Maptech program is GPS-friendly

Anglers burn with passion over the seasonal movement of redfish to the jetties south of Calcasieu Lake.

EDITOR’S NOTE: This is part II of a two-part series detailing the Maptech Terrain Navigator Pro, Version 8 program. Part I appeared in the May issue.

As you move the cursor, the exact coordinates in latitude/longitude, UTM, MGRS, township or state plane along with elevations and grade are instantly shown.

The program has lots of GPS waypoint, route and track drawing symbols and features. It includes range-ring and bearing-distance tools. You can measure distance and areas quickly, even across multiple maps and photos. Surveyors can enter data by quadrant. The map images can programmed to show the USGS benchmarks on the screen, or the map images can be shown without such benchmark monuments.

The user can easily switch between NAD27, NAD83 and WGS84 datum. This synchronization with G.P.S receivers provides the most accurate rendition of the terrain.

Latitude and longitude values are shown in several ways from degrees, minutes and hundredths of seconds, decimal degrees with seven places after the decimal point (10 millionths of a degree) H,DDD.ddddddd and decimal minutes with four positions after the decimal, (10 thousandths of a minute), which is normally shown as H, DDD,MM,mmmm. The change of one integer in the last position after the decimal minutes (.0001’ to .0002’) indicates a change of latitude that would equal about .61 feet (7.32 inches). This allows you the option of placing a position waypoint in a location that is 16 times more accurate than a consumer GPS receiver.

Terrain Navigator even has optional street map coverage for the entire United States. Street maps can be viewed on their own or as an overlay on topographic maps and photos.

The Maptech Terrain Navigator Pro program will allow you to place waypoints on any of the map images with an extreme degree of accuracy. It will allow you to make routes and tracks in the various maps and aerial photos, and then transfer this data to most popular GPS units.

The Maptech Terrain Navigator Pro is compatible with 10 different GPS brands. The Garmin connectivity section alone has more than 50 different units listed and, of course, it can communicate to any receiver in the NEMA protocol, which is the industry standard for all such data transfer.

In addition, you can transfer waypoints, routes and tracks from your GPS back to Terrain Navigator to analyze the data and to determine on any of the various maps where you’ve been. These waypoints, routes and tracks can then be studied and archived on a CD or DVD or in your computer.

And to add another feature, you can turn your laptop PC into a moving GPS map display by connecting a GPS to it with a Terrain Navigator Pro program installed. The program will allow you to see your position on the map images, moving on the maps or aerial photos as you move. Used in an automobile, you will need the space and someone other than the driver to operate the system, but it makes a superb auto navigation system.

You can export the maps and aerial photos to a photo or other graphics programs, or you can print the map images to a PDF Distiller file for electronic duplication via email, etc.

Maptech Terrain Navigator Pro is the program that I use when plotting positions, designing routes and marking tracks for my readers. It is the most comprehension mapping program that I have seen.

If you have a mapping or chartplotter GPS unit that has an internal mapping screen, you most likely will be required to use only mapping software that is compatible with that unit.

Garmin MapSource mapping software will not work in a Lowrance GPS system and, of course, the reverse is also true. You will need to acquire the proper mapping software that is designed for that particular unit.

But, of course, there is an exception to everything, and there is also one to this statement. But I will cover that shortly.

When using a mapping or chartplotting GPS unit, there are usually several choices of different types of maps that are available from the manufacturer. These internal software maps can range from automobile travel, usually referred to as “On The Road,” or city navigating mapping, marine charts based on N.O.A.A., referred to as Blue Water or some such name, or BlueChart, aviation maps usually divided into Jeppesen-based aerial maps and maps that indicate specific taxi and landing areas and topographical mapping most all of which is based on U.S.G.S. Quad or Topographical maps.

Naturally you would not choose an aerial map for your excursion in the coastal marshland, and you would not choose a marine chart when using the unit in an airplane.

With that understanding, let’s consider what kind of mapping we should use.

Just because you are in a boat does not mean you must have marine-type maps in your GPS unit. Again, some manufacturers have designed their units so that they can use only that type of mapping and no other. However, the more versatile units can accommodate several of the manufacturer’s different types of mapping software, i.e. On the Road, Marine, Topo, etc.

As for our coastal marshes and all inland lakes, I prefer to use those maps based on U.S.G.S. topographical maps. Usually these type of maps indicate somewhere in their description that they are topo-type maps.

Yes, some new units allow you to download aerial photos into their GPS units as a screen map, but the area of coverage is roughly 12 square miles. This is great for hiking in one area, but when traveling in a vehicle, you would easily run off the internal aerial photo map. Additional aerial maps are available as a computer download for a subscription fee.

No, you can’t load the Maptech Terrain Navigator Pro program into your GPS. These maps are of such detail that they would simply take up too much memory, but you can connect most types of GPS units to the program via a computer. When having such a configuration in a laptop computer, you will have the best kind of mapping available for your GPS travels. But hold on again, as there is also an exception to this!

You can download your Terrain Navigator Pro maps onto a pocket PC handheld using the Maptech Pocket Navigator software (sold separately). It’s the most portable way to take detailed Maptech digital maps into the field.

The Maptech Terrain Navigator Pro coupled with a decent internal GPS mapping system is the best of both kinds of mapping needs.

About Captain Paul Titus 192 Articles
Capt. Paul Titus has been responding to G.P.S questions on since 2000. He has been fishing and hunting in Louisiana since 1957. Titus holds a USCG license and conducts instruction courses in the use of GPS for private individuals and government agencies.