For its 1:50,000 series Fugawi had split Great Britain into four distinct areas, with this disc starting to the north of Manchester and ending frustratingly south of Glen Coe, Fort William and the Cairngorms. They also offer chunks of the UK in 1:25,000 Explorer-style mapping as well. There’s an enormous amount of OS data crammed onto the CD, but the 1:50,000 mapping is what you’ll really be interested in. It’s easy to install and load the maps directly onto your hard drive, and there are multiple ways to navigate around the map, or zoom in and out, plus there are neat buttons to toggle between different map scales, or leap to the adjacent map sheets. Creating a route is very intuitive: simply select Route Mode and drop your markers around the path you intend to take. These can be easily saved and exported to a GPS or PDA with a Windows operating system. Alternatively, back at the PC you can click on the 3D viewing option and then enjoy an aerial flythrough or simply get a clearer idea of the topography. But we found problems operating this system on two different PCs. The route creation is fine but distance and altitude data is less easy to access. There appears to be a button to display gradient profiles but when loaded we found pressing this caused the whole program to crash. The mapping was slow to refresh, and the 3D viewing mode was weak. It also doesn’t allow you to add small areas through downloads, but you can download a 10-day sample of the software online.
Platform PC, pocket PC and smartphone
Fugawi’s N. England and C. Scotland software offers lots of OS mapping and it’s perfectly good for planning your walk, but it doesn’t match the flexibility or functionality of other digital systems.
Review by Jeremy Ashcroft
First published in Trail magazine March 2010