Gaia vs Onx

spressomon

Expedition Leader
^ Same here! I'm still using my 12YO Baja 540C. Yes, you can insert waypoints, etc., but its clunky to lay out a route. But I could easily scroll around the map, zoom in/out while moving along and have 1/2 or all of the USA on one SD/Micro SD card. None of the insanely frustrating...

...what I flat out HATE about ALL the software driven apps for GPS/Nav/Topo for phones and pads: The stupid time consuming and frustrating "method" of downloading maps for off-road travel and explore. Stupid.

Rant over :D
 
I've been using Gaia for the last year, via their premium subscription. However, sometimes I find their maps lacking in detail for hiking trails. For example, I just spent a week camping at O'Leno State Park (Florida). Gaia basically shows two trails (the park is full of trails).
I just downloaded the free trial of onX Backcountry and for the same area, it shows many more trails. I've tried all the seemingly relevant map layers in Gaia to no
avail. . .very disappointing. As another example, I live a block from some trailheads. Gaia shows nothing while onX Backcountry shows many (but not all) of the trails I hike here regularly.
 

1Louder

Explorer
I've been using Gaia for the last year, via their premium subscription. However, sometimes I find their maps lacking in detail for hiking trails. For example, I just spent a week camping at O'Leno State Park (Florida). Gaia basically shows two trails (the park is full of trails).
I just downloaded the free trial of onX Backcountry and for the same area, it shows many more trails. I've tried all the seemingly relevant map layers in Gaia to no
avail. . .very disappointing. As another example, I live a block from some trailheads. Gaia shows nothing while onX Backcountry shows many (but not all) of the trails I hike here regularly.
Most of these apps get hiking trail data from the OpenStreets map engine. This is all publicly sourced data which all users can edit. You might look at what Open Streets shows online to compare between the apps. I know the Gaia Topo layer gets some of its data from Open Streets. For the trails you are referring to are they official trails in the park? If so they are likely in the Open Streets data.

You can check out the data here, https://www.openstreetmap.org/#map=2/30.0/28.2

If you can post up some screen shots it would be helpful. I will also try to take a look when I can. Don't ever be afraid to reach out to Gaia support for help either. They may be able to make a suggestion for an appropriate map layer.

I found this park map which seems to match what Gaia on OnX show, https://www.floridastateparks.org/sites/default/files/media/file/rrp-brochure.pdf
 
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axlesandantennas

Approved Vendor
I want to expound on what something that Catastrofe mentioned and 1Louder has described. Now, bare in mind, I am talking in very general terms so this is not 100% across the board. However, I've been doing this professionally since 2004 and have seen how much of this has progressed.

A lot of this overlay data is freely available from different US Federal and state organizations and then incorporated into a basemap on various GPS apps. The data is only as good as how it is collected and updated. I have (well, you as well) access to all the NF MVUM routes, for instance. I'm not entirely sure how often they are updated, but lets just toss out "once per year". So that means if you are viewing data a few months old, some gates may be locked that were not, trails are now closed, or some new ones are open. I'm not in the app side of the business, but from how I work with the same data, I can just about be sure that what is going on is that the data is being pulled per user and added as a layer. Again, this is very similar to how I work, at least part of the time. This is why sometimes you might see a data lag when adding a layer to your basemap.

Boundaries tend to be a lot more stable, such as those for National Parks and National Forests. But the privately owned lands are a different story. When they change hands or get divided or donated, it's up to the local authorities to get that info into the databases, and that would be entirely on them as far as speed of that.

Something else to be aware of is user defined data. If someone goes out and makes a route and the route says "20 miles" it might only be 17 or 18. Some of this is because of how the GPS is collecting data. For instance, I can set my mapping GPS to collect track data in either time intervals or distance from last point. So if it's time and I sit in an area for 5 minutes, it collects a portion of the track every 10 seconds. And in 5 minutes, that is 30 points added to the track and that length gets added the overall track length.

Does not this mean the apps are bad? I don't think so. But what I personally do is use all avenues of available information we all have when I am route planning. A long time ago, while in the military, our route planning was based on paper maps that were often 5-10 years old, if not older. Now, we have Bing maps, google maps, onx, gaia, and a multitude of others. This is like being your own intelligence organization, and it's awesome! And much of this can be viewed though these independent agencies outside of a specific app.

