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Digital Mapping Guide

The use of digital mapping has become a popular method of navigation for walkers. It offers a flexible way of exploring the landscape providing accurate and detailed maps of your walking routes. For many walkers the use of paper maps was the preferred method of navigation but the arrival of the digital age has provided a convenient and flexible alternative. It is hoped this guide will help you make the transition to digital maps so you can take advantage of the many benefits they offer.

Two basic components are required. Firstly you need an app (or software) to view and manipulate the maps. This can be downloaded to your PC (Windows and MacOS versions are available) or to your mobile device (Android and IOS versions available). This software is provided free of charge. Secondly you need the digital mapping which is interpreted by the app. As with paper maps you only need to purchase maps of the areas you are interested but with the OMN OS Premium Plus subscription you have access to the full GB25K and GB50K maps, which will be updated 4 times per year. Once installed, you can plan routes, generate gpx files and print the maps. Installation of the app, once downloaded, is straightforward and easy to accomplish. Adding the maps to the app is again an easy exercise with detailed instructions available from the provider.

You are able to use the mapping on as many personal devices that you have. Direct uploading to the Garmin is on the way and will be here very soon so for the moment the methods to upload to the Garmin is as follows. Select the route in GM you wish to upload to the Garmin and then tap the Export icon. In the export window navigate to the location of the Garmin Device (usually shown as an external drive) and then expand that and locate Garmin > GPX. Use that to send the route to.  However if it is not recognised then save the GPX file to a folder on your computer. (I created a GPX folder for this). Then if not already installed download the Garmin Basecamp software from https://www.garmin.com/en-GB/shop/downloads/basecamp and then connect your device to sync with that program. You can then use that software to import the GPX file and upload to the device.

My preferred app is the Outdoor Map Navigator (OMN) provided by Anquet. This easy to use software is intuitive and easy to learn. You soon appreciate the many advantages of using digital mapping which is portable, provides outstanding detail, can be zoomed to allow closer inspection of route details and can be printed if you still prefer a paper version of your route. To summarise, you get the benefits of modern technology together with the flexibility to revert to more traditional paper maps.

The choice of mapping covers both Ordnance Survey 25k Explorer and 50k Landranger maps. In addition Harveys Superwalker 25k maps and British Mountain 40k maps add an additional option often providing more relevant mapping for outdoor enthusiasts and walkers. My personal preference has always been OS 25k maps although I often use Harveys and British Mountain maps to double check my routes.

The following links provide more detailed information:-

Ordnance Survey 25k Explorer maps

Ordnance Survey 50k Lanranger maps

To conclude, digital mapping provides an accurate navigational guide when out walking and is a vital aid to safety especially when out in the hills or walking the mountains of the UK.

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