March 2, 2019

Navigation - Apps

Unfortunately I’ve not yet found an app that has all the features I need for navigating a long trek like the Great Himalaya Trail, so I’ll be using these three apps in combination:


Advantages: Great maps. Ultimate flexibility - you can load lots of routes and adjust colours etc.
Disadvantages: Downloading maps takes hours. Impossible to select waypoints that are close to routes - e.g. most of them. (I think this bug is fixed in the Android version). Rather complex UI.


Advantages: Beautiful simple UI, and beautiful maps. Route overview view with elevation profile graph.
Disadvantages: All routes must me imported one by one. Offline maps must be downloaded separately for each route. Waypoints aren’t supported at all.

Advantages: Maps for the whole of Nepal download very quickly. Waypoints may be selected easily. The app can route from point to point along footpaths even when offline, which is pretty amazing. Obviously the footpaths have to exist in the map database, which will not always be the case.
Disadvantages: Maps aren’t topographic, so of limited use for off-trail navigation. Only imports KML files (not GPX).

It should be noted that ViewRanger and Footpath are not particularly efficient at loading multiple routes and downloading offline maps, so getting them set up was a major task taking several days. I’ve been chatting to the developer of Footpath who is making some changes that might make this easier soon.



Normally a software engineer, recently I've been spending a bit more time in nature.

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