Maps and Navigation

There are no detailed maps (50,000 scale or less) available for this route. The guide book has a map but it’s not suitable for route finding. I’m using an App called GAIA on my iPhone which turns it into a GPS device. I’ve uploaded the route onto three maps (World Topo, Google Maps and ESRI (similar to Google)). I’ve uploaded these maps via WiFi at home so I won’t incur any roaming charges. (My pounds are my prisoners.) Battery consumption can be an issue and so I’ve brought a portable power supply and a spare phone. My idea is to use one phone for navigation and route finding, and the other to record my tracks as a GPX/KML file. I love this App! It turns any smart phone unto a GPS device. It’s quite pricey (~£14.00, yeah, ‘ow much? For an App!) but you don’t need to buy a GPS device. The current version is fairly intuitive and the only real problem I have is remembering to turn it on and off at the start and end of journeys. I have managed to switch it off accidentally a couple of times when I’ve stopped to take photos which is a little annoying but you only have to lock your screen to prevent that.

GAIA has got four main functions. 1. You can down load free maps – as listed above or several others. This can take quite a time for larger maps (though you can adjust the resolution) and is best done before the start your trip. 2. You are able to create a route by placing way markers along the road or tracks. You can also upload a route that someone else had previously prepared and made available to you. 3. It enables you to records your route and give you basic data such as distance covered, time moving, time stationary, altitude gained etc. You can then export this route and open it in Google Earth and so view it there. 4. It will give you your location and mark that on your map. That’s all the good stuff. The main disadvantages are high battery charge consumption. Even so, there are lots of things you can do to maximise battery life (ie turn off WiFi, Bluetooth, data Roaming and even your phone) and I know some people who have used iPhones successfully on multi day backpacking trips when they haven’t been able to recharge them. If you just want to use it for location checking this is fine. I’ve used it for recording routes of day walks and it’s been fine on one full charge. I’ve not used it a lot for trips where extensive navigation is expected and extensive use of viewing is required, hence I’ve brought the (rather too hefty) power supply. I did look at solar powered ones but the reports seem to be quite variable in terms of reliable performance.

The great at advantage, of course is that you should always know within at least 10 metres of where you are. It might not be where you should be – but that’s another matter! So I’ve no excuses for getting lost. Of course, being a man, I’m not supposed to ask anyone (or am even allowed I think) for directions as this is a certain admission of total unmanliness. It’s as bad as saying you can’t reverse car or wire a plug (and who actually does that these days?). Though in this occasion, purely on the ground if increased social immersion and language training I might relax that rule – once or twice – and if no one else is looking …

I’m quite happy using a map actually but detailed ones just aren’t available. There are route directions in the guide book though it’s not a very practical way of route finding on a bike. And I’m not going to be too concerned about following the official route. If I’m heading in the right direction and passing through all the key places that’ll be fine. Candace managed to walk the whole way just using the guide book, a very large and a compass which I find quite extraordinary. I’m not sure I’ve got the patience for that Anyway have you read her blog yet? You really ought to as it’s a far, far better read than this drivel. And she knows how to take a very good photo too.

This is a screen shot of the start of the ride from Hersek on the World Topo Map. The pins are the route and the dots are the 250m distance markers.

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