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Old 04-11-12, 10:08 AM   #1
Tende
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Best Android App for tour mapping? MapMyRide vs MapDroyd vs Osmand vs BackCountryNav

I've found threads debating the merits of GPS vs smartphone vs paper maps, and Ive seen some info for the Iphone, but for my upcoming cross county tour, Ive decided to carry paper maps, supported by my Android smartphone. Some of the route I will have planned before I depart, but some routing will be done on the road. Battery & data usage considerations require that I only access GPS or cell phone towers intermittently (ie I can't run with continuous GPS connection or continously download data) Here are my requirements:
1. Must be able to download and access maps offline.
2. Need to be able to get directions, modify route and..
3. Save route to offline maps
4. I'd like to have turn by turn instructions (dont need oral)
5. I'd like to track my mileage (at least daily, but over the entire multiday tour would be nice)

Here are the programs I've looked at or heard about, but, to my knowledge none seem to meet all my requirements.

Googlemaps - seems to have everything, except the ability to access (save) offline.
MapMyRide
MapDroyd
Osmand
BackCountyNavigator
MyTourBook

Thoughts?
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Old 04-16-12, 10:01 AM   #2
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Have you looked at strava? I haven't personally used it since many people have talked about the accuracy of the mileage and speed with the gps system.
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Old 04-16-12, 01:25 PM   #3
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well, as I understand it, strava will record your ride/workout and present you with lots of info after your ride; but you need to have your gps on during your ride (a battery killer on a tour) and it doesn't seem to help much in planning your route.
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Old 04-19-12, 11:10 AM   #4
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Also check out Orux. Love it.
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Old 04-19-12, 06:47 PM   #5
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Too bad you're not getting much help here, because this is a terrific topic. I think you understand a good deal about using the phone for navigation already, but I will offer these thoughts. Although not 100% familiar with the other apps you mentioned, I will state unequivocally that Osmand can perform the following functions very well:

1) Navigate a route downloaded from a ride planning service such as www.ridewithgps.com.

2) Use a self contained data base.

3) Store the route as you ride for later analysis by ridewithgps or a similar service.

4) Provide both turn by turn oral and visual instructions.

Last summer, I rode a three day trip to Yosemite Nat'l Park using only Osmand and no physical maps. After receiving the three gpx legs from my buddy via email, I stored them within the app and set off riding, swapping between the self contained maps and topographic on line maps as desired. This worked very well.

I have used Osmand all over the world and though I have donated to the cause, I have never been required to pay for maps or the service. You can download the latest free version by searching on "latest Osmand nightly build" and selecting the development version.

Limitations: although you do not need a data or cellular connection and could very well use the device in airplane mode as I do in Europe, you do need to constantly receive GPS, and if you desire the navigation assistance, you need to have the screen on. This limits you to about five hours max on the battery. Fortunately, however, Android devices allow access to the battery compartment, unlike iPhones, so I always carry one or two spare cell phone batteries. If you have good kharma, your local cell phone provider may actually give you a spare battery from one of their returns.

Also, the voice navigation system, although quite robust, does not provide street names, only turn signal directions.

Again, I have used the Osmand system extensively in many European countries, Israel, Australia, and the United States, and strongly recommend checking it out. However, the app has so many menus and features that you need lots of practice with it before setting out on a long journey.

Just a few takes on what I know of the other apps. Google Nav does not allow navigating a pre-planned route. You must give it the destination and it will take you there by direct routing. Mapmyride does not offer an Android navigation app. You can use it for ride planning, but ridewithgps does a much better job. As for Strava, you would use it to record your ride and compare your performance to other riders in the Strava community, but the app alone does not provide navigation assistance. Finally, after checking out the massive Orux program, I see that it does provide navigation assistance, but only through a trick method of switching to Google Navigation. Apparently you have to manually select the navigator for each successive waypoint. Also, Google Nav requires a data connection. These limitations make Orux impractical, IMO.

Bottom line: Osmand costs nothing and can navigate to any point or follow any route worldwide with no signal other than GPS. No other app does this.

Last edited by sierrabob; 04-20-12 at 08:56 AM. Reason: Orux eval, etc
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Old 05-21-16, 12:18 AM   #6
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OsmAnd works great, first time I used it it took me to my favorite hiking state park all through nice quiet back roads I didn't even know they existed,
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Old 05-21-16, 03:15 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tende View Post
I've found threads debating the merits of GPS vs smartphone vs paper maps, and Ive seen some info for the Iphone, but for my upcoming cross county tour, Ive decided to carry paper maps, supported by my Android smartphone. Some of the route I will have planned before I depart, but some routing will be done on the road. Battery & data usage considerations require that I only access GPS or cell phone towers intermittently (ie I can't run with continuous GPS connection or continously download data) Here are my requirements:
1. Must be able to download and access maps offline.
2. Need to be able to get directions, modify route and..
3. Save route to offline maps
4. I'd like to have turn by turn instructions (dont need oral)
5. I'd like to track my mileage (at least daily, but over the entire multiday tour would be nice)

Here are the programs I've looked at or heard about, but, to my knowledge none seem to meet all my requirements.

