Our Maps Make Us Special!
So, what are these maps exactly? These are Georeferenced PDF documents, (GeoPDF) which means they contain geographical information (latitude & longitude) for each point on the map. Thus, on your GPS capable phone or tablet, when you are physically in the area covered by the map, your position is displayed on the map as a blue dot which moves as you do. Just like Google Maps. And because the map resides as a file on your device, no Internet or cellphone connection is required.
Think about that...you can’t get lost! Your route and your position on the same map, totally offline, completely independent of the Internet. This is what makes us different. No more printed directions, no more reams of paper maps that aren’t sufficiently detailed anyway, no more trying to figure out where you are or what turn you may have missed, no more guessing where that next turn is, no more guesswork, period. Just let the map guide you. You’ll always know where you are and the way to go, and, if you make a mistake, you’ll know it almost immediately, so it's easy to get back on track. It’s that simple!
To use our maps, you'll need to download Avenza Map app, which is free on the App Store (iPhone/iPad) and GooglePlay (Android). You download it on to your device, smartphone or tablet, and then direct the App to the Avenza Maps Store, where you’ll be able to purchase our Map Bundles. (see How to Buy Our Tours)
Then all you'll need is a GPS capable smartphone or tablet with at least 1.0 Gb of free storage space (and better a bit more). We find that our iPad Mini 4 is ideal but we also have an old Samsung Galaxy 3 that works fine as well.
We also carry our iPhone 6, with the maps loaded as a backup but we find that the screen is too small for regular use. But that's just us, your cellphone will work. Given the importance of these maps to your happiness on the ride, we recommend a backup, which is why we carry both the Mini & our cellphones, with the maps on all our devices. When you buy our Map Bundles once on the Avenza Map Store, you can load them on any device that you own.
The maps come in Bundles because there’s generally a lot of them, 20-30 or more. This is because the individual maps are fairly high resolution, which means big file size. And if the file size is too big, the maps tend not to perform well, especially on older devices.
OK, what’s in the Bundle? We have several different types of maps, depending on the terrain. All the rides have a Overview Map that show the whole tour on one page at very low resolution, about 1:300,000, so you’ll have a general idea of where you’re gong & the route you’ll follow. There is also a detailed description of each segment of the tour, including the day trips, which contain everything you need to know.
Then there are maps of the daily rides themselves, from the starting point to the destination. These are much higher resolution, about 1/13,000, and to keep the file size of each map reasonable (otherwise performance suffers) there are frequently two maps for any given day. Then there are often detail maps of the city or town you’re leaving from or going to. These maps are generally at a much higher resolution yet, often 1:3000, and they’re designed to help you find the restaurants, hotels, B&Bs, Points of Interest, etc. that we talk about in the ride descriptions.
Finally, there are Detail Maps of cities & towns that you'll encounter on the ride. These are even higher resolution, and designed to help you find the restaurants, B&Bs, and other Points of Interest that we talk about in the descriptions.
Each map contains that complete description of the ride it shows, that is, all the information that’ll you’ll need to do the ride, description & map, is on the map itself.
Remember that these maps are not comprehensive maps of the entire area where you'll be riding, with all the information about restaurants, stores, points of interest, etc., as you might find on Google Maps, but rather maps specifically designed to show your route from one place to another. Our maps are generally built around the planned route, and include only a few kilometers on either side. Much beyond that and you're on your own. We've included some things that we think you'd want to know about, especially if it's right on your way and if we mention it in our tour description, but we didn't (and can't) include everything that you might want to know about in the area.
When we go, we generally download the Google Map of the area of the tour, which your can do from home and use offline for 29 day before you have to update it (Internet access required), or you could download the Android/iOS App Maps.me (free) and the relevant area. Then, if you decide to deviate from the planned route, you'll at least know where you're going.