Mtbr's 2016 Winter Biking GearReviews and Roundups

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  1. #1
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    New question here. Smartphone map that doesn't require cell reception

    Hello all,

    Can anyone recommend a smartphone trail mapping app in which regional maps (or better) can be saved onto the phone then used with the GPS without cell service?

    I was impressed that the MapMyRide app loaded in town, GPS tracked me to and all over the trail, then saved the workout and loaded it when I got back to cell service. However, I had no mapping while on the ride.

    I can't afford to spend a lot of money on a bike gps right now so this is my only option.

    Thanks for any help!

  2. #2
    since 4/10/2009
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    mtbproject

    It doesn't do tracking at all. The whole point of it is navigation. And it does so without cell connection. It really never NEEDS a cellular connection, if you're willing to download trails over wifi. To be fair, it does not save the basemap (Google Maps or whatever). What it saves are the actual trail maps, descriptions, and I think even the photo thumbnails. You download trails on a statewide level.

  3. #3
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    Gaia gps is a great mapping program that allows you to download several different maps. You can also import gpx tracks into the app so you'll have everything you need for your ride.

  4. #4
    since 4/10/2009
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    Quote Originally Posted by breaks911 View Post
    Gaia gps is a great mapping program that allows you to download several different maps. You can also import gpx tracks into the app so you'll have everything you need for your ride.
    not sure you can fit regional or larger areas with detailed maps though. not with the way tiled maps work

  5. #5
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    Smartphone map that doesn't require cell reception

    You can choose as many tiles at 24K as your phone has storage to hold. And choose from multiple basemap sources.

    Here's what that looks like:


  6. #6
    since 4/10/2009
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    Quote Originally Posted by breaks911 View Post
    You can choose as many tiles at 24K as your phone has storage to hold. And choose from multiple basemap sources.
    And that's the crux of the matter. My point being that at the detailed local level, you're not going to be able to fit regional areas onto your phone. It's just too much space.

    It's why Garmin has the limits it does on the amount of raster maps you can load. They're WAY more resource-intensive than vector maps.

  7. #7
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    I had MTBproject but I'm gonna have to be the one to put most of our trails in, apparently. It only brought up maybe 5 (would have to verify, just an estimation) trails in the state. I'm fine with this though. Gives me an excuse to go ride more trails. You know, a for the greater good type of undertaking.

    On Gaia GPS, can I select (via a drag box) a certain area within which I know I'll be riding and then have it track me so I can save trails in that area?

  8. #8
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    Yes you sure can. You can save the maps to your phone and it will save the routes you ride to gpx format.

  9. #9
    since 4/10/2009
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    Quote Originally Posted by the_law_man01 View Post
    I had MTBproject but I'm gonna have to be the one to put most of our trails in, apparently. It only brought up maybe 5 (would have to verify, just an estimation) trails in the state. I'm fine with this though. Gives me an excuse to go ride more trails. You know, a for the greater good type of undertaking.

    On Gaia GPS, can I select (via a drag box) a certain area within which I know I'll be riding and then have it track me so I can save trails in that area?
    Content submission is uneven around the country for that app. It's an option, though.

    And despite my criticisms of GaiaGPS, it's probably going to be the best one for showing basemaps. I'm just making it clear that downloading detailed maps at a regional level might be asking a bit much. The example above doesn't even show a whole county, for example. On MTBProject, I have about half a dozen whole states loaded on my phone. FWIW, I have the whole US loaded into my Garmin with trails for most of those states.

  10. #10
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    Unfortunately they are no perfect solutions out there I've seen. It all ends up being a mashup of different tools that best fit the individual's requirements.

  11. #11
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    Nice. A Garmin is a goal for the future. Just trying to make due for now.

    I have about 22GB available on my phone SD card so I should be able to download a few maps of areas I'll ride which don't have cell coverage.

    Now to just figure out how to do it.

  12. #12
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    On Android, I like Locus Pro. Can even edit tracks with it. They also sell decent maps for use offline but can cache internet based maps as well. On my GDMBR ride this summer, I used a Garmin 1000 for ensuring I was on course (low power usage compared to my nexus 6!) And had locus pro running to alert me when near key points as it is a total pain to manipulate POI on garmins, especially with no computer.
    I have used locus pro enough now that I would consider skipping the Garmin if I had a phone with a display that uses less lower.

  13. #13
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    Gaia GPS is awesome but not just a few $, and offers much more power than many might want.

    I will track your bike rides. What's really cool is how many types of maps you can use and download for off line use. For trail building I'll use old school topo, modern digital, apply photos as waypoints. Much more simple for a bike ride. When I'm out of the country I'll download Google Maps ahead of time and have navigation without international roaming.

    https://www.gaiagps.com/gallery/
    https://www.gaiagps.com/apps/ios/
    https://www.gaiagps.com/apps/android/

  14. #14
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    So, on Gaia how much useable app do you get for the $20? How much more do you have to spend on downloading additional maps?

    I guess the same questions go for Locus for the $7.48 price tag.

