Wednesday, June 04, 2008

National Geographic Maps: National Trails Database

National Geographic Maps has launched TOPO! Explorer, a new Web site and related desktop application that will help outdoor enthusiasts locate accurate trail and recreation information nationwide. With the outdoor adventurer in mind, TOPO! Explorer presents users with National Geographic’s detailed topographic maps, aerial photography, hybrid maps made from the two, and an extensive, freely browsable, online database of trail descriptions, recommendations and unique points of interest. Users can customize and print their maps and connect with a GPS. The Web site,, also includes an outdoor-focused community component where TOPO! Explorer users can share their photos, video and trail recommendations.

TOPO! Explorer allows outdoor enthusiasts to browse and download the exact maps they need. Using a GPS or the application’s built-in map-making tool box, users can create and share their favorite excursions with others on TOPO! Explorer and create their perfect map by combining trips from the Web site with their own content. The TOPO! Explorer application is ideal for hiking, cycling, climbing and outing groups to organize their trips and share their activities with others.

“Building upon our history of creating mapping tools for outdoor enthusiasts, we are delighted to offer TOPO! Explorer as a platform for expanding this robust community by allowing users to connect with like-minded individuals and share their outdoor experiences,” said Fran Marshall, president, National Geographic Maps. “TOPO! Explorer will allow users to actively participate in updating map content, by sharing their knowledge and recommendations on trails and other recreation-specific information.”

Current users of National Geographic’s TOPO! map software will find many of the features in TOPO! Explorer familiar, including GPS connectivity, custom map-making tools and printing. Innovations include an entirely new database of detailed maps and aerial photographs known as SuperQuads™, a powerful Web-based place finder, support for video and higher-resolution photography, and a new interface and map design tools.

SuperQuads are composed of six layers, including genuine USGS 1:24,000- and 1:100,000-scale topographic maps, i-cubed aerial photography with 4-meter resolution, Tele Atlas roads, USGS Digital Elevation models and names, and a new HybridQuad™ that combines aerial photography and topographic contour lines. SuperQuads can be freely browsed and are available for purchase via download for $1.00 each.

Two new retail packages, TOPO! Explorer ($24.95) and TOPO! Explorer Deluxe ($49.95), are now in stores or at Both packages contain 25 map download credits for use on the TOPO! Explorer Web site. The Deluxe edition also includes a nationwide set of USGS 1:100,000-scale topographic maps, ideal for planning trips and browsing terrain.

TOPO! Explorer is compatible with Windows Vista, XP, 2000, ME or 98, and Macintosh OS 10.3.9 and above and requires Internet Explorer 6 or higher, Firefox or Safari. Maps can also be printed on National Geographic’s waterproof, tear-resistant Adventure Paper, designed for use with home ink jet printers and are available in a variety of sizes for a suggested retail price of $19.95. TOPO! Explorer’s printing tools allow users to print detailed maps with GPS grids on any paper size or orientation supported by their printer. Content from existing trip files, or the user’s own notes, photos, waypoints and trails created from the TOPO! Explorer desktop application can be printed as well.

TOPO! Explorer’s desktop application also contains an easy-to-use GPS manager. Users can connect their GPS receiver; browse its contents; and drag/drop waypoints, routes and tracks to and from a compatible GPS device. Users can also mark and manage points of interest on the detailed maps and load those to their receiver. Magellan’s Triton GPS handheld units also allow users to import maps from TOPO! Explorer for viewing on-screen.

National Geographic Maps was established as a division of the National Geographic Society in 1915 and has been producing maps for National Geographic magazine and other Society groups for more than 90 years. National Geographic Maps produces TOPO! and Weekend Explorer 3D outdoor recreation mapping software, Trails Illustrated maps and software, globes, wall maps, travel maps and atlases, and professional software.

For more information on National Geographic Maps, visit


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