In the Desert
What to look for
Content including photographs are Copyright © 2013 - Present - Don & Linda Gilmore
USGS Topographic Maps
USGS Topographic Maps The latest thing in digital maps..
I'm sure we all remember the old printed maps we had to buy or order from the USGS so we could find our way around in the desert. You can still buy them. But now you can also download them to your computer in a full-sized map (PDF format) that also has an image layer, and a lot of other features. Image layer is the same as the satellite view you've become accustomed to in Google Earth, etc. Differences are reviewed and sample captures are here along with instructions for downloading maps. They are FREE.
Garmin Topo Maps You won't want to be without these maps!
This is a great new set of maps that you can download that will work with Garmin's Map Source and Base Camp software, plus you can load them into your GPS. We downloaded 6 different maps so far and really like and use them all. I think you'll be really pleased. See our review.
Garmin Topo Maps
Wikimapia Help Series Using this map system.
There were some real problems when they updated this map system, however the programmers have now corrected all the main options and it's back to a great system with a lot of nice features. 3 additions we added are shown on the map below. This area is not located on any other maps. Mouse over the map.
Wikimapia MAP LINK
Google Earth Map
Google Earth Help Series Read this - New Features and how to use them.
You're probably familiar with Google Earth Satellite Maps in the desert. These are great maps and now they're even better. On the Google Earth Map you can now add your Garmin or Magellan topo tracks right to the satellite maps. There are now so many features available that it's made this map system a very desirable asset to any traveler or explorer. Make sure you look at the above link and then the Google Earth 3D View link.
Google Earth MAP LINK
Maps.google can be changed to Earth view. With Maps dot Google you will have the 3D view of Google Earth. You can click on street view in the map. This is not available in all areas, but there are a lot of places where it is available. Look at the second image and you'll see; you can actually move down the street just like your driving in a reality machine. This has really come in handy for finding homes and businesses.
The map below is an actual Maps.google map that you can navigate around in. Zoom in and out, drag the map. You can also see the Terrain, and Satellite views.
Maps dot Google MAP LINK
One of the things we've had the hardest time finding are good maps of Mexico and Baja. Well here it is! You can zoom in to a magnified level to view all the streets, towns, trails, and small villages in Mexico and Baja. If you plan on traveling anywhere in Mexico you'll like this map! Each map segment shows the towns and pueblos of each area in the desert. This is a must if your traveling in Mexico. See link below.
Mexico & Baja Map MAP LINK
The following maps are listed here as references to other great map sources. Some are for hiking, some for state parks, listed by state, and so on. Don't miss these as there may be one you need on your day trips in the desert. Government maps are included here also.
Earthquake maps of the world. They have changed their format, maybe you'll like it. To see the latest earthquake info ---
The is the new Bing Map. Brought to you by Microsoft. This is an interactive 3D map if you can get it to work.
Want to find a National Park Map for your state or another state. Here's where to look.
These are the State Park Map locations listed for each state in the Southwest.
All the Wilderness Map areas in the desert are shown on this map. If you like hiking then this is a great place to start.
BLM Maps by state
These maps all have their own special purpose. Review of some of the best can be found HERE
Other maps will be added as they are found or become available.
Atlas, Topographic Paperbacks
Atlas, Gazetteer Remember the old printed topo map books.
You can still buy the "books" for each state in the U.S. and maybe for Baja. I say maybe because they are not always available. Join us to see where you can purchase these maps and what to expect from them.
Mapping System Reviews w/ examples
Interactive Map with a location, photo, and a link added.
Quick tutorial on how to share and enhance your travels in the desert.
Imaging Programs Improving your maps before sharing them.
Tablet Review See what In the Desert uses?.
After hours of studying how they work and the options available, we went with a tablet to replace our Garmin GPS. We don't regret the change. See for yourself what we choose, the accessories, and why.
Map Symbols Are you using topography maps to locate places in the desert?
If your answer is YES, then you need to review this article. What do they all mean?
Mine Information Large data base of mining info.
Update: The mining location map on this site requires a yearly payment of $29.99, as of 3/25/18, and is no longer free to access. However you can still access info on mines if you know the name of the mine and what state/county it is located in.
One of the only map systems that allows you to "Import" a GPX track from your computer onto the map. You can even draw your own tracks and then print the map. If you want to view tracks here in the Daytrips section of the site in a topography map or a Google Map then this is an easy way to do just that. Map tutorial included. Great resource!
CalTopo Hi-res Topo Map Highest detail available with other features.
Two NEW Map Systems
Gmap4 Topo Map Great detail (uses CalTopo) plus lots of optional maps.
This map is also easy to use and has a lot of optional maps, like the ESRI USA map.
The CalTopo map is the map system we use the most. Planning a trip, your research should start with CalTopo.
CalTopo is our No. 1 choice!
NEW / Old Maps
Old Maps 3 new map systems you won't want to miss!
This is just one of the reasons we publish the most comprehensive web site in the desert. We'll keep you up to date on all the latest maps available. These are new sytems with some great old maps. See what the desert southwest use to look like.
These can be really handy!
The "Finding your way page" can help with trip planning, take a look!
Using Topo Maps
Finding your way - You may not be spending enough time searching for places on your topography maps. Here's how we find them, with a link to a converter and a video.