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Anybody content with their smartphone and apps over a dedicated handheld GPS unit?

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  • Anybody content with their smartphone and apps over a dedicated handheld GPS unit?

    Anybody content with their smartphone and apps over a dedicated handheld GPS unit?

    May I ask what phone you have and which apps you rely on?

    I have an iPhone 7 and would like to get apps and maps that work well.

  • #2
    Yes. Locus Map on Moto X Play.

    The software feature set is far superior to my old Garmin Rino 530 HCx (similar to the Garmin GPSMAP 60 CSx). Phone's GPS hardware is superior as well but not a fair comparison because the two devices are a decade apart technology-wise.

    Regarding backcountry navigation apps, your software choices for iOS are more limited than for Android. There's GAIA GPS (probably the leading choice for iOS), MotionX, ViewRanger, Backcountry Navigator (iOS version of a longstanding Android app), etc.

    FWIW, all navigation apps offer maps produced by someone else; they rarely produce their own. They all typically offer a default set of free maps sourced from the USGS, OpenStreetMap, etc. Some offer a broad range of free maps, others charge a subscription fee for "premium maps", yet others charge a small flat fee.
    Looking for views!

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    • #3
      A good friend of mine also recommends Gaia for iPhone. He doesn't live nearby. Can anybody here give me a crash course on how to get the required maps for the Adirondacks once I have purchased the app?

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      • #4
        https://help.gaiagps.com/hc/en-us
        Looking for views!

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        • #5
          Ive been mixing my choices for navigation with a dedicated GPS unit and my phone for the past two years. I have an iPhone SE and use GAIA GPS. I also use a Garmin Etrex 30 for a back up as well as Paper map and compass. I learned that you need a charger for your phone for any trips longer than two days. And I do my homework well before marking way points and areas of interest.
          You get a bunch of choices for maps from newer to very old. I dont remember down loading many just the ones I needed and only paid a small fee for the app.

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          • #6
            Thank you.

            I have an Anker portable phone charger.

            I will leave the phone in airplane mode to conserve battery power too.

            May I ask you all which version of Gaia that you recommend? Seems that there is a free one and a $20 version (which I don't mind if it's much better and / or advisable).

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            • #7
              The "free" one is a free trial for seven days. Says so right on their web-site.

              They offer two tiers of 'membership' and its all explained on their web-site:
              Member and Premium Membership Explained

              It now appears you 'pay to play' annually as opposed to outright buying a license to use it indefinitely. Anyway, perhaps an existing GAIA Pro member can comment on the new arrangement.
              Looking for views!

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              • #8
                The guy in this video seems to recommend downloading the latest version

                https://youtu.be/KhZlQuvX-Uc

                But it appears to be free and the classic one costs $20...does that make any sense?

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                • #9
                  That video was published in July (and not by GAIA).

                  I would suggest you refer to what GAIA says on their web-site.
                  Looking for views!

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                  • #10
                    So, for example, if I plan to go into Cedar Lake from Cedar River Flow, how would I go about getting the proper offline map/s for this trip?

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                    • #11
                      GAIA's manual explains how:

                      Download Maps for Offline Use
                      Looking for views!

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                      • #12
                        I have BCNav, which I find great to use. I like it better than Gaiai, but I don't use many of the gps functions in the woods as it wastes battery.
                        "There's a whisper on the night-wind, there's a star agleam to guide us, And the Wild is calling, calling . . . let us go." -from "The Call of the Wild" by Robert Service

                        My trail journal: DuctTape's Journal

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                        • #13
                          Not very newbie / layman friendly. I'm frustrated with that.

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                          • #14
                            It's probably unlike anything else you've used so, yes, there's much to learn and, depending on the manual's clarity, can be frustrating to comprehend.

                            You should know GAIA's manual is not necessarily the best but far from the worst. It includes helpful illustrations and explains things in a fairly clear, step-by-step manner.

                            For comparison, here's how the same process (download a map for offline use) is explained for other products (the steps are virtually the same as for GAIA):
                            Alpinequest
                            Locus Map

                            FWIW, the general question of offline maps came up in another thread and I explained it here. In a nutshell, an online map is either "auto-cached" (whatever maps you browse while online are stored for later use when offline) or explicitly downloaded (you download the area you want to store on your phone for offline use including the number of magnification levels).


                            PS
                            There's another category and that's an offline vector-based map. This kind of map is the easiest to use and the most comprehensive of all. For example, the entire state of New York fits into only ~275 Mb and contains all roads, trails, and amenities (the location of stores, gas stations, historical sites, trailheads, etc).

                            I'm not sure to what extent GAIA supports offline vector maps. At the bottom of this blog post , published in September 2016, describes the ability to download portions in vector format (and the resulting map is not as detailed as a non-vector version). However, it says nothing about the ability to download an entire region (like a state or small country) for offline use.
                            Looking for views!

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                            • #15
                              Seems terribly complicated. Shame, I'd like to have it if it were convenient to get.

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