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King Kong and the ant: some news for GPS users

After the French stages last year, and the Swiss and Liechtenstein ones this winter, detailed GPS tracks have been uploaded to our website for the Austrian stages of the Purple Trail.

The tracks are displayed on the stage maps and downloadable on the same pages or, for a series of consecutive stages, in the “Create your own guidebook” section. The totality of the Austrian, German and Slovenian stages will follow in the course of the summer (already online on for Austria and Germany), then those in Piemont (approx. one third of the Italian routes).

Do note that the calculation of elevation differences in the corresponding stages has been automatically updated. Due to the highest precision, the use of GPS data in fact often leads to slightly higher values than those obtained by simply adding the elevation differences between the main marking points: this is the same issue as in measuring a coastline or, as described by our national coordinator for Switzerland Thomas Gloor, for King Kong and the ant: the latter walks a much longer way in the end, since she must climb up and down each single pebble, which King Kong simply strides over! It is up to each one then to interpret the data according to one’s own rhythm.

Warning: for the remaining stages where the displayed track is of rough quality, it is not sufficient for the orientation in the field and reading a good map is essential. Similarly, the calculation of elevation differences, based in these cases on a digital terrain model, can be largely overestimated due to local inaccuracy in both track and model (to be compared to the elevation differences between the passing points, which provide an underestimated value).