Topo! Interactive Maps faq’s and Support topo! Versions 0 to 5

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TOPO! Interactive Maps FAQ’s and Support

  1. TOPO! Versions 1.0 to 2.6.5

(Unless You Are Running Windows 3.1, We Recommend You Upgrade to TOPO! Version 2.6.5 by visiting

    1. System Requirements

-Caring for Your CD-ROM

    1. Installing and Launching TOPO!

-General Installation and Launch

-Error Message Received When Trying to Install on Win. 98, 2000, or ME

-Installation Troubleshooting

-State Series Hard Drive Install

-Regional Series Hard Drive Install
1.3 General Help Using TOPO!

-Saving a .tpo Document

-Finding a Specific Quad Name

-Sending a .tpo Document to a Friend

-TOPO! Map Scales

1.4 Printing in TOPO!

-How to get the Best Print Quality

-How to Print the GPS Waypoint List

-Printing to a Plotter

-HP Printer Unable to Print in Landscape Mode

-Printing with UTM and/or Lat./Long Grids

    1. TOPO! GPS Troubleshooting

-GPS and COM Port Won’t Communicate, and Have Used a Palm Pilot

-GPS Waypoints Appear Slightly Shifted After Importation into TOPO!

-GPS Waypoints Still Appear Shifted After Ensuring a Common Datum

(Have a Garmin Unit)

-Other Communication Difficulties Between GPS and COM Port

2. TOPO! for Macintosh

    1. Requirements and Installation

    1. Errors

-Error 66

-Out of Memory

    1. Frequently Asked Questions


1. TOPO! Versions 1.0 to 2.6.5

    1. System Requirements

In order to install and run TOPO! you must have the following:

  • an IBM PC or equivalent computer,

  • at least 16 MB of RAM

  • Windows 95, 98, NT, 2000, ME, or higher (Windows 3.1 requires TOPO! version 1.2.4,)

  • an 8 bit color monitor, and

  • a 2X CD-ROM drive.

Caring For Your CD-ROM
Many CD-ROM drives are sensitive to small dust particles or smudges on the back of the CD. Try cleaning the back surface of the CD-ROM with a soft non-abrasive cloth. You can also try washing it under warm water with mild dish soap and a soft cloth, rinsing and drying it completely. If you wish to clean the CD drive itself, consult your CD-ROM drive manufacturer for proper cleaning instructions. Also, verify that your CD-ROM drive is capable of reading from an ISO-9660 formatted CD-ROM with a capacity of 650 MB (most drives are). You can verify this by referring to the documentation that came with your CD-ROM drive.

    1. Installing TOPO!

To install TOPO:

  1. Insert the TOPO! CD-ROM, (disc one if there are more than one.)

  2. Choose the “Run” command from your Windows Start menu

  3. Type “D:\Setup.exe” (if your CD-ROM drive is not drive D, then substitute the appropriate letter)

  4. Click “OK” and follow the instructions on the screen

  5. The TOPO! Install Wizard will place the TOPO! application and other files TOPO! needs to run properly onto your hard drive.

To Run TOPO!:

  1. From the Windows Start Menu, choose Programs, then choose TOPO!.

  2. The Open File dialog box will appear displaying a list of regions that you have installed.

  3. Choose a region document and click “OK.”

  4. When TOPO! finishes loading the region document, the main screen appears.

Error Message Received When Trying to Install on Windows 98, 2000, or ME
We have found that Microsoft includes a faulty mouse driver on some versions of Windows 98, 2000, and ME, that interferes with TOPO!'s install wizard software. Turning off background applications (specifically MS-Wheel) will allow you to successfully install TOPO! with Windows 98. To do this press Ctrl+Alt+Delete one time. The Close Program window will appear. Select MSWheel (if you don't see it, look for Point32 and follow these same instructions) and choose end task. Rerun the Topo! installer. If you continue to have trouble you might try ending the other background tasks. The only 2 programs that you will need running are Explorer and Systray. End Task the other ones. Then try to run the installer again. This should take care of the problem. Next time you restart the computer, the mouse driver will return and TOPO! will run normally.

