The Best Mobile Maps for Tourists

The Best Mobile Maps for Tourists

Content
– OsmAnd Mobile Maps
– ViewRanger mobile maps
– Locus Map mobile maps
– Soviet Military Maps” Mobile Maps
– Fatmap mobile maps
– Maps. me mobile maps
One of the most important skills in camping is orienteering. You need to be able to read a map, understand the terrain and topographic indications. In serious hiking is better to go with a navigator or a paper map, but on simple routes in popular areas you can use mobile apps. Their advantage is the rapid updating of information and accessibility, they help to estimate the time on the way and mark key points on the route. In this article we tell you what mobile applications with maps are worth paying attention to, as well as their pros and cons.

OsmAnd mobile maps


Android, iOS
For whom: hikers, skiers, cyclists, motorists.
An app that can be used both on hikes and in the city. It works on the basis of OpenStreetMap maps – a mapping project that uses personal GPS trackers and satellite imagery.
The big difference of these mobile maps is that every registered user can make changes to the map and point out errors and inaccuracies. For example, if you came across a spring on the route, but did not find it on the map, you can add it in edit mode. And vice versa, if the map shows an object that does not exist or its coordinates do not coincide with the real one, you can write a comment and make corrections to the map.
On popular routes the application displays most of the trails, springs and even parking lots. However, it is not always possible to determine the difficulty of a section in such an app. Steep traverses and category passes may be marked as an ordinary hiking trail, and if you misdiagnose the terrain, you may enter a dangerous section unprepared. You should also keep in mind that on unpopular routes in remote regions, such maps may not show many trails and objects.

The application has a free and paid versions: the free version has a limited number of map downloads and no ability to see descriptions of attractions offline. The paid version includes additional plugins, such as ski and nautical maps and elevation display.

OsmAnd’s advantages:


– Multiple map layers to choose from;
– works offline if you have previously downloaded maps of the region;
– automatic routing is available;
– you can save the necessary points on the map.


Disadvantages of OsmAnd:


– there may be inaccuracies and errors;
– it is difficult to determine the complexity of the area;
– limitations in the free version.


ViewRanger mobile maps


Android, iOS
For whom: hikers, cyclists and skiers.
The main feature of this app – ready-made tracks that users can download. Maps with routes can be printed, studied online or downloaded in GPX format and used offline – without mobile communication and Internet. Several layers are available, including ski layer, satellite layer, OpenStreetMap layer and OpenCycleMap – a layer for cyclists. Some of them can be used only in the paid version.

Advantages of ViewRanger:


– The vegetation boundaries are well shown;
– several different layers to choose from;
– there are built-in routes;
– convenient track loading and unloading;
– there is a power saving mode.


Disadvantages of ViewRanger:


– no routing;
– You can use offline only in paid version;
– slowly loads the map when zooming.
The same company has an application Outdoor Active (Android and iOS – it also works on the principle of community, where you can use ready-made routes and make your own. It has well-drawn terrain and automatic routing. The app is suitable for any region, but it contains the most information about Bavaria: the map includes mountain refuges, as well as hiking, climbing, skiing and biking routes in the Alps.

Locus Map mobile maps


For Android only
For whom: hikers, bikers, mountain bikers, runners, skiers.
This map app includes the ability to plan, save and modify routes, share them with friends, and use a voice tracker for outdoor sports. Suitable for running – counts speed, pace, altitude and the number of calories burned. Allows you to import tracks in different formats. You can work with multiple layers, including domestic topographic maps at different scales.

Advantages of Locus Map:


– works in offline mode;
– You can work with different maps;
– automatic routing;
– there are descriptions of places of interest;
– there is a route planner.


Disadvantages of Locus Map:


– limitations in the free version;
– there may be inaccuracies, depending on which map you are working with;
– no for iOS.


