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Old 03-20-2009, 07:11 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default TopoExplorer - free topographic GPS map application for BlackBerry

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It seems they finally released the final version of this app!
  • Offline Maps - No wireless network connection needed.
  • Shows GPS position in different coordinate systems.
  • Large map support from memory card.
  • Free map packs cover most areas already.
  • Detailed map packs for more detailed coverage.



Check it out for free: TopoExplorer for BlackBerry

More discussions about it here.
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Old 03-20-2009, 09:57 AM   #2 (permalink)
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App is free, maps are not. Ripoff!
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Old 03-20-2009, 04:04 PM   #3 (permalink)
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I went to their site - I could not find anything to download! I was sent in circles with the links at the top of the page leading to the bottom of the page which went back UP. This was on the desktop computer.

Shot the link to my BB and had the same result.

It will be interesting to see how this app actually works and if you can pick areas of interest since I see CA and FL take up gigs of storage space, so I'd only want Yosemite or Mt Whitney.
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Old 03-21-2009, 12:12 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pshift View Post
App is free, maps are not. Ripoff!
The application is free. A world wide map pack is free as well. I think this is a fair offer. The very detailed map pack for California for example is 20GB
This is really a lot and I believe they can charge for that. It's just a one-time payment for a map pack and you never have data plan charges for GPS and mapping on the BB

Quote:
Originally Posted by FF2 View Post
I went to their site - I could not find anything to download! I was sent in circles with the links at the top of the page leading to the bottom of the page which went back UP. This was on the desktop computer.

Shot the link to my BB and had the same result.

It will be interesting to see how this app actually works and if you can pick areas of interest since I see CA and FL take up gigs of storage space, so I'd only want Yosemite or Mt Whitney.
I just put my name and email address in the form and got the program loaded onto my Bold. You can do that here: Download TopoExplorer Files
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Old 03-21-2009, 02:30 AM   #5 (permalink)
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I finally found a link with IE rather than firefox!

I do not have the "free world map." Where do you find that? I sent them an email but so far no reply.

They state: "Free map packs cover most areas already."

Hmm - where are those?
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Old 03-21-2009, 02:43 AM   #6 (permalink)
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That's weird. I am using FireFox too and I saw the form.

Anyway ... the download link to the free map pack was in the email with the program download links. Just a bit below
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Old 03-21-2009, 10:43 AM   #7 (permalink)
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I probably should not be grilling you.....

It mentions "free map packSSSSSSSSS" as in plural or more than one - is there more than just the one World Map?

I probably would want to see the info/detail of at least a small area as a sample before spending a ton of money - their prices are not cheap at $49/US State. I am potentially planning a trip to Austria/Italy (hiking) this summer so it could be handy.

PS: Do you work for them or beta test for them? I see your carrier is in their home location.

Edited to add:

Okay, I placed the world map on my SD card. How do I display it. When I press Manage Maps, I get some quick flash of a text screen which I cannot read (disappears instantly) but then MapManager shows EMPTY. I also tried the Optimal or whatever. No map. It does detect my BT gps (which is better than some apps which don't detect it)

Last edited by FF2 : 03-21-2009 at 11:12 AM.
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Old 03-21-2009, 01:04 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FF2 View Post
I probably should not be grilling you.....

It mentions "free map packSSSSSSSSS" as in plural or more than one - is there more than just the one World Map?

I probably would want to see the info/detail of at least a small area as a sample before spending a ton of money - their prices are not cheap at $49/US State. I am potentially planning a trip to Austria/Italy (hiking) this summer so it could be handy.

PS: Do you work for them or beta test for them? I see your carrier is in their home location.

Edited to add:

Okay, I placed the world map on my SD card. How do I display it. When I press Manage Maps, I get some quick flash of a text screen which I cannot read (disappears instantly) but then MapManager shows EMPTY. I also tried the Optimal or whatever. No map. It does detect my BT gps (which is better than some apps which don't detect it)
Did you place the map in the "Maps" directory on your BlackBerry as written in the email? It was actually pretty easy to setup, took me 2 minutes
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Old 03-21-2009, 03:04 PM   #9 (permalink)
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I must be doing something wrong. NO maps. And again, there is some screen popup when I go to Manage Maps which disappears too quickly to read.

