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Old 03-31-2013, 12:40 PM   #1
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Join Date: May 2007
Location: East Bay CA
Posts: 1,067
Trimble map apps

We've discussed this before, but stuff keeps changing.

Stay with me here; although Trimble has a mess of a business model here they make a promising product, once you sort it.

I've been trying out Trimble's apps on iOS; they're relatively new. They have (confusingly) two main threads: the "Trimble Outdoors" apps and the "Trimble GPS Hunt", or "GPS Fish" iPhone apps. Each comes with a free and "Pro" paid version.

On the iPad, there's "MyTopo Maps" (free and pro) and "Trimble GPS Maps" (the hunt/fish version) free and pro.

The main difference between free and pro is the ability to store maps offline, critical for us.

The two threads lead to two different sites:

Probably this is due to the fact that gpshuntfish started life as Cabela's Recon.

Whew. To further complicate matters, within the apps (free or paid) there's a subscription option. The
"Elite" subscription gives you access to more maps. It seemed to me that this subscription should work across ALL the apps, and I was so informed by the first Trimble support person I contacted (they are super helpful, BTW, and check forum postings promptly). But it soon developed that this was NOT the case; if you subscribe within one website prong (huntfish say) that's where you stay, although they're looking at it. Although I was still in the free trial period, they gave me a comp for a few months due to the confusion.

The MyTopo maps are pretty good; they were purchased by Trimble. But for us the cool features are the addition of BLM land use maps and USFS roads. The land maps can let you know if you're on BLM land vs private, sorta nice when boondocking. And although many of the USFS roads are on Bing or OpenStreetMaps (they use both regular and cycling), it's nice to get somewhat more uptodate coverage. The forest road, BLM (and weather and lake) are in a layer over several types of base maps, Bing street, OSM, or aerial photo, and you can fade the layers in and out. I haven't found anything else that quite gives you this combo.

Although I don't either hunt or fish, the hunt/fish series worked better for me, and ditto for the elite membership on that side. There are lots of features like lake maps, blood trail recording, ballistics, caches, tree stands, etc built in. Could be useful for certain non-hunting activities as well. The apps have weather built in, which is very useful. You can of course navigate with compass or a standard distance time view (Trimble also has another line, AllSport, for those recording more competitive trips or training). And record video, photos, and sound (be nice for birding).

If you plan your trip on the website and have the Elite membership, it can automatically download to your iPhone/iPad. You can also export GPX. You can draw routes that "stick" to roads and such, which makes it really easy to lay a route.

Downloading maps is not hard, but the way they do it means BIG files. Like all of Inyo (our counties can run large here in CA). They should break them up, or maybe I haven't figured a way to do it.

Sometimes overlays take a while to load even on the newest devices. And the weather defaults to your current location (wish it would go to the area you're viewing, but you can search). Since we're hunting and fishing, BTW, we have moon and sun phases built in. I had trouble accessing the help pages on the iPad, and it doesn't seem to let you draw routes, although it's easy to mark waypoints.

It's worth checking out their stuff. I like the idea of the overlays; we'll just see how well they stay up-to-date. I just wish I could get all the BLM and USFS maps in one app.

And BTW, perhaps we need a separate category on the forum for software? Or is this the place?

2001 Ford E250 Sportsmobile with Salem-Kroger 4x4 conversion
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