Mapping on laptops

Hi all,
I am getting ready to mount a Toughbook in my rig. I’m looking for a mapping program which will work similar to Gaia GPS or Avenza Maps on a PC. My Toughbook has Cell and GPS capability built in. I have been looking, but so far nothing has jumped out.
Is anyone using or know of a PC program they would recommend?
Particularly, I would like to be able to load up maps like topo or forest maps and track my movements.
Subscription service is not an issue providing it is reasonably priced.
Thanks for any info,
Scott

I haven’t checked out the CalTopo desktop app, but I have been very impressed with their web-based tools, and see they now have an offline version.
We just ran mapping for a Type 3 rx fire training event almost completely on CalTopo,/Avenza and I was really impressed with how well it worked.

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+1 for Caltopo, while I have never used it in that fashion it’s a great mapping program to check out.

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Caltopo, go ahead and get the top tier, its like $100 per year and works better in my opinion than avenza. Reach out to them in their site to confirm if it will do everyhting you want, the are good about getting back to you quick.

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I’ve been using Caltopo since the guy started it, on computer and phone, others will post maps in Arcgis and who knows what but I always go back to Caltopo because it loads so much faster on slow machines and bad connections. It is a great platform though I have never used a paid version.

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Based upon your recommendations, I reached out to CALTopo and spent time working with their free/trial version of the program, I guess it is referred to an app now.
:wink: Anyway, Meghan sent me a very nice email back. At this time, the PC version of CALTopo does not support standalone tracking, however, she directed me to a support page showing how to work with a mobile version and laptop version working together to track. I have not checked out the support page yet, but plan to. I’ll let you all know.
So far, I am pretty impressed with the “app” and will probably purchase the Pro version. They also appear to have a first responder version, SARTopo, which they reduce the price of to first responders. I’m going to take a look at that as well.
Thanks for the referrals. It never showed up in multiple internet searches.
Scott

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Has anyone tried to load incident maps into CALTopo?

Yes, the app has a QR button then it will be saved in you map sheets tab you can load as many map sheets as you want then overlay them on a basemap, works great for HEQB and FOBS assignments where you are on and off the incident map, and can still navigate and drop markers then get it to the GISS so they know how much bigger to make tomorrows map.

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Scrap the toughbook and mount a Samsung Galaxy S7 plus tablet - 1/4 the cost 10 times the capability and run ATAK and Cal/SAR Topo, avenza all in one device.

Or as an option look at the Dex solutions with Ram Mount with 13" dedicated keyboard/display and use a smaller device like a Samsung phone that connects to it.

https://www.rammount.com/business/gds-ecosystem/gds-keyboard

These days what do you really need windows for? Unless your cad has a client that you have to install on a windows machine move to a mobile OS.

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Hi all, I’m the creator of CalTopo. Have lurked on this site and its predecessor for years for fire intel, and really appreciate all the contributions, but have generally not been able to contribute much myself.

I initially started the project for search and rescue, and the desktop version is aimed at people who want to do the same things you’d do on the website, but offline - for example, running a search from a remote CP with no internet connection. Occasionally the idea of supporting a moving map on a GPS-enabled laptop comes up, but there have always been higher priority tasks.

I’d love to hear more about what potential interest on the fire side would be if we added app functionality (moving map, track recording, navigation along a line) to the PC desktop version. Are most people using phones and tablets, or are there still a lot of vehicle-mounted laptops in use?

I’m not sure what the policy on commercial posts is, but we do have free first responder accounts, which are aimed more at planning than field use (larger PDFs, Google Earth integration, premium layers like GOES), but also allow you to upgrade to pro and desktop at 50% off. You can apply for one by submitting a copy of your credentials at CalTopo - Backcountry Mapping Evolved.

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For those that are leveraging CAL-TOPO its geopdf export can be imported directly into ATAK for use. Bring in DTED Level 2 and you got a pretty slick map and planning tool.

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Thanks for building a great tool (Cal Topo). I just came back from a prescribed fire training event and we did almost all our GIS in Cal Topo. Especially helpful was the Sentinel Satellite imagery in the pro version - we used it to map a recent wildfire we were tying our units into, and also to see barren alfalfa fields we could use as natural barriers.

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