February 19, 2011

Too Many Maps?

While I’m certainly in the camp where the motto is, “You can never have too many maps”, I have to admit I’m a bit overwhelmed by all the different mapping software products offered by Garmin. And I’m just talking about the software that’s of interest to geocachers, not other products such as those for vehicle navigation systems.

When I bought my GPSmap60CSx (or was it my “TOPO U.S. 24K West DVD?, I can’t remember), it came with “MapSource, a nice little program that allows you to load different types of background maps on to your GPS receiver, including non-Garmin maps available from sources such as GPS File Depot.  I also use it to extract my GPSr data after a cache outing in order to view my tracks overlaid on a map, along with the trip statistics such as total length, time, and elevation gain. It also has a feature that allows you to export your track and waypoint data into Google Earth.

But as I was perusing the Garmin website (as I often do), I ran across another similar product called BaseCamp. O.K, what’s the deal, Garmin? It looks like BaseCamp is just a slightly souped-up version of MapSource, in that it supports 3D views, rotated maps, and geo-tagged photos (sort of like Google Earth), and, most importantly, allows you to import data from geocaching.com (presumably, in the form of a GPX file).

I only just started playing around with it, so I can’t provide a detailed compare and contrast analysis with MapSource. But if it truly does everything MapSource can do and more, then I might make the permanent switch to BaseCamp. Until such time, of course, that Garmin offers up yet another mapping tool...

Cache On!

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