Phone as a GPS

lgordee

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jul 10, 2012
Messages
459
So I have a Garmin GPS. Works OK, but it is bulky. Since I am carrying a phone (Android) anyhow, can it be used to mark waypoints and do track backs? I see some programs offered. Some free, some not. Any experience with these programs, and would I even need a special program beyond Google Maps? Thanks in advance for your expertise!
 

codyadams

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 7, 2015
Messages
3,510
Location
Southwest Wyoming
I personally use on-x, and download the offline maps while I have service, and it has worked well for me. With my phone in airplane mode, it lasts 3ish days, maybe more. We also carry a Garmin mini in case of emergencies so we can have contact, often times we are 40+ miles from phone service. It can track, add way points and markers with photos, and do pretty much anything a basic GPS can do. It costs money, but it is also useful for other things as well. Here are some photos of what it looks like and detail, you can have topo, satellite, or hybrid with both.
20201119_090440.jpg
20201119_090419.jpg
20201119_090406.jpg
 

lgordee

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jul 10, 2012
Messages
459
Thanks for the replies guys. I use an onx chip in my GPS for the two times I have went to WY. My other hunting is much closer as in home and one neighboring state. I believe with onx I would be dinged for each State. Was preparing for a hunt in a neighboring state on only somewhat familiar ground and only looking to mark my stand or maybe mark where tracking a deer. So battery life on my phone not a big deal. Now that I think about it some more, I have a smaller Garmin from a dog tracking system I no longer use. That would be pretty compact for me to carry and do what I need. Thanks again for the replies.
 

jebel

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jun 15, 2018
Messages
340
Location
Oregon
I transitioned from a dedicated GPS unit to a phone app many years ago. I see many advantages to the phone apps. One is trip planning, as you can easily use an online interface to set waypoints, routes, etc. that transfer to your phone before the trip. While in the field you can do everything (and more), like tracking your movements. Some apps have nice features like the ability to share sets of information with others in your party who have the same app.

Differences: you must get used to downloading the relevant maps you need to your phone in advance of a trip so they’re usable offline. You must get smart about maintaining your phone battery life in the field: 1) switch to airplane mode (GPS still works) which will ensure several days of use, 2) bring a charging battery to juice back up for longer trips, 3) best to keep the phone from getting too cold, which saps battery (I put mine in my bag with me at night).

There are several good apps. Some have a free version for basic functionality, but full functionality and access to more useful map layers requires a subscription. OnX is good, but the most expensive. GaiaGPS is equally good and more affordable. BaseMap is an up-and-comer and is being aggressive on discounting. There are others, but I’ll let those with more experience speak about them.

Overall I prefer the phone apps (I currently rely on GaiaGPS). They are constantly coming out with new, useful map layers and when you get good with them you can do things you cannot do on dedicated GPS devices. For example, upload specialized datasets. Many states have programs where public is granted access to specific private lands, and some departments of F&G provide digital files illustrating those properties that can be uploaded to your phone app.

If you’re willing to take the time to learn about them, I think you’ll soon become comfortable with them.
 

corsair4360

Well-Known Member
Joined
Feb 2, 2013
Messages
343
Location
Northern Utah
If you want detailed follow me short range help hand held directions device gps etc work ok.

As one who wants to see the big picture as well as specific directions, I do not like them. I will admit I am in my 70's used to work in the woods as a forester, have hiked, etc extensively over the years. Yes I have a GPS for emergencies, carry it, but never needed it. In Utah directions are not hard. In the east and northwest, with dense multiple layer cover I want a compass, with GPS as backup it is different than where we live.
 

SteveBurton

Formerly 'Jackmonkey'
Joined
Dec 13, 2012
Messages
260
Location
Mesa, AZ
I have switched over to OnX on my phone from my Garmin unit. It’s much easier to use for what I need it to do while hunting. For battery drain I bring a portable charger with me in the field. You can get 2-3 charges from cheap units and 5 from a bigger one. Solar panel at camp will charge that up.
 

seattleman1969

Well-Known Member
Joined
Oct 3, 2014
Messages
302
Location
Missoula, Mt
iPhone and Onx. Learn what to turn off to conserve battery (cell on and searching for signal drains battery faster than almost anything). I use Onx on my computer to scout and mark interesting places for field validation and in the field to mark waypoints of trails, rubs, bedding areas, etc. always making sure to date the waypoints properly so patterning is easier. In conjunction with trail cams out of season (in season in Montana is not allowed) I can establish patterns and cycles quickly.
 

