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Maps and Mapping

What are GPX files?

GPX files are data points that can be plotted on a map to show a route. The GPX files that we create can be used on lots of different devices such as a GPS, a phone, computer, or tablet.  

The most important thing to note is that GPX files on their own are useless, they have to be interpreted by a mapping application. Applications like this are usually available to download for free in your devices app store.  

Here are some apps that people in the Cicerone office like to use:  

  • Router
  • Avenue
  • OutdoorActive
  • Komoot

We create our GPX files using a standard format which should be compatible with most GPX reader mapping applications, however sometimes the applications won't accept the files. In these situations, it's best to contact the application creator company to speak to them about the issue.

Are there GPX files available for all our guidebooks?

Unfortunately, we don't have GPX files for every guidebook but we know that they are incredibly helpful and so we are trying to create them for every new book. Sometimes extenuating circumstances mean that we're not able to create the files, poor weather, the route is particularly tricky to navigate etc.  

If you're looking for GPX files to one of our guidebook routes and we don't seem to have any available, drop us a line at as we might be able to recommend another site that provides the files.  

How do I get the GPX files for my guidebook?

Our GPX files are free to download, however, you'll need to be signed into a Cicerone website account in order to access them. It's free to set up an account and allows you to keep track of purchases made through the Cicerone website, you can also add Cicerone guidebooks that you've purchased elsewhere to your website library.  

  • Start by setting up, or signing into your Cicerone website account.
  • Click on 'My Account' at the top right hand side of the website page.

If you purchased your guidebook from the Cicerone website, then it should be in your library already.  

  • Under the 'My Books' list, navigate to the guidebook that you'd like the GPX files for.
  • Click on the cover image of the guidebook.
  • Under the 'Downloads' section of this new page, click on the GPX files.

If you purchased the guidebook from another retailer, then you can add it to your account in order to access the GPX files.  

  • Click on 'My Account' at the top right hand side of the website page.
  • Under the 'Library' section of your account, on the lefthand side of the website page, click on 'Add a Book'.
  • Choose the guidebook you've purchased from the drop down list.
  • Then choose the Retailer that you purchased the guidebook from.
  • You can also choose to opt-in to receive updates for your guidebook here.
  • Then click on 'Add Book'.
  • Under the 'Downloads' section of this new page, click on the GPX files.

Please note:

  • The GPX files are collections of data points - they are not maps to the routes.
  • The files are contained in a .zip folder. You will need to extract this .zip folder and then use a GPX reader to open the files.
  • If the "Download GPX Route Files" button does not appear then it means that, unfortunately, we don't currently have them for this title.

How do I open the GPX files now that I've downloaded them?

On a mobile device

These are general instructions for downloading the files on a mobile- all devices vary. If none of the below works for you, you might need to contact your phone provider for advice.  

  • Navigate to the 'Downloads' folder of your phone and locate the GPX files folder.
  • Click to unzip the folder (this should happen automatically).
  • Now click on the unzipped folder.

If you have already downloaded a GPX file mapping application, the GPX files should automatically open. If not, it means you don't have an application on your mobile that is able to do this and you may need to look at another application.

On a desktop computer

  • The downloaded files will be in a .zip folder, usually in the 'Downloads' area of your computer.
  • Navigate to the GPX files folder and click on it. Most computers will "unzip" the files automatically.
  • Once the files are downloaded you can import them into the GPX mapping application of your choice. They won't work without this.
  • Open the application and then and follow their instructions for importing routes.
  • Depending on the tools available, you will then be able to transfer these routes to your mobile device/GPS.

If you have difficulty with the mapping application you're using, we'd recommend contacting help or support centre of the application.

What maps do you use in your guidebooks?

Cicerone guidebooks use one of four types of mapping. The map choice depends on the area covered by the book and the most appropriate scale.

Ordnance Survey

For most UK guides we will use Ordnance Survey mapping at a scale of 1:25,000 or 1:50,000. These are comprehensive and detailed maps of the UK and we use them whenever we can.

Cicerone/Lovell Johns maps

In partnership with Lovell Johns, Cicerone have developed mapping that covers the UK, Europe and parts of the rest of the world at a variety of scales. This mapping is extremely flexible and allows authors to add important details and remove information that is not helpful to the reader. It is also very easy to add accurate route lines taken from GPX files recorded by the author as they are walking or cycling the routes.

Other third-party mapping

In some countries a third party (equivalent to the OS in the UK) may have developed a set of maps that cover the areas we need. When this is the case we will come to an agreement that allows us to use their maps in our guidebook with our route lines shown on top.

Sketch mapping

Occasionally we will use sketch mapping. Sketch mapping is just that – maps based on sketches drawn by the author of the book. This type of map is a good way of showing key information without the distraction of the rest of the base map. It is a particularly effective way of showing trek or area overviews.

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