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#36233 - 05/04/14 04:30 PM easiest android hiking app?
JasonJM Offline


Registered: 05/04/14
Posts: 4
Loc: United States
any of you have a good android hiking map recommendation that can download the maps into offline mode and keep the GPS active so I can follow the trail?

I tried a few but they all to confusing and sucky, so looking for recommendations?
going to day hike whitney end of August with a group that doesn't even know how to find the actual mountain nevermind the trail.

on a side note, my acclimatization plan is to downhill mountain bike mammoth for 4 days / nights prior to whitney, that should help a lot correct?

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#36234 - 05/04/14 05:01 PM Re: easiest android hiking app? [Re: JasonJM]
John Sims Offline


Registered: 04/20/12
Posts: 544
Loc: Sunnyvale, California
I recommend "View Ranger". App is free, and basic maps are also free. You can buy more detailed maps if you like. You can also search their user database for hikes/routes. You will find both the Main Trail and Mountaineer's Route. You can download maps to your phone and use without cell/WiFi coverage. The also have a "MyViewRanger" site (free to join) where you can manage your routes and tracks. Upload gpx files to their site, edit the gpx files, etc.....
Main site: http://www.viewranger.com/en-us
After you register for "myviewranger" you can download routes, etc.....
Highly recommended.

I use it with iPhone, but they also support android. Not sure how it works with android, but guess is works the same.


Edited by John Sims (05/04/14 05:02 PM)
Edit Reason: iphone comment

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#36235 - 05/04/14 05:08 PM Re: easiest android hiking app? [Re: JasonJM]
nyker Offline


Registered: 07/26/12
Posts: 208
Loc: New York
Thoughts:

As far as hiking apps, I've tried a few, but don't bother anymore since even if the app worked, my phone battery would probably die before I finished the hike. Better plan: familiarize yourself with a $10 map and compass. Also, cellular based route finding is not the same as satellite based GPS; i.e. don't count on consistent cellular coverage in any mountains.

If you're planning on the Main Trail, there is a fairly well developed trail essentially to the summit which will be hard to miss even in the dark under headlamp. You'll also have plenty of other "companions" in August on the trail.

For your acclimatizing plan, rather than downhill mountain biking, try uphill walking/hiking to 11,12,13,14k ft to better prepare yourself for Whitney. If you're bent on staying on the bike, then at least ride up the hills to better build your aerobic capacity. I'd also suggest to NOT do four days of stressful aerobic work during the four days preceding your planned climb and rather be doing that work now until mid-August, leaving the four days before your climb to acclimatize to the altitude and do some easier walks.

Given your comment on your planned hiking group, reconsider your hiking companions or educate them beforehand and take them on some easier hikes to warm up in the weeks before your trip to assess their fitness level and how they are at altitude and how they manage being on a trail all day at higher elevations. You don't want to find yourself in a position to have to manage a couple of people getting AMS on the backside of Trail Crest.

Enjoy your trip!

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#36239 - 05/04/14 09:34 PM Re: easiest android hiking app? [Re: JasonJM]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7742
Loc: Fresno, CA
JasonJM, I will not counter what nyker wrote, but you asked whether 4 days/nights in Mammoth would help with acclimatization. It will definitely help. If you are otherwise prepared for the hike, having fun in Mammoth will help with the altitude.

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#36244 - 05/05/14 08:52 AM Re: easiest android hiking app? [Re: JasonJM]
wbtravis Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 1253
Loc: Corner of Jack Benny and Roche...
Jason,

Turning on your GPS will kill your phone in less hours than it takes to hike this trail. Your phone, if not in airplane mode, will be constantly trying to find a network that does not exist. My phone last about 8 hours in the locals when I forget to put it airplane mode...and I have the GPS turned off.

The best course of action is to have those in your group buy the pertinent maps and study them. When I first did this hike I was hiking about 3 months. I studied the maps before going and the only surprise I had was how stinking hard the upper part of this trail is on your body. I knew where all the stream crossing were, when the trail was easy and hard; and junctions for Lone Pine Lake and north bound JMT.

The only thing you might need your phone for is to say, "I'm on the top of the world, Mom" and for assistance when thing go terrible wrong. You will be hiking with 160 of your new nearest and dearest friends...especially in the morning.


