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Smartphone Outdoor Apps

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Smartphone Outdoor Apps

Postby Snowtrout » Fri May 08, 2015 3:31 pm

It seems the last time this subject came up on here (after searching) was roughly 2013. Two years of new technology, new generations of apps, and peoples experiences using them should bring on a new discussion. So with more and more people using their smartphones as a vital piece of their backpacking equipment, which apps have you found to be very useful/helpful for your outdoor adventures?

Apps for:
Mapping or maps, first aid, survival skills, cooking, star gazing, photo effects, what ever you would want to share.

Sorry, nothing on my phone yet to share or review :crybaby:, thus the reason for the question.



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Re: Smartphone Outdoor Apps

Postby rlown » Fri May 08, 2015 3:35 pm

or with this post recently: viewtopic.php?f=15&t=12474&p=95304#p95304

Never a bad idea to jumpstart a new discussion.
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Smartphone Outdoor Apps

Postby gabe&mel » Fri May 08, 2015 4:51 pm

Thanks rlown.

I really like Gaia GPS on my iPhone. The maps are better than any stand alone GPS unit that I've ever run across. The interface is really intuitive kinda blows the my old Garmin Etrex Vista HCX and 60csx out of the water. I've used it for a month straight last year on the JMT and off trail as well. Downloading maps is really straightforward & easy. Adding waypoints to navigate to a set point a ways off is as simple as dropping a pin.

Pictapgo: quick and easy photo app to change the lighting and tone of photos.

Evernote: I use this for grad school and it just keeps me organized by having files and folders for everything important. It syncs across my phone, computer and the online site. All of my important textbooks, documents are in it. You do have to remember to download any document/file from the cloud to the device before going on any trip. I created a backpacking folder that contains all interesting trail reports, gear reviews, tips, knots, etc that I want I don't want buried in my email.

Edited to stay on topic.
Last edited by gabe&mel on Fri May 08, 2015 11:04 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Smartphone Outdoor Apps

Postby Jimr » Fri May 08, 2015 5:32 pm

I use Topo Maps + Good, high resolution map tiles. 3 or 4 bucks for two months access to download as many maps as you want for offline use. I basically use it for lazy triangulation rather than compass it out on my map. I've also used it to locate dirt road access and such.

For stargazing, I use Sky Guide.
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Re: Smartphone Outdoor Apps

Postby rlown » Fri May 08, 2015 5:57 pm

Snowtrout wrote:Apps for:
Mapping or maps, first aid, survival skills, cooking, star gazing, photo effects, what ever you would want to share.



Ok.. for first aid, this app: http://www.redcross.org/mobile-apps/first-aid-app

I'm not a proponent of reliance on electronics, but if you are, then ok. First Aid is something you should just know before you head out. Phone is dead and you don't know, maybe your hiking partner/stranger will be as well. Take the Red Cross courses at least. I feel the same way about survival skills. Cooking.. um.. I don't even know how to address that. It's obvious.
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Re: Smartphone Outdoor Apps

Postby Snowtrout » Fri May 08, 2015 10:00 pm

Thank you for some app ideas. Rlown, I was just throwing some topic ideas out to start the discussion. I would definitely agree with you that one should not depend on electronics to store information one should know or have some knowledge of.

Just trying to see what outdoor apps people are using that they feel are helpful...assuming your battery is charged :D
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Re: Smartphone Outdoor Apps

Postby joshuacourter » Fri May 08, 2015 10:11 pm

I like using Avenza for my mapping needs. You can get paid or free topo maps from their store or import your own. The US Forest Service let's you download their geo-referenced maps in pdf which works nicely with the app. You can put way points and track on the map your location. Highly recommend checking it out for iOS or Android. Windows based is in beta right now.
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Re: Smartphone Outdoor Apps

Postby rlown » Sat May 09, 2015 4:04 pm

As we're talking Smartphone apps, I liked Rogue's post on new stuff he bought in topic: viewtopic.php?f=15&t=11354&p=95353#p95353

RoguePhotonic wrote:For this summer I picked up a Suntactics scharger 8 which has double the power of the solar charger I have been using.


If you depend on your Smartphone, I'd get one.
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Re: Smartphone Outdoor Apps

Postby BSquared » Mon May 11, 2015 3:55 am

Very important iPhone note:

Don't think this rates being put in "announcements" because it only applies to a few of us (perhaps "the rest of us" to quote an ancient Apple advertisement, LOL), but the behavior of the GPS in Verizon iPhones has changed fundamentally with the latest release of iOS, iOS 8.3. It used to be that, at least with the Verizon version of the iPhone, it was not possible to have the GPS switched on without the cellular transceiver also on. In other words, putting the phone in Airplane Mode unconditionally switched off the GPS. There are numerous hacks floating around about how to get around this, but none seemed to work on my Verizon iPhone. (Perhaps fiddling with the SIM card would have worked, but I didn't want to try that.)

With iOS 8.3, the GPS now works in Airplane Mode on Verizon iPhones. :thumbsup: This has two implications, the first obvious and excellent, the second less obvious and potentially a bit insidious. The first, of course, is that we can now use all our location-dependent apps in the back country without draining the battery so fast, since in Airplane mode the phone isn't looking for a cell signal it will never find—your favorite navigation apps (mine is iHike GPS) PeakFinder, and so on. Sweet! :) The potentially insidious part is that it's now necessary to shut down each of these apps explicitly after using them, because many location-using apps are automatically set up to update the location continuously (or at least frequently), even when the app is in the background. Perhaps users more meticulous than I will find ways to make their apps stop asking for locations when they're not in the foreground, but I find it easier either to flick them off the screen or even to turn the iPhone completely off (I typically use such apps only a couple of times each day, so YMMV).
—B²
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Re: Smartphone Outdoor Apps

Postby AlmostThere » Mon May 11, 2015 7:28 am

I have the NOLS wilderness medicine book in my Kindle, ViewRanger maps, several Tom Harrison maps, and sometimes use the camera.

Mostly the phone stays off. If I don't leave it at home.
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Re: Smartphone Outdoor Apps

Postby gabe&mel » Tue May 12, 2015 7:33 am

BSquared wrote:Very important iPhone note:

The potentially insidious part is that it's now necessary to shut down each of these apps explicitly after using them, because many location-using apps are automatically set up to update the location continuously (or at least frequently), even when the app is in the background. Perhaps users more meticulous than I will find ways to make their apps stop asking for locations when they're not in the foreground, but I find it easier either to flick them off the screen or even to turn the iPhone completely off (I typically use such apps only a couple of times each day, so YMMV).


Thanks BSquared. I was having some battery drain issues on my last trip and I think this may have been the issue.
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Re: Smartphone Outdoor Apps

Postby Jimr » Tue May 12, 2015 8:53 am

Go down to post #4 for an interesting update on this feature change.

http://www.backpackinglight.com/cgi-bin ... _id=103031
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