New to GPS


Been without a Jeep for many years and just got an 18 Grand Cherokee. So as we explored some mild trails this weekend I started to think how much we needed GPS. Back home I started exploring options and am intrigued by the GAIA platform . I have a older cellular IPAD (32GB) that I can use primarily for GPS. Also, the Jeep has "carplay" so assuming I can use the screen for display.

The question is, Will the GAIA platform be user friendly for basic navigation, being a person new to the GPS environment?


I am somewhat familiar with the Gaia and Garmin ecosystems, but have no experience with carplay.
I advise to spend the $20 and try it. Whether the UI suits you or rubs you the wrong way---you'll only find out by trying to use it.
Gaia should be be fine on your 32GB iPad as long as Gaia supports the iteration of iOS that your iPad runs on. 32GB is just enough memory to store a nice selection of maps, assuming that all other apps and data will be reasonably minimized. The map called Gaia Topo (feet) is a super efficient vector map that can cover huge areas of the country in just a few GBs of storage space.
I think Gaia is fairly intuitive to use, but expect a few moments of frustration while figuring out all the controls and their usefulness.

Gaia does a pretty good job of displaying your location superimposed on top of your choice of available map. That's mainly what I use it for---seeing where I am on a map.
It can record your movement as a track, allowing you to follow your own path in reverse, and can save a track to memory. It allows you to save---and give your own names to--- waypoints. All useful functions.
To my knowledge, Gaia does not 'navigate' for you; It does not provide turn by turn directions. You have to decide, while watching your movement on the map, whether to turn left, right, or go straight.


All very good information. Thank you for the reply. I think your right in that for the cost, it could be at least an intro to GPS.


Expedition Leader
The benefit of Gaia is really found when you do the upfront work, whether on the iPad or a regular PC. That's where you research places and set up waypoints, tracks and routes. The vehicle-side while in motion is just following what you have build ahead of time.

Gaia does do auto routing in the sense that if you select two end points the tool can figure out a track between them. It's not turn-by-turn like you're probably thinking with a car navigation. Auto routing is nice when the alternative is to manually trace a track. Trying to do routing manually would be a real pain in the field. It's not too difficult to navigate new routes with Gaia in real time although it's something either the passenger has to do or you need to stop and do it.

It's not absolutely foolproof because Gaia only knows roads and trails that exist on maps and can't know a ton of details (not to mention that quite a bit of data is crowd sourced from Open Street Maps, which may be incomplete or contain errors). IOW it can't always differentiate a graded dirt road from a primitive one so it requires some verification and interpretation on your part.

But that's a problem even with devices that have good routing engines, like Garmin. On a Garmin GPS receiver you can do on-the-fly routing off pavement but it can sometimes confuse a hiking trail for a road or completely miss that a 4WD road is a legitimate (and intended) route and will try instead to route you to a highway. So no solution is always perfect.
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After reviewing the free version I opted in for $40 upgrade. Was pleasantly surprised at how intuitive it was right from the start. I even made a few routes I thought were within my capabilities to explorer in the next few weeks in the jeep. Downloading the maps to my iPhone after the work upfront on the computer was pretty easy too.

Then I get in the jeep and find my icon drive right off the screen. “What no moving map”! In this day and age. Or am I missing something here?


I'm not using the ipad right now. Just my Iphone. I had it on Airplane mode to check the App for offline usage. I'm sure its just going to be trial and error. So far the planning phase on the laptop at home is awesome, and surprising how easy it is to work with. have not had a chance yet to try Pluton's suggestion, but it makes perfect sense.

I really appreciate you both for the guidance. Kind of wondering why I didn't do this earlier.


Totally impressed with GAIA and the ease of use. Works on our iPhone and the ipad flawlessly. The more we (wife loves it) use it the more we learn. Pre trip planning is a snap and we have found while out exploring back roads that we like to locate camp spots and drop a waypoint for future reference. Highly recommended & Thanks for the help!