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#295055 - 03/06/20 09:37 PM Experiences with cell phone based GPS mapping?
teacher Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 12/14/05
Posts: 910
Have you tried/used cell phone based GPS mapping? Esp. a program that works outside cell service? Any recommendations?

#295057 - 03/07/20 12:34 AM Re: Experiences with cell phone based GPS mapping? [Re: teacher]
pforeman Offline

Registered: 04/23/08
Posts: 181
Loc: Iowa
I downloaded (for my iPhone) the Maps.Me app and have been happy with it... https://maps.me/

I like the fact that I can get a full map on my device and use it without any connection to the web or wifi. It has worked well for me over the last couple of years. It works on a lot of different devices/cell phones so give that a look-over.

Paul -

#295059 - 03/07/20 12:59 AM Re: Experiences with cell phone based GPS mapping? [Re: teacher]
KenK Offline
"Be Prepared"

Registered: 06/26/04
Posts: 2112
Loc: NE Wisconsin
I've been using Backcountry Navigator for Android. It's good. The only problem I have is that the button icons aren't labeled, and I struggle to remember what some of them do. There is a pretty good help system, but I wish there was a way to get a button name display somehow.

It supposedly can download maps for use offline, but I haven't tried that yet.

#295060 - 03/07/20 01:39 AM Re: Experiences with cell phone based GPS mapping? [Re: teacher]
Nomad Offline

Registered: 05/04/02
Posts: 478
Loc: Just wandering around.
I also have been using Backcountry Navigator for many years. Very good application. I recommend it. A bit of a learning curve but pretty intuitive.

...........From Nomad.........Been "on the road" since '97

#295066 - 03/07/20 03:53 PM Re: Experiences with cell phone based GPS mapping? [Re: teacher]
KenK Offline
"Be Prepared"

Registered: 06/26/04
Posts: 2112
Loc: NE Wisconsin
Yesterday I read an online review for Backcountry Navigator, and their biggest critique was that the smartphone's battery didn't last long enough. To me that is really a matter of how it's used (constant on vs. on only when really needed). If you're looking to create/store routes, a dedicated gps will be much better.

For me, right now, I'm looking for the device/software that is the most convenient for capturing/storing quick waypoints (such as where my truck is parked) for later use, if needed.

When needed, if needed, I primarily want the device/software to easily and clearly point me toward the saved waypoint (my truck).

Backcountry Navigator appears to provide a pretty easy way to turn the gps off, for battery conservation. When the gps is off the compass still points to the destination. Then it's as easy to have it find the current location by turning the gps back on. You just have to remember to keep turning the GPS off. This is done with the Location menu icon at the top of the main screen (looks like a target).

One of the things I really like about using the smartphone, as opposed to my Garmin GPSMAP 60csx, is how easy it is to save and document the current position (using the phone's input capabilities).

Edited by KenK (03/07/20 04:09 PM)

#295067 - 03/07/20 04:16 PM Re: Experiences with cell phone based GPS mapping? [Re: KenK]
hikermor Online   content
Geezer in Chief

Registered: 08/26/06
Posts: 7294
Loc: southern Cal
I've used paper topo maps and I like them a lot. Battery life is not an issue with paper maps. GPS is a great supplement, but don't leave home without a good ol' paper map.
Geezer in Chief

#295068 - 03/07/20 07:30 PM Re: Experiences with cell phone based GPS mapping? [Re: teacher]
AKSAR Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 08/31/11
Posts: 1185
Loc: Alaska
In my part of the world, Gaia GPS has become the app of choice for navigation using smartphones. It has been used with great success for both adventures, and SAR.

One of the great things about Gaia is that you can import various georefereced datasets into it. Luc Mehl has a nice tutorial on importing satellite data into Gaia. Luc has used Gaia GPS to navigate on an epic 125 mile arctic ice skate trip.

Luc is a very wonderful, friendly guy. He is doing some incredible trips in Alaska. He recently gave a presentation to a group I'm affiliated with. For other amazing adventures, see his website Things To Luc At.

EDIT: Besides trip reports, Things To Luc At also has lots of great info on route planning, self rescue and communication, navigation, etc. It is well worth a Luc!

Edited by AKSAR (03/07/20 07:44 PM)
"Toto, I've a feeling we're not in Kansas any more."
-Dorothy, in The Wizard of Oz

#295074 - 03/08/20 06:03 PM Re: Experiences with cell phone based GPS mapping? [Re: teacher]
KenK Offline
"Be Prepared"

Registered: 06/26/04
Posts: 2112
Loc: NE Wisconsin
I just upgraded to Backcountry Navigator XE, which is a completely new and improved version that might be a bit of work in progress Beta-ish). I'll admit that at first I wasn't sure if I liked it, but after quickly going through the help pages I do like it much more.

Waypoints are much easier/clearer to manage. Its default names are date based rather than simply numbers. Same with tracks.

So far I haven't tried the VERY important goto navigation capability. I hope it has a good compass/pointer feature. It does have a big compass display (over the map). I cant imagine it won't do navigation well.

It will be available for both Android (what I'm using) and Apple.

Access is a yearly renewed membership, with three levels of offline (mobile) map access (bronze $15, silver $20, gold $30). At this point I can't tell you how local maps are defined. It will allow me to choose to use memory or the SD card.

It uses "Trips" (folders) in which waypoints and tracks are stored. Trips can be up and downloaded to a cloud environment. Trips can be up and downloaded from the cloud environment.

There is also Bookmark and Overlay features that at this time aren't well explained, so not sure on those at this point.

#295080 - 03/09/20 02:31 PM Re: Experiences with cell phone based GPS mapping? [Re: teacher]
LCranston Offline

Registered: 08/31/09
Posts: 197
Loc: Nebraska
I have used Sygic several times- I have a work cell phone, and a 3$ per month throwaway for travel.

3$ phone has no data, so II need offline GPS.

The hard part was pre-downloading the maps for areas that I needed, but once that was done, it worked very well.

USed no data at all....

Did Minneapolis, Denver, Washington DC that way. All maps were accurate- just no traffic reports (duh)

#295084 - 03/09/20 06:49 PM Re: Experiences with cell phone based GPS mapping? [Re: teacher]
BruceZed Offline

Registered: 01/06/08
Posts: 316
Loc: Canada
On the iPhone, I use Topo Maps and it works well, except outside cell range or in poor cell coverage it uses more batteries
Bruce Zawalsky
Chief Instructor
Boreal Wilderness Institute

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