Discussion in 'Hiking Chat' started by Rmr, Feb 13, 2019.

  1. Rmr

    Rmr Trail Blazer

    I have not seen many posts with regards to navigation with maps, interested to find out peoples preferences. For around 6 years I have used Harvey Maps for most of my walking as they cover the main areas that I walk. Waterproof & lightweight are the main benefits. They include British Mountain Maps, Superwalker and my favourite the XT40 series, got to be the lightest map available. Must add that not many areas available in the XT40 series,but worth it if you're walking the area available.
    Jim_Parkin likes this.
  2. Teepee

    Teepee Thru Hiker

    Paper maps for me, of all types. The little XT40's are great for my favourite and quite well known area... I love the way they carry with my compass (being the same size) and don't need babying at all. Theyr'e even better than the excellent Scandinavian washable maps.

    However, I'm always happiest with an OS. I simply prefer the colours and contours, the 1:50's have always been favourite. For years now, have been subscribing to OS and printing maps off when I can.

    It's rare I use my GPS, but it's usually always carried.
    Last edited: Feb 14, 2019
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  3. Patrick

    Patrick Trail Blazer

    Only recently come to the Harvey's maps, but liking the fact that paths seem to truly represent paths on the ground rather than their theoretical presence, as sometimes seems to be the case with the OS! Hard to beat the familiarity of an OS map, though. I know this is a discussion about paper maps but I've also found myself using Open Streetmap recently for the same purpose of identifying paths that really exist...
  4. Stube

    Stube Summit Camper

    First choice is for OS mapping at 1:25k preferably the AtoZ Adventure series, else either the AA walkers maps or the OS ones depending on the area - I live at the boundary of 4 OS sheets so the aim is to only carry one map.

    I've used Harvey Maps, and I like their clean appearance, but I know that colour blind people find them difficult to use.

    I primarily use a strip map for long linear routes, with sheets from the Philips Navigator atlas (1:100K) for planning, backup and for when I go seriously off route as I often do mid-trek.

    I only take GPS when I'm not following a geographical feature such as a river or coast. Just as a security blanket, but rarely used.
  5. dovidola

    dovidola Thru Hiker

    It's fascinating how things change. Much as I adore paper OS maps, I'm now a convert to downloaded OS mapping on my mobile (£20 a year or whatever). The GPS facility seems (to this traditionalist at least) to be cheating, but it's so convenient. Crucial to still be able to navigate the 'old fashioned way' of course, and I carry a small magnetic compass and backup basic map printout (a sheet of A4 inside a ziplock) in case the electronics fail, which they haven't yet. Assuming you were going to be carrying a mobile anyway, it's a significant weight saving!

    This 'new' method fosters a different usage though. Unless you want to carry a lot of battery power (which I don't), you learn to carry more of the mapping in your head, only activating the digital mapping from time to time (more often in complicated terrain or restricted visibility). The rambler wearing the map case dangling from the neck is consigned to the dustbin of history...

    ...the old paper maps, however, have come to serve a different purpose. Nothing comes close for spreading out over a large table or floor on a winter's evening (steady!) to plan future adventures or recall previous excursions.
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  6. cathyjc

    cathyjc Thru Hiker

    @dovidola - quote - "The rambler wearing the map case dangling from the neck is consigned to the dustbin of history…"

    That's me told :cry::cry::cry:
    Tho' it doesn't "dangle" from anywhere :cool::p
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  7. edh

    edh Thru Hiker

    The multi-user workstation screens we have at work come close :p
    Patrick likes this.
  8. Stube

    Stube Summit Camper

    The real problems with GPS is that the limited battery life makes them only really suitable for day walkers - or those staying in B&Bs every night.

    I camp, there are effectively no hostels in the south, and consider myself lucky if I get the opportunity to change anything more than every 4/5 days.

    So it has to be paper maps, with electronics limited to emergency use only.
  9. gixer

    gixer Thru Hiker

    A Powerbank and airplane mode works great :thumbsup:
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  10. Mountain Mackem

    Mountain Mackem Trail Blazer

    Born and bred on paper maps and compass. I have mapping software on phone but on more than one occasion in winter my phone has just given up so don't rely on it. I now tend to print only the map area I need and laminate it. Easily accessed from external mesh pocket.
  11. dovidola

    dovidola Thru Hiker

    A full iPhone charge will easily last 4-5 days if you limit its use. There's a chap in the US who claims 10 days for his iPhone 6 Plus. As @gixer says, Airplane Mode is crucial. This is because where there is no phone/internet signal, the phone will continually (and in vain) launch new searches for a signal, and this chews up your power. Happily, most phones will still access GPS in Airplane Mode. Also, switch the phone off completely at night. I carry a single-charge powerbank as backup (Zendure A1 Mini 3350mAh weighing 68g), which I've yet to drain.

