Barcelona Field Studies Centre

Test your Map Reading Skills: Plot your route to the top of Ben Nevis

Computer Graded Map Reading Skills Test

This page opens a computer graded map reading skills test with secure authenticated certificate awards and diagnostic feedback. A certificate with your mark, grade and other diagnostic information can be printed at the end of the test. The test is aimed at improving your map reading skills using a hill walking simulation exercise.

Task Details

Your role as the leader of a small group of hill walkers requires you to use your map reading skills to plot the shortest and safest route to the summit of Britain's highest mountain, Ben Nevis. Starting from the car park, you create a red trail on the map through mouse clicks, identifying and avoiding hazards that could jeopardise the safety of your party. Your route will be marked and graded, and near misses, (accidents or 'close calls' that do not result in injury), recorded. You must abandon the walk if there are injuries or deaths...

Map reading skills: test route-plotting example
Test map extract showing route-plotting example

The test features:

  • Map reading skills using contour map route plotting.
  • Interpretation of map contours and other map features.
  • Visible trail route plotting with mouse clicks.
  • Precalibrated mouse-click spacing, limited to the width of the cursor cross-hairs.
  • Measurement of the distance travelled.
  • Measurement of time taken based on Naismith's Rule.
  • Identification and recording of route plotting errors.
  • Calculation of possible near misses, injuries and deaths.
  • Allocation of additional walk time for near misses.
  • Abandonment of the route if it results in possible injury or death.
  • Recording of overall test time and the number of test attempts.
  • Awarding of test marks and grades.
  • Diagnostic feedback and a help page with images and map symbols.
  • Printable secure test certificates.
  • Printable map, with your plotted route.
  • Many test security features.


For any hill walking, it is essential to be properly clothed and equipped, and also have the ability to use a map and compass.

Weather conditions on mountains can be severe. Sunshine can change to treacherous arctic-like blizzards in minutes. There have been serious accidents and deaths in the Spanish mountains, even in Summer, often through a lack of skill, proper clothing, emergency survival equipment or good judgement.