Soviet Military Maps mobile maps


Android only
For whom: hikers, can be used for skiing and biking trips.
Application with the world topographic maps of the General Staff of Russia with different scales. On them you can more accurately determine the relief, heights and ravines, see objects and trails that are not on other maps. But in order to fully use such a map, you need to know the topographic designations.

The application records the track, but there is no step-by-step navigation. To use the “Soviet military maps” offline, it is necessary to download a map of the desired scale in advance, without the Internet you can not do it.

Advantages of “Soviet military maps”:


– more accurate relief due to the use of topographic maps;
– you can record the track of the route;
– is available offline if you download the maps in advance.


Disadvantages of Soviet Military Maps:


– no automatic routing;
– restrictions in the free version and a lot of advertising;
– no new trails and objects, as the maps are from the Soviet period.


Mobile Fatmap Maps


Android, iOS
For whom: hikers, skiers, snowboarders, cyclists, rock climbers.
Mobile application with 3D maps where you can see the relief and detailed information about the slopes, avalanche-prone areas, snow and weather conditions. You can also learn about the operating hours of ski resorts, elevators, and pistes.

These maps are suitable not only for skiers and snowboarders, but also for mountain hikers and bikers. They fairly accurately display the terrain and elevations. Here you can use compiled routes from community guides or plan your own. However, to use all the features you need to subscribe. The free version has many limitations – for example, there is no access to offline maps, snow analysis and the ability to use different map layers.
The application can be used in Russia, but the guides and ready-made routes drawn up for the mountain regions of Europe, America and Canada.


Advantages of Fatmap:


– 3D maps with the ability to switch layers;
– detailed information about the terrain and snow conditions;
– Ready-made itineraries from community guides.


Disadvantages of Fatmap:


– a lot of restrictions in the free version;
– the application is in English, there is no russified version;
– no automatic routing.


Maps. me mobile maps


Android, iOS
For whom: hikers, cyclists and motorists.
The application, until recently, was based on OpenStreetMap maps, and was considered one of the most convenient for route planning. It had convenient and fairly accurate automatic routing, elevation marking, the ability to use maps offline, as well as to save the necessary points, mark springs and parking lots. But in December 2020, its owner Mail.ru Group Corporation sold the service to Daegu Limited, after which many changes occurred in the work of Maps. me: the ability to use maps in offline mode disappeared, detail and object search deteriorated, the OpenStreetMap layer is no longer available.
At the moment the old features are still available in the old version, but if you update it or download the application for the first time, they can no longer be used. New owners of Maps. me reported that they will take into account the negative feedback about the updated version and fix bugs, but for now it is better to pay attention to other applications.

Advantages of Maps.me:


– the application is free;
– user-friendly interface;
– automatic routing;
– marking of heights;
– the ability to report errors, add new objects to the map.


Disadvantages of Maps. me:


– the new version may not work some of the features;
– possible inaccuracies and errors in the maps;
– it is not always possible to determine the complexity of a section.
For route planning on the computer there is a service nakarte. me. It does not have a mobile version, but working with it gives more opportunities for route planning. Here you can use different layers, among which there are OpenStreetMap, and topographic maps of different scale. There is no automatic routing, but you can build a route yourself along any trails and even in places where there are none. The planned track can be loaded into the navigator or printed out in any scale so that later several parts of the map can be glued together. For complex category hikes in remote regions, this service is more suitable than mobile apps.


Everything for hiking

Modern apps offer a large number of functions for all types of tourism. Thanks to them, you can compose a route, plan time en route, plan parking places and learn about attractions nearby. But we should not forget that the maps in the phone is not enough for serious routes, especially in remote areas, and the ability to navigate, understand the landscape and knowledge of the topographic signs – the necessary skills in any hike. Besides, phone is not the most reliable device. It can run out of charge at the most inopportune moment, and in the cold season to use the touch screen and at all uncomfortable. Therefore, it is best to combine different ways of orientation, depending on the route and the situation

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