On The Go Hunting Maps

taskswap

Active Member
Jul 9, 2018
209
71
Colorado
I'm a data geek, and have probably used every mapping app and service out there. I reviewed Basemap last year, and didn't think it was ready for prime-time. It's come a long way. It still has a few glitches (particularly in the Web piece of the app), but it now does basically everything OnX does, and better in a few areas.

I bought my first OnX subscription just before hunting season started a few years ago. That made sense at the time, but also means my renewal comes up every year just before hunting season starts. This year I'll be dropping OnX in favor of Basemap.

There are a couple of "winner" details for me. First, where OnX is $29.99/yr for one state, Basemap is the same price for all 50 states. And for those that only use the map a couple months a year, they have a $4.99/mo option. That's a winner for me, because I tend to only use these apps in October and November. The rest of the year I use Locus Pro, which is much more powerful for general topo mapping and hiking than either app.

Second, the Basemap download mechanism is MUCH better. With OnX, to get high-res data cached offline you have to scroll around and download each tile one at a time. With Basemap you can do that all at once. That's a big time saver if you know you're going into a unit where you'll be roaming around a lot (which I do).

I don't really think much of the "journal" feature. Most hunters I know (including me) are pretty cagey about sharing overly-specific details about exactly where their honey-holes are. I can't imagine wanting to share all the notes I take to Facebook (which I don't even use), let alone with other people in general. But it's easy to skip it if you don't want to use it. It's just a shame they focused so much of the app's real-estate on that feature.

The track recording is also better now than OnX IMO (particularly in what you can do once a track is done/saved), but still not nearly as good as Locus. Locus has features like being able to quickly pick a point (like a glassing spot) on a route you pre-planned, and showing bearing guides and distances to get you there. That's a critical feature for me for things like quickly getting to glassing spots, retrieving trail cams, etc.

Obviously Locus is staying in my toolbox, and to be clear, I'm not saying OnX is "bad." The way I would describe it, Basemap is now "as good as" OnX for my personal needs. I plan to switch this year based on price and ease of offline downloading. YMMV.
 

JimP

Veteran member
Mar 28, 2016
3,675
416
Gypsum, Co
After not updating a couple of my maps on OnX for a few years I decided to do it this year only to find out that you needed to purchase a membership to do so. This ticked me off to the point that I decided to just go with what I have and forget about the updates. I am mostly just interested in property boundaries in a few areas along with land ownership in just one. I sent them a email telling them what I think of their memberships to update chips that are only used once in a blue moon.

I will deffently check out Basemap.
 
  • Like
Reactions: ivorytip

taskswap

Active Member
Jul 9, 2018
209
71
Colorado
I hear you, Jim. It's tricky also for those that use "real" GPS devices because there are fewer "chip" data vendors than for the software apps.

I don't want to dirty the thread with a lot of off-topic stuff but if anybody ever wants more input on pros and cons of apps for planning and field use, feel free to PM me (or start a thread, I'm sure I'll see it). I've used them all: OnX, CalTopo, Locus, BaseMap, Fatmap, Gaia, AlpineQuest, etc.
 
  • Like
Reactions: ivorytip

ivorytip

Veteran member
Mar 24, 2012
3,755
24
I hear you, Jim. It's tricky also for those that use "real" GPS devices because there are fewer "chip" data vendors than for the software apps.

I don't want to dirty the thread with a lot of off-topic stuff but if anybody ever wants more input on pros and cons of apps for planning and field use, feel free to PM me (or start a thread, I'm sure I'll see it). I've used them all: OnX, CalTopo, Locus, BaseMap, Fatmap, Gaia, AlpineQuest, etc.
I think this would be an awesome thread!
 

taskswap

Active Member
Jul 9, 2018
209
71
Colorado
Maybe I should do a Youtube video cross-comparing these? I tend not to personally recommend A vs. B because I find everybody wants something different. What works for me may not be a good fit for someone else. But I'd be happy to compare the apps to show what they can do...
 

