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frugal way to get 1:25k topo maps on a GPS device?

frugal way to get 1:25k topo maps on a GPS device?


Postby ratatoskr » Sat Jul 14, 2018 3:27 pm

hello walkers,

after our hugely enjoyable turn on Raasay last month (https://www.walkhighlands.co.uk/Forum/viewtopic.php?f=1&t=78071) i'm getting into serious walking on a regular basis, 75-100 km per week out in the Pentlands and so forth. and that has got me thinking of a GPS unit, something like the Garmin GPSMAPS 64s/st or suchlike.

thus far i have been using 1:25k paper maps and enjoying the details and accuracy but i see that getting maps of that resolution on the Garmin via Garmin or OS is atrociously expensive.

is that just the way things are or is there a frugal man's way to go about this?

if needs be i'll just stick with GPS and a good paper map but i thought i'd ask in case there's a good option i've overlooked.
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Re: frugal way to get 1:25k topo maps on a GPS device?

Postby davekeiller » Sat Jul 14, 2018 7:14 pm

Have you looked at memory map or Anquet?
Alternatively, all paper OS maps now come with free download. I'm not sure how easy it is to transfer to a standalone GPS, as I expect that they intend you to put it on a smartphone.
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Re: frugal way to get 1:25k topo maps on a GPS device?

Postby rockhopper » Sat Jul 14, 2018 11:48 pm

Not OS maps but they do give contours, roads, water, some paths etc - cheers :)
https://talkytoaster.me.uk/product-category/free/
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Re: frugal way to get 1:25k topo maps on a GPS device?

Postby gaffr » Sun Jul 15, 2018 7:49 am

Maybe it is that I am missing something here? I have used the earlier Garmin device the 62sc for a while now and that came with the 1:50,000 OS maps for the whole of GB loaded up.
Price of the Device without maps?.... how much difference is the price with?....is that the question.
Personally, I wouldn't go out into the higher hills without an OS map.
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Re: frugal way to get 1:25k topo maps on a GPS device?

Postby Jaywizz » Sun Jul 15, 2018 9:31 am

Not for gps, but the phone app BackCountry Navigator gives access to 1:25000 and not too expensive. Useful for checking out before a walk - but I would never depend on it alone on the hill ...................
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Re: frugal way to get 1:25k topo maps on a GPS device?

Postby ratatoskr » Sun Jul 15, 2018 9:48 am

thanks all for the suggestions, great leads to follow. fwiw i've been using OS maps on my smartphone via their app which is great as long as you have signal. no signal though and you're looking at a blank screen if you're trying to get location info or simply the downloaded map. for instance in the Pentlands i lose signal at least 50% of the time. on Raasay we were lucky to have signal at all and almost never had it once were out of the Southern 1/3 of the island.

just to clarify i have been using 1:25k maps because i like the high level of detail. i tend to head off the beaten track and the 1:25k paper maps have been invaluable for that.

looking at the Garmins, the 1:25k contour maps apparently now only come in a UK-wide package for a whopping £350, just for the maps never mind the device. even the old, area-specific 1:25ks were £100 though those have been discontinued. either way the price of getting out in the hills with device + loaded maps in hand is seriously inflated _because_ of the map prices. that's what got me asking about less expensive ways to get there.

i realize that the 1:50k route is cheaper by far and yes, maybe it's just a matter of living with that. however, i did think it worth asking about possible alternatives for getting out there with good 1:25k contour maps.

for instance a GPS device that _could_ load and use the OS downloads for live location data would be brilliant but so far i've seen no indication that that is possible.
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Re: frugal way to get 1:25k topo maps on a GPS device?

Postby gaffr » Sun Jul 15, 2018 7:55 pm

Another approach. I purchased a previous year edition of the OS 1:25,000 maps for all of GB for circa £80 from Memory Maps. At first I used them only for reference on the PC, for planning a route and for printing out maps for the trip. Then I managed to get a second hand smartphone and loaded the maps onto the phone....the arrangement with the MM purchase allows for a download from them to other devices. This I have had for a couple weeks so not used it outside more than a couple of times.
This works out fine for me having the bigger scale maps to hand when out....the device will always give you a position on the screen map and on a screen that is bigger than the GPS device. No grid refs/magnetic compass for navigation but as a general fix and for a look at a bigger picture etc. it works o.k.
Of course these MM maps can't be used on the GPS.
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Re: frugal way to get 1:25k topo maps on a GPS device?

