Why Use VeloMap maps for cycling?

  • High Contrast layout optimized for small size screen of Garmin GPS (1.8-4"). Clear differentiation between all street types. Separate low contrast Layout for tour planning on your PC/desktop.
  • Paved or Unpaved? Easy to spot road type. Bridges and tunnels shown. Cycle tracks and cycle lanes shown. Arrows for one way streets...... See the map legend for more.
  • Cycle relevant information like drinking water, city bike stations or bicycle shops searchable and shown prominently.
  • Cycle routes shown prominently BESIDES the streets differentiated by colour and size based on importance (other maps show cycle routes instead of streets so that you don't know what kind of street the route is on, bad for planning).
  • Navigation - Highly sophisticated Autorouting specialised for cycling. Don't cycle on big streets anymore because you got lost. The VeloMap focuses very strictly on road cycling, commuting and touring/trekking. Maps trying to focus for many purposes can never be as good.
  • Easy installation to Garmin Mapsource, Garmin Basecamp or Qlandkarte GT for on PC planning.
  • Good Documentation because everything you want and need to know for using the maps is found on VeloMap.org
  • Contourlines based on the best free (as in beer) data - viewfinderpanoramas.org - as separate download for most countries. Much higher quality in mountainous regions than the mostly used void filled SRTM3".
  • Map Incomplete? You can participate and Add missing to Openstreetmap. Every Week the maps become better and more complete! If you think anything "bicycle relevant" features are missing (but recorded and documented in OSM), drop a comment and I will try to add it.


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Navigation - Find the shortest nice route -- or find the most cyclefriendly route.

Garmin offerst two seperate Autorouting modes supported by all GPS and Software. Shorter Distance will actually be shorter than on any other Garmin map I have tried (even though high traffic streets are avoided). Faster time finds nicer routes with even less traffic and makes some detours if needed. Autorouting using  Mapsource 6.16 or Basecamp v3 up to 200km trip distance without via-points. Around 100-150km with Oregon/Dakota/2010_Generation_etrex/GPSmaps. If you route over longer distances, cities are avoided except for cycleroutes crossing cities.  

Map Layout

Clean map layout 100% optimized for readability on GPS. Be assured that on the GPS maps therefore are very well readable. As for desktop use the layout has too much contrast, there is a second layout optimized for planning with Mapsource/Basecamp/Qlandkarte GT.


You can Improve the Maps!!

These maps are based on the freely available wikipedia like Openstreetmap Map Database. You should consider uploading your GPS tracks to openstreetmap and/or help out if you find errors or missing data.  There is a short introduction here listing the most relevant links to get you startet: Participate  

Who can make use of the maps?

The maps offered here are of course, currently primarily used by Garmin GPS users, but you don't need to have a Garmin GPS to use them. Qlandkarte GT an opensource and freely available Map Viewer can display them in all their pride, and also if not owning a Garmin GPS or buying maps from Garmin you can install the free Garmin Basecamp or Mapsource software and enjoy autorouting like you have not enjoyed before.  

Need a map for Mountainbiking or Hiking?

Head over to https://openmtbmap.org and get it. Whereas the Velomap showss non paved tracks and trails in very subtle colors, on the openmtbmap you can see difficulty gradings both for Up- and Downhill. Also mtb and hikingroutes are prominently shown.  

New Contourlines for Europe – and other recent news

The next map updates - coming over this weekend will include new contourlines. Actually I updated the contourlines already over the last few months for quite a few countries - but this was only for countries with integrated contourlines. So the next map update of countries like Spain, Norway, Turkey, Europe continent will require an update of the contourlines as well. Note that it can be temporarily for a few hours (up to 16 hours in case of Europe continent map, max 13-14 hours for other maps) that only the new contourlines are online, but the map that belongs to it is not updated yet. 


The next Picture shows the coverage of LIDAR DEM sources in my maps after the update (picture by the creator of the DEM files https://sonny.4lima.de/ ). It's the first time for quite a few eastern European countries to have LIDAR DEM data and first update for many parts in Italy as well as other countries. LIDAR DEM sources usually mean that the error in altitude is less than 2-3m even in forest (showing the altitude on the ground, while satellite sourced DEM sources usually have rather the altitude a bit below tree crowns).

Areas covered by high quality LIDAR DEM (by sonny)

Also I changed the 20m equidistance contourlines to show 10m interval up to 50m over sea level. Due to various bugs in the tools used to compile the contourlines - this update took many weeks of work by me as virtually every tool in the toolchain had some bugs that needed to be sorted first.


