Iphone Apps like GPS to Navigate and APPS to Use While Hunting and Hiking?? Ideas?

Discussion in 'Gadgets & Gear' started by Nalapombu, Jun 19, 2015.

  1. Nalapombu

    Nalapombu Gold Member Gold Member

    Oct 26, 2001
    Hey all,

    I am going to be heading out and hog hunting in the Sam Houston National Forest in Se Texas in the next month or so. This place is HUGE, 105K acres. It is also gnarly and thick. I have been told by more than a few that if I didn't watch myself, I could easily find myself spending the night in there. Now THAT is something I definitely DON'T want to do.

    So, I have an IPhone 6+ and thought that with all the technology and apps out there that there's got to be some of them that I could use to aid my treks into the thick stuff and get safely back to my car or camp. What I mainly want to do with this app is mark where I park my truck or camp and go about my hunt and no matter how long it might be with me walking and maybe tracking a sounder of hogs, when I am ready to stop, I want to get that app running again and tell it to show me back to my starting point. I'm sure it would have more functionality and that's fine, but that's the primary reason I want an app like this.

    The next APP I want to find is one that aids me in hunting. I want to be able to get ready to walk into the woods and be able to pull up TOPO maps and see on those TOPOS where I'm at. If there are other maps that I can utilize, that would be great too. But being able to get other maps and view them in real time without having to depend on a cell signal would be awesome. Of course I'd want to be able to mark places on those maps and be able to get back to them whenever I wanted to or send them to a friend for him to check out. Having one of those breadcrumb trails as I walk would be handy too. I don't know what else I would want to do, those are the main things though.

    Do you all know apps that will let me do what I have described? I know they are not going to be free and that's ok. I don't want to get into an app where I have to pay some kind of fee each month though.

    What do you all suggest? Any apps like this that you know about?

    Thanks for the help.

  2. Bob W

    Bob W

    Dec 31, 2000
    You could buy a GPS. They are more durable and weather resistant than an iPhone. A GPS is easy to turn it off when you're not using it, so a single battery charge (or battery change) can last days or weeks. Cheaper than an iPhone, no monthly bill, no overseas roaming charges, and they aren't dependent on cell towers. :thumbup:
  3. heresthedeal


    Oct 3, 2010

  4. NorthRoad


    Jun 19, 2015
    Try Spyglass app, I think it will fit your requirements. It's a nav app with plenty of useful tools like different maps (CalTopo map, Google map, Open Street and Open Cycle map), ability to mark waypoints and save locations, send your locations via email or message. It also has a rangefinder, altimeter and is crammed with all that necessary data like gps coordinates, current azimuth, altitude, speed, potential arrival time to your target and much more. It works without cell signal, you just need to pre-download the map you need. It costs 4 bucks and is a bit of a learning curve, but it's totally worth it! Check it out here https://itunes.apple.com/app/spyglass/id332639548?mt=8&at=11lLc7&ct=c
  5. Planterz

    Planterz Gold Member Gold Member

    Mar 26, 2004
    Nitpicking a bit, perhaps, but the GPS on cell phones is completely independent of cell towers. Load a compass app without data, and it'll give you your exact coordinates (fun to play with on an airplane, as it tells you how fast you're going and at what altitude}.

    The problem is maps. Without a map to juxtapose those coordinates against, they don't do you any good. Most cell phone map apps require data to download the map of where you are. With Google Maps (on Android at least, I can't speak for iPhone apps) you can temporarily save a map to the device to use offline. Other apps allow you to download maps for offline use, but these maps won't be free, nor as detailed as a map from Google. I can't speak for any such apps, as I've never used them.

