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travisk
March 29th, 2013, 10:54
Iím kind of a map geek but I donít have enough money for one of those fancy Lowrances, so hereís my write up on a decent low-budget solution for those looking to use their mobile phone as an off-road GPS.

Phones have come along way in providing maps and driving directions in the city, but programs like Google Maps still lack two major components that make them useful out on the dirt trail. (1) Maps arenít available when you lose signal in remote areas and (2) thereís no way to download an off-road route from the Internet to apps like Google maps.

I found a 99 cent app that solves both of these problems. Itís called MotionX GPS (http://news.motionx.com/category/motionx-gps/). The interface isnít quite as easy to use as the ones on a Lowrance or Garmin, but with a little pre-trip planning, itís good enough to keep you on the right trail.

Once you get the app installed, youíll want to get your waypoints, routes and downloaded maps into the program on your phone.

Downloading routes and waypoints

First, find a GPX file of the trail youíre looking to explore. I usually just Google ďtrail name gpxĒ. Once you find a route file on the web (or create it yourself in Google Earth), download it and then email it to gpsimport@motionx.com. The system will email back a link that you must open in your email program on the phone. That link will download your custom waypoints into the GPS program.

http://www.dirtopia.com/w/images/4/4f/Mojave_Road_GPS_Map.jpg

Downloading offline maps

You can download terrain and road maps directly in the program itself by going to Setup -> Map Downloads and outlining the area you want to download. Then you select the detail level you need. In this example, full zoom terrain maps covering the Mojave Road were about 800 megs in size. I opted to remove one zoom level and it was only about 200 megs. Once the maps are downloaded, you can drive out of range and your phone will still have map data to display.

http://www.dirtopia.com/w/images/9/91/Mojave_Road_Download_Map.jpg

When you're done, spend a few minutes learning how to use the navigation program, mount your phone to your dash and you're all set.

XJ jay
March 29th, 2013, 11:35
Well done

jrowell
March 29th, 2013, 12:59
Is this an Iphone app? Can't seem to find a Droid version.

travisk
March 29th, 2013, 13:03
You're right, it's only for iPhones and iPads.

I think the Google Maps for Android lets you do offline maps, but I don't have a way to test that.

jrowell
March 29th, 2013, 13:58
On Droid I use an app called "Every Trail Pro". Lets you download the maps with waypoints and pics to your phone, as well create/ record your own trails. Users can share the maps online.

Some of the more popular trails are already mapped. Funtreks has a couple pretty good free guides for it. It is mostly hiking stuff though. Just need more people to record their 4x4 trips and upload the trail.

WB9YZU
March 29th, 2013, 20:20
I've been using this app and it's companion GPS Drive (For roads) since I got my 1st iphone (a couple of years ago). I like them.

You can even email yourself the tracks and Motion-X will convert them to PDF for download as a map and send you a link.

There is a thread (or more) that was started a while back about phone GPS programs that is good and covers iphones and Androids.

I'll see if I can find them.

Here's one: http://www.naxja.org/forum/showthread.php?t=1080617&highlight=iphone
Another: http://www.naxja.org/forum/showthread.php?t=1070663&highlight=phone+maps

Infact, here is a trip I did last summer using a 3g (No"S", just a 3G :) )
http://www.naxja.org/forum/showthread.php?t=1087960
http://www.naxja.org/forum/picture.php?albumid=401&pictureid=2424

HighTechTerror
March 30th, 2013, 06:35
If anyone is looking for a great cross-platform (iPod / iPad / Android) I have used "My Tracks" for years.

It is an app created by Google, and uses the Google API so you can export it to anything too.

HTT

WB9YZU
March 30th, 2013, 09:15
Travisk, can you speak a bit about that link you have posted in your SIG?

OverlandZJ
March 31st, 2013, 09:02
Subscribed. Need to read this thread later as i'll be taking an Ipad out to CO/UT later this summer.

My son was just telling me about this app, he got it on his I-Phone recently.

BadlilXJ
March 31st, 2013, 09:21
I use the Every Trail app and it seems to work great and is pretty accurate. Granted I havent used it a lot off road yet but from what I have it works we on my Galaxy S3.

WB9YZU
March 31st, 2013, 10:33
Subscribed. Need to read this thread later as i'll be taking an Ipad out to CO/UT later this summer.

My son was just telling me about this app, he got it on his I-Phone recently.

I haven't played with the menus much as I'm more of a "get it working for my use and walk away" kinda tech guy.