taskswap

Active Member
Jul 9, 2018
209
71
Colorado
Yes and actually, at least in my opinion... BaseMap has a better "download" function than OnX because you can download an entire region/area/GMU at once, instead of tile by tile. Note that neither product "works offline" automatically. You have to specify a region that you want to download ahead of time. These products aren't magic - some up front planning is required. Paper maps have the same need, but it's easy to forget...
 

taskswap

Active Member
Jul 9, 2018
209
71
Colorado
In the lower right corner there's a plus button to add "things": markers, photos, etc. One option in there is Offline Maps. Tap that, then New Map. Pick Standard/Pro based on what you bought, scroll to the area you want to save, and adjust the sliders for map area and detail. (That's the part OnX doesn't have.) Hit Download and get a cup of coffee.
 

tim

Veteran member
Jun 4, 2011
1,702
155
north idaho
technology has gotten interesting. There was a time you went hunting to escape a phone, now people stare at the phone when hunting.
not complaining, just observing. But I prefer paper maps and my phone is over 5 years old. I do need to say, my phone does not work at my house, unless hooked up to wifi for texting. WE still have a land line for phone calls.
 
  • Like
Reactions: gonhunting247

taskswap

Active Member
Jul 9, 2018
209
71
Colorado
I can't speak for everybody, but my experience has been I value tech without staring at my phone all day. If anything, it's a time SAVER over tracking where I am and taking notes with paper maps and pads. (Although I do carry a paper map as a backup.) But equally important, we have young kids in the house. My wife really appreciates me checking in once or twice a day just to know I'm OK. These days, even in "wilderness areas" I almost always have enough signal in certain spots to send them an "all's well". If I'm going to carry a phone anyway for emergencies, I may as well get all the use out of it I can. Just my 2c.

I think hunting in general is ultimately a very personal thing. Everybody has a different approach and goals. To each their own, no?
 
  • Like
Reactions: hoshour

tim

Veteran member
Jun 4, 2011
1,702
155
north idaho
no issues, to each his own, it is interesting how different people have different wants and needs.
what scares me more is having to go get and learn a new phone. I would rather be dropped off in the middle of nowhere with out a map or gps and told to get home, than go to the local cell phone store and get a newer phone.
 

hoshour

Veteran member
I can't speak for everybody, but my experience has been I value tech without staring at my phone all day. If anything, it's a time SAVER over tracking where I am and taking notes with paper maps and pads. (Although I do carry a paper map as a backup.) But equally important, we have young kids in the house. My wife really appreciates me checking in once or twice a day just to know I'm OK. These days, even in "wilderness areas" I almost always have enough signal in certain spots to send them an "all's well". If I'm going to carry a phone anyway for emergencies, I may as well get all the use out of it I can. Just my 2c.

I think hunting in general is ultimately a very personal thing. Everybody has a different approach and goals. To each their own, no?
My wife is the same way and I hunt solo much of the time. I value her peace of mind and so I call her once a day if I can.

But I also go to get away from civilization for a few days, so I just use a mapping app because it is efficient, I call my wife and (sigh) skim my email once every two or three days to see if my business has something that absolutely demands my attention. I've yet to run into that but I sleep better. Other than that, I have little use for social media and I've about quit caring about what the media calls news, so the phone is really just a tool.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Bonecollector

kidoggy

Veteran member
Apr 23, 2016
3,597
341
idaho
I downloaded the basemap app today.

haven't decided if I like it or not yet . have to play with it to figure out how everything works. haven't found if it shows elevation or not but doesn't seem to. does show public vs private though, which was my biggest need.
 

ScottR

Eastmans' Staff / Moderator
Staff member
Feb 3, 2014
5,724
324
www.eastmans.com
I downloaded the basemap app today.

haven't decided if I like it or not yet . have to play with it to figure out how everything works. haven't found if it shows elevation or not but doesn't seem to. does show public vs private though, which was my biggest need.
Dig around in the layers feature, it's there. If you can't find it I can post screen shots.
 
  • Like
Reactions: kidoggy