Ensure that You are Running TOPO! From the Correct CD-ROM Drive
If your CD-ROM drive is not named "D:", you may need to double-check what you are typing in the "Run" menu when you try to install TOPO!. If you are unsure about what letter your CD-ROM drive is assigned, find the "My Computer" icon on your desktop and double click it. All of your named drives will be listed there.
Installing TOPO! Manually
Using Windows Explorer in Windows 95 or the File Manager in Windows 3.1, locate the directory called "BACKUP" in the data directory on your TOPO! CD-ROM. (Note: If you cannot find this directory or this manual installation still does not work, contact us for further assistance). Copy this entire directory to

your hard drive, then rename it "TOPO!". To run TOPO!, use the Explorer or the File Manager to locate the application ("C:\TOPO!\TOPO.EXE"), and double-click it to begin. Once TOPO! is installed and running properly, you might want to copy any maps you use frequently to your hard drive. Read Appendix D in the User's Guide or in the online help.

To Install a TOPO! State Series Product to Your Hard Drive:
You can place the map data directly on your hard drive. To do this, insert the CD and view the contents via Explorer.

You should see a folder with a state code and a number, for example "WA_d04". Open this folder and copy the D folders inside it to the clipboard. (Hit CTRL C)

Now locate the TOPO! folder on your hard drive (probably C:/). Open it.

You should see another folder called "tpo_data".

Paste the folder that you just copied into "tpo_data".
Next time you start TOPO! it should not ask you for the CD-ROM. Of course, if you have a multi-CD set, you will have to do this for each CD if you want all of the data on your hard drive.
To Install a TOPO! Regional Series Product to Your Hard Drive:
If you view the contents of the CD-ROM (use Windows Explorer), you should see a folder titled "xxx_data". Open that folder and copy the contents of it to the tpo_data folder on your hard drive. It should be inside your TOPO! folder, probably on the C drive.

Each TOPO! CD-ROM has a unique "xxx_data" folder - copy the contents of each one you are interested in to the tpo data folder. Some items will be the same, just go ahead and overwrite any files that Windows prompts you to as you are copying.

    1. General Help Using TOPO!

Saving a .tpo document
There are several ways to save an area in TOPO!. When you create a map at level 5, and want to save changes upon exit, the map is still there the next time you open that same .tpo file, but you will need to scroll back to that area to see it. As you noticed, TOPO! will always start at level one when you begin.
You can also save a map at level 5 and then create a new .tpo file for it, for example, bobcathike.tpo. When you want to see this area again, open bobcathike.tpo. You will, however, still need to scroll down to that area to see the map.
The easiest way to save an area is to bookmark it. Simply view the area you've customized and want to save and click the Bookmark tool from the Toolbar. Give the area a name - "Jodi’s hike to Bass Lake", for example. When you exit TOPO!, save changes. The next time you want to view the area, open the .tpo file and click the Bookmark tool again. You will see your bookmarked maps here. Click on the one you want to open and TOPO! will zoom to the area.
Finding a Specific Quad Name
On some TOPO! products, you will be able to find a specific 7.5 minute Quad name by right mouse clicking at level 5 and going to “about this map.” If this does not work on your product, you can find out a specific Quad name by doing the following:
-using the grid tool, overlay a lat/long grid at 450 seconds.

-lay down an anchor point somewhere within the quad you are

interested in, and then go to the gazetteer or placefinder tool.

-Under “type of place to search for,” specify “map name.” (If

you have choices for multiple States, make sure you have selected the

appropriate State.)

-Check the box designating "only find places within," and specify an

arbitrary number such as 3km. Click on "find now."

Your results should return one "map name." If your search returns more than one quad name, you will have to enter a smaller number under “only find places within.”
To Send a .tpo Document to a Friend:
Once your map is exactly how you want it, go to your file pull down menu and select "Save As..." Save your map as a .tpo document, in a location that you can easily find. The saved .tpo file can then be sent to other TOPO! users as an e-mail attachment or on a floppy disk. A .tpo file saves all free hand routes, add text, symbols and bookmarks.
TOPO! Regional Series Map Scales:
TOPO! uses 4 different series of USGS paper maps to provide 5 different scales for viewing:
Level 1 (1:1,000,000 scale)portion of the state shaded relief map

Level 2 (1:250,000) USGS 500k series blown up 2x

Level 3 (1:63,000) USGS 100k series blown up to 1 inch = one mile

Level 4 (1:24000) 7.5' series at 100%

Level 5 (1:12000) 7.5' series at 2x
TOPO! State Series Map Scales:
Level 1: 1:2,000,000 USGS General Reference maps

Level 2: 1:865,000 USGS National Atlas maps

Level 3: 1:500,000 USGS maps

Level 4: 1:50,000 USGS maps

Level 5: 1:15,375 maps based on USGS 7.5 minute maps at ~50%

magnification (for ease of viewing onscreen)