Ah, well, another bust......... 8830, device
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Old 03-22-2009, 05:21 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FF2 View Post
I must be doing something wrong. NO maps. And again, there is some screen popup when I go to Manage Maps which disappears too quickly to read.

Ah, well, another bust......... 8830, device
So you can confirm that you do have the file called "bluemarblesmall.tpx" stored in the directory "Maps" on your SD card. This is not done via the program, you need to copy the file in that directory with the Windows Explorer when you phone is connected to your computer.

The windows popping up just says: "indexing maps" or something like that ... because you still don't have maps on the sd card, this does nothing. You need to have the .tpx file stored in the "Maps" folder on your microSD card.
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Old 03-22-2009, 11:34 AM   #11 (permalink)
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I did finally FOLLOW DIRECTIONS!!!! Sorry.

I had the Maps folder under BLACKBERRY in the folder structure. It needed to be directly in the root.

As they indicate, the "bluemarble" view is pretty useless other than being pretty - no zooming or anything. So they really need to have some real sample Topo maps so see what kind of detail is visible and frankly, for OLDER eyesight, if anything is visible or useable.

(aside: BB just vibrated and I got an email from them but just an AD, not an answer to my questions)
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Old 03-27-2009, 10:01 AM   #12 (permalink)
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The world map could come in handy if I get lost in an area with no data coverage; it will narrow down what continent I am in. ;)

On a more serious note, I like the idea/concept, and finally there is a viable gps/map application that stores maps on SD storage. ...although 20GB sounds kinda scary. I'm going to keep an eye on this one.
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Old 03-27-2009, 10:57 AM   #13 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Klotar View Post
The world map could come in handy if I get lost in an area with no data coverage; it will narrow down what continent I am in. ;)

On a more serious note, I like the idea/concept, and finally there is a viable gps/map application that stores maps on SD storage. ...although 20GB sounds kinda scary. I'm going to keep an eye on this one.
I see you are from: "Winnipeg MB Canada"

Do you have TOPOGRAPHY up there!!! I just looked at my Garmin TopoCanada and it seems a bit, well, flat. I drove across Canada in 1971 from NY to Vancouver and your area is not unlike our Kansas and Nebraska - pretty open. I kept looking for the Canadian Rockies - took a few days to finally reach them.

Apparently, you can select portions of map sets but as someone pointed out - it will get real pricy, real fast, if you want a few states. Some of my "southwest" trips have involved Utah, Arizona and New Mexico. Estimating that would cost about $150.00. The Sierra, CA, another $50 and now home, WA, another $50 (ignoring Ore).
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Old 05-13-2009, 06:52 PM   #14 (permalink)
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Not to resurrect a dead thread, but I just downloaded the "Free" application as well as the blue marble map and a sample topographic map. Both are somewhat disappointing without a zoom function, but I have high hopes for the $29 version of the Arizona map. I think they may have slashed their pricing structure too since every state is now $29 for a download and $39 for the DVD version.

Now I'm just waiting for them to send me the download link and I'll really put it through the paces...
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Old 05-14-2009, 01:30 AM   #15 (permalink)
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Let us know how it looks. I wonder what size chunks the maps can be loaded into the BB. Take a screen shot or two of the Grand Canyon or Canyon DeChelly area
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Old 05-15-2009, 02:52 AM   #16 (permalink)
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Unhappy Ho Hum

Initial impressions are not so great. I still haven't discovered a way to zoom in & out of each map loaded, and the maps seem accurate enough but I suspect that they are scanned versions of the USGS topographic maps.

I have a 16GB microSD in my 8820, which I loaded the first part of their map package which takes over 4GB of space and consists of over 1200 map files.

