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Thread: Best GPS for hiking ap for my cell

  1. #1
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    Best GPS for hiking ap for my cell

    Well my former bomb proof mill spec cell phone got to point where it was functionally obsolete. It was not a big screen (about the size of an old Garmin). The new phone is one of the Samsung Galaxy series not marketed by the big cell carriers, but is mil spec, waterproof and a replaceable battery since I tend to keep the phones a long time. Therefore a GPS ap is worthy ad, although I plan to stick to my "stoneage" navigational methods of map and compass. I usually stick to the Northeast. I did stick an additional memory chip in it

    Gaia seems be popular, be it free or paid. So any other aps I should check out?.

  2. #2
    Senior Member TEO's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by peakbagger View Post
    Well my former bomb proof mill spec cell phone got to point where it was functionally obsolete. It was not a big screen (about the size of an old Garmin). The new phone is one of the Samsung Galaxy series not marketed by the big cell carriers, but is mil spec, waterproof and a replaceable battery since I tend to keep the phones a long time. Therefore a GPS ap is worthy ad, although I plan to stick to my "stoneage" navigational methods of map and compass. I usually stick to the Northeast. I did stick an additional memory chip in it

    Gaia seems be popular, be it free or paid. So any other aps I should check out?.

    I'm a comitted stone-age navigator, but I do know that Caltopo has an app. I'm not sure if it's designed for navigation or just mapping.

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    Although I prefer to use a map, compass and altimeter to actually navigate, I always plan and track my hikes digitally and have tried a bunch of different apps. In my opinion, Gaia is the best. The one thing it does not do is load GeoPDFs, which you can download from USGS or the Forest Service. If you want to do that, you can use Avenza Maps. I also use Guthook Guides because it has the best information about water source conditions. I don't like any of the more "social" apps.
    Last edited by Ramblings; 04-06-2021 at 10:52 AM.

  4. #4
    Member JToll's Avatar
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    I plot out my route in Caltopo, which makes a Geopdf map. I then load the map into Avenza Maps. I can then following my route on my phone. Avenza uses gps and does not need cell service and does not drain the battery. Both these apps are free.
    NH 4K: 48/48, VT 4K: 5/5, NY 4K: 2/46

  5. #5
    Moderator bikehikeskifish's Avatar
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    Gaia works well for me.

    Tim
    Bike, Hike, Ski, Sleep. Eat, Fish, Repeat.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by bikehikeskifish View Post
    Gaia works well for me.

    Tim
    Paid or free?

  7. #7
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    I have subscriptions to Gaia, Caltopo, and a bunch of Guthook apps. Each app has their strengths depending on where you are and what you're doing. Guthook is probably the best for on-trail applications in the Whites and Greens and you only pay once. The comment sections can be useful. Gaia and Caltopo provide access to more information and tracking but the accuracy of it is only as good as whatever layer you're using. I mostly use those apps for stuff outside the Whites, bushwhacking, and overlanding. None of these apps need cell service and Guthook's performance actually suffers if you try to use it with a weak cell signal, often refusing to open for me until I go into airplane mode.

  8. #8
    Senior Member hikerbrian's Avatar
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    I've been using Gaia for a few years and like it a lot. I paid for the download but don't pay the yearly subscription. If I'm using it, I just want to know where I am and where trails and landmarks are. So I really can't comment on any advanced features.
    Sure. Why not.

  9. #9
    Moderator bikehikeskifish's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by peakbagger View Post
    Paid or free?
    Happy with the free version thus far.

    Tim
    Bike, Hike, Ski, Sleep. Eat, Fish, Repeat.

  10. #10
    Senior Member iAmKrzys's Avatar
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    I use just two apps on my phone right now:

    1) OsmAnd+ (it was a one-time purchase a while back for me) - this app has a number of features that I like:
    a) offline car navigation with voice commands which is helpful in places where cell coverage is nonexistent (otherwise I use Google Maps for driving which IMHO has best real-time traffic data that I have tried to date)
    b) it has contour & hillshade layers that can be turned on/off as needed
    c) it allows for overlay & underlay maps to be displayed simultaneously with a bar to control transparency level. I use this feature to see WaymarkedTrails Hiking layer that can display trail symbols / colors in areas where they are marked properly
    d) it can record tracks via a plugin
    e) it supports monthly map updates
    f) it can display routes and waypoints downloaded to phone

    2) AllTrails - I purchased a subscription last year before going for a backpacking trip, so that I could download different map layers to my phone. AllTrails (computer version) also has a nice tool for drawing routes which auto selects marked trails if you are creating a route along already-marked path, which makes trip planning easier as you can see the mileage and elevation profile and then downloading the route to the phone is seamless. My kids also use this app, mostly for what I would call social features of the app - when they set out for a coast-to-coast car trip last summer they would pick already pre-defined hiking recommendations depending on where they ended up being, kind of spur-of-the-moment short hikes that happened to fit their driving schedule. The nice thing about it is that you can get a trail description, reviews and pictures, so you have a descent idea of what to expect on your hike w/o much planning.

    I know that some people love Locus app. My friend uses Backcountry Navigator but I don't know much about it.

    You may also check out this comparison of Android apps that can display OSM-based maps: https://wiki.openstreetmap.org/wiki/...d_applications

    This is a screenshot from OsmAnd+:
    Click image for larger version. 

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    Last edited by iAmKrzys; 04-06-2021 at 06:16 PM.

  11. #11
    Senior Member iAmKrzys's Avatar
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    I forgot to mention that I also have an app called "GSP Status & Toolbox" that has an option to calibrate electronic compass in my phone: https://play.google.com/store/apps/d...hl=en_US&gl=US

  12. #12
    Senior Member Tom Rankin's Avatar
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    Back Country Navigator is what I use. It's free to start. No recurring fees unless you want to, but the paid version comes with multiple map sets. It has most of the features of a real GPS, and you can download maps ahead of time if there is no cell service.
    Tom Rankin
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  13. #13
    Senior Member bignslow's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JToll View Post
    I plot out my route in Caltopo, which makes a Geopdf map. I then load the map into Avenza Maps. I can then following my route on my phone. Avenza uses gps and does not need cell service and does not drain the battery. Both these apps are free.
    This is one of my two systems. The the other is a paid app (one time fee) called Backcountry Navigator Pro which allows me to download maps (24k topo equivalent) to my phone for offline use. Very happy with this combination.
    Warning: BigNSlow may not actually be all that slow

  14. #14
    Senior Member Barkingcat's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by peakbagger View Post
    The new phone is one of the Samsung Galaxy series not marketed by the big cell carriers, but is mil spec, waterproof and a replaceable battery since I tend to keep the phones a long time.
    And what is this particular Samsung model? We're intrigued...

  15. #15
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    https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...?ie=UTF8&psc=1

    Samsung galaxy Duo. Its a phone made for commercial use. Not a high performer but robust. In the past my mil spec phones have gone swimming in drains and have been dropped a story or two plus on occasion I work in hot humid steam plants. They held up and hope this one will for the next year or so before I retire. These conditions seem to line up with off trail hiking.

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