Apps are the big buzz right now – and for outdoors fans there is a fast-growing collection of useful walking and cycling apps. We hope that these apps don’t ever replace the good old-fashioned map and compass, but for new ideas and increased motivation it’s hard to resist an outdoors app or two.
Most apps can be installed on a smartphone, whether its an iPhone or android, or else on an iPad or PC. Of course, if you’re out and about a mobile phone makes the most sense. If you’re using an app to plan a walk or cycle then a desktop device will work, too.
Always remember that phones can lose signal or battery charge so you should never rely on them for navigation. Indeed, that’s why the map and compass will always be in vogue! These days most outdoors fans take both a gadget and a map with them to the hills.
Great apps for walkers
Platform: Android, iPhone and Symbian
Scales: 1:50 000 – 1:25 000
Cost: Free for some android phones, £9.99 for iphone
The great thing about Viewranger is that it works without mobile coverage because the maps are stored on the actual phone. The app displays maps, records tracks, helps you to navigate and even shows you points-of-interest along the way. When you have internet connection the app will show your actual position, too. You can also store and share your routes.
Platform: iPhone, iPad
Scales: 1:50 000 – 1:25 000
Cost: Free to £40
RouteBuddy supplies topographical, aerial, road and Ordnance Survey mapping, “to help you wherever you are or wherever you’re going”. This is a great route finder app although you do need to buy each OS map.
Scales: 1: 50 000 – 1: 25 000
Cost: Free version, as well as a more sophisticated £20 version
The Memory Map mapping application turns your iPhone into an outdoors GPS. It allows you to view and navigate with OS maps as well as topo maps and marine and aviation charts (should you need them!). Maps are stored off-line so you can use them when you don’t have a phone signal.
GB Nat Parks
Scales: 1:50 000
This GB Nat Parks app offers full access to viewing all of Britain’s national parks on UK 1:50K Ordnance Survey maps. This happens from the point of installing, which means that you do not need to download anything. The maps are clear and accurate, although be aware that 1:50K doesn’t offer fine detail viewing.
Great apps for cyclists
Platform: IPhone and Android
Sustrans has released a Complete National Cycle Network app, offering access to more than 25,000 miles of walking and cycling network routes across the UK. Sustrans has created the app from their OS based online mapping facility and it has been specifically designed to help people make more of their everyday journeys on foot or by bike.
Platform: iPhone and Android, iPad and PC
This clever – and somewhat addictive – app allows you to track rides via your iPhone, Android or GPS device to analyse your own performance. But what’s even more brilliant is that you can compare and compete against friends and others by checking how “competitors” perform on various stretches of road or hill climbs.
Price: Free (£1.49 / $1.99 upgrade )
Turn your iPhone into a bike computer with this app, which offers GPS-enabled mapping, as well as useful functions such as speed and distance. For an £1.49, you can upload your routes to Facebook and Twitter, and save unlimited rides to your phone. Of course, you might also want to buy a handlebar mount for your iPhone to make full use of this app while you’re on the go. Have you used any other useful walking and cycling apps?
If you have any top tips for walking and cycling apps please do let us know.