GPS software review: TopoFusion

tf-logo.gifOver the past year we’ve looked at a ton of GPS mountain bike trail data from all over the country and we started noticing a pattern: many of you are using TopoFusion to manage your GPS data. Since singletracks users are perhaps the smartest mountain bikers on the planet, we decided to check out TopoFusion for ourselves and we love what we’ve found.

First of all, TopoFusion was created by two mountain biking brothers out in Arizona, Alan and Scott Morris. These guys are genuinely interested in building a great product and it really shows in some of the features they’ve included in the TopoFusion software.

As the name implies, TopoFusion gives you topographic maps covering the entire US but also includes satellite and aerial photography as well. One of my favorite features is the “combo map view” that uses aerial photographs to shade topographic maps for a more raised-contour look. Unlike most topographic software, TopoFusion downloads maps from the Internet, which can be slow at times, but the upside is a more reasonable price for the software – just $40 for the basic version. Plus, since the map data is in the public domain, there are no restrictions on what you can do with your maps!

TopoFusion goes way beyond displaying topographic maps and aerial photos and includes some features that are just plain awesome. The program is based on the GPX file format for GPS data which makes importing and exporting trail data a snap. Once your data is loaded you can clean up your track points and waypoints by simply clicking and dragging. The program even calculates a difficulty index for your tracks to give you an objective comparison of trails taking into account things like length, elevation gain, and grade – amazing!

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TopoFusion also has some pretty geeky features that are great for trail data hounds like yours truly. The guys have come up with an algorithm that takes GPS data from a trail network and simplifies it into a nice segmented track file. If you’re not sure what I’m talking about, don’t worry – suffice it to say it’s a pretty gnarly feature. You can even add or reduce the number of track points in a GPX file and see (in real time) how your new track will look. There is support for a limited selection of GIS data including roads and cities and really it seems like the possibilities for additional data layers are endless (US Census data anyone?).

If you have a GPS and you’re looking for a good way to manage your trail adventure data, TopoFusion is definitely the way to go. This review hardly scratched the surface of all the features included in TopoFusion and every time I crank it up I find something new. Best of all, the guys seem to be very responsive to comments and suggestions since they’re GPS mountain bikers just like you and me.

You can purchase TopoFusion online and download the software directly from the website.

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