Friday, April 2, 2010

Satmap To The Rescue

When I set out to walk the 23 kms from Lavelanet this morning the temperature was 0 degrees. When I arrived home it had risen to the mid to high teens. What does a feller wear?

I have been trying out a few bits of kit while walking this week. One - the Satmap Active 10, as pictured, has become vital to VBW. With the currrent and rapidly deteriorating state of my eyes, all the maps I have bought (about 800 Euros worth) are useless to me as I can not see the tracks.

Satmap have supplied me with the Active 10 and all the necessary cards at a peppercorn price. Unlike all the other GPS devices I have seen for walkers, this requires no fiddling about with computers, downloads and knowledge I don't have. Even computer geeks are pleased about that.

You simply insert the card required, in this morning's case the (SD) card for Midi-Pyrenees, and the map for that area appears on screen. The main walking trails through France - the Grandes Randonnees - appear as a bright purple broad line, which even I can see. As I should be sticking mainly to GRs for well over 1000 kms through France, I could just follow the line, making sure that I did not branch off onto the wrong GRs at junctions.

But it is also possible to insert your own pre-planned route by prodding at the joystick. Your route then appears as a yellow line. This will be very useful for cutting out the great loops, frequently intersected by a more direct path, which the GRs seem to delight in taking. If I had stuck to GRs this week, I would have walked many further unnecessary kilometres. As it happens, I was walking tracks which are well known to me and keeping an eye on the Active 10 to see how they related to the GRs. I learned a lot.

I think without the Satmap, I would have had to give up on VBW altogether.

You find out more about the Satmap Active 10 by clicking on:

Or you can see an independent review of the device here:

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