Track your hikes with free high-resolution maps

You can now take detailed topographical maps into the backcountry on your phone, without the need for internet access.

Hikers, mountain bike riders and hunters can now take detailed topographical maps into the backcountry on their phones, without the need for internet access.

GeoBC has released more than 7,000 free maps that can be downloaded as PDFs and transferred to a mobile device, eliminating the need to carry fold-out maps.

GeoBC has created high-resolution versions of its Terrain Resource Information Management base map series, which can be used with the GPS georeferencing functionality on many cell phones. This means that if your cell phone has GPS, the maps will show your current location when you open the PDF. The map will show your starting position and you can track your movements as you explore.

There’s also the option to manually zoom into small areas on the maps and continue to see detail.

The maps are at a scale of 1:20,000 and show features such as elevation contours, roads, railways, airports, transmission lines, community boundaries, lakes, rivers, trails, campgrounds, parks and local landmarks.

It’s useful for recreational users and people who work in the backcountry, such as miners, foresters, community planners and search and rescue crews. You can also plot points of interest on the downloaded PDF and add notes to personalize the map.

The maps are not run through an app. Instead, you will need to download the map you want on a computer and transfer it to your smart phone.

To try out the maps, visit www.geobc.gov.bc.ca/Topographic_Maps_KML_Viewer.html.