Last weekend I was an assessor on a Lowland Expedition Leader course, and I’m questioning whether I could have used my time with the candidates more effectively. The main assessment technique I use is setting “blind legs”, where I ask one candidate to navigate to a point, and when they get there, I’ll ask the other candidates to identify where we are on the map. On these legs I will often set candidates scenarios for the leader to deal with (eg. one of the group members is refusing to go any further) and I’ll ask verbal questions as we go (eg. what does that signpost tell you?) The problem is that these legs take a significant amount of time, and without careful management, it’s easy to find yourself in the mid afternoon with each candidate having led only one leg.
I love maps, and because I’m a bit of a geek, I love mapping software too. It’s super convenient and it unlocks so many possibilities for using and exploring maps in new and interesting ways.
There’s a good variety of mapping software out there, but most people pick one and stick with it due to the relatively high cost of switching. There’s the financial cost of having to purchase map tiles or subscription packages, the mental cost of having to learn a new system, and the cost of the time it takes to transfer your library of routes from the old system to the new.
Despite that, I meet lots of people who would benefit from switching. The best options include crisp high-definition maps, an intuitive user interface and whizzy features like 3D flythrough and more. The worst software is slow and unresponsive, clunky to use, and some systems even lack an undo button.
This long-form comparison covers six pages, each exploring a different aspect of the software. I cover the different options available, and give my opinion on what works well and what doesn’t.
Quo is the name of the digital mapping software produced by Mapyx. I’ve been using Quo for around ten years, and as part of my mapping software comparison article I decided it was time to review it fully. I really enjoyed writing this review, as I learned much more about the software by exploring it in detail. I cover what works well, and what doesn’t, and who I would recommend this software to.