Trimble Outdoors Topo Maps for Mobile
Android, Ipad SD Cards: http://www.trimbleoutdoors.com/sdcards/
IPhone TopoCharger (sign up for launch): http://www.trimbleoutdoors.com/TopoCharger/
I have been sitting on a story since Media Day at the Range back in January on the day before the 2014 SHOT Show. It is a very simple GPS driven topography map interface for smartphones and tablets. Who doesn’t have one of those these days right? But outside of a very small percentage of hunters that hunt public lands with topo maps, I didn’t think many people would be interested in our gun world. One detail about these cards, though, makes them extremely relevant for long term survival. They don’t require a network connection to use the GPS or the data. Once you download the app, all you need is the micro-SD card with the data. At $69.99 without private land data and $99.99 with that data, these are a really cheap way to keep right at your fingertips a complete set of topo maps for your entire state. Right now the cards are available for all Android devices and the Ipad, and we were able to fondle the first generation of IPhone charger cases at SHOT Show, though they have yet to be released.
Why do you need a topo map? Well if you plan to survive in a city, you don’t, but the chances of long term survival in a city, without any infrastructure, is either slim or none. If you expect to make it through the coming collapse, you’ll have to find some way to get out of dodge, to where you can draw your own water and hopefully grown some of your own food. That is the country, and if you haven’t developed and stocked a place beforehand, there is a good chance that you’ll be foundering into the woods, hoping to survive with what you can find.
A topo map tells you where the streams and lakes are, where the railroads tracks will provide easy travel, where old logging roads still exist, and they give you rough elevation as well. It really stinks when you get to the top of the big hill then realize you could have just as easily gone around. And if the roads are blocked and patrolled, and you want to circumvent those patrols, a topo map will give you the easiest and safest way around.
Keeping a cell phone charged is pretty easy compared to a lot of other devices. Even on the cloudiest days a solar charger will charge up your phone, and it is small enough that you can charge it as you travel.
Are you concerned that the powers that be will flag your location with your phone? Could be. But there will most likely be bigger fish to fry, and, as we’ll cover more in our future articles on communications, the government has built a huge network of communications towers nationwide specifically because they expect the cell networks to be down. Regardless, there is no other way to carry so much data on your state in such a small package. These little data cards are really a score from a survival perspective.
One thing you will notice about the topo map data is that this is not truly digital data. like you see on Google Maps or your car GPS. Topo map cartographers haven’t entered the digital age yet and they are still drawing maps on paper, then photographing the paper. This Trimble project grew out of their MyTopo map printing service. The GPS overlay with the phone does seem to work great though. It pinpointed our location in Nevada just fine.
I guess I am taking for granted that most people already know that the phone GPS maps are not located on your phone. Your phone has a GPS chip, and that chip just sends coordinates to the network. The maps are loaded from Google or Apple, on the fly, and they are not saved. If your phone is not online, you have effectively no GPS, because you have no maps. Your car GPS may, and probably does have its own maps, but they only consist of road data anyway. Obviously Google Earth is just online as well, so again, these topo maps are the only sound solution for being able to figure out where you are and what is around you.
The internet was originally created by the military to be able to withstand a disaster, and partial destruction. The “internet protocol,” or IP, doesn’t need a centralized server to maintain connectivity from any one machine to another machine on the network. But as our public internet has grown, we have relied more and more on single providers, like the cable companies and phone companies, to provide our high bandwidth services. All of these companies rely on regional and local data centers, and when the generators at those centers run out of diesel, the internet will go down.
There was also a recent news story that the Transportation Department wants to begin regulating all map devices, including smartphones and tablets. They actually put it in the new proposed transportation bill, so this isn’t one of those things you never hear about again. That means that the government is trying to grant itself the power to shut off all maps. Crazy stuff! These Trimble products are a great safeguard against being stranded somewhere with no idea where to find water, or how to get to some infrastructure, if any exists.