Sam Booth

Section: Sub-articles

Mapping Software Comparison: Summary

Over the previous five articles I have analysed each mapping software package in detail, and in this article I will summarise what I think are the key points about each system, and then make some recommendations about which system might suit different types of users. In the introduction I told you some details about me, to help you understand whether my views are relevant to you. The same caveat applies here, so if your usage is different to mine, then my opinions and recommendations might not be very useful for you.

Anquet Outdoor Map Navigator

What do I like best? High-definition OS mapping. An active customer support forum and early-preview beta programme. A quality app that feels aligned and fully integrated with the PC application. The cloud sync which automatically makes your library available across all your devices.

What would I change? The line rendering makes your routes appear jagged and gappy. It has no undo feature, although Anquet promise that this is coming soon. The “GPX Manager” and “GPX Editor” are not the most intuitive way of managing your content because they feel like two separate things, and I’d prefer a single library. Harvey maps used to be available but have now been removed (and I miss them!)

I would particularly recommend this to users who jump between multiple devices frequently, and want the same user experience and content to be available on their PC, Mac, Android and iOS devices automatically.

Anquet website* ➔

Mapyx Quo

What do I like best? The best option for control freaks! You can control every attribute of every point on every route, track, waypoint or area you create, and organise these however you like using folders and layers. The formatting options are unbeatable. The powerful printing system (with or without the paid plugin). The unlimited undo feature, which you take for granted until you use another product that doesn’t have it. The best search feature going, as you can filter by area. All the useful tools (eg. copy coordinate to clipboard, text import, sync cursor on aerial view). Its support for “areas”, which aren’t in the GPX standard, but are very useful to me.

What would I change? The “power user” features that I love can make it intimidating to new users, and the help and support material available doesn’t do the product justice. The maps by subscription are slow to load (my internet connection is definitely not the limiting factor). It’s a shame that subscription maps can’t be accessed on the mobile app or printed different scales. I would also like to see high-definition OS maps available, and Harvey maps if possible. Then it would be nearly perfect.

I would particularly recommend this to “power users” who want full control over their content, prefer a conventional file-based approach rather than cloud or database storage, and don’t mind the quirks of the subscription system or are happy to buy map tiles.

Mapyx Quo gets my “best for advanced users” recommendation.

Mapyx website ➔


What do I like best? High-definition OS mapping. A good range of features to cater for most users’ needs, without being over-complicated. A polished user experience that makes it easy to install and use. Good formatting options. Good options for organising your routes, tracks and waypoints into folders. A good 3D view including 3D flythrough. A good undo feature that lets you go back 10 steps. Basically it’s all good.

What would I change? Not much actually, except adding Harvey mapping. Smaller improvements would include better provision of aerial imagery, either by integrating it into the main application, or at least providing a Google Maps link that takes you to a specific pin and not just an area. Also adding a “copy coordinate to clipboard” feature to the right-click menu.

I would particularly recommend this to users who want a comprehensive set of features and a polished user experience, including a fully-featured mobile app.

Memory-Map gets my “best for intermediate users” recommendation.

Memory-Map website ➔

OS Maps

What do I like best? It’s extremely easy to use and comes with features that tick all the main boxes without adding unnecessary complexity. I imagine that features have been specifically chosen to keep it this way, as many users will be new to digital mapping as they only became aware of apps like these after getting a digital access code with their printed map. There are a variety of interesting maps available aside from usual OS leisure maps, including the Greenspace map which is very useful. The user interface of the web application and mobile app are consistent and provide a seamless user experience. The 3D flythrough is the “best in class”.

What would I change? The printing functionality has huge margins which waste paper. There is no way of organising your routes into folders. You can only view one route at once, and there is no support for waypoints. I can’t understand why there is no support for high-definition maps, as OS own the maps, and own this product! Update Feb 2021: A distant contact at the OS has advised that the high-definition maps are in CMYK colour, which is technically “wrong” for displaying on-screen.

I would particularly recommend this to users who want to keep it simple, without unnecessary bells and whistles, and are only interested in Ordnance Survey mapping.

