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Sat nav

Walking with free satellite navigation


Try the free satellite navigation on your next walk
Try the free satellite navigation on your next walk
Did you know that if you have a smartphone you can follow any of our walks using satellite navigation? It works in much the same way as it does in a car.

Just download the free GPX (GPS Exchange Format) navigation file for the walk, open it in a free navigation app, then follow the arrow on your smartphone screen.

And it's all absolutely free. You don't need a paid-for subscription app to follow our walks.

All the navigation files on our walks have been created by us and have been tested several times to ensure they are accurate. We create GPS files in GPX and KML. (The KML format is to view the routes on Google Earth).

I create the first versions of the files before we set off on the walk. Then, when we are out checking the route prior to publication, we record another GPX file using a GPS tracker as we walk. I later merge with the original to make sure everything is spot on. I also check the walk with several free apps as we are testing it.

So, if you would like to try the free satellite navigation just do the following.

1: Download one of the free GPS navigation apps to your smartphone. I use three free apps just to make sure the route works. They are Komoot, GPX Viewer, and OsmAnd. And I also subscribe to the paid-for Ordnance Survey app because it helps me find local rights of way (ROW), locate pubs, and find sites of historical significance.

2: Next, select the walk you want then download the GPX file for that walk. I find the GPX file works in every free viewer I have tried. You will find the links to the downloadable file in the text under the static map towards the top of the directions on any walk page, see the red circle on the image below, taken from Walk 188.

The link to the GPX file is under the static map on every walk
The link to the GPX file is under the static map on every walk
3: Once you have downloaded the GPX file, simply open it using your preferred free navigation app, and you are all set.

We have some more tips here about how to use GPS with our walks. Here is what Walk 188 looks like when opened in the free Komoot.

Walk 188 downloaded to the free Komoot navigation app

Problems with downloading


Someone on our Facebook page reported having problems with their phone not giving them the option to downloaded a GPX file in the free Komoot. If this happens, try this:

1: Download the GPX file from Hertfordshire Walker to your phone.

2: Open Komoot.

3: Click on 'Profile', which is the third icon from the left in the tray of icons at the bottom.

4: On the page that opens look for the word 'Tours' in the middle of the page then click the plus '+' sign to the right of the word 'Tours' (see first image below these instructions.

5: On the page that opens, click 'Import a file (GPX, FIT or TCX)'.

6: You should then be taken to your download folder or given you the option to navigate to it.

7: Locate the GPX file you just downloaded from Hertfordshire Walker and click on it.

8: On the page that opens, click on 'Import tour'. There might be two options; one with the number and name of the walk and another with 'Tour 2'. Always select the version with the walk's details (see highlighted option on the image below).

Select the option with the walk's number and name
Select the option with the walk's number and name
9: If you end up on a page with two options, pick the cleanest (see image below).

Select the cleanest version of the walk then import
Select the cleanest version (usually the second option) then import
10: Click 'Import and Plan'.

11: Choose 'Hiking' and then click on the map.

12: DO NOT CLICK 'Start Navigation' because that will just take you to a paid-for services which you don't need.

Click on the '+' to the right of the word 'Tours'
Point 4 above - click on the '+' to the right of the word 'Tours'

Other downloading issues


The free GPX and KML satellite navigation files published on every walk on Hertfordshire Walker are tested several times to ensure they work properly on any compatible device when connected to the internet or a mobile data network.

The GPX and KML files are 'downloads', which means that when you click the link a file containing the data required for you to follow the route will be downloaded to your device.

You can then open the file in any compatible sat nav app you have installed on your device. This will enable you to follow the walk in much the same way sat nav works in a vehicle.

This means your device needs to have 'downloads' enabled.

If you are able to browse the internet on your smartphone but have problems downloading a GPX file to your device the issue will be with your phone or your network settings, not the file on Hertfordshire Walker.

I have listed the following fixes to try to help anyone experiencing issues when trying to download our GPX files to a compatible mobile device.

1: The first is simply to turn your device off, wait a few minutes, then turn it on again.

2: If that doesn't work make sure downloading over your network is enabled on your device. Some people have their phones set to download only when connected to wifi. If this is the case (and if you are happy to download using your network data allowance) you need to change this setting. How to do this will differ from phone to phone so check online for the steps for your make and model.

3: Check that mobile data is enabled on your device. Usually you need to go to settings, network and internet / SIMs / network / then activate mobile data.

4: If your phone is set to download files when on both wifi and your mobile network try switching between wifi and mobile data then back again to see if this helps.

5: If you are still having problems check the browser cache and history settings on your mobile device. You might need to clear both then restart the device. Before you do be sure you are happy to clear all the saved data on the sites you have visited and the data you have previously downloaded.

6: If that doesn't solve the problem go to your downloads folder on your device and check whether there is anything there you need. If not, clear your downloads folder then restart the device.

7: Check you haven't got 'data saver' active on your device. This will restrict what you can download.

8: Check you haven't got a VPN (virtual private network) active which might interfere with what you can access.

9: Check there isn't a form of ad-blocker active on your phone; this could prevent access to downloadable files.

10: If you are still having problems call or pop into your nearest network store (preferably where you bought the phone or signed up for your network data deal) and ask them to make sure your device is set to be able to download when on the network (and not just set to download when connected via wifi only).

Finally, all our walks will always be free to download and enjoy on any device. We have no connection with a paid-for subscription app which launched in 2022 and which charges for walks. Our walks are totally free and always will be. Our's is a hobby shared with a growing community of fellow walkers; we don't do this to make money.

Click here if you want to know more about the steps involved in creating a walk on Hertfordshire Walker.

2 comments:

  1. Hi just to make walkers aware
    Route 148 jockey end south loop is not possible
    No signal available

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's strange, it worked perfectly well when we mapped and tested the route. Some networks have better reception than others. However, even if you have poor reception the directions, saved as a pdf to your phone, or a map and compass, should help you navigate the route successfully.
      If you haven't already done so please consider joining our friendly Facebook group where fellow walkers are sharing their walking experiences and photographs. David
      https://www.facebook.com/groups/hertfordshirewalker

      Delete

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