The other big update was that during the last month I redesigned the layout of the homepage - making it more coherent, exchanging many wordpress plugins that had aged/developped bugs with newer PHP versions - and made a more coherent website layout. I left the overall colour scheme of the website but harmonized many elements, removed many CSS bugs in the theme and some plugins - as well as correct some problems for mobile users. Also finally changed the SSL certificate to Let's Encrypt (I had bought just another 3 year multi domain certificate 3 years ago - as Let's encrypt has no multi domain certificates - and some very old browsers like Internet Explorer on Windows XP were not compatible with SNI - meaning running multiple SSL secured domains from the same IP address using different certificates for each website. However by now there is really no one using those browsers anymore - 3 years ago it was already less than 1% of my visitors and Windws XP is really dead).


Other Updates over the last months were plenty, e.g. updates to OSM usage of valley, railway=halt, adding information=trailblazed and reworked the naming scheme of ways to show a bit more keys/tags concerning road condition (e.g. trail_visibility - shortened as tvVALUE), fixed some access tags, rework of gates, entrances and barriers, improvements to restrooms/toilets, benches, picnik places, remove survey_point (too much clutter) and already last year in October a complete rework of POI visibility on modern Garmin GPS devices according to zoom levels.


Below the Langkofel, Dolomiti in Italy - really close to reality even though it's so steep.

Langkofel OpenMTBMap 3D


And here a typical comparison between LIDAR data and old quite good quality data - on first look it doesn't appear very different - but the crevease of the river is much more exact with the new data:


vs old contourlines

Czech Old contours


Autumn Map Updates – 12. September 2022

Hi Everyone, wishing you a good final to your outdoor season in Europe this year. To make it even better I have done extensive back to back testing with several Garmin GPS devices on my handlebar - trying to improve visibility even more - especially as on the newest Garmin Edge 1040 and Explore 2 the screens did change a bit in their characteristics.

So here is a list of the main changes:

  1. All windows downlaods are again code signed. Seemingly Sectigo is simply just another company low on staff - but one month after having supplied all the data to them - they finally finished the authorization - so the warning on the downloads should no slowly dispappear as the new code signing certificate gets recognized by Microsoft (this will take several thousands of installs).
  2. Residential streets - used to be white in some layouts - and grey in others. On the new edge devices depending on sun position the white roads were a bit hard to identify. So now I made them grey for all layouts.
  3. The Garmin edge 1040 / explore 2 sadly reduced the search functionality a lot. Many categories are missing (before the last firmware update the search did not work at all with non garmin maps/older garmin maps - at least they fixed that) and introduced some new categories. I have not found out how to make bicycle shop searchable, but was able to add: Water Stops, Compressed Air, Bicycle Rental (transportation),eBike Charging (transportation),Repair Stations (here you find now bicycle shops and bicycle repair shops) and bicycle parking (transportation). These are new categories only searchable on the new edge devices. Not in Basecamp or older models (however those points all show up in different categories on older units as detailled here: https://openmtbmap.org/about-2/enpois-search-structure-depois-suchstruktur-espois-search-structure-espois-search-structure/ ). This took a lot of trial and error to find out how to make them searchable on new edge models.
  4. I removed again the sometimes lenghty names of mtb/hiking/bicycle relations (routes) from the routing instructions. Instead now if you follow a route - it will give you the Abbreviation (eg. EV6) only and C.R for Cyle route, M.R. for mountainbike route, H.R for Hiking route. Or for example M.H.R for a way that is both part of a MTB and a hiking route. When you hover over the way you still get the full route relation names (e.g. Donauradweg EV6,...)
  5. Slightly changed the green colour used for mtb trails. It's really hard to find a well visible colour if not using blue (to not confuse it with water features) or pink (as pink and violet blue are used for tracks/routes per default on Garmin devices). The new green works a bit better.
  6. Increased the width of contourlines for the wide layouts.
  7. If you tick the avoid unpaved ways - I now added an exception for many roads that if they are shorter than 30-200m they will not be avoided (both OpenMTBMap and VeloMap). So this is to help make short unpaved sections routable that aren't too difficult (no climbing or whatever - that will be excluded no matter how long).
  8. In general made buildings a bit lighter grey in all layouts - they are still well enough visible on all the Garmin devices that I tried out the map (etrex 30, etrex 25 touch, Oregon 600, Edge 1040, Garmin Fenix 6x, Garmin Vista HCx) and some more subtle colour modifications


To comre over the next few weeks - I am working on improving the POI display symbols as well as zoom levels. I put in already over 40 hours of work in testing there - but need another 40-60 hours to finish it. 


