Since navigation is a challenge for many, I would like to give insight into how I plan pathless sections and then implement them on the move. There are certainly other ways that work the same or even better. Finally the way shall fit the users needs.
I use various apps for this, which I will briefly describe at the end.
Basic considerations for route planning:
- Feasible in any weather. That means: follow terrain contours, streams, or lakes rather than going across open fields
- Following the valley sides instead of in the valley floor, as there is less water there
- Avoiding east-facing slopes close to the crest (snow drifts during dominant westerly winds)
- River crossings as high up as possible and where the gradient is low. Alluvial plains are particularly suitable, since the water masses are distributed to different river branches
- Avoid forests and swamps (difficult to cross)
- Basis rough planning from winter 2019/20 with GPS tracks at that time created with EasyRoute (Openstreetmap).
- Stage planning with TopoGPS to adjust the original route and to roughly estimate the length of the daily stages.
- Identification and marking of fixed points along the route in Hvor? These also serve for the overview in the following step as well as then on the go.
- Checking the situation at the fixed points on the satellite images(e.g. Google Maps)
- Checking the situation on the orienteering map of Norway (mapant.no) automatically generated from laser scanning data and adjusting the fixed points if necessary.
- Manual transfer of tracks from TopoGPS into EasyRoute and export to Garmin watch for navigation
Navigation on the go
I use my iPhone 11 mini with the apps described below and a Garmin Fenix 7 GPS watch for this purpose.
- Hvor? With the offline available norwegian map 1:50’000 and the bordering areas of Sweden is my main navigation tool.
- I have the GPS track on the watch. This serves as a red thread and allows a short check of the current location to the planned route.
- Paper map: I had them only for the pathless sections further north. For the Børgefjell I renounced the purchase of a printed map due to the experiences and the good weather forecast.
- I have a compass with me in case of bad visibility.
- Screenshot of the mapant zooms of the fixed points on my mobile phone.
Brief descriptions of the apps
|Hvor? ||Offline map Norway and border Sweden 1:50’000||- Fixed points can be visualized|
- No export possible
- No tracking possible
- No automated route planning possible
- Free of charge
|TopoGPS ||Rough automated route planning along roads and paths based on national topographic maps of various countries||- 4 CHF per country|
- Topographic map Norway 1:50’000
- Manual entry of tracks if a path is not recorded or a pathless section is planned
- GPX export works only for the automated planned routes
- GPX export is done to a zip file and must be decompressed first before it can be loaded to the watch
|Automated route planning along roads and trails for different sports (e.g. no trails for racing bike)|
plus manual track generation
|- Free (with ads and cloud storage restrictions) |
- Based on Openstreetmap (worldwide)
- manual track capture in case a trail is not captured or a trail-less section is planned
- Reliable export of GPX tracks
|mapant.no||Web service via browser displayed as an orienteering map||- Automatically generated map from high resolution laser scanning data|
- Display as orienteering map with internationally standardized signatures
- 5m equidistance between contour lines
- Fade in of local names and OSM hiking trails possible
- sections can be downloaded
Tip for mapant use If you are not familiar with orienteering maps, you may use the worldwide orienteering o-map.ch, which was created using a similar method, to see how the situation is represented in front of your doorstep. Attention: this service is based on differently collected open data sources and varies from country to country! Mapant maps are based on high-resolution airborne laser scanning. As I known they actually exist for Switzerland, Finland, Norway and Spain.