UKC

OS Maps App User?

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 James Bartlett 10 Mar 2021

Hi fellow climbers,

I'm hoping to get a feel for how you use OS Maps App (or similar) as part of a student research project I'm doing. I've tried to keep it short and sweet, so here goes...

1. When and where do you use the OS maps app? (eg at home for planning my runs)
2. Do you use OS maps app in conjunction with other apps or devices? (eg. location sharing app, GPS smart watch)
3. Do you keep a record of your activity? if yes, where?

🙏 Thanks very much for your time, I will reply to any questions you may have.

James

(This is me)

 Wheelsy 10 Mar 2021
In reply to James Bartlett:

1. I use the OS Maps website at home to plan out all my walks and runs. Occasionally I'll plan out a walk or run on the app on my phone, but prefer to do it on the computer where you can see a bigger area.I tend to use the Viewranger app when actually out on walks and runs because it seems to be more stable. The OS Maps app went through a period a while ago where it would just show a blank screen if it had no data connection, even when I'd downloaded a map to my phone using the code you get when you buy a map. It seems to be a bit better recently - I've had to start using it again because my Viewranger subscription to OS Explorer Maps has run out and can't be renewed now Viewranger has been taken over by Outdooractive.

2. Once I've completed a walk or run I export the GPX file out of Strava, load it into the OS Maps website and then delete the corresponding planned walk or run.

3. I'm a bit OCD and I keep a record of all my walks and runs on a spreadsheet, going back to 2004 when I first had a digital camera and could work out from all the photos the exact route I'd taken. All of these walks and runs are on OS Maps too. The spreadsheet records if I've loaded the route up onto OS Maps, if I recorded it on Strava, did I post about it on FB/Instagram, have I uploaded the photos from it to my Flickr account amongst other things.

Hope this helps, Rich.

 mondite 11 Mar 2021
In reply to James Bartlett:

1) At home use OS maps on laptop for planning rough routes/just looking around and some cross compare against strava segments to find places to try. Dont tend to bother storing routes off but do take the phone out to help decide on the fly routes semi locally when cycling in terms of finding brideways etc. Thats for situations though where I will have a good idea roughly where I am but might not find a particular bit of single track and have to use the road for a while. For more interesting routes, which are a faint memory currently, I would tend towards paper maps first and mark them out.

2)Indirectly. I normally use a gps watch.

3)Most of the time to garmin and strava

 Jim Fraser 11 Mar 2021
In reply to James Bartlett:

I am lucky enough to have been given free access to both OS Maps and Viewranger. 

The pattern that I have settled into is that I use Viewranger for most navigation, identifying incident locations, points of interest, issues with different positioning systems, and for recording tracks (operational and recreational). I usually only use OS Maps for aerial views because their aerial photography seems to be more up to date than anyone elses. 

 James Bartlett 11 Mar 2021
In reply to Wheelsy:

Very impressive record keeping Rich! Thanks for sharing your setup.

Incidentally (I'm sure you know this) but one of the best features of the smartphone is that every photo you take with it can be geo-tagged if you allow the camera permission to access your location - then you can see all your pictures on a map at the exact location. So helpful.

 James Bartlett 11 Mar 2021
In reply to Jim Fraser:

Hi Jim, thanks for you answer, I hadn't thought about the app being used operationally, Is that for work? ...as a helicopter pilot? (just guessing from your profile)

When you say you record routes, do you mean with the ‘record route’ function on OS, or you mean you manually plot it? Thanks

 Jim Fraser 11 Mar 2021
In reply to James Bartlett:

> Hi Jim, thanks for you answer, I hadn't thought about the app being used operationally, Is that for work? ...as a helicopter pilot? (just guessing from your profile)

> When you say you record routes, do you mean with the ‘record route’ function on OS, or you mean you manually plot it? Thanks

I mainly use Viewranger, including for recording tracks (they sometimes get exported as GPX as a search record: mountain rescue). I use OS Maps for its better aerial photogarphs and occasionally the route plotting but usually only for confirming a distance. 

 deepsoup 12 Mar 2021
In reply to James Bartlett:

1.  I've ditched the OS app off my phone and use Viewranger instead.  I find it more reliable & more useful than the OS app and the OSM-based layers are handy - there's often information there that doesn't exist on an OS map.

Planning at home is all web-based and much easier on a full-sized screen than a phone.  There I use the OS website for browsing and printing OS maps.  Viewranger (website) mostly for plotting and measuring routes.

2. Nope.  On an unfamiliar route I'll generally have a paper map & compass and use that for navigation.  May use Viewranger app and/or watch in conjunction with that, but not in conjunction with each other.  (There's no map on the watch but it'll give me a grid reference to locate myself on the paper map if I'm lost.)

3. Running yes.  (Almost) always recorded on a Garmin watch and uploaded to Garmin website via their own app.  I used to use Strava too until they downgraded the free service and made its best features subscription-only.  No longer bother to upload tracks there but do still check out the heatmap for clues about new routes from time to time.

