Gaia GPS alternatives

Dave

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Whelp, it looks like my iOS maps and GPS app of choice has gone to an annual subscription model, which I find untenable. Anyone have suggestions for an alternative (besides compass and paper?)
 

Perry

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Whelp, it looks like my iOS maps and GPS app of choice has gone to an annual subscription model, which I find untenable. Anyone have suggestions for an alternative (besides compass and paper?)

Is Avenza Maps an option? I've only used it to create one off-line map but looks interesting.
 

Jmr

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It has? I paid for the app over a year ago and just plotted some points in the last couple days? Will it stop working after some time?
 

Jmr

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It has? I paid for the app over a year ago and just plotted some points in the last couple days? Will it stop working after some time?

Well after 1 minute of research looks right your right but I guess I'll just keep using the current app as long as it keeps working, have never tried any alternatives on the phone.....
 

Dave

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Right. The current version is essentially abandoned, so I plan to continue using it until it breaks. That said, any major iOS update could kill it and I'd just as rather have a reasonable backup. I'm philosophically opposed to subscription software licensing for these types of applications.
 

SKLund

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Whelp, it looks like my iOS maps and GPS app of choice has gone to an annual subscription model, which I find untenable. Anyone have suggestions for an alternative (besides compass and paper?)

I just bought Gaia GPS and so far I'm not too happy with it but am just getting started. I You can use Caltopo and download pdf maps. Take those maps and upload them to a cloud service (DropBox is an example) and then open them with A pdf reader on your phone Acrobat has a built in connection to DropBox. This will not help you with setting way points or recording tracks on the phone. That has to be done in advance on the Caltopo site. It's just a map as a companion to a GPS or phone acting as a GPS. In terms of using your phone as a full function navigation device, then I think that Gaia is the best even though there is an apparent learning curve. I have used free versions of other apps and found them very clunky. Ironically the USGS topo layer for Gaia is...ta da...Caltopo.
 

Nick

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Wow, this is all news to me. But just to be clear, the new subscription model is $10 per year, right?

I hate subscription software too, but I feel pretty good about giving those guys $10 per year for the quality of work they provide. It takes money to keep a venture like that afloat. I guess when you think about the model for old school software updates, they would offer new versions every year or two and entice you to buy the whole thing again. One way to look at this is that it's just like staying up to date at the rate of $10 per year rather than choosing to upgrade at some other price every year or two, or three. Yeah, you could keep the version you have, but that'll break no matter what, at some point. Just my two cents.
 

Dave

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I would have no problem paying for a new major version. The $10 version is for the basic version. If you want access to better maps, it's $30 per year. That's more than I really want to spend for what's essentially a web view with GPS recording and xml.
 

Curt

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I use an app called "Maps 3D". I've had a for a few years and really like it. You do have to pay for it but so far its been a one time only fee. It was suggested to me by a Navy veteran who read an article about the app in the "Stars and Stripes" (the U.S. armed forces daily paper). His comment to me went something like this, "If the military thinks it's good, it's going to be good". I did a little research, but it was because of that recommendation that I got it. And it has been good. They've made improvements to it over the years. It's never had a glitch. The maps have always seemed to me to be very accurate. You can use on-line maps (if you have cell phone coverage) of which there are something like 7 different kinds. If you know you're going to be in an area without cell phone coverage you can download maps. There are more kinds of maps that can be downloaded including aerial photos. I've only used the down loadable USGS maps. The app will do the usual stuff Google Maps does - location arrow that turns as you turn with the top of the phone north or the map turning as you turn with the arrow always pointing to the top of the phone. It'll also do all the stuff that a dedicated GPS will do - coordinates, speed, elevation with a running total of gain and loss along with distance traveled and time stopped / moving when the track feature is running. You can import a track or route that will appear on the map (it has to be .gpx format). You can also make a route using the app. It will export your track in either .gpx or .kml formats. I haven't used the "3D" feature very much but it is cool where there is a lot of elevation change like the Grand Canyon. Many trails there look like they're falling off of cliffs on the app. When this feature is engaged it looks a lot like Google Earth because it will hide stuff you can't see because of nearby terrain that's in the way - which helps with identifying what you're seeing up ahead. I recently went on a trip with a couple guys who were using Gaia GPS and it seemed like they always had to wait for the app to get located. It seemed to me that this app performed a little better.

