Comparison of Garmin Topo 24K vs 100K for trail riding.
Got a new GPS and wanted to see what map set was best for trail /adventure riding.
Here is a comparison of the various map sets: Garmin Topo 24K 2012 vs Garmin Topo 100K 2012 vs my old 2004 Garmin Topo West 100K......and the winner for most trails and most legible, visible maps for trail riding is....
2004 Topo West.
Here are two map comparison w/ areas I'm familiar with.
Area 1 :
Utah, Eagle Canyon by Swazye's Cabin in the San Raffael Swell
2004 Topo 100K
2012 Topo 100K
and finally the map the one would assume would provide the most trail detail...... the brand spanking new 2012 Garmin Topo 24K:
How is it possible that at the same resolution the 24K shows many fewer trails than the 100K series.
The 100K 2004 & 2012 are identical on trial, but I prefer the look and clarity of the 2004 version. It's easier to see the trail on the GPS while riding since the topo features are more simple. The 2012 100K has too much shading and relief for easy viewing while trail riding.
Hackett Gulch, Colorado by Westcreek.
2004 100K Topo:
2012 100K Topo
2012 24K Topo
Heck even the City Nav has as many trail as the 24K Topo!
2012 City Nav:
Let me know if you would like to see other areas in Co or Ut.
I just sent Garmin the following question and am curiously awaiting their response.
I just purchased a new Montana to replace my old 276C and got the latest version of Topo 24K Mountain Central to go with it for my off-road motorcycle rides. I'm kind of disappointed w/ the new 24K topo. When comparing it w/ my old 2004 version of Topo West 100K I find that the new 24K shows fewer trails than my 2004 100K Topo. How is this possible? Shouldn't the 24K show much more detail than the 100K?
That was a quick response. Specially since it was onna Sunday.
The TOPO US 24k mapping is more detailed in almost every way. An important distinction between the TOPO US 24k and the TOPO US 100k is that the 24k mapping includes routable trails and roads, whereas the 100k map does not have routable trails and roads. This may impact which trails are viewable in the map. What area are you in? I will check the available trails on both mapping products to double check the available trails.
With Best Regards,
Product Support Specialist
913-440-8280 (fax) Att: Christopher Bl., Associate #5842
Additional solutions may be found at http://www.garmin.com/garmin/cms/site/us/support/searchsupport
So it seems that for trail riding the 100K is better since it provides more trails, while the 24K Topo only shows the trails that are routable.
I have the the 478C (276 w/xm stuff and marine) and I loaded the topo stuff and i thought that all topo was not route-able. Guess I was wrong. But I will have to test that today !!
shown on my map info page.
TOPO U.S. 24K West Released: March, 2009 Version: 2.00 (most current version according to Garmin website)
TOPO U.S. 100K Topo 100K Released: March, 2009 Version: 4.00 (most current version according to Garmin website)
CN North America NT 2013.10
US Marine Detail map g2 v3.50
AMR standard autoroute basemap, NR
my PC says:
Topo US 2008 Version 4.00
Topo US 24K West Version 2.00
CN North America NT 2013.1 version 16.10
So I set mine in sim mode.
Confirmed. 2008 topo will not route on trails on my 478
using my 2009 24k, I routed myself to a remote place, then selecting "menu", then "map info" then I checked "topo 2008" then unchecked "24K"......the route was still there. but in my case/location some of the road was not on that map. But it did seem to eliminate some of the contour clutter. Oddly enough, my CNNANT 2013.10 had that trail on it anyway.
So I just might route using 2009 24k, OR CNNANT then change over to 2008 topo to declutter the 24k OR populate the CNNANT the screen a bit.
Just to let some of the new folks know that in the 276/478 series (maybe others?) that the order that is seen on the "map information" page, the top one is the primary map and sets an order of precedence. So just in case I did not word that correctly... if you have CNNANT on the top and then topo 2008 and then topo 24k under that and they are all checked. You will only view CNNANT. Uncheck that top one and the Topo 2008 will be viewed. hmmm hope that made sense.
Anyway I learned something from Yellow Pig, thanks for asking Garmin :D
I recently discovered the same road/trail discrepancies between Topo 100k and Topo 24k in planning a primitive road dirt bike trip in SE Utah.
The 100k maps showed lots of roads not in the 24k set and vice versa. I found I had to really use both map sets to plan the trip. On one stretch I was kind of worried that the 24k map set showed a long road not going thru and there were no bailouts. I could see the road on Google Earth so we decided to ride it and it did go thru.