OS Maps gets my “best for beginner users” recommendation.

OS Maps website ➔


What do I like best? The innovative storage mechanism which lets you create “place files” for each project and also keeps a “library” of all the content you’ve ever made. The line formatting which has the direction-of-travel arrows drawn inside the line. Harvey maps are available.

What would I change? The software has not been updated since 2013. There us no usable search unless you pay £19.99 for some road maps from 2012, and no GPX export or printing unless you pay £39.99 for a license upgrade.

RouteBuddy website ➔


What do I like best? The app is excellent, which isn’t surprising as this is an “app-first” product. There is a large range of map series available. Social features are integrated thoroughly into the product. The “snap to path” feature is the best in class. There is an excellent range of international mapping available.

What would I change? The web interface is basic. The print options are extremely basic. There are few formatting options. You can only view one route at once. There is no support for waypoints.

I would particularly recommend this to people who will use the app more than a PC application (although if you are more interested in mobile apps, I’d recommend finding alternative reviews, as they haven’t been the main focus of my analysis).

Please note that ViewRanger has recently been acquired and is undergoing some changes. If you’re considering ViewRanger then it’s worth doing some research on this area.

ViewRanger website ➔


I think it’s great that there is so much variety in this sector, as there are lots of different use cases and in my opinion there is no single best system (at the moment). Most of the publishers I’ve covered here are small businesses, and the best ones are responsive to their customers and keen to improve. Some of them provide support forums or even early-access beta releases for customers willing to help improve their products.

In the future I may write another article about the state of the industry as a whole, as it appears to me that innovation in this sector has slowed down over the past few years. I wonder whether this is because the market was relatively small to begin with, and has hit “saturation point”. It’s possibly due to the actions of the Ordnance Survey, who left a gap in the market for a long time, before improving its own product recently and possibly squeezing out smaller competitors.

If you are reading this and work for one of the software publishers I’ve covered in my article, please do reach out if you’re interested in giving me an insight into this, or if you feel that your product has been misrepresented here. I do plan on keeping the articles up-to-date as new releases occur, but there will inevitably be a delay, and obviously I can’t guarantee that there isn’t something I’ve missed.

As I mentioned in the introduction, this comparison has taken around 100 hours to put together, and cost me several hundred pounds along the way. I paid for all the software myself and I am not affiliated with any of the publishers. If you found this article useful or if you just like what I’ve done, feel free to donate a few £ to help offset the amount I ended up spending! The idea for this article evolved organically and I only realised how much it would cost, once I had already become determined to finish it…

Thanks for reading, and I hope you found this useful.

🠨 Previous: Mobile apps

Start again: Introduction ↻

Mapping Software Comparison: Mobile Apps

As I mentioned in the introduction, I prefer to print routes and put them in a map case to take them on the hill, so apps aren’t my main focus. However, I know that they are very popular, so I plan to revisit this page in a few months and update it with much more detail.

Mobile apps can be used when you’re out and about, they can be used in vehicles (safely of course) or when you’re on the sofa at home. It’s great to be able to check out maps, or an old route, whenever the fancy takes you.

Most providers offer an app, of varying quality, on both Android and iOS. Unfortunately RouteBuddy is only available on iOS, and as I only have Android devices, I’m unable to review it in this article.

App Anquet OMN Mapyx Quo Memory-Map OS Maps RouteBuddy ViewRanger
Available on Android Yes Yes Yes Yes No Yes
Available on iOS Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes

In my comparison of what they offer, I’ve split the features into “companion features” that are designed to work alongside the main PC application, and “standalone features” where the app is more than just a viewer for content created on the PC.

Companion features

Map availability

For many people, the most important feature will be whether maps purchased for the PC application will carry over to the app. This is a definite yes for all providers except Mapyx, as their maps on subscription are not available on the app, although tiles carry across with no problem.

The next most important feature to me is being able to download areas of mapping for offline use. All the providers offer this, and it’s an essential feature as many rural and upland areas have poor mobile coverage, so you can’t rely on having a reliable data signal.

