Outdoor World

Report says popular apps are silently recording your screen

Denver

Hiking without a data signal gets a little easier thanks to ViewRanger
Image: Getty Images
ViewRanger
$ Free( with in-app acquisitions )

The Good

Extensive collect of maps that you can download for offline apply* User-shared itineraries can uncover hidden gems in your own backyard

The Bad

Some features can be less robust depending on your place* Hard to find roads and routes have not yet been shared by another customer* No in-app tutorials for easier user experience

The Bottom Line

ViewRanger boasts a robust collect of maps and features that can greatly improve your outdoor escapades — though usefulness differs based on location. While the free version is useful, you’ll is therefore necessary to shell out for one of the subscription plans to unlock the best features.

Mashable Score 4. 0

Aesthetic 3. 5

Easy to use 2. 5

Delivers on promise 5. 0

Bang for the Buck 4. 0


If you’re big on outdoor activities — hiking, trail go, or cycling — you know the familiar trouble: Spotty GPS and data signals can signify a messy time trying to find your way out of the woods. Literally.

While there are still plenty of published guide options, having online access to maps, trails, and essential details about where you are is unbelievably convenient and important, specially if you’re just heading out for a short day trip or a hike in relative civilization as opposed to roughing it in the deepest reaches of your local mountain range.

Living in Northeast Ohio, I often choose to escape the urban environment in favor of the small nature sanctuaries in the Cleveland Metroparks system and down the road in the Cuyahoga Valley National Park. I detected myself get frustrated on hikes that there was either no signal allow me to use Google Maps or when there was one using it would virtually drain battery.

Enter ViewRanger, a map and trail app that has some great bells and whistles — including maps that are available offline. If you can learn to navigate it and are willing to shell out a few bucks, it is unable to make it a great addition to your outdoor adventures.

The layout

Upon opening ViewRanger, you’re offered a split-screen with a searchable map on top and a ensues listing on bottom, which presents roads and roads shared by others. In between, you’ll find some useful filters to help you narrow down your search: activity kind, distance, difficulty, and so on.

A menu bar across the top allowed them to cycle through other opinions, such as a full-screen map option, the app’s social feed, a search option, and predilections. On the full-screen map tab, you’ll find a map layers icon that takes you to all the options the app has to offer which are, indeed, extensive. Well, as long as you go for the top-tier premium subscription, which will cost you $19.99 per year.

Google

Image: Mashable screenshot

While the map and shared routes feature are easily navigable, accessing some of the other options, like the augmented reality Skyline tool or the 3D flyover, are a bit more difficult. With no tutorial, you’re turn left to poke around and uncover things like how to navigate between map alternatives or find features like the Skyline tool, which I got to by clicking a mysterious, unlabeled icon from a map screen.

It took a good 15 minutes before I find the 3D flyover feature and that was purely by accident. And I had no idea that there was a GPS power-saving feature until I get deep in to the “Knowledge Books” nuzzled away in the Help section.

If you want any tutorials, you’ll have to look at the app’s website. For the most part, it’s not a steep learning curve but having access to these tutorials via the app would be a huge help.

In any case, it’s definitely best to familiarize yourself with the app’s functionality before you trek out into the lumbers. But once you get past that hurdle, ViewRanger has a lot of potential, depending on your circumstances.

Maps and routes feature

One of the first things you’ll notice is the presence of shared roads and roads created by other users and organizations. They’re available for everyone on the app to follow and enjoy, and they include great information like distance, waypoints, and even elevation guides.

map tools

A good look at a popular shared route

Image: ViewRanger

It’s a great idea — but the available selection varies depending on where you live. For instance, below you’ll find shared trails for the Denver area( left) and the Cleveland area( right ).

online access

Left: Shared routes around Denver. Right: Shared roads around Cleveland.

Image: Mashable screenshot

The lack of shared options in certain places wouldn’t be quite as troubling if there was a better lane to highlight existing trails that haven’t been shared by other users. I know of dozens of official roads within parks near me but with one or two exceptions , none were highlighted in the app, and I had to search around to find them. In these situations, I’m better off employing the separate Cleveland Metroparks app that highlightings both parks and their roads.

There’s also a “Plot a route” feature, which use map tools to allow you build your own tradition hiking or operating itinerary anywhere on the map. But getting that to follow a pre-existing trail within the app itself is pretty time-consuming, devoted how the feature works and twisty nature of so many trails. It’s a bit easier to employ if you login to the ViewRanger site on the web, but that takes away the ease of using it as, well, a mobile app.

That said, the app does have a robust library of maps available for consider and downloading. An extensive array of map options are available to choose from, particularly if you opt to pay for one of the subscription options.

Among the choices are topographic, satellite, transportation, and ground cover, all available for download and offline employ which is a huge selling point. The fixeds also include maps from the U.S. Geological Survey( USGS ) and U.S. topographical maps created by the USG’Ss National Geospatial Program.

ranger

A look at ViewRanger’s extensive map collection.

Image: mashable screenshot

After all, when you’re out in the wilderness, your phone’s GPS can build live map reads impossible. You’ll necessity something to get your bearings, and with ViewRanger’s combination of maps you can get a better idea of where you actually are irrespective of your connection.

Extras

The other features within the app are all what you make of them. The social feed is a nice option if you’re an active customer and have lots of friends who are doing the same kinds of things. You can share itineraries you create and recorded “tracks”( or hikes/ walkings) you take and follow others and ensure their shared roads. There’s likewise a Buddy Beacon location feature that can help friends find you out on the trail.

satellite maps

ViewRanger’s social feed feature

Image: Mashable SCREENSHOT

Another feature is the aforementioned Skyline, which use AR to call out all of the geographic features around you, including mountain crests, townships, and geological features including distance. For me, though, there aren’t many crests and if you know where Lake Erie is, you’re pretty much determine. Still, it’d has become a nice thing to have if you’re scanning from all the regions of the Bumpies but, like the user-shared route alternatives, its utility really depends on the environment around you. I checked Skyline only once only to see how it operated but never felt compelled to touch the alternative again.

That’s not to knock any of these; there are definitely scenarios in which they can be quite useful. It’ll just depend on how you want to use them and how valuable they are to your particular circumstance.

Value

The free alternative get you some pretty decent standard material, including landscape and satellite maps alongside maps from OpenCycle and OpenStreet, and an aerial map from Bing. One note: you’ll need to be online to access these maps.

The cheapest of the two subscription tiers, which expenses $3.99 for a year, will get you access to the Skyline AR feature, a 3D flyover feature, and allows for unlimited offline maps.

But if you want to get the full experience, including all those additional map layers, you’ll need to go for the “Premium+ Maps” package, which will run you a relatively reasonable $19.99 per year or is capable of being bought monthly for $4.99.

The judgment

Overall, ViewRanger is a solid app that stands as a great equivalent to other mapping or GPS tracking tools. The biggest advantage is the ability to download maps for offline utilize. Even with the free option, you get extra positions of your hike where your live-tracking cuts out. The cheaper of the subscription simulates is a good deal for the casual hiker or outdoor enthusiast, like myself, despite some of its shortcomings, like a lack of interactive routes.

The full premium upgrade also has a lot to give, but it’s likely best reserved for the most avid hikers and outdoor folks among us, who will utilize all of the available map layers and reach spots where the shared roads and tracking options will be plentiful. If you live and breathe out on the roads and want to track everything you do, it’s an excellent option to explore.

Read more: https :// mashable.com/ article/ viewranger-map-app-review/

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