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

  1. ralph

    ralph Summit Camper

    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.
  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 Backpacker

    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 Section 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.
  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
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  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 Backpacker

    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 Section 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:
    FOX160 likes this.
  14. thin bloke

    thin bloke Summit Camper

    OS maps for me, dont even have a smartphone.

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