After loading the maps on the microSD card, you need to open the program and rebuild the map index. The program then warns you that it could take up to 30 minutes, but I suspect that it took my BB over 45 to index all the maps. Granted, I did not let it sit with TopoExplorer as the active application until about the 30 minute mark, but even still that is a long time for an application to load. Thank goodness you only have to re-index when you load new map files.

Once the indexing is finished you can click the command "Load optimal map" which then synchronized with the internal GPS to pick up the best map of your location.

A little bit of scrolling around shows a pretty large area but I think this may have been a waste of $29 if there is no way to zoom.

I'll send an email to the company and see if there is just something I'm missing, but I suspect that what I see is what I get. Perhaps in the second download package there is a more detailed tutorial than the pdf provided with the original "free" applcation, but I suspect the singular crippling flaw of this app is the lack of zoom.

Part two of the review to come...
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Old 05-15-2009, 10:53 AM   #17 (permalink)
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Thanks for providing the new review. My "old" eyes can still read without reading glasses but some stuff on the BB is already too small. I would probably need a zoom function, too.

I suspect that trying to shoehorn too many specialized functions into a "cell phone" even a "smart" cellphone may not work. While I have my 8830 inside an otterbox, I've read so many stories about the BB's sensitivity to water/moisture that I fear taking it out in the rain or exposing it to water. I've had my garmin OUTDOOR unit in my hand while out skiing in the snow and accidently dropped in (temporarily lost) in the snow for over an hour and it was working fine. And I can zoom its topo maps (although, indexing it when I load a new set does take time, too).

I look forward to your further reviews.

Thanks
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Old 05-20-2009, 07:56 PM   #18 (permalink)
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Well, of course a Garmin Outdoor unit is playing in a different league
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Old 06-04-2009, 02:25 PM   #19 (permalink)
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Default Last word on TopoExplorer - DO NOT BOTHER

Well I've had this application running on my 8820 for a few weeks now and have loaded the full maps for Arizona. There is one glaring and unforgivable flaw with their software... no zoom.

The worst part about it is that they are unapologetic about it. It's my opinion that unless you are hopelessly lost (think Survivorman), this application involves too much scrolling to be of any use to the typical wandering BlackBerry user.



Here is their response to my question I had about the zoom:


------Original Message------
From: Skylab Mobilesystems Ltd.
To: AF
Subject: Re: (Case 29342) TopoExplorer zoom functionality
Sent: Jun 3, 2009 9:59 PM

Hello

As this is a topo map, it is not expected to zoom in and out like google map. And the closest thing would be the different map scales. Nevertheless, the zoom feature was never advertised as part of the app.

--
Skylab Mobilesystems Ltd.

2912, Shell Tower, Times Square
1 Matheson Street, Causeway Bay
Hong Kong


-----Original Message-----
From: AF
Reply-To: AF
Date: Wed, 3 Jun 2009 21:41:40 -0700 (PDT)
To: "Skylab Mobilesystems Ltd." support@ skylab-mobilesystems .com
Subject: Re: (Case 29342) TopoExplorer zoom functionality

>
>Ok, well are there any plans to implement that feature in any future releases? Without the zoom feature this program is virtually useless and I will have to reflect that in any online reviews I publish online.
>
> AF
>
>
>----- Original Message ----
>From: Skylab Mobilesystems Ltd. support@ skylab-mobilesystems .com
>To: AF
>Sent: Wednesday, June 3, 2009 9:34:12 PM
>Subject: Re: (Case 29342) TopoExplorer zoom functionality
>
>Hello Aron
>
>It is not possible to zoom in and out of these maps.
>
>--
>Skylab Mobilesystems Ltd.
>
>2912, Shell Tower, Times Square
>1 Matheson Street, Causeway Bay
>Hong Kong
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Old 06-04-2009, 07:01 PM   #20 (permalink)
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Thanks for the review. The lack of zoom really does seem to be a deal-breaker. Their attitude is unexpected, too; sure we know these are raster maps not scalar, but a mobile device screen is tiny so if you can't zoom, then, as you say, be prepared for some serious scrolling!

Pity, it had some promise.
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