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The Croatian Mountain Rescue Service, as part of its preventive activities and taking care of the area in which it operates, wants to prevent accidents by creating credible thematic maps and guides.

To this end, the HGSS launched the long-term program “Cartography” and in a ten-year period intends to process and present the most important tourist and sports-recreational natural areas of the Republic of Croatia with thematic maps and guides. Each hiking trail drawn on the HGSS maps is physically checked and recorded with a GPS device and processed in a GIS application, which gives the highest reliability to the data on the map.

HGSS maps are available at the following stores:

Hrvatski planinarski savez /  Iglu Sport / Kibuba / Intersport / Libricon / Bim sport / Avenza maps

Thematic tourist-mountaineering maps on the market

If the declaration and purpose of the product are taken into account, most of the printed materials declared as “Mountain maps” do not even meet the basic criteria with which they would justify the topic and name. These materials often lack mandatory cartographic elements, as a rule, the contents on these maps are outdated and do not correspond to the situation on the ground, or the displayed contents do not exist. There are examples where the graphic scale does not correspond to the numerical scale, the coordinate grid serves as a (cartographic) decoration, the projection, date is not specified, etc. In many cases, the map bases themselves were illegally copied.

A special problem is tourist (overview) maps, which, with their tourist-promotional content and performance, direct the user to move through difficult terrain. With the help of these maps, it is not possible to get topographical orientation and to get an impression of the relief and distances, so visitors to mountainous areas often go to the mountain completely unprepared: without water, shoes, hats… but with a tourist map in hand.

The goals of the cartography program

HGSS strives to act preventively with the help of reliable and current thematic tourist-mountaineering maps and guides in order to prevent accidents and increase the safety of movement in difficult and inaccessible natural areas, and to promote sports-recreational, natural, cultural and tourist content in rural areas of the Republic of Croatia.

Maps are affordable and easily accessible to users in order to achieve the goals of the program.

The HGSS geoportal is also planned, which would provide access via the Internet to information related to certain hiking destinations and the infrastructure related to them, as well as the possibility of downloading a GPS track. This would make it possible for our and foreign visitors to the mountains to choose a route in advance according to their capabilities and wishes and follow it safely on the ground guided by a GPS device.


The target users of the thematic tourist-mountaineering map are local and foreign mountaineers and tourists who are interested in staying and doing sports and recreational activities in nature. HGSS rescuers are also users of these maps because they enable safer and faster access to victims in search and rescue operations.

Tourist mountaineering map

The content of the map must be adapted to the average user and must be reviewed and intuitive, as well as up-to-date and credible. All elements that can be used for orientation and movement through difficult or inaccessible terrain are drawn with particular attention on the map.

Data sources

All data sources come from legal sources. The base was made according to digital data (topographic maps, orthophotos, digital relief model) of the State Geodetic Administration, with which HGSS has signed an Agreement on long-term cooperation in the implementation of the program of activities to improve safety and rescue in inaccessible areas, which regulates cooperation on the creation of thematic maps . Most of the data from the field is from the author’s own sources and HGSS, and was obtained by fieldwork and recording with a GPS device.