GPS options?

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FreelandRyan

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Hello all, hopefully I've got this up in the right section.

I am looking for the best viable option for navigation systems on and off road and suggestions/reviews would be greatly appreciated. It seems through search I cant find much in the way of navigation.

Currently I have a My Gig Nav/DVD system built into the Jeep, an iPad 3, iPad Mini, Nexus 7, Samsung Note 4, iPhone 5s devices at my disposal - but also willing to upgrade if there are better options out there.

Primarily I would like one device I could use in conjunction with a physical map that I would be able to use for everything from the planning stage to re-routing or making changes en-route and additionally post trip review of waypoints. I have looked into the Hema Maps app but there seems to be mixed reviews.

Thank you in advance, any advice or insight is appreciated.

P.S. This is my first post so I'll be getting an introduction post up in the next few days, looking forward to meeting all my fellow adventurists!
 
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Daniel Etter

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I know a lot of people use the Gaia app. I just purchased it and love it! There is a discussion on here that mentions the new hema app. If I recall, the reviews say it is almost identical to Gaia which makes it disappointing because they copied something that's already been done. There is also backcountry navigator app, but I don't know much about it. Gaia seems to be the go to navigation app that people are using currently.
 

Rattlesnake44

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I've been using Gaia for Apple devices for a while now. If your device has a cellular chip it can run a GPS plotter even when there is no cell service. I've used my iPhone 5, iPad 2, and lately my iPhone 6+, the 6+ is just about the right size for me. I use a RAM mount with suction cup to keep it just about level with the top of my dash and its not so big as to impede my view, but big enough that I can see where I'm at on the fly, for any re-routing/re-plotting I pull over. You just have to remember to download and cache the map area you want BEFORE you leave cell or wifi service. Its pretty intuitive to do so, just a drag and click over the area you want to download. There's more stuff it does and I'm sure I'm missing key pieces, but that's the meat and potatoes of the app. Hope it helps.
 

1Louder

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For off-road GAIA. For on-road and no cell coverage Maps.Me is very good. Pocket Earth is pretty good but you need a connection to do routing. Hema is licensing stuff from GAIA. It's virtually the same app in a different color scheme. GAIA is WAY better with its options of different topo maps. I like USFS Raster because they provide the most detail. The Hema street maps are very nice but the selection for topo maps is very limited.

I think using your phone or a tablet is the best option because you get the most diverse options apps. I have a RAM mount for my phone and my iPad in my FJ Cruiser.
 

1Louder

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I don't really see the need for the 2nd app although you are getting it for free with the bundle. I have never used it and topo maps are offline anyway in GAIA if you download them.
 
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Wawa Skittletits

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I saw that a lot of people were using Scenic Map happily so I purchased the US map bundle. My external gps hasn't arrived yet so I can't comment on using it to navigate but I really like the topo map interface.
 
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boehml

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I recently purchased the Hema Explorer app for an upcoming trip, which is apparently a knock off of Gaia (I had no clue). The purchase came with multiple topo and sat maps, all of which are great. While I haven't had the chance to put it to the test, it works in both on and offline mode for tracking your position. The maps are only useful if you save a selection (i.e your area of travel) onto your device prior to going offline (out of cell range).

As far as price goes, I was satisfied with what it came with. You do have to create an account however, which connects with the "cloud". The "cloud" is a separate website where you can search and upload GPX and KMS tracks for use on your tablet or phone.

If you're online, the app also has a weather forecast built in. I'm not sure how handy this will be, but I suppose you could use it whilst making your way to the trail head. All in all, I would recommend this app for navigation and unless something seriously sucks about it in offline mode when I use it later this month, I will continue to recommend it.
 

r1_iceman

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I use Gaia with my iOS devices and Backcountry Nav with my Android devices. Gaia with my 6+ is my preferred combo. Gaia seems to have more current map options.
 

vegasjeepguy

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I currently still use a Garmin handheld GPS that works very well for me. It would be nice to have a bigger screen, but I wonder how these GPS apps work in the backcountry with no cell or internet service and how position updates are handled without a signal.
 

Rattlesnake44

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The cellular function is separate from the GPS chip in current smart phones. I've had zero problems with my Apple iPhone 6+ in areas with no service. Just leave the service function on and the GPS is active. If not plugged in this can cause the devices to run down the battery more quickly. I just leave mine plugged in while driving, not a big deal.
 
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ravenplague

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I have the Back Country Navigator app using my Nexus 7. I bought the nexus 7 a while ago and never knew that they all come with the gps chip stock, so i was happy to pull it out of retirement. The app is pretty good. I don't have any experience with the others but I like how i can switch between map sources while off grid. You obviously have to download each one prior but good nonetheless. The only thing that sucks is that it is difficult to keep the nexus 7, while using back country app, charging when plugged in. I bought a 2.1 amp cigarette lighter usb charger and it barely keeps it at a constant rate.
 

FreelandRyan

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I have the Back Country Navigator app using my Nexus 7. I bought the nexus 7 a while ago and never knew that they all come with the gps chip stock, so i was happy to pull it out of retirement. The app is pretty good. I don't have any experience with the others but I like how i can switch between map sources while off grid. You obviously have to download each one prior but good nonetheless. The only thing that sucks is that it is difficult to keep the nexus 7, while using back country app, charging when plugged in. I bought a 2.1 amp cigarette lighter usb charger and it barely keeps it at a constant rate.
Good to know. I bought the Nexus 7 to replace the pop up nav screen in my RX8 but sold the car to fund lift and tires, its been collecting dust ever since I bought it.
 

bee_CO

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I just downloaded and installed Gaia on my recently retired from active service phone, Galaxy S5 Active, which I guess I will now use as a gps device. Screen is 5.1", not as big as a tablet, but high resolution and easier to use handheld. So far, app is awesome. Intuitive, easy to use, the vector maps are great, in my opinion. But it's also got usgs maps if you want to use those.

So, I wasnt sure if it would work. But I still get GPS location services, even though there is not an active Sim card in the phone. So as long as you download /cache the maps you want ahead of time, youre good to go.

That said :
1) it auto caches a lot of maps. This is nice, in my opinion, since it's always better to have more map than you think you will need.
2) this might suck if storage space on your machine is limited. I've got a 32gb SD card, and its cheap enough to get 64 or 128gb if I needed, so I've got plenty of space. But if you don't have an SD card slot it might be a problem.
3)in the areas you want full zoom level on the map, you have to select the zoom area and manually download ahead of time. I've done this on other apps, but it is very easy on this app.

5stars, great app so far.
 
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Justin_0237

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So if I had a iPad that doesn't have cell service I could download the app and download all the maps on wifi and will have them available to use on the go?