Motorcycle navigation apps for adventure riders

My Requirements

When I’m planning a trip, what I want to do, is plan the route exactly as I want. Not  just “find scenic routes” not “avoid highways” etc. So far doing this with the actual GPS navigator has been a nightmare. Phone apps have not been much better and very often there is a requirement for internet access.

Near constant mobile internet access on a proper road trip that usually takes me to other countries is either totally impossible / impractical or costs way too much.

My approach has been to use Tyre to plan my waypoints on the computer and then upload the finished route to the TomTom. No internet required on the road and the planning is a pleasure with a computer mouse and a big screen.

What I’m looking for

I want to ditch the old TomTom and do he navigating with my phone. Mostly because I don’t want to fork out the money for a new GPS device and I like the idea of having one less device with me.

So what I need from an app is the following

1. OFFLINE MAPS
Internet connection is just not available everywhere (some remote places don’t have cell phone connection at all) an if it is, it costs too much. Data transfer charges can be outrageous at foreign countries.

2. ROUTE IMPORT
I wan’t to be able to plan the route on a proper computer with a big screen.

3. NAVIGATION
I want actual turn by turn navigation, not just tracking

The solutions?

MOTOEYE

IMG_5390

Well, I used this for one trip and then something bad happened. The homepage has since disappeared along with any updates to the app. I was originally able to plan the route using the excellent Tyre to travel desktop software, then upload the route (.GPX) to Dropbox and upload the route from Dropbox to the MotoEye app. The app is still available and sort of works, but the Dropbox connection doesn’t which makes the app unusable for me.

REVER

IMG_5391

Now the Rever is a clean looking app and they have a nice website that allows you to plan your route and it then uploads to the app. Rever also features offline maps, but there is a catch! If you are offline when launching the app, the app can’t load your profile or any previously uploaded routes. Ie. nothing is stored in the app and you are left with a plain map. I say plain map, because the Rever app doesn’t allow any sort of destination or waypoint setting in the app.

+ offline maps
+ detailed maps with all the small roads
+ nice website

– not actually usable offline!
– costs $5,99/month or $59,99 / year

SCENIC

IMG_5392

The Scenic works better offline than Rever and has route planning in app (which is always painful compared to doing on the computer). This being said, it is a very useful feature when pre made plans need to be changed on the fly.

The big problem with the Scenic are the actual maps. Small roads are missing completely! Compare the screen grab from the Scenic to the one from the Rever. There is a huge difference. While road oriented riders may not see this as a problem I certainly do. I’m always looking for the smallest most remote back roads possible.

You can plan a route along the small roads on a desktop software AND import it to the app, but the result is not very good. See below. There are routing options for calculating the route: “fast”, “short”, “efficient” and “curvy” but the calculations often provide undesired results. For example the “short” option fails to find the shortest route eventhough there are clearly roads that could be used.

IMG_5393
The dotted line is the planned route and the red line is where Scenic is routing me.

+ importing .gpx routes works
+ offline maps
+ on app route making
+ easily readable map colors
+ simple .gpx import through scenic website

– problems with directly linked .gpx files made with Tyre (same .gpx files works when imported to the app via the Scenic website)
– maps are not detailed enough
– costs $10.49 / year or $49.99 forever
– the “short” navigation option does not often actually find the shortest route


[UPDATE 21.6.2017]

MOTIONX

IMG_5403
The MotionX  maps are also missing small roads. The maps are based on openStreetMaps.

The MotionX seems to be packed with features and has the ability to load a variety of different maps for use including Google maps, Apple maps, Bing maps, Marine maps and so on. Motion X can also store maps for offline use and import premade .gpx files. While the app can cache maps the actual downloaded maps are based on OpenStreetMaps that are not accurate enough for my purposes. *This lack of smaller roads may not be a problem for other countries/places.

There is an option to download custom map types for offline use, but (costs 5,49€). This may solve the lack of detail problem, but I haven’t yet figured out how to do it OR if suitable maps are available for my country / neighboring countries.

+ lots of features
+ easy .gpx import
+ cheap, 2,99€

–  no turn by turn navigation
– little slow

[UPDATE 4.7.2017]

VIEWRANGER

IMG_5454[1]

Viewranger has a variety of maps available from ski maps to landscape maps. The small roads are again lacking in most of them AND most of the specialty maps cannot be downloaded for offline use.  The maps are detailed, but readability is horrible especially at lower zoom levels. Trying to find roads in that mess from a phone screen… just no.

The .GPX import works ok, but the end result is less than ideal. As Viewranger doesn’t really have a clue about roads the track it draws is not very good. (compare the track to what Scenic did eventhough it doesn’t even find the roads)

Ofcourse you can plan the track at greater detail and get better results, but I don’t see Viewranger being the solution for motorcycle navigation regardless. On foot and on bike it most likely works very well.

IMG_5516[1]
Bad track and bad readability
+ lots of different maps
+ easy .gpx import

–  no turn by turn navigation
–  limited offline use
–  maps not suitable for my purposes

 

SUMMARY

I haven’t found what I’m looking for yet. Give me a heads up if you come across something that you think could work.

 

 

5 thoughts on “Motorcycle navigation apps for adventure riders

  1. Have you tried viewranger??

    It won’t navigate turn by turn but I import gpx files and follow them. Also its a gpx community so I just go on holiday and where ever I find myself I search for local off road trails

    Like

      1. It’s more of a gpx file off road map that you have to actually follow on the phone. It’s kind of a map, which displays preloaded routes and puts a crosshair on the map identifying your real-time location.

        I love it! Used it allover the world

        Like

  2. Check oruxmaps.com, an offroad ultrapowerful gps navigator with support por online and offline maps, as well vector maps with style layers.
    Keep on that good work! 🙂

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s