Fuegurola to Sagres by bike, planning

As promised i am going to do a write up of a trip i did with a friend in September 2015.  This post is mostly about maps, as it turns out, so here is a picture of my bike to make up for it.


Where to go

We had a two weeks off work to got on a motorbike adventure. Early plans were grander, involving a trip through Western Sahara and Mauritainia to P16. These proved to ultimately be unfeasible in a couple of weeks and probably need more like 4 – 6 from the UK.

We settled on following a round supplied by a friend of a friend that went from Sagres in the tip of Portugal to Fuegurola in Southern Spain.  Was it any good? was it accurate? We were prepared to take a chance with some maps as backup.

The route!  WholeRoute

The rest of this post goes into detail on maps, so you can stop here if that’s not your thing.


I like to have raster maps for planning and some vector maps on my GPS for turn by turn.

Its good to have more than one map of the same place, as an example here are a few screen shots of the a small section of the route we took using different maps.

Google EarthGoogleEarth

Google MapsGoogleMaps

Open Street Map (viewed in Garmin Basecamp)OSM_Spain_Basecamp

And finally,   CNIG 1:50



I use a Garmin GPS 62, which has proved rugged and easy to read in bright sunlight and at night.   I load Open Street Map data on this for the regions i am visiting.  This has consistently proved to be detailed and accurate.  Its free, so why not.  I get mine from this site:  http://garmin.openstreetmap.nl/
If you want to know more you can read about it all here

It is also possible to load raster maps onto the Garmin, but it has lots of limitations and i find them hard to read, so i don’t.

Raster / Memory Map.

If you are planning a trip to Spain all of their 1:50 and 1:25 mapping are free to download!  These come in small tiles which I downloaded in the GeoTiff format then imported in MemoryMap and stitched together to make contiguous maps.

If you want to have a go yourself you will need to register here:

Then you can download the maps to your PC. If you are on Windows, the way the client/ Java works they will be saved to your C: drive irrespective of the location you choose (which caught me out).  I downloaded about 37GB of GeoTiffs in the end.

There are lots of programs that can do this, but I have been using MemoryMap for map years and it works nicely on the phone. You will need the import 3rd party maps license. Put the GeoTifs in your  maps folder

Then when you open one you will see MemoryMap creates an .qct version for its own use. You can take this an use it or open all the tiles and merge them together.


In this step you take the individual tiles and make one map. Open a tile, then open an adjacent tile right click and choose merge. Now choose another tile and merge this one with the first two.

All the while the .qct file is growing in size. When you have finished copy this file to another folder. You can now rename this and copy it to your phone / tablet etc.

There are undoubtedly better and more efficient ways of doing this with proper GIS software and understanding.

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