Should a trail map have the trail marked? Not according to Routebuddy!

by backpackingbongos

Sometimes dealing with a company can literally make your head explode. Not only do you not receive what you paid for, the subsequent customer service makes everything feel ten times worse.

I’m a dreamer and read maps like some people read books. My bookshelf is groaning under paper maps and I have purchased digital maps for the whole of the UK at 1:25k, 1:50K and 1:250K. If I don’t have my head buried in a paper map then I am sitting in front of my computer plotting routes digitally.

My digital maps of the UK have been purchased through Routebuddy and very happy I have been too. In fact happy enough to spend £457.42 in total on software and UK maps through Routebuddy. Although initially tricky to get to grips with the software has worked really well. They have had a happy customer willing to spend lots of money with them.

Until a couple of weeks ago.

Constantly dreaming of distant trails I decided that I would buy myself a trail map of the Colorado Trail. I thought it would be fun to see a map from the US and trace a long distance walk through the contours and wilderness. The trail map from Routebuddy is £17.99 and promises extra mapping to the side of the trail, perfect to see the surrounding countryside. Just the ticket for a bit of wishful dreaming.

I was therefore a bit gutted to find out that the trail map I had purchased does not actually have the trail marked. The mapping itself is also of such poor quality that it is difficult to read. It looks like a bad photocopy has been scanned in. I would love to put a screen shot but worry about copyright when slating a product.

No worries I thought, being a long time valued customer I would email Routebuddy and request a refund. My argument being that a map of a long distance trail should have the trail marked. I thought that I would get a response saying sorry you’re not happy with the product, here’s your money back.

Unfortunately that was not the case.

Routebuddy say that a trail map does not need to have the route you are meant to follow marked on it. My email exchange with them goes like this. Remember I just want a simple map with a long distance route marked on it.

 

Hi there

Yesterday I purchased the Routebuddy Colorado Trail map so I could examine the trail and see if it is a route that I fancy doing. Although the map contains the area in which the trail passes it does not show the actual trail itself. This has rendered it pretty much pointless for the use I wanted it for (I expected a Trail map to show the trail!). Also the quality is exceptionally poor, much of it looks like a bad quality photocopy has been scanned in.

Could I claim a refund please as it is not really fit for purpose.

Kind regards

James Boulter

Hi James,

A few things to explain here! 🙂

US Maps very rarely show trails in print, and for many reasons, even the long-time well-walked PCT is only part-marked on USGS maps. One of the key reasons is that trails change and/or new sections get adopted as and when such work like forestry commences/ceases or new access roads are built for loggers and rangers, or even people want to open up a new route . Additionally, as you’ll find, there are many different trail routes (GPX files) available online for you to choose from (we recently had a lot of work on helping Keith Fozzie Foskett find the most suitable trail file for the CDT, but even that came with a mass of variations). If you need help to find these files let me know as I can dip back through our sources. Once you have the file you should look at it in RouteBuddy, to see if it needs editing and then, when finished, load it into RouteBuddy Atlas.

You’ve also come across the other issue with USGS maps in that they are nowhere near the quality of our own OS and Harvey map data, that though is the way it is. There are some independent US cartographers who produce quality maps for small areas but, as it is such a huge country, there is no other real choice unless you walk in one of these areas. I will admit that some people use online map data (first problem) that is sourced from SRTM shuttle radar data but the data, especially the shown contours (second problem) when compared to the US gold-standard USGS maps, is nowhere near as accurate, and leaves a lot to be desired for safety. Incidentally, Fozzie ran a comparison of our USGS CDT map and online SRTM-sourced data in a competitors app and gave up on the other app, why not ask him privately, I’m sure he will give you a frank opinion.

I hope that helps. 

Kind regards,

Neil

Hi Neil

Thank you for your reply.

The reason why I ordered this map was because it was described as the Colorado Trail Map. Nowhere on the website does it say ‘this trail map does not have the trail marked’. I think that I am correct is assuming that if I buy a trail map the trail would be marked? Nearer the time of setting off I would buy the maps from the Colorado trail Association. These are clear, of good quality and have the trail marked. At this point in time I bought the online maps because I wanted to have a look at the route. This is something that I am unable to do with the Routebuddy maps.