The final explanation straight from the horses mouth:
First off, thank you for the inquiry regarding the differences between our Topo products. I looked into this problem and believe I found most of the answers to your questions. This issue arises from the fact that the older Topo 100K maps were treated as a “dumping ground” for all trails regardless of their scale, quality and accuracy. When we started making the 24K maps we decided to limit the product to higher quality datasets and included Navteq data so the product would be routable. In concern of map size, we felt that having a routable product was more of a service to our customers than adding, in some places, pretty shoddy trail information. You are not the first person to bring up a concern regarding the removal of some of our trails and it is currently being looked into by our outdoor team. I can’t guarantee that they will decide to comb through the trail data and add the good material to the maps, but it is definitely being discussed. Feel free to pass along any other questions you may have and I apologize if this issue has caused you any inconvenience.
1200 E. 151st Street
Olathe, KS 66062
Wonder how good the 24k maps I'm building will be from the USGS data.
I've not used the 100k maps so I cannot comment on them. But I spent the money on both the Garmin West and Southwest map sets before finding out they were a major waste of money. I have found that the free GPS FileDepot maps have many more roads and trails on them than the Garmin 24k ones do. Routable does no good if the roads don't show on the map in the first place. So I just draw a track following the roads I intend to ride and load that onto the GPS unit. As long as I have that pink line to follow I'm fine!
Thank you for the tip to that site.
Very useful! So Dan the original poster was showing screen shots from his 24k "Mountain Central" (a 2 state set that retails for $99). And others have posted about the 24k "West" or "Southwest" DVD (each one covers 4 states and retails for $129).
I am wondering why Garmin sells both types? Is it just to offer a slighty cheaper set if you only needed say 1 state like Colorado?
Is the data on these 2 the same or completely different (for the same area)? :deal
Could anyone with the 24k Southwest DVD (including Colorado) please post screen shots of the identical area that Yellow Pig posted in the beginning? Then at least for those 2 spots we could compare.
The 1st comparison is near I-70 in central Utah at: 38.85, -110.85
The 2nd comparison is NW of Colorado Springs, CO at: 39.08, -105.35
This would be most helpful, thanks. I just ordered a new Montana and the 24k Southwest, so maybe I will send it back???
With the cards or downloads, they are tied to the card or unit, whereas with DVD you do not have that limitation.
I haven't used the card or download version, but I'm betting the data/detail are the same, it is only a difference in delivery method.
I hope somebody shows us a specific screen shot examples of my request above. And if you do, please specify if it was on a uSD card, download or DVD. Thanks.
One needs to remember that dual sporters are almost certainly not the main market for Garmin's mapset. It would probably be the footborne recreationalists who are the major purchasers of these mapsets. For hunters, hikers, etc, more detail in hypsography is going to be infinitely more important than a routable trail. I wouldn't be surprised if there isn't a little bit of legal defense involved: "We could be sued if somebody used a trail we put in the map that led them into danger". Sort of like handguns that have "This firearm will discharge with the magazine removed" rollstamped into the frame... But that's an aside.
I can tell you that trails are an enormous difficulty for mapping. Take a look up in Canada where Backroad Mapbooks have been providing detailed recreational maps for backcountry recreationalists for nearly 20 years now, first paper only in gazette form, now paper and Garmin mapping as well. They try to have everything - trails, campsites, paddling routes, you name it. I've done some consulting work and ground truthing for them; narrowing it down to trails, the problems are legion.
First, what defines a "trail" anyways? Some are truly foot only, man or beast. And when does a wildlife trail become a human "trail" - when recreationalists start regularly using it and it becomes known? So who finally maps the thing? Conventionally, some government agency does, normally one associated with parks or outdoor recreation. But money for those projects is nonexistent, and if it was done, they didn't hand the warden or ranger a high quality GPS. They were asked to sketch it in on a paper topo map in the course of a horseback back country patrol (been there, done that), using the contour lines, creeks, etc as a guide. Or they were handed one of the earliest Garmin GPS units to capture the trail - and nobody has been told to update the mapping ever since.
Or they relied on "local knowledge". There were posts here a few years ago from somebody wanting to know if anyone had ridden the Grease Trail, an old native trade route heading north from Ft Ware, because they wanted to ride it on their KLR. Sure enough, on maps, there is a nice straight line from Ft Ware heading north towards the Yukon. I supported a friend who wanted to try hiking it last year by making some custom Garmin maps for him. Found out very quickly that the "trail" involved some government official in the distant past asking some native guy who had been over the trail at least once on a horse to draw a line on a map.... I'm sure the native guy did his best, but I'm also sure he probably never used a map in his life and probably hadn't been on that trail (or at least in its entirety, if ever even that) in probably 20 years. Short story - they fought through swamps and alder for about 30 miles before showing the good common sense to turn around and return to Ft Ware. Said they encountered hints of trails here and there, but that's about it - the forest and bush reclaims trails and roads pretty quickly when unused.
An example of official government mapping: Banff is Canada's most heavily hiked in national parks, and Waterton nearby adjoins Glacier in Montana. Go see if you can find any digital trail information available for those parks from the government.
