Techno Tom

Sadly  I have fallen in love with walking technology. I used to be  a map and compass man but now I use an  iphone6 with several different apps. I have the whole of GB at 1:25,000 via the OS app. I’m already a subscriber @£20 p.a. to their service on my PC and the app comes free with that.  You seem to  need to  access the particular areas you need via your home wifi before you set off.  But once there, you are relying on GPS – you don’t need a mobile signal. As a fail-safe I also use GPS GB (free) which doesn’t have  a map but tells you your current  grid ref. and height wherever you are.  Most useful climbing  a munro when you really want to know how high you’ve got!

I also use Viewranger. If I need their premium maps, that will cost me extra so I tend to use Viewranger for tracking my route. This gives you brilliant stats on distance, altitude, speed, timing, and will work without purchasing their premium maps – not that these are particularly expensive.

Yesterday I was on the Brecon Becons with my friend Jim and discovered on the top of Pen y Fan (pictured) on a wonderfully clear day  that the Viewranger background map of GB is excellent for working out the view. There is a built-in compass so you can orient yourself and then expand or contract the map as you need, depending on the distance. So we could be sure that we could actually see Exmoor, something not possible with a paper map.

This brings me to my last app, Peak View Scanner. This is supposed to tell you exactly what mountains you are looking at over a 100km range but on my phone it doesn’t work properly. Very obvious large mountains do not appear whereas tiny hills do. Very frustrating.  I have logged these issues with Peak View Scanner but to no avail. Hence the Viewranger map comes into its own.

But of course I always have a paper map just in case. And that compass is in my rucksack!


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