    I wouldn't particularly advocate GPS navigation as an alternative to paper mapping, but if you're going to be carrying a smartphone anyway...
  12. WilliamC

    WilliamC Thru Hiker

    +1 @gixer and @dovidola, except to the latter's point about turning the phone off at night. I've found with a Lenova P2 and a Samsung Note FE that putting them in the most aggressive power saving mode (the P2 even has a dedicated button for this) uses less power than powering them on and off. A bonus is that you can still use them as an alarm clock, too.
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  13. gixer

    gixer Thru Hiker

    We're really spoilt in the UK with the choices of good quality reliable maps
    Over here (Greece) we have some companies producing maps but they're few and far between and don't tend to get updated too often

    I prefer if i can to take a map and compass with me, just-in-case as i find they help me get the lay of the land better.
    To be honest though i find i'm hardly ever using the map
    I've got maps of regular hiking locations that i've had for years that i've never even opened

    I've tried various GPS devices from the usual suspects like Garmin, really not a fan, poor screen resolution, faff to import maps and routes, oddly enough i've also found their location reliability not to be as good as my phones.

    Can't see me ever buying a dedicated GPS again, so i use my phones
    I buy waterproof phones, use a decent case when hiking, if i'm on my own i'll also take a old phone with the maps on as back up, if with others i'll make sure they have the maps installed.

    Works great
    Part of me still like the old romantic idea of pouring over maps, in reality (with a few precautions) phones are a reliable, easy route following device

    Only chink in their amour is route planning, it's not fun route planning with a tiny phone screen.
    To make matters worse, for some reason Viewranger doesn't allow you to use purchased maps for route planning on their PC software either :banghead:
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  14. thin bloke

    thin bloke Summit Camper

    OS maps for me, dont even have a smartphone.
  15. Dan Outdoors

    Dan Outdoors Trekker

    I always carry a paper copy of the OS map for where I am, Ill also have to digital back up just in case. Ive tried harvey map before but didnt get on with them (could be the colourblindness mentioned above)
  16. Diddi

    Diddi Thru Hiker

    I can't see how using digital mapping is a problem on battery unless you are navigating with the gps enabled for the duration of the hike.
    I use my digital software ( alpinequest ) like a paper map ( always carry paper map in rucksak ) which does not use much if any more battery than looking at my phone screen itself.
    If uncertain i would enable gps just for a position then turn off again until i was unsure again.
  17. tom

    tom Thru Hiker

    Paper maps are great for planning and ok for day or wk hikes but I much prefer maps on phones. I can take several maps (particularly in parts of Europe where map quality is low) and I have gps build in when needed. But even in the UK, I wouldn't rely on an OS without a complimentary OSM.

    Then there is the weight savings on trips that last weeks. I could never bring myself to burn guidebook pages and maps along the way as many thru-hikers seem to do. A solar charger and/or powerbanks are a better option IMO (and flightmode at least doubles any battery range as others said). On section and thru-hikes, I often carry a large scale overview paper map for perspective.

    But then I don't feel that a map is "indispensable" either. When we first hiked in the Himalayas or the Western Ghats in South India, all detailed maps were military secret and forbidden to civilians (not that we ever even saw one) and we seemed to get on fine without them... Similarly I recall Stephen Pern writing how he hiked the CDT in 1983 with a map of Wyoming printed on a beer mat for navigation. I don't imagine he did this by choice but probably out of necessity....
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  18. Padstowe

    Padstowe Thru Hiker

    I agree with the above, but I don't do long hikes so.
    Paper maps with some pacing practice thrown in once & awhile, as having the knowledge aint the same as being able to use it right, & with map & compass work being very little science & more about dare I say it an "art form" you gotta keep the practice up to hit the mark if needed IMO.
    In saying that I will now follow a pre-recorded route in very poor visibility when leading a club walk as it keeps them moving with less complaining, as prior I'd usually nav on the fly like I do when solo with maybe the occasional location check depending how easy my cut offs are to ascertain.
  19. WilliamC

    WilliamC Thru Hiker

    Yes, no maps available here for most of our walks, or when there are they're lacking a lot of information. GPS is a godsend.
    Edit: Locus has recently added 1970s Russian military maps for Turkey. I'm going to brush up my Cyrillic :).
    Last edited: May 12, 2019
  20. dovidola

    dovidola Thru Hiker

    There seems to be an unwritten rule about published paper maps of 1:50000 or larger scale: Wherever you want to go will be just on the border of two (or more) maps.
  21. tom

    tom Thru Hiker

    They don't have a choice, its in the official international guidelines for map publishers ... :rolleyes:
  22. Fair Weather Camper

    Fair Weather Camper Thru Hiker

    You need to buy about six maps to cover teensy places like Harris.

    Was it 'Hitch Hikers Guide' where someone was talking about having so much fun 'designing' the crinkly coast of Norway??

    I think whoever it was had, a hand in the Hebrides too..
  23. fluffkitten

    fluffkitten Thru Hiker

    Slartibartfast, and no I'm not being rude. :D
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  24. Padstowe

    Padstowe Thru Hiker

    Not sure why, but you have me thinking it won some award now. The coastline that is, in the book of course.
    Did you know that the coastline of Norway is bigger than that of North America?
    Well at least that's what me Norwegian uncle always told me when I was a kid, never did check it.:angelic:
    Fair Weather Camper likes this.
  25. Fair Weather Camper

    Fair Weather Camper Thru Hiker

    Indeed it was Slartibarfast wot who dunnit.


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