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Using Mobile devices for hiking or biking

Many modern mobile devices are equipped with built in GPS, and using proper navigation software can brings a whole new level of joy to hiking or riding bicycles on the trails.

A GPS capable mobile device can help you to find your way in a trail you've never visited before or follow paths recommended by others.

True, it takes a little knowledge to use GPS enabled mobile devices on the trails but this is why we are here, inviting you to enter the GPS capable mobile devices world enrich your experience of riding your bicycle or hiking in the trails.

There are many GPS enabled devices: iPhone, Droid, Samsung Omina, Imagio to count a few. You'll have to find out if your device is GPS capable.

Now, we need a little understanding about mobile devices and how GPS and maps are functioning in them.

The basics are simple: A built in GPS receiver in the device can track your exact location and pass the information to a software running in the device. Such software can calculate your direction and draw your path on a map.

It get even better, when such software capable to read a GPX file, and draw the path on the map as well. All that left to do for you now is to turn your device on and follow the marked trail on the map.

Of course, There are few points you should take in consideration:

  1. If you want to hike or ride a trail and follow a path that others marked already, your software must be able to read GPX files and mark the path on the map in your mobile device.
  2. Battery's capacity is limited - most mobile devices will not last even couple hours..
  3. Many trails are located in places away from cellular service, so you have no Internet. That means that your software cannot show you a real map (for it mast continuously download it from the Internet.)

To overcome those 3 important points, you must choose the right navigation software.

The navigation software must be capable to:

  1. Import GPX files, or else you can only enjoy trails you've already ride or hike before.
  2. Work offline - that means that the software can download the map of the trail area ahead of time while Internet available and then on the trail it can display the map from its cache without any connection with the Internet. No needing to communicate with the Internet dramatically increase the battery time - you'll be surprised how much...

Having the right navigation software allows you to download trails in a GPX format and import it right into your navigation software that in turn can draw the trail on its map.

Proper navigation software also enable you to download a map of the trail's area ahead of time when Internet is still available, so it can later show you the map that it saved in the mobile device's cache.

Using the technique describe here is valid for long distance cross country driving, where you are about to pass places with no internet service at all. You create the path in our website, from New York to Los Angeles for example, you then download the GPX file into your mobile device. Now you let your software do download the entire area - it may take a while. When you'll be on your way, a map with your planned path will be available to you 100% of the time.

Everything so far is general knowledge that is relevant to any mobile device of anyone who want to use it on the trails.

From here, we split. We will try to describe the options for 3 different mobile devices with built in GPS receiver:

Click on your GPS enabled mobile device:


Windows Mobile iPhone Android



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