Some Screenshots showing the difference  - in Lausanne:

The new wide legacy layout on OpenMTBMap

vs the old wide legacy layout:

The old wide legacy layout on OpenMTBMap


Testing layouts on Edge 1040/Edge Explore 2 - and some general info about the new Edge Generation with using the OpenMTBMaps or VeloMaps

Calculating a Route on the Edge devices same time


Oh yeah - what about the new Edge devices? Well the Edge Explore 2 and the edge 1040 have the identical processor/chipset. If you calculate a route - it will be in identical speed and the route will be identical too. As the display on the edge explore 2 is smaller - pannign the map around is actually a tiny bit faster. While the edge 1040 costs around 500€ right now - the Edge Explore costs around 230€ - less than half price. Feature wise it's mainly some training features missing. I still sent back the explore 2 because of the following reasons:

The battery life on the explore 2 is good - but not great. You get around 12-20 hours of use from it (depending on backlight intensity). The battery simply is way smaller than on the edge 1040. The Explore 2 misses a ambient light sensor - so you basically have to put the backlight to 80% permanently. Actually at 100% it is a tiny bit lighter compared to the edge 1040 - but the difference is hard to notice. I gues the technology is identical. The 1040 of course has .5 inches bigger display. It has twice the amount of memory 32GB vs 16GB. I think 16GB is enough for anyone except if you also use it to stream music to your headphones via Bluetooth.

The edge 1040 has an electromagentic compass - while the Edge 2 is missing a compass, which only matters if you're not moving and turning around. The GPS reception on the edge 1040 is better - if you use multiband GPS. However that consumes more battery (but then the edge 1040 has crazy long battery life - you get several days of riding easily - maybe a week.).

The original Garmin Edge was really crippled, the edge 2 is not. The differences to the 1040 really are tiny. Do not get the Solar Edge 1040 because the screen is a bit harder to read - and battery life is plenty anyhow on the normal 1040. I returned the Edge Explore 2 before I got the firmware update - I'm not sure if it has the POI search fixed already or not (I am sure it has on the beta firmware 6.x). As the software is (besides the missing features) identical to the 1040, it will surely be introduced too soon or already has been.

There are some other missing features (like Stamina, unlimited profiles instead of 3, Di2/Ant+ gear shifting,Strava live segments, structured workouts, battery connectors on the mount) all don't matter if you don't use them.


The choice of Oregon 600/700 vs the new edge devices is still hard. For hiking I got really annoyed that the edge devices have no quick button to lock the screen. Long pressing a button then locking the screen is quite tedious. During strong rain the Oregon is much easier to use.  Autorouting is different but about same quality and speed and maximum distance. Of course the Oregon is missing all the training functionality. POI search is better on Oregon. Following a track is much better on edge - following a route a bit better because it now also shows arrows - so if you plan a route that forms say an 8, it is now much easier to see which way to follow (previously needed to look on the street name). Visibility of display is different - on the Oregon you need the backlight much less - but then battery life on Edge is good enough to just keep it on all the time. 

A bit problematic is that Oregon is increasing in price since many years and has not seen any substrantial updates. And it's much bigger, you need Mini-USB cable and carry a battery charger while traveling.


As for other Garmin devices - stay away from etrex series - the etrex touch series is real junk IMHO - it was a huge downgrade vs the etrex 30 (slower, hard to use, missing features, buggy) while having way worse battery life than older etrex devices - even worse than Oregon 600 albeit much smaller screen. I never saw a reason for the bulky GPSMaps 60,62,64,66 series. For hiking I therefore still like my Oregon 600, on a mountainbike/road bike I rather use the new Edge 1040. And yeah finally USB-C on the new edge devices is really good.



List of other changes to the maps:

  • The morocco english language maps had some bugs. Corrected it. This was as I overlooked that Morocco uses three scipts (latin, Berber and Arabic) which had caused a mess.
  • highway=disused:path/footway/track with mtb:scale/mtb:scale:uphill would still show the mtb:scale ratings without the way. 
  • For highway=residential/service bridges were shown before the actual highway when zooming in.
  • For highway=primary, secondary, tertiary now street labels are shown at resolution 23 too. This required adding some new line types to the .typ-files. Also in that process found out that for the VeloMap on some devices very difficult trails were not shown at all. Corrected this too.
  • Sometimes (industrial) railways shown a bit too early when zooming in.