Application to test TOPO! Streets & 3-D Views, Expansion Pack
- Application to test TOPO! Streets & 3-D Views, Expansion Pack
I have read the entirety of The BackpackGearTest Survival Guide v.
1202, including Chapter 5, and re-read it as of February 10, 2005.
My tester agreement is on file. I agree to comply with the testing
and report requirements.
Date: March 1, 2005
Personal Biographical information -
Name: Pamela Wyant
Height: 5'5" (1.65 m)
Weight: 165 lb (75 kg)
E-mail address: pamwyant@...
Location: Western West Virginia, U.S.A.
Backpacking Background: Last year I acted on my long time interest
in backpacking, and started day hiking, researching backpacking
products and techniques, and purchasing gear. I took a few
overnight trips, including one solo. I currently day hike often, am
planning several overnight and weekend trips this year, and hope to
take a weeklong trip and do a winter overnight. I hike and backpack
mainly in the hills and valleys of West Virginia, and use a hammock
sleeping system. For a two-day trip my pack typically weighs 22-30
pounds (10-14 kg), which I am working on lightening.
Field Information -
I would be testing the TOPO! Streets & 3-D Views in West Virginia.
The main emphasis would be on hiking and backpacking, of course, but
in a product of this nature, I would also want to test a few highway
routes, which I would report on briefly. Since I often drive to the
trailhead, and hope to hike some areas in the eastern part of the
state that I am not already familiar with, I would consider this
appropriate unless instructed otherwise. Trails I will be traveling
would vary from the mountainous eastern region of the state with
elevations from 2500 to over 4000 feet (762 to over 1219 meters), to
the river valley corridors in the eastern, western and central part
of the state, with elevations from 550 to 1000 feet (168 to 305
meters). Temperatures would likely range from lows in the 30F (-1C)
range to highs in the 90F (32C) range or possibly as high as 100F
(38C), with ample rainfall and humidity.
I would be using the software primarily on my home computer,
planning a hiking or backpacking route on the TOPO! State Series
software, and then using the expansion pack for the 3-D view and fly-
thru. I would also try it out on at least a few driving routes to
different trailheads. I would try laying an updated road network on
the maps and try the Live Map Update feature. I am very familiar
with the use of a computer, and often install my own software. I
sometimes trouble shoot my software (in a do-it-yourself spirit &
fashion, not professionally), and explain its use and features to
others with similar software. I am fairly new to backpacking, and
to this point have mainly traveled well-marked trails or hiked with
others who are familiar with the trails I am hiking. This year I
want to expand my horizons and travel "the path less worn". Will
the expansion pack give me more confidence hiking areas I haven't
traveled yet? Will I feel I've been there already since I have
viewed the route in 3-D on my computer?
I would also like to try the software on the actual trail. I own a
tablet computer, and can take the tablet computer, a CD/DVD Rom, and
a few CD's or DVD's along at an extra weight of 6-7 pounds. I would
be willing to do this for at least four day hikes in different
areas, to test how well the 3-D compares to the actual trail, if the
software will allow for this. My concern as to whether this will
work is whether it requires both the TOPO! State Series and the
TOPO! Streets & 3-D Views to be inserted in CD Rom's at the same
time. If so, that would not be feasible, but if only one need be
inserted at a time, it should work. I would also try to do this for
at least one overnight trip if it is workable. I would also take
the tablet setup and the TOPO! Streets & 3-D Views in my vehicle
traveling to a few trailheads to see if that proves useful.
For my Initial Report, I will look at the following:
Ease of installation of the software
Any conflicts encountered or problems noted after
installation of the software
Clarity of any directions to install
Ease of using the expansion pack and required steps for 3-D
Views & Animated Fly Thru of an area
Quality of the graphics
Relative speed or lack of speed of the software (any long
waits on data processing?)
For my Field Report, I anticipate reporting on the following:
Performance has the software consistently performed? Does
it crash occasionally or often?
Ease of use do I find it easy to use the 3-D view and
Animated Fly-Thru? Can I easily switch back to the
regular topographic view of the same area? How easy is it
to find the areas I want to view when using the software?