Route transfer

The method used to transfer routes from the PC to the app varies between providers. OS Maps is entirely cloud-based, so everything you do on the app is available straight away on the PC (as long as you have a data signal or WiFi for it to synchronise in the background). ViewRanger is web-based so you would expect it to behave in the same way, but it’s actually a fairly manual process. To download routes from the web to the app, you have to click a “synchronise” button in the app, which I’ve categorised as “manual bulk”. To upload routes from the app to the web, you have to click a different “synchronise” button per route, which I’ve categorised as “manual single”.

Anquet is embracing the cloud approach and has a single “synchronise” button on the PC application and mobile app that synchronises everything, in both directions, automatically.

Mapyx Quo and Memory-Map use a “manual single” approach where specific routes need to be sent from the PC to the app manually. Even though I’ve categorised it as “manual single”, in reality you can select multiple routes at the same time.

Export to Mobile Device on Mapyx Quo

I don’t have a clear view on which method I prefer. On the one hand, it’s useful to have all your routes available all of the time. On the other hand, I can see why it would be useful to have all your routes available on the PC but keep your mobile device free of clutter, by only synchronising routes that you need to use on the app.

Formatting consistency

Once you’ve synchronised your routes, you may be surprised if they look different on the app to how they did on the PC. Anquet, Memory-Map and OS Maps retain the formatting options with no problems. Mapyx supports most (but not all) formatting options on the app, but I would be surprised if it supported everything that the PC application does, as it sets the bar so high. More details on what is and isn’t supported can be found on my detailed Mapyx Quo review. ViewRanger only supports formatting on the app, and not the web interface.

Formatting differences between the Mapyx mobile app and PC application

Finally, here’s a comparison chart for good measure:

App Anquet OMN Mapyx Quo Memory-Map OS Maps RouteBuddy ViewRanger
Maps carry over Yes Partial (not subscriptions) Yes Yes Unable to review Yes
Maps available offline Yes Yes Yes Yes Unable to review Yes
Synchronisation of routes Manual bulk Manual single Manual single Fully automatic Unable to review See note
Formatting carries over Yes Partial Yes Yes Unable to review No (only available on app)

Standalone features

Some apps can be used even without the PC application, for plotting routes, recording tracks and even importing GPX files.

Mapyx Quo has the most basic app of the lot. The functionality in general is very basic, and you can’t plot routes or import GPX files directly into the app. You can record tracks, but the feature is so well-hidden that I never knew until I read the manual to the last page.

Anquet, Memory-Map, OS Maps and ViewRanger are all what I would class as “fully-featured” apps that could all function on their own, even if you didn’t use the main application. However, one of the small drawbacks of OS Maps is that you can’t import GPX files directly into the app.

And finally here’s a comparison chart showing feature availability:

App Anquet OMN Mapyx Quo Memory-Map OS Maps RouteBuddy ViewRanger
Plot a route Yes Yes Yes Yes Unable to review Yes
Import route from GPX Yes No Yes No Unable to review Yes
Record a track Yes Yes Yes Yes Unable to review Yes


ViewRanger stands out here as it’s definitely “app first” and “web second”. If that’s what you need, then OS Maps is a definite contender as well. Having said that, Anquet and Memory-Map have obviously both invested a lot into their app, and they are feature rich and pleasant to use.

Mapyx has the most basic app, which ticks the essential boxes but not much more.

Do you agree with my ranking? What features are most important to you? Leave your thoughts in a comment below.

🠨 Previous: Printing

Next: Summary 🠪

Mapping Software Comparison: Printing

Printing is a really important feature for me, as I like to print my maps to take on the hill. Some people use the app, but I think it’s much easier to check a printed map than an app, when you’re out and about.

All the providers include printing options as standard, except RouteBuddy which won’t let you print without paying £39.99 for a license upgrade. The manual recommends taking a screenshot of the map and pasting it into a word-processor to print it, if you don’t want to pay for the license, but I’m not counting that as a proper option.

Mapyx Quo includes basic print functionality for free, but an advanced printing plugin can be purchased for £10 which gives you some additional options.

