Himalayan Geography & GIS

Register here to participate in the online training sessions


In this online training series we combine the power of GIS (Geographic Information System) with OSM (Open Street Maps), one of the most complete repositories of the Indian Himalayas. GIS+OSM is a powerful combo to study and analyze the geography of the Himalayas and plan your traverses across multiple passes in detail on your laptop before you head out in the mountains. We also cover DEM (Digital Elevation Model) to study the topography and plan seasonal traverses.


  • Laptop or desktop (download & install QGIS from here)


Chapter 1 – Introduction to GIS & Base Maps

  • Download and install QGIS
  • Introduction to GIS
  • Set up important base map layers
  • Open Street Maps, Open Topo, Satellite, Waymarked Hiking, Thunder Forest, Survey of India maps

Chapter 2 – OSM & Geography

  • Introduction to Open Street Maps
  • Downloading geographical data from OSM
  • Visualizing Himalayan valleys, mountain passes and peaks

Chapter 3 – Planning a Simple Traverse

  • Planning a continuous traverse across multiple passes
  • Villages, hamlets and dwellings (food supply)
  • Campsites & natural shelters (night halt)
  • Identifying POIs along your traverse
  • Export a route for offline navigation

Chapter 4 – Elevation Data & Topography

  • Downloading elevation data (DEM)
  • Extracting elevation of Himalayan features
  • Planning a seasonal Himalayan traverse
  • Generating Contours
  • Generating Hillshades
  • Elevation Profile of a traverse

Chapter 5 – Geo-referencing topo maps

  • Survey of India Maps
  • Downloading topo sheets
  • Coordinate Reference System
  • Geo-referencing topo sheets
  • Digitizing map features
  • Exporting features for offline navigation

Chapter 6 – Importing Geographic Data

Chapter 7 – Himalayan Explorers & Traverses

  • Let’s take a closer look at some solo explorers from around the world and their month-long trans Himalayan journeys:
  • Pete Jost (Australia) – Ladakh & Zanskar
  • Laurent Berthod (Canada) – Leh to EBC
  • Jeremy Bige (France) – Kashmir to Anna Poorna