The Consumer Rights Bill sets out what rights and remedies you would have when you pay for digital content. It clarifies that digital content would have to be:

  • of satisfactory quality,
  • fit for purpose, and
  • meet any description.

Therefore I don’t think that the map provided is fit for purpose or it meets the description.

As per your suggestion of adding GPX files to Routebuddy Atlas, does this mean that you now offer this for Android?

Therefore please could I have a refund.

Regards

James

Hi James,

As I said before US Trails are most times not marked on the maps, indeed the CTA makes a point of mentioning CT Reroutes “which are common”. Therefore a marked trail would be of no use given these circumstances – as it is subject to annual and continual change.The USA is very different to the UK where here some, but not all, trails are marked on OS maps.

The CTA point you to the most recent KML files for the CTA which you can access via this page: The Colorado Trail on Google Earth nor do the CTA offer digital maps that work on desktop or iOS.

In response to your legal jargon, the map is of satisfactory quality, as that is the best digital map available for the job, certainly fit for purpose with the ‘CTA advised’ KML file and does meet the description. Incidentally the UK law on digital purchases changed last year and once received the sale is concluded and not refundable.

No we don’t yet have an app for Android; the Android market is currently costing our competitors dearly in upkeep, with both major companies being deeply in the red. There’s a time and place to enter that market, but it is not yet, and we are content to wait awhile. Meantime our expanding map range is growing, so if you want to utilise a greater variety of maps in the future then adopting the iOS platform may be worthy of consideration.

We cannot refund the map as you now have it in your possession, however, as a long time customer, we are prepared to give you a discount of £10 off another map from our collection which I hope you find acceptable. 

Kind regards,

Neil

At this point it is obvious that I am not going to get my money back. I’m not actually walking the Colorado Trail I just wanted a quick dream. I don’t know what a KLM file is and I don’t want to spend loads of time importing files when I don’t know what I am doing. Feeling like I am in this for the long run. I have fired off another email but I’m not holding my breath.

At the very least I hope that Routebuddy change the wording on their website for their trail maps so others aren’t disappointed.

A word of warning, if you want a map of a trail make sure you know what you are buying!!

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46 Responses to “Should a trail map have the trail marked? Not according to Routebuddy!”

  1. You can easily get your money back. Just contact you bank and ask for a reverse of charges because you were misold something and they are refusing a refund. Your bank will refund you, even easier if you paid by credit card.

    • Thanks Adam, yes that is a good idea. I will give it a go. My wife is a member of Which so will look into it.

  2. While I understand your frustration, I do feel that Neil has explained the situation quite well and has responded reasonably. I agree with you that being so used to OS mapping (which I feel is awe inspiring in its quality) we grow used to expecting the same from other mapping companies, lets face it, would Harveys be to the quality they are if it were not for the presence of O.S.?
    Neil is, of course, quite correct re the variable trail situation in the U.S. Hence the proliferation of independent annual products and updates (Guthook et al). Routes versus Trails and all that…
    I have frequently looked in vain for the high quality maps I prefer to use when hiking overseas, often without success. An email to Stanfords has occasionally been of use.
    Perhaps one to put down to experience and expect much the same for many other U.S oriented mapping products.
    Best, Jools

    • I think that what has frustrated me the most Jools is that the Routebuddy website sells the product as a trail map. It does not say that there is no trail marked. The casual user is not going to know the map situation in the States before making a purchase. I know know that but it has left me a few quid out of pocket to find out. I feel that there should have been more info on the website. No good Neil pointing it out after I have parted with my money.

  3. Admittedly we’ve never done a ldp in the States, but we’ve never had any problems with any of the maps we’ve bought over there over the last 20 years – whether USGS or Tom Harrison or whatever. Still, that’s not the point really. The point is, that I agree you should have had your money back if you weren’t happy 😦

    • A previously very happy customer who has parted with large sums of money is now a pissed off disgruntled customer! 😦

  4. What a contrast to my experience over the last couple of weeks with ViewRanger (which I’d never used before). When I put a query to them when the maps I’d just bought weren’t as I expected (having asked a specific question before I bought) they immediately apologised and offered a refund. The refund was back with me within minutes.

    They gained from their attitude in putting a problem right, in that I promptly bought a different set of maps from them. When, again, I stumbled upon a problem, they immediately came back to me, apologised and explained. Excellent customer service (so far, at least…).

