a trail app that doesn't store maps offline? I don't understand.


Original Post
Rich Carlson · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Feb 2017 · Points: 0

This is an amazing app. Except for one small detail. It's completely useless when you need it. Everything else about the app is fantastic. Great database, great trail descriptions, easy to use. But for the life of me I don't understand why it doesn't store maps. When you really need to refer to a map you often don't have great cell service. You bookmark the hike, you drive to the trailhead, you pull out the app to check the route, and... nothing. What good are GPS tracks floating on a white screen? This seems like such a basic preliminary that I can't imagine why it's missing. Is it intended only for use in planning future hikes? Or only for use on hikes on the fringes of cities? A map app without maps. I don't get it. Is it a licensing thing? Are there plans to store maps in future versions so it becomes useful?

Mikhaila Redovian · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jul 2015 · Points: 8,119

Hey Rich, 

Thanks for reaching out with some great feedback. We hear you loud and clear! Currently, we access Google's map tiles, which we think provide a lot of good information. However, these map base tiles are very data dense, and take up a lot of storage space on a mobile device. We can certainly understand the utility of having downloadable base maps, and we're currently working to find a solution that will be accessible offline as well as compact enough for most mobile devices. 

In the meanwhile, we have a workaround. If you know that you'll be hiking a particular trail, you can look at that trail in our app before you lose service. That will sometimes cache the base tiles, allowing you to see the map under our trail data. It's not a perfect solution, but we're working towards one! 

We appreciate your patience in the meanwhile. 

Mikhaila 

Rich Carlson · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Feb 2017 · Points: 0

How about adding the option of just downloading the bottom level tiles specific to the hike you're saving rather than dealing with all the zoom levels for a whole state? That's basically what it sometimes caches anyway but you could be certain they were there instead of just hoping they're there. That wouldn't take up much space. 

Mikhaila Redovian · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jul 2015 · Points: 8,119

Hey Rich, 

Ah, that is a very interesting idea, and I will pass along your suggestion to the engineering team! Thanks for your continued recommendations, we appreciate hearing ideas as we continue to improve the app! 

Best regards, 

Mikhaila 

Don Mullins · · Unknown Hometown · Joined May 2017 · Points: 0

You could also make the amount of downloaded tiles be user selectable. There are other apps the offer this feature.

Pick a spot, drag a circle or maybe an cigar type shape (they called it a "route" shape) and only download those tiles.

You only need the tiles with the trail on it to be offline typically; most trail heads have coverage due to being near a road.

Mikhaila Redovian · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jul 2015 · Points: 8,119

Hey Don, 

Thanks for reaching out with another great suggestion. The problem at the moment is that Google doesn't allow us to download the base map tiles per their user agreement. We're hard at work on getting a custom set of base maps developed, and hopefully we'll be able to get those tiles added to the app for full download soon! 

If we end up running into those same space-storage issues, I think that your recommendations provide some great solutions. I'll record your notes on only downloading a smaller volume of base tiles, and will pass them along to our engineers! 

Thanks for your help, 

Mikhaila 

Mesa One · · Unknown Hometown · Joined 17 hours ago · Points: 0

Does this app not download for offline use? The page here (https://www.hikingproject.com/mobile-app) says it does. The entry on the Play Store also says it does.

Also, I am having trouble finding the GPS recording feature in the Android version.

Mikhaila Redovian · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jul 2015 · Points: 8,119

Hello Mesa, 

The answer is a bit yes and no. All of the line data, your GPS location, and detailed descriptions are all available offline. However, due to Google's terms and conditions (we use their base map tiles) we are unable to download the map tiles directly to the app. These may not load if you're in a truly remote location. Because of this behavior, we're switching to a different map tile provider, and from there will be able to provide base maps in addition to the features already available. 

At the moment, GPS recording is only available in iOS. We have one mobile developer, and his expertise is with iOS, but we recently expanded the bandwidth of our engineering team and hopefully that feature will be available for Android soon. 

Best regards, 

Mikhaila 

Mesa One · · Unknown Hometown · Joined 17 hours ago · Points: 0

OK thanks for taking the time, Mikhaila. That answers my questions.

I've read that the REI National Parks app does offer GPS recording. Is there a way to export recordings from NP into the Hiking Project app, or am I better off using a third-party app like MyTracks?

Mikhaila Redovian · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jul 2015 · Points: 8,119

Hey Mesa, 

Thanks for reaching out with a great question! I think that it depends on what you are hoping to use the track for. If you'd like to keep a record of where you've been, I think that using something like the National Park App might do the trick. However you will likely be limited to using the feature in National Parks. If you're looking for a way to share your favorites on our site, or elsewhere, I think that MyTracks will provide a more immediate solution. 

Let me know if that helps! 

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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