Why are onX three different apps instead of one app like Gaia? | OVERLAND BOUND COMMUNITY

Why are onX three different apps instead of one app like Gaia?

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nuclear_runner

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Instead of another 'Gaia vs onX Backcountry' thread, I really just want to know why there are three different apps instead of one? This isn't even about the money; it's just a really janky experience. I like to mix overlanding, running, hiking, photography, and fishing/hunting, and so Gaia is much easier to use to plan with, instead of having two apps/browser windows open. I really like onX's trail ratings etc but got frustrated with the multiple apps. The UI etc seems very similar so they could probably just make it one app and just switch modes (like Gaia). You could even pay depending on which modes you wanted. Anybody else have other solutions?
 

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My guess is the operation of each is very different at the backend level. Combining all would have too much software overhead, and probably slow the interface unacceptably.
 
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Instead of another 'Gaia vs onX Backcountry' thread, I really just want to know why there are three different apps instead of one? This isn't even about the money; it's just a really janky experience. I like to mix overlanding, running, hiking, photography, and fishing/hunting, and so Gaia is much easier to use to plan with, instead of having two apps/browser windows open. I really like onX's trail ratings etc but got frustrated with the multiple apps. The UI etc seems very similar so they could probably just make it one app and just switch modes (like Gaia). You could even pay depending on which modes you wanted. Anybody else have other solutions?
The reason for three different apps is because of the way the company started up. First and foremost Onx was built for hunters to be able to see public vs private lands with the contact information of private land owners to be able to get contact information to gain access to the private lands (if possible). Secondly hikers liked the app so Onx started a backpacking app focusing on hiking and cycling trails. Then the Overland craze hit and BCN had stopped development temporarily. So Onx took up where BCN left off. Also remember that Onx Hunting in its infancy was able to be uploaded to certain GPS navigating devices (Garmin Oregon come to mind) where backpacking crowds don’t like the need to carry a heavy GPS device.

I haven’t used Onx since 2014 when I started carrying an iPhone, and stopped elk hunting deep in the wilderness. I use GAIA only for trip planning at the moment, and use OB1 for actual trail navigation. Soon I will be exclusively on OB1 when all the features are finally built and implemented.
 

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The reason for three different apps is because of the way the company started up. First and foremost Onx was built for hunters to be able to see public vs private lands with the contact information of private land owners to be able to get contact information to gain access to the private lands (if possible). Secondly hikers liked the app so Onx started a backpacking app focusing on hiking and cycling trails. Then the Overland craze hit and BCN had stopped development temporarily. So Onx took up where BCN left off. Also remember that Onx Hunting in its infancy was able to be uploaded to certain GPS navigating devices (Garmin Oregon come to mind) where backpacking crowds don’t like the need to carry a heavy GPS device.

I haven’t used Onx since 2014 when I started carrying an iPhone, and stopped elk hunting deep in the wilderness. I use GAIA only for trip planning at the moment, and use OB1 for actual trail navigation. Soon I will be exclusively on OB1 when all the features are finally built and implemented.
Thanks, that makes SOME sense. Still, I think you could gain a lot by being able to switch views easily, and having only one app. I haven't looked at OB1 in almost 6mo, and then it was very primitive and had almost no information in my area. I'll take a look and see about adding info as I venture out.

DISCLAIMER: I've not used Gaia or onX much at this point so please correct me if I'm off on something. I think what onX is really good at is collecting information about routes, difficulty and availability of dispersed camping. It's not really great for planning a route (like, as far as I know, onX can't make a track, and navigation uses Google Maps. Gaia has its own routing). Although I was initially against onX's view vs Gaias, but there is some advantage to only seeing 4x4 roads vs all NF routes.
 

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Thanks, that makes SOME sense. Still, I think you could gain a lot by being able to switch views easily, and having only one app. I haven't looked at OB1 in almost 6mo, and then it was very primitive and had almost no information in my area. I'll take a look and see about adding info as I venture out.
Ask OnX. I would love to hear their answer. Gaia started out as a hiking only app. Yet, they have managed to add different types of recreation in the same app. Very early on the authors of Gaia also had a boating app with NOAA charts. All of that was eventually merged into Gaia. Gaia has added turn by turn in the app and not just carplay. I don't think it will ever be at the level of what Google or Apple does but it has been improved. True "Driving Directions to the trail" still link out to Google or Apple.

