If you enjoy the outdoors, here's an exciting new source for maps

Thursday , September 21, 2017 - 4:00 AM

LYNN R. BLAMIRES, special to the Standard Examiner

I was on the Skyline Trail above Farmington when I first learned about the Avenza Map App. I met Colton Rogers with the Forest Service who showed me the app on his phone and told me about some of its features.

Not only is this app free, it is a great source for a huge variety of maps, it also features a built-in GPS that allows you to record a track, label it, and store it.

To begin with you need to go to www.avenzamaps.com and download the app to your phone. Once the app is on your phone, go to your home computer. It is easier to select maps and then get them to your device.

Access the web site and click on “Store.” A series of maps will show listing five maps to the page. At the bottom right you can scroll through more pages. Send the maps you want to the shopping cart.

You can search for the type of map you want by clicking on the box marked “FIND MAPS IN.” Click in that box where the words, “Custom Map View” are located. When you do, the word “Location” will appear. Now you can enter words that will filter your search — i.e., Bicycle Trails, Hiking Trails, or Historical Maps. Then browse the maps available. I have the paper copy of the National Geographic map for the Paiute Trail System, but that map is also available in the menu. Some have a fee, but I found a lot of free maps.

I typed in “National Forest Ranger District 2017” and a list of Motor Vehicle Use Maps appeared. I chose the ones that were marked “Free.” When you click on the fee box, a message will open informing you that the map has been sent to the shopping cart. When you click the button in the lower left of that box, “Continue Shopping,” you can continue to browse the list of maps. On the right side of the screen a map of the country pinpoints the area of the map you have chosen.

Once you have the maps in the shopping cart that you want, go to the bottom of the page on the left and click on “Check Out.” A new page will open. At the bottom right, click on the box marked “Get Now.” On the bottom left, instructions will tell you how to get those maps from your computer to your device. With the maps, you will notice an item marked “Getting Started with Avenza Maps.” Open this and get detailed instructions on how to use the app.

It is easy to get duplicate maps, but if you do it is not hard to delete them. On your device you will be able to tap on each one individually to download them.

You can also download maps directly to your phone. I found that you can check for maps wherever you happen to be. I was near the Bountiful B when I opened my Avenza App. A list of maps appeared with the Bountiful Peak MVUM being the first available.

After opening the map, I noticed a crosshair in the middle of the screen. Touching the arrow in the upper right part of the screen allowed me to drop a pin on my exact location and start a GPS track. Putting my phone in my pocket, I finished my ride and pushed the stop button ending the GPS function. I was able to label the track “Bountiful Peak.” It showed my label, the distance traveled, and the time it took to make the track.

These maps are offline. You do not need a Wi-Fi connection to use the GPS. The phone does have to be on, so it is a good idea to keep your phone charged while making your track.

I am still learning about the features of this app, but the option for another source of maps is exciting. It does have universal appeal as the map base features maps for winter use, hiking, biking, and motorized use.

When you go take plenty of water, keep the rubber side down, and try the Avenza map app.

Email Lynn Blamires at quadmanone@gmail.com.

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