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  1. #1
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    Best GPS/Map Apps for Trail Building

    I am looking for a good GPS app for trail building. I'd like to identify waypoints along a route, preferably on a topo map. Are there any good apps out there that you would recommend? Thanks!

  2. #2
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    There's a thread on here already with a pretty extensive discussion regarding GPS devices and GPS apps for devices for trail building and mapping.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cotharyus View Post
    There's a thread on here already with a pretty extensive discussion regarding GPS devices and GPS apps for devices for trail building and mapping.
    Yep, and they're all dated. Thanks for the contribution though.

  4. #4
    beer thief
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    I've been using Maptech Terrain Navigator for over 10 years. It's pretty user friendly and the maps are standard USGS topographic maps. May not be the best software but it works well for me. I tried DeLorme's PN-20 GPS and associated topo software and found it was a nightmare.

  5. #5
    saddlemeat
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    Topofusion, Garmin etrex Vista HCx or Galaxy 7" tablet with Backwoods Navigator Pro. I hacked the Garmin to display USGS topos but the tablet really shines with it's huge display of what ever map or aerial view you choose. I run in airplane mode with only the gps turned on, the display is mostly off, and get awesome battery life. Map tiles can be pre-loaded on a large microSD card.
    A Useful Bear is a handy thing.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by bsieb View Post
    Topofusion, Garmin etrex Vista HCx or Galaxy 7" tablet with Backwoods Navigator Pro. I hacked the Garmin to display USGS topos but the tablet really shines with it's huge display of what ever map or aerial view you choose. I run in airplane mode with only the gps turned on, the display is mostly off, and get awesome battery life. Map tiles can be pre-loaded on a large microSD card.
    Is the Backwoods Navigator worth the price? How much memory do I really need?

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by wookie View Post
    Is the Backwoods Navigator worth the price? How much memory do I really need?
    Depends on the area you'll need to display, and how many different map views you'll want to choose from. High res maps are nice, but they require more memory and processor oomph than what the Garmin stuff requires.

    I would like to try bsieb's tablet method, but I haven't invested in one yet. Not to mention, around here, I'd need to choose a tablet model that has a robust protective/waterproof case available because most trail planning where I live is starting right about now, and now is when the precipitation picks up again, and will be a regular fixture for work days until May or June.

  8. #8
    saddlemeat
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    The Backwoods Nav Pro app is about $10 and will run on any Android tablet or phone. Here in the high desert Southwest moisture isn't much of a problem, but I agree that a Garmin is much more rugged.
    A Useful Bear is a handy thing.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by wookie View Post
    Yep, and they're all dated. Thanks for the contribution though.
    Dated? The conversation took place this spring, and the suggestions coming up here are the same ones. So, you're welcome.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cotharyus View Post
    Dated? The conversation took place this spring, and the suggestions coming up here are the same ones. So, you're welcome.
    Gotta love the thread Nazis!

  11. #11
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    Thanks for the tips guys. I am running DROID and I also have a Garmin. I may go with Backcountry Navigator, but will try Terrain Navigator 1st. I am putting a proposal/grant together for our local USFS Rec Manager; I need to overlay an existing map. Thanks again!

  12. #12
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    If you are interested in overlays you may want to take a look at Orux Maps. I haven't tried it myself, but I do believe that it allows you to add layers to a view. It is a free (donations suggested) app.

    And, fwiw, I don't think it is unreasonable for Cotharyus to suggest you pick things up in the (slightly older) existing thread.

  13. #13
    saddlemeat
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    Judging by the response, I would say it's a timely topic. Things change quickly in the device world and what makes sense today may not tomorrow.

    I personally would miss not having my gps in a handheld computer at this point, especially with 3G connectivity and that large easily manipulated touch screen. The ability to access an aerial view, download and display it on the gps screen can be a real asset.
    A Useful Bear is a handy thing.

  14. #14
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    I use GIS to make a topo map of the area I'm working in (preferably with LiDAR data) and export to a georeferenced PDF. I then use the Avenza PDFmaps app on my phone to figure out where I am.

    I typically use ArcGIS for this because I have access to it at work. I use QGIS (open source) at home which is pretty similar and I now think that it can export a geospatial PDF.


    Most places have LiDAR terrain data available. Check to see if you have coverage here.

    United States Interagency Elevation Inventory

    and NSF OpenTopography Facility | Home

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by wookie View Post
    Gotta love the thread Nazis!
    Yes, because being a thread nazi is exactly what I was after. My suggestion had nothing to do with getting you answers 3 days ago rather than waiting to hear the same info. Nothing.

  16. #16
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    I have not used it myself, but this Theodolite app https://itunes.apple.com/ca/app/theodolite/id339393884 looks like it has some great features for figuring out slope and more techy survey stuff.

  17. #17
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    I create a lot of maps and submit a sheetload of tracks and overlays to various levels of "Da' Gov" every year for proposed trail projects.

    Recording tracks is done with a Garmin Vista HCx, along with an iPhone running MotionXGPS software.

    The recorder is somewhat irrelevant these days. My experience with three different (modern) GPS units demonstrates that they are all generally accurate to between 3 - 5 meters, depending on geography.

    The magic kicks in when its time to work with software.

    I cannot praise the work of Adam Schneider enough. Dig his free online tool:

    GPS Visualizer

    Get to know this online product and rejoice at all of the work that it will do for you. I've created several hundred wildly different kinds, shapes and sizes of maps using it!

    Andrew Drouin
    Sweet Singletrack - South Okanagan Hiking, Biking, Singletrack Trailguide
    South Okanagan Trail Alliance - SOTA

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