Category Archives: Uncategorized

How Overlays Add Detail to Your Maps.

Each map maker has a unique style to their presentation, but often there are ways we can improve the way a map looks onscreen. Depending on screen resolution, bright light on a sunny day, or screen brightness to save battery life, many factors can all affect our ability to see details on our maps.

For instance, here is a series of screenshots of the Natural Atlas with subtle overlay additions to it.

As you can see, it is incredibly detailed, but because of its light colors it can be hard to see on a sunny day. In fact, it’s a little hard to see here on a white background. Here is a tip that can allow us to quickly see our map details and provide an even more enjoyable app experience in Topo Maps+. Each photo above has one more overlay added to it.

To make these changes yourself:

  1. Tap on the top right folded map icon.
  2. Select the Overlays tab
  3. Toggle on the US & S Canada Hill Shading and Neotreks Slope Map

Make sure the blend mode is on “Multiply” and Transparency is set at around 30%.    

You can purchase Pro here.

Combine Maps in Overlays

How can we combine individual map purchases to be seamless on the screen?

Let’s say we have separate map publishers or a map bundle with adjoining maps we’d like to connect like the National Geographic’s North Fork: Glacier National Park and Backroad Mapbooks Kootenay Rockies & Southern Alberta. All 3 overlap with each other and I’d like to be able to scroll from one into the next without having to go open a menu and select a different map.
I’m starting at a national level looking at the Natural Atlas base map (though any will work) and nothing specified for Canada.
I’ll tap on the top right folded map icon and select the Overlays tab.
I’m going to drag this card up a bit so I can see what I’m doing and then select the Map Overlays.
Here I’ll scroll down to the maps I’d like to connect over the same base map and toggle them on.
I’ll make sure the map settings are on “Normal” so they are stacked above the base map to be visible.
Now, I’ll close these cards and scroll in on the maps we just connected through the overlays. As you can see the National Geographic map scrolls seamlessly into the Backroad Mapbooks map.

Trails Illustrated Maps by National Geographic

I’m VERY close to finishing the Trails Illustrated Maps by National Geographic for Topo Maps+.

I have been working on this for awhile, but I am finally going to wrap it up. I will be releasing it next week.

Trails Illustrated maps are the most popular and trusted outdoor recreation maps.  With more than 200 maps, the Trails Illustrated map are available for most of America’s favorite outdoor destinations. Each map is created with help from local land managers and is rigorously reviewed.  Each Trails Illustrated map has topographic information, trails, and recreational points of interest.

HOWEVER, I need your help. Before I finalize everything, I need to make sure I have covered everything.

That is where you come in. Please take a few minutes to answer this super-short survey—there is really only one thing I want to ask you …

What is the most important thing for you when you are deciding which map to use for your outdoor adventures? (ie trail accuracy, reputation of map maker, up-to-date information from hiking community, etc). You can answer this question in the comments below.  I will read every response.

Topo Maps+ 5.0

Topo Maps+ 5.0 is here!

Moved features

A number of features have been moved to new locations in Topo Maps+ 5.0.

Downloading and printing maps is now under Prepare to go offline.


My Data has been moved to the menu.


Recording tracks and progress on trail are now under Hike.


Card Interface

Route, tracks, and waypoints are now displayed in a “card” interface on top of the map.  This new interface makes it easier to access properties, notes, and photos.  You can also move the card up to see more or move it down to have a minimized view.



If you have multiple cards open or if you want to access the toolbar, you can double tap on the top of a card to see the toolbar and all open cards.


Compass and Location

You can access GPS information about your current location and the compass by tapping on the blue location dot on the map or via the hike menu.

Snap To Trails

You can now create new routes by having them snap to trails.  When you tap on the map, Topo Maps+ will attempt to find a route to that location using trails from the Open Street Map and using any trails that you have traced on the map.



Updated Custom Routes

In Topo Maps+ 5.0 you can now add loops, in-n-out, and spurs to custom routes.  To create a custom route you access it via the Add menu.

List of Trails

You can now see a list of all trails in the area you are looking at by using the trails menu on the toolbar.

2016 US Forest Service Topographic Map

Topo Maps+ version 4.5 now has the 2016 US Forest Service topographic map.  Like the USGS topo map this map has the backcountry features you need while hiking and backpacking.  It is an updated topographic map with cleaner lines and labels.


The US Forest Service map does not cover all of the US.  This video shows you how to use Topo Maps+ PRO to create a continuous US map and how to add hill shading.

You can switch to the USFS 2016 map by tapping on the mac icon in the upper right corner.





Choosing and Printing Maps

Before you head out on your next outdoor adventure make sure you have printed maps. Taking the time to print a map could save your life. This training video is about the different types of topographic maps and printing them. You should always have a printed map with you when you go out and you should never rely solely on your phone to safely navigate the backcountry. Everything covered in this training video can be done using the free version of Topo Maps+.

At the end of the video I introduce the amazing offers I am going to have for you if you choose to purchase early access for Topo Maps+ on the Mac.

I would love to hear any tips and tricks you use to navigate in the backcountry. Leave a comment on this blog post to let me know. I am always looking for new tips to make my experiences even better 🙂

Trip Planning in Topo Maps+ Part 2

If you are like me, you can’t go backpacking every weekend. When you do get out you want to make it the best outdoor experience possible. One of the biggest keys to having an awesome trip is planning.

I spend lots of time planning for each day on my backpacking trips. I want to know how far will each day be, what will the elevation gain/loss be, what will the terrain be like, and what will I see?

This training video is part 2 where I will teach you how to plan your next outdoor adventure. Most of what I teach in this video can be done using the free version of Topo Maps+ on the iPhone.

Trip Planning in Topo Maps+ Part 1

If you are like me, you can’t go backpacking every weekend. When you do get out you want to make it the best outdoor experience possible. Maybe you want to see mountains, alpine lakes & meadows, go through high mountain passes, and still make it to camp by 4:30 so you can relax and enjoy camp in the evening.  If you try and hike too far or have too much elevation gain the experience just isn’t as fun. Instead of basking in the beauty and wonder of nature while you hike, all you can think about is getting to camp and falling into your bed.  On the other hand, if you don’t push yourself a little you might miss out on some amazing remote alpine lakes or lush meadows with snow covered peaks looming over them.

One of the biggest keys to having an awesome trip is planning.  When you take the time to plan out your trip, you are taking the first step towards creating amazing outdoor memories that will last a lifetime.

In this training video I will teach you how to plan your next outdoor adventure. Most of what I teach in this video can be done using the free version of Topo Maps+ on the iPhone.