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Is membership worth $50/year?

Posted: Wed May 21, 2008 9:31 am
by steve_moran
I see has apparently been taken over by, and topo maps can no longer be viewed for free -- you have to pay $49.95 for a membership, and that's PER YEAR, not just a one-time fee.

Obviously not a change for the better. But I'm curious as to whether any HST folks have any experience with, and if so do they think it's worth the membership fee?


Re: Is membership worth $50/year?

Posted: Wed May 21, 2008 12:41 pm
by TehipiteTom
I haven't dealt with them at all, but just speaking for myself, I would absolutely never consider subscribing--because they killed Topozone. It makes no sense to put the topos behind a subscriber wall. (Incidentally, does now have a free topo viewer; the search function isn't very good, but the maps are fine. It isn't a perfect substitute for Topozone, but it does do the job, and their maps are really good as well.)

That aside, I think it would probably depend on whether you do a) a lot of hiking in a limited number of areas, or b) a limited number of trips in a widely divergent bunch of places. If it's a), Wilderness Press or other guidebooks will do you better than; if you do end up hiking outside your standard areas, you can nearly always find something free on the web about where you're going.

If you're doing a hike here and a hike there, then guidebooks aren't economically as feasible, and starts to make sense.

Re: Is membership worth $50/year?

Posted: Wed May 28, 2008 1:45 pm
by Packtofish
I just found this new program from Nat Geo. Looks like a slightly cheaper alternative.

Re: Is membership worth $50/year?

Posted: Wed May 28, 2008 3:05 pm
by copeg
I personally haven't had any experience with, so for all I know their services are worth the price. BUT, from my point of view what they offer isn't even close the what it costs.
As for topozone, I noticed they were going downhill for quite a while, and even more so their user interface was really put to shame by google maps, many renditions of which have topo map capabilities. As an example, I did this on my website:
In addition, the USGS provides a similar interface with a topo map selection ( - I noticed the website doesn't work for all web browsers), but more so you can place markers on the map, and the markers provide links to a) download the USGS topo map at full resolution and/or b) purchase a print of the map.
So, if you are going to subscribe to simply for their topo maps, you can pretty much get it all for free somewhere else.

Re: Is membership worth $50/year?

Posted: Thu May 29, 2008 2:27 pm
by TehipiteTom
Packtofish wrote:I just found this new program from Nat Geo. Looks like a slightly cheaper alternative.
Emphasis on the 'beta' in that url--darn thing crashed my browser. ;)

Still, once it's ready for prime time it looks like it'll be a great resource. And hey, not $50/year!

Re: Is membership worth $50/year?

Posted: Wed Aug 25, 2010 11:12 am
by cabin01
I found it curious that people lament about the fact that cost money where was free. Then someone says that they noticed that was going downhill for quite some time.....anyone notice any irony in this?

Nothing is free. And that which is, or pretends to be soon falls into disrepair because no one takes value in it.

Re: Is membership worth $50/year?

Posted: Wed Aug 25, 2010 1:00 pm
by frediver
Short answer, NO.
If I only had to pay for the one and only site I visited, maybe.
How many different sites want to charge fee's, lots more than
I can pay for !

Re: Is membership worth $50/year?

Posted: Thu Aug 26, 2010 7:26 pm
by dave54
I did not think that site was worth the effort when it was free.

So much of the information and trail descriptions were inaccurate or outright erroneous I stopped using the site years ago.

Re: Is membership worth $50/year?

Posted: Sat Aug 28, 2010 8:51 am
by fedak
For $50 you can get the whole state of CA on Topo! CDs: ... de=SR50002" onclick=";return false;

Google Maps also has decent terrain maps now.

There's an enormous amount of free trail information out there- didn't ever see the need for commercial sites like trails (or everytrail)