Topographic Mapping

Dr. Tom's Independent Software Reviews


Short Reviews

Map AcademyT Platinum 3.1

USGS Topo Maps at full state coverage in 1:24,000 scale (7.5 minute) - 5-7 CDs each. Currently available: Alaska, Arizona California, Colorado, Idaho, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Texas, Utah, Washington, Wisconsin and Wyoming.
Map Academy Platinum is easy to use and comes with a user friendly interface. You can quickly search a place, mark its location, or put a custom icon for the location of phones, camping lots etc. and print a custom map of just the area you need and take it with you in the field. The insufficient resolution of maps in versions up to 3.0 are somehow compensated by a free upgrade (for 3.0 users) containing a High Resolution Viewer to increase map clarity. Also new is full map export as .tif or .bmp file.
Other features are: a coordinate cursor displays latitude/longitude or UTM, enter and search a latitude/longitude coordinate, save and reference waypoints in a waypoint list, straight and curved line distance tools to mark and measure trails and roads, zoom in/out on the map from 12% to 400% (empty resolution!).

Detail Level 15-0
Fig. 1: 100% view of a 1:24000 USGS Topomap of the older Map Academy versions
Please click on the image for a closer look!


System Requirements:
Windows 95 or higher, Windows N/T 4.0 or higher; 24 Meg RAM (64 Meg Suggested); 25 Meg hard drive space; 166 MHz Processor (266 MHz Suggested); 800 by 600 pixel screen size; 16 bit color or higher; CD ROM drive; Mouse



Usage & Evaluation:

Map Academy's Platinum Series offers the basics but not a lot special features like altitude profiles or 3D views. In the versions up to 3.0, the resolution of the topo maps was horrible. In version 3.1 the High Resolution Viewer does the trick: contour lines and legends are much clearer. Unfortunately, installation of the update did not work out twice on my WinME system. After attempting to load the corresponding map to fig. 1 (above) the program shut down with a runtime error.
However, compared to the high price of other state topo collections Map Academy is only 89.95 $ per state. Therefore Map Academy's Platinum Series is a good choice for anybody who just needs detailed state topo maps offering basic functions.
Free demo download: http://www.mapacademy.com/explorer.htm

Company Information: King's Outdoor World, P.O. Box 307, Mt. Pleasant, UT 84647, USA; Phone: 800-447-6897; Fax: 435-462-7436; E-mail: support@kingsoutdoorworld.com; URL: http://www.mapacademy.com



© 2000 by Dr. Thomas Wassmer, e-mail: tom at softreviews.org