Latest News: Read more

Discussion Forum - Gear ! - Walking apps

Author: Iain Connell
Posted: Tue 11th Sep 2018, 10:32
Joined: 2010
Local Group: East Lancashire
A few years ago I asked in these pages how far we were from tablet, rather than dedicated hand-held device, based GPS tracking and route-following software. On the evidence of one website, at least, we are there. says that "Our mobile app runs on iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch, Kindle Fire and Android smartphones, tablets and watches." Included is "Unlimited OS maps [Explorer and Landranger, at 15 zoom levels] for Great Britain" at a similar subscription rate to Ordnance Survey's (Premier) online mapping.

Dedicated GPS hand-helds are robust and long-lasting but still expensive, with small to medium screen sizes. Smartphone mapping apps appear to be cheap, but screens may be little bigger and the devices may not survive handling, scratching (and dropping) in typical outdoor conditions. Tablets and now phablets (tablets with mobile phone capabilities) are larger but may not, yet, be as robust and long-lasting as dedicated GPS.

I would carry a map-pocket-sized OS and satellite-mapping-enabled tablet if it would stand up to the same kind of mis-treatment handed out to my old paper maps (and I'm careful), to begin with, at least, alongside a hand-held GPS. I would not replace my Garmin Etrex with an Apple or Andriod watch, Android smartphone or iPhone, but I would consider an 'outdoors iPad'.

So, does anyone have experience of tablet (or phablet)- based GPS/OS enabled mapping devices, carried and used on walks, 'in the field' and on the moors and fells ?

Author: Mark Garratt
Posted: Mon 10th Sep 2018, 21:53
Joined: 2016
Local Group: Heart of England
Only one that matters Strava . Best by a country mile .if it's not on strava it didn't happen is the saying
Author: Andrew Beck
Posted: Wed 29th Aug 2018, 0:39
Joined: 2017
Local Group: Thames Valley
I've been using Viewranger for many years without a problem and has all the features you want and many more.
It can record, share, follow routes and has a large database of walks (at least in the UK)
It can provide location tracking to friends and family.
It has offline map capability, with multiple map sources (free maps plus cheap yearly subscription to Ordnance Survery, IGN and other maps)
It is accurate as dedicated GPS units but with better lock on times
Battery lasts at least 9+ hours on a Samsung S7

Plus it has the best web route planning interface I've seen.
Author: Tim Bedwell
Posted: Wed 1st Aug 2018, 22:34
Joined: 2016
Local Group: Surrey
I used to use Sports-Tracker. Very reliable, and doesn't kill your battery, but overestimates distances by up to 10% and the ascent figures were greatly over-estimated - even walking on the flat it clocked up ascent as the gps wandered. Workouts are uploaded to their website, where you can download gpx files, or upload your gpx files to add a workout. No longer supported on windows phone, so changed to runtastic. Similar functionality, with website etc. but much heavier on the battery. With Runtastic, I think others can see your current position, but I don't use that facility. The accuracy is almost identical to my Garmin for distance and ascent/descent looks much more accurate. Now I have a Garmin gps I use that for walks over a few hours, and use my phone for walks up to a few hours.
Author: Iain Connell
Posted: Wed 1st Aug 2018, 12:55
Joined: 2010
Local Group: East Lancashire
Hi Russell

A consensus of opinion (in these pages) appears to be that GPS devices, at least, are more reliable in recording cumulative distance covered rather than height gained. Estimates for the former are aound 5% inaccuracy between devices, compared to maybe 30% for the latter. In other words, you can much better rely on what your device says for the distance you've done than for the height you've climbed that day. How much better depends on your device type, and one way to find out is to compare what yours says at the end of a group walk with those of as many others as are available (and these days that may be more than half of any longer-distance group).

In my case the implication was that my Garmin ETrex touch was under-estimating distances when compared to other devices. I tested this out by walking the same measured mile of an almost-straight and mainly level piece of minor road near my home (this is possible even in the south Pennines), twice in both directions. Sure enough, over four miles it showed a total of just under 3.8 miles, a deficit of rather more than 5% (one mile in twenty). So far this appears to be a consistently reliable under-estimate.

Whether the same accuracy assumptions are true of inexpensive GPS phone apps, rather than the still-costly range of dedicated satellite receivers, is a moot point. As for wrist-worn trackers, these may not have been around long enough for a consensus to have emerged.

Author: Russell Bateman
Posted: Wed 1st Aug 2018, 8:42
Joined: 2018
Local Group: London

Does anyone have direct experience of using a walking app to record their route distance and time? I've looked at several apps and users' comments before deciding not to download them due to glitches or other issues that interfere with the process. I have also tried several, including those aimed primarily at runners but each has not quite worked for me.

So, perhaps the LDWA walking community might reveal the 'ideal' walkers app............

This website uses cookies

To comply with EU Directives we are informing you that our website uses cookies for services such as memberships and Google Analytics.

Your data is completely safe and we do not record any personally identifiable information.

Please click the button to acknowledge and approve our use of cookies during your visit.

Learn more about the Cookie Law