Maps and Mapping

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.

I use my GPS all the time. Why do I need a guidebook?

For navigation, the GPS is great. Navigation gurus do have reservations about them. For instance, if it breaks down or runs out of power, can you still navigate using the sheet map?

Our view is that the GPS is a great way to fix where you are, but a less strong tool for showing where to go. Our guides should help with this.

But the real difference is that the guide suggests why you should go there. Cicerone guides are full of ideas for routes, variants, and commentary on what you will find when you get there, not to mention essential information about facilities. Our authors are all experts in particular regions, so help take you to the very best routes and places.

In a way, therefore, we help supply the purpose, the ‘why’. The guidebook, together with map and GPS plus your own walking experience (and legs), supply the ‘how’.

What are GPX files?

GPX is short for GPS eXchange Format and a GPX file is a way of sharing route information. It is universal so can be used on many devices such as a GPS, phone or tablet. Once downloaded, you will be able to follow the route on your GPS to help with navigation.

The GPX file is simply a list of data points that need to be interpreted by an appropriate app - it is not a route map and cannot be opened without a suitable reader. There are many GPX readers available - just search in your app store or online.

You can download GPX routes for many of our guidebooks - just check the book page for details.

How can I get the GPX files for my guidebook?

Some of our guides come with free GPX routes to help with your planning. Please follow these instructions to access your GPX data:

You will need to download the GPX files from your Library.

  • Click on My Account to log in or become a Cicerone member

If you purchased your book from us then it should already be in your library.

  • Click on the cover image
  • Click Download GPX Route Files

If the book cover is not showing in your library then you can add it to your virtual bookshelf.

  • Click on Add a Book
  • Choose your book
  • Continue as above to download the 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. This is easiest to do on a desktop computer.
  • We do not have GPX files for every book. If the "Download GPX Route Files" button does not appear then we do not currently have them for this title.

The maps in Cicerone guidebook​s are great. Do I need to buy the real maps?

Yes, we recommend that you buy the best maps possible for the route you are tackling. The sketch or map extracts we use in the guidebooks are designed to help with planning your route, to show what you are getting into. When you are out particularly in remote or mountainous terrain, it can sometimes be vital that you have good information about the area, should you either be forced off-route, or just to identify features in the distance to aid navigation and enjoyment. For detailed on-the-ground navigation please see the maps recommended in each guide, where the author, drawing on all his experience of the region, indicates the maps he or she regards as best for the purpose.

Where possible we have listed on the website the recommended maps with each book. Details are also included in all of our guidebooks.

Ordnance Survey and Harvey maps are generally available throughout the UK, especially in the regions that each map covers.

International maps are available from specialist map suppliers such as Stanfords, The Map Shop at Upton on Severn, and the Hereford Map Centre.

Guidebooks with Map Booklets

Some of our guidebooks now contain map booklets - we consider these to be sufficient mapping for the routes, saving you time, weight and money.

How do I open the GPX files?

These instructions assume you have already downloaded your GPX files. If not then please see the How do I get the GPX files for my guidebook FAQ first.

On a desktop computer (suggested method):

  • The downloaded files will be contained in a .zip folder.
  • Find your downloaded file and click on it. Most computers will "unzip" the files automatically.
  • Once the files are downloaded you can import them into the GPX reader of your choice. They will not work without a GPX reader.
  • Open your reader 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.

On a mobile device:

  • At the moment we cannot recommend an easy way to download, extract and open GPX files on a mobile device. Viewranger are looking into a solution for us. We strongly recommend downloading and extracting the GPX files on a desktop computer and making sure they work before you need to use them.

GPX Readers:

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