Paper maps!

Cycle-touring, Expeditions, Adventures, Major cycle routes NOT LeJoG (see other special board)

Re: Paper maps!

Postby Bicycler » Thu Apr 24, 2014 1:52 pm

Haha, the blog I linked to did describe them as "unforgivable noddy road-atlas cartography blown up to 1:100,000 in the colour photocopier, and a blemish on the reputation of the world's finest national mapping agency". I did smile.

Thanks for the heads up on those landrangers
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Re: Paper maps!

Postby Norman H » Thu Apr 24, 2014 2:33 pm

Yes it's a shame nobody makes a decent 1:100k map these days. It's the ideal scale for extended touring. AA do a road atlas at that scale but it's really no more than a blown up version of earlier offerings. Having said that OS 1:50k maps are hard to beat.

OS Landranger maps are currently £6.99 each and £12.99 for the waterproof versions. A far better option, in my view, is one of the digital versions of the same maps. They are available to purchase outright from a variety of sources or on annual subscription as “OS getmap” from Ordnance Survey.

To buy outright from the likes of Anquet, Memory Map or Mapyx Quo, costs around £100 for UK wide coverage and an annual subscription from OS is around £20. It's often cheaper to buy them bundled with a gps, although I reckon they're not Ideal cartography when used on such devices
The software that comes with the maps allows you to view and plan your routes on your computer. You can share routes with others and import routes from on line route planning sites. If you use gps you can export routes and waypoints to your gps. You can compare elevation profiles and you can customise your maps. Most importantly you are licensed to print as many copies as you wish for personal use. A4 copies of the map covering the area of your route are a lot more convenient than carrying a pannier full of OS Landranger maps. You can even print on waterproof paper.
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Re: Paper maps!

Postby andrew_s » Thu Apr 24, 2014 3:00 pm

Bicycler wrote:Haha, the blog I linked to did describe them as "unforgivable noddy road-atlas cartography blown up to 1:100,000 in the colour photocopier, and a blemish on the reputation of the world's finest national mapping agency".

I couldn't agree more.

I got a full set of the old 1:250k mapping when they went out of print, plus a couple of spares, so I'm still using that.
This mapping is still being updated, and is available for download via the OS OpenData program (in 100km square TIFF format, iirc). You've still got to print it out if you want to take actual paper with you though.
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Re: Paper maps!

Postby simonineaston » Thu Apr 24, 2014 3:42 pm

andrew_s wrote:describe them as "unforgivable noddy road-atlas cartography blown up to 1:100,000 in the colour photocopier, and a blemish on the reputation of the world's finest national mapping agency".

Yikes - let's forget that idea then!!
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Re: Paper maps!

Postby RickH » Thu Apr 24, 2014 9:16 pm

If you photocopy your OS maps it may be worth considering going digital - I've been using Anquet mapping for some time & the prices have tumbled over recent years. Central England (1 of 10 regional sets) at 1:50k, for example, is now £15 (£18 for High Definition) & covers 19 paper sheets (by my reckoning - "Equivalent coverage to Landranger® sheets 108-111, 117-120, 126-129, 138-140, 149-152. Includes the Peak District, the Midlands, the North Cotswolds and the Malvern Hills."). The whole GB 1:50k set is currently £100. If you get on their mailing list then there are often special offers, often half price.

The program lets you print sections to scale (not necessarily the native scale of the map - I will often print 1:50k route maps out at 1:25k for walks if I don't have the 1:25k mapping for that particular area). The other thing that may be useful for longer tours is that you get a copy of the 1:250k mapping for the whole OS GB area, which is probably good enough for many cycle trips (I've grabbed a section as an example). It seems to have virtually all the passable roads outside urban areas.

1-250k sample.JPG

You may even be able to get a copy by creating an account but not buying anything as the 1:250k mapping is now part of OS's free to use Opendata* - I don't know as I already have an account & have bought maps.

If you have an Android Smartphone or tablet or an iPhone/iPad you also have the option to use the mapping on them.

Other map suppliers will no doubt have similar, maybe better, offerings - I'm just giving info on the one I know.

(*If you have deep pockets, short arms & reasonable image computer skills you can get the 1:250k mapping free direct from OS - it will cost you nothing more than the price of an email address to give to them for them to send you a download link. For that you get a 153MB zip file which opens up to a set of files including 56 .TIF image files, one for each 2 letter grid area, plus other files to do other clever things with the maps if you have the skills.)