Postby ratatoskr » Sun Jul 15, 2018 11:12 pm

@gaffr : sounds promising! you said "the device will always give you a position on the screen map". just curious how that is possible. i've got a reasonably modern smartphone -- Galaxy S7 -- and i lose GPS positioning all the time. even in the Pentlands I only have GPS half the time but up in Skye or Raasay it was 20% or less. in other words pretty much useless GPS-wise if you're anywhere at all remote or sheltered from local cell towers. that's why i started looking into GPS devices in the first place.

as to the good maps on a smartphone thing i totally agree: my trick has been to take pictures off a good 1:25k map for a specific area for a days walking, assuming i didn't have the OS downloadable map for that area. great to just pull out and have a quick look, and there's always the full paper map in my backpack if necessary.

as i mentioned though, my thing is that i'm fond of off-trail, cross-country walking -- no better way to leave the crowds behind -- and for that i'm thinking a good GPS unit + high-grade 1:25k maps would be a sweet thing to have. maybe it's not feasible (given the prices i've been seeing so far) but them's the breaks i guess. i don't mind spending a couple hundred quid or so but 700 or whatever for the GPS unit + 1:25k maps is pretty much out of the question for me.
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Re: frugal way to get 1:25k topo maps on a GPS device?

Postby gaffr » Mon Jul 16, 2018 6:59 am

Hello,
The Sony experia device....passed in to me by my daughter that I have been attempting to use recently....seems to give accurate positioning when I have used it a couple of times in the 'Gorms.
Must have a Global positioning system included. Used in the recent clear sky conditions that we have all experienced recently.
I guess that it is not something to have switched on all the time....power use with the 1:25,000 maps is high but for an occasional fix it was very accurate when tested out at features encountered.
I have now downloaded the 1:50,000 OS maps to the device after taking out the 1 year subscription that is now available.
Standing in my home at the moment ...engaging the 1;25,000 maps app thing...the wee red button is flashing over the location. Same when switching to the OS maps only this time it is a kind of red arrow symbol.
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Re: frugal way to get 1:25k topo maps on a GPS device?

Postby ratatoskr » Mon Jul 16, 2018 9:27 am

interesting, it hadn't occurred to me that some smartphones did better GPS than others. makes perfectly good sense though, must look into that.
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Re: frugal way to get 1:25k topo maps on a GPS device?

Postby Phil the Hill » Mon Jul 16, 2018 1:16 pm

Since you need to take a paper map and compass anyway, the free OS download must be the most frugal option - assuming you already have a smartphone.

Download the area you need to the phone whilst you have wifi and only use the phone occasionally to check position, or carry a charged power bank or use a new phone with a good battery. It will eat battery if you use it to track your route and check it frequently.
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Re: frugal way to get 1:25k topo maps on a GPS device?

Postby ratatoskr » Tue Jul 17, 2018 10:38 am

Phil the Hill wrote:... the free OS download must be the most frugal option ...


yes, i agree, it is looking that way. too bad there's not a better option for the GPS devices.
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Re: frugal way to get 1:25k topo maps on a GPS device?

Postby davekeiller » Tue Jul 17, 2018 6:57 pm

Sounds like something's not quite right with the GPS functionality of your smartphone. I don't use it heavily, but I've never had it unable to get a GPS fix. Perhaps try downloading a different GPS app (like OS Locate) which just gives you a grid reference to see if it's the phone or the app.
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Re: frugal way to get 1:25k topo maps on a GPS device?

Postby ratatoskr » Tue Jul 17, 2018 10:42 pm

interesting suggestion. thank you. i've always wondered why GPS on my phone was so dodgy.
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Re: frugal way to get 1:25k topo maps on a GPS device?

Postby Ben Nachie » Wed Jul 18, 2018 8:27 am

You could try the app 'GPS Test'.
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