    As for the quality of US maps, we used Half-Mile’s free maps for the PCT (he’s taken US maps and marked the line of the PCT on them) and were stunned when we came across sections of the base maps where the names and numbers appeared to be hand written – presumably similar to what you’ve found for the Colorado Trail.

  5. Oh, and I completely agree that they should refund you. It must be reasonable to expect that a trail map has a trail marked on it (and even if you had known that the CT wasn’t marked on the relevant US mapping, surely a reasonable assumption, based on that description, would be that RouteBuddy had marked it on themselves, in the same way that Half-Mile created his PCT maps).

    • It’s good to hear that you got great customer service from Viewranger Gayle. That is what I had hoped to have got from Routebuddy but sadly not the case. I just made the assumption that I was purchasing a map with the trail on it. I did not know the situation with maps in the US. With all the GPS data that Routebuddy keep on mentioning in their emails, why are they not putting on the maps and saying that it is accurate from a certain date?

      I might start a decorating business and only supply the paint 🙂

      It’s all left a sour taste in my mouth, most companies are shit hot these days on customer service, thats what keeps people going back. I have spent so much money with them as well.

  6. The whole US digital map situation is clearly a very interesting one but that’s not even close to the point here. You were sold a product that was not fit for purpose and not matching it’s description. For Routebuddy to go all the trouble of those two lengthy e-mails and not refund your money, even as a gesture is frankly insulting. I wonder if they realise just how widely read your blog is and just what a bad light this paints them in. I’ve never come across Routebuddy and I’m not sure I ever would have but here’s one certainty. Routebuddy have lost at least one potential customer. All they had to do was say sorry, refund you the money and all would have been happy. Instead they’ve opened themselves up to scrutiny. Well played for highlighting this and hope the banks get you your cash back although I suspect your anger has beyond the mere cost outlay now

    • Hey Andy. Yep that’s the view I was taking, not fit for purpose but apparently it is fit for purpose as there is no alternative……..

      I find it weird that Ian would spend all that time writing the emails, surely the cost in time would be more than the cost of a refund?

      I have sent another email but I did not copy it in here as did not think that would be fair as they have not had time to respond (although it did take a week to reply to my last one).

      Obviously I did not mention the blog when emailing Routebuddy as I never think that is fair to try and use the fact to gain an advantage. Felt that my request was reasonable.

  7. Hi,

    Customer service? I can recommend Viewranger. There customer service is second to none. They answer queries within hours. Whether this is the mapping you want is for you to research. Best of luck

    Bob

    • Yep Viewranger are good Bob. Got their OS maps on my Note 2 and all of Sweden North. For my iMac I am locked in with Routebuddy as already spent a small fortune. Their UK maps and the software is good but unfortunately their customer service sucks.

  8. That’s terrible service. A “Trail map” should show the Trail simples…Viewranger ans Memory map user myself tho peter munro277

  9. All of the USGS maps for the US are available for free and the can be downloaded in several formats. Usually the trails that go through Federal lands are marked on the maps. You can also get earlier maps to allowing you to find old abandoned trails in the national parks. Go to http://ngmdb.usgs.gov/maps/TopoView/

    Cheers Dave

    • Thanks for that link Dave that is great. Had a look and the maps are better quality and much clearer than I purchased from Routebuddy. For me it just re- enforces my belief that the map I purchased should have had the trail marked. If I had known it was not I could have just gone straight to this website and got much better for free. All in all I really now feel that I have been conned.

  10. Well I have to say that I’m rather astonished at the response from Routebuddy, James. I felt it was evasive and quite patronising in tone at times! Especially when referencing digital law on trade etc.

    Granted Neil raises some valid points but then again so do you!!! Besides, his sidestepping still doesn’t directly address your simple and fair observations. Therefore Neil appears to be making excuses.

    I laughed out loud when reading his remark about Android and their (Routebuddy) competitors though! Routebuddy have been saying that line for years. If it were true then how come their competitors have been racing away within both iOS and Android market? I’m certain not all, if most as he implies are in the red who have a considerable focus on the latter operating system.