The explosion in personal GPS devices (particularly present day, with their enhanced reception and accuracy) has been a game changer, and neither the government nor recreationalists have responded well to it. There is no organized data warehouse I'm aware of that collects trail input with a data manager who has a system for groundtruthing submitted data to ensure it is both reliable data (or has a reliability rating) and updated as changes occur.
Backroads Mapbooks approach has been to seek data from any source they could find, not just for trails but for the billions of miles of dirt roads that access (or often just used to access) logging, mining exploration, etc. Many of the roads in their mapping (which might be what the OP would consider a ridable "trail") haven't been passable even by foot for over 20 years now. Alder hell... So you have a problem in that sources will give you mapping data - but while people will add mapping data, RARELY does anyone get sent to remove road and trail features when they are no longer passable as roads and trails.
So when you're Garmin (or Backroads Mapbooks or a similar company) what do you do? Your GIS/cartography employees have had it drilled into them from Day One in their profession that mapping information must be reliable. You can't groundtruth the whole bloody country like governments do with gazetted highways, public roads, streets, etc. The question that nobody has fully resolved yet is how you collect reliable trail data that you're confident about putting in your maps. Look at all the posts we see here where somebody was pissed because a road that supposedly went through turned into a dead end, or now had a fence running right across it somewhere with "no trespassing" signs.
To end a long story, until somebody decides to take the initiative to formalize a means of collecting, groundtruthing, and updating/removing trail and non-public road data, companies are never going to be able to provide uniformly satisfactory data for those features in their mapsets. A trail on slick rock in Utah may have been there for a thousand years and be reliable when mapped for the next thousand. But in Washington, Idaho, Montana, etc, old mining and trade trails disappeared a decade after falling into disuse.
In my view, the most reliable source for trail data is going to be private, cooperative websites like http://www.dualsportmaps.com/. It happens to be dual sport riding specific, unlike websites like http://www.gpsies.com/?language=en which warehouses tracks for hiking, horses, mountain bikes, you name it.
My take - with my recreation being in NW Montana through SE BC - is that the 24k maps are far more valuable than the 100k maps due to the far more accurate hypsography and natural features. I have no interest in routable trails or roads for a variety of issues. The enhanced natural features of fine scale mapping really assist in orienting yourself to your surroundings when you're somewhere in a maze of old roads, new roads, and sometimes no roads.
The tracks don't have to be in the mapping for my Garmin, at least in my view. It sure would be nice if they were, but I can go get them from a place like DualSportMaps, where somebody actually rode the trail, made comments, attached pictures, points of interest, etc. And where people who later rode the trail added commentary on the accuracy, updates, etc. I know a track in DualSportMaps is going to be far more accurate for dual sporting than anything that Garmin can come up with, given their necessary generalist approach to mapping.
The moral of the story is: get the mapping you'd like to have by collecting and sharing the mapping you'd like to have. Think on this for a moment: if every ADV member riding with a GPS collected and submitted GPS data from the tracks they ride off public highways (ie the data Garmin and others have a hard time collecting and ground truthing) to a website like DualSportMaps... how long do you think it would take to have a truly comprehensive GPS datawarehouse of the dual sporting available?
I've been uploading and mapping the crap out of the best dual sport riding in SE BC for that very reason, and I suspect others have been doing the same with popular riding around places like Colorado and Utah.
One final note: Backroads Mapbooks http://backroadmapbooks.com/GPS/index.html realizes that much of their collected road and trail data from governments, forestry companies, etc is unreliable or no longer in existance. Their approach to getting road and trail data current and reliable as possible is this: purchasers of their products who submit trail and road corrections, new roads, new trails, etc get free map updates for as long as they continue the process of submitting corrections and updates. Most purchasers probably don't bother, but there's an example of where at least the users of the product have an opportunity to improve the areas they use that they see shortcomings in.
There are other private recreational Garmin mapping providers throughout North America at least, and some of them probably do the same as Backroads. Between that and websites like DualSportMaps, it seems to me that the quality of the GPS mapping available to dual sporters (and hikers, mountain bikers, etc) is in our own hands. Instead of just (correctly) complaining that the mapping for our Garmins lacks what we need, we can do something to change that.
BTW, just for clarity, I have no financial or other personal interest related to any company or website mentioned here, other than the fact I've paid for and use their products when they are for sale instead of free.
Thanks Jager, that was quite informative and I got a few new ideas. I totally agree about it being up to US in the dual sport community to improve the dual sport map content OURSELVES by taking time to upload maps. I put some tracks from Baja in GPSXchange.com because that was where I found the best Baja tracks before my trip so I tried to give back. I'd like to see DualSportMaps.com take off and grow and I appreciate their initiative. The last time I looked there I couldn't find much for they area I was interested in.
I totally understand your point about trails - but roads, even small ones and especially in high desert areas like Utah, are nice to have every one you can find. Sure sometimes they may not be passable anymore and that is a risk.
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