Awesome App for Hiking: MotionX GPS

I’ve tried out a number of mapping apps on my iPhone but only recently found one that I really like for hiking. Most of these apps access maps on the network when needed so they are not stored on the smart phone. When you fall of the edge of the network in the backcountry they don’t work. This is a non starter for most of my backcountry hikes. Even if I am close to civilization, I’ll typically drop down into a valley at some point on the hike, losing my network connection.

GPS Pikes Peak

The MotionX GPS app solves this problem by allowing you to download and storing maps on your iPhone. This requires you to do a bit of planning on what maps you need but it seems to work pretty well. The map quality is good and includes topographic information. (Click on the map image above to zoom in.) No, you probably don’t want to download maps to cover the entire US as you’ll consume all available storage!
GPS Track

Besides mapping, MotionX supports a ton of other features such as tracks, waypoints, compass headings, etc. It is quite flexible and I am still learning all of its tools.

Oh, did I mention this app only costs $1.99? Amazing!

– Bob K0NR


One Reply to “Awesome App for Hiking: MotionX GPS”

  1. This looks like a great app! It looks as though it is able to download topographical maps which is a great advantage. Another app which I have been using for about a year now is Ramblr, which is a free app. Here you can also download the map sections you would like to use and you are able to choose how far you want to zoom in on the downloaded map. I even used this map while traveling internationally to see exact ally where I was in cities I had never visited before a very quick and easy way to get your bearings. Another thing that is nice about the app is that you can upload your trips for friends, family or the world to see. ( an example using a recent hike where I was able to make contacts in Tennessee using a Yaesu 817nd) As you can see it is possible to include pictures, videos, memos, distance and elevation change. The one disadvantage I have found so far is that downloading terrain maps (using the “open cycle” option) does not always work. Aside from that it does very well for a free app in providing maps when cell services is unavailable.