Maps, maps, and more maps

I’ve been planning this entire trip turn by turn using software called Memory-Map. I’ve got the edition that comes with the UK’s entire series of Landranger 1:50,000 Ordnance Survey maps. It has useful features such as being able to see an elevation profile of a plotted route. The software does have some weaknesses though. For example:

  • It’s not designed for the sheer scale of route data I’m using it. If I choose to edit the properties of a waypoint it now takes several minutes to open that screen (because the software insists upon populating the screen with the details for every waypoint I’ve entered.)
  • Elevations aren’t shown on the large scale 1:1,000,000 map, which would have been useful for planning the general route I should be taking to avoid excessive climbing. So, instead I’ve been using the excellent OpenCycleMap which clearly shows elevations at almost all scales. It also has the distinct advantage of showing cycle routes where they’ve already been surveyed for the OpenStreetMap project.
  • There doesn’t appear to be a built-in function to be able to split a route at a waypoint, or to merge two routes together. This would have been very useful to have when I was working out exactly where my overnight stops should be. Instead I resorted to exporting the relevant routes to GPX files and splitting joining them using a text editor before reimporting them. If I accidentally left the properties window open in the middle of this then I’d suffer the same performance issue mentioned above as it updated to my change.

I’m a large contributor of data to the aforementioned OpenStreetMap project and I’ll be surveying the entire route with the intention of adding all of the data to OSM. Many portions of my planned route have been specifically chosen because to enhance OSM’s already excellent coverage of the National Cycle Network. The return journey uses large portions of NCR1 from John O’Groats back to Canterbury and I hope that we may have complete coverage of the route in OSM by the end of my travels.

I printed all of my maps and planning documents today. The maps amount to exactly 250 pages. My planning documents show that I’ll have a cumulative ascent (and descent naturally since it’s a full-circle trip) of approximately 50KM. Not bad going.

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