I’ll cover ViewRanger first because it’s so limited compared to the other providers. It only lets you print a single route, and it squashes it down onto a single page, regardless of the length of the route. You can’t choose the area to print and it won’t print to scale. The rest of my comments on this article do not apply to ViewRanger.

To me, it’s essential to be able to specify the boundaries of the area you want to print, and most mapping software accomplishes this by drawing a rectangular overlay on the map, which you can drag around to cover the area you want to print. Anquet and RouteBuddy are the only providers without a print preview feature, but “print to PDF” software can be used to accomplish the same thing, so this doesn’t matter much to me.

OS Maps showing area to be printed

When you want to print a long route over multiple sheets, OS Maps makes you pan the map manually and print one sheet at a time, but all the other providers have some kind of auto-pagination feature. Furthermore, Anquet, Mapyx Quo and RouteBuddy allow you to set an automatic page overlap, but Memory-Map lets you click and drag the pages around before printing to do this manually, which isn’t too laborious unless you print lots of routes.

The best providers keep the page margins small, or allow you to print to the edge of the paper. Unfortunately I have to call out OS Maps for having ridiculously large page margins with no way to adjust them. This is a huge waste of paper as you really only get an A5 sized print on an A4 sheet.

So much wasted space with this massive border on OS Maps

All the providers allow you to print to A4 size. All except ViewRanger support A3 as well, although Mapyx is limited to A4 unless you buy the advanced print plugin.

Printing Anquet OMN Mapyx Quo Memory-Map OS Maps RouteBuddy ViewRanger
Show print area on map Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes (paid) No
Print preview No Yes Yes Yes No Yes
Auto pagination Yes* Yes Yes No Yes (paid) No
Auto page overlap Yes Yes (paid) No No Yes (paid) No
Print on A4 Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes (paid) Yes
Print on A3 Yes Yes (paid) Yes Yes Yes (paid) No

Extra features

Basic printing functionality is fairly standard across the different providers, but some go even further to offer different printing options.

Memory-Map and OS Maps allow you to print a route card, and even better is that they both have options to only show named waypoints on the route card, rather than every single waypoint on the route. RouteBuddy says that it supports printing route cards, but really it just exports every waypoint to a CSV format so you can design your own route card as a spreadsheet. By this logic, Mapyx supports printing route cards as well, but I’ve shown both as a “No” on the comparison table below.

Note that Mapyx used to offer a route card plugin, but that appears to have been removed from their online shop.

All providers except ViewRanger support printing the map at different scales. For example, printing a Landranger map (usually 1:50K scale) at 1:25K scale. You might want to do this as different map series show features differently. The contour lines on a Landranger map are vivid pink and really stand out, whereas on Explorer maps they are orange and can be quite difficult to see, especially on Access Land or woodland which have shaded backgrounds. Mapyx supports printing at different scales, but with slightly less flexiblity as covered in more detail on my Mapyx Quo review. You can’t select exactly which series map is printed, but scales below 1:40,000 seem to print using the OS Explorer maps, and scales at 1:40,000 and above seem to print using OS Landranger.

Printing Anquet OMN Mapyx Quo Memory-Map OS Maps RouteBuddy ViewRanger
Print route card No No Yes Yes No No
Print at alternative scales Yes Limited Yes Yes Yes (paid) No


Anquet, Mapyx and Memory-Map are all broadly equivalent and offer excellent printing options. However, prints on Anquet suffer from the “jagged lines” problem covered in my detailed review, and Mapyx has some small extra features I’ve not covered here.

Areas for improvement


Do you agree with my ranking? What features are most important to you? Leave your thoughts in a comment below.

🠨 Previous: Editing and saving routes

Next: Mobile apps 🠪

Mapping Software Comparison: Editing and Saving Routes

So far we have covered viewing maps, searching the map and viewing other people’s routes. But the chances are that you also want to create your own routes, and work with your own tracks, waypoints and areas.

Basic features

All of the software supports routes, but not every system supports tracks, waypoints and areas. If you’re not familiar with these concepts, here’s how I think of them:

Editing Anquet OMN Mapyx Quo Memory-Map OS Maps RouteBuddy ViewRanger
Waypoints Edit Edit Edit No Edit No
Routes Edit Edit Edit Edit Edit Edit
Tracks Yes (read below) Edit Read-only Imported as route Read-only Imported as route
Areas No Yes Yes No No No

All the software covered supports editing routes, including adding, removing and moving points.

