GPS android apps

dayhunt85

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Mar 19, 2017
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In lieu of buying a new Garmin GPS I was considering purchasing an Android GPS app. Has anyone done this with success? If so what app did you use? I found Gaia GPS, but haven't spent the $20 yet. I'm heading to CO this fall and will have a map and compass but I am considering a GPS as a parallel navigation option.

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406

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Nov 28, 2016
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Backcountry Navigator app. Works great. Can be as simple or as complicated as you want. Easy to use. I did pay for some layers, like the GMU one.

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rileybassman

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Kalispell
I have it and really like it. They are improving it all the time. It is worth the money. They have a private land feature that shows you the info of who owns the land. A lot of cool features imo.

I have it too on my S6, and love it as well. Very much worth it. The web view that you get with your subscription is worth the cost of entry alone in my opinion.

My dad has the garmin chip, and I use the app... honestly, if I have the area downloaded, I prefer using the phone over the gps.
 
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Yeah, I forgot to mention. You can download areas to your phone so it works 100% when you don't have a cell signal. You wouldn't know the difference.
 

ericfamilee

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Houston, Alaska
+1 for backcountry navigator. Better than my garmin. My only issue is battery life on my phone, for which there are several solutions.

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oldgoat

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Mar 5, 2015
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Arvada, CO
I tried onyx, didn't like it as much as Backcountry Navigator for elk hunting in the mountains. Onyx was just a little more complicated and too busy for what I wanted in the field. I have the add-ons with BCN for GMU and Private Property Boundaries and like that a lot. If you get the GMU addon, know that you can turn off the sheep and goat Boundaries to make it less confusing, depending on where your unit is this can be a big deal. Download your maps at home on WiFi.
 

maninthemaze

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I like the US TOPO MAPS app. I have the free version and it works pretty good with my phone in airplane mode. I might purchase the PRO version before heading out west for the ability to cache maps.

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Tony8108

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Apr 12, 2017
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How long do your batteries last on your phone's with them on airplane mode using the gps
 

Flashmo

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Nov 30, 2016
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Midway, UT
I am using Backcountry Navagator and not using my Garmins any more. Phone is now my GPS, camera and backup light. I carry a battery pack for recharging the phone.
 
OP
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dayhunt85

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Mar 19, 2017
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How long do your batteries last on your phone's with them on airplane mode using the gps
I would have to test it, but generally speaking my phone is 1.5 year old Note 5 and the battery life sucks. I plan to change the battery out before I go and I also plan to pack an external battery bank to hopefully last me the 6 days in the woods.


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idcuda

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Mar 9, 2014
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SW ID
Another vote for Backcountry Navigator. You download the areas you want when you're at home. When you're on a hunt you turn on your GPS, put it in airplane mode, and you're good for a few days with normal usage.
 

COlineman78

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Littleton, CO
I went on a mission to try them all last year and here is a summary for you:

US TOPO Maps: Free and payed ($10.99 one time fee). Not a ton of maps options but good enough. Great free option if you only want forest service/topo maps on your phone, but if you want to download the maps you need to get the pro option. Not necessarily tailored for hunting.

Backcountry Navigator: Payed ($11.99 one time and $8-12 layers) with a Free Trial. This is my personal choice, but as I will describe it is not for everyone. This specific app is not for the technically challenged. It certainly has a learning curve especially for the more advanced features. It does however a lot more powerful in those advanced features. It is the most cost effective solution for a hunter as for about $20-30 one time fee you will have most of what you want. They don't have a ton of states available for the public land boundaries and it doesn't give you any of the meta-data that onX does.

Gaia GPS: Payed ($19.99 one time and $40/year for Pro) 30 day free trial for Pro. Much easier to use for the less computer savvy, but still not dummy proof. Supported on both Android and iOS. $40/year covers all hunting overlays for every state. Private land boundaries are missing the metadata that onX has. Better base layers than US Topo and onX. Web version for online scouting and waypoint management (requires pro for sync). Printable maps. Points and Tracks saved to the cloud so they are not lost if you lose your device (assuming you have service, Pro only).

onX ROAM: Payed ($10/year + $20/year per state private land info), free trial. This is the best solution if you are technically challenged and only hunt public land. For only $10/year you will have the easiest to use interface and public land boundaries. If you are going to be using this for private land, especially in multiple states HUNT will be better for you. I found the ROAM version of the app to work generally faster, better and less buggy. Points and Tracks saved to the cloud so they are not lost if you lose your device (once you have service).

onX Hunt: Payed ($30/year per state or $99/year for all states or $14.99/month), free trial. This is the only solution that provides private land data and meta-data including the owner's name and possibly phone number. Other than that it is the same as ROAM with a few hunting specific overlays like DOW migration patterns and such. This is for those who are in dense areas of private land and/or want to ask for permission.
 
