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Delorme Topo USA 6.0 National Maps (DVD)

1 rating: 1.0

With Delorme Topo USA 6.0 National Maps you get completely updated USGS topographic map and elevation data on DVD integrated with the most recent DeLorme street, trail, campground, and highway network. Plus, a newly-designed 3-D mapping engine produces … see full wiki

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1 review about Delorme Topo USA 6.0 National Maps (DVD)

Delorme disappoints for the most part, but still is adequate for the topo user with casual needs

  • Sep 30, 2006
  • by
I've used various Delorme products for a long time. I've stopped buying some of their products, such as their Street Atlas for Handhelds which has become essentially unusable and is increasingly feature impoverished compared to competitors such as TomTom.

Because I have little use overall for topographical maps, I skipped a version and recently went from version 4.0 to 6.0. Despite their advertising claims, not much has changed.

The user interface is distinctively Delorme, utterly unintuitive and very clumsy. Other mapping applications moved toward cleaner, simpler and easier-to-use interfaces. Delorme remains true to their own idiosyncratic idea of a graphical user interface --- and, in my opionion, it is awful.

Finding a specific location is a clumsy process. And beware any misspelled place names: Topo 6.0 will simply report not being able to find the place rather than offering suggestions. There are three maps. A small overview which should allow you to quickly locate the area you are specifically interested in. It doesn't work well at all when you just want to scroll a bit. The default 2D window is, as it is with all the Delorme products, a dog to work with. You scroll from the edges. But when you scroll, the display blanks out meaning you have to guess at how far to scroll. State of the art in the 1990s perhaps, but antiquidated and irritating in 2006. Zooming in and out is also on the clumsy side, either involving repeated clicks or a guessing process. Neither is satisfctory.

Designing your route can be extremely tedious since it is often necessary to essentially create a track of waypoints. In designing a route using secondary roads, the Delorne software often failed to acknowledge the existence of the roads and instead drew a direct path through heavy woods and across impassable rivers.

The online help system, as has always been the case with Delorme, is short on detail.

What saves the software from being a total disaster is that in the topographical arena, it is better than the competition. It is also a better value, including the entire United States on a single DVD. The level of detail is okay for the casual user (such as myself) but would, I think, be very inadequate for someone with more demanding needs.

Overall, I don't know how Delorme stays in business. Their products are not, in my opinion, user-centric. The interfaces are outmoded, non-intuitive and just plain strange. Topo USA 6.0 is okay for the casual user, but just barely. It is a pain to use. However, it is better than the competition in a market that doesn't offer many alternatives, so it wins by default.


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