Edited by wbtravis (05/05/14 08:55 AM)

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#36268 - 05/05/14 06:59 PM Re: easiest android hiking app? [Re: wbtravis]
JasonJM Offline


Registered: 05/04/14
Posts: 4
Loc: United States
i am confused?

doesnt GPS come from satellites ? so why would my phone not find GPS on whitney? it doesn't make sense?

also i have the note 3 which is a monster phone, can run for 36 hrs with moderate screen use if wifi and bluetooth and data/phone functions are off

me and paper are just eternally cursed. I hate paper.

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#36269 - 05/05/14 08:31 PM Re: easiest android hiking app? [Re: JasonJM]
nyker Offline


Registered: 07/26/12
Posts: 208
Loc: New York
Sorry Jason, didn't mean to confuse you: I am not an expert on this, but here goes:

The difference pertains to the A-GPS vs GPS technology. The A-GPS (assisted GPS) is typically used in mobile phones, while GPS is used in more commercial applications (true GPS units, aircraft, ships, etc).

Traditional GPS links up directly with satellites to communicate data.

A-GPS makes use of cellular towers (or wifi) to relay satellite data and usually can be quicker to detect and give you a location. However, in areas where you have a weak cellular signal, navigating by one will be compromised. The A-GPS will utilize the cell towers to sort of "cheat" to determine location and provide a quicker response, whereas pure GPS will need to triangulate with three satellites assuming line of sight, which can and often does take a couple of minutes. Indoors or in a canyon even GPS will have issues working properly as it won't be able to "see" the satellites.

There are some mobile phones using A-GPS which can also directly link up to a GPS/satellite network as a backup, but for now, these are more likely to be the
exception not the norm.

Both technologies can work great in certain situations, though both are also subject to transmission signal strength, having obstacles blocking signals and of course rely on batteries to function. Carriers also occasionally shut down GPS at times.

In urban or suburban areas (ie areas where your carrier's cell towers are plentiful and signal strength is strong), A-GPS works great even where there are a lot of buildings around (and where line of sight would be hard to get for GPS-AGPS can use cellular towers to overcome this limitation) . In more remote areas or open areas, traditional GPS seems to have the edge, for now.

Think about those spots where you're cell phone won't work because it cannot find a signal (such as sparsely populated regions on earth). In those places, the A-GPS will also be hard pressed to work properly.

In either case, you are still relying on batteries working, which when dead, you are holding a fragile paperweight and extra weight in your pack. I don't recall seeing any wifi hubs on Whitney.

Hope that helps.

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#36272 - 05/05/14 10:05 PM Re: easiest android hiking app? [Re: JasonJM]
John Sims Offline


Registered: 04/20/12
Posts: 544
Loc: Sunnyvale, California
Originally Posted By: JasonJM
i am confused?

doesnt GPS come from satellites ? so why would my phone not find GPS on whitney? it doesn't make sense?

also i have the note 3 which is a monster phone, can run for 36 hrs with moderate screen use if wifi and bluetooth and data/phone functions are off

me and paper are just eternally cursed. I hate paper.


Hi Jason,

I can only speak for the iPhone, but with the iPhone the situation is as follows:
-For GPS to work the iPhone requires that the cellular function be active. When out of reach of a tower, the phone constantly searches for a tower, thus draining the battery faster than normal. I use a "mophie" case that includes an additional battery, so I actually have no problem lasting multiple days, even with the condition of no cell service. Alternatively, you could switch the phone to "airplane mode" when not in use, then turn back to normal to look at your map and position. So, there are easy ways to deal with the shortened battery life.
- You should verify what needs to be turned on and what can be turned off for YOUR Note 3 phone GPS to function. You may have less battery than you think.
-The iPhone does get more accurate positioning when cell towers are available, but the I have not found this to be significant.
-I do not really use the GPS function of my iPhone for navigation, but I might refer to it to verify position, and check my progress. On the Mt. Whitney Main Trail, navigation is not so much an issue. As others have pointed out you will not be alone, and the trail is well worn (for the most part). Nonetheless, a few folks have become lost while hiking. Most often on the return leg, at night, when they are tired, and possibly suffering the effects of altitude sickness.
- I also have an app on my phone that creates a gpx file that I can sync with my photographs, encoding the lat/lon info into the exif data (my camera does not have a gps chip).
- For hikes that are "off the beaten track", involving some risk I also carry an "InReach" satellite communication device. With my iPhone I can send and receive text messages to "whoever" I like. Without the iPhone I can still send text messages (as well as "SOS"), but I am limited to three pre-programmed messages, so having the iPhone has clear advantages for providing more concise information.
- One other caution, in deep canyons all GPS receivers can have difficulty, so they are not 100% reliable. Hence the importance of some basic map/compass skills.

