GPS route navigation

 

Is GPS essential?

No, it's certainly not essential to use GPS navigation on Inntravel holidays. Together with the maps that we provide, our detailed, thoroughly researched route notes are all that you need to explore independently. 

In fact, they provide far more information than you can glean from following a GPS track. Within the directions that guide you from A to B is information about points of interest along the way, plus, where needed, important warnings about potential hazards (such as, for a cycling holiday, a sharp bend at the bottom of a hill).
 

Why use GPS?

While using GPS navigation is not essential, GPS devices and smartphone navigation apps do, nevertheless, have a number of useful functions which aid navigation and can be used to record information about the route you are following.

For those people who like to use GPS navigation, we provide GPS tracks for almost all of our holidays. However, we strongly recommend that you treat them as a secondary means of route-finding, whose main purpose is to clear up any ambiguity, for example where there have been changes on the ground.

You should always read the day's route notes in full before you set out, carry them with you, and keep track of where you are in relation to the notes. 
 

How it works

If you opt to download the gpx files for your holiday, then you will be able to follow each day’s route on either a dedicated GPS device, or a smartphone using an appropriate app. How you utilise the gpx files will depend on the device and/or app you choose to use for this purpose.

Other than the general pointers given below, we regret that we are unable to provide detailed information on how to use, nor recommendations for, specific GPS devices or smartphone navigation apps.
  • If you own a dedicated device, then you will need to download the files to a computer and then transfer them to your device, before locating each one on the device on the required day; if you are unsure of how to do this, you will need to refer to a user manual for the device. You may also need to consider downloading and/or purchasing digital mapping; there are some country-specific websites, but a few sites offer global or Europe-wide mapping, including https://garmin.opentopomap.org/ (Garmin-specific, but free) and https://www.outdooractive.com/en/.
  • If you intend to utilise a smartphone, then you will also need to have downloaded an app capable of reading and displaying gpx files. There are a large number available, some of which are free and others that have more ‘premium’ features which you will need to pay for.

    Apps are developed and updated constantly (they can also just as easily be discontinued), so you may need to do some research to find the most suitable app, bearing in mind that the mapping can vary in terms of detail and accuracy (for walking, a higher level of detail could be useful, whereas for cycling (which is predominantly on roads on our holidays) less detail should be sufficient). At the time of writing (summer 2022), some commonly used apps are Komoot, RidewithGPS, BikeGPX, OsmAnd, Alltrails, Outdooractive and Wikiloc, but there are many more.

    Once you have chosen an app, you may need to check the Help/FAQ section or do a little research on Google/Bing to find out how to open and use the gpx files; no two apps work in the same way.
 

Other considerations

  • Whichever option you take, you will need to bear in mind that the GPS device or smartphone is something additional to be carrying and checking, on top of your notes and map, and perhaps a camera too! While for walking it is a case of having sufficient pockets and attachments, as well as remembering where you’ve put things, if you are cycling you will need to consider how you will view the screen as you cycle along. There are various mounts available for bicycles, depending on what device you are using; for smartphones there are relatively cheap holders which attach to the handlebars and can hold smartphones of varying sizes. Be aware that on most of our cycling holidays a handlebar bag is provided with the bike.
  • Dedicated GPS devices tend to have good battery life, but if using an app on a smartphone you should think of taking a back-up battery pack with you. If your phone screen is on for the duration of the route, and particularly if you need to use a data connection in order for the map to work, you could find that your battery runs out before the end of the day. It is worth checking whether the app you choose requires a data connection in order to function properly, as this could also prove costly; some apps will allow you to download the mapping in advance, worth doing when you have a wifi connection.
  • For those who are relatively new to using a GPS device, it is worth being aware that even in perfect conditions they are rarely accurate to just a few metres, and we would not recommend them for micro-navigation. In certain situations, such as under tree cover or when travelling through a town or village, accuracy can be badly affected, and GPS should not be relied upon.

    We make reference to distances between navigational points in our notes, and these have usually been measured using GPS as well as checked with online mapping software. These distances are therefore very accurate, but be aware that no two GPS devices are likely to plot identical paths – for a variety of reasons – and there may therefore be discrepancies between our notes and your device; over the course of a day’s walk or cycle ride, this difference can easily be 10% or more.

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