Offline Navigation App for Hiking – Review
If you enjoy outdoor activities such as hiking, kayaking, climbing off the beaten path, you will know how important it is to have a reliable offline map at hand. Good old paper maps and a compass can do the trick. But, who is to argue against technology and the convenience GPS tracking?
Avid hunter, climber and hiker Thomas Bunge recommends Multiplans as the best app for offline navigation. Thomas climbed a 6k and several 5k mountains in the Cordillera Blanca and Occidental in Peru, Machu Picchu, Cotopaxi and Chimborazo in Equador, around 15 to 20 of the 4k mountains in the Alps, about 50 Via Ferratas in the Dolomites. He hiked from Munich to Venice, and the GR20 on Corse. Closer to his current home in Canada, he hiked to the peaks of Fisher Peak in Cranbrook, Mt. Tegart, Mt. Rundle, The Forest and much more.
To read his complete review, just keep scrolling!
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Multiplans – iOS navigation app in the AppStore
by Thomas Bunge
What Multiplans is
- Lets you use your self made maps completely offline
- Works with all kind of raster maps (topo, sat imagery, hybrid)
- Works with all kinds of picture formats (jpeg, png)
- Works with tile sets or single image
- Lets you use offline maps which cover huge areas (the whole state of California in one single atlas)
- Lets you record tracks and create POIs (waypoints) with a single button press
- Lets you import your GPX tracks or POIs (waypoints)
- Lets you geo reference imported images (import old historic maps scanned e.g.)
What Mulitplans is not
- Absolutely no online maps in this app
- No overlays (map layers)
- No routing, or navigating (well, semi automatic while manually tracking your progress towards a created waypoint)
How Multiplans works (easiest scenario)
- Fire up Mobac (Mobile Atlas Creator) and create an AFTrack Atlas of the area you’re interested in
- Or use Mapc2Mapc to convert your favored map
- Import to Multiplans
- my recommendation: use the WLAN import function utilizing Multiplans build-in web server, most reliable and straight forward
- picture format: if you use JPEG60 you can cover a huge area while maintaining a rel. small file size, for reference the whole JMT in CALTopo is 4.7GB, in OpenTopo 1.3GB (and I put a good portion of California in the Atlas, 450sqmi!) or a big portion of B.C. 830,000 tiles (256x256px), 925sqmi is 4.8GB, raster image topo
- Create the POIs (Points of Interest) you want to go to
- Import a GPX track showing you the planed route (with elevation profile and distance)
- No limits on the number of POIs or tracks (POIs are part of the individual map, tracks are global). Maybe a feature worth adding by the developer to make POIs global as well 😉
- Works on Mac with Catalina upwards
Suggestions to further improvement
- Make POIs global
- Add a donation button like send me a beer (not sure how a developer makes profit with a $4 app, LOL)
Consider this scenario: You’re at home and plan your next adventure. A friend send you his GPX track of a hidden trail in the middle of nowhere leading to the best fishing spot ever. Or you want to backpack to Alpamayo while visiting the Cordillera Blanca (you know where this is, do you?).
That’s what you NEED Multiplans for. Believe me, no other app in the iOS world will serve you better! On an Android you’d use Locus. I personally use both and I tested them all and always came back for the simplicity.
In the middle of nowhere you don’t need a feature laden app which drains your battery while trying to call home or is super complex to find back to the place where your left your car or boat. You want to know where you are and how far it is back to safety, that’s it, period!
And the maps are free of charge, no subscription, no account required, no personal data requested, nothing! Well, you need to invest time to create an atlas though.
The developer is very response and always has an open ear to provide support fast and precise! That way a whole lot of bugs have been rooted out and the app became very stable and user friendly.
I have been using Multiplans offline maps for more than 10 years now, for exactly those reasons.