If a topo map isn't in your hunting bag, you're missing out on one of the most awesome hunting tools ever invented. A topo map helps you scout an area before the season, helps you plan hunting routes so you don't have to scale cliffs or swim creeks and it helps you find those amazing deer funnels. On top of all that, a topo map is fun to play with while you're waiting on that giant buck to pay you a visit.
Ten years ago, paper maps were about the only option available, but today a smart phones and tablets give you such a dizzying array of map options that your brain will go into overload within minutes of typing "topo map" in the app store search field. I searched the iPhone app store for "Topo Maps" and was presented with almost 200 topo map options that ranged in price from free to $24.99. I took a good bit of time and gave several topo map apps the once over and finally ended up with 2 topo apps installed on my phone.
Today I'll let you know what I think about Topo Maps by Phil Endecott, this app stood out as an app that had the features I was looking for without useless bloat.
I'm cheap. I hate buying things then never using them and even though this app was just $7.99 I needed to know exactly what I was getting, so I visited Topo Maps website and looked around. I saw a lot of very cool features, but I didn't find anything else to buy to make the app even better. As a last resort I clicked the "contact us" link at 5:19 PM by 5:43 PM I had a response.
I guess I'm cynical because I've seen way to many apps that require subscriptions or extra charges to be fully functional, so I was blown away by the response I received from Phil:
The map downloads are free. There is nothing to pay after the initial $7.99.
By 6:00 PM I had Phil's Topo Maps on my phone. The maps are laid out in the grids the USGS uses, so you find the grid you need, hold your thumb on the map for a bit and when you lift your thumb you're asked if you want the hires or low res version. Within moments your map is loaded and you see a little blue dot showing yo where you are. Simple, quick and just what I was looking for.
There several menus that have features you'll find useful for hunting or hiking and I'm not covering them all, I'm just covering the stuff I think I'll use...eventually I'm sure I'll play with all the features though.
The maps are outstanding and you can add shading if you want to, but I like the plain ole USGS map colors. If you're hunting an area on the edges of a map it's no problem, just download the adjacent map and as you scroll between maps it's seamless.
You can drop waypoints on your map which is great for marking your stands or places you enter the woods or park your ATV. I LOVE waypoints! I no longer need to build a pile of rocks or sticks to mark where I need to leave the trail to find my stand tree in the dark.
Finally, a feature I happen to LOVE is a distance and heading calculator. You can center a location on your map then click the top left menu button and you get distance rings and if you move the cursor to a place and it tells you how far something is from you. I really wish there was an option to have distances displayed in yards. How often have you made an awesome shot then had to guess how far it was. If distances were in yards you could move a the cursor and know for sure you made a 220 yard shot.
It took me a little while to figure out how to view a map that isn't where you are. Example...I'm in Birmingham and I want to look at a map 6 counties over. I swiped and squeezed trying to get there, finally I turned the GPS off (bottom left corner) and flipped over to the map grid (bottom right corner) and swiped to the map I wanted to view and held my thumb on the desired map till it flipped over again. VERY easy after you know what to do.
Overall, purchasing Topo Maps by Phil Endecott was well worth the $7.99!
My Outdoors Online
Picking up where the road ends!