Mapping resources for tourists

Every country is different, with their own web services and trekking rules. After the last year where I suddenly started being active in mountain trekking I’ve found a few resources that would be handy for those of you who plan to visit Norway. Similar lists for other countries would be very nice to have. Some of the services I list here are specific to Norway, others are of course world-wide.

International services that work well in Norway - Google is the best choice for roads and general navigation, and it has descent topographical maps - Parts of Norway is mapped with the HQ 3D maps from Google, which can be a great help while planning - Has acceptable coverage in parts of the country. Many users upload their GPS tracks to Openstreetmap, which is a great resource when you want to find trails to summits that aren’t mapped otherwise

Norway specific services - is the website for the Norwegian Tourist Association (volunteer organization). Here you find topographical maps aimed at hikers, with a large amount of trip advices to both summits and other locations. These trip advices have downloadable GPS tracks, and are a great resource when you aren’t familiar with the area. The service is also available as a smartphone app ( - Finn has great topographical maps, as well as the best freely availabe aerial photos - The official map service. Here you can download high quality maps similar to those you can purchase in stores. This is also available as a smartphone app - Here you can download topographical and hiking maps of most European countries based on Openstreetmap and other freely available sources to your Garmin devices. My recommendation for Norway is “Topo Summer

You are free to travel and camp almost everywhere you want in Norway, with a few restrictions. Read more here:


Thanks a lot, Kjetil, these are extremely useful tools for our trip to LA !

73, Sylvia

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Thank you, Bob, for sharing your ideas and resources. I’d really like to submit a similar list for my country, but unfortunately such things are nonexistent over here.

Even Google Maps is totally unreliable: today, I followed a Google recommended (car) route and ended up being ridiculed by the locals, who told me that the road from my route has never existed! And it is not the first time I’ve been fooled by Google Maps. Sometimes they send me to drive over meadows and through the woods, sometimes they don’t know about totally fine roads… Furthermore, road networks known to Google Maps and those shown on Open Topo Maps are often quite different.

So, if I may hijack your topic a bit, I’d like to ask our SOTA friends from other countries to tell us about available geographic resources in their countries, but also to share their experience with the reliability and accuracy of two main (globally and publically available) map tools: Google Maps and Open Topo Maps. Thank you all.

VY 73!

Zoran / E70AA

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If you are visiting VK, Australia then this is the official government map site for NSW, VK2.

There are some great tools in it for locating locations and printing your own map.

“The right to roam, also called the right of access (“allemannsretten”) is a traditional right from ancient times, and from 1957 it has also been part of the Outdoor Recreation Act. It ensures that everybody get to experience nature, even on larger privately owned areas.” Extract from

This makes the restrictions in England and Wales seem positioverly medieval - it is about time we came into the 21st century. I do find it much more relaxing to activate summits in Scotland where there is a right to roam on a similar basis to Norway.

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Good luck to our non-English speaking friends translating that one! :wink:

Possibly an example of a portmanteau word combining positively and overly?

Seriously however, I think this topic is extremely useful for activators hoping to travel beyond their usual haunts. But possibly the information might be easier to find if it was stored on the Association pages of the website? That is my first point of call when planning an expedition.

It’s the sort of thing usefully to be found in the ARMs. Where they have not done so already AMs are welcome to add resources such as these.

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Any of you VKland guys use Hema maps? Been seeing a lot of discussion about it over here in the NorCal area from the jeeping/overland guys…Just curious…Todd KH2TJ

Yes, Hema maps are a good option, one of several that you can buy and use.

In Canada the country is so vast, that access to a mountain range, let alone a specific mountain, requires significant research. One of the best resources for people visiting the Canadian Rocky Mountains is the Gemtrek series of maps.
The information of trails is kept up-to-date, with details of recognized trails for hiking, biking, horse-riding, etc
There are also trail descriptions given on the back of the maps, taken from guide-books that are also available.
An excellent resource for this area of western Canada.


Yeah, this is very challenging for a Norwegian travelling abroad. We are used to being able to go everywhere, so we’re not used to having to dig up where to get permissions to access land.

Well, Google maps has it’s issues here as well, but mainly it’s OK. It once tried to make me go on a ferry that was closed and replaced by a bridge over a decade ago :wink:

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Here, in the E7 land, nobody will forbid you to go where your heart desires, but people will often warn you to be aware of landmine fields, especially near the summits. As I’ve learned from many years of mountaineering, such stories are sometimes true, but more often than not they are just myths or made-up stories whose sole purpose is to divert you from trespassing over someone’s property. Will you take such advices seriously or not, well, it’s entirely up to you…:wink:

For the DL there are any other than OSM and Google earth ?

That is handy information to have for tourists :wink:

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for the approach; followed by a metal tea tray to sit on (rather than the more usual foam mat) - just in case! :boom:

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It’s certainly an option, Andy. Personally, I rely on lucky stars: they don’t tend to overload your SOTA rucksack as much :wink:


Very good collection developing here (apart from some off topics :wink: ).
A wiki like page for each association would make sense to have this infos easy accessible:

  • General infos
  • Maps
  • Ham licences info for guests
  • SOTA common practice (like typical SOTA frequencies on UHF/VHF)

Sources for Austria OE

Austrianmap or .com (for english version)

Top right hit the button “Show map”. There is the an 1:50000 topo hiking map (Bergfex OEK) available.
In the map you can activate known hikingroutes and get pictures and time estimates.

or try with routing, height profile and time estimate (calculated).
Route Planner • Plan your next adventure »
Hint: switch map layer to topo

Long-distant hikes and trekking tours:

Alpine hut finder (Austrian Alpine Association):

Regarding mountainhuts: It is common to bring a so called “hut sleeping bag” (Hüttenschlafsack) if you stay overnight. It is basically an inliner-sleepingbag that replaces the bed linen.
And always call the hut for bookings and maybe in addition a day before to confirm. Answer via email might take longer.

General information:

  • Regarding time estimates that you find at signpost. A general rule: The higher the mountain the “optimistic” the forecast is. So depending on your training level expect a bit more time needed. 400 - 450 m ascent/ hour could be seen as standard in some alpine regions.
  • Some maps might not show that a path is actually a via ferrata (German: Klettersteig) that requires extra gear and strength/endurance.
  • Phone coverage is good in Austria but in some valleys or alpine regions coverage can fade away.
  • It is good practice to self log at the hut and summit logbooks. This will allow mountain rescue to track your way. If you use APRS adding your APRS callsign to the book too.
  • Getting rescued by helicopter can be expensive. Make sure to plan your trips carefully (overconfidence) and have an insurance that covers mountaineering activities. This is of course only for real emergency situations.

Bands and SOTA operation - VHF

  • 145.500 FM is always a good start.
  • Expect in some regions that no one will answer
  • Chances on a Saturday or Sunday are increased
  • OE/ST region has 145.550 as preferred SOTA QRG
  • Most ham operators will speak English well enoung for a short QSO

Will update if I have more comes to my mind.

73 Joe


Mea culpa😟

I totally agree Joe. As has been suggested earlier in this thread, perhaps the ARM or Association pages are the best place? If a suitable page was set up by the MT for each Association, the actual work of populating them could be left to the SOTA community (self policing for accuracy/updates).
Just a thought.