    A quick Google search (ironically) of worldwide shipments of mobile devices reveals in excess of 70% of the market use Android. Even in the US most research reveals in excess of 50% of mobile devices are on Android. I’d hazard a guess it’s much higher in Europe and particularly the UK.

    It’s all rather sad really given your not inconsiderable sum towards their coffers as a customer too.

    Given your reach to folks within the digital world – on the blog or Twitter – and how easily accessible such tools enable others to share news or information with many others, it’s rather short-sighted of Routebuddy to have responded the way they have towards you.

    And all over one map!

    Then again, I suspect that given Neil’s comment about Android and their competitors (how does he know? Has he any evidence to back this up?) then I guess none of his replies should come as a surprise.

    In this day and age where businesses are being held more and more accountable by customers and the prevailing rapid winds of news via social media – Neil’s response is all the more disappointing. Especially given how many businesses have been forced to up their game. Some excel, most are good but others just get left behind.

    I’d personally persist out of principle with your complaint. I feel you’re right anyway with regards to trade description. Despite Neil’s efforts, his forthcoming information isn’t reflected on their website for that particular product.

    I hope it all ends well for you and you can get round to dreaming again 😊

    • Thanks for your detailed comment Terry. The opening line on Neil’s first email was enough to get my hackles up, very patronising I thought it was. I agree that he does not directly address my concerns. It’s like asking a politician a question and then getting an answer which I’m sure he hopes baffles you into submission.

      Before I wrote this post I did send Routebuddy a third email which addressed their attitude, a few days ago now and yet to get a reply. They have said that they are very busy preparing new maps to reply at present………….

      I was very careful in my emails to Routebuddy not to mention my blog, always think that it is unfair to try and seek an unfair advantage. However when service is totally unacceptable I’m more than happy to set my self loose. I do work as an Advocate professionally during the week 🙂

      In my last email I did thank Neil for his suggestion that I upgraded my phone to Apple. Shame I have not got a spare £500 to do so!

      My wife is a Which member so tomorrow I will contact them to get some independent advice to see where I can go next.

      I’m not letting this one go!

      • Good! You’re absolutely right and respectful to not have mentioned the blog etc. Why should you after all? That should never lead to better customer service – they should have a minimum standard at all times. It just proves how short-sighted Neil has been. Whether that’s a reflection on the business itself, who knows? But many out there reading your experience may well think so.

        I know some folks in the outdoors media who’ve had the line about upgrading to Apple too – their response? To reiterate that Routebuddy should get to work on Android. After all, in business you go where the money is.

        And in this day and age, customer service is extremely important. Perhaps then Routebuddy are failing here on both fronts?

        I enjoy using their software on my PC they kindly gave me some time ago. Harvey’s BMC map of the Lakes. It’s excellent. Alas, I can’t use it on my ‘Android’ phone or tablet. So my money has been with Viewranger (well Memory Map initially). Viewranger is excellent. So much so I ditched (wrote off if you like too) Memory Map and solely use Viewranger now. Shame one can’t transfer mapping from one software package to another via a licence from the OS.

        Do let us all know how you get on mate. Be interesting to see how this pans out for you.

      • I’ll keep you in the loop Terry. Don’t have very high hopes to be honest (I emailed them last Weds and they can’t be arsed to reply yet).

        With regards to phones everyone I know has Android on the hills and most of them run Viewranger. Routebuddy are missing a bit of a trick there I reckon.

        I must be a bit weird as I love my iMac but use Android. Use an iPhone 4 for work and it’s crap!

  11. Having hiked in the USA and needed maps I found they had the trails I was hiking marked on them. So lets recap. 2 locations, 2 maps. All had marked trails. You can do custom topo maps James and give me a shout if you need to see some. I have other USA maps for some time in the distant future when I plan more USA walks.

    • Cheers for the offer of maps Martin. However you must be wrong about trails being wrong because Routebuddy says so! I believe you though 🙂

  12. I’ve also had many exchanges with Neil at Routebuddy about the substandard maps they provide for New Hampshire hiking. For some reason Neil thinks that you can sell shitty inaccurate maps of US hiking trails (missing bridges, misnamed peaks, retired trails, missing trails, etc) and has the cheek to blame it on the US government instead of licensing accurate maps and including them with his product. Garbage in, garbage out I say. If you can’t rely on the maps they sell the navigation tool is worthless. Buy paper maps James and use Caltopo.com (free and excellent) for your online planning, using the paper maps to confirm your route and route assumptions.