Four days and nights at Mammoth is a good plan. I often spend three nights there prior to hiking above 13,000'. My easiest hike up the main trail was after spending one week at Lake Tahoe, riding my mountain bike. Of course I was riding up to baker pass nearly everyday. Not taking the lift up, and coasting down smile You can hike to the top of Mammoth Mountain. It is a good "warm up" hike for Whitney.

Enjoy!

John

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#36280 - 05/06/14 07:12 AM Re: easiest android hiking app? [Re: JasonJM]
Bob West Offline


Registered: 11/13/09
Posts: 828
Loc: Bishop, CA, USA
You'll have no problem following the trail, especially with all the company you'll have...

Keep your nose out of the Android and enjoy the beautiful high country.

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#36282 - 05/06/14 08:17 AM Re: easiest android hiking app? [Re: JasonJM]
63ChevyII.com Offline


Registered: 08/07/12
Posts: 670
Loc: Colton, California
I used to use my android phone to track my hikes, but never used it to navigate. On most of my hikes, I carried a battery pack or solar charger to ensure that the charge lasted long enough - I used it in airplane mode, then turned on the GPS.

When I had to switch to an iPhone (works pays for my phone), I was upset because this was no longer possible. When put in airplane mode, there is no way to turn on GPS while in airplane mode because iphones use A-GPS. I ended up buying a GPS until (Garmin Dakota 20) and wish I had bought it sooner. It took a while to figure it out, but it's great.

My friend has a Note (not sure what model), and we use it as a backup device in event my GPS unit fails. I believe he uses EveryTrail. We also carry a paper map.

One thing I did notice about my android is that it lost it's GPS connection much more frequently than my Garmin. You won't need a GPS to find the trail on Whitney, but on other hikes, I would not rely on a phone for navigation.

On a side note, watch out for the JMT junction on the backside of Trail Crest when you descend from the summit. Assuming you're headed back to Whitney Portal, you stay to the left and head up, not down and to the right!

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#36287 - 05/06/14 09:20 AM Re: easiest android hiking app? [Re: JasonJM]
wbtravis Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 1253
Loc: Corner of Jack Benny and Roche...
Jason,

I have a crappy little LG phone that works more than 24 hours with moderate use without turning off the Bluetooth and data. That is not the issue. The issue is how will your phone work when it constantly search for a network that does not exist. If phone based works like nyker says it does, you are going to have to deal ton of dead spots in that canyon. Paper maps, altimeters and compasses do not have dead spots.

Most SAR people will tell you to turn your phone off when in the wilderness. Especially, if it your lifeline. I keep mine in Airplane Mode...but I carry a GPS with me, which is turned off with me on all hikes. The only reason I carry this dedicated unit is to report an emergency...it's set to long/lat and UTM, so that I may speak the language of those asking for coordinates.

I've owned GPS for years, it gets it used in the winter and when I am off the beaten track the other three seasons. You would be better off with an altimeter and paper map. If I know the key points of the trail, I know where I am when I glance at my altimeter.





Edited by wbtravis (05/06/14 09:22 AM)

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#36296 - 05/06/14 11:51 AM Re: easiest android hiking app? [Re: wbtravis]
JasonJM Offline


Registered: 05/04/14
Posts: 4
Loc: United States
OK my phone has true satellite gps. That I am sure of. I intend to turn it on, wrap it in 2 ziplocks like I do when I ride down mountains and only get it out if we get lost. So hopefully I will not see the phone at all.

Thx for replies.

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#36301 - 05/06/14 12:39 PM Re: easiest android hiking app? [Re: JasonJM]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7742
Loc: Fresno, CA
JasonJM: what model phone is it? I am interested.

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#36307 - 05/06/14 02:36 PM Re: easiest android hiking app? [Re: Steve C]
John Sims Offline


Registered: 04/20/12
Posts: 544
Loc: Sunnyvale, California
Originally Posted By: Steve C
JasonJM: what model phone is it? I am interested.


Steve,

Jason mentioned above that it is a "note 3". I take that to mean a "Samsung Galaxy NoteŽ 3".

