Garmin announced this week that they are making their BaseCamp software, for both PC and Mac, free. Some of the features include:
- Allows you to view 24K or 100K topographic maps and other topographic data from Garmin
- Displays maps in 2-D or 3-D, including elevation profiles, and allows you to view and rotate them at any angle
- Allows you to create waypoints and routes on your computer and transfer maps, waypoints, routes, tracks and geotagged photos between your computer and your Garmin device
- Shows animated playback of routes and tracks over time
- Supports geotagged photos
- Lets you easily organize data into foldersPrints full-page, color mapsExports user data for viewing in Google Earth
- Includes advanced geocaching support; can import data from geocaching.com
Notice the first line above about viewing TOPO maps - what it doesn't mention is that you have to purchase them separately from Garmin. Otherwise, you can use the BaseCamp program with the standard, sparsely detailed base map that it comes with. Other than support for geotagged photos and animated route/track playback, most of the features listed above are already available in Garmin's MapSource program that comes with most Garmin handheld GPS receiver devices. What I like about MapSource is I can add other (aka, "free") TOPO maps to the background and view my GPS data on top. See GPSFileDepot for more information on downloading free TOPO maps for your Garmin and MapSource.
For now, I think I'll stick with MapSource. But if you happen to already have some of Garmin's 24K or 100K TOPO map products, you may want to give BaseCamp a try. The price is right.