Anquet, OS Maps and ViewRanger let you can import GPX files with tracks in them, but they are imported as routes and the track-specific data including date, time and speed information is not visible.

Memory-Map and RouteBuddy do distinguish between routes and tracks. They let yet you view date/time and speed information for tracks, but don’t let you edit them. This is not a problem to me, as editing a track means that the date/time information becomes inaccurate and meaningless, so I’m quite happy with being forced to copy a track to a new route before being allowed to edit it.

Only the web-based providers, OS Maps and ViewRanger lack support for waypoints, probably because they only display 1 layer at a time, and waypoints aren’t very useful by themselves, and are generally used to show “supporting information” for planning a route (eg. aircraft crash sites, camping spots, etc.) Note that OS Maps allows you to name points along your route, and it calls these “waypoints”, but that’s a slightly different concept.

Mapyx Quo is the only provider with full support for waypoints, routes, tracks and areas. The detailed “Point Grid” lets you edit any attribute of any point. It seems superfluous until you need to use it, then you take it for granted, until you switch to another product that doesn’t give you this level of control. That being said, it can be intimidating for new users if you don’t know what you’re looking at.


Undo is a big enough deal to get its own section. Not because you can’t work around it, but because you shouldn’t have to work around it in 2021.

Providers that don’t support a fully-fledged Undo feature usually tell you to duplicate your route, or save a backup of your overlay file, before making any major changes.

Anquet is the only provider without any kind of undo feature. To be fair, the creators acknowledge it as a gap, and a post on their customer forum shows that they have plans to implement it soon.

OS Maps will undo changes to the location of points on your route, won’t undo other types of changes, so if you accidentally mislabel one of your points as “lunch stop” and then click “undo”, your incorrect label will remain but the last point you moved will be moved back.

Undo in OS Maps only affects point locations

Mapyx and Memory-Map have the best undo features that are able to undo any type of change. Memory-Map only lets you go back 10 steps, but on Mapyx you can undo right back to the last time you opened the software, regardless of how much you’ve done since then. If there’s a limit, I’ve not encountered it.

In Mapyx, all your mistakes can be erased
Undo Anquet OMN Mapyx Quo Memory-Map OS Maps RouteBuddy ViewRanger
Undo route change (line of route) No Yes (20+) Yes (10) Yes (20+) Yes (until end route) Yes (20)
Undo route detail change (point name, description, etc.) No Yes Yes No No Yes
Undo route add/delete No Yes Yes No No No

Advanced features

I couldn’t come up with a better name for this section, but “advanced features” covers things like reversing, splitting and joining routes, as well as snapping routes to the path.

Reversing, splitting and joining routes are useful when you need them, but there’s not much to say about these features other than to show a comparison table of which system supports each operation.

Advanced Anquet OMN Mapyx Quo Memory-Map OS Maps RouteBuddy ViewRanger
Reverse routes No Yes Yes No Yes Yes
Split routes No Yes Yes No Yes No
Join routes No Yes Yes No Yes No
Route snap to path No No Yes (10 points max) Yes (National Parks only) No Yes

Route snapping to a path is much more interesting to me. I don’t use it for route-finding, because it’s rare for me to want to follow the most direct route between two points, as it’s often along a road which doesn’t make for a pleasant walk. Instead, I place regular waypoints to force the route to go “my way”, and I use the snap-to-path feature to draw a neat line that directly follows the path. It’s purely for the tidy appearance, and it doesn’t make any difference to my navigation.

Memory-Map isn’t really compatible with my approach, as it only supports “auto-routing” between up to 10 points. You have to wait until you’ve finished plotting your route before running the “snapping” process.

OS Maps takes a much better approach and will snap your route to the path as you draw it, but the snapping feature only works within National Park boundaries, and only when you’re using the Explorer (1:25K) maps.

