Topographical maps

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The Annoyed Man
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Topographical maps

#1

Post by The Annoyed Man » Tue Jul 16, 2019 12:35 pm

I love topo maps. In the days before cellphones and GPS, I used them frequently as I was an avid hiker/backpacker. Over the years, the ones I had went unused, and I don’t know if I eventually gave them to someone, or lost them in a move, or what. But lately, it’s been on my mind to buy some. I am most interested in topo maps for north and east Texas, east Oklahoma, and western Arkansas right now, but I am interested in such maps for almost any wilderness area. So I was on eBay recently, and won this auction: LINKEY. It includes 16 maps, all of them are 7.5 MOA, printed on 20"x26" sheets, representing a number of mountainous wilderness areas in the central California Sierras. For instance, one of them has Tuolomne on it. This purchase was a no-brainer.....16 USGS topo maps for $20. Unfortunately, it seems like these maps are getting rare and harder to find...at least the US gov’t printed ones...and the prices are much steeper than what I paid for these. There’s a website called mytopo.com that you can order these kinds of maps from, but they’re printed on demand, and I know nothing about the quality of either the printing or the quality of the paper they’re on. The real USGS maps were printed on durable paper, as they were meant to be used in a rugged environment.

Heck, although I’ll most likely never backpack in California again (or anywhere else for that matter at my age), these kinds of maps would be invaluable in a grid-down situation—which is why I mentioned my interest in Texas, Oklahoma, and Arkansas topographical maps. In my opinion, orienteering with nothing but a map and compass is one of those very basic skills that ANY adult should know how to do. It’s a skill that could save your life some day. But even if that wasn’t my interest, these maps are also suitable for framing and hanging up for decorative purposes. I might put a couple of these ones up in my man cave.

If any of you have topo for Texas, eastern Oklahoma, or western Arkansas that you’d like to part with, let me know. I might be interested if the price is right. Heck, I might even be willing to barter some of my California maps for some of your Texas/Oklahoma/Arkansas maps.
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Jusme
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Re: Topographical maps

#2

Post by Jusme » Tue Jul 16, 2019 12:45 pm

:iagree:

I have a few, that I have had for a while. I keep one in my get home bag, showing the area, between where I work, and live. I used to carry two, due to distance. I need to get more, but like you I find them overpriced. Which to me makes little sense with satellite mapping technology, almost making land surveys obsolete, they should be cheaper. I used to take them on my son's boy scout campouts to teach the boys, orienteering skills. It's been so long ago that I don't remember where I got all of them but I know I got one or two at a map store in Fort Worth on Henderson street. It's long gone now though.
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Re: Topographical maps

#3

Post by KLB » Tue Jul 16, 2019 12:59 pm

I've bought a few mytopo.com maps, but not lately. I think the paper is pretty good, but I don't recall for sure. I almost always had mine laminated, so I could take them in a canoe.

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Re: Topographical maps

#4

Post by KLB » Tue Jul 16, 2019 1:01 pm

KLB wrote:
Tue Jul 16, 2019 12:59 pm
I've bought a few mytopo.com maps, but not lately. I think the paper is pretty good, but I don't recall for sure. I almost always had mine laminated, so I could take them in a canoe.
Ever since Quantico OCS I've regarded laminating a top map as the default approach.

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Re: Topographical maps

#5

Post by oljames3 » Tue Jul 16, 2019 1:12 pm

The topographic maps I used mostly were those my Uncle provided. I learned land navigation, compass declination, UMC, etc. The most fun was in target location. Determining six and eight digit grids to locate an artillery target within 100 and 10 meters respectively, by eye, at a distance of 10 kilometers or more was a true skill. And then to have that location skill verified by the on-target impact of a battery or battalion or Division Artillery … makes me want to channel Tim Allen. :patriot:
Last edited by oljames3 on Wed Jul 17, 2019 6:39 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Topographical maps

#6

Post by Nuts » Tue Jul 16, 2019 1:17 pm

I’ve always liked the DeLorme Topographic Atlas. Covers the whole state. Got one in all of my vehicles.

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Re: Topographical maps

#7

Post by AndyC » Tue Jul 16, 2019 1:57 pm

The Annoyed Man wrote:
Tue Jul 16, 2019 12:35 pm
In my opinion, orienteering with nothing but a map and compass is one of those very basic skills that ANY adult should know how to do. It’s a skill that could save your life some day.
:iagree:

It's also valuable to learn how to interpret topo maps in your head so that you can recognize terrain features easily; this made me the most-prized "navigator" on my officer's course as I was able to find easier routes for my class in the mountainous bush.

I was really surprised that nobody else seemed to be able to do this; the other navs took their classmates in almost straight lines up and down mountain-cliffs to the next waypoint; brutal! :lol:
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Re: Topographical maps

#8

Post by troglodyte » Tue Jul 16, 2019 2:02 pm

Maps? I don’t need no stinkin’ map.

