As some of you may know, from my last post (The Lost Summer & Blackberries Everywhere), I have a rekindled passion for the great outdoors and getting outside.
I love maps, planning a route and discovering something new. During this past week, I had read online about an app called ViewRanger, which comes on both Android and iOS, plus has a web-based portal. As always I am late to the party on this one but I thought I would download it and see what I think.
Therefore, today’s post is not about a walk / route as such, although I will post some pictures of the area, but more about a quick review of the ViewRanger app and the process to publish a route for the public to follow.
A Sense of Adventure
ViewRanger’s website lures you in and the sign-up process and app download re-direction are simple. Once on your phone, the next process is to step outside and test it.
We opted for a walk we have done many times. It was short, just over 2 miles and presented loads of opportunities for me to test out the capabilities of this app and just as important, stop for a coffee in the sun with great views. The walk takes you from Steephill Cove in a circular route round to Ventnor and back. If you want more details check out the route post Steephill Cove to Ventnor
The ViewRanger App
Once you’re ready to go click ‘New’ and the options above appear. It needs to be noted that you can also discover routes and purchase new maps all from within the app. I had already downloaded the OS Landranger Map 1:25,000 for the Isle of Wight before we left home. We clicked the top option to just see what the recording would be like.
Off we set and at various points throughout the walk I checked back in with the app to see its capabilities. I must admit that it’s full of useful screens:
I loved the fact that it showed us the direction of travel and a clear route, shown in green. I had set up for the map to auto rotate and this can all be changed in the preferences menu. I also liked the grid reference that was a constant companion. Again, I had set my preferences to show the 10 digit National Grid Reference and had ‘My Buddy Beacon’ set to transmit – more about this feature later!
The screenshots below show you some of the data available….I am a data geek so love having access to this. Most of this screens were reviewed whilst having a coffee so don’t show too much of what we were doing, but give a sense of what’s possible.
The above navigation screen will also prove very useful when I redo the walk or follow another route.
So what is this? Well to me this is one of the best features of this app! Once on, it transmits your location at a specified time and people can track you remotely from a computer.
As you can see it shows your whereabouts and to me this a wonderful safety feature. The video below shows you more about the app and from 1:42 talks about Buddy Beacon and how useful it can be!
The Web Interface
Once home I was keen to see what the web setup was like.
Once you’re logged in the main homepage shows you routes / tracks you have created and your stats. Clicking on a route gives you more detail.
What a really liked was the clear mapping and the fact that you can click on the corner of each stat to get more detail – highlighted above in yellow. This is a great little feature.
On the phone, at the end of the walk, you also get a good summary page
So as you can see social sharing is built into the app. Depending on your network of choice it’s easy and fast to post your activity.
When sharing you can also publish your route for other to follow
Conclusion & Feeling About ViewRanger
I love this app! After just one test run, I know I am going to use it again. My only frustration is in adding photos to a route. There is no link into Google Photos – only Flickr – a storage service I haven’t used in years. That saying, the rest of the app is great and will become my walking partner in the future. I also didn’t suffer massive battery drain and the fact it works where there is no signal is brilliant. The downloaded maps are great too – the whole Isle of Wight in my pocket for £4.49 – paper OS Landranger maps start from £8.99.
The company itself also looks as though it will be developing the app further with AI
ViewRanger – one to watch!