Topo Maps+ 4.0 iOS backpacking app!

Stephen Johnson of Glacier Peak Studios has produced an awesome iOS application for backpacking. Being a backpacker myself (, and an iOS developer as part of my job, I can appreciate the time and effort that has been put into this app.

In the past, I have struggled to find ways of importing my National Geographic Topo! maps into a mapping app on my iPhone. But with Topo Maps+, I no longer need to import maps. The app allows me to download topo maps for any areas I wish to visit. By default, the maps are low resolution. But even at “low resolution”, the maps are perfectly fine! But this app is more than just a map viewer with GPS capabilities. I can trace my own routes on the maps, see elevation profiles for my routes, add, import, export waypoints, add symbols for trailheads, camping spots, etc. With all this capability, I don’t need to import my Topo! maps anymore. All the functionality I want is built into the app!

While the default map resolution is “low”, there is an option to purchase a “Map Pass”. A map pass allows me to download high resolution maps. A Map Pass is $9.99 for 3 months, but does not automatically renew. This is a great option, since I can get a map pass for just the time I need it (while planning a trip for instance), and then not worry about buying another one until the next year, when I’m ready to plan my next trip. (Stephen has generously offered me a free map pass for writing this review. Thanks Stephen!). But as I mentioned above, the low resolution maps are perfectly adequate, even when zoomed in.

Topo Maps+ lets me download my desired hiking maps in 10 (yup 10!!) different formats, from topo maps, to satellite images. Maps even have the option of built-in trail overlays, so depending on where I plan to hike, I may not even need to trace a route at all! It comes with the map itself! How cool is that!

While beta-testing version 4.0, Stephen was extremely quick in responding to issues. This bodes well for product support in the released version.

Topo Maps+ is, quite frankly, the best backpacking mapping application I have found with its overall ability to do everything I could do in my desktop National Geographic Topo! application. I highly recommend it!


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