Thursday, May 24, 2012

Smartphone Apps for Overlanding

Just about every overlander planning a trip has the use of a smartphone, a tablet or a multimedia device like an iPod Touch.  The usefulness of the device does often depend on an internet connection and with data plans available in every country, it is worth taking a phone along that is unlocked and open to any GSM network.

Having a useful app on the phone makes it even more worthwhile...  here are a few that I use and have found useful - Road Trip, TapaTalk, Offline Maps and the generic GPS app:

Road Trip  
This is a very useful app for keeping track of your vehicle expenditure.  It tracks fuel consumption, service and repair costs and plots neat little graphs which will impress those of us that love statistics.  It allows for multiple vehicles, multiple currencies, tire log, GPS location and an import / export feature for backup purposes.  Additional screenshots of the app are linked via the image below (showing the fuel consumption of my Series III SWB Diesel).  This App is a must for anyone with an Apple smartphone!

Road Trip App

Tapatalk Forum App

This is a useful app for keeping updated or posting new updates to your favourite overland forums.  It has links to the most popular forums like Expedition Portal, ADVRider, BuschTaxi etc.
The website describes the app:
Tapatalk is a mobile app built specifically for forum access. Different from mobile skin or mobile version that comes with the forum system, Tapatalk allows user to have a unified interface to access multiple forums at the same time. With million of Tapatalk users, your forum can be discovered by potential new members thru Tapatalk Network and our ranking and recommendation system.
I have found it useful for those odd occasions where I want to research or keep updated on a specific topics.  An additional benefit of the app is the smart way it integrates into the forum. It's simply not a screen re-size of the original forum rather a smart interface that uses the same look & feel for all your favourite forums.
Tapatalk Forum App
GPS Apps
I did a quick search on GPS apps on the Apple App Store.  The list was huge!  I have not downloaded any specific GPS applications so let me know if you have any useful recommendations.
GPS App Search on Apple Store
Overland by Simvex (Android)
Overland by simvex
This was a new GPS based application that was added in the comments section in May 2012.  Initial feedback look good.  Described as:

Offline mapping and GPS tool for expeditions,adventures and overland.
Specially designed for the independant overland traveller. Allows downloading maps from Google Maps while online ,and using them offline . It has connectivity to waypoints database , containing more than ten million expedition-related waypoints such as campings , embassies , hotels , borderposts etc.

OffMaps uses the very useful OpenStreetMap to provide offline access to your favourite locations.  The app is best used whilst planning for city navigation.

WordPress for iOS
WordPress is one of the most popular blogging websites and is often used for creating decent overland blogs.  The app integrates into the admin page of the WordPress website and allows for post creation and content moderation.

In Summary:
I often state that planning for your expedition is as important and almost as much fun as your overland trips - planning the technology you use is just as important.
Be sure to let me know if you have any useful apps that you find useful.

Updated: May 2012


  1. Google Group (Overland Forum) had the following Android suggestions:
    Sygic for non T4A type GPS (uses Tom Tom mapset)
    Pano for taking panaroma type pics
    MyCars for Road Trip equivalent
    Wordpress for blog updating
    Deluxe Moon for moon info
    Sasol Ebirds
    GPS Essentials
    (Thanks Heine)

  2. This seems to be an all-in-one app for overlanding. It seems to have offline maps ,waypoints from a huge online database , tracks ,and breaking news filtered by your position. It has something about fuel computer aswell .

  3. This is a great list! I've been looking into this same thing and it amost seems that the list should be broken down into different classes because each category (GPS, photography, blogging, track recording, etc.) has so many different options. Thanks again for putting together this list!

  4. I had the time to have a look at that Overland app for android

    , and its actually quite cool . Can't really figure out where all those waypoints come from , but it seems to have every imaginable camping ,embassies , consulates, borders and so . The news forwarding system while a bit primitive can be a life saver !. It also seems to be free .


Comments always welcome...