4 Online Mapping Tools to Plan and Scout Your Hunt

Photograph by Brian Klutch

Maps are the serious hunter’s best friend, especially when it comes to scouting. And in today’s digital world, there are a plethora of online mapping options available on your phone or tablet. We tested the various capabilities of four of the most popular online mapping tools by using them to remotely scout the same property. We compared the maps on their ease of use, detail, cost, mobile functionality, and coverage.

1. Google Earth // earth.google.com
With its unique ability to change point of view and virtually fly across a 3D rendering of a property, Google Earth was the best tool for clearly showing the lay of the land. On a property such as the one we scouted, with its many fingers and ridges, this is a must-use feature. Google Earth also offers the ability to measure distances, see historical imagery of a property, and make custom markups.

Best for:
• Crystal-clear 3D rendering of topography
• Lacks additional default overlay options

2. OnX Maps // onxmaps.com
OnX Maps has premium options for desktop computers and mobile devices, but the latter is where OnX really shines. With the Hunt app open, we could see satellite imagery, topographic maps, and even parcel borders and owner information. The only downside is the $30 cost to access the full mapping tools on a phone.

Best for:
• On-the-go trips where multiple views of a property on your phone are useful
• Deciphering property and public hunting borders
• Image resolution

3. MyTopo.com // mytopo.com
For a property with varied features, a true topographic map is a tremendous asset. And for high-quality, easy-to-navigate free online maps, MyTopo.com is a good choice, though it doesn't have a mobile app. MyTopo offers satellite imagery and print options.

Best for:
• Viewing high-quality images of landscapes with significant terrain features
• Not mobile-friendly

4. Bing Maps // bing.com
For speed and simplicity, it's hard to beat the basic map functionality of Bing. We were able to toggle between a road map, regular satellite imagery, and an angled bird's-eye view all in a matter of seconds.

Best for:
• Getting a quick bird's-eye view of a property
• Getting driving directions
to and from property
• Aerial imagery not always as clear as other sources'
• Lack of features such as distance calculator