Route tracking app

Does anyone know of an app that can track your route, distance, speed, etc.? I’ve tried using STRAVA but it is limited and I can’t create routes.

I know Endomondo app has all of those options. I like it. I’ve just started using Map My Hike also. I like it so far, but have not used a lot of it’s functions yet.

Map my Ride, Map my fitness, or map my run…the basic app goes by many names. It produces maps with tracks, splits and files them away. You will need internet access and GPS.

A good friend is an avid cyclist and user of Map My Ride. Last week he came for a paddle with me and reported that the app worked well.

I used Kayak Log a few times but then got a GPS-enabled Garmin fitness tracker/heart rate monitor, which handles all the tracking and mapping functions I need.

Whitewater or sea? I have a Garmin InReach communicator and that tracks and maps my course with statistics. If a sea kayaker, the Navionics chart app does an excellent job as well using your phone’s GPS. Since I often have it open to see charts and currents I’ll turn on that tracker too. Android phones all have access to Google Tracks. And many GPS apps will also record a track. When doing land management work I often use Gaia GPS or MapIt.

What operating system? Presumably a phone? Android or iPhone (or god forbid a Windows phone)?

BackCountry Navigator, as a phone App solution. In my opinion, after use for probably more than 5 years, is one of the best in terms of simplicity and functionality. My number one criteria for GPS/mapping hardware and software is the availability of maps and the ability to use them completely off line. This one excels with the option to batch download areas of a map for later use plus you can (with a bit of technical savvy) add custom map sources if a workable online platform exists.

I paid for it this year after many years of using the free demo version without issue. The main reason I paid was to be able to store maps on the external storage card, which is disabled in the demo version. I don’t purchase many apps, but I think this was a ~$15 well-spent.

One critique of BCN, from a technical standpoint, is that the map tile storage mechanism is “clunky” and definitely not optimized for a large quantity of map storage. Without getting into too many messy details, each map tile image is stored in a separate file, and because of the way files are stored they actually take up much more room than they need to. (research: Allocation Unit Size) As a relevant example, think of having a garage with the constraint you can only store one kayak in it, despite having the space to store more. If you want to have 5 kayaks, you’ll need 5 garages. You’re going to need a lot of space to put those garages! There are plenty of better approaches to the problem and I’m not sure why they haven’t implemented any. It’s likely a case of “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”. On the other hand, you can create offline maps using another application (Mobile Atlas Creator - MOBAC) and save these in a variety of storage-optimized ways (like an Sqlite database, for you techie types). It requires some planning prior to a trip, but so does batch downloading tiles for an area.

Lots of people will default to the modern approach that as long as they’re in an area with a decent cell signal, they just use a web site or app that has live maps. The problem here is battery usage. There are probably three things that use battery power the most in a smart phone: The screen, the cellular radio, and the GPS. Speakers for music might rank in there too depending on the volume level of choice.

Using a completely offline app, you can turn on your GPS long enough to acquire an accurate GPS fix, then turn it off and do what you need to without excessive battery power consumption. Tracking your routes involves large amounts of power consumption and while this is fine in not-so-remote locations I’d recommend a separate device if you really want your entire route tracked when in a remote location. Your phone might just save your life, and it would really suck if it couldn’t because you wasted the battery collecting route points at one second intervals for a 6 hour paddle.

I use endomondo

I used Gaia last year during my initial switch to all-iphone, on-water electronics. I used the phone for camera and gps, but still use a separate VHF radio. I liked Gaia because you could download a variety of maps to the phone for off-network use, you can upload the routes to the Gaia’s internet site for sharing, and it had some good features.

I found that the power drain was manageable if the phone was placed in airplane mode while I was on the water. On multi-day trips, I brought along a Pocket Juice battery and recharged at night.

You have to manage which maps you keep on your phone or you will quickly find yourself running low on memory.

This year I have mostly been using my old standby app, Runkeeper, which I think is a lot like all the other map-your-activity apps, although it has been around for many years. I will still use Gaia if I am paddling unfamiliar routes and need off-network mapping, but I use Runkeeper on bike rides and hikes and like having all my activities on one app.

I think both Runkeeper and Gaia will let you create routes.