If you are into hillwalking, you know the scenario: You started off on a nice clear day, but two hours later, half way up the Munro, clouds start to move in. Another hour later, you can’t see a thing. You know the summit is just there, but it’s a flat summit col, and you just can’t find the cairn. “The compass says it’s right here, but it’s not. Damn, I really have to get a GPS” is an understandable thought. Then again, that’s spending a good amount of money, and will you really use it that often?
Well, I just found this article about a new smartphone navigation app that could become a cool alternative to a proper GPS. Unless you have a smartphone, of course. And if you don’t, this might be an excellent excuse to get one! Actually, the application isn’t that new, but now they are launching Open Maps!
Basically, the application converts your smartphone into a GPS. It also includes an interesting feature called Buddy Beacon, which allows you to see the location of friends in real time. The application won ‘Best Indie App’ at the Mobile App World Awards last year among other prices, so it seems to be as good as it sounds.
Another plus is that now Open Maps can be used with ViewRanger , which means you don’t need OS, although OS will probably still provide you with the more detailed maps.
Chris Townsend used ViewRanger on a 75 day and 1200 mile hike across the Pacific Northwest Trail, reporting that navigating without the app ”would have been extremely difficult”.
Here is the full article so you can check out further details:
If you have already used your smartphone as a GPS, please tell us about your experiences!