Sunday, March 18, 2012

Outdoor Retailer: GPS Mapping Software

As I said in my last post, the mapping software companies have been much more willing to discuss forthcoming developments. So much so that I’m not sure where to begin. Delorme, National Geographic TOPO!, and Fugawi all indicated that improvements are coming. Outdoor Retailer is a chaotic environment and it wasn’t always clear what they were and were not willing to talk about, at least for publication. In order to avoid any journalistic faux pas, and ensure accurate reporting, I decided to do formal interviews with their staff. I’ll get those rolling early in the coming week. If you have any questions you would like to see included, please send a comment below. I’m hoping we develop a strong community here at gpstracklog.com. There is a lot of expertise out there and I can only look at so many programs.

I can go ahead and tell you a couple of things to watch for. I’m sure we’ll be seeing increased compatibility in terms of file formats, and look for software manufacturers to move even further into the hardware arena. I hope to be able to share more ASAP.

One other thing; I saw a Motion Based software demo that I was quite impressed with. I shied away from including them in my book, for a couple of reasons. One, I wanted to see it actually published, and not become a perpetually expanding monster. Also, I have to admit a bias towards low-cost and free software that caused me to ignore a fee-based package like Motion Based, though I would be remiss at this point if I didn’t mention that their free mode carries only minor limitations. I must say, what I saw today was pretty impressive. This is the first software I’ve seen to integrate (and I hope I’m getting the details right) high resolution b/w USGS aerial photos, color aerial photos, topo maps, street maps, and even Google Earth! It was not clear if these could be layered, and I’m already in the Salt Lake City airport, so I can’t ask that question right now. Regardless, this could be the answer to my earlier post bemoaning the lack of topographical maps in Google Earth / Google Maps. A slight digression here – an astute reader commented on that post side-band, noting that MSN Virtual Earth integrates aerial photos and topo maps, which I hope to explore in an upcoming post. Anyway, back to Motion Based, I plan to test this software in the near future and file a report here. That will likely have to wait until next month, due to a crazy travel and work schedule. In the meantime, are there any comments from readers on their experience with Motion Based?

About Rich Owings

Rich is the owner, editor and chief bottle-washer for GPS Tracklog. Connect with him on Twitter, Facebook or Google Plus.

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