    • Hi Philip. I read all the comments on that blog post with interest. I have now got a map on my iMac which is as good as useless. I have since found out that the Colorado Trail Foundation produce their own route maps on a regular basis, adding in new spurs and alterations when necessary. It would be good to have a physical map in my hands.

  13. For example – the Colorado Trail in Caltopo. Just found this with a Google search.
    http://caltopo.com/m/202U

  14. I always find it beyond belief that companies are willing to piss off loyal customers for tiny amounts of money. Normally I would say get in touch with the managing director but I think that Neil is the one and only director.

    Frankly, I think they are struggling – their software is OK but there have been no updates for a while and I have no confidence that they’ll still be around in a year’s time. Of course, we are locked in to their maps but my plan is to move to another app and buy any new maps from them.

    • I hope that they are still around in a years time, mind you will need to change their attitude a bit and become more customer focused rather than patronising. I’m locked into their system now for UK mapping.

  15. Interesting exchanges!

    What a pity Routebuddy have opted to take this line with you – guaranteed to hack someone off with an attitude like that. I wonder if, in some perverse application of logic, that your significant investment in their products has actually worked against you – thinking they’ve “got you by the balls” and can thus dig their heels in!

    Another point: being an Andriod user by choice and an Apple user through work, there is definitely nothing in the Apple world to make it worth switching to iOS from Android – instead of spending £500 on an iPhone, you could spend £500 on Android-compatible software!

    Good luck with your complaint – I hope they do eventually see sense, rather than continue to self-inflict damage to themselves and their brand.

    • Cheers Jules. I’m the same, I use an iPhone 4 for work and its like having a childs toy. Love my Galaxy Note 2 for personal use. Its 3 years old now but still works as good as the day I got it. Would not want to change to iOS, hate bloody iTunes!

  16. Well that’s Routebuddy now deleted and Viewranger installed on my kit. Thanks for the post and obviously I agree with your position ,100%. They may or may not be struggling but you are not a tight fisted customer and they should realise that a trail map should show the trail. No excuses they either should make it clear that there is no trail marked or discontinue selling it. I think you have been mugged.

    • Aye when kit is involved I am anything but tight fisted. Treat me well and you have a customer for life who spends all his spare dosh on outdoor gear! Thanks for your comment Alan.

  17. What a disappointing episode all round. I’ve been a Viewranger customer for some years, but recently I decided to try out RouteBuddy as I’d heard good things about it.

    First impressions: the app interface is clunky and looks about five years behind the slick, polished and intelligent interface of Viewranger. It’s difficult to use.
    The maps are expensive for what you get.
    Plus point: you can get Harvey maps, which I can’t seem to be able to find on VR.

    But when I purchased a section of the PCT map (California North I believe), I had huge trouble downloading the file – the app crashed my phone and I had to try the purchase several times. Credit where credit’s due, Neil did get back to me very quickly when I emailed him about the problem, and sooner or later I had the map working on my phone.

    But! The USGS map was out of date, and didn’t have the PCT actually marked on it, despite it being advertised as a PCT map.

    I haven’t contacted Neil about this as to be honest I have already moved on to far better solutions for my needs. Viewranger has its quirks, but having tried both solutions I now see that it’s superior to RouteBuddy in almost every respect.

    It’s a shame, but RouteBuddy is behind the competition in content, design, service AND price.

    • Yes it is very disappointing Alex. I have not used Routebuddy on a mobile phone as unfortunately the app is not available for most users. However Viewranger has been excellent so far. I do really enjoy Routebuddy on my iMac, it was not very intuitive to start with but works well once you have got the hang of it.

      I’m not really surprised to hear about your experience of using one of their trail maps. Should not be out of date and once again the actual trail is missing. Really not good enough. Perhaps you should try asking for your money back?

      Interesting that Routebuddy have not come along to defend their product over the past week.

  18. Hi James,

    Sorry for my late response but recently we’ve been working all hours on our upcoming release of Norwegian Topo Maps, plus a recent spate of meetings on new features coming to RouteBuddy Software and Maps.

