Handheld GPS units like the Magellan Triton 200 devices are used for planning and undertaking outdoor activities. Camping, trail biking, hiking etc. are among such activities. Road maps are no use as, typically, you would undertake such activities in areas where there are no roads. You need terrain information to be able to plan accurately and also to execute the trip. Topographic maps are ideally suited for these outings. What you need is that they be accurate and, ideally, free to download and use!
A Major Free Triton Map Source
Since its launch the Magellan Triton series was provided with access to National Geographic’s TOPO! series of 1:24,000 scale topogrpahic maps. These maps are available for all US states.Through this alliance of Magellan and National Geographic, the Triton series is the first outdoor handheld whose users can download the National Geographic topographic maps. Although these are paid resources, they are not very expensive. To get an access to free Magellan Triton 200 maps you need to find other sources.
The Vantage Point software supplied with units in this series allows you to manage what you can get out of the devices. Based on a PC this lets you acquire maps, tracks, and way-points to share them with friends. You can, of course, download maps into the devices themselves. But, is there a way of acquiring the topographic maps for free? The only free Magellan Triton 200 map resource the devices come with, is the map of Yosemite National Park.
The USGS is the biggest source of maps in the USA. They have 1:100,000 and 1: 24,000 topographic maps of the complete country. These will also be the most authentic data of all such available data. On the negative side though, they will not have any interesting side information such as POIs as the Natgeo map series will have. Via the MapFinder service of the USGS you can obtain these maps. MapFinder™ for Google Earth is a searchable USGS topographic map index. It utilizes the basemap information from Google Earth data. The map Finder will help you locate details such as the section number, the vintage, and contour intervals related to the map and will let you download it for free.This application is available through the DDS, Inc.
Some Other Sources
A few more free Magellan Triton 200 maps are available from the following places. One source that has a mission to provide free topographic resources is the Libre Map Project. The 24k scale USGS maps are also available from them. MapTech and TopoZone are two other sources of free topo maps. There’s another source that provides a limited number of topo maps but the stock includes maps of Europe and elsewhere. This is the German site maintained by an individual. Access the site here. Appropriate forums will have pointers to suitable sites. One such forum is located here. Happy hunting!