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Old 01-18-2011, 11:47 PM   #1
lotus plaza
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Nat Geo vs ADK MC Map

Greetings.

I'm trying to decide between purchasing a set of either the Nat Geo or ADK Mtn Club maps. I have used one of the the Nat Geo ones and was impressed, but I'm not sure if there are any faults I'm not aware of. The ADK Mtn Club ones look alright, but I've never used them. I'm guessing their age would be one of the biggest concerns.

Any advice is appreciated, thanks.
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Old 01-19-2011, 02:48 AM   #2
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Nat Geo maps are really nice. I'd go with those.
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Old 01-19-2011, 08:30 AM   #3
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After considerable use of both, I prefer the National Geographic maps. They are more durable and more accurate (current), imo.

Nothing particularly wrong with the high peaks maps, they will certainly get the job done.
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Old 01-19-2011, 09:17 AM   #4
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National Geographic
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Old 01-19-2011, 09:56 AM   #5
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The National Geographic maps were made with the help of the Adirondack Mountain Club. I believe that the ADK plans to phase out it's old paper maps in favor of the NG ones. Already, the newest edition of the ADK's Guide to the Eastern Adirondacks does not include a paper map, rather, you must purchase the NG map seperately (and the background image in much of the book is taken from the NG map).

The NG maps are a lot of things that the ADK maps are not: waterproof, tear-resistant, include mileages between destinations, etc. Overall, the NG maps are definitely superior. The one thing that the ADK maps have that the NG maps do not, however, is the location of tent sites in addition to lean-tos (at least for the High Peaks map).
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Old 01-19-2011, 10:57 AM   #6
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get both. Dsettahr is right about the quality of the NG map, its far superior in material quality. i ripped the ADK map the first time i unfolded it! another advantage of the NG map is that it has more color contrast so its easier to discern small details. the NG is a beautiful map. the ADK map is just a mess of brown lines. i do however like that the contour lines of the ADK map are easier to read. another point in the ADK maps favor, is that its far smaller and lighter then the NG map. and of course the addition of campsites is a god sent, i'm really shocked that the NG map doesn't have those. why is that?

the addition of the campsites is reason enough to have the ADK map, and you should have the guide book anyway, so just get both. i took a precision tip permanent marker any added the campsites to the NG map manually. now i have the best of both worlds. its funny that this topic pops up the day i bought the guide book, im glad i finally did, it has a ton of great information.
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Old 01-20-2011, 03:36 AM   #7
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and of course the addition of campsites is a god sent, i'm really shocked that the NG map doesn't have those. why is that?
If I had to guess, it's because the ADK doesn't have spatial information concerning campsite locations outside of the High Peaks. While campsites are certainly mentioned in the guidebooks and exist in areas other than the High Peaks, the ADK doesn't have any digital map layers showing them. If you look at the ADK paper maps for guidebooks other than the High Peaks, they rarely, if ever, show campsites that do exist- just the lean-tos.

Rather than just include the campsites that are in the High Peaks, I'm guessing that the National Geographic Society decided simply to leave them off, for several reasons. It makes the map of the High Peaks area less cluttered (the NG maps have a smaller scale than the ADK, so there is less room for detail). It also makes all 5 maps of the Adirondacks conform to the same standards. This helps to prevent confusion among new visitors to the Adirondacks. With these reasons in mind, I would agree with the decision made by NG to leave campsites off the map.

Btw, I noticed that NG now publishes a map set for the Green Mountains in Vermont!
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Old 01-20-2011, 10:31 AM   #8
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Any chance one of you nice folks can share the link to where I can get one of these NG maps? Thanks!
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Old 01-20-2011, 10:51 AM   #9
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Here you go!

There's five of them that cover the whole park:

Northville/Raquette Lake covers the south and the central sections of the park, including the West Canada Lakes, Siamese Ponds, and Silver Lake Wilderness Areas, as well as the southern half of the Northville-Placid Trail.

Lake George/Great Sacandaga Lake covers the southeastern and eastern sections of the park, including the Pharaoh Lake Wilderness Area, and the Lake George and Wilcox Lake Wild Forests.

Old Forge/Oswegatchie covers the southwestern and western sections of the park, including the Ha-De-Ron-Dah, Five Ponds, and William C. Whitney Wilderness Areas.

Lake Placid/High Peaks covers the High Peaks and the northeastern sections of the park, including the High Peaks, Giant Mountain, and Dix Mountain Wilderness Areas, the northern half of the Northville-Placid Trail, and all of the High Peaks except Whiteface and Esther.

Saranac/Paul Smiths covers the northern and northwestern sections of the park, including the McKenzie Mountain Wilderness Area, and the St. Regis Canoe Area, and also includes Whiteface and Esther.