Gaia also has offline route planning in the app now.
 
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nuclear_runner

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Ask OnX. I would love to hear their answer. Gaia started out as a hiking only app. Yet, they have managed to add different types of recreation in the same app. Very early on the authors of Gaia also had a boating app with NOAA charts. All of that was eventually merged into Gaia. Gaia has added turn by turn in the app and not just carplay. I don't think it will ever be at the level of what Google or Apple does but it has been improved. True "Driving Directions to the trail" still link out to Google or Apple.

Gaia also has offline route planning in the app now.
Great idea. I sent them a nicely worded (i.e. not adversarial) email about this and also about route creation in the app (am I really that dumb or is there no way to create/export GPX?). I will 100% follow up if/when they reply. I haven't tried the Gaia navigation but I might this weekend on a few easy trails/B roads. I normally just export the GPX and follow it on my Garmin... but if the Android app is good, it could remove the need for an external GPS unit.
 

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Great idea. I sent them a nicely worded (i.e. not adversarial) email about this and also about route creation in the app (am I really that dumb or is there no way to create/export GPX?). I will 100% follow up if/when they reply. I haven't tried the Gaia navigation but I might this weekend on a few easy trails/B roads. I normally just export the GPX and follow it on my Garmin... but if the Android app is good, it could remove the need for an external GPS unit.
I haven’t used a dedicated GPS device since 2015. All I ever use is an app and my iPhone/iPad
 

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I had a Gaia Premium membership for a little over two years. Pleased with the first version when I initially subscribed (a good tool for trip/route planning to go hiking and backpacking).

Recently I moved over to a onX Offroad Premium membership.

I own a old laptop with the graphics chip built onto the motherboard. The graphics card has access to the same memory as the CPU. CPU wins all of the time.

GAIA loading and refresh on my old laptop was sluggish at best, froze at worst, when attempting trip/route planning. I’m guessing the data load was overwhelming.

I have NOT experienced same the difficulties with onX Offroad at this point in time. Maybe the data load is not as overwhelming for my old laptop as Gaia’s.

IMHO,
Joe

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View attachment 212862

Pretty sure its not your hardware but Gaias servers. I was planning a route on my gaming desktop last night and even then it was laggy when moving around the map setting waypoints.
 
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Ask OnX. I would love to hear their answer. Gaia started out as a hiking only app. Yet, they have managed to add different types of recreation in the same app. Very early on the authors of Gaia also had a boating app with NOAA charts. All of that was eventually merged into Gaia. Gaia has added turn by turn in the app and not just carplay. I don't think it will ever be at the level of what Google or Apple does but it has been improved. True "Driving Directions to the trail" still link out to Google or Apple.

Gaia also has offline route planning in the app now.
Here's what they said:
All three onX products (Hunt, Offroad, and Backcountry) have great data, and there is a lot of overlap between them, so it would be handy to have all that information in a single application.

However, while researching and testing different ways to provide the information, we found that including all features in one app made the screen somewhat cluttered and it was hard to use. Having separate apps also allows us to tailor each app for their specific purposes, and we'll continue to listen to customer feedback in order to make the best apps we can.

We don't offer bundled pricing for Hunt, Offroad, and Backcountry, but if you have any questions please contact us to talk with one of our support agents about which product or products meet your specific needs. [Contact info followed].


I did a short 4 day weekend trip and I used both onX and Gaia to plan where to go and also for routing via Android Auto (Both Gaia and onX are now on Android Auto which is fantastic, for ages Gaia was Apple Carplay only). I also had routes on my GPS head unit to keep things from going totally sideways.

