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LBMaps Screen Capture

By: Scott Brady, Expeditions West Editor


LB Maps:


USA tel, 253-225-9962
Tacoma, Washington, USA & Los Barriles, BCS, Mexico

Cost $49
Costs are subject to change, verify pricing with vendor
Overall Rating

For those of us that travel to Mexico and leave the highway, beyond the guidance of the AAA maps and atlas', searching for the road less traveled. For the Baja explorer, the LB Map Baja series is like winning the lottery. To this point, a few select waypoint's were available, but there were no comprehensive GPS base map resources available.

I contacted LB Maps to test their software on a recent trip to Baja. Our destination was a climbing trek up Picacho Del Diablo. We would be taking a series of backroads through the San Pedro Martir, and the trip would prove to be a great analysis of the software's accuracy and detail.

The evaluation started at the border crossing, driving south through Mexicali. There is minimal street level detail, so the software will have minimal application in the big cities, though I doubt it would make much difference, as the routes south through most border towns change frequently. I am also not sure it would be a great idea to be checking out a GPS in Mexicali traffic anyway's. As soon as my team got south of town, and cruising down the highway I was able to monitor the maps accuracy. On my Garmin Vista the screen is small, so I zoomed in to take a closer look. The track log was laying directly over the LB Maps line for MEX5. It was incredibly accurate (less than 30 meters deviation).


I was impressed, but knew the real test would come in the mountains south of Mikes Sky Ranch. The turn onto Mex 3 was also "right on", and we were off to Valle Trinidad for Gas. I monitored the map as we closed in on the road to Mike's sky and the base map was correct again, marking the turn-off for Mikes within less than 40 M of the actual location. From here the detail remains excellent, but the accuracy degrades slightly. But that issue is mostly mute, as all of the intersections are there, and the general direction and route is very easy to follow. The roads out of Mikes Sky were all on the base map.

You can see in the image to the right, the recorded track from my trip follows closely to the base map, and never deviates by more than 3-400 meters. The trails are shown as gray, dashed lines, and roads are shown as red, solid lines (my track is the dark dotted line).

As a navigation aid, it is indispensable, and takes much of the pressure of the driver for route finding.

A GPS and Base map should never be your only navigation method anyway's. Good maps and the ability to use them should always be available. However, a GPS and detailed base map opens many doors for the explorer, and more importantly for route planning. I used the base map to record a series of critical waypoint's that were fed into my back-up unit, and copies of the waypoint's were provided to my travel partners.

The software is delivered as an executable program, and loads the map option into your Garmin Mapsource application. It becomes another selection in the maps drop-down menu.

Since receiving this software and testing it, Larry has released a new version, called the "expeditioner" . It is more detailed, and provides topographical information as well (contours, etc.) in addition to detailed street level information for Baja cities and towns. As soon as I get the software to test, I will report on its performance. I intend to use these resources for my upcoming trip to Cabo, which will make for a great review.

Summary: The map application is a real value from my perspective. And with the few shortcomings addressed in the new Expeditioner version, this is a great win for Baja travelers.