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This year I will do some hikes, tours in Austrian mountains. I don't know, what do you think are the best, precise 1:25000 paper maps for Austrian mountains? The difficulty will be light - very demanding with ferratas and UIAA II max.

Some countries have dedicated online maps, to show warnings if some routes are closed because of rockfall damage,... Is there an Austrian site, so I can look that up if some mountain route is closed?

I would also be grateful for some good online map of Austria, with distinction easy, demanding, very demanding, ferrata,...

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    I'm by no means an outdoor or maps specialist at all, but here in Austria I most frequently hear Bergfex mentioned with everything related to alpine sports. It has an online map, that lets you switch different views, including 1:50000 OEK, OSM, satelite, and area photos. Also has a map. Example link: bergfex.com/… (the map is a bit hidden and overlayed with info by default, can be removed). There is also an app. Maybe worth a look
    – king_nak
    Feb 16, 2023 at 11:07

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The official Austrian topographic office Bundesamt für Eich- und Vermessungswesen does not generally have true 1:25,000 maps. It does sell maps at those scales, but those are actually photographically enlarged versions of their 1:50,000 series, so they're not very detailed. You can browse this map online at https://maps.bev.gv.at/. This is a decent topographic map with 100% coverage of Austria, but it will not tell you the difficulty of trails. I don't know if there is a way to show trail closures. For true 1:25,000 maps, you'll have to rely on other publishers.

The most popular 1:25,000 map series for the Austrian Alps are the Alpenvereinskarte, published by the private non-profit association Deutsche Alpenverein. The maps exist on paper or in digital form. They can be browsed online, but only with a paid subscription. You can buy the paper maps via the DAV-shop or in any decent bookstore. Many popular areas are covered by 1:25,000 maps, but less popular areas may be covered only at 1:50,000 or not at all. There may be other private publishers covering those areas, but I am not sufficiently familiar with the Austrian Alps to comment on those.

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    There is at least one exception where the BEV offers a true 1:25000 map: the Schneeberg & Rax map.
    – blues
    Feb 16, 2023 at 13:00
  • The maps by the Alpenverein are generally excellent and intended for exactly that use case. If you have the subscription you can at least get an offline map for your phone, I'm also almost certain you can also browse them on a desktop browser on their website. They are not available for free though.
    – Voo
    Feb 16, 2023 at 14:19
  • @Voo Maybe with a members log-in?
    – gerrit
    Feb 16, 2023 at 15:43
  • Yep, that would be Alpenvereinaktiv or Outdooractive -- same product, different branding (and you get a discount if you're an Alpenverein member). They display OSM by default, and you get Alpenvereinskarten and ÖK50 layers in the paid version. Feb 17, 2023 at 13:05
  • @gerrit About your first sentence about ÖK25 just being ÖK50 in double size... this is the first time I hear that, and find it quite shocking. I always thought they had more details as well... Feb 17, 2023 at 13:40
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The Austrian publisher Freytag & Berndt also publishes their own series of Wander- Rad- und Freizeitkarten in 1:50000 (a few in 1:35000). Like the Alpenvereinskarten, they are arranged into more "logical" regions of interest, not on a strict grid (and with much more overlap where convenient), but the series still covers almost all of Austria.

They are quite well-made overall. There might be less focus on details for mountaineering here and there, but in comparison to other providers a lot more "touristy" details are provided: sights, local marked trails, cycling and mountain biking tours. The sizes of their sections are a bit bigger than for most other series. Also, they come with a little booklet containing local information, trails, and a register for the respective region.

Here's an overview where you can compare the different sheet systems of F&B, ÖK50, and some more providers.

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Regarding electronic maps, there are a few options to get ÖK50 and Alpenvereinskarten:

  • Alpenvereinaktiv, a branded version of Outdooractive, has those maps in their paid version. They also show popular tours with pictures and descriptions, summer and winter routes, huts, and closures. The advantage of paying for them is that you can safe tours and maps in their app for offline usage. (Members of the Alpenverein get a discount.) The free version contains only the OSM layer.
  • Bergfex is a pretty similar experience in terms of planning (overlays, popular tours, news, etc.), and even gives you the ÖK50 layer for free. But you can't use it in the field.
  • You can buy a digital version of the complete set of Alpenvereinskarten as software on a USB stick. I think this supports printing, and exporting to GPS devices, but I have never used it. Also, this has no updated information like the online services do.

Unfortunately, both online services (and also the BEV service) make it really hard to print sections of the displayed maps. But if you are tech savvy, you might be able to talk to their unauthenticated tile servers directly...

One general comment: trail difficulty is not marked on Austrian maps (or at least not on those I have seen). You are supposed to figure that out based on the indication of the trail kind (carriage road, footpath, ...) and the elevation profile. And there are always "marked trails", indicated with green lines on ÖK50 maps, which are maintained by the Alpenverein and are equipped with signs. Via ferratas are sometimes included in those maps as "Steig", if they are part of some other trail, but not generally.

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I just download a GPX track for the hike/climb I want to do from e.g. bergsteigen.com. They generally also have good descriptions and warnings about what to watch out for.

OpenStreetMap coverage in Austria is pretty good. I’ve never had a problem with just Osmand (+contour lines) on my phone.

Edit: The backup for my own phone (in case the battery dies or I drop it or something) is the phone of my climbing partner. For multi pitch climbs or some via ferratas I print the topo on a sheet of A5 paper because it’s easier and quicker to access than a phone (and less of a problem if you accidentally drop it).

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