Australian GPS mapping app uses Ordnance Survey mapping in an easy to use format.
New for the iPhone in the UK is Mud Maps, an Australian mapping application that uses the phone's integral GPS chip-set to show your location and record routes and tracks on a variety of mapping including Ordnance Survey UK at both 1:50,000 and 1:25,000 scale.
There are plenty of mapping apps out there for Apple's ubiquitous smartphone - our top choice at the moment is ViewRanger - but a quick play with Mud Maps suggests that it's a really nice bit of software with some very neat features and, for once, an easy to use interface.
Vector And Raster
What makes it different? Mud Maps say that the app supports both sat-nav type vector maps, allowing point to point road navigation - a feature on some stand-alone GPS units - but also raster maps like OS ones. That means you can use the unit it snap-to-road mode with a road map, then switch to pure GPS mode for off-road navigation with a topo map once you reach the trail.
That's a nice feature, though our experience is that for driving at least, it makes more sense to use a dedicated sat-nav or sat-nav app.
Choose A Map...
The app comes with a world base map, google UK road and satellite map and various others included in its £2.00 purchase price, but for off-road use, you really need to invest in OS mapping, which you can buy from within the app and download for off-line use.
Right now there's no customised download option as with ViewRanger, so you're restricted to pre-set maps covering obvious areas like National Parks - there are bundle options too, so you can buy all the UK parks in 1:50,000 scale.
Prices vary, but as an example, 1:25,000 scale mapping of the Peak District National Park will set you back £24.99 while the larger Lakes area is £34.99.
We have a copy of the app on test now and first impressions are good. When you first boot up, you choose which map you want to use from a gallery of options and you're away. As ever with the iPhone, the mapping is beautifully reproduced and zooms in and out plus pans flawlessly.
What we do like so far, is the simple, easy to use interface. Mostly it seems pretty intuitive and easy to access. And while we're only just scratching the surface so far, the Tracklog options seem great. You can, for example, save a tracklog then neatly trim away sections of the log you don't want using a simple slider mechanism, which is great. You can record a track in the background as well to save power, the great bug-bear of iPhone GPS apps, which tend to blow through the battery at speed.
You can also set up an account on the Mud Maps web site, purchase maps on line for download to your phone later, access a user manual and so on. There's even a YouTube channel with some handy Australian-accented, instructional videos.
So far, so good. We're going to use Mud Maps for a bit and report back. You can find more info about the app at www.mud-maps.com and access it directly at the apple app store at itunes.apple.com/gb/app/id488631486?mt=8.