Googlemaps - seems to have everything, except the ability to access (save) offline.
MapMyRide
MapDroyd
Osmand
BackCountyNavigator
MyTourBook

Thoughts?
Before I begin to address some of your requirements, did you mean "cross-country" tour when you said "cross-county". If you're riding across the country I can certainly understand your problem. If you're only riding across a single county that shouldn't be a problem for most apps that can work off-line.

I'm not sure if I understand you correctly but are you asking is it possible to route or re-route a map while you are on the ride? I heard of people wanting to do this before but unless you have a laptop ( with mouse feature ) and on-line access I don't think this is possible with just a smart phone ( unless you have a mini-bluetooth keyboard with mouse feature that will work with a smart phone (?) ) Anyway, not sure if it's possible with just a standard smart phone.

Since someone else already recommended OSMAnd, I'll go ahead and recommend you give the Locus Pro app a look-over. Locus Pro will give you the option to down load maps for off-line use ( for a small fee ). Locus is very configurable. If you don't want voice prompts those can be turned off. You can use Locus for basic navigation and turn on/off the GPS manually if you wish. You can also set the GPS for how often you want it to check for location. Of course if you turn off the voice prompts you must view the screen more to see where you are going and where the next turn is. Locus gives no visual written cue sheet of street names or turns.

Another app you may find interesting is "Cue Sheet" with Pro pack. Cue sheet is much easier to work with but has limitations. New features allow the user to download maps for off-line use. Cue Sheet also offers "voice TBT" if wanted. Cue Sheet also allows the user to just use the "written" cue sheet for navigation without using the GPS. I believe it also gives you the distance to the next turn. Very helpful if you have a separate bike computer that gives you mileage. All this of course helps save battery life...

...And speaking of battery life; If you are using a smart phone for navigation you can easily extend run time by using an external battery/charger. These just plug into the phone's USB port and can extend runtime immensely ( how long depends on the size of the battery/charger...they come in different capacity sizes. The bigger the capacity, the more longer the run time ) Many people use these by just connecting them at the start and hide the battery in a small bag near the front of the bike. I have one but rarely need to use it. My phone has a good size battery, enough for my usual 3-4 hr rides. Of course if I needed more I could buy a USB/phone adapter for one of my 8.4 volt Li-ion batteries and use that to get me through a day long ride.

Lastly, both Locus Pro and Cue Sheet are pretty efficient IMO. Then again I usually leave the screen off and just let the "voice" tell me when a turn is coming up. If I have questions I turn the screen back on to get clarification. Not to worry though, if I go off route both apps will notify me with voice if I wish to use those features.
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Old 05-21-16, 06:16 AM   #8
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I'd try osmand.

It's cheap enough (use the free version and then spend $4 if you like it). It might be worthwhile to spend the extra $2 for contours.

So try it.

osmand can create routes but I'm not sure if it can save those routes.

You can load tracks to osmand and have it follow them. If you go off track, it computes a route to the nearest point on the track.

I'd set things up so that you can see the map while you ride and not rely completely on hearing the instructions.
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Old 05-21-16, 06:22 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 01 CAt Man Do View Post
Since someone else already recommended OSMAnd, I'll go ahead and recommend you give the Locus Pro app a look-over. Locus Pro will give you the option to down load maps for off-line use ( for a small fee ). Locus is very configurable. If you don't want voice prompts those can be turned off. You can use Locus for basic navigation and turn on/off the GPS manually if you wish. You can also set the GPS for how often you want it to check for location. Of course if you turn off the voice prompts you must view the screen more to see where you are going and where the next turn is. Locus gives no visual written cue sheet of street names or turns.
Locus is very feature rich. It might be too feature rich.

I don't like Locus's map purchase policy. You can get free maps for it but it's more work. Locus is supposed to load maps automatically when changing location but that doesn't seem to work reliably (for me). I live near a state border. So that feature is necessary.

You can get free maps from "openandromaps" and mapsforge.

Last edited by njkayaker; 05-21-16 at 08:23 AM.
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Old 05-21-16, 07:13 AM   #10
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So things have improved in the 3.5 years since this thread was started?
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Old 05-21-16, 08:27 AM   #11
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So things have improved in the 3.5 years since this thread was started?
That's more than enough time for many of the programs to have been improved. The ridewithgps app might be newer than that.

It's been more than four years.

Last edited by njkayaker; 05-21-16 at 10:28 PM.
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Old 05-21-16, 03:30 PM   #12
01 CAt Man Do
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Quote:
Originally Posted by njkayaker View Post
Locus is very feature rich. It might be too feature rich.

