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GPS tracker or GPS mobile app for walking in wilderness

warrenw 0 Points
edited June 2014 in GPS Recommendations
I will be doing the coast to coast walk in england and will need GPS capability. can i use a GPS app on my google nexus phone or do I need a dedicated GPS tracker for accuracy. what happens with either when you are outside mobile phone range

Many thanks warrens


  • sussamb 829 Points
    edited June 2014
    You can certainly use an app on your smart phone, one I use is Viewranger. It doesn't need a mobile signal as it relies on the GPS chip on the phone, and you can download free maps and store them on the phone before you start your trip. If you don't do that while the app will give you your GPS position you won't be able to view maps while out of mobile phone range, or rather simply outside data coverage.
  • warrenw 0 Points
    thanks for that info. some follow up queries. is the GPS signal as strong on the phone as in a GPS tracker and are there any areas where the GPS signal is weak in middle England where we are walking
  • sussamb 829 Points
    Depends on the phone. Some aren't as good at locking onto GPS signals as a GPS but should be adequate for your needs. I walked the Pennine Way in 2012 and my Etrex 20 never lost a satellite lock so you should be fine on the C2C.
  • I think that doing a coast to coast walk will require more than just a mobile phone. Always best to use a compass and paper map. In the UK, Ordnance Survey produce the kind of maps you’ll need: the 1 to 50,000 Landranger series should be fine for your treck. They don’t use Lat/Long but the OSGB grid reference system. You can download the Ordnance Survey app (OS Locate) for your phone which will then give your location in a form that can be transferred to the map. I would always carry a proper GPS too. A Garmin Etrex 10 is excellent, inexpensive and its TracBack feature, if used properly, will guide you back if you get lost. If you do decide to buy an Etrex, you have to set it up to use with UK mapping system. Go to Setup page then Position Format and select British Grid then use the back button to return to the main pages. You now will have your position displayed in the eastings and northings that can be transferred to the Landranger maps. Good luck with your trip.
  • warrenw 0 Points
    Thanks, I will be taking a compass and paper map and the GPS is to be more of a back up especially if we get lost. if the GPS signal is as strong on a mobile phone as on a GPS tracker do I need the GPS tracker.

  • sussamb 829 Points
    edited July 2014
    IMO for a one off and just for the odd position fix you'd be daft to buy a GPS. On the other hand if you plan to use it for a lot more than that a GPS would be a better bet.

    I walk/hike/geocache using my GPS, with my phone as a back up. Don't even bother with paper maps anymore.
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