    What I said in my email about Trail Maps is true.
    Here’s an informative and edifying web page on the visible misconceptions about trail maps, we’ll add this to our store as a guide:
    http://routebuddy.com/info/trailmaps/

    I see that you have also missed that I did offer you a map/credit for more than the product price in exchange for the map you purchased, which was frankly simpler for us to initiate (banks do make things harder and more expensive for small companies). As a long-time customer, and with new/different RouteBuddy maps appearing regularly now on a monthly basis (of what I thought could be of use to you) it seemed a reasonable option for both parties.

    Of course the offer still stands. 

    Hope that helps.

    Best,

    Neil

    • Thanks for you comment Neil. I still disagree with you about Trail maps having the trail marked, despite what the new page on your website says. They should be described as covering the area the trail passes through. This really needs to be clearer on your website before anyone makes the same mistake that I did.

      With regards to the offer of a map credit, I published in full your email offering this, no way did I miss it out. And just to be extra picky you offered a credit of £10, the map I purchased was £17.99. So scratching my head how that is more than the purchase price. 😦

  19. Hi James,

    I agree, if all cartographers marked all the possible trails on all maps it would be great (as long as there was room!) but, as has been shown, the practicalities, and whether they will do so, is really down to those who design and create maps.

    Informative trail map text…
    Sure we can, and will, add that extra content, but we do have to keep in mind your suggested text will also appear with the In-App maps in Atlas, where space is tight – though we of course need to be concise. (Whether a customer will keep scrolling to read all the text is another question (who ever does?) plus I can also visualise additional ‘info text’ that others consider ‘should be there’ which, it is fair to say, is subjective, so the list may never ever end!)

    Map credit…
    With regards to Map Credit I was looking at my master map-price spreadsheet at the time of my email response to you which, correctly, shows the Colorado Trail map at £9.99 – hence my offer and rounding the price up. After cross-referencing this with our store I found that the map you purchased was incorrectly priced at £17.99 (only the longer trails are at £17.99) – and the CT is not, by US Trail standards, a long trail. This we have now corrected.

    Bottom line is the pricing error above was our own mistake and my apologies. As before, the simplest way to deal with this is a reasonable credit or, alternatively, as it was our mistake, a refund.

    Please let me know which one you prefer:
    Credit = £30 against RouteBuddy Maps
    Refund = £17.99

    One last thought; as we are now extending map coverage into Scandinavia…
    If you ever intend to hike in Scandinavia then we are happy to let you have one of our first new 1:50k maps of Norway instead – when the 1:50K map set is released, More information here:
    [http://bit.ly/1HL2FAY]

    Feel free to get back to me when you can.

    Kind regards,

    Neil
    – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – 

    • Hi Neil, thanks for that reply. Good to hear that you will add that extra content for the Trail maps on the website. Thanks for the offer of either a refund or £30 off another Routebuddy Map. I’m a big fan of Sweden so look forward to you hopefully covering that part of Scandinavia in the future. Something i would be interested in buying (I’m off to Sarek in a month). At present I have all the Routebuddy maps that I need (have the whole of Uk at all the scales!). Therefore it would be great to have a refund in this instance. I will send an email your way.

      Cheers for that.

  20. I’ve come to this post very late – apologies, but I’ve not been very well since the Challenge and I am still catching up with my blog reading.

    It seems, James, that you are now happy with the offer that Neil has made you – I’m glad that it is now sorted.

    For what it’s worth (and I have no wish to add fuel to the flames of what has been a pretty heated post and comments section) my thoughts are as follows:

    But first, a disclaimer: Quite a few years ago (four or five years?) RouteBuddy heard that I was deeply unhappy with Anquet’s customer service. They offered me a free copy of their 1:50k mapping of the UK, which I accepted with alacrity, as I had heard great things about it from Andy Howell, on his blog. Initially, I struggled with getting to grips with a new way of doing things (I’m an old dog and this was a new trick…) but I found RouteBuddy’s customer service to be first class and before too long I was flying. I have never looked back and, like you, use it on my machine with great happiness. Like you, I also have an Android phone and I use a copy of Memory Map on it, very successfully. I have met Neil a couple of times and have found him to be an engaging, honest and thoroughly likeable bloke.