Let's say you will be in an area that you know you won't have service. You can download the map and store it.

Under the share option, you can both import (as Travisk pointed out) , or export them (as I did). There are 3 ways to get tracks in, and they don't look that hard.

You can be doing something else with your phone and it will record tracks if you have that option set.

I also noticed that you can hook up a heart monitor and have it record with your trracks.

I did notice that the GPS on my 4S is more sensitive than it was on my 3G.
I am in the basement right now, and I have GPS signal.

I would like to get a nice bracket for the phone. Presently I use a Otter case, but I noticed that some other cases are not only more waterproof, but offer different mounting options, like MC/Bicycle handlebars.

Depending how this thread works, I may FAQ it.

InToJungle
April 1st, 2013, 01:45
Thanks for sharing this app.I will try it out.

anthrax323
April 1st, 2013, 10:15
Cool app, but it's created a world of frustration for me... Trying to create GPX paths for the trails out at Hidden Falls, but the Google Earth satellite imagery is ancient, and the Bing satellite overlays I've tried to use today seem to shift about 50 feet upon zooming in and out.

Tempted to strap on my kitten-stomping boots at this point.

kastein
April 1st, 2013, 10:24
Nifty. Almost makes me wish I still had an android phone - when I did, I used "Open GPS Tracker" to record GPX files, and gobreadcrumbs.com to show them on a map. Hadn't found a good way to view the GPX files on my android yet when I stopped using a smartphone.

boostamante
April 1st, 2013, 13:10
I've been using Back Country Navigator on my Android phones.

Works well if you download sections of the map for offline use. Used it for the KOH weekend and it was awesome!

sumofatguy
April 2nd, 2013, 12:04
I've been using Back Country Navigator on my Android phones.

Works well if you download sections of the map for offline use. Used it for the KOH weekend and it was awesome!

Have you used it much offroading? What "level" do you need to download for offline use to get decent trail coverage? The highest seems to be quite large with not that much added detail. Granted, I'm using Canada topo maps, maybe they're not quite as good here.

boostamante
April 2nd, 2013, 21:36
Have you used it much offroading? What "level" do you need to download for offline use to get decent trail coverage? The highest seems to be quite large with not that much added detail. Granted, I'm using Canada topo maps, maybe they're not quite as good here.

IM using US topo maps. Bought the 10 dollar version and it works great when you select the areas youre going out to wheel.

travisk
April 11th, 2013, 14:23
Travisk, can you speak a bit about that link you have posted in your SIG?

Sorry, I forgot to answer this earlier. Dirtopia is an off-road trail website that I started many years ago. It's based on the "crowdsourcing" format that Wikipedia uses. Basically that just means anyone can contribute to it.

It's grown to about 1,500 trails over the years.

Gold Cobra
April 11th, 2013, 18:20
I have an iPhone, and a dollar. I think I'll this a shot. Thanks for posting this.

dustybob
April 11th, 2013, 18:48
I use Gaia GPS and Trimble Outdoors on my iPhone. Love them. Easy to use, offline caching so you can use outside of cell service, and a good selection of different maps available. Both allow for tracking your route with statistics and if you take pictures with your phone it tags them on your route.

http://img.tapatalk.com/d/13/04/12/4ybu5enu.jpg

JohnX
April 12th, 2013, 08:32
I went with the backcountry navigator on my nexus tablet. Best $10 i've spent on anything phone or tablet related ever. As mentioned, download the areas you want to go, prior to leaving your wifi source. Saved our butts a few weeks ago in calico when a road was more difficult than expected so we had to deviate from the plan.

bigalpha
May 19th, 2013, 16:20
I have been using Trimble's Outdoors Navigator Pro. It has cache capability so if you download the area you want, you don't need cell service.

Forceful Llama
April 3rd, 2014, 12:24
There's a program called ArcGIS that I've used in the past to create field maps for geology stuff. Recently downloaded it to my iPhone and you can store topo maps for offline use as well as other nifty things. Haven't had a chance to really look into it on the phone just yet.

GSequoia
April 3rd, 2014, 14:09
Another +1 for GaiaGPS. I've used it extensively around Southern California, it works quite well.

RedHeep
April 4th, 2014, 11:37
Another +1 for GaiaGPS. I've used it extensively around Southern California, it works quite well.

x2

I'm using it with a bad elf gps receiver on my iPad mini and overlay satellite onto the topos and download the area I want before the trip so I don't need an internet signal.