Do I really need 1.25 mapping?
Been using viewranger on smartphones for the last 3 years. Bought the national parks maps at 1:50 and can confirm that these have been good enough, and as you mention, if you have the paper map at 1:25 you should really have no need to go to higher detail maps.
The 1:50 is ample for checking your position and indeed the higher detail on the 1:25 can sometimes be confusing with an overload of detail !
That said I did buy some extra credits and for a couple of places I have downloaded the 1:25, mainly when we're out looking for plane wrecks and other small targets. But 99% of the time the 1:50 is plenty good enough.
I've also been using Viewranger for a couple of years but opted for 1:25 as i'm just used to using that scale. I also only buy selected areas and not the NP packs as some of the places i walk aren't covered by those packs.
Another factor is that the paper map rarely comes outta the sack these days as i use the gps as my primary nav tool, it's just easier.
Include a little history in your walks. Pecsaetan - Ancient Derbyshire, Staffordshire and South Yorkshire - http://pecsaetan.weebly.com/
The right scale to navigate with depends on the job. I have various paper map scales to hand from 1:10K through 1:25K, 1:40K to 1:50K, and I can find places where any one of those is the Right Tool For The Job, and other places where any one of those is bordering on useless.
So, what's your job?
If you are using the gps to just find out where you are why do you need a a mapping gps?
A very good question. If the answer starts with "errrr" then consider something simpler and considerably cheaper!
That's fair enough, and I suspect a good mapping GPS may help quite a bit, but why faff about with a a paper map when you have one on the screen anyway? I was picking up from but if you have a 1.25 paper map, then do you really need it on the gps too?
if you have a 1:25K paper map because it's the right tool for the job it'll probably be the right tool on the GPS screen too. if you're going to embrace mapping GPS then you might as well do it properly rather than have it as a sort of intermediary.
The sense of direction thing, though... Mine is laughable TBH, but that's not an issue because I can read a map properly and as long as I have the appropriate map I don't need a sense of direction because the map tells me which way to go. So I wonder if your problem is actually map-reading? If it is then having something you can't read very well on a screen isn't much better than having it on a sheet of paper. It's obviously a bonus that you've got an X-marks-the-spot of where you are but navigation is also about where you're going, and which way to get there, and a GPS doesn't do the thinking bits of that for you. My stock suggestion for getting more out of maps is orienteering though there are courses etc. you could do as alternatives. If you can get the most out of a map then whether it's on a sheet, in your head or on a screen it'll all work better than just throwing technology at your existing problems, and if you get a mapping GPS you'll be able to get far more out of it.
for extra expense the satmap region premium are excellent value - albeit at a rather steeper price point. the south east (50k, 25k and 10k streetmap) at £380 is SO much cheaper than buying bits and pieces and is cheaper than my much smaller area "bits" at 25k i have. you can toggle between the different scales.
satmap national parks also come in combined 25k and 50k packages at good prices - again, toggle between scales.
you can navigate with a gps but a gps won't teach you how to navigate.
you will also need to learn and understand what a gps is telling you - is that dot on the map really where you are?
if you want to improve your navigation first - and i would suggest that this may be the best option to start with - then get a cheap gps that will tell you where you are and use this as a "where am i" backup to your map reading. having a gps should bolster your confidence in making decisions (always have the gps switched on and learn how to use trackback as a minimum) and it won't be long until you find you're not looking at the gps to confirm your position.
doing it this way will help you decide upon what kind of gps you want and what features you would find useful.
further gps type things like routes, tracks, waypoints, GoTo and "i know it's in one of these soddin menus" you can pick up along the way as these features are common to all gps units.
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