This page is being re-constructed and updated but in the meantime here are links to some guides which will be revised in the near future. They are all in the form of PDFs which can be viewed, downloaded and/or printed.
They each contain information on when they were last updated but, since many of them are 2-3 years old, there is no guarantee that the information is still relevant. However they should provide at least a starting point for further investigation.
Using the Library
Here is a guide to Downloading GPX files. If you feel that you need it you can brush up your Basic computer skills before learning more.
Assuming you have some GPX files on your computer and wish to view them then you might consider Using GPS Visualizer
Alternatively you can try to just carry out the steps give in A quick demo – it’s probably a good idea to print it out first since the instructions need to be followed closely.
If at some stage you have GPX files which you would like to share then you will need to learn a bit more about the naming convention used and you will find more comprehensive details in Downloading and contributing GPX files.
Don’t worry too much about getting it right immediately – the important thing is attach the GPX file, however it’s named, to an email and send it to firstname.lastname@example.org. All contributions gratefully received !
If you do decide to have a go at following the naming convention then you will need a list of Areas and starting points
Garmin GPS devices
The notes below are for Garmin eTrex devices but some of the information may apply to GPSMAP 64/64st/66s as well.
Getting started with an eTrex-20 will help you to set everything up ready to take out on a hike. Once out on a walk you will need advice about Recording and saving a track and storing-it on your computer and for more information go to About GPX files and following a track
On the eTrex you can use two different sorts of map – vector maps, some of which may come with the device, or custom maps which have been created from paper maps. Maps for a Garmin explains further. Putting a startup message on an eTrex shows you how to arrange that your contact details appear when it is switched on. This might reunite you with your device if it was misplaced.
Using a smart phone as a GPS device
Most, if not all, smart phones have built in GPS capability and this can be used by apps to track your movements. The most popular app used by Ramblers is Viewranger which is available for both Android [i.e. non-Apple] and iOS [Apple] phones and other devices which have a GPS capability such as iPads and tablets.
Viewranger for Android-a quick start guide and Viewranger for iOS-a quick start guide could be of help although changes to Viewranger may well have been made since these guides were written.
If you have an iPhone [or an iPad with GPS capability – not all iPads have this] then an alternative to Viewranger is OKMap Mobile. Unlike Viewranger it is not free but can be bought for a modest €5 from the App Store.
It has the advantage of being able to use the same custom maps [which can be created from any paper map you have] as do the Garmin devices. Once installed OKMap Mobile-a quick start guide will get you going.
Scanning paper maps
A large paper map can be awkward to use out on the hills so many hikers have in the past used photocopies of the area in which the walk is to take place. Nowadays it is perhaps a more common practice to scan and print at home. A very useful program is Irfanview from which scans can be made and then saved on your computer for further use. You can zoom in to the relevant smaller portion of the map that you will need and then print it out and/or save it. Learn how with Using IrfanView with scanned maps
Rather than scanning and saving many small portions of a map a better solution is to have the whole map scanned at a high resolution. This will generally be of better quality than a home scan and once this is saved on your computer you can use Irfanview to print out any portion of it.
Georeferencing a scanned paper map with OkMap
Consider the scanned map portion shown here:
The position of the village of Annamoe on this map is given in two coordinate forms.
From the top left it is 1935 pixels across and 2215 pixels down.
From a point out in the Atlantic south-west of Mizen Head it is
317289 m [or 317 km] to the East and 199232 m [or 199 km] to the North.
These are the OSI 6-figure coordinates to be found on paper maps.
To georeference this map is to provide some instructions to convert from
one coordinate form to the other.
This can be done by using an excellent program called OkMap Desktop which costs €20. Having gone through the process of Installing and setting up OkMap you will need to get hold of a georeferenced version of one of your paper maps to explore further.
This will come in two files named something like My favourite map.jpg which is just the scanned image and My favourite map.okm which is the file containing the instructions to convert from pixels to OSI coordinates and back again. You will probably have to make some enquiries to find someone who will be able to supply you with this. An email to email@example.com. may be needed.