Hiking applications: our selection to organize your walks

If you are currently on vacation, you may have planned to do one or more hikes in the week. And as you are organized and above all modern, you have probably said that it was possible to replace this good old paper card with your smartphone with a GPS. You are then on the right page of the Internet since we have selected a handful of applications able to make you come back safely before nightfall. Follow the guide.

Before you start
Some precisions are necessary before starting. Know first of all that in the world of mapping, applications dedicated to hiking or bike rides are designed primarily for those who are used to reading topographic maps, who know how to use a compass and who are used to arid interfaces.
Finally, it is surely obvious for experienced hikers, if you go hiking, remember that your phone will consume more battery than normal using these applications. So remember to charge your phone to the maximum when leaving, or even to bring a battery backup. From this point of view, nothing will replace a good old paper chart.
Free apps
ViewRanger GPS
ViewRanger is certainly one of the best hiking apps of its kind. It has a big advantage over its competitors: it is not necessary to have a Bac + 5 hiking to understand its interface. Everything is beautiful, clear and modern: to use it is a real pleasure. Its second good point is that it is free and allows you to download a handful of free cards. They are not as accurate as a good map IGN but they are ideal for a walk of a few hours in the countryside, on well-marked paths. For the picky, ViewRanger has a catalog of simply gargantuan cards in his shop. It is possible to sort by country (Germany, France, Belgium, United States and Canada and even part of Eastern Europe), by brand or category.
As for the application itself, its options are endless. We find the traditional compass, but also the scale, the ability to switch to night mode, to mark his hike, to record his course, etc. Cherry on the backpack, the basic version is free, there is no shadow of an advertisement and it is updated regularly. Hard to find better in this area.
                        ViewRanger is one of the best hiking apps. It allows very simple access to maps of OpenStreetMaps, but …
                        3 reasons to download this application
                        Clear interface
                                                                Works without a network
                                                                OpenStreetMap and IGN
It is the second heavyweight of this selection, and for good reason, it is the reference application for IGN maps. iPhiGénie is indeed an application originally dedicated to IGN maps. It requires a subscription of 5.49 euros per month or 13.99 euros per year to use once the 7 days of free trials. Otherwise it is based on OpenStreetMaps maps.
As much to warn you, the current version of iPhiGénie is certainly what is currently ugly. The ergonomics are awful with its tiny icons and its interface of another age and it is mandatory to go through the online tutorial to understand how exactly the application. If you do not hike regularly, it will be very difficult to advise iPhiGénie.
But if you are a hiker, patience is in your genes. Because once mastered, iPhiGénie is certainly the application that exploits the full potential of IGN maps. It's very simple, they are all there, from the largest to the smallest scale and work without an Internet connection. It is possible to annotate, plan and, of course, highlight the desired paths. A must have for hikers hardcores.
                        iPhiGénie is one of the historical applications concerning cartography and hiking trails in France. She offers a blanket …
                        3 reasons to download this application
                        Accurate GPS
                                                                Works offline
                                                                Well exploited IGN maps
We finish this small selection of application by MyTrails. Unlike other trekking map management apps, MyTrails does not grow so much for buying and hides its pay cards at the bottom of a well-hidden menu in the settings. What is most valuable about Mytrails is the speed of loading and the fluidity of the application. From the launch, everything is indicated very clearly and the little button that shows the interface gives confidence. It's simple, beautiful and fluid.
This does not prevent MyTrails from proposing many parameters and options in its menus. Elevation, highlighting of the tracks, notifications near the navigation points, recording of the course and gestures are part of the particularity of the application.
                        MyTrails is a free, ad-free app for hikers. It offers access to various maps …
                        3 reasons to download this application
                        IGN maps
                                                                Statistics tool and complete graphs
                                                                Free and without ads
Bonus: Forest Keys
Walking around is good, but knowing exactly what you see is even better. If you have enough battery on your phone, you can also install Forest Keys, an application developed by the National Forest Office that can recognize and identify trees and forest animals. This is not an encyclopedia, but the most common species are listed and illustrations, photos and a search engine easily identify what is around us. Little more, this application does not need Internet connection to work.
                        Created by the National Forestry Board, the Ministry of Sustainable Development and the GoodPlanet Foundation, this application allows you to learn …
                        3 reasons to download this application
                        Simple to use
                                                                Totally free and without ads
                                                                Developed by the National Forest Office
Pay cards
An important consideration for the vast majority of these applications is that they are almost never provided with complete and detailed maps. Some of these applications offer free maps but they will never be as good as IGN or Michelin maps. "Good" cards pay off and often require annual subscriptions. For example, to access IGN maps, you must pay a subscription between 6 euros and 85 euros per year to have access to the entire catalog of the French cartographer. Why does this price vary so much? Because the applications use one or more services of IGN and return to the French company a part of their income. However, count on average 20 euros per year to access a good part of the IGN catalog in an unlimited way and offline. This is the price of a single card and as long as you have a tablet or smartphone screen large enough, it is a very good investment.
For this price, however, you will have access to excellent maps, very accurate with the vertical drop, the views, the slightest bit of trail or forest path, in short everything you need to navigate correctly. The advantage of the majority of the applications that we will present to you is that they make these cards interactive. They make it possible to synchronize the maps with the GPS, annotate them, record their course, plan them, compare their performances with their friends, etc., etc.
Also note that we are talking about IGN maps because they are references in the field, but that these applications have the good taste to offer for some hundreds of other mapping companies at very different prices and in different countries. other than France. It's up to you to look at what's best, but always make sure you check them out without access to the Internet. We do not want to lose our precious readers on an error of inattention.


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