I’ve never been happy with CalTopo’s reliance on USGS 7.5′ topo scans. While I expect them to remain the gold standard in backcountry navigation for years to come, in some places they’re quite out of date. Even when they aren’t, it’s difficult to use them for high level trip planning – zoom out a couple levels and it’s hard to see trails or read the text. Often I’ll zoom in to trace out a trail, then zoom out to get the high level picture.
|Vogelsang Pass, Yosemite. At zoom 13, you can barely follow the trails.|
|MB Topo view of the Marin Headlands|
|MB Aerial rendering of the same spot|
|MB Topo rendering of Mt Olympus, WA|
|Custom Grand Canyon map that emphasizes trails.|
|Custom high-level planning map of Cascade Pass, WA.|
|Custom map of Logan Pass, Glacier National Park, MT|
- The data I’m using for relief shading has some issues with wide zoom levels. It should be fixed in a week, but until then North-facing slopes may look rough.
- OpenStreetMap trail data includes some common cross-counry travel routes, like the Whitney MR and the DC and Emmons routes up Rainier. So far I haven’t figured out how to distinguish them from actual trails.
- The PDF generator creates high resolution maps by zooming in and then shrinking everything down. With layers that change at each zoom level, this makes text and features really small. I hope to have a solution soon, so that MapBuilder layers will print acceptably.
- Since this is under active development, existing maps may cease to work or suddenly start looking different.
- Remember, once I get the bugs worked out, custom layers will become a pro-level feature, but several preconfigured layers will remain available.