Monday, April 30, 2012

Apple's Lion and TOPO!

Getting a new operating system on my Mac often freshens the experience so much that I feel like I have a new computer. That's certainly been the case with OS X 10.7.3, Apple's Lion operating system. It has many new features, especially in the browser and the interface with the swipe pad, that really feel new.

In fact, it seems that new OS on old hardware could be the model for future economic growth without resource consumption. For example, imagine in the future if we could keep our old car and yet when we have the cash upload a new "look". That way status-conscious could upgrade their status, yet the new look would just be software -- now that's sustainable growth. The growth is people buying and consuming (i.e., the 20th century economic engine model) but what they buy is not extracted from the Earth, but rather from people's imaginations, which seems like a sustainable resource.

Anyway, that digression aside and back to reality, Apple's Lion operating system and TOPO! aren't yet compatible so I have been forced to look at Google Earth alone for Alaska trip planning.

Which brought up an old email from Hig:


Hi All,
 I was talking with a GIS geek this week and he mentioned that you can get
 a feed of all the Alaska topo maps for Google Earth:
 > http://kml.gina.alaska.edu/
 (There's some other cool stuff here too.)  If you zoom in, it will give you progressively more detailed maps, right down to the 1:63k.
  It's a bit sluggish, but otherwise it's a pretty incredible and free tool
 for exploring Alaska.  Maybe you all know about this already and I'm just
 out of the loop, but it's not exactly an easy thing to find, so I thought maybe
 not.
 -Hig

18 comments:

  1. I'll check into that link, but wanted to mention that I've been running TOPO! just fine on my Mac since last July. I have 10.6.8 (Snow Leopard) if that somehow matters.

    Perhaps it's new TOPO! software that you need?

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  2. I am glad you are finding that useful. It actually has all the topos the USGS produced for Alaska, so the 1:24k and 1:25k maps are in there too. We have a newer version of this that includes topo maps for Canada and has a hill shading applied so it looks more TOPO! like, but for some reason it is not showing up on the kml.gina.alaska.edu site yet..

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    Replies
    1. That's great. How do you find the Canada maps?

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    2. (standard) http://hippy.gina.alaska.edu/distro/kml/drg.kml
      (shaded TOPO style) http://hippy.gina.alaska.edu/distro/kml/drg_shaded.kml

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    3. Spectacular! Thanks for those links -- and with Canada!

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    4. Happy to oblige - I noticed that you have link to mapstor.com off on your sidebar, and it looks like they have reasonably priced topos for Russia I am going to see about adding topos for the Russian far east, and possibly some of the scandinavian countries (Finland, Sweden, Norway).

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  3. I've found that TOPO! does work with Lion. I'm not sure why National Geographic says it doesn't. I held off on upgrading from Snow Leopard to Lion just because of TOPO! But eventually I decided to give Lion a try (based on this guy's experience: http://wsrphoto.blogspot.com/2011/10/going-to-lion.html ) and TOPO! works just fine, at least for the stuff I want it to do. I've been using it for about a month now. The GINA solution is great too. I've used some of their other data layers, but I didn't realize they have USGS topos. I'll have to check that out.

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    Replies
    1. That's good to know. I'll have to try it. I miss having it.

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  4. I had problems with TOPO! after an OS upgrade (if I recall correctly the toolbar and menu items disappeared) but a TOPO! upgrade fixed it.

    If you're not already familiar with it you might want to check out http://www.alaskamapped.org/. They've got higher-resolution satellite images for some sections of Alaska.

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  5. I've never bought TOPO before. Have just been using the USGS topo overlays in Google Earth for the past five or so years instead.

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    Replies
    1. Sam, where do you find the USGS topo overlays on GE for, say, Montana?

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    2. hey roman, did you ever get your answer? i'm looking for that resource as well. thanks in advance. have a good day.

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  6. That'll be great. So nice to have maps and GE together.
    So you're the one? The one who actually adds the maps?

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    Replies
    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

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    2. Thanks Spruceboy. This is a fantastic resource.

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  7. hey roman, did you ever get your answer about a place to find USGS topo overlays for GE? i'm looking for that resource as well. thanks in advance. have a good day.

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  8. Thanks for all this good information Roman and others. I've been lost without my TOPO program. Did you have any luck updating TOPO! I haven't been able to get it to even open and my connection is so slow that GE is painfully slow.

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