Does it find trails by name? Cities by name? Or do I
need to center in on the general area on a map & go from
Consistency Are the views in the software similar to what
I actually experience on the trail?
Split screen Is it useful? Does it provide an adequate
view on my 17" desktop monitor? What about my smaller 10"
tablet computer screen?
Any conflicts with my computer systems or problems with the
Expansion pack that have surfaced since the time of the
Printing is it possible to print frames in 3-D view?
Enjoyment do I like using the expansion pack?
Trail use I anticipate reporting on one or more day hike
uses of the software on the actual trail with my tablet
Traveling to the trailhead have I found the expansion pack
useful when traveling to an unfamiliar trailhead? Does
having it along in the car help me decide where to turn to
For my Long Term report I anticipate reporting on whether longer-
term use has changed any of my field review findings, and expanding
on my use of the TOPO! Streets & 3-D, Expansion Pack since the Field
Report. I anticipate an expanded report on using the software on
the actual trail, and whether I find this enhances my hiking
experience or detracts from it. I anticipate writing about whether
the software has given me more confidence in exploring unknown
areas. Did the software ever help me find my way if I felt I was
lost? Did it ever help me find a usable short cut or an interesting
side trip that I would have missed otherwise? Since I day hike solo
quite often, does it set my husband's mind at ease knowing I am less
likely to become lost if I have the software along?
I do not currently own a GPS, and in fact have never used one,
however I have a friend with one and may borrow it for a trip or two
in order to be able to report on it's use with a GPS. If I like it,
I may purchase one, however, this is only a possibility and may not
work out. If it does, I would report on how easy or difficult it
was for a novice to use the expansion pack & TOPO! Software with a
Both my desktop computer and my tablet computer meet the system
requirements outlined on National Geographic TOPO! State Series and
National Geographic TOPO! Streets & 3-D Views, Expansion Pack web
pages. They both operate on Windows XP (expanded tablet version on
the tablet computer) and have video cards over 8mb. I have upgraded
my desktop computer to include DirectX version 9, and will do the
same to my tablet computer if I am selected to test TOPO! Streets &
3D, Expansion Pack. I have one black & white laser printer and two
color inkjet printers networked to allow printing of maps & 3-D
views (if printing 3-D views is possible).
I do not currently own a TOPO! State Series. I would need the West
Virginia State Series.
I have read the web pages at both links listed in the test
announcement, http://tinyurl.com/6t48k & http://tinyurl.com31eo5,
and understand both products. I understand that my testing will be
on the TOPO! Streets & 3-D Views, Expansion Pack, even though I
would be receiving both software products. My testing and review
would not be on the TOPO! State Series, except any features of the
State Series directly required to test of the Expansion Pack, and
how they work in conjunction with the Expansion Pack.
Previously written reviews:
Lafuma Caravan Child Carrier:
Komperdell High Mountain Sports Poles:
Dunham Waffle Stomper Terrastryder-Low shoes initial report posted
on backpackgeartesters group, awaiting edit.
Brunton Glorb Lantern awaiting shipment.
None. To be very upfront, I am a newbie just getting started. I do
have sufficient time to test and report on the shoes, lantern, and
mapping expansion pack. These items can easily be tested on the
same trips, and of course, much of the testing of the software
expansion pack will be at home. I am quite committed to this group,
and applied for the Glorb Lantern following an extended deadline, in
order that the test would not have to be canceled due to lack of
testers. I have also posted an additional owner review to the
backpackgeartest group and am awaiting edit of it. I plan to
continue to gradually add owner reviews over the next several months
in addition to testing the shoes, lantern, and hopefully the mapping
expansion pack. I noticed insufficient applications to fill the
test of the TOPO! Streets & 3-D Views at the time of my posting, and
so am submitting this application, hoping if another tester is
needed I will be allowed to participate. This truly seems to be a
product made for me to test, considering my goals for the near
future, my familiarity with computers, and the unique aspect I can
add to the test, both from being a novice map user, and from the
fact that I have the equipment to use the product on the trail.
Thanks for your consideration of my application.