However, I do want to throw huge caution out there, and this is something I very much touch on when teaching classes: maps are models. And just like any model, like a model car, things on the map may nor may not be on the ground and vice versa. Even detailed paper maps like the standard USGS 1:24000 probably wont have creek crossing or super rocky areas. Even comparing historical topoquads from just a decade ago to now, there are tons of trail deletions or additions. Seeing is believing and just because a paper map or gps map says X, does not always mean X in real life. And this is why you need to obey posted signs. I've gone out with a few people who will argue with what the GPS shows vs. what is posted on the ground. I stick with what is posted on the ground. I'm not about to argue with a pissed off land owner because of outdated data.
 
Most of these apps get hiking trail data from the OpenStreets map engine. This is all publicly sourced data which all users can edit. You might look at what Open Streets shows online to compare between the apps. I know the Gaia Topo layer gets some of its data from Open Streets. For the trails you are referring to are they official trails in the park? If so they are likely in the Open Streets data.

You can check out the data here, https://www.openstreetmap.org/#map=2/30.0/28.2

If you can post up some screen shots it would be helpful. I will also try to take a look when I can. Don't ever be afraid to reach out to Gaia support for help either. They may be able to make a suggestion for an appropriate map layer.

I found this park map which seems to match what Gaia on OnX show, https://www.floridastateparks.org/sites/default/files/media/file/rrp-brochure.pdf
Here are screenshots from both Gaia and onX. I've tried every conceivable layer in Gaia with no success. These are marked "official" trails.

Screen Shot 2021-02-03 at 12.02.51 PM.png

Screen Shot 2021-02-03 at 11.59.02 AM.png
 

1Louder

Explorer
Here are screenshots from both Gaia and onX. I've tried every conceivable layer in Gaia with no success. These are marked "official" trails.

View attachment 640260

View attachment 640257
Good example. I don't see that trail in Open Streets. Here is a pdf of the trail, https://www.hillsboroughcounty.org/...on-and-regional-parks/maps/bchw-trail-map.pdf and I see a similar version in All Trails. Not sure where OnX is getting that data from. While I have an OnX premium subscription as well as Gaia I am not as well versed in it. I don't really like the app. But as they make changes I keep following them. OnX shows it as a quad trail but the official map seems to state a lot of it is hiking only. This kind of goes along with @axlesandantennas said. Since I don't live in the area no way for me to contribute what is fiction vs fact. I have seen errors in OnX as well. For example they show a trail in AZ that has been closed for several years as open. It is called the Apache Trail.

No app is perfect. I am surprised someone has not added the trail you referenced into Open Streets. If they did it would then appear in a variety of apps.
 

woodsk

New member
I just used both OnX and Gaia on a 2.5 week unplanned or researched (this is important) trip through NM, CO and UT. This was my first time using either, however I have been using GIS tools professionally for 20 years, actually like 25, damn I'm old.

Gaia feels like a GIS tool, the same un-intuitive UX style as the late 90's ESRI products. It just keeps getting refreshed and will not die. And while it is manageable it take a silly amount of time to learn, take a look on YouTube search for Gaia and sort by duration, there are an absurd number of "Tutorial" videos that are crazy long. The download speeds are also just unacceptable for a paid product. No matter the bandwidth of your connection your actual transfer rate is very slow, not quite the 90's like the UI but more like 2003 speeds.

Bottom Line - Annoying, slow, unnecessary complicated but usable

The Onx UI is quite good, Intuitive but not so simple that you fee constrained. The Hybrid map is nearly perfect for me (just need to improve the contour line labels), The trail info in their database is quite good but still growing so can be quite sparse outside of the bid popular areas (moab ect.) Just want to mention again that the app responsiveness is very good. However there is a major issue, the 3 resolutions available for offline ok, but the 10mi (for the usable resolution) download limit makes the app unusable. I am leaving in may for 5 month in the Mountain West and PNW, although Gaia is slow it only took half a day to the areas. If I wanted to use OnX it would take me until may just to select each 10 mi area, and I would be constrained to a corridor of likely travel not just the whole PNW, if I wanted it all I wouldn't be able to leave until the fall. They have gone for the classic play of put all your money into SW, make it look good, get folks to pay for it and hopefully you bring in enough users to pay for the bandwidth and infrastructure you should have launched with (psst...a tile selector tool would drastically mitigate this issue).

Bottom Line - Looks great, fast and responsive but the back office make it unusable
 

dms1

Explorer
Gaia and Garmin must get their maps from the same source. There are many trails missing out by Jawbone Canyon, Dove spring and Last Chance Canyon on their latest Topo map offerings, but the trails ARE on Garmin's old 100K and 24K Topo maps.
 
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