For the longest time, I have been a loyal GMaps user. Tons and tons of custom maps, for research and planning of trips, for sharing to other people, etc.
Recently I saw somebody mention CalTopo and I checked it out.
I don’t know who or what is behind this site, but it’s awesome. All the awesome layers you can throw a stick at, and you can do all sorts of markups to the maps. Loads of topo detail also. I’ve used it for several of the spots I go to or are planning on going to.
Following is an interview from just over one year ago from the creator of CalTopo. Long read, but interesting. In the article it also lists quite a number of other map options too - though it seems the author is certainly most favorable to CalTopo.
By the way, who’s willing to put money down that @dwalker has some insane knowledge of maps too? I’m glad that @dwalker hangs out here, it would be a less knowledgeable place without him. If I remember correctly too, I think that @anon85570673 may also be a map guru as well (though I do not know on either of those - they are just guesses).
Geez. I almost did not notice that. Thanks for the vote, but I’m not that knowledgeable, . Nor that bright - just ask my friends or family. And sure don’t want to appear to be a mr knowitall. I’m pretty much old school. I like printed maps, a compass and protractor.
I recommend MyTopo. About $15, options for waterproof paper, or having UTM grid lines printed on them.
I’m all for supporting great developers. That being said, $20 for an app plus additional annual fees for Pro features is not something that would be, personally, the first thing I chose.
Besides, call me old fashioned, but I love paper (or related type) maps when I’m out. I still carry a traditional compass with me and like having something that doesn’t rely on batteries. But that’s just me. I am glad to know it exists though. Most of the reviews seem great.
Considering I’m considering spending over 20$ for a fishing magazine just for the pictures Gaia has made itself indispensable and an excellent value, especially for the Open Hiking layer which gets me topo maps for China, Japan, Italy, New Zealand, etc…I don’t pay for the pro version.
How is GaiaGPS with tracking time, speed, elevation changes and exporting your hike data back onto something like CalTopo in order to visualize your hike? These are the features I’m looking for. Unfortunately Europe and Asia are out of my reach at this point in my life, so topos and maps for that just aren’t a selling point for me.
They seem to do a better job in the UK, where people can buy OS (ordinance survey , government) Maps or Harvey (private company) Maps. However, their advantage now days is that they have a lot less area to map.
Avenza, as Chris mentioned above is a great app for using PDF maps in caltopo.com.
There’s an app for IOS, Android and Windows. Once a map is created in caltopo and it’s printed as a PDF, it can then be loaded into the app and used for offline navigation using the smartphone’s gps. It works. There is a three map limit in the free version but upgrades are available.