General tips e-WalksStart well prepard

See to it that the battery of your smartphone / tablet is fully charged.
And preferably, also take a powerbank, a spare battery and/or a charger with you. One never knows ...

Smartphones and tablets are technological devices and they're not infallible. At any time, something can go wrong: battery empty, smartphone fallen and damaged, tablet lost or stolen, etc...
Therefore, we strongly advice you to always put a sufficiently detailed paper map of the region you're visiting, in your pocket or backpack.

Recent smartphone and tablet models are increasingly better protected against shocks, dust and humidity. Some models even meet protection standards that rival or even exceed those that are normally met in outdoor gps devices. But not everyone already owns those recent smartphone / tablet models...

Protect your smartphone.
There exist lots of covers, cases and sleeves to make your device resistant to shocks and/or humidity. They're available in all kinds of forms and prices. Ask advice where you bought your smartphone, or surf the internet to the many webshops that are specialized in these products.
A simple, cheap and very efficient tool against rain and humidity, is available in almost every supermarket: transparent plastic zip bags.

Protect yourselves.
Always wear clothes and shoes, adapted to the weather conditions and the terrain.
And take enough food and drinks to last the day.

Limit your battery consumption

The battery capacity of recent smartphone / tablet models is rapidly expanding. Models that under normal usage conditions last 24 hours and longer, without needing to be recharged, are not exceptions anymore. But again: not everybody already has that kind of smartphone. 

Therefore, apply the following tips, and your device will certainly make it through the duration of your hike.

- Use a hiking and navigation app that functions offline, such as Osmand, ViewRanger, Locus Map or GPX Viewer. Apps that need wifi and/or 3G/4G connections to function, use lots of energy. That's why they're not suitable for your hikes. Chances are that your battery won't last during hours of intensive use.

- See to it that the maps you need are loaded and updated in advance into your hiking app. Also make sure that the e-Walk file you need, is available in the downloads map of your smartphone. That way there's no need at all to be online as soon as you start your hike.

- You probably won't go hiking to be permanently reachable by phone, e-mail and internet. The only connection you really need during the hike is the gps of your smartphone. The gps functions independantly from all the other connections, and can be switched on and off separately. That's why it's perfectly possible to switch off your wifi and 3G/4G connections as soon as you start your hike. You do that with the Settings app of your smartphone. You can also switch off your telephone in the same way (although that function uses far less energy than the other online connections).

- With Airplane Mode (which has no influence on the gps), you switch off wifi, mobile data (3G/4G) and telephone in one move. When you take a rest during the walk, you can simply switch on the Airplane Mode, just to check how 'indispensable' you were. The result will be that your battery will be far less used, and that it will last a lot longer without needing a recharge. Airplane Mode is also switched on and off with the Settings app of your smartphone.

- While walking, there's no need to constantly watch the screen of your device. When you know which way to go, you can simply turn the screen off while your hiking app stays open. Only turn on your screen when in doubt about the way to go, and to read the information of the POI's (Points of Interest). Don't worry, the gps still follows your position, even when the screen is off. You can even close the walking app (OsmAnd), and relaunch it when needed. Even then you will immediately see your position again on the map on your screen.

Explore your e-Walk online

The whole purpose of an e-Walk is that you can follow it completely offline, only using the gps-function of your smartphone / tablet.
However, when reading the documentation that comes with the POI's (Points of Interest) in your e-Walk, you'll sometimes notice links to photos and/or websites. You can only open those links when you're online, i.e. when your wifi or mobile 3G/4G are switched on. Normally, while you're doing an e-Walk, that won't be necessary since all the information about your itinerary and points of interest, is available offline in text form, in combination with the possiblilities of your walking app. And that picture will be a thousand times more beautiful when you see it in real.

Nevertheless, the photos and website links can help you to prepare your hike, sitting comfortably in your easy chair at home, using your wifi connection. Going through the e-Walk will give you a good idea of what there is to see and to know along the way. It can help you plan where to have a rest or a picknick, to gather more information about bus stops and public transportation schedules, about pitstops, etc... or you'll simply dream that you're already enjoying the hike

Difficulty

On the maps per province and on each e-Walks introduction page, we show you a figure that represents the degree of difficulty of an e-Walk. It varies from 1 (easy) to 4 (difficult).
That figure is just an indication, and it's certainly relative. What is easy for one person, may seem quite difficult for someone else. Our figure is based on people with a normal physical condition and health (no athletes, but no people who never leave their couch neither).
In the e-Walk introduction page we provide some more information about our difficulty figure. We show an altitude profile of the hike and give an idea of the kinds of paths you'll walk on.

Along the way

Combined with the possibilities of your hiking / navigation app, an e-Walk will provide you with all useful information about your hike: how much longer is it, an altitude profile, public transportation stops and lines, information about points of interest, pitstops, your position, and lots more.
On the internet you'll find quite some hiking and navigation apps, and our e-Walks can be used by the best of them. Personally, we prefer the OsmAnd app, but an e-Walk will also work with the ViewRangerLocus Map or GPX Viewer apps.

Also read the page Osmand tips for a successful e-Walk

It's not so much staying alive, it's staying human that's important. What counts is that we don't betray each other
George Orwell in 1984

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