Offline topographical maps for your phone


#1

I recently starting playing around with a few Topographical map apps for my phone and found “All-in-one Offline Maps +” to be super useful. It allows you to save sections offline, so there’s no need for cellular signal. We used it recently in Cederberg and it was very helpful in confirming our location on the map when we weren’t 100% sure, or helping us navigate back to our campsite through the rocky maze on top of Groot Krakadouw. Unfortunately it looks like it’s only available for Android users.

Anybody else have good experiences with other apps for offline navigation?


#2

I have hiked with a friend of mine who swears by Avenza Maps which can also be used offline. It works on a 1:50 000 topographical map and you can check your position on the map. Very helpful in the mountains when it is cloudy or mist comes in and also works on android and iOS.


#3

Wikilock is awesome (and free), but the problem with phones for navigation is that they aren’t waterproof and battery life is terrible. I use a Garmin Dakota 20 GPS, which works pretty well. It takes 2 AA batteries for a full day of hiking (depending on weather - it uses more if it is colder and less when warmer). I use custom made Drakensberg maps on the device - which work very well. It’s fun - kraals are marked as museums…


#4

I left my phone on flight mode for the entire trip and the battery easily lasted 5 days with the odd map usage.
If I need to use my phone in bad weather, I use a PocPac: http://www.thepocpac.co.za/shop/white-sa-flag/.
A phone is obviously no replacement for a dedicated GPS, but I found it quite handy being able to use my phone in that setting.


#5

That sounds awesome-i went hiking with a group the mnweni summit in drakensberg 2months ago-leader had a Garmin and had no signal! Got us lost 3 times-frustrating


#6

Snapshots of maps on your phone definitely works great. For those that don’t know how it works, here’s how to do it for Google maps.
Step 1 - open Google maps
Step 2 - Go to the are you are going to explore. Zoom in or out depending on how large an area you want to capture
Step 3 - on the top left of your screen will be three lines or dots. Click on it
Step 4 - select “Offline maps”. Your map copy will now reflect directly below under downloaded maps. You can rename if you want to (click on 3 dots to the right of the map name)

Whalah, you have a soft copy of your map, which will be saved for 30 days

I generally tend to overdo things a bit as I hate getting lost, so I have a GPS (2 actually), a soft copy on my phone as well as a paper map and compass. yes, gps signals can get lost, yes, batteries can run out, yes, devices can stop functioning due to water ingress, yes, paper maps will get wet or blown away, hence my approach.


#7

I use Avenza (as mentioned by @Douweg), which I’ve found great. If you are low on storage space on your phone you can simply delete the topo maps you don’t need at that time and re-download them. Additionally there is an app for Microsoft PC that you can use on your desktop. If you sign in, you can then sync your maps between devices and use it to plan at your PC before heading out.