I’m someone who likes to hang out in bars and talk about where to paddle a canoe. It doesn’t happen that often but I’m forever bringing maps along which is fine – because Tyvek is also beer resistant – but inevitably the question is ‘how far is that’ or ‘do you have the map for X’?
And that’s where paper lets you down. But there’s this app that solves that. Topographic Maps Canada is free from the iTunes App store and allows you to get 1:50,000 Topo maps onto your iPhone or iPad in seconds. If you push to the edge of your map it asks you if you want to download the neighbouring one. You can search for topos by map name (always a bit challenging), download the topo for where you are, and see the Google Sat view.
But for me the nifty thing is being able to measure the distance between one or several points just by swiping and tapping a button. So I can plot the distance between Brent and Kiosk. And because I can download any map I want, I can pull up the Chiniguchi River system if the question comes up.
Now it is an iPhone app that ‘blows up’ to fit the iPad so it’s a bit pixelated in places. And you can’t save your routes (though you can save waypoints), so it’s not a total replacement for more hardcore mapping applications, most of which are to be found on the desktop.
The author David Crawshay deserves some kind of medal.
Now there is also W88Topo Maps for the iPad, which costs $8.00. I’m just downloading it now and I’ll have word on it shortly. It purports to do somethings that Crawshay’s free app will not. I’ll let you know how it goes.