As the weeks pass the stock of dumb-phones that cell carriers are offering shrinks more and more. It seems that more and more people have a smart phone, I have a driod from verizon wireless and love it. The Android market offers lots of apps geared toward hiking. The GPS in many smart-phones are as good as hand held GPS receivers, many have an electronic compass and as long as you have cell service you can get up to date weather including radar maps. A smart-phone can be a great tool on the trail…
Here are my top 5 FREE hiking apps for android:
Hi-Hiker Pro is a all in one tool which is really all the different devices needed on the trail. It includes a pedometer, stopwatch, compass, flashlight, maps, altimeter, GPS tracking, weather forecast and emergency call. You can save your different sessions and import/export your trips as a GPX files to visualize your them on Google Earth.
2. My Tracks
My Tracks developed by google enables you to record GPS tracks and view live statistics – such as time, speed, distance, and elevation. Once recorded, you can share your tracks, upload them to Google Spreadsheets and visualize them on Google My Maps.
Peak.AR offers a panoramic augmented reality view of the surrounding peaks. It uses the compass and GPS receiver in the phone to let you know what peaks you are looking at and how far away they are. Sometimes lacks accuracy but still pretty neat.
AlpineQuest GPS Hiking (Lite) is a maps program, you can store maps on your SD card so they can be accessed without network access. USGS TOPO maps can be made and saved via the AlpineQuest website. AlpineQuest will also track your route and allow you to save waypoints if you buy the full version of the app.
Not really made for hiking but I’m including it here because it is a great tool for loved ones. With Wheres My Droid you can set up a phrase so when it is text to you it will auto reply with your location. I like this because Miss HuskyHiker can see where I am on the trail as long as I have network access. Great peice of mind for loved ones if you often hike alone.
And always remember to keep your phone on silent when hiking, nothing is worse than a ringing phone in the middle of the woods especially when you are trying to snap a shot of a deer or neat bird on the trail…