ViewRanger has the best path-snapping feature of all the systems. It works in all areas, and snaps as you draw the route, with no limit on the number of points you can place.

Storage and organisation

There are a variety of different approaches to storing your routes and other content, and although this is a fairly dry area to explore, it’s probably the factor that will have the biggest impact on the way you use the software. I have tried to put each system into a defined category but there is substantial crossover which the comparison table hides. It’s more of a spectrum, which start with conventional file-based systems, then moves through the systems with an internal database, and finishes with the purely cloud-based systems.

Storing Anquet OMN Mapyx Quo Memory-Map OS Maps RouteBuddy ViewRanger
Primary storage method (file, internal, cloud) Internal / Cloud File Internal / Cloud Cloud Internal Cloud
Organise content into folders Yes Yes (and layers) Yes No Yes No
Search for saved routes No Yes (find next) No Yes (filter) Yes (filter) No
View saved routes on map Yes Yes Yes Yes (start point only) Yes No

Mapyx Quo is purely file-based. When you open the application you will start with an empty “project”. You can add routes, tracks, etc. to this project, grouped into folders and layers if you want to, then you save your project using File > Save. The project is saved as a file on your computer, that you could store on your Desktop, My Documents folder, USB drive, Google Drive, and so on. When you want to load the project, you use File > Open to find your project file, which loads all your routes, tracks etc. back into the software.

Mapyx Quo Explorer window

Memory-Map is slightly different. When you open the application, it automatically loads the last “overlay” you used. “Overlays” are a collection of routes, tracks and waypoints, which can be organised into folders if you want to. You can export the overlay to a conventional file, including GPX, so you can send it to others, but I imagine that many users will just rely on their routes being there when they open the application, in the same place that they left them from last time.

Memory-Map Overlay Panel

RouteBuddy is similar to Memory-Map but “overlays” are called “place files”. Place files can be organised into folders, but you can’t create folders within a place file. You also can’t export your place file to a conventional file, for example GPX, unless you buy the upgraded version of the software for £39.99.

On RouteBuddy, when you add a route, track or waypoint, as well as being added to the current place file, it is also added to the “library”. This is a database of everything you’ve ever created, and your content will exist here even if you delete it from a place file. One use case for this would be to create a “place file” for each trip, and reuse routes, tracks and waypoints from your general library. Yes, you could do this using GPX files and a folder on your computer if you really wanted to, but having it built into the software is a better user experience, although I can imagine it becoming quite overwhelming if the user doesn’t prune through their library now and then.

RouteBuddy uses Place Files for organisation

Anquet has an internal library that allows you to store your GPX files inside the application. These are synchronised to Anquet’s cloud, meaning that if you use Anquet on different devices, your content will be automatically synchronised. Please note that some of the other systems also support this just for their mobile apps, and this is covered later in this article, but Anquet supports this for the desktop version as well. Items in your library can be hidden easily, so you can show and hide your routes to avoid cluttering the view. When you open the application, it will automatically show you what you were working on last time. You can create folders to organise your GPX files, and they can contain routes, tracks and waypoints as standard.

Anquet has created two concepts for the library. The first is the GPX Manager, that shows all the content stored on your account. The second is the GPX Editor, which only shows content that you have opened. The GPX Manager allows you to organise your GPX files into folders, and the GPX Editor lets you organise the content of your GPX files in terms of routes, tracks and waypoints. To be honest, I prefer Mapyx’s single folder tree that lets you do both jobs at once, and I find the separation a bit confusing.

Anquet has a GPX Manager and GPX Editor

OS Maps and ViewRanger are both fully cloud-based, and your routes are displayed as a flat list, with no support for folders to organise your content. This is a shame, as it won’t be uncommon for people to have lots of routes, and it doesn’t take long before a flat list starts to become cluttered. This has led to me having to name my routes in specific, coded ways, so I can find them easily. It would be much better if folders were supported.

ViewRanger library with no folders or map view

Filtering content

Once you’ve accumulated lots of routes, tracks and waypoints, it’s useful to have a way of filtering or searching through your content, especially if there’s no way of grouping your content into folders.