Gets good reviews (including long battery life), but is expensive, and big. Size could be a benefit for viewing maps.

John

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#36308 - 05/06/14 02:51 PM Re: easiest android hiking app? [Re: John Sims]
63ChevyII.com Offline


Registered: 08/07/12
Posts: 670
Loc: Colton, California
My hiking buddy has the Note 2. He previously had the iPhone (not a fan) but loves the Note. The first couple of times I saw him use it, I joked with him 'why are you talking into your ipad.'

I believe it could be considered a 'phablet'
_________________________
HikingGeek.com

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#36309 - 05/06/14 04:18 PM Re: easiest android hiking app? [Re: 63ChevyII.com]
KevinR Offline


Registered: 11/03/09
Posts: 595
Loc: Manchester, NH
I have an Android (Galaxy S4) and when I put it in Airplane Mode to conserve battery life, the GPS function remains active. The trick is finding an app which will allow you to download the maps for the area in question while you have a data connection, either via WIFI or cell. I bought AlpineQuest (I think it was $10) a few years ago, but haven't used it much recently so I can't vouch they've kept it up to date. When I want a solid GPS I use a Garmin 60CSx (and just bought a 62s).

As others have said - when out of cell range, which is most of the Whitney area - put your 'droid in Airplane Mode to conserve battery life, even if you're only using the phone to listen to tunes. I also bought a spare battery for about $8 on Amazon which is as good as the original. (This is yet another reason to have a good 'droid phone.)

Edit - At the risk of getting too far on a tangent - downloading maps while in cell tower range is important for even "routine" use such as Google Maps. Mostly I use a Garmin Nuvi series as a vehicle GPS, but sometimes will use my 'droid and Google Maps apps in tandem with it as the satellite view option in Google Maps is very useful while driving. So ... start Google Maps while in cell tower range so that it will download a map of the area. If you wait until you're in a remote area without cell service and then activate Google Maps you'll see the pointer on the screen - but no maps. Not terribly useful.


Edited by KevinR (05/06/14 04:25 PM)

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#36314 - 05/06/14 09:51 PM Re: easiest android hiking app? [Re: KevinR]
SierraNevada Offline


Registered: 09/05/11
Posts: 1145
Loc: NorCal
This app
Whitney Guide Phone App
was posted and then reposted
here on the Whitney Zone March 2014
It might be just what you're looking for. If I recall, you download the maps in advance and it uses your phone GPS. I'm a hard copy, compass and altimeter guy. On a steep obvious trail like Whitney, a calibrated altimeter gives the most important info you need - how much further to climb? To pinpoint your location, just find your contour line on the map. No need for more than that unless you stray off the trail, and that's what the map is for. Or just follow the wag bags left on the trail, your nose will guide you.

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#36315 - 05/07/14 01:52 AM Re: easiest android hiking app? [Re: SierraNevada]
KevinR Offline


Registered: 11/03/09
Posts: 595
Loc: Manchester, NH
Originally Posted By: SierraNevada
This app
Whitney Guide Phone App
was posted and then reposted
here on the Whitney Zone March 2014
It might be just what you're looking for. If I recall, you download the maps in advance and it uses your phone GPS. I'm a hard copy, compass and altimeter guy. On a steep obvious trail like Whitney, a calibrated altimeter gives the most important info you need - how much further to climb? To pinpoint your location, just find your contour line on the map. No need for more than that unless you stray off the trail, and that's what the map is for. Or just follow the wag bags left on the trail, your nose will guide you.


That's for posting this. I had forgotten about this app - me bad. I know the fellow who wrote this app too! Musta been a senior moment.

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#36317 - 05/07/14 06:44 AM Re: easiest android hiking app? [Re: KevinR]
SierraNevada Offline


Registered: 09/05/11
Posts: 1145
Loc: NorCal
Yeah, this looks like a good app customized for the trail, probably fun to use.

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#36333 - 05/07/14 02:03 PM Re: easiest android hiking app? [Re: SierraNevada]
JasonJM Offline


Registered: 05/04/14
Posts: 4
Loc: United States
well well, the android whitney app is definitely the easiest app for whitney. Just purchased it, has everything, pictures, descriptions, offline maps etc etc
cant ask for more than that!


now just tryna convince everyone to train up and cut weight for this hike! hopefully all goes well, will reply here end of August.

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