About our maps

As always we are trying to get most things right here, so we are trying very hard to provide the best maps.

For this we are working with OpenStreetMap, an open-source and open-data collective database where everyone can contribute to the maps. Because the data is free for everyone, the project started in 2009 with a completely blank map of the world. Since then thousands of contributors have recorded GPS tracks, and drawn roads, paths and cities from aerial imagery. And the work has been amazing, and once the maps have been filled they have incredible details you won’t find in any other map.

But it is still incomplete. Some roads might be missing, or incorrectly drawn, or have a wrong name. And walking tracks may be missing for entire regions or countries, or just be wrong.

So for every GPS track we are providing here we checked that the walking track on OSM is mostly accurate (using our notes from the track, aerial imagery, and sometimes our own recorded GPS trace), and if it’s not we fix it, or we draw it on the map if it is missing. Just like the one below:

Download GPS trace | Open map in new tab

If we don’t have enough confidence or data to do it, we just provide an interactive map showing the start of the walk, in this case you’ll have to follow the guide and a conventional or commercial map. This is an example of this:

Open map in new tab

To make it easier for you we are providing a few different maps on this website:

  • World Topo, OpenStreetMap, OpenCycleMap and Hære.net topo are all using the data from OpenStreetMap, but showing it differently.
  • Roads is a road map from Nokia HERE. This is professional data, very accurate, that is used in Garmin, Lowrance and Navigon devices, as well as in most new cars.
  • Satellite shows high-resolution satellite imagery of the area.
  • New Zealand only: LINZ are the topographic maps of New Zealand, provided by the national agency for land information. Maps are licensed under Creative Commons, and that’s great!
  • France only: IGN is the national agency for land information in France and provides topo maps of the country.

See below for ways to download and use those maps on your smartphone, tablet or GPS device.

Don’t follow GPS traces

We try to provide the most accurate tracks that we can, but GPS devices are not an exact science, and the coordinates they are showing or recording may be off by up to 20 meters. When you are walking in a forest with a lot of walking tracks, 20 meters may be enough to take the wrong intersection and get lost.

And sometimes we don’t record our own trace, and the one we provide was drawn from the map of the walking track: it may contain some mistakes.

So you shouldn’t trust and follow our GPS traces right to the meter. Or any GPS trace. You should follow signs, directions, and the compass (yes there is one in your smartphone or GPS), and then check if the direction you are following is somehow close to what the trace is. If 500 meters later you didn’t catch up with the trace, you are probably going in the wrong direction.

Be careful, don’t walk into a cliff by blindly following a GPS trace, be smart and walk with your senses, not with your GPS. It’s a great help, but it’s not a walking guide.


You might stumble upon some GPS coordinates in our guides to help you find a trailhead, a facility or something of interest. They appear like this: Lake Hart Lookout. On a mobile device you can click on the coordinates to launch your favorite mapping application, or you can just note the coordinates on paper and enter them later.

Printing maps

You can print OpenStreetMap, OpenCycleMap, IGN or Google maps from the JGN website, but we advise you to load them on your phone instead and spare some paper.

Downloading maps

If you want to use our GPS traces or follow our guides, we advise you to load the map of the area you are going to on your smartphone or tablet. For this we can help you with those solutions, they all are completely free:

  • On Android: install Orux Maps or Locus Maps, they are two very good mapping solutions for Android, and free.
  • For topo maps: you can download very detailed vector maps for every country in the world from OpenAndroMaps. They also provide very good themes to use with the vector maps. If you want to know how it looks, select Hære.net topo on the maps of this website, it’s the same thing.
  • For road maps: install the Nokia HERE app. This is basically a free navigation software, the same that is used in most new cars, and in Garmin or Navigon devices. You can download each country separately, you will be able to search street names, shops, public toilets, and more. It’s really good.
  • For LINZ maps (New Zealand): see this help page from NZTopoMaps.com for solutions to download and save some zones of the NZ map on your device, or alternatively you can download maps of the North or South Island to use with OruxMaps or Locus Maps: NZ Topographic maps for OruxMaps and LocusMaps.
  • For IGN maps (France): this government agency is against any use of its maps, and it is forbidden to download them. But you can print them from the JGN website. Do not buy their maps, they are often outdated, really expensive, and the paper quality is so poor that it’s hard to make a map last more than a few days.

If you don’t own a smartphone or tablet, a (slightly) older phone can often load Java applications (or J2ME or MIDP) so it can use the really good TrekBuddy software. To get the maps you will have to download them using Mobile Atlas Creator but it’s quite easy to use.

If you don’t own a phone, Mobile Atlas Creator can generate JPEG maps that you can save on your digital camera (and see them on the screen of the camera), or save them to a PDF file that you can print or put on your Kindle.