Anquet, Memory-Map and ViewRanger have no search feature, although Anquet and Memory-Map both support folders. ViewRanger is web-based so you could use your web browser’s CTRL+F keyboard shortcut to search for a route on the listing page if you needed to.

Mapyx, OS Maps and RouteBuddy all provide a way to search through or filter your content.

Search your project in Mapyx Quo

Also worth mentioning is that although OS Maps and ViewRanger will only let you view a single route at a time, at least OS Maps will show a marker for the start points of all your routes. This is helpful when you’re trying to choose between several routes that you’ve planned in a specific area.

OS Maps route filtering


All the providers offer GPX export as standard, with the exception of RouteBuddy which charges £39.99 for an upgrade that allows you to do this.

Mapyx, Memory-Map and RouteBuddy also support exporting other formats as well, but GPX is now so universal that I rarely have any need to export any other format.

Export Anquet OMN Mapyx Quo Memory-Map OS Maps RouteBuddy ViewRanger
GPX Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes (paid) Yes
Other file formats No Yes (lots) Yes No Yes (paid) No


By having the most comprehensive editing features, and the most powerful tool for organising content into projects, layers and folders, Mapyx is the overall winner for me. The only feature that’s missing is the “snap to path” and that’s not really a big deal for me. Having said that, the variety of options offered in Mapyx can be intimidating for new users, and the support materials could be improved to help with this.

Notable mentions

Areas for improvement

Do you agree with my ranking? What features are most important to you? Leave your thoughts in a comment below.

🠨 Previous: Viewing routes

Next: Printing 🠪

Mapping Software Comparison: Viewing Routes

The last section of this article covered viewing maps, and this section covers viewing routes on those maps.

Before getting into the detail, it’s worth covering one fundamental difference first. Anquet, Mapyx Quo, Memory-Map and RouteBuddy all allow you to view multiple routes, tracks and waypoints at the same time, whereas the web-based OS Maps and ViewRanger only allow you to view a single route at once.

To me, being able to view multiple routes at the same time is essential, as I’m often overseeing several activities and need to be able to see where multiple groups will be walking. I also like to leave my own historic routes visible on my personal map overlay, so I can see where I’ve been.

Importing routes

GPX is the standard format for importing and exporting geographical information, and thankfully all the software covered in this article will import GPX with no problems. Mapyx Quo, Memory-Map and RouteBuddy support other formats as well, but GPX has become so universal that most users will never need to import anything else, so I won’t cover the other formats here.

A nice feature that geeks like me will appreciate is the text import feature in Mapyx Quo. This powerful tool lets you import any text-based list of coordinates as a route, track or feature, and you can specify which fields in the document map to different fields in the software. This type of “power user” feature is probably irrelevant for most users, but I’ve used it on several occasions to import lists of waypoints, or import boundaries for a training area, that were originally given to me in text form on a document.

Mapyx’s powerful text import feature

It’s also worth mentioning that OS Maps and ViewRanger have “social” features that let you browse through routes and share routes with others. All the routes on OS Maps are free but some of the routes on ViewRanger cost “credits” which you have to pay for. I cover the OS Maps social features in my detailed OS Maps review.

Route formatting

Typical formatting options include line colour, width and opacity (transparency), but some systems take this much further. Personally I prefer a wide, transparent line so I can see the detail underneath the line, but other people struggle to see this, and prefer a bold line that is offset from their intended route so it doesn’t obscure the detail.

For these screenshots I’ve aimed to show a the route/track using a thick, dashed, transparent, magenta line, with a direction-of-travel arrow if possible. Sorry if that’s not to your taste, but it does allow me to compare what’s available in each system! I’ve shown the options available for line formatting, and waypoint formatting, in the screenshots.

Starting with the most basic, ViewRanger offers no options except to change the colour of the route, and it only affects the app and not the web view. Actually, when I took the screenshot for this article, I couldn’t even get it to work in the app, as you can see below…

Slightly better is RouteBuddy which lets you change the colour, width and dashes of the line, but the setting affects every route at the same time, so it’s not possible to colour-code routes so you can tell them apart. RouteBuddy does have a nice way of showing the direction of travel, with small arrows, and the line is always slightly transparent. You can give waypoints custom icons, and waypoint labels are always visible.

