Topographic Mapping

Dr. Tom's Independent Software Reviews


Short Reviews



USGS vector data of Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Utah, Washington. Contains all 1:250,000, 1:100,000 and 1:24,000 quadrangles of the corresponding state. $79.00 each.

  • Digital Elevation Models - Includes all the 250K DEM's for your state. It automatically divides these into the corresponding 7.5 minute quadrangles and then resamples on 24 feet contour levels.
  • Digital Line Graphs - The entire 15 minute series provides land survey section lines, power lines, roads, trails, streams, drainage, forest boundaries, pipelines, and railroads. These can be selectively overlayed by the user.
  • Land Use Land Cover - Get the actual land cover data (37 different types). Colors can be changed by the user to modify the output to match your printer capabilities.
  • Names and Places Database - Every landmark recorded by the USGS.
  • Customized Road Signs - Match the shape and colors of your state.
  • Direct GPS Connection - Hook up a laptop to a NMEA compatible GPS and get seamless map loading and position plotting of anywhere in your state!
  • Easier GUI - Powerful, easy to use software lets user select a 1x1 section from a set of buttons that are in the shape of the current State. Once one of these are loaded, user can click anywhere on it to get a more detailed 7.5 minute quadrangle. Zoom in on any part of any quadrangle with any magnification level.
  • Interactive - Add your own symbols, generate elevation profiles, rotate, zoom, draw trails, find places, import GPS data and print maps.
  • Many Uses - Excellent for exploring, biking, backpacking, prospecting, search and rescue, science, etc.
  • Search Capabilities - Enter any latitude, longitude in the state and have Topo3D bring up the quadrangle and mark the exact position requested. Search for any landmark in the state and Topo3D will bring up the quadrangle that contains it.
  • Customizeable - User selectable contour line intervals and colors. Take off any or all axis markings.
  • Import - Load a file of latitude, longitude points and have Topo3D plot them on the current quadrangle. Load Garmin waypoint files and have Topo3D display the routes.
  • Export - Export high resolution (300 dpi) maps to a bitmap files for import into other programs.

Fig. 1: 100% view of a 1:24000 USGS vector data map and a profile calculation byTopo3D Version 4.3
Please click on the image for a closer look!


System Requirements:
Pentium™ 100+ PC with at least 8 MB Ram and 256 Color VGA. Windows 95™ or Windows NT™.



Usage & Evaluation:

Topo3D is the only real 3D mapping software in this review. It allows amazing realistic views of the terrain. As it is the nature of 3D applications to be quite intensive in computation power and 3D-graphic accelaration, you need a fast PC with a good 3D graphic card to enjoy it. Compared to the extended features of the other products in this review, Topo3D is quite poor. It computes altitude profiles by adding a line between multiple mouse clicks on the map but this feature is far from comfortable and does not allow detailled analyses nor can you easy edit your input. Topo3D also lacks comfortable annotation possibillities. You can add symbols and lines but you can only see them after switching on a certain map overlay and refreshing the map view. However, the unique real 3D views balance the missing features and 79$ per state is a fair price. Free demo download: http://www.topo3d.com/topo.exe

Company Information: Awesoft Engineering Inc. (AEI), Marc Eberle; PO Box 293, Jemez Springs, NM 87025, USA; Phone: (505) 440-9959; email: marc@topo3d.com; URL: http://www.topo3d.com




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