Shoot, out here I can stand on a can of tuna and see Amarillo.

I do like Topos and have a few random ones around. +1 for the DeLorme atlas. Not quite as detailed as a dedicated topo but very useful. I used one extensively storm spotting before GPS and google maps.
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The Annoyed Man
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Re: Topographical maps

#9

Post by The Annoyed Man » Tue Jul 16, 2019 2:20 pm

AndyC wrote:
Tue Jul 16, 2019 1:57 pm
The Annoyed Man wrote:
Tue Jul 16, 2019 12:35 pm
In my opinion, orienteering with nothing but a map and compass is one of those very basic skills that ANY adult should know how to do. It’s a skill that could save your life some day.
:iagree:

It's also valuable to learn how to interpret topo maps in your head so that you can recognize terrain features easily; this made me the most-prized "navigator" on my officer's course as I was able to find easier routes for my class in the mountainous bush.

I was really surprised that nobody else seemed to be able to do this; the other navs took their classmates in almost straight lines up and down mountain-cliffs to the next waypoint; brutal! :lol:
:iagree:
To my mind, being able to navigate contours is a primary benefit of having a Topo.
Nuts wrote:
Tue Jul 16, 2019 1:17 pm
I’ve always liked the DeLorme Topographic Atlas. Covers the whole state. Got one in all of my vehicles.
Thanks for the suggestion!

Where do you guys go to laminate your maps?
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Re: Topographical maps

#10

Post by PUCKER » Tue Jul 16, 2019 3:50 pm

I'm a huge fan of maps....use to spend hours looking at Atlases / road maps, etc....to answer the eternal question (well, at least for me, when I was a kid...) of "Where does the road end?" Topo maps are very cool as well! I still like looking at Google Maps and the like....seeing where things go....

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PUCKER
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Re: Topographical maps

#11

Post by PUCKER » Tue Jul 16, 2019 3:51 pm

The Annoyed Man wrote:
Tue Jul 16, 2019 2:20 pm
Where do you guys go to laminate your maps?
I've had 8.5" x 11" or so maps/photos/items laminated at FedEx Kinkos (right next to Lava 10, Main St & Hwy 114 in Grapevine). :tiphat:

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Re: Topographical maps

#12

Post by ELB » Tue Jul 16, 2019 4:24 pm

I've always been fascinated with maps, and I grew up in a hilly region where it was easy to relate the map symbols with features on the ground. Learned map and compass in Boy Scouts.
troglodyte wrote:
Tue Jul 16, 2019 2:02 pm
Shoot, out here I can stand on a can of tuna and see Amarillo.
:mrgreen:

That's what I found in Saudi Arabia. The topo maps were often mostly blank, only a couple elevation lines waving across them, some straight lines for road, and some dots for towns. I worked at the GPS Joint Program Office just after Desert Storm, and there were anecdotes from DS about troops more or less driving and coordinating using the limited GPS available then. Most of the maps of that region back then were based on very old surveys and didn't have a lot of the features that had been built over time. I did some desert driving, some at night and my Garmin 40 GPS was much appreciated. It had a tiny screen that did not have any map features, just a course line and a little trail of bread crumps to show me how well I was following it. That was handy when I had to detour around soft sand or a pit or some big rock formation sticking up out of the desert.
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Re: Topographical maps

#13

Post by ELB » Tue Jul 16, 2019 4:26 pm

PUCKER wrote:
Tue Jul 16, 2019 3:51 pm
The Annoyed Man wrote:
Tue Jul 16, 2019 2:20 pm
Where do you guys go to laminate your maps?
I've had 8.5" x 11" or so maps/photos/items laminated at FedEx Kinkos (right next to Lava 10, Main St & Hwy 114 in Grapevine). :tiphat:
Office Depot does laminating as well, if you have one of those around.
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Re: Topographical maps

#14

Post by chasfm11 » Tue Jul 16, 2019 4:30 pm

One of the early lessons I learned in the Boy Scouts was how to read and use topo maps. I can remember hiking the Sandia Mountains East of Albuquerque and using them. When I moved to Pennsylvania, we did cross-country hikes over nearby hills using topo maps. But I haven't had a chance to do anything like that recently for the reason that you are finding out - those maps are not very available anymore.

Garmin makes (made?) some really good portable GPS units that were designed for hikers and had topo features in them. It isn't quite the same as using a large paper version but it is better than nothing. I have friends who hike Harriman State Park (NY) and used the Garmin units. There is a lot more vertical change there than in Texas.

I hope that you can find a source for good Texas topo maps. I'd love to see them.
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Re: Topographical maps

#15

Post by OldCannon » Tue Jul 16, 2019 5:48 pm

Those of us that served....you knew you were about to get lost as 'heck' when the 2LT grabbed the topo and said, "I'll take it from here."
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