Planning: If you want to make in depth routes for long trips, Gaia is easily the better tool. As far as I've been able to tell, onX can't make a route that follows a road, you just drop a bunch of waypoints. I also couldn't figure out how to export existing tracks in onX to GPX but I think it's possible. Where onX really shines is the trail descriptions, ratings, etc. Gaia has very few if any dispersed campsites (at least where I live, near the George Washington NF). onX tells you which fire roads have them. This is super helpful if you're unfamiliar with an area. It also tells you how difficult different areas are. It seems like some of this on crowdsourced, but there are quite a few that are from onX's own database.

Overall, I definitely like onX's database of trails, keeps me from going anywhere too challenging alone (I'm a coward) and gives me some good ideas about where to look to spend the night. I got 1 year of each, so we'll see what happens in that time. I still think for trail running or backpacking, Gaia is a bit better of a solution (still need more time with onX Backcountry but it seems like it can't export detailed GPX files that I can load on my running watch).
 

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Overall, I definitely like onX's database of trails, keeps me from going anywhere too challenging alone (I'm a coward) and gives me some good ideas about where to look to spend the night. I got 1 year of each, so we'll see what happens in that time. I still think for trail running or backpacking, Gaia is a bit better of a solution (still need more time with onX Backcountry but it seems like it can't export detailed GPX files that I can load on my running watch).
I would look at the content Trails Offroad provides. $25 a year. They have over 2700 curated trails. Lots have reviews from subscribers and TO does a good job updating when a trail is closed. As for OnX I reported a trail that has a large closure. It has been closed for years and they have yet to update the app. I reported that over a year ago. While I can see the attraction to having trail suggestions baked into an app if the data isn't current it is far less valuable. My 2 cents. Here's a link, All-Access - Trails Offroad. As of today, I do not make any money for the referrals. It would just be nice to show folks who came from OB though if you choose to use the link.

Gaia has a public tracks layer. It can give you ideas BUT they do not segment by activity nor require other Gaia users to put in specific data. Some people love it. I find it not very useful and have told Gaia so. IF Gaia improves the public track section to require certain data to be complete before making it public then the value would go way up.
 

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OnX just sent out their weekly email campaign. It features the El Camino Del Diablo trail. While the email mentions a permit is required there is no mention of this in the app for this trail or another route that is listed in the Barry Goldwater Range. There is a good example of something that can get you in trouble. We have been asked for our permits on multiple trips there. It is an active range!

Trails Offroad does list this. While I am sure I could find something in Trails Offroad that is inaccurate this really bad of OnX to feature a trail and not put important details in the trail descriptions. All trails in the Trails Offroad database that require a permit have the information listed. I believe the OB app is working on something similar. Yes, I am promoting Trails Offroad I guess. It has one-click access to adding routes to Gaia but its quality data can be used with any app that allows for GPX imports.
 

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I would look at the content Trails Offroad provides. $25 a year. They have over 2700 curated trails. Lots have reviews from subscribers and TO does a good job updating when a trail is closed. As for OnX I reported a trail that has a large closure. It has been closed for years and they have yet to update the app. I reported that over a year ago. While I can see the attraction to having trail suggestions baked into an app if the data isn't current it is far less valuable. My 2 cents. Here's a link, All-Access - Trails Offroad. As of today, I do not make any money for the referrals. It would just be nice to show folks who came from OB though if you choose to use the link.

Gaia has a public tracks layer. It can give you ideas BUT they do not segment by activity nor require other Gaia users to put in specific data. Some people love it. I find it not very useful and have told Gaia so. IF Gaia improves the public track section to require certain data to be complete before making it public then the value would go way up.
The only problem with Trails Offroad is they are focused out west. I've seen the recommended a few times but that rarely mentioned. The OP is in Virginia which shows like 6 short trails and NC has 0
 

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The only problem with Trails Offroad is they are focused out west. I've seen the recommended a few times but that rarely mentioned. The OP is in Virginia which shows like 6 short trails and NC has 0
I kind of have to hand it ton onX there, they have a bunch of info for the east coast which usually gets overlooked on overlanding apps (looking at you The Dyrt). That said, they don't list Peters Mill Run (which is very close to me) as needing a permit either.
 
