Which maps do you use in Gaia?

greg.potter

Adventurer
I use the Gaia topo layers and backcountry map books layers for travel in Canada and the slope shading layer for skiing. The slope shading layer is incredibly handy for planning route in terrain you have not been in before. I have been using Gaia for just shy of a couple of years now and due to the C-19 lockdown I haven't been south of the border yet so haven't spent any significant time looking at the map layers available for the desert southwest which is our usual destination for a respite from our long Canadian winter, but the National Geographic layers look interesting.
 

DaveInDenver

Expedition Leader
I've not used Gaia, only Backcountry Navigator... which has pointed out many ruins and hours of fun bushwhacking the Oregon desert to get to them. My only gripe is the periodic loss of data, even with a clear view of the sky.

How does Gaia perform when far off the blacktop?
Gaia and BCN need a cellular or WiFi data connection unless you cache (pre-download) everything you need ahead of time. A clear view of the sky is for the GPS in your device to locate you. Which are you having trouble with? I'd guess the former because you probably dropped off the edge of cell phone coverage.
 

Cathleen Shea

New member
Hi Dave,

Makes sense. Yes, I'm thinking it's the wifi coverage. Which, ultimately, means my trusty paper BLM maps will always be the best option, eh?

I see folks raving about Gaia and wonder if I'm missing out. Just old enough at 56 to feel trapped between technology and old school. Haha.
 

DaveInDenver

Expedition Leader
Hi Dave,

Makes sense. Yes, I'm thinking it's the wifi coverage. Which, ultimately, means my trusty paper BLM maps will always be the best option, eh?

I see folks raving about Gaia and wonder if I'm missing out. Just old enough at 56 to feel trapped between technology and old school. Haha.
It's wise to know technology has limits and never be without an alternative source. Cell phone and tablet navigation in my experience starts to fall short when you're exploring rather than following tracks or have a fairly specific idea of where you're trying to go. I can't get context and therefore not much inspiration from them as easily as I can a gazetteer or big paper map laid out on the truck hood. Also you eventually run into a memory limit or simply forget to download everything at all zoom levels and you walk off into the blank white space. But then again I still bring along a compass to augment the GPS receiver, you know, just in case.
 

Cathleen Shea

New member
I still bring along a compass to augment the GPS receiver, you know, just in case.
Absolutely. Agree on all points. I'll surf BCN at home, compare it against gazetteer and other more detailed paper maps as I form a plan. Downloading maps... pfffttt... I went to the South Island of NZ three years ago. I thought, I'm so smart, I'll dl all these maps. Nope! Sucked up so much memory I went with my spiffy little NG paper map. Had a fine time.

On the compass note. My stupidly expensive Suunto compass went bubble up on me when I got it out to use a few weeks ago. Now I can't settle on a new one... reviews are all over the place on various brands. Turns out my new 4Runner has an onboard compass... yeeaahhhh. Holy cow... I just spent 41K to buy a questionable compass? (Here's yer sign) LOL
 

pluton

Adventurer
It's interesting in the details. Gaia ended (or had ended, not sure who initiated it) their 3rd party license with CalTopo in January of this year and seems to have stopped using ESRI in March. So they seem to be building maps internally and only using OSM or government external data. If you like ESRI's shaded relief (I have not compared it personally to Gaia, there may be no difference) then you may not want to re-sync your maps I guess is what that means.
Hmmm...The USGS/ESRI choice is still there (see screenshot taken just now) on my $20 subscription. A quick look at the current ESRI offering shows that it still looks the same, but it'd be impossible for me to tell if they've re-created it using OSM data.Screenshot 2021-06-10 at 20.26.28.jpg
 

pluton

Adventurer
Makes sense. Yes, I'm thinking it's the wifi coverage. Which, ultimately, means my trusty paper BLM maps will always be the best option, eh?

I see folks raving about Gaia and wonder if I'm missing out. Just old enough at 56 to feel trapped between technology and old school. Haha.
Nothing wrong with old school! The things that make Gaia (or similar) nice to use are:
1. You have an adequate available storage capacity on your mobile device (an iPhone Xr for me). Right now Gaia maps are occupying 24.6 GB of data space on my phone. I probably will add more maps in the future.
2. You are comfortable carrying the phone with you while hiking, and have a nice bracket contraption to hold it in a useful place while driving.
3. You don't completely rely ONLY on Gaia and the phone (or tablet). Sometimes I have paper maps, sometimes the separate Garmin GPS unit acts as the 'second source'.
4. One cool thing: Gaia currently offers the exact same USGS 24K Topo maps as you get on paper.
 
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