best app for tracking

Are there any good free paddling apps for iPhones? I want something simple to use as a gps tracker as we are out on the water.

buy a Garmin at $120 ? and a PC …

Set it for Rowing. Depending on how long your out on the water you might want to attach a battery pack with the whole affair in an Aquapac as the gps app is going to consume battery life.

For better recommendations, what are you paddling, where, how long on the water, conditions, etc.?

See you on the water,


The River Connection, Inc.

Hyde Park, NY

I use MapMyFitness. It has a kayak setting specifically.

Your phone should have a locator; turn it on and it will show you where you are. But I guess that would depend on being within range of a cell tower. On the other hand, some phones might have satellite capability, but it seems to me that a GPS would be more practical.

Tried several, like Runkeeper
I have used Map My Fitness and iRunner apps, but I like Runkeeper, perhaps because it was my first tracker app and I got used to it.

In the 8 years I’ve been using it, the Runkeeper people have massively improved their product. It used to go nuts if you got away from cell coverage, but now behaves nicely. It used to almost set the battery on fire–the phone would actually get hot, and was only good for half a day–but now it lasts all day with only minimal battery drainage.

Recently, I’ve been switching to airplane mode after I start runkeeper. While in airplane mode, runkeeper’s battery use is not discernable. Airplane mode shuts down all output from the phone, closing off battery draining activities like searching for cell towers and wifi. Yet it must continue to receive GPS signal, will save your track in memory, then fill in the map when you reconnect to the network. So, if you are concerned about runkeeper using too much battery, try the airplane-mode trick and see if that helps.


Thanks! sonnyjane, you rock
I’ve got that on my phone, but never used it (always used MapMyRide, set to Cruiser). Not only does it have kayaking, but also canoeing - for pleasure, moderate effort, or vigorous effort. Yippee!

Sez ‘locator’ is produced by a GPS app.

I meet phone GPS people on the road, ask why. Mostly said is cheaper, sometimes ultralite…as carrying 2 is 2 much.

Then ask abt cell towers n they stumble a bit.

So on the road eg bicycles or in town on foot an advantage.

Cheaper ? How ? What’s a Samsung or iPhone cost plus the subscription…I’m paying for a Mifi channel plus phone so ?

A base Garmin abt 120.

The Garmin is used with a Marine map giving depths…what is seen at NOAA Marine Maps online. Maybe accessing a tide chart. Depth contours are paddled for speed up and with.

smartphone shave GPSes
Most every smart phone nowadays has a GPS in it. So it can tell you where you are at at any time, even when not on cell service. But that is just a set of coordinates. Showing your location on a map requires cell signal or that the map data for the area you are in has been previously downloaded to the device (which is not always easy to do).

But this holds true for true GPSes also. My Garmin didn’t come with any map areas, and I had to add in the Topo and Bluecharts for the areas I am interested in. A dedicated device just usually has more space for maps and is easier to load.

Glympse (IOS)
Might be what you’re looking for? Although we have the app installed on a waterproof droid phone (Samsung Rugby Pro), you can get the free Apple IOS version from itunes.

We’ve been using Glympse for the past two years, since the droid app Boat Coach discontinued the tracking function.

We specifically use it to track our teenage daughter when she paddles offshore alone in real time and can visibly watch her on either a computer or iphone as she paddles the coasts of Oahu, Hi. We’ve used the app to follow her under the San Francisco Bay Bridge and during last summer’s Blackburn Challenge around Cape Ann.

The best thing about this app is that you can invite family and friends to track you via email.

The only negative feature is the four (4) hour time limit, which has to be reset each time you exceed it, which is no problem when paddling recreationally, but not in a race where you’ll have to completely stop to reset. I guess that’s motivation to finish under 4 hours.

ps: For the Blackburn Challenge there were two dropouts lasting 4 and 8 minutes each. So make sure there are cell phone towers within range where you paddle or else, whoever is tracking you will have some anxious moments until you reappear on the screen.

thanks for the suggestions
lots of good ideas and I’ve already downloaded a couple and will start trying them out.

App works great

My group has even used it in heavy fog to navigate haha. Pretty darn handy!

see the walrus ?

I use MotionX on my iPhone for everything from kayaking, standup paddle boarding, running, skiing, and hiking. Very similar to Endomondo.