We currently offer two digital mapping solutions:
This is for those looking for a dedicated, weatherproof GPS solution running on AA batteries. The Dublin & Wicklow Mountain map card product consists of an SD card that runs on the Satmap Active10 GPS unit. The mapping contains three layers a) a general base map layer b) a simplified version of our mapping at a nominal scale of 1:50,000 and c) a detailed version of our mapping at a nominal scale of 1:25,000. There is also an inbuilt copy of the SRTM digital terrain data to assist in route planning. The three maps can merge seamlessly from one to another as the user zooms in or out. The purpose of the 1:50,000 data is to enable a wider view of an area to assist with route planning. The 1:50,000 and 1:25,000 maps both use a 10 metre contour interval.
Coverage is similar to the published printed maps with the addition of an area from Enniskerry to the Irish Sea. This extra area covers the Dublin Mountains Way in it's entirety as well as several parks, Killiney Hill etc. We have been updating detail over time, so the detail represents our current knowledge of the entire area.
Our Blackstairs & Mount Leinster mapping is not currently available on Satmap card. See ViewRanger below for a solution.
There are many features on the Satmap Active10 GPS unit. However the two principal features from the ordinary walkers point of view are 1) Navigation and 2) Route Planning.
1) Navigation. A good GPS unit with a good map revolutionises hill navigation. There is still a requirement to understand how to read a map - to pick a route from the map and to relate the map features to the landscape around. However the GPS chip in conjunction with the detailed map gives you an instant update on your position as you move across the map and landscape. You can see quickly if you are following the route you intend and judge how far away adjacent features are. If in mist, you encounter say, a large boggy or rocky area, it is simplicity to walk around by most suitable route and check your position on the far side to get back on course. You can of course use the inbuilt electronic compass, but I don't see the point - it works best to simply read the map and use the GPS to update your location on you move across the terrain. 2) Route Planning. This function is intended more for 'home' use, prior to heading out. It enables one to draw a route on the map, by setting a series of waypoints. When finished, the Active10 GPS unit will then generate useful data such as a) length & height to be climbed b) route profile of ascents & descents and c) a route card if desired. This function will be useful for those finding their feet in terms of assessing walks and time etc. You should note that the elevation information is derived from the inbuilt digital terrain data which will likely yield some small variance with the map and the actual ascent/ descent on the hill. However the differences will be relatively small and not likely to make any significant impact on your day. Discrepancies are most likely to be observed on level walks, due to 'noise' in the digital terrain data.
The Satmap Dublin & Wicklow Mountains SD card is €50 inc VAT at 23%. It is only available from EastWest Mapping in Ireland and Satmap in the U.K. This will run on any Satmap Active10 GPS unit. For those who wish to purchase a Satmap Active10 GPS unit, we have a bundle of GPS + Dublin & Wicklow Mountains SD card at c.€360 + VAT at 23%. We also sell the Satmap SD Card for OSI 1:50,000 mapping for the Republic of Ireland. Northern Ireland can be purchased elsewhere separately for this unit. The Satmap device itself is similar to several other Handheld Mapping units on the market. It is a little wider and a touch heavier than similar Garmin units but this is compensated for by the large screen. Since the purpose of the unit is to display mapping, this is a reasonable trade off. Battery power needs thought - the unit takes 3xAA batteries or a rechargeable battery pack which is an optional extra. Using AA batteries, I'd recommend rechargeable AA Ni-Mh type batteries, sold for cameras and high end devices. These last several years and you will need 6 batteries - 3 in the unit and 3 spare in your rucksack. Take care when inserting batteries to seat them properly and avoid straining the battery cover.
For a full days walking, ensure the batteries are fully charged before you set out and set one of the power saving options on the unit. These turn off the screen display after a set time and conserve power when you don't need to consult - the unit continues to track your location and pressing any button restores the screen display. This unit uses buttons rather than touch screen technology - there is a logic in this for outdoor use, particularly in poor conditions. Gloved hands can operate the buttons and there is no opportunity for the screen to be set off accidentally as say when you stuff the unit back inside your jacket. Finally you do need to allow the unit a minute or so in a stable position to acquire an initial fix - just turn it on before you put on your boots and it'll be ready when you set off.
ViewRanger is a free app that runs on a variety of smartphones; Apple, Android and various other phones are supported. Check here to see if your phone will work with ViewRanger http://www.viewranger.com/en-gb/features/supported-phones
This free app turns your compatible phone with a GPS chip into a functioning GPS unit. You download the app from this page http://www.viewranger.com/en-gb/
The ViewRanger app works with a range of mapping including free sources, such as OpenStreetMap and premium (paid) products such as EastWest Mapping maps which are a lot more detailed.
The maps are available either here http://shop.viewranger.com/products.php?category_id=59 or by download from within the ViewRanger app. Once installed, run the app and do a search in the Store for products using search term 'eastwest'. The Dublin & Wicklow mapping covers c 1500 km2 and costs c€50. The Blackstairs & Mount Leinster covers c 650 km2 and costs c€20. Prices are in sterling so may fluctuate slightly.
There are two facets to the ViewRanger product; firstly the app which runs on your phone and allows it to function as a handheld mapping GPS unit and secondly a website component called www.my.viewranger.com Here you can view your purchased premium maps and use them in a desktop situation to plan routes, print out map sections etc. There are also facilities to upload your saved walks and search for routes etc. posted by others in the community. Please note that as of 25 Oct 2013 this web feature is only partly implemented for EastWest maps to extent that maps are visible only when you zoom in. ViewRanger are making updates in coming weeks and will integrate them fully.
Please note that ViewRanger runs very well on many smartphones and is a cost effective way to have a GPS solution for your walking navigation. However there are some drawbacks and precautions need to be taken. The majority of smartphone devices are not designed to be weatherproof, rugged or have swappable batteries - the sort of features that you might require when hillwalking. You need to take these factors into account:
- weatherproofing, use a small purpose made waterproof holder on a lanyard around your neck. I have tested the Aquapac products and find them to be reasonably priced & effective. https://store.aquapac.net/explore-product-range/waterproof-phone-cases.html
- battery power, use the various PowerSave options within the ViewRanger app. Charge your phone fully before setting out. Turn off services like Wi-Fi and Bluetooth etc. Close down any other apps running in the background. Turn the screen off when not using ViewRanger. You may also choose to carry some form of (fully charged) additional mobile phone battery unit. With careful use, you'll get a good days walking navigation out of it.