From Dr. LateBloomer
I have decided that 2018 is my year to become better acquainted with a certain piece of family property – one that no living family member but myself has ever been to. I am hoping to use my new knowledge of the topography to begin hunting deer and turkey there. The problem is, that I’ve only visited the property twice – armed only with a small printout from Google maps, and a tax map.
Enter MyTopo.com, an online customizable map service located in Billings, Montana. Prior to finding this service, I would have had to purchase several topographic maps of the required USGS quadrangles and piece them together to get a full view of the property. MyTopo.com does also offer USGS quads for purchase, as well as GMU/hunting maps, but I wanted a custom map of the property.
MyTopo.com is so easy to use that even the proverbial direction-challenged second lieutenant that my vet friends joke about could use it (Editor’s Note: They are NOT proverbial. They are very real.). To begin, the user enters an initial search for the area of interest. In my case, I entered the name of the closest town. I then zoomed in and moved the map around the screen until the area I was searching for came into view.
I then chose the type of map (topo, aerial, satellite, or a hybrid of topo and photo), the scale of the map, and whether private and public property lines should be included. There are a variety of map sizes available with the largest being 5 feet by 8 feet.
The basic level maps are waterproof, but the user may also choose to have their map laminated. One may also choose whether the map should arrive rolled or folded. I chose the folded option so that it would fit in my daypack more easily.
After the ordering process was complete, including the option of “naming” my map, MyTopo.com printed and mailed the map directly to my door. My package arrived inside of three days.
I could not have been more pleased with the finished product. My maps were printed on heavy, tear-resistant paper, which had a nice smooth finish. I opted for three maps, and they all turned out wonderfully, with the family property centered neatly in the middle.
I cannot recommend this service highly enough, and I plan to use MyTopo.com again in the near future for another piece of family property. Now, I just need to work on my land navigation skills!