    1. Printing with TOPO! Interactive Maps

How to get the Best Print Quality

You should be able to print sharp, clear prints from TOPO!, and here are a

few suggestions as to how to get the best print quality. First, make sure you have the most current version of TOPO! from our website, at Next, choose the settings that provide the best graphic image prints for your printer. Use "raster," not "vector" settings if you are given the choice, and set the resolution to "good" or "best" - just be sure not to choose "draft." Always print from map level 5, the most detailed scale. After selecting a print area, make sure that "Suggested" is checked on the right side of your screen. Doing this prints the maps at a 50% scale, which squeezes the pixels

together and provides a sharper printout.

How to Print the GPS Waypoint List

At this time there is tool in TOPO! that prints the waypoint list for you, however there is a way to do it. What you can do is view the waypoint list and then hit the Print Screen key on your keyboard. Although this does not actually print the screen for most people, it does copy the contents of the screen to the clipboard. You can then open another application like Paint, and paste the clipboard (hit Ctrl V) into a new document, and print that. We do plan to develop a one step tool or button to print the waypoint list for you, and will offer this in a free upgrade once it's available.

Printing Using a Plotter

TOPO! is designed to work successfully with any windows based printer drivers.

While most of our customers are using TOPO! with standard desktop printers we can offer a few suggestions for working with plotters. First off, you need to be using a Windows - based plotter driver for TOPO! to be able to send prints to it. Second, since TOPO! prints based on the information provided by your default print driver (i.e. where you change your settings from "good" to "best") you need to be sure that your plotter is selected as your default printer. You can do this by right clicking on the plotter's icon in the Control Panel - Settings and choosing "use as default." Third, you may be sending an image that is simply to large a size for TOPO! to send to the plotter. Try sending a smaller image and see if that works. If so, you may just need to reduce your image size. Another option is to use TOPO!'s "Save map as" command to save a file to disk. You can then open this file in another graphics program and try printing from another application that has a good track record with your plotter. Finally, if nothing works, you might try to disconnect from the network if possible. Sometimes other applications like Norton Utilities, other crash protection programs, or even screen savers on a network can interfere with TOPO!.
HP Printer Unable to Print in Landscape Mode
If you get an error message when attempting to print a map from TOPO! in landscape mode, and you have an HP printer, visit the link below and download a new up-to-date driver for your printer.

This new driver from HP should eliminate the problem.

Printing with UTM and/or Latitude/Longitude Grids

Version 2.5 allows you to overlay UTM or latitude/longitude grids on your maps, and print them out. When you run this version, click on the grid tool on the tool bar, or select it from the Tools menu. A "grid wizard" window will appear on your screen to guide you through grid setup. Once you are ready to print, select "include grids" from the printer bar on the right side of your screen.

    1. GPS Questions

GPS and COM Port Won’t Communicate and Have Used A Palm Pilot
Do you have a Palm Pilot? If so, find the "Hot Sync" icon at the bottom right of your desktop screen and right click it. You should get a pop-up window with some tabs. Look in General or Settings. What you are looking for is a setting in which you can enable the Hot Sync feature to only run when the Palm Pilot is running, and not run all the time as is it's default setting. What happens is that the Palm Pilot basically controls the COM port all the time until you adjust this setting and have it turn on and off when needed. Adjusting this setting will free up the COM port for use by other applications (like TOPO!) and should eliminate this error. If you continue to have trouble, please let us know.

GPS Waypoints Appear Shifted After Importation into TOPO!

There are several different datums used among maps and GPS receivers. NAD27, NAD83, or WGS84 are examples of datums, none of which are better than the other, simply different. If you are experiencing a shift in your waypoints after you import them, make sure you have both your GPS receiver and TOPO! set to the same datum. After both are set to a common datum, re-import the data, and your waypoints should line up.

GPS Waypoints Still Appear Shifted After Ensuring a Common Datum

What you're experiencing sounds like a problem we've seen several times with Garmins. You're doing everything right, except your Garmin is actually transporting the points in NAD83, not NAD27. The work around is this: set both TOPO! and the GPS receiver to display and send points in NAD83. You should see things line up properly after you re-import the data. Please let us know if you have questions, or if there is anything further we can provide.

