Why GPS Maps

Above the Timber's high resolution topographic maps coupled with a Garmin mapping GPS receiver bring maps into the 21st Century. No longer do you have to locate physical landmarks and triangulate your position via map and compass, a tedious and error prone procedure. Your Garmin GPS does all that for you . . . instantly.

The many advantages of GPS Topos verses paper maps:


  • The most significant advantage is the GPS Position Marker. It places you on the map at your exact location . . . no more transposing via coordinates to a paper map. No time consuming triangulation using uncertain reference points.
  • The red triangle is the GPS Position Marker, it shows your position on planet earth not as a coordinate, but rather in map context. You can then use the map scale to estimate the distance to any other map feature. Zoom in or out for more detail or area as your needs dictate.



In this example, you're on the trail in heavy timber, an afternoon thunderstorm just passed over and it's raining, so you'd like to know the distance to the lake. You can't see reference points for classic compass and paper map triangulation, besides too slow and a pain in the rain. With a modern Garmin mapping GPS and Above the Timber's Topo maps inside, you simply need to look at the display to know your position relative to the lake. Additionally, you can move the cursor to any feature and the GPS will calculate the distance from your current location . . . instantly.

  • No legend needed, a paper maps requires a legend, often detached, to explain what all the points, lines and areas mean. A vector map has a unique text descriptor for each point, line and area object. Simply touch any object with the cursor.
  • Record geographic points so you or someone else can return to the same spot.
  • Vast scale, on a fingernail sized memory card you can hold several states 24K topo maps, try that with paper quads. Now you can go to that next basin that's off your paper map and know where you're at, freedom.
  • Seamless borders, adjacent maps seamlessly join one to another, unlike paper maps.
  • Over zoom, unlike paper maps at a fixed scale and font size, these topo maps allow the individual users to zoom as needed for their eyesight, no need for a magnifier.
  • Adjustable Text Sizes, Font sizes can also be adjusted over a broad range to suit each individual's eyesight.
  • Map Pointer Info, everything you see can be selected with the GPS cursor for its name, type or elevation. Want to find the elevation of a contour? Simply position the pointer on the contour, viola instant elevation. No more finding an elevation and following the line back to your area of interest and then counting lines.
  • Backlight, view the maps in any light condition from full sun to totally dark, no need to drag out a flashlight.
  • Waterproof, need to check the map in the rain, no problem, GPS receivers are waterproof, are your paper maps waterproof?
  • Windproof, ever try to read a paper map in a strong wind, acts like a sail doesn't it.
  • No folding and unfolding with the inevitable loss of detail at the folds.
  • No need to dig the giant map out of your pack, a GPS "rides" up front.
  • No need to print a paper map from your map software, you always have your maps inside your GPS.
  • Print to paper, you can print from MapSource if a paper copy is useful.
  • Searchable text, want to find a geographic feature? Type in a text string and let the GPS or your PC do the heavy lifting.
  • A GPS provides odometer functions (Time, Distance, Speed, etc.), can your paper map and compass do that?
  • Screenshot, create a screen image saved to memory of anything on the display
  • Display photos, show geotagged photos, a tiny icon will appear on the map, touching it will dispay a photo
  • Create tracks, a GPS will create an visible track overlaying the map. This track has two very important benefits:
    • In case you need to follow your path back to where you started.
    • Also useful for map making, to record a path and transfer to a map.