What do the red and blue solid curves in this Google Map indicate?
This is around Dachstein, Austria.

enter image description here Link:


  • 1
    Using Google maps to plan a hike is a bad idea. Commented Apr 27, 2019 at 7:38
  • 2
    @henning Nope. Using google maps for simple hikes is totally fine. In the Alps they are very often well marked and I'd guess in busy touristic areas (like around cable cars) most hikers didn't look at any map at all. And even for other stuff google maps definitely is one worthwhile tool alongside lots of other ones, many of which are indeed better suited for many tasks.
    – imsodin
    Commented Apr 27, 2019 at 17:11
  • @imsodin, hmm, maybe it depends on where you are then. Here in Austria there aren't many trails recorded in Google Maps. Even in Vienna Google Maps sometimes leads you astray. Commented Apr 27, 2019 at 20:14

2 Answers 2


You are looking at a ski resort. The blue and red lines are the slopes. The straight lines are the lifts.


Screenshort of the panorama

  • Took me all of one google search and the second image result to come to the same conclusion.
    – Gabriel
    Commented Apr 26, 2019 at 13:26
  • Hi Manziel! This relies heavily on an outside source, which may go down. Would you kindly expand it to include some information from the source? For instance, how can we learn which lines are which? The graphics there are detailed, so posting that map would help, along with some more of your own text. Also, that's not in English, so would you post a link and graph in English? I definitely don't doubt your answer, and I don't mean to make you do extra work, but I think the site would really benefit. Thanks for your time! Commented Apr 26, 2019 at 21:32
  • What is the difference between the blue and the red lines?
    – Porcupine
    Commented Apr 27, 2019 at 15:13
  • It is the difficulty although it does not exactly match the winter panorama. But the usual grading scheme in the alps is blue, red, black for easy, medium, difficult
    – Manziel
    Commented Apr 27, 2019 at 16:13
  • @Sue I got a bit curious and tried to find a full legend for google maps but there seems to be none, at least none that is concerning ski slopes. If anyone has a link to a legend, I will add it
    – Manziel
    Commented Apr 27, 2019 at 16:19

My color vision isn't perfect so I'm not completely sure what you're talking about on that map. I see two things on there that you might be talking about:

1) I see several paths with names that start with "Variante". The similarity with the word "Variant" in English makes me think these are other options for this hike. While these are in red and blue they don't seem quite like what you're asking about.

2) This is a normal topographic map. Follow each bold line (I suspect these are your red lines but I'm not completely sure), you will find an elevation listed. Note a bit to the northeast of the origin point of this trail the line is labeled "600m". From this we can conclude that the trailhead is at approximately 600m above sea level. The last bold line before your destination is labeled "2000m". Note that there are four unlabeled and lighter weight lines between each bold line. (These are probably your blue lines but the lines are fine enough that I am very unsure of their color.) These divide the 100m spacing between bold lines into 20m increments. The lodge at your destination is 2 fine lines above the 2000m line, thus we can conclude that it is 2040 meters above sea level. This seems a much better match for your question but I am not sure the colors are right. These lines make it clear this trail will climb 1420 meters. (Note this closely matches what Google says to the left: 595m to 2041m.)

Also, from those lines we can see that the first part of the climb will be reasonably steep, followed by a walk across the slope that is nearly flat, and then another climb at the end.

  • In the context of ski slopes, "Variante" means slopes that are controlled (regarding avalanche risks etc.), somewhat marked (usually a center line), but not groomed by snowcats.
    – helm
    Commented Apr 28, 2019 at 21:38

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