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Is that OK to use Google maps for Camino Frances?

Time of past OR future Camino
Going for Camino walk this Nov.
Hello, I have downloaded few camino apps and bought paid one too. But I just don't know how to use them. Is that OK to use Google maps? I noticed that the route suggested by Google maps is different from the Camino Frances maps that I downloaded to Google maps. But I don't know how to navigate camino frances way with Google maps. I am starting to walk the last 100km of Camino Frances today fr Sarria.
 
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dick bird

Moderator
Staff member
Time of past OR future Camino
Plata, Ingles, Madrid, Norte, Primitivo, Invierno, Aragones, Olvidado, Chemin D'Arles
For the last 100 km it should be possible to follow the yellow arrow waymarks quite easily. Alternatively, follow the many other pilgrims following the same path. If you enter your start point and destination into Google maps, it will show you the quickest route on foot but this may not be the same as the camino, so if you can't find the waymarks or other pilgrims to follow, take the Camino Francés route you downloaded. If you look lost, local people will point you in the right direction. Good luck and buen camino.
 

trecile

Moderator
Staff member
Time of past OR future Camino
PAST - Francés, Norte, Salvador, Portuguese
Not really. It will lead you off the Camino onto roads.
I like the free Buen Camino app. It shows the Camino route with your position on it. Or if you wander off you can clearly see how to get back on. It also shows you the distance to the next town in a banner across the top.

A map app that does have the Camimo routes built in is mapy.cz

 

LavanyaLea

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Frances (May/June 2022)
As Dick has said, google maps will give you the fastest route which is often on the highway/main roads. Whereas the Camino will mostly try to keep walking pilgrims off the highway. From Sarria a lot of the time you’ll be walking parallel to a national road, but on a dirt trail next to it, and not on the actual road.

Here are some screenshots from Buen Camino app, cos I use it a lot too and it’s free, I hope this helps.

2D295500-E555-445A-80EE-67B96C387872.jpeg

Once you have downloaded the route you can click the current town you’re in.
C7320B1F-A1F0-485D-82AC-73C6081291A8.jpeg
Click on the map/chart icon to take you to the live GPS position. Your current location will be a blue dot. Then you can see if you’re on the route or off route. You will also see route alternatives etc.
B435D235-8239-4997-96AA-2256C60E4637.jpeg
It’s a good idea to read/plan tomorrow’s walk the night before, so you have some ideas of the distance you’ll do, any alternative/worthwhile detours… etc.

For example, if you finish today in Portomarin, tomorrow you’ll likely do Portomarin-Palas de Rei, after about 2h walk you’ll see a detour to Castromaior, I’d suggest you take it if you can.
 

wayfarer

Veteran Member
Time of past OR future Camino
2012, 2013, 2014.
Hello, I have downloaded few camino apps and bought paid one too. But I just don't know how to use them. Is that OK to use Google maps? I noticed that the route suggested by Google maps is different from the Camino Frances maps that I downloaded to Google maps. But I don't know how to navigate camino frances way with Google maps. I am starting to walk the last 100km of Camino Frances today fr Sarria.
It's not a wilderness trail, just follow the yellow arrows and keep an eye on the pilgrims in front. It's normal to be nervous about it all but it's easy when you start walking.
Enjoy and Buen Camino.
 
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dougfitz

Veteran Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Spain: Mar 2010, Apr 2014, May/Jun 2016. Norway/Sweden: 2012, 2018. Other: 2011, 2019. CP (tbc)
Are you able to find someone who is prepared to let you walk with them, even if only for a couple of hours? If you can, I would give up trying to use an app for the moment, and learn how to follow the waymarks with a 'guide' who is prepared to help you do that. You might also be able to find someone who is prepared to give you a little assistance with the apps that you have loaded once you have stopped for the day if you are staying in albergues. If they are not too busy, a hospitalero might have time to help you get started for the next day, or an app if they are familiar with it, but they might have other things to do and not be able to spend much time with you on this.