Other GPS and COM Port Communication Difficulties
Problems with upload/download are often correctable. First of all, make sure you have the latest version of TOPO!, available free at We've made some adjustments to the code that should help with connection problems. Also, you might try adjusting the receive buffer settings on your COM port. To do this, go to the Control Panel/System/Ports. Select whatever COM port you are using for TOPO! GPS. Choose Properties/Port Settings/Advanced. Make sure the receive slider is at the default setting, then try connecting again. Also, make sure you are not running any crash protection software when you upload and download, as this can cause problems.

  1. TOPO! for Macintosh

    1. Requirements for TOPO! Macintosh

To use TOPO! on your Macintosh, you need all 3 of the following:

    1. A Macintosh computer (Minimum requirements: PowerMac with 48 MB RAM, 2x CD-ROM drive, color monitor, QuickTime 2.5, OS 8.5 or later recommended.)

2. A TOPO! Regional Series CD-ROM product.

3. The TOPO!Mac viewer (a free downloadable application that works with

the TOPO! CD-ROMs listed above).

To Install TOPO! on Your Mac
Since TOPO! Regional Products are not sold as Mac specific, you will need to download a Mac viewer by visiting our website at Once you have done this, you will be able to follow the instructions below to install TOPO! Mac.
We suggest that in addition to installing the TOPO!Mac folder, you also install each TOPO! CD-ROM that you intend to use. To install a TOPO! CD-ROM, do the following:

1) Locate the TOPO!Mac folder on your hard drive and open it (if

you do not have this folder, you'll need to download and install

the TOPO!Mac viewing software -- see above).

2 ) Load a TOPO! CD-ROM in your CD-ROM drive.

3) When the icon for the CD-ROM appears on the desktop, drag

it onto the utility application in the TOPO!Mac folder called

"Drop TOPO! CDs On Me!".

4) The utility application will analyze the CD-ROM and automati-cally

copy frequently needed maps and data to your hard drive

(typically about 2 MB). It will also place the appropriate TOPO!

region documents (.tpo files) into the folder called "Region Docu-ments"

in the "TOPO!Mac" folder..10

    1. Errors Messages in TOPO! Mac

Error 66

If you encounter an Error 66, you should be able to click on the "Return" button and keep working.This error occurs on some systems when TOPO! is setting the size of a rectangle to a non-integral value, and should cause no harm

Out of Memory

If you get Out of Memory errors while printing or viewing maps, try quitting other applications before running TOPO! and turn off unnecessary system extensions and control panels.

You may also be able to increase the amount of memory allocated to TOPO!: Quit TOPO!, locate the icon for it on your hard drive, hilite the icon by clicking once on it, and choose "Get Info" from the "File" menu. Increase the number in the "Preferred Size" box at the bottom of the window, close the window, and restart TOPO!. If the problem persists, you may need to purchase more RAM or use a program like Norton's RAM Doubler to use TOPO!

    1. Frequently Asked Questions about TOPO! Mac

"What do I need to use TOPO! on my Macintosh?"

You need both the TOPO!Mac viewer (a free downloadable application), and a TOPO! CD-ROM product that works on the Mac (see next question
"What TOPO! products will work on the Macintosh?"

Version 2.0 of TOPO!Mac will work with maps on any of the TOPO! Regional 7.5' CD-ROM products. It will not work with the State Series, TOPO!GPS USA, or the Trailsmart CD-ROMs. Provided there is sufficient demand for this initial Macintosh product, we will add support for these other TOPO! series in the near future.

Click here to view a complete list of TOPO!Mac supported products

"What are the minimum system requirements?"

-Macintosh computer (PowerPC or better)

-at least 48MB RAM (24 MB available)
-QuickTime 2.5 or later
-8 bit color monitor
-2x CD-ROM drive
-OS version 8.5.0 - 9.0.4 (recommended)

"Is there a manual available?"

Yes, the TOPO!Mac User Guide is available as an Adobe Acrobat PDF file. It is included in the download of TOPO!Mac.

"Can I exchange TOPO! files with users of TOPO! for Windows?"

Yes. If you are bringing .tpo files from the Windows environment to the Macintosh, you'll need to import them into TOPO!Mac via the "Import" item in the "File" menu. They will then assume a TOPO! Document icon and can be opened by double clicking.

"Where can I get help with technical support?"

When you encounter problems with the software or the program crashes, please send an email with a brief description of what happened and what you were trying to do when it happened. The preferred method is via email at: Other ways to reach us are listed below:

National Geographic Maps - TOPO!Mac

375 Alabama Street, Suite 400
San Francisco, CA 94110 USA
Web Site:
Telephone: (415) 558-8700
Fax: (415) 558-9700

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