I don't like Locus's map purchase policy. You can get free maps for it but it's more work. Locus is supposed to load maps automatically when changing location but that doesn't seem to work reliably (for me). I live near a state border. So that feature is necessary.

You can get free maps from "openandromaps" and mapsforge.
Yes, it is. Whether it's too feature rich would depend on the opinion of who's using it. About paying for the maps; I don't recall the maps costing a boat load of money. I paid for the app and the few extra maps I bought were a drop in the bucket compared to what I pay for phone service every month. "Free" is nice to get once in a while but if I'm only spending something that cost me less than buying lunch I can do that without regrets. No app is going to be perfect.

The guy I quoted wanted to be able to navigate without using too much battery power. He wanted to have the GPS in "off" mode most of the time. That's a tough nut to crack. Anyway I figured if he wanted to save battery life that much he wouldn't be using the screen much either. Likely the "Cue Sheet" app would be the better choice for him since he could just turn the app on to look at the written TBT instructions. Then he could use the odometer on his bike computer to watch for the next turn. Then as long as he is keeping track of his last turn he can FForward to his newest position on the map ( if he needs to use the map ). It would be a PITA to do it that way in my opinion but hey, it could be done and it's what you have to do if the app crashes anyway. Anyway, Cue Sheet is able to download off line maps as well but I've never used it off line or know if the maps are free or not.

( Update; Awe crap, didn't realize that the original guy I quoted ( tende ) started the post in 2013...hate when that happens. Someone dug up an old post and got it bumped. That got by me. )

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Old 05-21-16, 10:07 PM   #13
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Yes, it is. Whether it's too feature rich would depend on the opinion of who's using it.
No doubt. The ideal way is to have the features but not in a way that gets in the way of people who don't need those features.

Two problems with the app: the street name text is too small and the maps don't autoload reliably.

Quote:
Originally Posted by 01 CAt Man Do View Post
About paying for the maps; I don't recall the maps costing a boat load of money. I paid for the app and the few extra maps I bought were a drop in the bucket compared to what I pay for phone service every month. "Free" is nice to get once in a while but if I'm only spending something that cost me less than buying lunch I can do that without regrets. No app is going to be perfect.
I've looked at a few of these sorts of apps. Locus is the only one that makes you pay for each map and for map updates (beyond a year?) It's kind of a subscription model (which I don't like).

I'm not asking for free. (I've contributed money to free services).

If you are using OSM maps, having access to updates is key.

Quote:
Originally Posted by 01 CAt Man Do View Post
The guy I quoted wanted to be able to navigate without using too much battery power. He wanted to have the GPS in "off" mode most of the time. That's a tough nut to crack.
Macadamia nut tough.

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Originally Posted by 01 CAt Man Do View Post
Anyway I figured if he wanted to save battery life that much he wouldn't be using the screen much either. Likely the "Cue Sheet" app would be the better choice for him since he could just turn the app on to look at the written TBT instructions. Then he could use the odometer on his bike computer to watch for the next turn. Then as long as he is keeping track of his last turn he can FForward to his newest position on the map ( if he needs to use the map ). It would be a PITA to do it that way in my opinion but hey, it could be done and it's what you have to do if the app crashes anyway.
I don't think that is worth saving the $170 a refurbished Edge 800 costs.

I like the how an active map gives an indication of what is going on.

Quote:
Originally Posted by 01 CAt Man Do View Post
Anyway, Cue Sheet is able to download off line maps as well but I've never used it off line or know if the maps are free or not.
The cuesheet app is interesting but I'm not sure if it's actively being worked on. I think it uses Google maps. I wouldn't use something that didn't work offline.

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Originally Posted by 01 CAt Man Do View Post
( Update; Awe crap, didn't realize that the original guy I quoted ( tende ) started the post in 2013...hate when that happens. Someone dug up an old post and got it bumped. That got by me. )
It was 2012. No big deal.

Last edited by njkayaker; 05-21-16 at 10:36 PM.
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Old 05-22-16, 10:25 PM   #14
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When riding in France, Google Maps insisted on sending me into agricultural roads in bike setting, muddy, overgrown with grass. These would be fine for a short hop but not for long-distance riding. All that when there was no problem finding a practically equivalent routes utilizing decent paved backcountry roads. On other occasions it sent me into a road with heavy traffic when there was a quiet parallel one a short distance away. However, Maps is intuitive and figures out a new route quickly. When I turned to Orux, Locus and Osmand and maybe a couple in-between, I spent a day+ figuring out how to use them and still am a complete beginner. During that time I could have done a day trip with Google Maps. Mapfactor Navigator, also using open maps, figured out a route to a grocery store next door and all other destinations were returned with a declaration 'route not found' in its bike setting.
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