Memory-Map Explorer 1:25000 Range V5 Review

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Tom H's review of Memory-Map Explorer 1:25000 Range V5

★★★★★
Memory-Map Explorer 1:25000 Range V5

“With GPS units taking off and now being available to...”

Written on: 27/02/2007 by Tom H (110 reviews written)

Good Points
Uses Ordnance Survey Explorer maps (familiar to many outdoor enthusiasts).
Compatible with most GPS units, allowing uploading and downloading of routes and waypoints.
Ease of use.
Includes web links to WalkingWorld.com, allowing users access to a list of graded walks and routes to suit all abilities.

Bad Points
The maps of Scotland do not include aerial/satellite imagery.
Can't plot road routes - this software is for hill-walkers and mountain bikers only.

General Comments
With GPS units taking off and now being available to almost anyone, computer software to augment them have also seen growth. Pretty much every GPS manufacturer, and a number of non-GPS manufacturers, including Microsoft, now has their own version of mapping and plotting software to further enhance our units. Most offer much the same sort of basic features: the ability to mark specific locations (called "Pinpoints", "Marks" or "Waypoints"), as well as to plot routes between them.

But, the major problem is that not all base-maps necessarily follow the same conventions. It is very much down to the manufacturer to pick the graphical identity of their creations.

So, I was extremely happy when I was introduced to Memory-Map software. A friend had bought a package covering the Peak District, to help him with fell running and canoeing. He raved about it for days, and so, intrigued, I decided to see what was so great

And, to my surprise, when I ran the software, I was thrilled to see that, instead of some basic road map with just major roads on, I had an Ordnance Survey "Explorer" map at 1:25000 scale on my PC!. Thank goodness - finally, a mapping system I can actually understand! I decided to invest in some software myself, being a proud owner of a Garmin GPS unit I use when out hillwalking. And it is brilliant.

I can input points onto the software (such as landmarks) and transfer them to my GPS with 100% accuracy. Alternatively, if I mark a point when out with my GPS, I can upload this onto the software and record it for future reference. It works in a similar way with routes too - whenever I'm out walking I take my GPS to record my route, and can then store it on my software should I want to retrace my route at a later date. Saves me jotting down grid references in the middle of a blizzard!

Another clever feature is the ability to view an area as a 3D model. This helped my friend see what hills he'd be running up well in advance. I've used it to help visualise the hills and valleys before going out - very useful to see what I've let myself in for!

Also, the maps for England and Wales include satellite imagery of the area. Although this is not necessary for map routing, it can be interesting to see the area. Sadly, the Scotland packages do not include satellite imagery, which is a shame.

Also, users can plan routes, and then print off a "route card", giving compass bearings and grid references. No excuses for getting it wrong now! And, as an obvious point, because the 1:25000 map is full colour and printable, I can focus in on a small area and print this, rather than having to take an entire map. And, if you have access to a laminator, you can create as many waterproof maps as you want without paying for expensive, bulky full sized ones!

A word of warning - this software cannot be used to plot road routes. It is only aimed at hillwalkers and mountain sport enthusiasts. If you want road mapping software, this is definitely not for you.



But, all-in-all, this software is excellent for those of us who love the hills. Well worth the money, whether you're a GPS owner or not!

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