Frequently Asked Questions


  • What is the Difference Between the DVD and Download Versions?

The DVD has three main files, whereas the download has one:

  1. StateTopo.exe, this is the Windows version which installs into Garmin MapSource or BaseCamp

  2. gmapsupp.img, this is all the map segments combined into one GPS readable file

  3. StateTopo.TGZ, this is the Macintosh version that installs into Garmin RoadTrip or BaseCamp

The download version is either 1 or 3 but never 2. Both 1 and 3 can create 2. Item 1 can create 3*, but 3 can not create 1.
    *Free software from Garmin required: Garmin MapConverter

  • Will Above the Timber's Maps work in my Garmin GPS?

Yes. Have yet to encounter a Garmin mapping GPS that doesn't work. Simply download any of the free state demo map sets to prove it to yourself, today. Each is about 2MB and has links to download and install Mapsource.

  • What Software is required?

You will need either Garmin MapSource or BaseCamp to view the maps on your PC. To load the maps to your GPS receiver you will need either Garmin MapSource or MapInstall.  BaseCamp/MapInstall are free downloads from Garmin as is MapSource with a bit of a workaround, directions and links are in all PC software installers. Choose BaseCamp if 3D and/or Birdseye satellite imagery is important, MapSource if a smaller, quicker, all-in-one solution is your criteria. If you have the Trips & Waypoints CD with your new GPS, then you have a copy of MapSource.

  • How Much Memory Will I Need?

Use the download map size here to get within 10% of the loaded to GPS map size.  The smallest practical memory card is now 1GB, and the largest universal size is 2GB. Newer units (Oregon, Dakota, GPSMAP 62/78) will accept up to 16GB SDHC cards.

  • Which Garmin GPS should I Buy?

Garmin makes dozens of compatible mapping GPS receivers. Factors to consider: battery life, sunlight visibility, screen resolution and size, memory, cost. Above the Timber does not provide individual consulting. Garmin has feature comparison pages on their website. Happy hunting.

  • Are these really 24K Topos?

Yes and More, 24K implies 24,000:1 fixed scaling. These maps dynamically scale, so you can have the exact scale necessary for optimum viewing, unlike fixed scale paper maps. You can easily scale to 12K if necessary, for viewing a small area by over zooming or zoom out to 100K to see a larger area.

  • What Datum/Projection should I use?

While the maps were constructed using NAD83, the maps are exported to WGS84 before compiling. WGS84 is the default projection in most GPS receivers. Unless you have a specific reasons and know why you're making changes, do not adjust your factory default projection settings.

  • Is their a Map Legend?

No, because it is not necessary. Paper maps need a legend to identify their line, point and area types. But vector maps allow every feature to have a unique text description, not just a generic type from a legend. Simply place the GPS cursor on any object of interest and its unique text ID will pop up. Another example of GPS vector maps superiority over paper/raster maps.

  • Is USGS Vegetation Data Included on these Maps?

No, mainly because that data is in raster format, whereas Garmin maps are vector maps. To include raster data it must first be converted to vector data, possible but nontrivial. Further complicating the issue is public land ownership, it would be difficult to portray vegetation and forest service lands at the same time.

  • Do the maps show Private Lands?

Yes and No. The maps show all public lands, state and federal. By inference, all lands not public are private. However, private land ownership is not shown, only that it is not public. Also, these are not survey quality maps. When you get close to a private parcel, you should be looking for boundary markers.

  • Will I see any seams?

Essentially no. Because the data sets are so large, it was necessary to grid or subdivide the master map so that it would fit in the 2GB limit of 32-bit Windows. The net result is if you zoom in tight enough, some grid overlap errors are visible. While visible, these errors will in no way affect your ability to navigate with the maps.

  • Do I have layer control of features?

Essentially no. You cannot individually control the appearance of area, line, or point features. All feature types have a hard coded display sequence. However, you have considerable control over when features as a group appear/disappear using the Detail setting inside your GPS or MapSource.

  • Are their any disadvantages to these maps?

Unfortunately Yes, two come to mind:
1] If your batteries die, these maps cease to exist until the batteries are replaced. Advised to carry spares.
2] Detail, the very detail that makes these maps great at walking speeds can be a curse a highway speeds. Your GPS receiver may have difficulty refreshing the display with rapid motion. Because the maps are multi-level, zooming out to 200-foot contours will significantly reduce the data for the CPU to process, thereby increasing the useful map refresh rate.

  • Can I Plan Routes on my PC with these Maps?

Only to the extent that Mapsource or another mapping software allows, there is no PC viewer included. Keep in mind, the whole point of these Topos is that you don't have to preplan, you have the 24K maps with you, not back home on your PC. Also, ALL routes, waypoints and tracklogs are independent of these maps, another layer. Fundamentally, all a route is, is a series of vectors defined by the very same coordinates that the map vectors use. Therefore, if you create a vector route saved to a separate file, then it will show up on top of the map. These same route vectors will also obscure some of the 24K map detail unless there is a way to turn them off.

  • Can I Make Custom Maps using your GPS Maps?

Only to the extent that Mapsource allows, there is no PC viewer included. While the high resolution maps will certainly aid you in finding your location relative to geographic features, the resulting waypoints and tracklogs you create are dependant on your specific GPS receiver, not Above the Timber's maps. These custom waypoints and tracklogs can be exported to many mapping programs to make custom maps.

  • Can Waypoints and Track Logs be used/created with these maps?

Yes, waypoints and track logs are independent of all maps, another layer/file. Depending on the options available and/or chosen they are stored either in internal memory or on the flash card in separate files.

  • What Accuracy can I expect from these Maps in my GPS?

Their are two sources of inaccuracy using these maps, your GPS receiver and the raw data used to create the maps. Your Garmin GPS is a consumer grade GPS with an instantaneous accuracy of 30-50 feet and an averaging accuracy of 10-15 feet. The raw data, on the other hand, comes from many sources and can be off by a few to hundreds of feet. As recreational maps, consider the map objects to be "in-the-neighborhood" and not absolute positions.

  • Will Garmin's "Find Geographic Features" work with the map data?

Yes, simply type all of part of a phrase into the Mapsource find dialog and it will quickly find local points in distance order.

  • Are the Map 3D?

No, the 3D features of some Garmin GPS receivers offer no additional function with Above the Timber's maps.Do the maps have routing?

  • Are the map routable?

No, road or trail routing is not available. However, if you create a route from another map, then that route is now resident in your GPS receiver. That means the route is visible on top of any map you choose. Also, depending on the draw order of the maps, it is possible for your GPS to "see" and route from one map while another map is the visible.

  • Are the Map's locked to one GPS?

No, the maps can be placed on your existing and new PC's and GPS receivers. However,  the license agreement prohibits copying and/or sharing the map files with other users. If you sell your GPS receiver, you must remove the maps.

  • What is your GPS Topo Maps Upgrade Policy?

Whether you purchase via download or DVD-ROM, the upgrade is a DVD-ROM. There is no way to download an upgrade. See this page for details.

  • Why Does it Take 3-Weeks for a DVD?

Most of the delay is at this end. I rarely get to town more than once-a-week, so an order could sit in the PO Box for 1-6 days. Same is true for shipping. The alternative is to get the download