NB. I had this happen to me walking to Muxia and Fisterra a few years ago. I was quite happy to have someone walk with me for the first hour or so of the day. Four days later, we were still walking together into Fisterra.
 

cardifflad52

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Sept 2015 Inglis Way , March 2022 Camino Frances
Hello, I have downloaded few camino apps and bought paid one too. But I just don't know how to use them. Is that OK to use Google maps? I noticed that the route suggested by Google maps is different from the Camino Frances maps that I downloaded to Google maps. But I don't know how to navigate camino frances way with Google maps. I am starting to walk the last 100km of Camino Frances today fr Sarria.
I used Google maps to direct me to my accommodation and that worked perfectly fine , but I never used a map for the Frances as I found it very well signposted but did look at the camino Ninja from time to time to see how far I was away from the next calling point and what shops if any did they have .
 

wynrich

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
CF 13, CF 14, CP 16, VF 17, CN 18, CN+RC 19, CF 22
I've always wondered why Google doesn't see the hundreds of thousands of people walking across Spain to Santiago and suggest the actual camino as a walking path. (It's gotta be in their data.) But, no, it seems they only suggest roads for walking, and often busy roads. I just asked Google how to walk from St. Jean to Santiago. Here's what it suggested: https://goo.gl/maps/WW5dtfQD6gRDoUAS8 If you used Google suggestions you'd miss many of the great places on the camino such as Leon and Burgos, including all the wonderful towns between Pamplona and Burgos. (Although I'm sure you didn't intend to do it that way. :)
 

jeanineonthecamino

Veteran Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Camino Frances 2021, 2022
You CAN... but it is better to use a Camino specific map app. Most of the Camino apps have a map in them. I also use "far out" for the Camino. The "far out" app is free, but you do have to pay for the map you need. They have the Frances, and it was quite accurate and was great for seeing the primary and alternate routes, elevation gains/losses, water sources, etc. "Far out" is created for backpackers though - so it has all of the "HIKING" information you need - but a Camino specific app will give you more information like which albergues are in each town.

Google maps gives great map directions - but not necessarily always following a walking path. Still - I use it in the cities to find my way around cities.
 

Roland49

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
CF2019, CP2022?
Hello, I have downloaded few camino apps and bought paid one too. But I just don't know how to use them. Is that OK to use Google maps? I noticed that the route suggested by Google maps is different from the Camino Frances maps that I downloaded to Google maps. But I don't know how to navigate camino frances way with Google maps. I am starting to walk the last 100km of Camino Frances today fr Sarria.
I used google Maps only as reassurance, don't using a book. The way is well marked, especially from Sarria to SdC.

If you do the CdS from Sarria, just follow the other pilgrims and you will arrive in SdC after 4-6 days happily.
 
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Anamiri

Veteran Member
Time of past OR future Camino
2016, 2017, 2019 Camino Frances
Hello, I have downloaded few camino apps and bought paid one too. But I just don't know how to use them. Is that OK to use Google maps? I noticed that the route suggested by Google maps is different from the Camino Frances maps that I downloaded to Google maps. But I don't know how to navigate camino frances way with Google maps. I am starting to walk the last 100km of Camino Frances today fr Sarria.
All you need to do is follow the arrows and shell signs. I walked my first Camino without a guide book, and have never used an app - just look out for arrows, it really is that simple.
 

MichaelC

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
May 2023: Via Francigena, Lucca to Rome
I needed google a couple times to help me find my way out of town. I think Ponferrada was the worst (though I might be confusing it with another city). I simply could not find the shells, and I slowly accumulated other lost pilgrims. We knew generally which direction we were supposed to be heading, but that was it. Google can also help finding an albergue if it's one of the smaller ones. But other than that, I agree with all the others - it won't help you once you're on the trail.
 

dougfitz

Veteran Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Spain: Mar 2010, Apr 2014, May/Jun 2016. Norway/Sweden: 2012, 2018. Other: 2011, 2019. CP (tbc)
Now that the immediacy of the original request has passed, and we might expect that the OP is now well on the way to SDC, I will put a plug in for my preferred mapping tool, OSMAnd from the Open Street Maps organisation. They also have an Apple version. Both use the extensive mapping collected over the years as a public domain data set. On the Android version, that includes the many walking and cycling trails in Spain and Portugal, and I presume elsewhere in Europe. It also has route planning tools that I find work well for walking, cycling and most other major transport modes. I used it extensively earlier this year when I was narrow boating in Cambridge and Norfolk, and then on the Camino do Tejo to Fatima, and the Camino Portuguese route from Tomar to SDC.

