School me on iPhone based GPS mapping?

Joined
Nov 26, 2009
Messages
18
Location
Virginia
I haven't used my older Garmin handheld GPS in many years because my iPhone and Google maps has sufficed, or I had a decent printed map. But an upcoming weeklong camping trip will mean no data service for my iPhone yet I'd still like to has some GPS mapping to help find areas of interest where we're going.

I've seen a few references to iPhone-based mapping apps like Avenza - does that basically put the maps onto the iPhone and you use a real (non-data) GPS signal with it? If so, is there any free our open source versions of this mapping app? Sounds kinda neat and my iPhone is easily twice the size of my old barely-readable GPS.
 
Joined
Nov 15, 2016
Messages
457
Location
Palo Alto, California
Another vote for Gaia GPS subscription. I set up waypoints, routes on my desktop and they sync to all my devices automatically. On each device I select map areas to download for off-line use. Sometimes I also set up a route and just ask Gaia app to download all the areas adjacent to a route.

Also a vote for Avenza. No subscription but I have to purchase maps, such as forest service visitor maps. The advantage of Avenza is they offer more recent and detailed maps than Gaia, e.g. forest service MVUMs.

But nothing beats Google maps for on-paved-road navigation and you can download areas for off-line use as well.

So I use all three apps on my phone.
 
Joined
Jan 5, 2019
Messages
11
Location
Santa Fe, NM
x3 for Gaia GPS. I got the 5-year premium subscription for $160. Like @Dharma Dude I plan trips on my desktop and then sync to my iphone (for hiking/biking) and ipad w/ Dual XGPS160 GPS receiver (for driving). There is a bit of a learning curve, but what's cool is that you create or assemble your own maps.

The only time I had a problem was when I was having so much fun exploring that I left the region of maps that I had downloaded. Had to revert back to good old paper maps! The lesson learned is that you have to plan ahead a bit and download all of the area you plan to explore.

I believe that Gaia recently added Forest Service MVUMs and they also have Public Land ownership maps.
 
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Joined
Nov 26, 2009
Messages
18
Location
Virginia
I did not know I could download google maps offline. I will try that. On this trip I am less worried about navigating and more interested in the immediate terrain and POI close to the campsite for when I get bored and want to go see something.

Wish I knew about Gaia’s free 7 day trial sooner. It started on me when I installed the apps but my trip isn’t for another 2 months.
 
Joined
Jun 24, 2018
Messages
16
Location
Reno, NV
If you are not needing off-road topo maps, maps.me is a good option for off-line turn by turn navigation and POI info.
 
Joined
Nov 15, 2016
Messages
457
Location
Palo Alto, California
I did not know I could download google maps offline. I will try that. On this trip I am less worried about navigating and more interested in the immediate terrain and POI close to the campsite for when I get bored and want to go see something.

Wish I knew about Gaia’s free 7 day trial sooner. It started on me when I installed the apps but my trip isn’t for another 2 months.
I have found GAIA online help (via their message board) very responseful and helpful. If you ask them nicely, they'll reset the bits so you can do the 7 day trial 2 months from now. Assuming it's technically possible (it might not be because some of the bits might be stored beyond their control).
 
Joined
Nov 15, 2016
Messages
457
Location
Palo Alto, California
I did not know I could download google maps offline. I will try that. On this trip I am less worried about navigating and more interested in the immediate terrain and POI close to the campsite for when I get bored and want to go see something.

Wish I knew about Gaia’s free 7 day trial sooner. It started on me when I installed the apps but my trip isn’t for another 2 months.
On Google Maps. You can only download the basic map and POIs, not terrain.
 
Joined
Nov 15, 2016
Messages
457
Location
Palo Alto, California
I believe that Gaia recently added Forest Service MVUMs and they also have Public Land ownership maps.
Good to know because Gaia has a nicer interface than Avenza. Their UI has a few bugs when dealing with offline maps but not a deal breaker. Sometimes when you zoon in, it doesn't refresh and you have to zoom out and zoom back in to get it to refresh.
 
Joined
Nov 26, 2009
Messages
18
Location
Virginia
Just uninstall it, install it again right before your trip, and create a new account.
I never created an account. I closed the app when it prompted me to do that, then it just went straight to the mapping and was working when I launched it again. I would think the 7 day trial is tracked based upon my Apple ID that I used to install it from the Apple store. But I'll give it a try, as well as trying their support method you mentioned.
 
Joined
Jan 16, 2017
Messages
13
Location
Arizona
My set up is similar to Terrapin - IPad, offline maps and DUAL GPS (the latter works just as good as a Bad Elf bluetooth GPS and it costs less). Along with this, I use Google Maps as well as Google Earth with KML files for Terrain overlays. Using the Google mapping platform allows me to synch all of my devices, phones. Ipads, laptops and GPS hardware like Gramin or Lowrance. You can also, share your trip with others - a nice option to have for those "just in case" scenarios. We (the Family and I) do quite a bit of offrod, chasing and exploring and this works for us. At the end of the day, you cant go wrong with GAIA and GM/GE.
 
Joined
Nov 15, 2016
Messages
457
Location
Palo Alto, California
Forgot to add a link to US.GOV TOPOS - topoView | USGS You can download KMZ/KML files from here. There are many others. just search KML Topos. They can be ingested into GE/GM
You can't import files into Google Maps anymore. You can import into Google Earth.

Also, the Avenza Maps app and store have USGS topos for free download as well. Gaia GPS has a USGS layer which is essentially the entire collection of USGS topos without the seams.
 
Joined
Jan 16, 2017
Messages
13
Location
Arizona
Interesting - I just Labled and imported a KMZ and a GPX file into Google Maps (on a windows pc ) : GoogleMaps / Your Places/ Maps / Create A Map. Pick or drop a file. Synched to all of my devices. Files show up on my Ipad under "Your Places / Maps. The limitation seems to be Overlays. I'll try a KML file later. In any event, whatever works - good luck to all
 
Joined
Jan 16, 2017
Messages
13
Location
Arizona
My bad on the Overlay Statement - It should have been "There seems to be limitation on "Map Layers" "
Again, best of luck to all
 
Joined
Nov 15, 2016
Messages
457
Location
Palo Alto, California
Interesting - I just Labled and imported a KMZ and a GPX file into Google Maps (on a windows pc ) : GoogleMaps / Your Places/ Maps / Create A Map. Pick or drop a file. Synched to all of my devices. Files show up on my Ipad under "Your Places / Maps. The limitation seems to be Overlays. I'll try a KML file later. In any event, whatever works - good luck to all
Uploading to Google Maps doesn't do what you expect. You don't get the topo overlaid.
 
Joined
Jan 16, 2017
Messages
13
Location
Arizona
I think I mentioned that map overlays seemed to be a limitation. But it works for me. And of course there are other solutions. Again. Best of luck to all.
 

Kofoed

 
Joined
Dec 2, 2004
Messages
1,484
I recently got the Member version (pay) of GAIA. What was an absolute requirement was that the gps would work and plot my position on the map without cell network connectivity. The free version does not have this--deal breaker.

I set up an account, and when it came time to pay I bailed on it. A few days to a week later I had an email offering a substantial discount.

I like that GAIA allows you to set up routes, due tracks and get maps on desktop and then integrated with the app and all your devices. I don't have the inclination to mess around with free this, and download free that and try to make it all work.

It is still a bit clunky to use, but I am getting it

The cool thing is you can download routes of known trails or trails others have uploaded very easily.

I got it for backpacking, mostly
 
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