Another app I have that I mainly got for fun - but could actually be handy to have in figuring out where you are is "Peak Finder". For this app you have to down load a data base and when the app is running you hold your phone out at arms length in front of you pointed at the horizon and the app shows what the horizon looks like and provides names and some info for all of the high points (assuming that they've been named on USGS maps). It was cool to use it in the Grand Canyon where practically every feature is named. This is also an app that you have to pay for. So far it's been a one time only fee. I've also had this one for a few years and they've made regular improvements on it. The data base is world wide. It's not much good in Nebraska where I live but could be useful if you spend time in the mountains.
 
Last edited:

SKLund

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Aug 19, 2016
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459
Wow, this is all news to me. But just to be clear, the new subscription model is $10 per year, right?

I hate subscription software too, but I feel pretty good about giving those guys $10 per year for the quality of work they provide. It takes money to keep a venture like that afloat. I guess when you think about the model for old school software updates, they would offer new versions every year or two and entice you to buy the whole thing again. One way to look at this is that it's just like staying up to date at the rate of $10 per year rather than choosing to upgrade at some other price every year or two, or three. Yeah, you could keep the version you have, but that'll break no matter what, at some point. Just my two cents.

I paid 19.00 for Gaia GPS. The pro version is 39.00.
 

SKLund

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Right. The current version is essentially abandoned, so I plan to continue using it until it breaks. That said, any major iOS update could kill it and I'd just as rather have a reasonable backup. I'm philosophically opposed to subscription software licensing for these types of applications.

If using phone navigation software, I would stay with a well known and established company like Gaia GPS because it and all others of this type use a database on your phone. Databases are breakable and software updates can indeed break them. A company like Gaia would provide updates and fixes. Others do not. I would not install a bunch of db intensive apps willy nilly.
 

Dave

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Databases are breakable and software updates can indeed break them. A company like Gaia would provide updates and fixes.

And herein is the problem. They won't provide updates and fixes to users of their prior app from this point forward, only to their subscription customers.
 

Perry

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And herein is the problem. They won't provide updates and fixes to users of their prior app from this point forward, only to their subscription customers.

You would think they would provide a transition period for their loyal customers. That sucks.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

Artemus

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I also prefer NOT to use subscriptions. But GAIA is a great company with a great product and I will support the move by buying a subscription. The addition of NatGeo Trails Illustrated maps as another layer is huge, to me. They have to fund the server farm they created for the app and the price seems reasonable to me. The program really works well for this backcountry user and I suspects does or could for many of you. It is not perfect but it is way more than "good enough". And they say they have long trial periods for the new version while you can continue using the old version in the meantime. There is your transition plan. http://blog.gaiagps.com/next-generation-gaia-gps-now-national-geographic/ (full disclosure - I have been a beta tester for them).
 

DrNed

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Thanks to @Aldaron for his recommendation of Motion X it's what I've always used.

I never used Gaia's products so I don't know how it compares. If you're looking for
maps with variety of layers and the ability to import layers, importing tracks & way
points from say Google earth, as well as recording tracks, giving data on your current
hike like pace, elevation, etc Motion X has been great for me.
 

SKLund

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Aug 19, 2016
Messages
459
I
I also prefer NOT to use subscriptions. But GAIA is a great company with a great product and I will support the move by buying a subscription. The addition of NatGeo Trails Illustrated maps as another layer is huge, to me. They have to fund the server farm they created for the app and the price seems reasonable to me. The program really works well for this backcountry user and I suspects does or could for many of you. It is not perfect but it is way more than "good enough". And they say they have long trial periods for the new version while you can continue using the old version in the meantime. There is your transition plan. http://blog.gaiagps.com/next-generation-gaia-gps-now-national-geographic/ (full disclosure - I have been a beta tester for them).

I don't see the trails illustrated layer yet. Maybe Pro accounts only?
 

Dave

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Yes, NatGeo is only for the higher price tier.

I used MotionX prior to Gaia and am not likely to go back, as I much prefer Gaia's UI.

Gaia was originally a disruptor and I'm sure stole a lot of business away from the likes of Garmin. I regret that I'm now rooting for them to get disrupted as well.
 

SKLund

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I'm keeping my Garmin 62ST and replacing it with a 64ST when it wears out. At least Gaia has caused the Garmin price to come down. I personally do not want to be told how to put one foot after another so navigation tools with extreme detail are bit too much for me. I have my head in my phone enough already. :facepalm:
 

Dave

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Also read the last paragraph, the Summary.

They made the decision they made. I'm not going to cry to the company about it, I'm simply going to start planning for a future without them.
 
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