Caveat: I only review gear that I really like and have used. So there will be a positive slant. However, I will be honest about any flaws of the products. I've been looking for a good solution to map my hikes.
I've been using a simple GPS, but haven't been really happy with the interface. Another problem I have with it is that it always adds a waypoint when I turn it on at home, creating a long line from the trailhead of my last hike right to my desk at home.
Trimble Outdoors started following me on Twitter and I stopped by their website to see what they offered. The interface of this app looked great so I decided to try it out. At $4.99 (at the time of this post), it seemed like a value, since I already had an iPhone that I take along every hike.
I had to register through the phone really quickly and then I was up and running.
To try it out, I took it on my hike to McGinty Mountain. For this hike, I only used it on the way back, since I was worried about battery life for my iPhone. However, my battery indicator barely moved at all on the 2.4 miles down the mountain.
At the summit, I simply pressed the Hike button on my phone and then hit the Play button and it was ready to go. It found the satellites in less then a minute and displayed all of the information I would need to record my track. I put the iPhone in the pocket of my shorts for most of the way down, only pulling it out to check my distance. It recorded everything just fine. When I was down to the trailhead, I pressed stop and it let me save it, giving me the option to change the name of the track.
Once I got home, I got out my iPhone, clicked on Account and went to My Sessions. There was only one session there so I clicked on that and was able to see all the details of my hike. I clicked on options and hit upload. I was expecting export options, since I wanted to put it into Google Earth, but it was busy for a little bit and then said it was done uploading.
I sat there scratching my head for a little bit until I thought of going to the Trimble Outdoors website on my desktop and logging in. My session was there in My Account under My Trips. I clicked on the trip and was presented with a screen showing a Google Map of the hike, elevation profiles, and other pertinent details. From this page, you can editing your trip and share your hike in all sorts of ways, including sending your trip to Google Earth, which I did. Google Earth was already open on my computer and the trip was added in seconds to My Temporary Places in Google Earth. I was impressed.
They have apps for all sorts of phones, as well as ways of getting trips from other people onto your phone, but I won't be using this app for that.
It was really easy, and any momentary confusion I had will be gone forever. Once you get that your account at Trimble Outdoors hosts all of your trips and you are OK with that, then you will be getting your trip information in seconds.
I am really happy with this and will be testing it on many hikes to come, perhaps leaving my other GPS behind.
- Great Interface
- Cheap at $4.99
- Links to Satellites quickly
- Information-laden dashboard online
- Concerns with battery life (but so far so good)