Topo Maps

User Guide

1: Welcome to Topo Maps

PDF User Guide

A downloadable, printable PDF version of this user guide is available here.

Main Features

Topo Maps is a viewer for topographical maps published by the US Geological Survey and Natural Resources Canada. These maps cover the entire of the United States and Canada, including Alaska, Hawaii, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Their main use is for hiking and other outdoor activities.

In total, more than 70,000 individual maps are available. You can download as many of these as you like, limited only by the storage capacity of your device. Downloads are free of charge.

Once downloaded, the maps are stored until you remove them. So unlike the iPhone's built-in Maps app, you can use Topo Maps when you have no network connection. Just download the maps that you need while you have WiFi or cellular coverage and you're all set.

As well as the maps themselves, Topo Maps also downloads terrain data. This is used to apply a 3D shading effect over the map to make the shape of the land clearer. You can even adjust the direction of the simulated sunlight that this effect uses. The terrain data is also put to other purposes, including a visibility mode which calculates what should be visible from any viewpoint.

The app contains a database of more than a million placenames, which you can search to find the map that you need and to find individual features on those maps.

You can add your own waypoints to the maps, and download waypoint files from the internet.

You can use the iPhone's GPS to show your current position, and keep the map centered on your position as you move, and you can use its compass to orient the displayed map with the ground.

Button Overview

There are three groups of buttons; two groups at the bottom of the screen are controlled by slider buttons at the bottom left, and one group at the top of the screen is accessible when the co-ordinate display and crosshairs are shown.

GPS: shows your current position on the map.

Search: search for landmarks and waypoints.

Compass: rotate map to align with the ground.

Help: shows a brief help page.

Go to Apps: show the current area in another maps app or website.

Waypoints: manage manually-entered waypoints.

Waypoint files: download and access waypoint files.

Map Settings: adjust map appearance, erase, and change resolution.

Distance and Bearing: Show distance rings.

Add Waypoint: place a waypoint at the crosshairs.

Visibility mode: compute what's visible.

(The screenshots in this guide were created on iOS 6, and the appearance has changed slightly since iOS 7. The functionality is unchanged.)