    That said, a proper GPS is still the better choice.
  6. Bob W

    Bob W

    Dec 31, 2000
    Thanks. From what I've just read, the iPhone uses the cell and wi-fi signals to assist the GPS, and the GPS can work without a cell signal. But it can't load maps without internet access, not without third-party apps anyway.
  7. RevDevil

    RevDevil Super Evil Supermod Staff Member Super Mod

    Nov 9, 2009
    Yep, don't trust my life to a phone unless I am dialing 911. Here is a list of the "Top 10" best tools for that job.
  8. 315

    315 Gold Member Gold Member

    Dec 2, 2017
    Look at the Gaia app, they have a free version or you can pay $39 a year and get 100’s of layers. Topo maps, satellite, private parcel ownership, public lands, hunting districts and many, many more. You can download the maps with several active layers and then use it offline with absolutely zero cell reception or in airplane mode. It also has historical usgs maps that show older roads, mines, etc that are not shown on the newer maps. I’ve been using it for several months now and really like it. It’ll work on an iPad if you have the cellular antenna, even without service the same way. It also has a layer that’ll show current wildfires.
  9. Scott321


    Jul 20, 2016
    Although this is an old thread, I'll just mention that when I used to head out to areas that might have spotty cell service, Google Maps used to have an option to download a relatively large area for temporary use (something like 30 days). I don't know if they still have that option. Some rest stops in low cell phone coverage areas have public Wifi, too, if you are traveling and go outside of the downloaded area. Yes, a dedicated GPS device would be better, but it's nice to have free options.

    I also have OsmAnd Maps as a backup on my phone (which allows a few free large maps throughout the world), but have never used it, since the Google download has always been sufficient for me when outside of a service area.
  10. 315

    315 Gold Member Gold Member

    Dec 2, 2017
    I didn’t realize how old it was. Weird thing, it was at the top of the list as if it were a fresh topic.
    Taylortat likes this.
  11. knarfeng

    knarfeng senex morosus moderator Staff Member Super Mod Moderator

    Jul 30, 2006
    I know it is still an option on Android.
  12. schwep


    Jan 4, 2017
    This being an old thread the OP may have changed his phone in the meantime. I suppose that for iOS there will be loads of mapping apps that can download free Open Street maps for offline use, or good topo maps from official topo services for a modest subscription. For my Android phone I use ViewRanger for the high quality topo maps (in France, from the national geographical survey, zoomable with all the scales they have down to 1:25.000, but you can get them from other countries too, the app is British). Download a chosen area and you have a way better mapping GPS receiver for far less money than a good mapping GPS from the likes of Garmin - in the latter case, if you want real topo maps and not vector ones, the maps can cost as much again as the unit itself.
    For navigation to road addresses I got WindyMaps, an app linked to the Windy weather app. It uses OpenStreetMaps, free of cost, and can download regions or even whole countries for offline use - practically the whole planet. The map shows decent topographical detail (the app even shows the vertical profile of the route you pick) but it is not as up-to-date as the official OS maps. Good enough to avoid getting lost though.
    Note that nowadays, recent phones come with GPS receivers that can receive not only signals from the US GPS satellites but also the Russian Glonass sats, and in the best cases, also the Chinese Beidou. Very soon also the European Galileo network. My phone uses GPS/Glonass and gets better fixes in difficult areas than my Garmin GPSMap 60Csx. Plus it has a nice large screen and great maps. No contest. Of course if you want to have the GPS function available for several days in a row, don't use it constantly to save power, and bring a small powerbank.
    For most nice looking, fashionable phones with all-around glass cases and screens all the way to the very edges, lack of ruggedness compared to a real GPS receiver is an item of concern. Better get a really good protective case or a ruggedized phone.
    And bring a paper topo map and a compass. These always work. ;-)
  13. rxavage


    Aug 16, 2014
    I always used my iPhone for gps/maps when hunting until I forgot to charge my power bank and it died resulting in me nervously wandering around the woods 3+ miles in from my truck. It’s extremely difficult to navigate thick cover even with a flashlight in the dark. I found my way after almost 6 hours. I recommend bringing a compass along with a gps and power bank at the least.

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