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COlineman78

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How long do your batteries last on your phone's with them on airplane mode using the gps

Mine lasts 2-3 days using GPS sparingly. BCN allows you to turn GPS on and off separately from actually using the app. This is nice if you know how to read a map you only have to use it occasionally to verify you are where you think you are. If you want to do a route track it is also highly configurable. The other apps I believe only turn it on when the screen is on and you're looking at it, at which point the GPS is the least of your worries because the screen is the primary consumer.

Using my phone as my GPS, music player, playing 15-30 min of games every night and taking the occasional picture; as long as it's in airplane mode it sees 2-3 days on average for sure. Recently the battery has started to suck so I'm sure it's less than that now. I carry a charger to charge off 18650 batteries that power my flashlight.
 

camping1601

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Gonna hijack a little rather than start a new thread and ask. What are you phone users doing about using them in the rain and snow? I find myself using my phone more and more but can't convince myself to rely on it 100%. Plus I've had a couple batteries totaley crap out and the phone was useless then.
 

Tony8108

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Mine lasts 2-3 days using GPS sparingly. BCN allows you to turn GPS on and off separately from actually using the app. This is nice if you know how to read a map you only have to use it occasionally to verify you are where you think you are. If you want to do a route track it is also highly configurable. The other apps I believe only turn it on when the screen is on and you're looking at it, at which point the GPS is the least of your worries because the screen is the primary consumer.

Using my phone as my GPS, music player, playing 15-30 min of games every night and taking the occasional picture; as long as it's in airplane mode it sees 2-3 days on average for sure. Recently the battery has started to suck so I'm sure it's less than that now. I carry a charger to charge off 18650 batteries that power my flashlight.

Thank you for the help, I was also going to ask everyone how the GPS reception is on your phone back in the mountains, do you ever have reception issues when you are getting down in valleys or in thicker Timber?
 

D_Eightch

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North Dakota
I just got OnX lastnight, was hesitant to get it for NoDak, don't ask why.

Wish I would have ordered it sooner. Going on a Hike this weekend and wanted to Check out where exactly our trail lead and how much public land we will be going through. This training hike turned into a scouting trip as well! Tons of Public land for me to check out,.
 

COlineman78

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Littleton, CO
Thank you for the help, I was also going to ask everyone how the GPS reception is on your phone back in the mountains, do you ever have reception issues when you are getting down in valleys or in thicker Timber?

It certainly can take a while. If you want to experiment there is an app called GPS Status & Toolbox that provides a detailed interface telling you connection strengths to individual sats. You need 2-3 sats for a rough fix and 4+ for a detailed fix. Obviously it depends upon terrain and a very steep canyon could be problematic, but that's with every GPS device. While the chips and antennas used for phones aren't the best, they certainly aren't much worse than the ones in dedicated units. Now, on some older android phones I did see some interference between the wifi antenna and GPS receiver so on a rare occasion I would have to turn off wifi to get my GPS to work right.

GPS Status & Toolbox - Android Apps on Google Play
 

COlineman78

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Gonna hijack a little rather than start a new thread and ask. What are you phone users doing about using them in the rain and snow? I find myself using my phone more and more but can't convince myself to rely on it 100%. Plus I've had a couple batteries totaley crap out and the phone was useless then.

Being waterproof is my #2 requirement for a cell phone for me (#1 is 128GB+ of storage for maps and offline music). This is why I have run Sony Xperia phones exclusively since the Z1 Compact was completely waterproof. I currently run the Z3V which is getting quite old and the battery is starting to suck, but last summer it spent 5 minutes in 3 foot deep lake water half buried in silt after it fell out of my waders and came through unscathed. Sony hasn't come out with a new Verizon phone in forever so if I had to buy one now it would be the new Samsung Galaxy S7 or S8 due to the waterproofness alone. I am hoping that the new Pixel 2 will be waterproof as I would much prefer a pure Google phone from a software standpoint. If looking for a budget friendly phone check out the Motorola G4 and G4 Plus (the G5 is no longer waterproof).

As far as batteries go, I have never had a battery die outright, especially out of nowhere, but their capacity will degrade over time. My phone is now 2.5 years old and the battery is starting to get noticeably less capable. The downside to a waterproof phone is that the batteries can't easily be replaced. It can be done, but I wouldn't do it and continue to trust the waterproofness.
 
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