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iPhone apps to use for Adventure Riding

The most common question on our YouTube channel is what app to use for adventure riding. The truth is no navigation app can do everything perfectly. However, this is the combination of apps I use to create a navigation procedure covering all my trips, and there is one app that gets pretty close to doing it all.

In this article, I'll focus on the iPhone navigation apps that are particularly useful for adventure motorcycle riders and present the pros and cons of each. In the end, I'll also cover my workflow in using these apps to plan and navigate rides.

GPS Tracks

A screenshot of the GPS Tracks app on iPhone
GPS Tracks app showing direct to point navigation

First on the list is GPS Tracks. This app is perfect for point-to-point off-road adventure riding as it allows you to track your Route and provides an estimated time of arrival (ETA) based on your speed and distance for waypoints. The clear direction arrow and time data are beneficial when making point-to-point navigation, especially when exploring remote areas. The Waypoint display is handy and straightforward to read, particularly with quick glances between "oh crap" moments. The app is free on the App Store and offers a premium version with additional features.

A screenshot of the GPS Tracks app on iPhone
The Map view in GPS Tracks shows a loaded GPX file Route

Pro Tips: Clear out old routes and waypoints and only use your current trip. Adding waypoints to the map sets up the compass view.

  • Stable GPX Tracking

  • Clear and easy point-to-point directions.

  • ETA is the basic direct distance over time, not roads.



Speedometer Pro

Speedmeters complex but detailed view of upcoming waypoints

Next is Speedometer. This app provides more detailed information about your speed, distance travelled, and other data that can be useful when riding. The interface may be complex, but the app offers accurate and valuable information for riders. With Speedometer, you can track your speed, record your Route, and view your ride statistics in one place. In short, offers the same as GPS Track but is more detailed.


Pro Tips: Spend plenty of time setting up the UI to suit your needs. Particularly if you want to load the Route into the map.

  • Lots of detailed information

  • Very configurable

  • A nicer UI would really benefit this app

  • The free version is good, but you want to Pro version


Gaia GPS

GaiaMaps view of "Guide Me" to a waypoint

If you're looking for a planning and route mapping app, Gaia GPS is a great option. With Gaia GPS, you can plan your on and off-road trips and export your routes to other apps for navigation. While the app may not be ideal for navigation due to occasional crashes and basic information, it's an excellent pre-trip planning and route optimization tool. However, I do use this mainly on my Desktop via www.gaiagps.com. Gaia GPS offers a free version with limited features and a premium version with additional tools.


Pro Tips: Export the folder with Waypoints and Routes, then convert Routes to Tracks.

  • The best tool for planning, particularly on Desktop

  • Incorporates many maps, including Australian Topo Maps

  • Easy GPX Export for both Route and Waypoints

  • Crashes regularly on "Guide Me" mode.


TomTom Go

TomTom navigation app showing a path preview

TomTom Go is a navigation app perfect for following pre-planned routes but primarily on-road. The app provides real-time traffic updates to help you avoid delays and is a reliable tool for staying on course during longer trips. While it may not be as adaptable as other navigation apps, TomTom Go is an excellent option for riders who prefer a set route. The app is free on the App Store but requires a subscription at an additional cost.

Pro Tips: Use My Drive to upload routes.

  • Great at following a pre-defined Route

  • Offline maps

  • Use on known roads

  • Requires subscription


Google Maps

Google Maps, the ol' faithful.

Google Maps is the popular choice for navigation for road trips. Many people won't be unfamiliar with this app, but it is the best in providing real-time traffic updates and can help you find your way on well-travelled roads and highways. While it may not follow GPX files, you can create waypoints and routes in My Maps and load them as overlays. However, because the Route is generated in real-time, switching on avoid Highways and Tolls is an excellent way to find better roads.

A pre-defined route and waypoints loaded via My Maps

Pro Tips: Use My Maps to build an on-road ride.

  • Best on-road real-time navigation

  • No pre-defined Route following options

  • Great for finding POIs, like pubs.

  • Street View helps with planning.


REVER

A simple UI for REVER

If I'm honest, I'm in two minds about Rever. I gave up on it because it failed to record my trip several times. However, I may have found a solution by setting "Allow Location Access" to "Always". Nevertheless, since I have been using GaiaMaps, which has better editing functionality, my attempts to return to REVER need to be more beneficial.


Pro Tips: Use GaiaMaps instead.

  • A good planning tool

  • More suited for an American market than Australia

  • The app needs to remain open to record the Track


OSMAnd

OSMAnds view in navigation mode, good level of detail.

Finally, OSMAnd is an all-in-one navigation app offering offline maps, turn-by-turn directions, and topographic maps for off-road adventures. OSMAnd is an ideal app for riders who want all the information they need in one place. The app is incredibly customizable and offers a variety of features, including speed limit warnings and lane guidance. OSMAnd is free on the App Store, and you can purchase additional features for an additional cost.


Pro Tip: Convert Routes to Tracks in the GPX file for fast navigation calculations.

  • My #1

  • Offline maps, by default, open street maps are constantly updated

  • Navigation on pre-defined Track

  • ETAs on intermediate waypoints plus final ETA

  • Great Waypoint management

  • ETA can be a little off when following a track

  • Produces the best GPX file Track, including heading, velocity etc.


Worth mentioning

  • Hema Maps - The app itself could benefit from a better UI. Although the maps are well-sourced, they are often not up-to-date, with many paths changing regularly. Still, one worth having on the phone when choosing a way when plans change out on the Track.

  • BillyGoat has literally crashed on every attempt I've made to use it, and on different phones, too.

  • Calimoto, Detecht and Porsche Roads - a Bit of a gimmick in reality for me. Good if you're looking for inspiration, but they're too "auto-generated" for me to trust.

  • Apple Maps is so similar to Google Maps. It's a personal preference. Same for Waze.


My Navigation Workflow

My workflow is to use GaiaMaps for planning, mainly on the Desktop (PC/Mac) via the website, export the GPX file, and clean it up via GPSVisualiser or GPX editor app to convert the Route into a Track.


GaiaMaps showing Topo NSW map

A significant advantage of GaiaMaps is its multiple maps, including Topo, offroad and satellite. A big tip from me is to count more than one map. Cross-reference as much as possible to find locked gates or dead-ends. Many roads are sold to property owners and go from public to private. I usually import the GPX file into Hema Maps as a further cross reference for difficulty and Google Maps for more up-to-date satellite images. I also build alternate routes into my plans, which makes it much easier to make decisions on the road when a path is blocked.


Then when you're satisfied with the path set, import it into OSMAnd for most of my navigation and GPX Tracks for times when we're off-path.


A pre-loaded GPX route and waypoints in OSMAnd

When using these apps for adventure motorcycle riding, it's essential to consider several factors. Offline map availability is crucial, especially when exploring remote areas without mobile coverage. Additionally, choosing an app with a clear and intuitive interface is essential, so you can focus on the road ahead.


Whether you're looking for off-road tracking or reliable road navigation, these apps can help you plan your Route, stay on course, and make the most of your riding experience. Be sure to choose the app that best suits your needs and always prioritizes safety when hitting the road.




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