Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Avenza PDF Maps – Backwoods Navigation for Your Smart Phone

PDF Maps as a mobile phone/device application made by Avenza. It allows you to use your phone to pull up and navigate different maps when in the woods. Now, I know that this is nothing new. You can certainly pull up maps on your phone, or even get a satellite view of your location. What makes PDF Maps different, and I think worth mentioning, is that you can load up familiar trail or backwoods maps that many of us already use, and then pinpoint your exact location on them even without internet or phone service.

The Avenza PDF Maps app is available for iOS and Android platforms, and can be downloaded for free from the Apple Store or Google Play. Once the app is downloaded, you can purchase (or in some cases get for free) maps from the Avenza Map Store.


Once you have purchased the map, it will appear on the start screen, and you can select to view it. Again, the great part of all this is that you can get familiar maps that you have been using before. For example, in the above picture I have downloaded one of the section maps produced by the NY-NJ Trail Conference. I use their map sets all the time, and on the app I can get them in the exact configuration I have in hard copy. You can search maps by producer, area, etc.

In the picture below I have selected the NY-NJ Trails-113 map from the above picture, and you can see it opened.


Once you have opened the map, you can zoom in to view the desired details.


Since this is a NY-NJ Trail Conference Map, it shows all of the trail as well as topographic features. The app will show your location on the map using the phone’s GPS receiver, even if there is no other phone or internet connection. You can also see that the app displays the GPS coordinates of the location where the cross hairs on the middle of the screen are located. You can move them find the GPS coordinates at any point on the map.

There are many other features, such as importing and exporting way points. You can also upload your own maps, although if they are not set up with integrated GPS coordinates, you will not be able to track your location on them.

Anyway, I just wanted to bring the app to your attention. Hopefully development continues, and we can get even more great features out of it.

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