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  • Richard Halpern

ViewRanger review

If you are looking for a great navigation aid, then I can highly recommend ViewRanger. It’s an app which I use on my mobile phone and is available for iPhone and Android. There are two options, free and subscription, I’ve used both versions and now subscribe annually since I am regularly outdoors and participate in various sports, Hiking, Mountain biking, Motorcycling - greenlaning, X-county skiing this app has all the features I need. Currently there are 27 activities to select from, Horse riding, Dog Sledging, Walking with wheels (wheel chairs, push chairs) just to name a few.

ViewRanger is the product of Augmentra Ltd, a company based in the United Kingdom, find out more here. There’s a short learning curve to familiarise yourself with the app on your phone and ViewRanger website. However, in my opinion it’s worth it. ViewRanger works off-line as it just uses the telephones GPS. You do not need a data connection. The only thing to be aware of when using is the battery drain and I tend to turn off any background apps and enable power save as well as Airplane Mode, especially of out for the day. I also carry a battery pack when out hiking just in case.

There’s a good range of quality mapping available to buy as Premium mapping. This includes UK Ordnance Survey. You can see what’s available at the ViewRanger Shop.

If you don’t need highly detailed professional mapping you can make use of a range of free mapping. ViewRanger Landscape based on OpenStreetMap, OpenCycleMap, Ski Map, Satellite Imagery, OpenStreetMap, Transport Map. You can own custom areas of Premium mapping by selecting the area you need through ViewRanger’s downloadable Map Chooser tool. For small areas you can download individual map tiles. You can even do this on the spot if you have a mobile data connection and sufficient credits on your ViewRanger account. If you just occasionally find yourself in a new area, tiles allow you to just buy what you need for that trip rather than having to buy a complete area.

In the MyViewRanger section of the website you can carry out a range of tasks at home on your desktop, laptop or tablet and then synchronise them with your phone. Create tracks, See tracks that you’ve recorded when out on the ground, Export routes you create on ViewRanger as GPX files that you can then import to other standalone GPS devices including Garmin. I also download GPX routes from other websites which can then be uploaded.

The app lets you track, plan and follow routes, it has an alarm for when you go off route, great when the weather is bad. It also has a community where you can follow people and see routes created by others. I currently follow Julia Bradbury, BBC Countryfile Magazine, Northumberland National Parks, Trail Magazine.

Other features are Buddy Beacon, share your location with those back home or out walking with using Buddy Beacon gives them real-time access to your position. A great safety and peace-of-mind feature. Skyline, point your camera at mountain tops/lakes and it will let you now the names of the locations. Snap and shoot locations to add to tracks recorded giving you points of interests along your route and for others to see and least but by no means last is to view your planned route or track created in 3D.

My Verdict

ViewRanger has become my GPS solution of choice with the availability of great mapping and since downloading many years ago it has got stronger and has a wider following. The great thing is that I can be anywhere and open the app, it will find my location and let me know walks/tracks around me.

Just something else.

When I’m out in the wilderness I always have 'What 3 Words' App which is an easy way to locate and identify locations within a 3 metre square.

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