There is a package that EMS usually has available in store where you can by all 5 maps together at a discount from the total price if you purchased them individually. I don't see it on their website though.

Additionally, on that link you'll notice a software package- this contains all 5 map sets and allows you to browse them digitally on your computer (seamlessly without map edges which is nice for hikes that cross from one map to another!). You can use it to better estimate mileages and elevation gain and loss, and print out custom maps tailor made for your specific hikes. It's pretty neat, but certainly not essential.
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Old 01-20-2011, 12:45 PM   #10
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Here you go!

There's five of them that cover the whole park:

Northville/Raquette Lake covers the south and the central sections of the park, including the West Canada Lakes, Siamese Ponds, and Silver Lake Wilderness Areas, as well as the southern half of the Northville-Placid Trail.

Lake George/Great Sacandaga Lake covers the southeastern and eastern sections of the park, including the Pharaoh Lake Wilderness Area, and the Lake George and Wilcox Lake Wild Forests.

Old Forge/Oswegatchie covers the southwestern and western sections of the park, including the Ha-De-Ron-Dah, Five Ponds, and William C. Whitney Wilderness Areas.

Lake Placid/High Peaks covers the High Peaks and the northeastern sections of the park, including the High Peaks, Giant Mountain, and Dix Mountain Wilderness Areas, the northern half of the Northville-Placid Trail, and all of the High Peaks except Whiteface and Esther.

Saranac/Paul Smiths covers the northern and northwestern sections of the park, including the McKenzie Mountain Wilderness Area, and the St. Regis Canoe Area, and also includes Whiteface and Esther.

There is a package that EMS usually has available in store where you can by all 5 maps together at a discount from the total price if you purchased them individually. I don't see it on their website though.

Additionally, on that link you'll notice a software package- this contains all 5 map sets and allows you to browse them digitally on your computer (seamlessly without map edges which is nice for hikes that cross from one map to another!). You can use it to better estimate mileages and elevation gain and loss, and print out custom maps tailor made for your specific hikes. It's pretty neat, but certainly not essential.
Thanks! Also thanks for the descriptions - on the EMS site they're a little sketchy.
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Old 01-20-2011, 12:46 PM   #11
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Amazon has the 5 pack for $32.97+shipping.
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Old 01-20-2011, 01:17 PM   #12
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Amazon has the 5 pack for $32.97+shipping.
This is a pretty good price for all of them.
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Old 03-02-2011, 09:20 AM   #13
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I got my National Geographic map a few weeks ago (thanks DSettahr for making sure I got the right one). It was exactly what I wanted (showing the lines between public and private land, trails, lean-tos, and other recreational infrastructure), but I was thinking it was probably pretty lousy for purposes of navigating with a map and compass. It seems I'm not the only one who came to that conclusion! In an article about the guy who spent two nights in the Sewards:

Quote:
He was also using a National Geographic map, which I've been told by people involved in the rescue may have been a problem for him. Those National Geographic maps are great if you are on trails because they are waterproof and pretty tough. But if you're in a situation where you have to bushwhack, you'd be better off with a 1:24,000 U.S. Geological Survey map. The National Geographic maps cover large areas and don't have all the specifics you might want if you're off the trail. A GPS - if you've got the money - would have been good to have on this journey.
http://www.adirondackdailyenterprise....html?nav=5046
The pitfalls of a GPS not being up to task has been discussed many times, but maps can be inadequate as well!
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Old 03-02-2011, 09:52 AM   #14
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I got my National Geographic map a few weeks ago (thanks DSettahr for making sure I got the right one). It was exactly what I wanted (showing the lines between public and private land, trails, lean-tos, and other recreational infrastructure), but I was thinking it was probably pretty lousy for purposes of navigating with a map and compass. It seems I'm not the only one who came to that conclusion! In an article about the guy who spent two nights in the Sewards:



The pitfalls of a GPS not being up to task has been discussed many times, but maps can be inadequate as well!
I pretty much agree with all three points.

The Nat Geo trailsmart maps are better then the ADK maps but nothing beats the USGS Quads.

The drawback to the quads is if you are going to be on a long, multiday (or week, or month) hike. Then it is both cumbersome and expensive to purchase and carry all the quads necessary for all the coverage. I pretty much have quads of the whole ADK park, acquired over 6 months or so and it was a pretty penny.

My method on my multiday treks is to rely primarily on my GPS and carry the quads for any specific area that may be confusing or where I am going to spend a bit of time.

I always study my National Geographic topo's on the computer so that I have most of the route covered in my mind and I print out maps of specific areas in whatever scale suits me best. If there is a NG Trailsmart map available for the region we are hiking I always purchase them for the "down and dirty" navigation.

