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OSMAnd+ (Android) Mapping App

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First thing's first:  THIS APP REQUIRES NO DATA TO FUNCTION.  No matter how many people I talk to, someone always pops up to complain that it won't work when you're out of cell range.  I state now, once and for all, when you're on the road, this requires no data.  Some of the additional features may, and you must download the mapsheets ahead of time, but all you need for this to work in the field is the GPS chip--which every cell phone has.  

 

Best part?  Try it for free.  In the free version, you can download up to 10 mapsheets--which may be enough for you never to upgrade anyway, since each is a state or country.  If you do choose to upgrade to the full version, the cost is around $8--probably the best money you can spend on navigation.  Half the time, I can't buy paper maps for that much.  

 

This app has a million features, but here are the ones I really like:

- it's more versatile than my Garmin 650t.  It'll load anything GPX without a hassle.  

- It will save GPX (many configurations possible for intervals and other info), though I've actually had better luck with Google's My Tracks for pure simplicity.  Often, I record using My Tracks, then export to GPX and open in OSMAnd+.  

- pinch and pan using the phone interface is awesome

- Bluetooth allows turn-by-turn instructions on your helmet headset if you're on the road

- A $2 contour plug-in gives you topo capability (download a small topo overlay for each regular mapsheet).  If you don't know how awesome this is, save your $2 for a half a cup of coffee at Starbucks.

- It actually doesn't draw much power.  My phone will last all day with it on while recording GPX tracks.  The display is what sucks battery.  My phone (Droid Razr Maxx HD) will run OSMAnd+ longer than my Montana 650t will run on a single charge and the display turned all the way down.  

- You can load it onto a full-sized tablet or a mid-range 7" "phablet" and have an enormous display.  Some of these new phablets are actually waterproof (Sony Xperia is one) and have batteries to go for a really long time.  Try that on your GPS.  

- My favorite capability is setting an overlay map and selecting Microsoft Earth.  This gives you an overlay on top of the base vector map and a slider to choose the transparency.  This is hugely useful for seeing things like clear-cuts (logging is big up here in the PNW) or finding paths and trails that aren't on a map.  This feature alone is worth the $8.  It requires data of course, though you can preview the places you're looking at from the comfort of lunch or home wi-fi, and the imagery will remain cached.  I've used this for elk hunting, and it's very slick.

 

Drawbacks:

- there's so much here, it's intimidating at first

- you have to save the mapsheets on your phone.  Some are pretty big and will take a while to download, as well as a lot of space.

- I often have trouble getting it to navigate to a street address.  When using grid coordinates or picking a spot on the map, it has no difficulty at all.  

- Check your settings for what the phone enables during low-battery mode.  Mine was set to disable the GPS chip.

- Yes, your phone is probably not as hardy as your purpose-built GPS.  Yes, the screen is probably less well-adapted to direct sunlight, and charging can be a challenge due to vibration, even if the tablet or phone is waterproof.  Yes, the screen might not work with gloves (there is a glove treatment you can use for this though).  

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I second that.

I have used to follow GPX tracks and to save them too. It maps with a great detail.

Worked perfectly in Mexico and Honduras. Never wrong.

I got it on special for $4. 

There is another feature non-existent on 600+ dollar GPS.

Just with a plug in you can add live monitoring http://blog.osmand.net/en/plugins/95-osmo-plugin.html

 

I use Quadlock mount with my Galaxy S4. Charging directly from the battery. You need to have quality micro USB cable in order to get enough charging current.

Edited by ertes

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I'll have to check out the live monitoring function.  I actually ended up using Real Time Tracker 2 and had great, great luck with it because we inter-connected the guys on the trip and could all see each other live on a single display.  Tremendous capability, interrupted only by loss of cell service.  When we ran the LAB2V rally, it was awesome.  

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Have you guys looked at Spotwalla?

 

https://spotwalla.com/tripViewer.php?id=9d40537e6a960e926

 

This is a free service and works with Spot, DeLorme, and iOS. Sorry, I don't think they have the app for Android yet. With my DeLorme I can setup individual trips and then share the tracking map in real time. What is nice is that you can black out certain areas as private so you are not publicly sharing your hotel or home.

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Have you guys looked at Spotwalla?

 

https://spotwalla.com/tripViewer.php?id=9d40537e6a960e926

 

This is a free service and works with Spot, DeLorme, and iOS. Sorry, I don't think they have the app for Android yet. With my DeLorme I can setup individual trips and then share the tracking map in real time. What is nice is that you can black out certain areas as private so you are not publicly sharing your hotel or home.

 

App is available for Android, I've had it since early last year I think. Works well. Although I took pictures with it when out of cell coverage in the Kennedy Meadows area assuming it would correctly locate the picture on my spotwalla map when it uploaded my track -- it uploaded the track information but didn't locate the pictures correctly -- weird.

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At TOD I used Locus Free when we got lost.  I had pre downloaded the map and imported the GPX file.  No cell service needed.  

 

The other app i have on my phone is GPS Nav & Maps.  You can download the USA maps into your phone and no data service needed.  

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