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Re: Paper maps!

Postby vinyl_theif » Fri Apr 25, 2014 11:46 am

Ah such a refreshing post, as far as paper maps I thought I was a dying breed! :P
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Re: Paper maps!

Postby horizon » Fri Apr 25, 2014 11:55 am

I have very mixed feelings about mapping (as I've expressed before on here). I'm reasonably computer savvy (I can post on here :D ) but digital mapping has always been a real turn off for me. Obviously I'm biased as I like paper maps per se and I'm used to them. But it's their simplicity I like - you open them and ... well.. that's it really. And, of course, maps need to be big - it's in the nature of the beast that you often want a large overview of detailed things. So screen size is also an issue.

But thinking it through again there seem to be three modes of mapping, not two: firstly a paper (or plastic!) map on its own; secondly using various mapping software on a PC (Google, Bikehike etc) and thirdly carrying/using a GPS device. I think I sit firmly in the second camp. I'm happy to check out routes on Bikehike and print off the odd Google map but I don't want a digital mapping device. Printing a map off though seems to me very different from carrying a device with you.

I know we've had these discussions on here before so I would never try to persuade anyone that taking paper is better than taking a digital device. But I might argue that for an occasional Sunday ride digital isn't worth the bother and expense.
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Re: Paper maps!

Postby Norman H » Fri Apr 25, 2014 1:21 pm

Horizon wrote

But thinking it through again there seem to be three modes of mapping, not two: firstly a paper (or plastic!) map on its own; secondly using various mapping software on a PC (Google, Bikehike etc) and thirdly carrying/using a GPS device. I think I sit firmly in the second camp. I'm happy to check out routes on Bikehike and print off the odd Google map but I don't want a digital mapping device. Printing a map off though seems to me very different from carrying a device with you.


Using digital mapping doesn't preclude using paper maps. Digital mapping is useful for planning rides but actual navigation can be achieved using paper maps or gps. Even gps navigation isn't dependant on digital mapping although it probably makes it easier

In reality there is more than one kind of digital mapping:-

Most on line sites use some form of Vector Maps such as Google, Open Street Maps, or a derivative thereof. Bikehike is the only one, as far as I know, that also uses OS maps. Route planning on these sites use auto routeing, albeit with varying capacity to subsequently edit the route.

The other form of Digital mapping is the sort supplied by the likes of Anquet, Memory Map and others. These are Raster Maps and are effectively digital photocopies of paper maps. In the case of the OS maps, they are identical to the paper maps we all love and are so familiar with. Raster maps cannot autoroute. You plan you own route by mouse clicking on the map. The other big difference of course is that you own the maps just the same as you do if you buy paper maps. You are free, with certain conditions, to use them as you please. In my view they offer the best of both worlds. ---- Digital mapping with the ability to print your own paper maps. If you want UK wide coverage they are also much more cost effective than paper maps.
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Re: Paper maps!

Postby mrjemm » Fri Apr 25, 2014 1:51 pm

In yachting there's a product called a Yeoman Plotter, though I suspect they've stopped making them. Anyway, it was to me the best of both worlds- a digitiser panel that you aligned any chart on. After referencing the chart you could then use the puck (like a mouse...ish) to plot positions and so on- as you moved the puck, LEDs would direct you to your location on the chart, while the position would show on the display. With it you can mark your position on the chart to follow your course, but also you could plan a route by just clicking at points on the chart where you want to go. So much simpler to use and more elegant than a digital display, and full size! Somehow adapting that tech for cycling would be challenging, but perhaps nice for planning. Carrying a digitiser panel on a bike would be truly unfeasible though.
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Re: Paper maps!

Postby skicat » Fri Apr 25, 2014 3:06 pm

horizon wrote:I have very mixed feelings about mapping (as I've expressed before on here). I'm reasonably computer savvy (I can post on here :D ) but digital mapping has always been a real turn off for me. Obviously I'm biased as I like paper maps per se and I'm used to them. But it's their simplicity I like - you open them and ... well.. that's it really. And, of course, maps need to be big - it's in the nature of the beast that you often want a large overview of detailed things. So screen size is also an issue.

But thinking it through again there seem to be three modes of mapping, not two: firstly a paper (or plastic!) map on its own; secondly using various mapping software on a PC (Google, Bikehike etc) and thirdly carrying/using a GPS device. I think I sit firmly in the second camp. I'm happy to check out routes on Bikehike and print off the odd Google map but I don't want a digital mapping device. Printing a map off though seems to me very different from carrying a device with you.

