Posted by Jackie Judge on 11/20/09
Release Date:October 07, 2009
Price:Free, with in-app purchases of maps
Summary:The best GPS app for outdoor enthusiasts... because it works without a wireless connection.
Planning to hike along the Appalachian Trail, go off-road into the Sierras, or camp near the Everglades? The next time you visit Yosemite National Park, or any wild outdoor region, any GPS device could certainly help get you there and back. However, once you get out of the car and venture by foot onto the actual trails, your GPS will likely cease to be useful. And, isn’t this the real clincher? Shouldn’t a GPS device be useful in these off-road situations? I’m not even sure the Google Maps function on the Droid is able to perform this feat. Thankfully, the digital mapping company Intermap Technologies recently launched AccuTerra to address these issues for hikers, bikers, and any outdoor enthusiasts who plunder into the wireless-no-more domain of the wild backwoods. Their first iPhone app, Accuterra is a GPS device that successfully provides quality off-road mapping. Very cool.
AccuTerra provides users with high-definition 3D maps of U.S. forests, state parks and national parks, maps that work even when you are far outside the reach any wireless mobile networks. One of the very first maps that were made available by Intermap for their new iPhone app was a map of Yosemite National Park, so now you can use your iPhone to navigate the Yosemite trails and know where you are exactly every step of the way. The AccuTerra app allows hikers, bikers, sportsmen, climbers, and casual outdoor enthusiasts who own an iPhone to view their topographic surroundings with a degree of detail previously unavailable, while allowing them to track their adventures and share with friends and family. The app tags photos and the location they were taken during an adventure and easily stores and shares the entire experience via email or posting directly to Facebook. Additionally, once the adventure is over, the AccuTerra Walking Tour feature lets the user replay the entire adventure directly from their iPhone. AccuTerra displays the user’s location and how far they are from the nearest roads, rivers, warming huts, trails and even natural points of interest. All of this is displayed along with information about the terrain, which is essential when hiking your way through a wilderness region.
Earlier in June, AccuTerra’s slick interface and smooth performance, as well as its innovation and usefulness, earned it an Apple Design Award for best iPhone 3.0 application at the 2009 Apple Design Awards. The AccuTerra was praised for its “usability” and “technology integration and adoption.” Because of the time it takes for the Apple store to approve new apps, AccuTerra was only available after the awards conference. However, once the delay was over, Intermap’s first iPhone application definitely did not disappoint.
Perhaps the secret to AccuTerra is that Intermap’s key business is not iPhone applications at all, but rather, aerial mapping. In the past, Magellan GPS and the US government have partnered with the company to utilize their 3D map data. And mapping in this world is no easy feat. To collect more than 3 million square miles of high-resolution 3D map data, the company didn’t ping a satellite. Their work involved developing new mapping technology and deploying more than 2,530 aircraft over U.S. airspace for more than 10,000 hours of airtime. Imagine that paperwork. Still, the company believes your safety is well worth the effort.
Even in a storm far from a wireless connection, hikers can use AccuTerra to see their distance from warming huts and roads, routes around river beds, and most importantly, the terrain. While the app’s ability to create and share annotated hiking tours with geo-tagged photos is interesting, it’s the offline maps that make this application a solid survival tool. AccuTerra plans to sell state park maps at $1.99 each and national park maps at $2.99 each in the app store; however, for WWDC (Worldwide Developers Conference) attendees, Intermap released free maps of Yosemite National Park and the SF Bay Area including Muir Woods and Mt. Tamalpais. Even though each map costs money, it’s worth it to have all these maps easily saved on your iPhone. Any hikers knows the cumbersome effect a mere three maps can have in your backpack. I’ll definitely be using AccuTerra for all my future hiking endeavors.
Categorized as: Free Apps,Lifestyle,Navigation,Productivity,Reference,Travel,Utilities
Tagged as: 2009 Apple Design Awards, Accuterra, free iphone apps, GPS, gps app, Intermap Technologies, outdoor apps, trail maps