Do you want me to draw you a map?

Create maps manually or from GPS data with this capable geographical freeware.

OkMap is a free geographical software package that can create, edit, and manage digital maps, import data from GPS devices, scanners, and other sources, plot your position in real time, and extract statistics.

With its detailed toolbar and feature-packed menu bar, OkMap's interface bears a strong resemblance to digital imaging and word processing tools, but with a specific geographical focus. The program opened with an optional tool tip that we could click through for a general view of the program's capabilities. An online-hosted, PDF-based Help file does an excellent job of explaining this versatile application's many features and options in its 214 pages; obviously, this tool requires some time to set up and get to know.

We started by creating some simple maps to get a feel for how OkMap operates. You can create two kinds of maps with OkMap: raster maps, which are pixel-for-pixel images and can be quite large--as large as printed map sheets--and vector maps, which are "smart maps" like Google Maps that let you zoom in and out, change the perspective, and manipulate objects. We clicked New Vectorial Map, which initiated a wizardlike process that let us select a wide range of parameters and options with which to create our raw map file. We could then draw and connect lines; add icons, polygons, comments, and other features; and include waypoints, routes, and tracks from GPS data or entered manually. We could also access Google Earth, Google Maps, remote feeds, and data sources, as well as export data in a variety of ways.

You don't need a GPS device to use OkMap, but the program can upload data from your handheld receiver for storing and displaying in a variety of ways. If you hook your GPS up to a laptop running OkMap, you can track and display your position in real time. We didn't test that capability, but it doesn't seems like it would be much of a challenge for this extensive and capable geographical software application.

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