Smartphone Trail Maps

Free, and exclusive to Hidden Trenton!

If you like the maps, please thank us by “Liking” us on Facebook…

Ever go hiking and wish you’d brought along a trail map? Or worse, you have a printed map with you, but you’ve not been paying attention. And now you’re kind of lost, and aren’t quite sure where you are on the map? For me, the answer would be yes and yes.

Well, if you have a smartphone with a GPS chip, then you’re in luck. We work on any iPhone running IOS 7 or later, and most newer Android phones.
GPS-Display
You can tell which of our trail maps will work in a phone, because we added “GR” (for georeferenced) to the end of the filename. These maps are specially encoded PDFs. Load them into a free app called Avenza PDF Maps, and they’ll display in your phone with your current GPS location. (They also print just fine: they’re tabloid size, but Acrobat will reduce them automatically if you print them on letter-sized paper). Installation instructions follow below the download links…

Click on the links below to download each map

Installation instructions

Here are specific instructions for installing this on iPhone.  I recently installed a map on a friend’s Android phone, so we can give you some guidance there as well…

1. Install Avenza PDF Maps (IOS/Android)

Avenaz-Ap-StoreOn your phone, go to the Apple App Store (for IOS devices, iPhones or iPads) or Google Play Store (for Android), and do a search for “Avenza PDF Maps”. When you find it, download and install it the way you do any app.
Make sure you allow the app to use location services. Otherwise you won’t be able to see the GPS location on the map.

Open PDF Maps once to make sure it’s working, opening the default map that comes with the app. Make sure you can see your GPS location on the map. If you can’t, it’s probably because you didn’t allow Avenza PDF to know your location, or else your phone may be in airplane mode.

Avenza PDF Maps generally does NOT work in iPads or Tablets, because they lack GPS chips. The exception is iPads equipped to receive cellular signals. These are GPS equipped and work extremely well. I use an iPad mini in the wilderness, and the screen resolution makes it’s the best mapping GPS ever, yet it’s still small enough to carry into the field.

2: Download one of the GR series maps (IOS/Android)

Almost goes without saying, but click on one of the links above to download a GR map.   It’s best if you do it directly into your phone, and a requirement for Android devices.  If you have an IOS phone, you can also download it to your computer and email it to your phone.

IOS users who downloaded directly, go to step 3a.

Android users who downloaded directly, go to step 3b.

IOS users who downloaded to their computer, need to send it as an email attachment to their iPhone or iPad, and go to step 3c.

3a. Installing the Directly Downloaded Map (IOS only)

safari-open-in-menuWhen the map download is completed, you’ll see the map displayed in the Safari browser in your iPhone or iPad.  In effect, the map is going to be INSIDE a plugin within the browser. There are two, competing “open in” links, one for Safari (which you DON’T WANT, typically, but not always, at the bottom of the screen), and the other for the PDF plugin that displays the map (which you DO want).  Press the map image briefly, and an Open in… link will appear above the map, but below the Safari header. That’s the one you need to press.  Continue with Step 4.

3b. Load Map from File System (Android only)

If you have an Android phone, make sure the download you started in step 1b is complete.  When it is, open Avenza PDF and click on the Add Map icon (big plus sign in the top icon bar).  Then select “Load Maps from File System”.  Avenza will load a file-folder dialog that shows you all of the folders and files on your phone.

You will then need to navigate your phone’s file system to the default download directory for your browser.  This is probably /Downloads.  This is usually in internal memory, but if you use an external memory card, it could be on the SD card.  Either way, find the directory, locate the file you just downloaded, and touch it to start the process of loading it into Avenza.  If you can’t find the directory, check the settings for your browser… you should find it specified there.  When you’ve found the file, and clicked on it to start the loading process, skip to Step 5 of these instructions.

3c:  Load the map from an email (IOS only)

Phone-emailThis is an optional step if you downloaded the map to your computer. So, you’ve downloaded the Hidden Trenton map to your computer. It’s probably in the “Downloads” folder, or some such place. Anyway, find the file on your computer, attach it to an email, and email it to your phone. Ideally, you’ll do this while you phone is on WiFi, as the maps are fairly large (about 1.5 MB).

In any event, download the email onto your phone, and click on the attachment icon to open the map.

Download-Atachment When you open the email attachment, it will open directly in the default PDF viewer app on your phone. Click on the “open in…” icon in the upper right corner…
Continue with Step 4.
4. Select PDF Maps from the Open Using dialog (IOS only)

Open-in-AvenzaThe dialog should then give you the option of selecting Avenza from available apps. Keep in mind that if you have a lot of apps on your phone that can read PDFs, you may need to scroll through a list of icons to find PDF Maps.

After you click the PDF Maps icon, the app should open up.

If you don’t see a choice of Avenza PDF Maps among the icons, try scrolling them to the left to see if the Avenza icon is hidden. If not, make sure you installed the app correctly in Step 1. Or, if you’re installing from a direct download, consider that you may be using the Safari “open in” dialog, not the PDF viewer dialog. See comments in Step 3.   The map should still be open in Safari, so just go there, tap the map, and use the Open in… link that appears above the map but below the Safari tool bar.

5. Wait while PDF Maps processes the new map (IOS/Android)

Avenza-processingThe first time you load a new map into Avenza, it needs to process the georeferencing information so that it can align the map with your phone’s GPS signal. This processing can take a few minutes, depending on the processing power of your phone. The good news is that it does it only ONCE.

When it’s done, it will fill in the blank icon with an image taken from the map, and you’ll see a little text below the icon which says how far you are from the closest point on the map. If you’re actually WITHIN the coverage area of the map, it will say “On Map” with a little check mark (e.g. the Getting Started map in the image).

6. Open the Map (and shut down Avenza fully when you’re done)

To open the map, click on the text next to the icon. Enjoy! PDF Maps is pretty easy to use, and gives you all of the power of an in-the-field GPS. You can drop waypoints and take notes. You can also tell the system to record a track of where you’ve been (be careful, though, because that will burn battery even faster). And there are tools to measure distances. It’s really a very nice app.

Once you’ve installed a map, it remains available on Avenza PDF Maps until you delete it. Open Avenza as you would any app from your home screen, and access these maps from the “Maps” tab (folded map icon in the lower left). Note, you can zoom in and out by using finger gestures to enlarge or shrink the map. This is a tabloid size, 300 dpi map, so the resolution is fabulous.

When you exit Avenza, you should make a habit of shutting the app fully.  On an IOS phone, double press your Home button, and then drag the app screen image off the screen until it disappears.  If you don’t do this, you may notice additional battery drain.  BTW, this is true of every GPS enabled app.. you should always to the same thing to Maps, Google Maps, etc.

2 thoughts on “Smartphone Trail Maps”

  1. Wow! I tried out the Baldpate map yesterday. Installation went like a snap, and the map is incredibly accurate. I was able to explore parts of the park I’ve never tried before. Every trail junction showed up, bang, right where it was supposed to be. Thank you so much! I just liked Hidden Trenton on Facebook.

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