In The Desert
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BackCountry Navigator Videos
This video is for the BackCountryNavigator APP for $9.99 at the Google PlayStore.
A little drug out but helpful with opening different maps in BackCountry
We wanted to know if you could get a map for in the desert that has the detail and can be zoomed in like a GPS map. Simple answer, yes. BackCountry Navigator is available on the Google Play Store and once you've paid a one time fee of $9.99 you can download the App to as many of your Android devices as you'd like. NOTE: Apps can be uninstalled and if you purchase an App (say a map system) from Google you can get a refund if you load it right away and try it and within 15 minutes decide you don't want it. I've heard of them doing refunds for longer time periods also. Okay map system Apps. We've tried quite a few of them, some more expensive, some less, Giai, Memory Map, Backpacker, ViewRanger Outdoors. If we didn't try ones listed here it was because we found too many complaints about having problems with the interface, or having a hard time getting them to work. Memory Map we tried, but didn't like it and it's not user friendly. Google's Back Country Navigator is by the far the best and offers no less than 5 different maps for you to download and use with the zoom level to be set by the user.. Here's some examples sent to us by James Seto after giving him a location we were familiar with.
Our location area, sent to James Seto
These 5 maps are all available through the Back Country Navigation App. Here's what you're looking at. These captures are all thanks to James Seto.
1. US Topo Imagery, similar to a Google satellite view with our gpx track loaded onto the map James set the zoom to 17X on these.
2. CalTopo US 24K Topo Map. One of the better choices as this one shows "Jeep trails" and major roads, landmarks like windmills, wells, a nearby small town, railroad tracks and other details. Nice topo map, with just enough details. One of James's "highly recommended" maps.
3. USGS Topo Map. Nice topo map but the one above may be better with more detail shown on the topo map. You may be tempted to use this map because of the USGS name, but look at the CalTopo above first. Both of these maps have shaded relief to give them a little more depth.
4. US Topo Imagery with Markups. This Imagery map shows roads, landmarks, as well as elevation deviation. You can see Springs, small towns, Mountains, trails and even old trails. This map is also "highly recommended" by James.
5. USGS Color Aerials - small tiles.
Another one that looks like a Google Earth satellite view, nice maps, all of them, but James ,and I agree, number 2 and number 4 the best for our type of off-road use. Now you know what they look like on a tablet. More info below offered by James.
James: "Most topo maps have some roads and trails listed. Most Aerials don't. Back Country Navigator is like a Garmin GPS or any other Topo Gps, but it doesn't have Navigation like a car GPS. However, you can use Google Maps, download or "cache" the area, use the navigation to start the driving directions to get to your start point. It will keep going, even if you run out of Wi-Fi or cellular signal. It stores it in the Tablet. Just don't turn off the tablet until you get there. Otherwise the driving direction/GPS directions gets lost. The maps stay cached, so you can use it to plot a path home, like a handheld GPS".
James: "Ok, this is what I did. I'm using BackCountry Navigator. Within it, I can download a bunch of US Topos or US Imagery. Most of them share the same data source so the maps all look alike. There are 5 maps that are unique. I took a picture of each one, zoomed in at 17x. Most maps go from 15x or 24x. 17x was the clearest on the highest zoom. They also have some Premium maps. I have not seen them and not sure of the cost, but if it's anything like their product, it's probably worth it".
We will follow James advice on this. The maps are just as good, and in some cases, better than anything our GPS can offer. Plus we can have both topos and aerial imagery. With a large tablet it'll be easier to travel in the desert in remote areas. Thanks again to James Seto for the invaluable help. Now we know what the maps look like.
Accessories Ones you may need?
Back to Tablet GPS, Page 1
James's emails to in-the-desert:
Thanks again to James Seto for making this possible and showing us what is available.
James: "BackCountry Navigator (BCN) has all the maps on the program via a dropdown menu. What the viewers here need to do is have a wi-fi connection, launch BCN and choose the map they want to use. Via wi-fi, it will download the areas as they are viewing it. If they want to pre-cache the maps, they can choose that function, block off the area, and choose "download". Pretty simple". See videos below.