Introduction text

With The Lake District and The Yorkshire Dales on our doorstep - KDCS offers an exciting selection of cycle rides throughout the local area and beyond. There are social gatherings including slide shows, talks and supper evenings and members are kept up to date with cycling news and issues through this web site, emails and our Facebook pages. KDCS are an affiliated group of Cycling UK.

GPS & digital mapping


   GPS = global positioning system, USA satellite network.  Military, recreational, commercial uses.  GLONASS = Russian equivalent.  AGPS = Assisted GPS, also using cellular network. 
Smartphones tend to use AGPS.  Dedicated GPS devices use GPS + or - GLONASS.  The more satellites used, the more accurate the location, but bigger battery drain.

   Smartphone or dedicated GPS?
Smartphone: does lots of other things too; can use online mapping; many apps available; many are free; big clear screen; easy user interface; easy data transfer by email attachment or wifi.  BUT: not very robust; not weatherproof; short battery life if used continuously.

Dedicated GPS: better battery life (should last all day); weatherproof; robust; range of models to suit different uses. BUT it’s an extra purchase; some are quite complicated; OS maps have to be bought; data transfer usually by cable from computer.

   Basic uses of a GPS device.
To find precise location (OSGB grid, lat/long, foreign grids, whatever).
To display current location on a map on screen.
Marking locations for future reference or to navigate to (eg geocaching).
Tracking movement - for record of journey or trackback.

   Further uses
Data logging - for review, stats, export, share, live online (eg courier companies)
Following a route or track uploaded or programmed into device.
Clever features such as turn-by-turn directions; off-route warnings; hazard alerts; etc.  (like a car satnav, most of which you will never use).

   Digital Mapping on computer, tablet, smartphone
To allow route planning/reviewing.
Online - e.g. www.walklakes.co.uk/maps/.  Register (& donate!) for OS 50k, 25k & aerial.    You don’t need to register if you only want to use the 1:50 maps.
e.g. https://wtp2.appspot.com/wheresthepath.htm for side by side maps/aerial, also:
e.g.
bikehike.co.uk bikehike.co.uk shows different maps side by side and can follow roads automatically.
e.g. https://opentopomap.org/open source mapping worldwide.
For Europe excellent websites include www.geoportail.gouv.fr/donnees/carte-ign, map.geo.admin.ch/ etc.
Offline - purchase/subscribe to mapping from OS, Memory-Map, Garmin, ViewRanger etc.
Online and offline - for Android try Maverick (https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.codesector.maverick.lite&hl=en_GB).  Includes OSGB to 25k.  Map segments viewed online are automatically cached for offline use.  Many other apps available for Android and iOS.

   Digital Mapping on GPS device
OS maps must be purchased if not bundled with the device.  Open source maps available free or low cost from e.g. http://alternativaslibres.org/en/downloads.php#Europe,
http://garmin.opentopomap.org/,
http://garmin.openstreetmap.nl/, https://talkytoaster.me.uk/, etc

   Using digital mapping on computer/tablet
To create route, edit, save, share, view stats & load GPX file.
GPX is standard file format, readable by mapping apps.  (Opening a GPX file in a text edit app will just show a big long list of coding).
Typical process (using walklakes): 
- plan your route by drawing track onto digital map.  Click for each waypoint.
- drag waypoints to edit route.
- name route.
- download GPX file.
- move the file into an appropriate location on your computer.
- share the GPX (eg as an email attachment or on memory stick).

Displaying a GPX file (received by email or downloaded from a website)
- on a smartphone, open the file in a mapping app.
- on a computer (using walklakes website), in menu: load GPX file.

   Track and routes
The term route has been used generically, but strictly:
A track is line on a map from waypoint to waypoint.  Follow a track on your GPS by keeping your position icon on the track.
A route contains more information such as turn by turn instructions.  It will be a much bigger file.
Routes are quite handy for road biking as they turn your GPS into a satnav.  But my Garmin will automatically re-route an uploaded route according to criteria that God only knows, often making ridiculous navigation choices.  I tend to stick to tracks only.
Software such as Garmin Basecamp and Memory-Map can convert between tracks and routes.

   Transferring GPX to and from a GPS device
Usually requires a cable connection to your computer.  Some GPSs now use wifi, NFS or bluetooth.
Software such as Basecamp or Memory-Map allows easy file transfer from within the application.
Or transfer files manually using drag and drop between the location on the computer and the appropriate folder on your GPS device.

   Sources of GPX files
There are loads of downloadable GPX files on various websites.  EG:
www.walkhighlands.co.uk
www.mapmyride.com
www.strava.com/
etc etc etc.

   Actually using a GPS device in the field
Practice using one for real on one of our rides!


Any terms or ideas not understood?  Look them up on the internet, the repository of all human knowledge!  Or ask Andy or Malcolm on a ride.

AG 2/3/18