Help! Easy way to navigate BLM or national forest?

#1
I was hoping for some advice. As I venture off road I wondered what the easiest way would be for me to see where I am in real time.

For example, I go onto a forest road, just exploring to see where it will go, then I come to a fork in the road. Where do they lead?

Is there a way for me to buy something like a garmin in reach and sync it to my phone or a map on an iPad so it will always show me where I am? I am not talking about downloading in advance, more like "oh let's see where we are in the national forest and then see if there is a way to get to that mountain top...etc."

I think of a regular map for example. I see a landmark in eastern Montana called Capital Rock, which by the way is a super cool landmark, and I can use a delorme topographical map (actual atlas) or google maps to get there even thought it is 40 miles from the nearest paved road. I attached a photo.

But other times I have gotten totally lost, or had to pull over every 2 minutes to check the atlas, etc. I guess the more I type the more I see what I am trying to ask, sorry to ramble, so here we go.

Does anyone know of a way I can project onto a small screen like an iPad where I am at any given time with any type of GPS or location device?

Thanks, and again, sorry to ramble.
 

Attachments

#3
USGS maps, nothing beats them, all other maps are based on them.

National Geographic sells them by state in electronic form, can choose the scale, zoom in and out, save or print them, tie in a GPS, way points.

Google Earth, gMaps etc are great when in range of the internet, can be cached in advance for offline use to some extent, but

Whatever you do, do **not** depend on an internet connection for navigation.

The paper versions also still work great.

Post here https://www.cheaprvliving.com/forums/forumdisplay.php?fid=14 and look out for a mod / member HighDesertRanger, speaks from decades of fulltiming in fed backcountry, I think a modern day gold prospector ?
 
#4
USGS maps, nothing beats them, all other maps are based on them.

National Geographic sells them by state in electronic form, can choose the scale, zoom in and out, save or print them, tie in a GPS, way points.

Google Earth, gMaps etc are great when in range of the internet, can be cached in advance for offline use to some extent, but

Whatever you do, do **not** depend on an internet connection for navigation.

The paper versions also still work great.

Post here https://www.cheaprvliving.com/forums/forumdisplay.php?fid=14 and look out for a mod / member HighDesertRanger, speaks from decades of fulltiming in fed backcountry, I think a modern day gold prospector ?
I will check that out thank you for the reply!
 
#5
GAIA GPS is superior to USGS, as it allows you use and stack layers right on top of USGS maps, such as private property lines and owner info, satellite image, etc

Dirt cheap too. Far cheaper than buying USGS maps, as you can create and save as many as you want.

After using USGS alone for decades, GAIA is a huge leap forward.

Ive found that many tracks/roads that often are not on USGS, are shown on other layers.
 
#6
I just meant the source data, not any specific GPS / nav software.

And of course USGS has itself been changing a lot since the old paper maps were all rasterized.

In googling for the CDs NatGeo used to sell, I see custom PDF-based downloads are now free.

I do not pay for subscriptions, so that may be limiting as well.
 
#7
I use an app called Topo Maps. Super cheap one time purchase and gives you speed, location, and altitude on topo maps that you download ahead of time. That combined with a Delorme Gazeteer laying on the dash or console gives me all the location awareness I could ever need.

You do have to buy the cell enabled ipad though. It has a built in GPS that works even if you disable the cell signal.
 

nwoods

Expedition Leader
#8
Another vote for Gaia GPS. You can also add a gps puck anntenna’s to your iPad to boost satellite reception, but I’ve not ever really needed that.
 
#10
I use Avenza maps, Which is similar to the Gaia program mentioned above a couple times.

For national forests, you can download free Motor Vehicle Use Maps (MVUM), and the Gaia and avenza program will track your location within those maps. Very capable programs.

Maps for BLM lands is a bit harder to find. But they are out there, and both programs I've mentioned allow you to import those, and various other maps, into them.
 
#13
I was hoping for some advice. As I venture off road I wondered what the easiest way would be for me to see where I am in real time.

For example, I go onto a forest road, just exploring to see where it will go, then I come to a fork in the road. Where do they lead?

Is there a way for me to buy something like a garmin in reach and sync it to my phone or a map on an iPad so it will always show me where I am? I am not talking about downloading in advance, more like "oh let's see where we are in the national forest and then see if there is a way to get to that mountain top...etc."

I think of a regular map for example. I see a landmark in eastern Montana called Capital Rock, which by the way is a super cool landmark, and I can use a delorme topographical map (actual atlas) or google maps to get there even thought it is 40 miles from the nearest paved road. I attached a photo.

But other times I have gotten totally lost, or had to pull over every 2 minutes to check the atlas, etc. I guess the more I type the more I see what I am trying to ask, sorry to ramble, so here we go.

Does anyone know of a way I can project onto a small screen like an iPad where I am at any given time with any type of GPS or location device?

Thanks, and again, sorry to ramble.


Well, you mention you do not want to download in advance. If downloading in advance is out of the question then all the solutions involving a smart phone or tablet will only work when you have cell / data service. Once you are out of range, then you will no longer have a map on your screen . . . which will be most BLM and Forest lands.

If you decide you are willing to download /cache maps ahead of time, then there is excellent advice above.

There are Garmin units that have preloaded maps in them and they will also show your location.
 
#14
I have Gaia also and it’s excellent, but like you, I’m not always prepared with downloaded maps and cell coverage for real time navigating can be overly optimistic much of the time. There is an analogy between overland exploring and aviation. That’s why, to date, there is no substitute for an onboard location device that will surpass GPS unit. Next time I plan on serious off road exploring I will have purchased an up to date handheld Garmin gps (can be used inside and outside the vehicle). One other thought is to connect that iPad with Gaia to a dash mounted receiver such as the DUAL gps module that seamlessly connects via Bluetooth. I’ve used that same setup while flying, using the iPad and the DUAL receiver.
 
#15
After doing some searching it looks like this might have what I am looking for. It appears to be an off road navigation device that always shows where you are. Does anyone have any experience with this device?

Magellan eXplorist TRX7 Series - Off-road GPS Navigator

I wonder of there is anywhere in North America where this doesn't get a signal.
 
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