Memory-Map – OS Explorer review

3D maps and aerial photographs
Photo of Memory-Map – OS Explorer
£100

It’s always been quite difficult to demonstrate the value of an electronic map. The printed versions are so easy to use and comparatively cheap that you need to be able to achieve more with an electronic one to justify the cost. Memory-Map has found that extra value in its latest £100 map packs.

Based on Ordnance Survey 1:25,000 maps, the 10 packs on offer cover specific areas of the country, mostly tourist destinations like the Lake District, the New Forest, Dartmoor and Exmoor. There are five Scottish maps available, too – at £80 each – but these don’t include the aerial photography of their English counterparts.

Once you’ve installed the Memory-Map Navigator and selected your map, you can start work. The interface is incredibly easy to use, as the map can be dragged around the screen using the mouse and zoomed in and out by hitting buttons on the button bar.

The fun has only just started, as you can display not only an accurate section of the OS Explorer 1:25,000 map provided, but also choose a set of aerial photographs at the same scale. You can synchronise both displays so dragging around on either map moves the other to show comparable details of the features you’re examining.

Moving one step further, and new for this year’s product, you can call up a 3D view of the currently displayed section of map or photograph. This puts the height contours into the display and you can rotate the map to look in any direction and get a feel for the kind of terrain you’ll see there. It literally adds an extra dimension to the information you can view.

The product doesn’t stop there, but really comes into its own when you use it with a Pocket PC and, optionally, a portable GPS receiver. You can take any map supplied with the program or any section of the map displayed on your PC under Memory-Map Navigator, and transfer it to your Pocket PC. Using the Pocket PC version of the software, supplied on the CD, you can then view the map portion on your PDA.

If you have a GPS receiver, you can tie your location into the map display and show your current position in real time. Although PDA, GPS and software may cost you around £600, if it means the difference between being stranded on a Yorkshire moor and being able to navigate your way home, it doesn’t look that expensive.

Company: Memory-Map

Contact: 01870 740 9040


Verdict
At first sight Memory-Map OS Explorer may look expensive, but when you have explored its maps and aerial photography, used its 3D view and tied it in with your PDA and GPS, you realise that it's a valuable software tool for walking and outdoor pursuits.