    So, with that disclaimer out up-front, I suppose it could be construed that my comment will be biased, as I have not paid for my RouteBuddy maps. However, I believe you know me better than that. What follows is my honest opinion.

    1) MARKED TRAIL

    For the last few years I have been researching the routes (and logistics) of walking two long trails in Europe – the three variations of the Pyrenees traverse; GR10, GR11 and HRP, and the GR5 from either Rotterdam or Calais down to Nice. I did not find online mapping that had these routes plotted. In each case I found it was possible to download gpx or kml files from various trail websites, and these all vary by substantial degrees, usually depending upon how old they are. It is also possible to buy books that have the route described within – Cicerone are particularly good at this.

    I then had the choice of buying paper maps or digital mapping. Because the most recent routes are available as gpx/kml files it makes sense to me to either buy digital large scale overview mapping (though this can be found free sometimes) or look at the maps on Google maps, and then look closely to see what digital walking maps at 1:50k or 1:25k I then needed to buy for the actual walk itself.

    I have to say it took me a while to come to this conclusion, as I had been spoilt in the UK by the O.S. providing most UK trails on their maps. But that’s just the way it is.

    Within ten minutes of posting this blog, Jools came back to you with the following comment:

    “While I understand your frustration, I do feel that Neil has explained the situation quite well and has responded reasonably. I agree with you that being so used to OS mapping (which I feel is awe inspiring in its quality) we grow used to expecting the same from other mapping companies, lets face it, would Harveys be to the quality they are if it were not for the presence of O.S.?
    Neil is, of course, quite correct re the variable trail situation in the U.S. Hence the proliferation of independent annual products and updates (Guthook et al). Routes versus Trails and all that…
    I have frequently looked in vain for the high quality maps I prefer to use when hiking overseas, often without success. An email to Stanfords has occasionally been of use.
    Perhaps one to put down to experience and expect much the same for many other U.S oriented mapping products.
    Best, Jools

    I agree with Jools.

    I am no techie wizard, but even I have managed to export gpx files from RouteBuddy to my Android phone, for this year’s TGO Challenge; it cannot be difficult if I have managed it! It makes total sense to me to buy the mapping and import the gpx file of your choice to the mapping.

    I see that Neil has now explained that this is requitred on the RouteBuddy site.

    2) MAP QUALITY

    I have not seen the map you bought from RouteBuddy, or the alternatives suggested by Philip Werner so cannot comment.

    Finally, I don’t think that Neil was condescending in his replies to you. I read his comments as being helpful (trying to explain to you why the map is like it is) straightforward and honest.

    • Hey Alan, sorry to hear that you have been unwell, hope you are feeling better.

      Thanks for your comment and your thoughts on the matter, its always good to have an alternative viewpoint. I hope that you’ll appreciate that I won’t respond to the points that you have made, simply because I have already made my opinions pretty clear by now! Anyway the whole thing had been sorted so I am now a happy boy.

      Cheers.

  21. Some years ago, I tried buying the maps from the Colorado Trail people and could not get their website to work for purchases outside the US. I don’t think it was my fault but they’re bound to have upgraded in the intervening years. Anyway, I used a link similar to the one David has mentioned to download the topo maps. They have the Continental Divide Trail marked. There are 79 of the little blighters so, if you want the maps without the hassle, I could email them.

    Philip’s Caltopo suggestion is excellent but another website I like, particularly in terrain view is Postholer.com (http://postholer.com/gmap/gmap.php). It plots several long trails on to Google Maps. For Britain, the Long Distance Walkers offer a similar service. They have a map which shows a large number of decent walks, with connections, done by their members, again on a Google Maps background.

    • Thanks for the info John. If I do decide to go I will try and purchase the maps from the Colorado Trail foundation, they were good at answering a query that I had via email. Cheers.

  22. I dealt with “Neil” and the route buddy bait and switch long ago (4 or 5 years now, maybe longer). He, (they) are a nasty bunch with a “we got your money” attitude. I like to think that my very public debates with them regarding the stated functionality of their product on their web site and what the purchaser actually receives and can accomplish with it are the reason they closed the “community” portion of their website. To say the least, it sparked a flood of refund demands. Basically, we were paying for features not included and slated for future releases and no one but me seemed to mind (until I stirred the pot a bit) They did give me a FULL refund, don’t give up.

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