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Office:  530.823.3628

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1431 Merry Knoll Road

Auburn, CA  95603

Serving greater Sacramento and neighboring Foothill communities

GPS Comments Following are comments on potential GPS use on UK way-marked walks.

We started looking at using GPS for our June 2011 Glyndŵr's Way walk. The walk’s website has points of interest coordinates (banks, train stations, etc.) and GPS Cycle and Walking Routes has the route’s waypoints available for download via .gpx file. Since our North American smart phone, which can utilize Google Maps, doesn’t work in the UK, we looked at buying a GPS unit. Selecting an outdoor GPS unit is its own discussion, but relevant here are the available base maps. We’ve come across two approaches to obtaining base maps for UK walks.

One approach is to purchase paper product equivalent RouteBuddy digital Ordinance Survey Explorer Series (1:25,000) maps. Note: RouteBuddy is Mac OS based and not Windows compatible. As of January, 2011, cost per section map from RouteBuddy was £19.00. Depending on the walk, multiple section maps may be needed to cover the entire route. Be sure to look over the list of compatible units at RouteBuddy’s website. The list is not extensive, nor does it include Garmin’s Dakota, Colorado and Oregon series units.

Another approach is to purchase one of Garmin’s GB Discoverer National Parks & Trails series maps.  Trail maps of various long distance walks are available. Maps are based on Ordinance Survey Explorer series (1:25,000) topo mapping for the route area along with regional Landranger series (1:50,000) mapping. Maps can be downloaded or are available on (micro)SD cards. See the Garmin website for compatible devices. In general, Garmin’s “On the Trail” units are compatible. As of January 2011, cost per trail map from Garmin was $179.

Preliminary Summary: We haven’t used GPS on any way-marked walk so we cannot provide an opinion as to its usefulness. However, we can comment that GPS is not necessary on these walks if one carries maps and compass. While we enjoy such technology, in consideration of carrying additional gear and cost, at this point, we’ve opted to forego GPS.   

GPS use for Long Distance Walks in Britain Cotswold Way Acorn Trail Post Cotswold Way Lambs Cotswold Way Kissing Gate Dingle Way Slea Head Dingle Way Border Collie West Highland Way Loch Lomond West Highland Way Track West Highland Way Rannoch Moor West Highland Way Drovers Inn