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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi guys,
I'm going on my 1st little wheeling adventure on some small mountains near my place this Thursday, and I would love to start mapping out the plethora of trails in a way that I can easily access in the future.

Is there a good app for this, or are there other methods you all use to keep your trails straight?

Thanks!
AJ

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I just downloaded Backcountry Navigator recently and started learning how to use it. I build the path i want to travel and add points of interest using Google Earth. Then I import that info into the app.
 

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Not sure where on the earth you are, but keep in mind terrain and it's affect on signal. Any time I use a phone app that is cell tower and or cell phone dependent, I tend to loose signal / real time tracking randomly while in heavily wooded areas. My handheld GPS is always on point.
 

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Not sure where on the earth you are, but keep in mind terrain and it's affect on signal. Any time I use a phone app that is cell tower and or cell phone dependent, I tend to loose signal / real time tracking randomly while in heavily wooded areas. My handheld GPS is always on point.
Most apps these days (even Google maps) allow you to download maps to your phone for offline use. The GPS in your cellphone will work without a cell signal.

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Most apps these days (even Google maps) allow you to download maps to your phone for offline use. The GPS in your cellphone will work without a cell signal.

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Not always. Again, heavily wooded areas, both on foot and in vehicle, I've had my cell drop the GPS signal enough that the app stopped working. My handheld garmin GPS is always on it's game.
 

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I've only very rarely had my phone drop a GPS signal, and it's usually been in a deep canyon or something like that.

The app that I use doesn't quit working though. It just makes a straight line to the spot where it picks up the signal again. I have 74 tracks saved over a 3 year period so I can speak without a doubt to the reliability of the app.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Thanks everyone, that is all great info to know! I wouldn't have thought about my GPS turning off until it actually did it, and then I'd have been pissed :D

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For me, the biggest drawback to using my phone as a GPS is that it sucks the battery life rather quickly. Gaia might suck up something like 75% battery life on a 4 hour hike. iPhones aren't really known for their battery life though. It's a non-issue when I'm wheeling because I just keep the phone plugged in.

Still not a bad deal for $20 though. And when I'm hiking, I only have to carry two electronic devices rather than three.

A few screenshots from Gaia just to give an idea. Red is an actual track I recorded. These maps can all be zoomed in more. There are other maps available too (topo, hiking, etc).

Google map:



Satellite:



US Forest Service:



Worth noting that my husband prefers Motion X for hiking. It seems to be a bit more accurate on the distance calculations. I don't find it to have as many useful features as Gaia for wheeling.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Battery use always sucks lol

But I'll be keeping it plugged in on the drive anyway, so it's not going to be a problem for me

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Looks like Gaia GPS is now a free app (effective May 2017), but requires 'membership' for usage beyond the 7-day trial period.

Member level is $9.99/year.
Premium Member is $29.99/year. It includes NatGeo Trails Illustrated, France IGN, SwissTopo, NeoTreks US Topo, US Hunting (GMUs, public land, others), Motor Vehicle Use Maps (MVUM), and overlays such as hill-shading, contour lines, slope angle, etc.

I've just installed the app and will give it a try. Not sure on membership level yet.

Link: https://www.gaiagps.com/
I'm attaching a map screenshot from the site.
 

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Like Sean,I prefer just using gps(Lowrance).
The only problem was they did not aquire data quick enough. Probably fine for most uses.
Added two outside antennaes( two gps's in the truck). That cured the problem
 

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Looks like Gaia GPS is now a free app (effective May 2017), but requires 'membership' for usage beyond the 7-day trial period.

Member level is $9.99/year.
Premium Member is $29.99/year. It includes NatGeo Trails Illustrated, France IGN, SwissTopo, NeoTreks US Topo, US Hunting (GMUs, public land, others), Motor Vehicle Use Maps (MVUM), and overlays such as hill-shading, contour lines, slope angle, etc.

I've just installed the app and will give it a try. Not sure on membership level yet.

Link: https://www.gaiagps.com/
I'm attaching a map screenshot from the site.
I've had the $29.99 membership for a few months now. Having the MVUM's is super nice. Between Gaia and Google maps off line on my $59 tablet, I've got what I need. I still feel the GPS antenna in my tablet is better than in my phone. This is in the thick woods of northern Minnesota, so YMMV.
 

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I just downloaded Backcountry Navigator recently and started learning how to use it. I build the path i want to travel and add points of interest using Google Earth. Then I import that info into the app.
I also use BC Navigator. While not for wheeling, I use it for extended hiking trips. While slightly complex, I found it is very powerful. It's the most expensive app I've ever purchased, but well worth the cost.
 

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Go to caltopo.com. Build a map with any or multiply layers. Make a pdf of it.

Download avenza or pdfmaps onto your phone. Access the pdf you just made.

Best way for detailed offline viewing. And Free unless you want special stuff. Haven't used for a while.
 

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I think caltopo may not be publicly accessible anymore - use it for SAR, but we have access for that. On my phone I use Backcountry Navigator Pro. Some others use avenza and, as mentioned above you can add PDF maps to that - I believe all of the USGS maps are now digitally tagged so they'll work. You can get them at https://topomaps.usgs.gov/drg/

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I think caltopo may not be publicly accessible anymore - use it for SAR, but we have access for that. On my phone I use Backcountry Navigator Pro. Some others use avenza and, as mentioned above you can add PDF maps to that - I believe all of the USGS maps are now digitally tagged so they'll work. You can get them at https://topomaps.usgs.gov/drg/

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Still has it available for public use. The PDFs now have a limited life unless you pay a fee. Seems fair, as this is the most powerful mapping software I have ever used. Where else can you layer USGS topos on top of google earth layers.
 

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Still has it available for public use. The PDFs now have a limited life unless you pay a fee. Seems fair, as this is the most powerful mapping software I have ever used. Where else can you layer USGS topos on top of google earth layers.
Thanks for the info on Caltopo.

Backcountry Navigator is actually doing a Kickstarter this week for a new version with desktop mapping as well. Obviously will cost but they also have overlays for a lot of off-road routes.

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