Mapping the Western Himalayas

During the 2020 lockdown myself and a few volunteers mapped the Indian Western Himalayas in detail. We mapped 2000+ passes, 400+ hiking routes (approx. 5000km), 1000+ peaks, 2000 glacial lakes and 30+ thousand remote human settlements across the Western Himalayas creating a true treasure trove for the independent, alpine style hiker.

We also digitized 2 lakhs+ kms (!!!) of potential hiking trails from various legacy maps which are yet to be explored, accurately GPS recorded (if still existing) and mapped into OSM. This is an ongoing project – currently around 5% has been mapped.

Above data is accurately geo-referenced and captured in Open Street Maps. The information can viewed through various OSM map viewers and mobile navigation apps.

Mapping the Himalayas

Below article written for The Himalayan Journal of the The Himalayan Club is an excellent read presenting an overview of the mapping efforts done for the Western Himalayas.

State Maps

High-resolution maps of Himachal, Uttarakhand, Ladakh and Jammu & Kashmir showing major rivers (valleys) and 2000+ mountain passes are available over here.

District Maps

High resolution maps of 47 Himalayan districts showing mountain passes, peaks and alpine lakes are available over here.

Hiking Routes

The Waymarked Hiking Trails web site gives an excellent overview of all hiking routes defined in OSM. It shows intercontinental, national, regional and local routes as you zoom in and out of the map. As of now 400 GPS (5000 km) GPS recorded routes have been uploaded for the Western Himalayas. You can click on each route to see an elevation profile and download a GPX file for navigation.

To be explored…

Digitized map trails from legacy maps still to be explored are uploaded in OSM ( as public GPS traces. Enable “Public GPS Traces” in the Layers icon to view these trails. A lifetime is insufficient to explore these 2+ lakhs kilometers of potential hiking trails across Uttarakhand, Himachal, Ladakh, Jammu and Kashmir. Note that these manually cartographed maps are not very accurate and some trails might no longer be in use / existing.

6 thoughts on “Mapping the Western Himalayas”

  1. I appreciate your work to my limits of appreciation. Indeed a deserve a salute. But to make the use of these maps while in the outdoors , I would want to print it. Would you tell me how to print this topography maps in large scale ?

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