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Australian and New Zealand TOPO V6 vs TOPO V5 – Full Review
It’s finally happened. Garmin has released the new TOPO maps for Australia and New Zealand. The V6 Australian TOPO maps are now the most current version available. The original TOPO maps were based on data from 2014 while the TOPO V6 maps are based on data from 2017. The Topo V6 maps are available to buy now with a $199 RRP
Garmin TOPO Maps Australia and New Zealand V6 Full - Available now for $199RRP
Garmin TOPO Maps Australia and New Zealand V6 Lite - Available now for $99RRP
What’s Changed from Australian/New Zealand TOPO V5 to TOPO V6
This article will only be focused on changes between version 5 and version 6 TOPO maps. A full breakdown of the differences between Full TOPO versions and Lite versions is available here. I’ve outlined the significant changes below to give you a quick idea:
- Extended road and trail networks significantly, including offroad and dirt trails where available – This includes data for auto-routing (Auto routing only available on Full TOPO V6)
- The POI’s, parks have been updated along with speciality POIs and Place names (scenic areas, shipwrecks, boat ramps, public toilets, homesteads, lighthouses, ridges, gaps, beaches, etc.).
- Updated and expanded the water and wetland coverage
- The ‘Great Walks’ have been added as routable tracks and enhanced with a featured colour
- The contours have been updated too, although they are still at 10m vertical intervals, they are significantly more accurate and follow the water bodies more closely.
- Added summit elevations for top mountain peaks
- Added Freedom camping to NZ, and fence lines to Australia
- Added more speciality POIs and Place Names, e.g. scenic areas, shipwrecks, boat ramps, public toilets, homesteads, lighthouses, ridges, gaps, beaches etc
- Updated parks, added marine parks, and made them searchable
- Improved Map rendering and search times
- TOPO V5 Full is: 3.32GB | TOPO V6 Full is: 3.61GB (TOPO V6 Lite is 1.20GB)
The most prominent change here is the contours as Garmin spent the majority of their time with this iteration making sure that was as accurate and detailed as possible. The other significant changes are the extended road and trail support along with the increase to all POI’s and routable tracks. In particular, the routable tracks for many of the ‘Great Walks’ of Australia are very welcome. Garmin has included most of the big ones like Overland Track (Tas), Cape to Cape Track (WA), Australian Alps (VIC, NSW, ACT), Thorsborne Trail (QLD), Larapinta Trail (NT), the list goes one but there the ones I have verified. The speciality POI’s have also been long in demand for a significant update along with the addition of what I’m forever being asked why it hasn’t been added - summit elevations! Overall it looks like Garmin has taken on some feedback here and added a lot more functionality and information to their TOPO maps.
(TOPO V6 Left-side and TOPO V5 Right-side)
This comparison image gives you a good idea of what’s changed between contour information and the more accurate depiction of water body information. You can also see on these pictures the increase in routable tracks showing Overland Track (One of the Great Walks in Tasmania – check it out for some fantastic views!) along with the peak height for Cradle Mountain. The picture below shows just peak elevation available on the maps now.
This shows the difference between TOPO V5 and TOPO V6 for NZ. The V6 TOPO maps for NZ show 10m contours as opposed to the V5 TOPO maps which show 20m contour lines. You can also see once again the extra information regarding vegetation, routable tracks, creeks and water information.
(Garmin TOPO Maps V6 Full Left-side and Garmin TOPO Maps V6 Lite Right-side)
Summary – Worth the upgrade?
Yes. Well at least to me, if you’re going to rely on TOPO maps then the more accurate and up to date the better right? On top of that, I like the increased number of routable tracks, speciality POIs and easy identification of peak elevations (yes I could google it, but this is a lot easier now). The other major drawcard is the amount of work put into the new contour lines regarding their accuracy. If the big changes listed in the article are not helpful to you, then you’ll be fine sticking with the V5 maps.