Gaia GPS Map Sources

GaiaGPS is an iOS and Android GPS Navigation app that is currently enjoying wide use by many in the outdoor industry. Essentially, this App coupled with your smartphone can quickly replace the basic functions of a dedicated GPS. And yes, despite what is often erroneously thought, you do not need cell service. Just access to the sky.

One of the main benefits of GaiaGPS is it’s ease of use which is enhanced by access to some useful map sources for many regions.

However, some regions do not have specialist map sources, especially detailed topographic maps, and the included generalist options do not have sufficient resolution to give you the best results.

Comparison of the map sources that are available inbuilt into GaiaGPS (top row) and the ones you can add from an external source (bottom row)

Backcountry skiing in Japan often has sparse information available online, especially in English. Easy access to high quality topographical maps can increase your ability to plan and manage your tours and expectations.

Thankfully, it’s an easy problem to fix by adding both the specialised Japanese government produced topo map source and ESRI World Topo maps to Gaia.

Adding Japan GSI Topo Map to GaiaGPS

Step 1:  Login to your account on GaiaGPS.com

Step 2: Click on your account name on the top right of the screen and select Map Sources

Step 3: Click on Import an External Map Source

Step 4: In the Name the Map section – enter whatever name you want to name this map source (ie. Japan GSI );

Step 5: In the Copy and Edit Link to Map Tile section – copy and paste the following url:

http://maps.gsi.go.jp/xyz/std/{z}/{x}/{y}.png

Step 6: In the Set Min and Max Zoom Level section – enter the minimum value as 4 and the maximum value as 18

Step 7: Click Add this Map Source button

Step 8: Go back to the main Map section on GaiaGPS and the new map source will appear in your Layers dropdown and also on your map sources on your iOS or Android device, once it has synced with your account.

Select the map you have just added from the Layers Menu
Once the newly added map is selected, you’ll be able to use it on GaiaGPS.com and on all your devices (iOS & Android)

Footnote: For your reference – The Japanese Government’s web-based map browser for this map source is located here

Adding ESRI World Topo to GaiaGPS

ESRI World Topo on GaiaGPS – Provides pretty detailed Topo data worldwide.

ESRI World Topo used to be a default map source for Gaia but has since been removed. It is extremely useful as it provides good details (such as small creek lines etc) that are evened out on some of the other lower resolution topo maps. Best yet, it covers almost the entire globe.

If you don’t have access to it already, you can add it easily by following the steps listed above altering as per below:

Step 5: In the Copy and Edit Link to Map Tile section – copy and paste the following url:

http://server.arcgisonline.com/ArcGIS/rest/services/World_Topo_Map/MapServer/tile/{z}/{y}/{x}

 Step 6: In the Set Min and Max Zoom Level section – enter the minimum value as 4 and the maximum value as 22

Footnote: For your reference – The ESRI web-based map browser for this map source is located here

Adding the NSW Government (SIX) Topographic Map

The NSW Government’s free map data is accessible easily with the below details entered into Gaia. The map itself can be useful, but generally, the topo data isn’t as detailed as what you may be able to get from Gaia’s inbuilt map sources.

Step 5: In the Copy and Edit Link to Map Tile section – copy and paste the following url:

http://maps.six.nsw.gov.au/arcgis/rest/services/public/NSW_Base_Map/MapServer/tile/{z}/{y}/{x}

 Step 6: In the Set Min and Max Zoom Level section – enter the minimum value as 4 and the maximum value as 21

Footnote: For your reference – The NSW Government’s web-based map browser for this map source is located here

One thought on “Gaia GPS Map Sources

  1. Nice post! Can I also add a recommendation for Backcountry Navigator for Android which includes many of these map sources by default, and also has the option to add custom map sources in a similar manner.

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