I know we've had these discussions on here before so I would never try to persuade anyone that taking paper is better than taking a digital device. But I might argue that for an occasional Sunday ride digital isn't worth the bother and expense.

There's a 2½ mode as well which is to have a GPS on the handlebars but not to use it for routing. I liken this to the driving equivalent of having a passenger with a map on their knee who is constantly moving their finger to reflect where you are. I use this mode a lot. You can enhance it further by uploading a track into the GPS and following that (mode 2¾ ?). Neither of these modes will annoy you by "telling you where you should be going", but equally they won't warn you if you stray off the intended course. Sometimes that can be a good thing though 8)
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Re: Paper maps!

Postby Norman H » Fri Apr 25, 2014 7:10 pm

skicat wrote

I liken this to the driving equivalent of having a passenger with a map on their knee who is constantly moving their finger to reflect where you are.




The main difference, of course, is that the size of the paper map on your lap is limited only by the size of your knees but the size of the electronic map on the gps is limited by screen size. For accuracy the gps possibly wins out with the the unerring precision of satellite navigation, whilst the paper map relies on the map reading skills of your passenger.

My ideal gps would use OS mapping and have a minimum screen size of seven inches. Such devices are available for use in cars which have unlimited electrical power but are not yet a practical reality on a bicycle.
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Re: Paper maps!

Postby RickH » Fri Apr 25, 2014 8:11 pm

Norman H wrote:My ideal gps would use OS mapping and have a minimum screen size of seven inches. Such devices are available for use in cars which have unlimited electrical power but are not yet a practical reality on a bicycle.

My GPS/mapping system on the bike is a Garmin Edge 605 with City Navigator road maps (I had a go at trying Velomaps but couldn't get it to display a useful road map but that is an issue for another discussion), backed up with a 7" tablet (Asus Fonepad which also my Dom Jolly-esque phone) with a complete set of OS 1:50k (plus selected 1:25k & the 1:250k maps mentioned earlier) which I will use where I need to get a more detailed fix on where I'm going if I need to divert from a preplanned route, decide where to head next on an unplanned/only vaguely planned route or check the way where it isn't marked on City Navigator. If I have pre-planned the route I will have a pink line to follow on the Garmin map. I may carry a printout of the area I'm going to be in and/or printed route instructions as a belt & braces backup (mainly only if I'm responsible for a group) but they rarely, if ever, get used on a ride. Paper maps I find more useful for walking.

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Re: Paper maps!

Postby Norman H » Fri Apr 25, 2014 10:21 pm

Yes, I got an Android Tablet for Christmas and I've been playing with the Memory Map app.

In the context of this thread, which is about paper maps, its worth pointing out that, even if you don't use the gps technology, these devices offer a means of carrying a large library of maps and the means to view them on a decent sized screen.
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Re: Paper maps!

Postby horizon » Sat Apr 26, 2014 12:29 am

Norman H wrote: even if you don't use the gps technology, these devices offer a means of carrying a large library of maps and the means to view them on a decent sized screen.


(Note: I don't use GPS so hesitate to comment but I did have to make the decision not to use it, albeit on the basis of ignorance. So if any of my comments are wildly inaccurate, I apologise.)

I think we agree that screen size is important and that it isn't yet available for cyclists. But in another way, it also isn't necessary to carry around the resource that digital mapping offers. You can carry in one map enough for a day's ride and possibly for many days. Where large scale paper maps do fall down however is on long linear routes where a sequence of maps is required but only part of the map is used. And it may be LeJOG that is thus driving a lot of digital map usage. A more imaginative map (such as the Coast to Coast strip map or the Ogilby strip maps of the seventeenth century) could have plugged this gap.
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Re: Paper maps!

Postby ipswichcycler » Sat Apr 26, 2014 1:19 am

Maybe this has all been said before but I don't think screen size is that important especially is gps is combined with free online OS map on desktop pc before hand or with a lesser quality large scale paper map. I like using the goldeneye paper map for suffolk and norfolk with a garmin 62s with OS 1:50k. You just can't get lost you can instantly see when you have gone wrong and can decide to follow on or go back as you wish. The garmin runs on two AA batteries and these last 20 hrs or so which seems to be good for 3 or 4 days cycling. It's all personal preference but that is what I like.
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