If you bring a smartphone on your Camino, you can download several apps that will help you to find your way while walking. On this website of the Dutch Confraternity of Saint James (NGSJ) you will also find files with tracks of Caminos that can be opened with a number of apps, allowing you to, if you want, walk or bike the Camino without a paperguide with you. There are also files with information regarding accommodations on some Spanish routes, Belgium, France and the Netherlands.
First of all, you need to install an appropriate app which can open these files. There are several: Organic Maps, Maps.me, Google maps, Mapy.cz, OSMand, Oruxmap, Viewranger and Komoot. All of these apps have their own pros and cons.
For the sake of clarity, we will focus on one particular app which we think is very useful: Organic Maps. This app is free, easy to use, requires relatively little memory and – once downloaded – can be used completely offline. Once installed, you can download (Open Street) maps from all over the world for free. In addition, this app works without advertising and without trackers. This app is available for Android and for iOS (IPhone).
Before we used to recommend Maps.me in this manual. Due to a change in this app, some files cannot be read well in this app any more. Organic Maps is a spin-off from Maps.me, Because of that it looks a lot like Maps.me, to change to Organic maps will not be difficult. Besides, Organic Maps is open sourece, with no advertising and no trackers.
How to install the app? Step by step:
You will see a global map. You can now download the detailed maps of regions or countries you want. That can be done in two ways:
The app is ready for use!
Now you can use the map, but you will also want to get the Camino trackfiles and maybe also your Caminos’ accommodations!
At this website santiago.nl you will find KMZ and GPX files that show all the pilgrim routes in different countries. There are also files that show you where you can sleep in the Netherlands, Belgium, France, Portugal and some of the Spanish Caminos. Organic Maps, Maps.me and Google Earth use KMZ and KML files, most other apps and devices use GPX files.
But before downloading, you can also check these tracks and accommodations on this webpage: www.santiago.nl/looproutes-in-europa You can move, zoom and enlarge the map you see there. If you click exactly on any route, you will see the name, start- and ending place and distance of that camino. For the accommodations you can click on one of the the ‘eyeicoons’ inside the map.
For downloading and installing tracks from the website of the Dutch Confraternity of Saint James (NGSJ), follow these steps:
For the routes
Now go to the app Organic Maps and to the country of your downloaded route, then you’ll see all the Caminos in that country. If you zoom, you’ll see every route up to street level.
So far there is a file for the Netherlands, Belgium, France, Portugal and the Spanish Camino Frances, Primitivo and Invierno which contains accommodations. Check the version date of these files regularly. Regular updates will appear. These files are also in GPX and in KML format. Before downloading, you can also check these tracks and accommodations on this webpage: www.santiago.nl/looproutes-in-europa
So: (I repeat part of the steps from above)
We hope these files are of any help to you. We are always happy to receive your experience with them. But we also need to improve and update them! Please send see your feedback, additions and improvements through the ‘feedback’ button which you will see at any accomodation in the app. You can also email us at firstname.lastname@example.org (can be in English, German and Dutch).
Buen Camino y buenas noches!