02-02-2011, 08:20 PM
Joined: Jul 2008
My Experience thus far with Andriod GPS apps
Just, FYI. ALL of the information below is WAY out of date. The Android GPS situation has come a LONG way since I wrote this post almost 2 years ago now. I plan to update this soon and include some apps built by some of our very own members
I've spent a good deal of time this winter researching a way to use my Android phone (Samsung Moment) as a decent GPS device for following some of the great tracks that are out there. I prefer to use my phone because I already use it to listen to music while riding and I'm a cheap ass. Hey, I ride a KLR!
Following tracks is important to restate. There are lots of apps (many that work very well like MyTracks from Google) that record where you have been, but not many that allow you to follow someone else's tracks.
Below are the two best options I have found. Both work offline (out of cell coverage) and both allow you to record your own tracks or follow someone else's. One option is free and one is paid. I've used both, successfully, in my cage.
THE FREE OPTION:
I've found that Oruxmaps (follow the link for the barcode or search in the Android Market) is a very good free option, but can take a little while to learn. It has many different options (more than the paid option I write about later), but all those options also increase the learning curve a bit.
However, the documentation provided is easy to read and fairly comprehensive.
For offline map use they recommend you use the Mobile Atlas Creator which is also free. In theory this app allows you to do Mapsource type uploading and editing of GPX tracks and then output them to your phone. It also allows you to define an area and download the map tiles (in whatever zoom levels you like) for offline use. In practicality I was unable to upload any tracks into this program (although I could upload them to Oruxmaps and follow them there) and also had problems downloading the map tiles. I believe this is because that program is designed for hikers and bicyclists and not motorcyclists who are downloading LARGE areas of maps (it did work when I reduced the area or zoom levels thus reducing the number of tiles downloaded). The Orux team also provides documentation on how to use Mobile Atlas Creator specifically for Orux.
Mobile Atlas Creator
THE PAID OPTION:
As you might imagine, because you have to pay for it, I found this option the most effective and user-friendly. The app I used was Trimble Outdoors which was $9.99 in the Market. Kinda pricey for a phone app (cheap as hell for good GPS software though), but I found the cost was ultimately worth it.
The app itself is pretty and has all the options one would expect from a full functioning GPS app. Orux has a few more options (lots of different types of maps such as ones for aviation, etc), but none that I missed using Trimble.
The Trimble website has two functions that will be important for you:
#1. The site has a very user-friendly and robust webapp that allows Mapsource type functionality with the upload and editing of GPX tracks. Once you are done editing your tracks they are downloaded to your phone via the app itself so there is no need to copy anything manually to your SD card.
#2. It also has a spiffy offline map download site where you define an area, the zoom level and then download the map tiles. These do have to be manually moved to your SD card.
Lastly, about Trimble. If you have problems or questions the actual software engineers themselves take part in their discussion forums and are very good about providing prompt assistance. Their customer service and support is definitely top notch.
Good luck, and I hope someone is able to find this helpful!
Thanantos screwed with this post 01-08-2013 at 06:01 AM