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I kind of have to hand it ton onX there, they have a bunch of info for the east coast which usually gets overlooked on overlanding apps (looking at you The Dyrt). That said, they don't list Peters Mill Run (which is very close to me) as needing a permit either.
Check out Gravel Road Maps and Biking Routes - Gravelmap Not sure what they are like up near DC but I know they have a good bit around the NC/TN/VA triangle there. Looks like its all user curated so I found I had to do some google checking to see what is actually dirt or is still dirt but I managed to put together a ~175 mile trip between that and Gaia which we plan to run this weekend that is all dirt after at ~50mi trip to get there.
 
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nuclear_runner

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Check out Gravel Road Maps and Biking Routes - Gravelmap Not sure what they are like up near DC but I know they have a good bit around the NC/TN/VA triangle there. Looks like its all user curated so I found I had to do some google checking to see what is actually dirt or is still dirt but I managed to put together a ~175 mile trip between that and Gaia which we plan to run this weekend that is all dirt after at ~50mi trip to get there.
I use this for gravel biking but never really thought about it for driving. One of my biggest issues is finding viable campsites. Of course, every forest service road I've driven on has had at least a few. I've been marking waypoints at every campsite with some notes like how many cars would fit, if you could put up a tent etc. I've got a good chunk of GWNF Lee District.
 
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The only problem with Trails Offroad is they are focused out west. I've seen the recommended a few times but that rarely mentioned. The OP is in Virginia which shows like 6 short trails and NC has 0
I kind of have to hand it ton onX there, they have a bunch of info for the east coast which usually gets overlooked on overlanding apps (looking at you The Dyrt). That said, they don't list Peters Mill Run (which is very close to me) as needing a permit either.
I know OnX is trying to find writers for content. How much it pays, if anything, I don’t know. I took a glance around the Roanoke, VA area to see what OnX might have. The trails I saw were very short out and back drives. Likely more 4x4 oriented. I believe East Coast Overland and Mountain State Overland may publish some tracks.

When I turned on the public tracks in Gaia there was a lot of info. However, like I said before it is very random and lacking details. The roads and trails layer did show some dirt roads similar to what we have out west. I will attach a few screenshots.

As for Trails Offroad its content is also dependent on the writing team. I believe they are still looking for writers. If people are interested in doing that I would reach out to either OnX or Trails Offroad. TO requires a lot of detail including photos and video. That’s what makes each trail write up so great.
 

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1Louder

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Another suggestion for Gaia would be to turn on the UFSF Roads and Trails layer and MVUM at 100%. While it is not spoon fed curated content it will show you what is legally available. The majority of the content in OnX uses this same data. The difference is it is embedded into the map layers whereas in Gaia you can turn it on and off or blend the visibility with the layers you have on.
327E219E-B6F7-4321-8A84-C8006D0BCFE0.png
 

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YoKramer

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I use this for gravel biking but never really thought about it for driving. One of my biggest issues is finding viable campsites. Of course, every forest service road I've driven on has had at least a few. I've been marking waypoints at every campsite with some notes like how many cars would fit, if you could put up a tent etc. I've got a good chunk of GWNF Lee District.

Yea our only concern on the trip is finding a campsite, but we are hitting a few fire service roads and 2 of the others we will be on are common places people will stop to camp along so we will see what we find. I plan on marking waypoints in Gaia for sure as we pass them.
 

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Another suggestion for Gaia would be to turn on the UFSF Roads and Trails layer and MVUM at 100%. While it is not spoon fed curated content it will show you what is legally available. The majority of the content in OnX uses this same data. The difference is it is embedded into the map layers whereas in Gaia you can turn it on and off or blend the visibility with the layers you have on.
View attachment 213386
Yep, USUALLY if you drive a few FS roads you'll find a spot around here. In a pinch you could prob pull off into a turn around and camp.

Yea our only concern on the trip is finding a campsite, but we are hitting a few fire service roads and 2 of the others we will be on are common places people will stop to camp along so we will see what we find. I plan on marking waypoints in Gaia for sure as we pass them.
I'd be curious to see your route/trip report if you're feeling generous :)