/ Digital mapping

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Andy Johnson on 09 May 2018

I'm wondering what people are using for digital mapping.

Motivation for this is that I've been putting-up with Memory Map's slowness and quirks for many years, but after having to re-install it, it no-longer recognises my "legacy" maps. Given the lack of significant updates to the software in recent years I don't think much of the idea of buying new maps from them.

I also have a years subscription to the OS web-based app, which is ok for map access but the route planning is rather basic.

So what are people using? I'm on windows with a 1280xs1024 desktop monitor. Don't need tablet access or "social" features. Would prefer a local application rather than a web app, and on the hill I navigate with a paper map and compass. Any recommendations? What do people think of RouteBuddy?

Post edited at 10:44
Mike-W-99 on 09 May 2018
In reply to Andy Johnson:

Still use Memory map.

theres a patch for the non recognising of older mapping. I can look it out and message you the details. I think the author hasn’t updated it for the latest versions though.

SouthernSteve on 09 May 2018
In reply to Andy Johnson:

Look at the Ordnance Survey offering - £19.99 per annum - seems to fit with your needs. Route Buddy is good that you can have multiple tracks loaded and ready, but in different 'places' so that you don't end up with a spiders web of tracks over time, is a bit oversensitive with the zoom on the Mac and doesn't print as nicely as Anquet HD.  Route Buddy also have a good range of Harvey's maps if thats what you are into!

However Anquet are are not popular in this household as the Mac version has been in beta (and poorly finished) for at least 4 years, so with this and the previous Mac disaster I don't really trust Anquet). Before recent times, buying digital maps was much more expensive and we have a considerable investment from Anquet, thankfully it works well on iOS and PC. 

Post edited at 11:58
Andy Johnson on 09 May 2018
In reply to SouthernSteve:

> Look at the Ordnance Survey offering - £19.99 per annum - seems to fit with your needs.

Sort of, and I have a subscription that expires in August. Things that bother me about it are:

  • It seems more focused on social/discovery of routes, and less on route creation. I assume that OS sees this as a route to monetising all that user-created content.
  • Cant see multiple routes at once, and can't define multi-part routes (I mainly do multi-day backpacking, not day walks).
  • Can't label waypoints (eg camp site, bivi)
  • Can't create location markers (eg "possible bivi site", "bothy"), only routes.
  • Some of the user interface is a bit strange. E.g. saving a route requires clicking save and then clicking another save button. And the second button is light blue on a white background and hidden at the bottom of the screen.
  • Zoom out loses detail very quickly and doesn't make use of the full size of the screen. I often feel like I need something between 1:50 and 1:25 scale.

Is routebuddy better in these respects? I've installed the free trial and it seems to be, but its hard to tell with the small free map they give you.

Andy Johnson on 09 May 2018
In reply to Mike-W-99:

Thanks, but I'm fairly wary about installing patches of unknown provenance.

I do feel comfortable with Memory Map but it just feels like a product that isn't going anywhere. They seem to employ software developers, and new features (e.g the cloud thing) do occasionally appear, but it still feels like the same old thing that I was using ten years ago. I'm reluctant to buy new maps and get locked-in to their product.

SouthernSteve on 09 May 2018

Routebuddy would seem to fit most of those needs. The trial should give you good experience. I was trying to be a skinflint on your behalf! S.

Monk - on 09 May 2018
In reply to Andy Johnson:

The memory map thing isn't a patch, it's a workaround. You just have to locate the map files in your existing version and copy them into the right filet for the new version to use. It's only the installation from disk that doesn't work anymore. Instructions are easy to find online. 

l21bjd - on 09 May 2018
In reply to Andy Johnson:

How old are your "legacy" maps? I had a similar problem a couple of months ago, after buying a new computer, with my 2014 OS 1:25k maps (not "DMS") as they didn't seem to show up any more in my account on the mm site. (However, I seemed to be able to transfer the map license to the new pc from my old one online without problem). As I think someone else has said, making sure the map data files are in the new map folder works. I think I basically adapted the instructions on the mm website for putting the software on an android phone (my license covers 5 devices, iirc).




Andy Johnson on 10 May 2018
In reply to l21bjd:

They're QCT files that are old enough to have been bought on CDROM. Out of date, but still good enough for my purposes.

Mike-W-99 on 10 May 2018
In reply to Monk:

There’s a patch as well that removes the restriction placed on older maps. Think it’s for v5 if I remember correctly.

