Geeky and easy digital maps

The review and Q&A in the February-March issue inspired me to purchase a Garmin Etrex 20. However, the advice on using Open Street Map barely scratches the surface of a dark art requiring deep computer knowledge!

I never did get the programs referred to (Velomap and OpenMTBmap) to work. I came across two very useful sites dedicated to Open Street Map: and

I now have a fully working GPS with the entire UK mapped using OSM (National Cycle Network included) and am looking forward to planning some rides using as Chris suggested.

Peter Thorne

I’ve had a few other complaints about that recommendation, which came from the Forum. Now I’ve tried Velomap/OpenMTBmap myself, I must agree: clever stuff, but user-friendly it ain’t! Referring to a well-thumbed copy of Get by in Geek, I nevertheless installed mapping of Iceland on my Etrex and appreciated how I could tailor it to either hiking or biking.

Perhaps the user-friendliest open source mapping comes for a straightforward but small fee (rather than the usual ‘donation’), pre-loaded on SD card – or to download – from Another useful link is:, where you’ll find a comparative list of who does what for where. That’s how I found (click English), where I got better maps for my last cycle tour than I could have bought in Stanfords, not just of the Himalayas but the whole of India, which was also useful when sightseeing in Delhi.

Other folks will have other favourites. Tell us yours – but tell it how it is, considering that GPS is for everyone now, not just geeks!

Chris Juden


This was first published in the June / July 2013 edition of Cycle magazine.