One of the more frequent questions we get asked is if we know of an app that lets you navigate offline. This may sound odd, but when you go hiking, camping, or spend significant time doing other things outside of a cell signal then sometimes it can be difficult to use your classic navigation apps. Today’s app of the day –called BackCountry Navigator PRO GPS– wants to be the answer to that question.
The premise for BackCountry Navigator is very simple. It allows you to download and store topography maps for navigation use. This is unique and useful because popular navigation apps like Google Maps require a data connection to load the map and then use your GPS to see where you are. With BackCountry, all you need is your GPS because you’ll already have the maps available at your disposal. Thus, you can use your device’s GPS and these maps as guides to hike, hunt, fish, camp, etc even when you’re out in the middle of nowhere.
In addition you can do other things like marking the map so you can remember your favorite spots, maps from multiple countries, and a healthy selection of add ons including maps with pre-marked trails. The add ons do cost money and so does the app so if you’re looking to add this to your app drawer, prepare to spend a few bucks. The developers have also stated that their app can import Google KML files which is always a helpful feature to have.
The app does a few issues, though. It falls prey to the SD card lock-down issues on Kit Kat so if you have a Kit Kat device you may not find this app overly helpful as it requires SD card access in order to work properly. There have been bugs reported as well but there is no real pattern as to which phones or which versions of Android is most affected. The bugs are also nothing major and every app has them.
Finally, and probably the worst part about the app, is that add ons can get quite expensive. The app itself is $9.99USD but the add on packs cost additional money up to $15.99 with the Accuterra Topo Map Source costing $19.99 per year. The good news is that you own the maps in most cases and won’t have to buy them again but the prices are a tad steep if you’re not a enthusiast frequently in the wild.
Overall, this is a good looking app that does what it says it does. There are methods to get maps downloaded from places like Google Maps but sometimes it’s good to have a dedicated app around if you spend a lot of time out in the wilderness. It is a little expensive and that may turn a lot of people away, but enthusiasts will probably have no problem forking out a few bucks for all those maps. Also, the app developers ask that people outside of North America and people with certain devices use the trial first to make sure they’re happy with the selection before purchasing and we recommend you do that too. To get started, click the button!