Do GPS hiking Apps signal the end of paper maps and compass ?
Apart walkers who simply follow a group without asking any questions except about lunch time, most hikers are still trying to find out where they are, what direction to take to achieve their goal or how to decide a plane B if something goes wrong, estimate the time remaining to walk. For a long time, using topographic paper maps, which are tourism (Michelin, IGN …) or those called of Staff, cadastral, etc. The compass always part of the essential accessory to the use of the topographic map. The scale typically used rando is 1: 25.000e, that is to say 1 cm = 250 m. This scale provides sufficient accuracy to follow a route on foot. Topographic maps contain a wealth of useful information to guidance: GR, PR, GPR not defined the FFRP ( Federation Française de Randonnée Pédestre), roads, contour lines defining the terrain, rivers, various buildings (water towers, churches, viaducts …) and the numbers of the parcels of land in the forest helpful. We must therefore learn to read the cards. Nothing complicated, and most clubs and hiking associations offer orientation courses. We must therefore learn to read the cards.
Advantages and weaknesses of paper maps: reliable support, no down, no energy. However, the update is done about every 5 years (eg IGN). Several cards are required for hikes over several days (weight and cost). The new cards called « compatible GPS » (Reference military UTM grid) make it easy to see the position read from a GPS (without base map) on the map and thus determine its position. Finally, despite the efforts of publishers, they remain fragile and poorly resistant to weathering. The use of the card holder is recommended here. Whatever the cards will always remain the most reliable backpacker guidance tool.