The advantage of a general mapping tool to me is that it more readily adapts to the circumstance where specialist apps like Wise Pilgrim haven't reached. I think Wise Pilgrim, etc are more likely to give better results on the well established routes, where the aggregation of mapping, accommodation and other useful information in one place can be a clear advantage.
 
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Anthony18

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
2019
Hello, I have downloaded few camino apps and bought paid one too. But I just don't know how to use them. Is that OK to use Google maps? I noticed that the route suggested by Google maps is different from the Camino Frances maps that I downloaded to Google maps. But I don't know how to navigate camino frances way with Google maps. I am starting to walk the last 100km of Camino Frances today fr Sarria.
camino places app.jpeg
I'm a huge fan of Google Maps, but in 2019 it just didn't work for hiking scenerios, so I used "Camino Places" It worked flawlessly and there's really nothing to do other than select the route you want. In my case, it was the Camino Frances. It automatically showed me on the map as a blue dot. If I ever needed to see where my exact location was, I just clicked on the little black arrowhead on the bottom right of the app screen and the map would shift/move to show my location-(blue dot) at the center of the map. You'll see that I have booking.com, uber and Airbnb app icons right next to Camino Places. I used all of those apps for my camino. Airbnb was used only to pre-book my stay in SJPP and Uber to get from the train station to my hotel in Madrid before I left home. Booking.com was excellent for booking private rooms on the camino.
 
Time of past OR future Camino
Us:Camino Frances, 2015 Me:Catalan/Aragonese, 2019
Now that the immediacy of the original request has passed, and we might expect that the OP is now well on the way to SDC, I will put a plug in for my preferred mapping tool, OSMAnd from the Open Street Maps organisation.
For me the biggest advantage of the Open Street Maps data base is that it shows trails that don't appear in Google Maps. Also the data is free for apps to use so, in addition to their OSMAnd app, base maps for Wikiloc, Organic Maps and Maps.me have access to the same information. Other apps likely do also.

I don't push these apps as much as I should. If you learn to use these instead of (or in addition to) the camino specific apps you can find interesting places to walk near your home.

I use OSMAnd mostly but I have other apps as well. I have recommended Maps.me here in the past because it doesn't have as many features as OSMAnd and so it is easier to use. Try Organic Maps now though. It is built from the same code as Maps.me by the same people but doesn't have the same privacy invasion.
 

AidaYYC

Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Future Camino Frances
Hello, I have downloaded few camino apps and bought paid one too. But I just don't know how to use them. Is that OK to use Google maps? I noticed that the route suggested by Google maps is different from the Camino Frances maps that I downloaded to Google maps. But I don't know how to navigate camino frances way with Google maps. I am starting to walk the last 100km of Camino Frances today fr Sarria.
For walking the Camino, you do not need Google Maps ... at least not for Camino Frances because it is well marked every step of the way; however staring in Astorga I began using Google Maps to locate my albergue and it's worth familiarizing yourself with it as some albergues, hostels, pensions may be located on nearby streets from the Camino and could be difficult to locate.
 
Time of past OR future Camino
Us:Camino Frances, 2015 Me:Catalan/Aragonese, 2019
On my Camino Catalan I used Wikiloc to ensure that I stayed on track, occasionally used OSMAnd to get a broader picture of distance and Google Maps when approaching a town to see if there was something of interest that might be hiding a short distance from the camino.
 
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Threshold

New Member
Time of past OR future Camino
2019, Frances 1 Week, 2022 Frances
We just walked the Frances. We used Wise Pilgrim. Gronze, Mapy, and Apple Maps. Each had it’s forte. Mapy is scary accurate. So accurate it shows fonts and picnic tables ahead. Gronze shows distance between towns and mileage and lodging in each town. Wise Pilgrim shows Camino and lodgings. Apple shows businesses.
 

trecile

Moderator
Staff member
Time of past OR future Camino
PAST - Francés, Norte, Salvador, Portuguese
One feature that I really like on the Buen Camino app is that it shows how far you are to the next town based on your GPS location at the top of the screen.

Screenshot_20221126-154719.png
 

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