Chamonix Maps, GPS and Navigation Tools
The trails in and outside Chamonix are generally well marked and for our website we tend to make sure to recommend trails that are on the beaten track and never too far away from civilization. It still goes without saying that it is important that you have a good map and good navigation tools when you are exploring the mountains in and around Chamonix. Here are our recommendations for physical maps, mobile map applications and GPS tools.
Before the advent of mobile phones and map/gps applications, people relied purely on physical maps to make their way around Chamonix. The best maps are those printed by the French government organization IGN (Institut national de l'information géographique et forestière). These are the maps that cover most of the area in and around Chamonix. Click on them to see them featured on the IGN website including the areas covered by each map. Unfortunately the Chamonix Valley is not covered one map and you will need at least two for decent coverage.
Mobile phones have changed our life and they have also changed the way we navigate through the Chamonix mountains. These are the apps we currently use and recommend:
Mobile Phone Map & GPS Tools
We have tried quite a number of mobile map applications including the free ones and the ones that come as part of sports tracking applications such as Strava. We still find the IGN maps the most reliable source and the best way to match your map to the route markers that you will encounter along the way. There are two apps that enable you to get the IGN France map on your mobile phone:
Gaia GPS is a general mapping and navigation application that enables you to add the IGN and many other maps to the application. You can then use a layer transparency slider to show multiple maps laid over each other. There is also a compass and a recording feature and features for creating a track, adding waypoints and downloading maps offline. If you are looking for an app that is not restricted to France alone then I think this is the better option.
This is the official mobile app from IGN that comes with the IGN maps integrated into it. It is a fairly basic application showing your current location, a compass and enabling you to search locations and routes. There is also a location sharing feature. The app is in French so this might be a bit tricky.
You can use this tool to find a location on the map using coordinates