Walking and kayaking, sometimes.  Generally don't bother but will if it's something out of the ordinary and I think it'll be interesting to see where I went afterwards.  Recorded on the GPS watch if I'm wearing it, phone otherwise.  (Viewranger probably.)

 S Ramsay 12 Mar 2021
In reply to James Bartlett:

1. When and where do you use the OS maps app? I use the app on my phone while on walks and mtb rides to navigate to the extent that I now don't normally bother with an actual map. I don't know if you're differentiating between the phone based app and the web portal but I also use the web portal a lot to plan walking and mtb routes


2. Do you use OS maps app in conjunction with other apps or devices? (eg. location sharing app, GPS smart watch) No


3. Do you keep a record of your activity? if yes, where? No

 climbingpixie 14 Mar 2021
In reply to James Bartlett:

1) I most use it at home to plan routes, though only by eye - if I want to properly plan a route using the tool I'll use my laptop instead. I'll often take screen shots from the app to glance at while I'm out and about - it's quicker and easier to look at that rather than get a map out of my bag and it means I'm not reliant on having data when I'm out. That said, if I have data or the maps are cached then I will lazily use it as a GPS device when I'm running or walking, especially in bad weather.

2) I don't think so but I'm not 100% sure what you mean

3) I have a GPS running watch that I use to track my activities and everything gets uploaded to Garmin and Strava

In reply to James Bartlett:

1) I use the app to plan routes at home - phone/iPad for shorter ones, laptop with external monitor for longer routes. I use it differently when out - either following biking/walking routes or a glance to see where I am on impromptu wanders.

2 & 3) I use Strava to track and record routes I'm on, but use the OS app for navigation.

In reply to James Bartlett:

You say OS maps or similar, so disregard if I don't fit the criteria. I use Memory Map which uses OS maps.

1. Use at home to plan walks and sometimes in conjunction with walking guides. I use it to find potential short cuts if out with family, look for how near streams etc if it's been ultra wet. So use for adulterating routes and for just making up routes ad hoc. Then it's used on the go.

2. It's linked to location on the phone (Moto g8) useful for tracking on the move.

3. It has a logging feature that I use purely out of interest for that walk, how far, height climbed etc, but I delete once home. It does have a marker point feature, but I rarely use it.

Feel free to pm if any more info needed.

In reply to James Bartlett:

1. When and where do you use the OS maps app? (eg at home for planning my runs)

  • In the hills as a quick reference
  • Use with mountain rescue when required.
  • Useful when locating old cave/mines etc. on the ground from markings on the map and vis versa.
  • Convenient when out cycling and phone is to hand/on handlebars etc.


2. Do you use OS maps app in conjunction with other apps or devices? (eg. location sharing app, GPS smart watch)

  • No


3. Do you keep a record of your activity? if yes, where?

  • Before being forced off ViewRanger(another discussion!) and onto OutdoorActive I used to log everything into ViewRanger and Strava, now its only Strava.
 James Bartlett 16 Mar 2021

Thanks everyone, really appreciate your answers. 

If I'm reading the room right, most people spend more time using it at home than out and about. Or maybe it's 50/50 - Either way, it wasn't what I expected given its for outdoor navigation. 

If anyone's interested, the project I've been set it to improve the 'past activity' section in the app. 

Has anymore noticed you can produce fly-throughs of your routes in the web-app?? Not useful, but pretty cool! (https://www.dropbox.com/s/aophbbxgt6tecdp/wales.mp4?dl=0

In reply to James Bartlett:

I use OruxMaps mostly, when out and about. I can plan routes anywhere with this, as the UI is very good. It also does track logging. Routes and tracks can be managed within the map, and it can open GPX files from anywhere within the accessible memory space of the device. It also does 3d draping to DEM data (I have SRTM for the entire UK).

I also use OS Mapping occasionally. It isn't a patch on the usability of OruxMaps, especially regarding route/GPX management; it only has a flat file storage, and does not support any folder structure or hierarchy. I can plan routes in the field.

I also run a Traccar server, which my phones can report to (using the Traccar Client app), and dedicated GPS/GPRS trackers can report their position via GPRS, for use with DofE groups. I can access the server remotely to monitor the position & progress of the groups (using the Traccar Manager app). This allows the creation of routes & geofences in the field, too. Traccar doesn't export as GPX, but I have a script to convert the Excel output it produces into GPX.

I don't upload my routes to any external services. I do process the GPX files for various purposes, to plot velocity, etc, using some custom scripts.

 Weekend Punter 17 Mar 2021
In reply to James Bartlett:

1. Mainly at home for planning new routes - walking/running but not road cycling routes Use the offline maps facility for occasionally navigating new routes

2. Yes with GPS smart watch

3. Yes Garmin and Strava as recorded in the smart watch


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