For about a 1/100 of the cost of an outdoor GPS unit, the ViewRanger app brings a comprehensive set of features and functions for outdoor navigation. This app could just make your iPad a more effective tool than your Garmin Oregon.
The app has been available in Europe for years but launched in the US earlier this month. For a $4.99 Android or iOS download price, you get an outdoor mapping GPS with a set of topographic maps for the entire US. The topographic maps include 250,000 miles of trails, and you can either access them in the cloud or download what you need onto your device for offline use. A built-in sports computer measures things like vertical and speed.
What's equally impressive is ViewRanger's accompanying features. Displayed on top of the topographic maps are a number of little pinpoints that relate to available trail guides. ViewRanger partnered with US publishers Monashee Ridge Press and Wilderness Press to build their trail guides right into the app. CEO Craig Wareham said the initial app download will come with a few credits for getting trail guide content. After that, you'll have to pay about a dollar to get each guide. The guides feature directions, trail descriptions and even pictures.
In addition to the premium, publisher-supplied guides, ViewRanger's website My.Viewranger.com allows app users to post their own trail guides and offer them for free or for a fee.
The app also includes a buddy-tracking feature that lets you view the location of other app users (mobile connection needed). You can share your own location with friends and connect the 'Buddy Beacon' to social networking accounts so that it displays your location, text and photos, if you want. Your contacts can see exactly where you are and will practically be there with you.
ViewRanger offers a very impressive feature set for its $4.99 price. You can find out more info at ViewRanger.com.