StuDoig - on 10 May 2018
In reply to Andy Johnson:

I use Anquet, but more as I'm a "legacy" user from before the went down the subscription route. 

I think the product is good (and in fairness they have taken on a lot of the suggestions from people on the forums for their latest PC app).  I'm not a fan of the subscription model though - much prefer to buy and own, so humming and hawing about whether to renew subscription with them when it runs out. 

I was annoyed that they launched their PC App 1/2 finished, but it's very usable now.

Watch which sub you go for, only the premium ones allow offline use (other than what's in your cache). 

I do like that they have Harvey and some international mapping available as well.




PaulGraham - on 11 May 2018
In reply to Andy Johnson:

> They're QCT files that are old enough to have been bought on CDROM. Out of date, but still good enough for my purposes.

I too have QCT files – at 1:50K for the whole of the UK ("Yes" - on CDROM!) and 1:25K for a chunk of it.  For roads and housing estates they are getting a bit old but for rights-of-way they are still very serviceable. As well as the cash investment in purchasing them I've got a cache of routes I've created in MemoryMap plus a database of UK hills that I can translate into MemoryMap marks.  So, as far as hillwalking is concerned, I will stay with MemoryMap for the foreseeable future because (a) I have so much invested in it already, and (b) I am comfortable using it.

Having said that, if continuing to use MemoryMap meant that I had to buy new maps from them, I probably wouldn't bother! Personally, I haven't found the MemoryMap product at all slow on a desktop PC and whatever quirks it may have I have become accustomed to them over the years.

I have put MemoryMap on to a tablet and recently on to a smart phone. It works fine on the tablet (which doesn't have a mobile phone connection) but the mobile phone installation sometimes asked for registration details. Using my old maps seems okay (as long as they were in the same directory as downloaded maps) – the problem seems to be around using some A-Z maps I picked up somewhere – so I deleted them. Early days, but seems to be working fine. I mention this because I wonder which version of MemoryMap you are using. If you have installed the current version of MemoryMap you're likely encountering the same sort of issues I had with the mobile phone. If you have a copy of the software that you installed on your old PC and install it on your new PC it should recognise all your historic maps although you may lose a bit of functionality compared to the latest software.

When I've completed putting my routes into MemoryMap I print them at 1:25K onto A4 paper and laminate them. I then have waterproof maps for the hills! A tip: if you set your route colour to something light (e.g. mauve), the line width to "thick" and the transparency to 75% it shows up nicely on the printed map and still lets you see the detail underneath it.

Finally, I'm guessing you don't have MemoryMap or similar on your mobile phone or tablet. There is one very good reason for doing so – switch on the GPS and you can see your position on the phone map very accurately within a few seconds. It could be a lifesaver and now I've got it I wouldn't be without it.



dominic o - on 12 May 2018
In reply to Andy Johnson:

Slightly off topic, as I think you are looking for a desktop solution, but for all those with access to QCT mapping I'd really recommend the AlpineQuest app on Android. It has great planning and navigation options, you can access the whole of the UK at 1:25k without a data connection, and it's free! What's not to like? 

KevinJ - on 13 May 2018
In reply to Andy Johnson

I've been using RouteBuddy for a number of years having switched over from Memory Map when I changed from a Windows PC.  I have it installed on an iMac and a MacBook Pro, and have their 'light' version - Atlas - on an iPad and iPhone. 

Being able to use the mapping across multiple devices has been good.  There isn't a cloud feature that I'm aware of which would allow the sharing of routes, waypoints, etc between devices.

Mapping doesn't appear cheap compared to some other apps, but it is a single licence purchase which allows multi device use (desktop and mobile).  There is a range of mapping options including fixed areas at different scales, long distance and National trails as strip mapping, OS or Harvey's for UK use and I currently use the IGN mapping for the French Alps as well.  There is also some US mapping available.

I have had a few issues with the quality of the printed maps I have produced, but I'm not entirely convinced that this isn't down to my printer.

Not had any issues importing .gpx files into RouteBuddy and printing out the resultant mapped routes.  

Having the OS mapping on my phone allows me to save battery life by keeping it in airplane mode while on the hill and opening the app as and when I wish to fix a position.  GPS aquisition is very quick, and the app gives an 8 fig OS grid ref at the bottom of the display (or GPS co-ordinates, or altitude).

They regularly have offers on mapping packages which can make replacing existing mapping a bit more affordable.  (Gutted I didn't take advantage of the 40% of the while GB 1:25k OS last week).

Overall, been very pleased with RouteBuddy and am looking at increasing my 'stock' of maps.

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