Android GPS app for kayaking

Just bought an Android phone (HTC One X). Want suggestions as the best and least expensive Android app for GPS for the water. And if possible, is there one that works best for both water and land?


Forgot the app, what about the phone?
Is the HTC waterproof?

I use…
Marine Weather by Bluefin - self explanatory

Marine Traffic - maps out ships in places with large ships (the major harbors and rivers)

My Tracks - lets you use the phone’s GPS to track where you go and speed and all that

Tide Prediction - tides and current predictions for various areas

All were free (I think)

Try an app called mapmyrun.

Meh, get a gps and vhf
Better watch the battery life if the phone is busy downloading info, updates, keeping the display on, caching ads, and telling google where you are and what apps you are running.

Most free apps download ads frequently. Even pandora runs when “pandora is not running”

Go into settings and adjust the battery mode, or get a dedicated gps. Other than getting marine radar, its really a stretch to use these phones unless you are going out for a short time.

Also, my experience with the marine traffic app is that is too unrealiable. It stops updating even though it gives the impression it is still collecting data.

Get a VHF radio and do not depend on that app.

Kind of depends
If you’re going out on the Great Lakes or out on the open ocean, I understand your point. Not everyone is doing anything of that nature.

I kayak in the sloughs of SF Bay. Never out of line of sight, never out of cell phone range. Usually out only 2 hours or less, sometimes as much as 4, but not more than that ever so far.

Since I carry the phone with me anyway, why not use the GPS and calling capacity?

Buying and carrying 2 more electronic devices would be excessive in my case.

Were I out in the wilderness, on open ocean, etc., it would be a very different story, I understand.

It will track you on land or water. It provides your track on a map, and gives you statistics, distance, speed, speed per mile, and some other stuff you might or might not be interested in. You can also view other peoples trips, and stats. And if you ‘friend’ somebody you can track them live, or they can track you. My wife and I both use it, she uses an Android, I use an iPhone(much nicer). Battery life isn’t bad with it running, better if you turn off the display and just let it run in the background.

There is a paid version, and a free version. We use the free version, the paid version doesn’t give you that much more, and it’s not things I would use anyway. YMMV

I use the MyTracks app on my HTC…
…Inspire to record my routes. I do not use the phone for navigation because of the battery life and the fact it is not water proof. I turn off the mobile network, enable the GPS, start recording, dry-bag it, and throw it in the day hatch until I am done with my route.

While I do not have any GPS navigation needs right now, I would get a dedicated unit, even at the extra cost, with a focus on it being waterproof and having longer battery life than a cell phone that is supporting mobile networks for data and a GPS connection. I’ve found that using MyTracks with GPS and data flowing kills my phone battery in about 5 hours.

I also have concerns about the accuracy of the phone based GPS units, but I am going to post about that in another thread.

Backpacker Light
I have had the free version of Backpacker on my last two Android Phones. I hike a lot and use it for that. I have used it on small lakes and it works fine but I haven’t really needed it to track routes, find my way back, etc. while on the water.

It’s free as are many others. This is one of many you could download and try out for a while.

use my phone on land
and otherwise it’s in a dry case in the day hatch in case i need it. generally it’s off while in the dry case.

for handy researching/tracking i like…

currents - - gives you current references by date/time for various stations.

my tracks - google? uses the phone gps to give you course, speed, time. you can then post them to google maps, keep them, etc. use this mountain biking/walking the dogs in the woods only.

tide prediction - tidal AND current predictions by referece station along with sunrise/sunset times

moon 3d - moon phase

weather channel app - scalable from local to national, you can set the layers for radar, wind speed, etc…you get to see big picture

Well if you are out for a short time, then, as I said, thats an exception.

But if you end up in the water and need help for any reason, that android phone will probably get soaked when you try use the touch screen. In fact, any droplets of water on the screen seem to screw mine up.

So I would think a VHF would give you a better chance of getting help.

EveryTrail has an Android app. Also website to upload and display track plus some pics.

Waterproof your phone
I saw very recently that a company on the west coast is using a nano particle coating that coats the phone and waterproofs it outside and inside. It will protect the phone even if submerged for a considerable time. The cost is about $60.

I found my phones GPS to be very good. I bring up google maps with the satellite image and zoom in on my house and watched my position as I walked around the yard.

I just bought an eTrex 20 ($160 at Amazon) that allows for custom maps to be added. I hope to figure out how to put the NOAA marine chart booklet PDF files on this unit as I have heard it can be done. I also own a VHF radio with the weather forecast and alerts as I take multi-day trips and camp on the coast. I like being able to get the tides and see the weather radar on my phone if I need to, and I am considering having the phone waterproofed.

Waterproof cases
They also have many slip-on waterproof cases and electronics bags with lanyards.