All posts in Location Sources

ViewRanger adds premium maps to

ViewRanger have added a major enhancement to their web-based route planning tool on You can now plan a route using any premium maps (including Ordnance Survey) that you have previously purchased on your phone. You can also pay for an annual subscription to access all the maps in your region – and if you have previously bought maps using their map-creator they are offering a free six months subscription.

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Compatibility problems linking your Twitter account to ViewRanger

Whilst I have been running tests on the new version of Social Hiking (it will be live soon I promise!), I have finally put my finger on an issue I have been noticing over the last few weeks on my own Social Hiking maps with extra data appearing. This is being caused by ViewRanger’s recent addition of Twitter support.

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ViewRanger / InstaMapper battery usage tested (on Android)

Battery life is a pretty critical issue if you are using Social Hiking with an app on your phone. One of the most frequent questions I get asked is which is better on your battery when used with Social Hiking – ViewRanger or InstaMapper. So I decided to find out (on Android)!

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ViewRanger’s Update to My.ViewRanger Site

As some of you may be aware, ViewRanger have recently released an update to their My.ViewRanger site including the ability to include tweets and photos to BuddyBeacon maps (read their blog post). As some users have been in touch about the similarities with Social Hiking, I thought I should probably try and put everyone at ease.

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BuddyBeacon suggestions for ViewRanger

BuddyBeacon is a great feature of ViewRanger – the ability to ping your location (either manually or on a regular basis) and view the location of other ‘buddies’ on your map. Since Social Hiking started, BuddyBeacon has been the primary location source used on the site, especially for smaller trips (for longer trips battery life becomes a massive issue, which is where support for systems like SPOT come in). However since the first beacon was collected, the BuddyBeacon feature has changed little.

Later in the week I will be having a chat with Craig from ViewRanger to talk about possible improvements and updates to BuddyBeacon that will make it even easier to create routes on Social Hiking – if you have any comments, suggestions or anything you want me to pass on to ViewRanger, please let me know in the comments below, via Twitter, or you can email


The case of the missing beacons!

Several of us have noticed over the last few weeks that in certain conditions beacons from ViewRanger seem to not appear on Social Hiking (usually these missing beacons are visible on the BuddyBeacon Portal, but not always). I have done a bit of digging and found the problem (and implemented a temporary fudge on Social Hiking to fix it)

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ViewRanger – Free trial on Android and importing your own routes

Free Trial version of ViewRanger on Android

First up some pretty big news – ViewRanger has released a free trial of their software on Android phones. The free trial gives you 15 days worth of access to all the functionality (including BuddyBeacon) using the open maps (global OpenStreet & OpenCycle mapping and includes Bing road maps and aerial photo layers in the free maps menu).

Just like with the full version, it allows users to view their GPS mapped location, record a track and view performance statistics. As the maps can be stored on the phone it works without a mobile signal. ViewRanger GPS navigation features include the ability to plot your own routes or import GPX files; following the route becomes a breeze, with waypoint and navigation alarms that provide alerts along the course. Real-time location sharing is the other key feature of our app – the “BuddyBeacon(TM)” service allows users to share their location with other app or web users and view the location of their friends on-screen, which is great for peace of mind or progress tracking.

Liking the mention of using BuddyBeacon to share location with other apps – that us (presumably amongst others!)

Obviously this does nothing to help solve the well discussed pricing issues with the iPhone version, but it will be interesting to see what happens if the trial version is successful.

Importing your own routes into ViewRanger

On a slightly related note, @HelenJFisher recently sent me an email detailing how to import your own routes into ViewRanger (the instructions are for the Android version, but I assume it probably works for other versions as well).

Thanks Helen.

Saved .gpx file on SD card or phone memory in the Viewranger folder
(make sure your phone is then disconnected from your PC and your SD card is mounted)


  • Open Viewranger
  • Press the Menu button
  • Select Organiser
  • Select Routes
  • Press the Menu button
  • Select ‘Import gpx/loc’
  • Select the file
  • Message shown: “This file contains 1 route(s). Import?”
  • Select Yes
  • The route is listed.
  • Select the route
  • Press menu button
  • Select map

Updates (or lack of them)

Apologies for the delay in all the promised updates – what with exciting times in my personal life and a heavy workload, I have been a bit distracted – sorry! (and I am yet to work out how to get someone to pay me to build Social Hiking!)

I do plan to get around to some of the updates soon, so please bear with me!