    How much do you REALLY get, and how much do you have to pay for add-ons for our type of use?

  15. #15
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    Trailforks released it's mobile app this September. It has offline trail maps and a huge array of other features, with more coming.

    Trailforks Mobile App

    Trailforks is the largest database of mountain bike trails in the world and growing fast. Some areas in the US are still spotty with trail coverage, but Trailforks makes it easy to add the missing trails with a range of tools on the website.

    The app & website are all free with no advertising. All money is optional donations that go directly to local trail associations.

  16. #16
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    I don't see a feature in TF that enables offline maps. Can you explain how to do it ?

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by breaks911 View Post
    I don't see a feature in TF that enables offline maps. Can you explain how to do it ?
    It works similar as mtbp which Harold described above. You download all the trail data for a region (state,province,country) before hand, then that data is available offline. But the background Google map is not 100% offline. It does caches extremely well using the native Google SDK and since they are vector tiles the scale nicely.

    The trail gps tracks, all the meta data for the trails, points of interest, routes, bike shops, and riding areas are stored offline in a local database on your phone.

    We have been working for almost a year on our own Trailforks basemap of the entire world! It will have global contour lines and terrain shading. This will be replacing the Google map on the website and be an option in the app. We eventually plan to allow the optional download of this map for offline use in the app, like the UI posted above, the user would draw a rectangle for the area they want to download. But this would only be an advanced option, most people don't need it. It makes the download for a region go from a couple MB to hundreds of MB. The Google terms of service prevent download of their tiles for offline, that is why we have gone this route. We also want to make a custom basemap specific for mountain biking! But is a huge amount of data to deal with and a lot of complex process.

    Some of the features in the app do require a data connection, like viewing photos & videos of trails, for which we have by far the largest collection of. Other features like routing to a trail or adding a trail to your wishlist also require a connection.

    Updating of new trails added to the region are done in the background when data is available, the syncing is queued up. Its very small incremental downloads of data, not re-downloading the entire region like mtbp does. This also means if a new trail is added or changed on the website, you can get that update right away in the app, not a week later by re-downloading the entire region.

    Trail status & conditions are sycned in the background when data is available using very small data packet. So you always have the latest info.

    Submitting a trail report from the app can be done offline, it will queue them all and try sending them when the app finds a data connection later. Similar how Strava works in syncing your ride.

    This is only our first release, so its not 100% offline, but for most use cases this is all the offline capability people need. And if you are somewhere with no data plan, the map will still function showing the trails and your location, you just might not have a pretty basemap.

  18. #18
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    Thx for the info. I look forward to a version with full offline maps. It's a capability I frequently need.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by canadaka View Post
    Trailforks released it's mobile app this September. It has offline trail maps and a huge array of other features, with more coming.

    Trailforks Mobile App

    Trailforks is the largest database of mountain bike trails in the world and growing fast. Some areas in the US are still spotty with trail coverage, but Trailforks makes it easy to add the missing trails with a range of tools on the website.

    The app & website are all free with no advertising. All money is optional donations that go directly to local trail associations.
    Thanks. I just downloaded it. I'll check it out. Are there any videos on how to use it as far as waypoints, predetermined trails that aren't part of the database, etc?

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by the_law_man01 View Post
    So, on Gaia how much useable app do you get for the $20? How much more do you have to spend on downloading additional maps?

    I guess the same questions go for Locus for the $7.48 price tag.

    How much do you REALLY get, and how much do you have to pay for add-ons for our type of use?

    What's included in the purchase price is pretty much it. I think there is a premium service for more base maps, but out of the box you'll get the common ones that are all you need.

    Just take a look at what's included in their premium service to see if you would need to upgrade. I doubt it.

  21. #21
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    Awesome! Good info from all!

  22. #22
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    I normally use my Garmin while riding, so I don't have a lot of experience with these apps. Anyway I've played with two apps, Oruxmaps and PDF maps. Both programs are free and allow offline maps.

    PDF maps uses geotagged PDFs. Orux can use a variety of different maps, I have found that it works okay with garmin topo maps (img files) from gpsfilesdepot.com.

    Orux has A LOT of features. You can work with tracks, waypoints, heart rate monitors, etc. PDF maps is more basic.

    I've only really just played around with the programs, someone using them exclusively might have a better opinion of them. Oruxmaps I like the best of the two.

    Couple options anyway to look at.

  23. #23
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    I use Runtastic Mountain bike pro. It's free on the iPhone and uses open street maps. All the trails are shown so that you can see where one would lead too. Once the app is started I use airplane mode so that it saves the battery and only uses the GPS signal. Looks like this after its synced.
    Name:  ImageUploadedByTapatalk1445995286.566053.jpg
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  24. #24
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    viewranger is great app with downloadable maps, tracking, route following etc. or you can use avenza pdf map viewer and use any georegistered map. usgs is good source for those

  25. #25
    MidnightBroomstickCowboy
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    pm sent.
    "As a true patriotic American, I blindly follow what my elected leaders tell me." - Jack English

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