Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Mapping My Next Travels

On a freezing February day in Minnesota, it feels good to think about upcoming travels to warmer places. Today, I've been assembling digital and print maps.

As usual, my winter trip has several phases, each with its own mapping requirements. The trip starts in the Florida Keys and culminates in a walk from one side of Britain to the other along a national trail, the Hadrian's Wall Path. This sounds grander than the reality: the path runs from coast-to-coast at Britain's narrowest point.
Florida Keys
Family vacation with our nephews and their parents.
Google Maps on our phones is more than sufficient.
Southwest Portugal
Hike sections of the Rota Vicentina, southwest Portugal with my partner, Dwight.

MAPS.ME app on my phone and tablet.

Paper maps we'll pick up along the way.
Southwest Spain
Make it up as I go along. I’ll fly into Seville, explore less-loved places for 15 days, then fly on to the UK from Madrid.
OpenStreetMap maps on my GPS.

MAPS.ME app on my phone and tablet.

Paper maps I'll pick up along the way.
Northern England
Hike the Roman Wall Path from west to east, much of it with two friends.
OpenStreetMap maps on my GPS.

MAPS.ME app on my phone and tablet.

Ordnance Survey maps (1:25,000) printed using Grough’s online service.

downloaded the entire track (Garmin GPX format) from the UK National Trails site. I then loaded it into:
Google My Maps (so I can see the trail on my phone).
Grough's online service (so I can see the trail, highlighted on the printed maps).

The crowdsourced OpenStreetMap is the source of maps for both my GPS and the MAPS.ME app.
OpenStreetMap maps are more likely to include trails than Google Maps. The maps I've loaded from OpenStreetMap do, indeed, have the Rota Vicentina trails and the Hadrian's Wall Path. As with any maps, I treat their accuracy with some skepticism.
I've used Grough’s wonderful online service several times for hiking in the UK.
First, I uploaded the entire Roman Wall Path track to Grough. The service automatically selected maps (A4 format) around the trail. I then printed the maps, along with the highlighted trail, to a PDF file. I'll ask a friend in the UK to print the file to paper.
I took the Hadrian's Wall Milecastle 39 photo at the top of this post in 2010, on a long hike around the northeast of England. Here's the area of the photo, depicted on the different maps:

Ordnance Survey. The detail is superb.
The trail is represented on the location-aware MAPS.ME on my phone.
Location-aware Google MyMaps on my phone. I loaded the trail (black line), but the base map also shows the trail.
Despite all these maps, I will happily wander in unintended directions. The maps and crumb trails on my GPS will ensure I arrive somewhere safe before sundown.

Note:  Roman Emperor Hadrian wanted to "keep intact the Empire" so he commanded the construction of the wall. Construction started AD 122, and took six years.

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