Almost everyone has nowadays a smartphone. Thankfully, the technology helps human mankind in so many areas and hiking, biking, running is no exception either. I go out into the nature to disconnect from every day’s stress and routine. Now this can sound a bit ambivalent but you shouldn’t leave your smartphone home just use it for the right things when you chase challenges out there.
You’ve got a great variety to choose from because lots of decent Apps are on the market. This can trigger the rightful question: what should I use? My intention is not to tell you the answer, but I can recommend one of the best GPS App which I always rely on (unfortunately only on Android)… and this one saved my ass many times: Locus Pro.
There are two versions available: the free version, which lacks a few features and the pro version (see below comparison). I do think 7.5 EUR is nothing for the pro version and totally worth it.
Why Locus Pro?
You could ask why this App, there are dozens of similar software. I would say because it does everything (and more) you possibly need and does it in a real professional way. The settings and possibility of customization is truly amazing. Even the smallest details are under your control.
Let’s see what are the main benefits/features:
- You can use it for hiking, running and biking
- Actually as last resort you can even use it for car navigation
- Path finding (like me if you just randomly discover sometimes it’s great to figure out where are you in your current position
- Finding directions (your phone must have compass integrated). Simply turn with your mobile in your hand and Locus marks which directions you are heading
- Track recording
- Navigating on your pre-recorded track
- You got offline maps (handy when you are in the middle of nowhere)
- You can add your POIs. Awesome stuff, I really like it. Many times on my bike I just cycle randomly and discover cute little spots or shacks and I just add my positon to my points (like “great place for setting fire with friends”)
- Several integrated free and purchasable maps
How does it feel to use?
Here are some print screens from my phone. The menu (Nr. 1) is obviously pretty neat, it’s easy to find whatever you are after. I don’t think I need to waste more time on it.
On screenshot Nr. 2 you can see some real features. Cameras is blue squares are my POIs, I added them because I liked the places for some reason. How to add? Very easy, at current stand position I just click on add “my point”, name it, give the folder and you are ready.
Red cross with yellow “shadow” is my position looking west. The screenshot was taken in Heidelberg, Germany. I recorded the red track during cycling. Later on you can just follow it or get navigation. You can share it with your friends etc. Naturally, post statistics are available (average speed, elevation etc.)
Blue track is a download from a German website. There is a 120km trail called Neckar Steig, marked blue on the trees. To have it on your phone is priceless. Happened to me during night hikes that I could not find the physical sign so I just followed the GPS track. Saved my ass really big time.
This print screen (Nr. 3) shows you how you can change the information displayed in the top info bar. The last picture (Nr. 4) for a teaser how deep into the details you can go. You even see the satellites which provide strong enough signal.
You can use offline maps with Locus and that is not only a marketing bulls*it, but a real deal. Usually the places you go hiking don’t have any signal at all and definitely no internet. You need to do the below steps to have it ready. You may use any source, I have Openmaps.
- Select and download your map(s)
- Exit Locus
- Copy the map file into /Locus/mapsVector. For example: Locus/mapsVector/Hungary_openmaps_eu_europe.map
- Open again the App and in the top right corner click on the icon which opens the maps. Under offline maps you should be able to select yours