Hawk
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Old 03-02-2011, 01:50 PM   #15
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I f you are looking for the High Peak region:
National Geographic, Adirondack Park Trails illustrated Map: #742 -Lake Placid / High Peak, is the best.
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Old 03-03-2011, 09:42 AM   #16
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I agree that the USGS topo maps are superior to the National Geographic Maps for bushwhacking, but I've never had any significant difficulties bushwhacking with the National Geographic Maps.

I don't really think producing a "bushwhack quality" map was high on the priority list for National Geographic... they wanted maps that were simple and easy to read by the majority of the hiking public, and that covered as much area so as to be as comprehensive as possible. People aren't going to want to buy 4 different maps for the high peaks... they want one map that covers the whole area! (Although Whiteface and Esther did end up on a separate map!)

The National Geographic maps do have the UTM grids, which can aid greatly in bushwhacking with a GPS. If you set your GPS to UTM NAD27, you can take the coordinates from the GPS unit, and pretty easily find where you are on the National Geographic map.

Each of the blue grid boxes on the map is exactly 1000m wide and tall, and the units for UTM coordinates are meters. So for example, if you are in the High Peaks Wilderness, and your GPS tells you that you are at 557250 east, and 4886750 north, I can do some simple math to find where I am on the map.

First, I take the last 3 digits of each coordinate... 250 east tells me that I am one quarter of the way from the left side of the box (250/1000 = 0.25) (because I am going east, this is measured from the left side of the box). 750 north tells me that I am three quarters of the way up from the bottom of the box (750/1000 = 0.75) (because I am going north, I measure up from the bottom of the box).

I then need to find the lines on the map to measure from... the rest of the numbers from the easting are 557. I look for this number along the top or bottom of the map, and find it, and the corresponding line. The rest of the numbers from the northing are 4886. I look for this number along the side of the map, and find it's corresponding line. I then take the two lines and find where they meet... and finally, measure a quarter of the way to the next line to the right, and then a quarter of the way to the next line to the north. Presto! I must be at the Calkins Brook lean-tos!

It sounds complicated in writing, but once you get it down, it's a piece of cake. Admittedly, it does require a GPS to use, so it won't work for map and compass navigation.

Last edited by DSettahr; 03-04-2011 at 08:01 AM..
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Old 03-03-2011, 11:18 AM   #17
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It sounds complicated in writing, but once you get it down, it's a piece of cake. Admittedly, it does require a GPS to use, so it won't work for map and compass navigation.
In that case, I'd just use my mapping GPS! The National Geographic map is great for what it is, but it has some limitations.

I've got a confession to make. I always carry a map and compass, and do a lot of bushwhacking in territory I've never been. But I haven't used my map and compass for navigating for at least five years - GPS is just way too easy and convenient for getting me to where I want to go (and keeping detailed records of where I've been).
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Old 03-03-2011, 02:15 PM   #18
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The Topo USGS Metric Maps are my preference

I brought the Nat GEO software 2 or 3 years ago and I haven't used it once. I was very disappointed in the lack of detail.

I still have the original Wildflower Topo software, the old one which contained 2 CDs, one CD is for the Northern Adirondacks and one for the Southern.

Even though it's 2 CDs it's still more accurate and user friendly than all it's predecessors,

I don't care that it only has the Adirondacks and doesn't have the rest of NY, the only other draw back is it was made before GPS really became "mainstream" so it doesn't connect to any models, but again this doesn't bother me as I "Mark as I go" and don't do tracklogs so I only have a couple of points to plot when I get home anyhow.

Quality of maps doesn't matter me as I just print as many as I need so if they get destroyed who cares.

and there's always this site as a backup

http://www.adirondack-park.net/topo/
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Old 03-03-2011, 06:50 PM   #19
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It sounds complicated in writing, but once you get it down, it's a piece of cake. Admittedly, it does require a GPS to use, so it won't work for map and compass navigation.
Huh? Maybe I am misunderstanding what you said. I don't understand the "it won't work" part.

You certainly have a described a method of how to plot UTM coordinates on a map, but it doesn't have anything to do with how you navigate with them. If you mean that you need outside communication to obtain said coordinates, then it is true you wouldn't have those coordinates in the first place without a radio signal (GPS or traditional radio), or finding a note under a rock, or someone telling you face to face in the field. But plotting coordinates of a point on a map has nothing to do with how you are navigating with them.
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Old 03-03-2011, 08:50 PM   #20
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The Topo USGS Metric Maps are my preference

I brought the Nat GEO software 2 or 3 years ago and I haven't used it once. I was very disappointed in the lack of detail.
????????

Which NG Topo software are you using? I have the state series and the detail is IDENTICAL to the USGS quads for the
same region.

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