Higher up the list is OS Maps which lets you select a colour, width and transparency from a predefined list. I like the styles available as they seem to have been carefully chosen, so although they are relatively limited, they cover all the options that most users would need. No support for waypoints although you can name points along your route if required.

Anquet has a more advanced offering based around the Line, Waypoint and Icon Style Managers. These let you define your own list of preset styles and apply them to routes and waypoints. You can set any line colour you like (RGB) and enter line width in pixels and set the opacity from 0-100%. You can also choose to show the direction of travel. Waypoints have a similar level of control and you can give them custom icons, and control whether labels are visible and what font and size they should be.

Unfortunately, the way that Anquet draws lines on the screen appears to be different to the other software, and they often look jagged and messy. Here’s a zoomed in example to show you what I mean:

Memory-Map has a good range of formatting, letting you select any colour you like (RGB), as well as the width, opacity and dashes from predefined lists. You can show direction of travel, and change the colour or add custom icons to waypoints along the route. I like how, with single-colour icons, you can pick your own colour. So, for example, you could use the same tent icon for all your campsites, but colour-code them red, amber and green for how much you like them.

Finally, the king of formatting has to be Mapyx Quo, with a staggering array of options for customising not only your routes and tracks, but also the waypoints, labels for these waypoints, and fill options areas. There’s not much that you can’t do, and if you’re interested in the full details, read my detailed Mapyx review for more.

In Mapyx, when it comes to formatting, just because you can, it doesn’t mean you should

Here’s a comparison table to fill in any gaps in my coverage:

Viewing Routes Anquet OMN Mapyx Quo Memory-Map OS Maps RouteBuddy ViewRanger
Line formatting
Colour Yes (RGB) Yes (RGB) Yes (RGB) Yes (from 6) Yes (RGB, global) Yes (app only)
Width Yes (px) Yes (px) Yes (from 4) Yes (from 4) Yes (from 5) No
Opacity (transparency) Yes (0-100) Yes (0-255) Yes (from 5) Yes (from 6) No No
Dashes No Yes (from 4) Yes (from 5) No Yes (from 5) No
Show direction of travel Yes Yes Yes No Yes No
Waypoint formatting
Show/hide No Yes Yes No No No
Colour No Yes Yes No No No
Width No Yes No No No No
Opacity (transparency) No Yes No No No No
Custom icons No Yes Yes No Yes Yes
Label formatting
Show/hide Yes Yes Yes No No No
Font Yes Yes Yes No No No
Font colour Yes Yes Yes No No No
Background colour Yes Yes Yes No No No
Background opacity (transparency) Yes Yes Yes (on/off) No No No
Border colour No Yes No No No No
Position X and Y relative to point No Yes No No No No

Route statistics

All the mapping software covered will show you a variety of route statistics, usually including flat distance, distance including elevation, ascent and descent. They will also all provide an elevation profile where you can hover over the elevation profile to pinpoint the relevant section of the route.

3D view

I really like 3D view as it helps to bring contour lines to life, especially for students who aren’t yet confident with interpreting contour lines accurately.

Anquet and RouteBuddy do not offer 3D view. Mapyx Quo offers a 3D view where you can pan, rotate and zoom the map manually. Memory-Map and OS Maps both offer animated fly-throughs of routes.

The look and feel of each system is very different, as Memory-Map will only allow you to use your map tiles (eg. OS Explorer or Landranger) for this, and OS Maps will only allow you to use aerial/satellite imagery. The 3D view in Memory-Map has contour lines as these are included on the base map. OS Maps 3D view has an option to enable or disable contour lines on top of the aerial/satellite imagery.

Mapyx Quo 3D View


The winner here for me is Mapyx for the powerful text import feature and unbeatable formatting options, although it definitely loses some marks for its 3D view, which is not as polished as its competitors.

Notable mentions

Areas for improvement

Do you agree with my ranking? What features are most important to you? Leave your thoughts in a comment below.

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