hiker

  
Tour and Trail maps

  on
 Android smartphones

android

If you have an Android phone, these maps will :-

 

            Tell you exactly where you are

            Show where you have been    

            Show you where you are heading.

 

Discovery Walking Guides have partnered with MyTrails to bring these maps to you at very attractive prices : 4 for one sheet (a small island such as La Gomera or an area like Alpujarras) or 7 for a double sheet (whole of Lanzarote or Costa Blanca Mountains). These are prices for unlimited use of the map on whatever Android devices you have.

 

MyTrails is an intuitive and flexible ‘App’ for showing moving maps, recording tracks and much more.

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How do I get the maps?

Download MyTrails from the Android Market (https://market.android.com/details?id=com.frogsparks.mytrails) or point your phone at this:-

Start MyTrails and use Menu>Select Map and tap the star icon at the top then select the map(s) you want. There is a free map of La Graciosa to show you the quality. Once you have bought the map it will take a few minutes to download and then it will appear as an 'offline' map.

Doesn’t this spoil the fun of navigating?

It depend how you get your kicks! I prefer to enjoy the environment – the views, flora, fauna, etc – and not worry about what to do when the mist comes down. GPS will work everywhere except in dense forests or deep gorges.

Would it be better to use a dedicated GPS unit?

A GPS unit with mapping is likely to be both more expensive and heavier. If you already have a phone, you’ll be carrying that anyway if only for emergencies. My personal view – not necessarily Discovery’s – is that, with the advent of smartphones, dedicated GPS units are no longer worthwhile for most hikers.

I have selected the map but I can’t see it.

When you start MyTrails it tries to make your current location the centre of the map. But if you are in Northampton and select a map of Tenerife all you see is blank space. So select the map then use Menu>Search and enter a place you know is on the map. For example ‘Chamorga’ for Tenerife.

My phone already has Google Maps – why should I buy yours?

Google maps – with information about local facilities – are great in an urban environment but they don’t show footpaths or terrain details and they rely much more on a continuous data connection which incurs roaming costs and will not work at all in remote areas.

What about hidden costs?

What hidden costs?? The maps are designed to be downloaded at home using your wi-fi connection or existing data plan. When you are abroad, you need no more data access – you don’t even need to enable roaming for telephone calls unless you want to. GPS signals are free. MyTrails App is free and the pro version is only 1.75.

If I upgrade my phone will I lose the maps?

When you buy these maps you set up a Frogsparks account to allow you to make purchases. The maps are linked to this account so if you have another Android phone you don’t need to purchase the maps again. But you can only use these maps with MyTrails on Android devices.

Won’t my phones battery go flat quickly?

If I’m not expecting any calls I put my phone into Airplane mode where the battery easily lasts 8-10 hours with the GPS tracker running. Charge it every night – but, if you’re worried, buy one of these from Amazon. This will recharge all your USB-charged devices and run your phone for several days.

But my phone isn’t waterproof.

I carry mine in an inside pocket but in bad weather I use an Aquapac – you can work the phone through the clear plastic cover - or you may prefer an Otterbox.

Can I get the maps for UK walks too?

Discovery’s Ordnance Survey licence doesn’t cover this – but MyTrails have two subscriptions available for OS mapping. Opendata maps are 1 for two months and allow on-line and offline use; the more detailed Landranger and Explorer maps are 1.50 per month (for both) on-line with several (more expensive) offline options. Both of these have a 24-hour free trial.

I’m thinking of buying an Android phone – which should I buy?

All Android smartphones will run MyTrails. So will many tablets – but check they have GPS chips installed. You don’t need to spend a fortune – I have an Orange San Francisco which costs about 120 on pay-as-you-go.

But I have an iPhone…

We are still looking for an App of good enough quality for these maps on the iPhone. As soon as we find one we'll tell you!


John Thorn

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