Thursday, 10 November 2011 17:34

Back Country Navigator

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I am pretty much thrilled with my new find.

Woods-50pctThis past weekend, I tried out the Back Country Navigator app for my Droid X, on the Boy Scout Hike-o-Ree in Shenandoah National Park.  It is a great app to have for hiking without a cell phone signal. I downloaded the 15 day trial and the detailed topo maps of the area, and searched on the trailhead. Voila! Wonderful to have great, zoomable topo maps. I didn't try all its features but it was great to be able to see our hiking progress. It actually helped us correct for a missed turnoff.

My only problem was that I did not yet have a spare battery for my phone, and to conserve signal I put the phone into Airplane Mode.  For some reason, I could not get a location from the satellites. The Scouts of course did not want to take breaks, and I could not trek and fiddle with the phone, so I put the phone to sleep and only occasionally tried to figure out exactly where we were.  When I turned it back on, there was the GPS signal and our location. 

It was only after I returned that I discovered that this is a known bug -- Airplane Mode interferes with obtaining a location. This is apparently a hardware/firmware bug in Android phones.There is a fix -- GPS Airtime (beta) -- you can find it at:

So, the next time out I will have a spare battery, have the Pro version of Back Country Navigator and the fix. And hopefully not get water in my boots on the stream crossings!

Last modified on Monday, 04 November 2013 17:58
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