and elevation profiles via a secure Internet link. In the near future, users will be able to join an online community where they can share GPS logs, photos, and other user-created information. I would imagine that this would be like the website Placial, where in a My Space style, you can share photos and locations with others (via uploads and Google Maps).

“We see a new opportunity for people to exchange and publish location information for others to share, in keeping with emerging activities surrounding Web 2.0 initiatives,” said Mason.

Topo USA 6.0 also offers a re-designed screen interface that puts the most used functions in a handy top-of-screen toolbar.

Other popular features include the ability to customize the maps with searchable draw objects; instant elevation profiles for any route or linear object; latitude/longitude, UTM/UPS, MGRS, USNG, and SPCS coordinate options; flexible printing features—including a wide range of scales; handy layout tools, and mural printing (2 x 2 or 3 x 3 mosaics) on 8 1/2 ” x 11” or 11” x 17” printers. Users can also preserve memories and observations by attaching photos and documents to the maps.

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Posted by Scott Martin at April 7, 2006 8:02 PM

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