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 http://www.topo.com/support_upgrades/index.html.)
1.1 System Requirements
-Caring for Your CD-ROM
1.2 Installing and Launching TOPO!
-General Installation and Launch
-Error Message Received When Trying to Install on Win. 98, 2000, or ME
-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
1.6 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
2.1 Requirements and Installation
-Out of Memory
2.3 Frequently Asked Questions
1. TOPO! Versions 1.0 to 2.6.5
1.1 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
- 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
1.2 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
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
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
1.3 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
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
-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
-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
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
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)
1.4 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 www.topo.com. 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
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.
1.5 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 www.topo.com. 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.
2. TOPO! for Macintosh
2.1 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
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
http://www.topo.com/mac/index.html. 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
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
2.2 Errors Messages in TOPO! Mac
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!
2.3 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
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: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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: www.topo.com
Telephone: (415) 558-8700
Fax: (415) 558-9700