Using Digital Maps (GPS)

There’s an old song that goes, "Anything you can do, I can do better." If digital maps could sing that tune to their paper counterparts, they’d be right (for the most part). Digital mapping software offers all sorts of enhancements over paper maps, including these capabilities:

Finding street addresses quickly

Interfacing with GPS receivers to see where you are or where you were

Showing driving directions to just about anywhere

Displaying terrain three-dimensionally

Annotating maps with pop-up information

Creating custom maps

Printing a hard copy map (which is sometimes the most important)

Digital maps do have a few drawbacks, including these:

You need a computer.

If you have a laptop or personal digital assistant (PDA), you can take mapping software on the road with you.

You need software.

This topic helps you select and use software packages, particularly mapping programs in the free-$100 price range.

You have to spend time mastering the software.

Most mapping software is readily usable, but all programs have nuances that sometimes make their features and user interfaces a little tricky.

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