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GPS – Finding your way to that perfect landscape location - part 5 of 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16

by Mike McNamee Published 01/02/2017

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The app that we did get to work (certainly in terms of auto-route finding) was 'Plotaroute'. However, this app does not have the terrain detail required for landscape photography use. In these terms only those programs with Ordnance Survey maps really cut the mustard.

Testing the Software

By way of example we explored routing to a favourite location of Paul Gallagher's, Aird Uig on Harris, parking up at Miavaig. The ride, or walk, to Aird Uig is logged at 4.8 miles with a total ascent of 500 feet – just about 'doable' with a camera pack (and a bit of bike pushing on the hills!).

In the same general location we also plotted a route around Bhaltos of about six miles with 495 feet of ascent. The OS map indicated a car park to the north-west but Plotamap failed to do so. Frustratingly there is a need to visit both BikeHike and Plotaroute in order to review the terrain and paths, AND obtain auto-route finding. The route itself though is an example of how a bike is a better means of transport than a car (we have driven around it). The road contains very few places where you can stop.

The coastguard station off the road at Bhaltos itself would indicate a location with a commanding view of the surroundings and certainly worth a detour. The path/road down is not shown on the Plotaroute map but is shown clearly on the OS map. On the other hand when we changed to satellite view we could see and plot the route down the road. The same deficiency was evident for the route down to the pier and bay (see annotated screen view).


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For those new to GPS it is worth noting that the routes plotted in these applications may be downloaded as '.gpx' files and then uploaded to the GPS device to provide turn-by-turn directions. This procedure is also something of a minefield as we were about to find out.

Anquet

This is a mapping plotting application which uses the OS maps as its base. At no stage of our searches did the name 'Anquet' pop out, we found it purely by a chance conversation with a friend. It is designed for use with iMac, iOS, PC and Android (with MacOS currently in beta form) and the user-developed routes are downloadable to Garmin but would need the Pro version of their software to enable downloading; the standard version is actually free. A free map download is available as a 'taster' which enabled us to explore the interface. We managed to plot a route and confirm that the application has no 'jump to route' facility, it plots in straight lines, point to point. There is a GPX file download which creates a file which we managed to load onto the Garmin 820 using the Pro version.


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1st Published 01/02/2017
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