P7M13

Well-Known Member
LRH Team Member
Joined
Jan 5, 2016
Messages
815
Location
Orygun
Google maps sucks ballz.
The only positive about it: It'll drain your battery so fast, your phone will heat up >100•F, so it's a great hand warmer.

Another happy OnX user. (Theres a whole thread on mapping/hunting apps.)
I turn off everything when in the field.
 

co_nucleus

Member
LRH Team Member
Joined
Mar 2, 2019
Messages
22
Location
Colorado
Another OnX user. Used two seasons so far - works well. Downloaded maps before heading to poor cell coverage areas.

Also have the battery booster charge pack and a solar panel. Used the booster for 4 days out, put phone in airplane mode bc it drains fast searching for cell towers. GPS still works in airplane mode.
 

azarcher10x

Well-Known Member
Joined
Nov 12, 2012
Messages
116
I transitioned from a dedicated GPS unit to a phone app many years ago. I see many advantages to the phone apps. One is trip planning, as you can easily use an online interface to set waypoints, routes, etc. that transfer to your phone before the trip. While in the field you can do everything (and more), like tracking your movements. Some apps have nice features like the ability to share sets of information with others in your party who have the same app.

Differences: you must get used to downloading the relevant maps you need to your phone in advance of a trip so they’re usable offline. You must get smart about maintaining your phone battery life in the field: 1) switch to airplane mode (GPS still works) which will ensure several days of use, 2) bring a charging battery to juice back up for longer trips, 3) best to keep the phone from getting too cold, which saps battery (I put mine in my bag with me at night).

There are several good apps. Some have a free version for basic functionality, but full functionality and access to more useful map layers requires a subscription. OnX is good, but the most expensive. GaiaGPS is equally good and more affordable. BaseMap is an up-and-comer and is being aggressive on discounting. There are others, but I’ll let those with more experience speak about them.

Overall I prefer the phone apps (I currently rely on GaiaGPS). They are constantly coming out with new, useful map layers and when you get good with them you can do things you cannot do on dedicated GPS devices. For example, upload specialized datasets. Many states have programs where public is granted access to specific private lands, and some departments of F&G provide digital files illustrating those properties that can be uploaded to your phone app.

If you’re willing to take the time to learn about them, I think you’ll soon become comfortable with them.
I to have used Gaia for years. I had OnX one year for free, however I never could get it to download offline maps correctly. I now use BaseMap in addition to Gaia. I was able to export my waypoints from Gaia to BaseMap, so that was a plus.
 

seattleman1969

Well-Known Member
Joined
Oct 3, 2014
Messages
302
Location
Missoula, Mt
I to have used Gaia for years. I had OnX one year for free, however I never could get it to download offline maps correctly. I now use BaseMap in addition to Gaia. I was able to export my waypoints from Gaia to BaseMap, so that was a plus.

If you are open to it I would give Onx another try. A recent update now has maps downloading in seconds rather than minutes or hours!
 

mpayne

Well-Known Member
Joined
Oct 26, 2012
Messages
361
Location
Eastern Washington State
I use OnX maps for hunting, also as the Fire Chief for a small town in Eastern Washington it comes in handy when I need to know who to call for help. We have BLM, DNR, USBR, State Park, National Park and Private land. Also I can stand in four counties at the same time. All within 3 miles of my fire station. Yes OnX maps is a big deal to me!
 

redneckdan

Well-Known Member
Joined
Aug 2, 2007
Messages
281
Location
MN Iron Range
I use OnX, SARTOPO and Gaia. I've been pretty happy with all of them. I like OnX for the hunting information and I like SARTOPO for digital scouting and navigation.
 
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