Tracks4Africa Guide Map app review





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  1. #1
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    Default Tracks4Africa Guide Map app review

    I have used the T4A Guide Map app for a trip to Lesotho, and a trip to Swaziland and the KZN coast around Mabibi and was very satisfied with it. During these trips, I only made use of the app and was able to navigate around the countries main roads and off roads without any difficulty. The app does not require data or airtime, contains interesting information and is user-friendly. While sometimes the app's location beacon slightly lags, with a bit of patience this does not result in any real problem. It as a useful tool to have when travelling around the region, and I certainly recommend it. In my opinion, those who complain about the app are unnecessarily fussy.

    The app will be even better if T4A does decide to increase its zoom capability.

    I think that it would be useful if the app had a legend of the different types of roads used on the map similar to its Southern African road atlas. At the moment, some roads are marked as tar, gravel, or sand, but this is not for all roads. It also is not possible to make sense if the road is a major or minor gravel road, a challenging 4x4 road or a moderate one.
    Last edited by Flamand; 2017/12/01 at 04:05 PM.

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  3. #2
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    Default Re: Tracks4Africa Guide Map app review

    Have not used a GPS in years as a result of the Tracks 4 Africa app on my mobile.

    Have a good dashboard mount in the Ranger and a good charger. All we need!
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  5. #3
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    Default Re: Tracks4Africa Guide Map app review

    Quote Originally Posted by Flamand View Post
    In my opinion, those who complain about the app are unnecessarily fussy.
    Be careful.
    Your trips are hardly challenging.
    If you make a noise or need music in the bush or on the beach, you’re missing the point.

  6. #4
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    Default Re: Tracks4Africa Guide Map app review

    Quote Originally Posted by PRA View Post
    Be careful.
    Your trips are hardly challenging.

    Could you explain this a bit more. I understand that they my trips have been short and not too far from South Africa, but as I understand it the data on the app and the data on the T4A SD card for the GPS are the same. The app doesn't navigate you along a preselected route but still tells you where you are with a regularly updated beacon. Like a garmin the app also uses GPS to positioning itself on the map. So besides the specific conveniences of a GPS what is the aspect that one should be cautious about?

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    Default Re: Tracks4Africa Guide Map app review

    This is a useful discussion. Anyone else using the App?
    The limited zoom facilities would be a major disadvantage for me.

    “Africa changes you forever, like nowhere on earth. Once you have been there, you will never be the same." - Ernest Hemingway

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  9. #6
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    Default Re: Tracks4Africa Guide Map app review

    Quote Originally Posted by Paul Dold View Post
    The limited zoom facilities would be a major disadvantage for me.
    In my opinion, the maximum zoom level is good enough to position oneself and successfully navigate around. While it could be better, I do not think its a disadvantage.

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    Default Re: Tracks4Africa Guide Map app review

    I use it and find it quit handy, do not need a paper map. I would also like to see the zoom maybe to 100m. I would really like to see the lettering of the place names to be smaller. It at times covers the area you would like to see.
    Ben

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  11. #8
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    Default Re: Tracks4Africa Guide Map app review

    Morning all,


    T4A has two apps for smartphones - from the comments below I gather Flamand is referring the T4A Guide App. This is an application that shows your position as a blue dot on a map, and you can turn on and off, (as an example) campsites, fuel stops, lodges, restaurants, etc. It is a fantastic tool to provide information while you are travelling. It is not a tool designed for navigational purposes, but it is possible to determine where you are, and which road to take to get to a certain place. It does not give you navigational instructions (e.g. turn left in 20km), but you can follow your position on the screen of the phone. The zoom level and amount of detail on the map is low as it was not designed as a navigational tool, but we are working on an improved map for this app. The app does not require internet or cell reception, but if you do have reception, you can click on url links to websites and email, or click on a phone number to dial. You can read more about it here: https://t4a-guide-app.tracks4africa.co.za/.

    Bax4x4 I believe is referring to our overland navigator app for smartphones: https://tracks4africa.co.za/maps/abo...rtphone/apple/ (the app is available for both apple and android - scroll down on the page to see the options). It is a navigational tool that works like a GPS on your cell phone, without the need for internet or cell reception. Your phone must however have GPS capability, so it will not work on the older models (and some Wi-Fi only models) that does not have GPS. This app will give you directions (turn left in 20km). If you are used to a Garmin GPS, or using Google Maps - this app is not as intuitive and takes some getting used to. I totally disliked the app and hardly used it until my Montana let me down in the middle of nowhere, and I was forced to use the app or stay where I was (not a bad proposition at the time!). By the 3rd day I was amazed at how good the app is, and find it easier to calculate a route and find alternatives than on my Montana. Like Bax4x$ said, you need to check your battery levels - the app (like Google Maps) use some battery power, so you may wish to keep your phone plugged in while navigating, especially if your phone is also your camera and research tool! At the Getaway show I met a couple that spent 8 months travelling Africa, with only the overland navigator app to guide with, no GPS, with huge success. To me the larger screen on my smartphone is an advantage, as I don't need my reading glasses to read the screen, like I do for the Montana.

    Paul, correct both apps use exactly the same data as what is on the GPS maps. The updates of our GPS maps and the apps are not in sync, as Apple and Google Play determine when to do those updates. For instance, we had an update of our GPS maps in October, but this update will only take place for Android in January (I think). So in January, the app will use our latest data, and in May our GPS maps will be updated and have "fresher" data.

    Ben, we are working on improving the map, and sorting out those place names.

    I hope that helps!

    Regards

    Lizette
    Last edited by Lizette Swart; 2017/12/04 at 08:51 AM.
    Lizette Swart

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  13. #9
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    Default Re: Tracks4Africa Guide Map app review

    Hi All

    This is a thread I will follow closely in the next few months. It is great that the representative (Lizette) can also give comments and feedback.

    We are planing a Namibia and Botswana trip for next year and I have been looking at what will be the best navigation tool to use.

    What would you guys say, rather to get the card for my Garmin or to buy the app on my phone?

    Would really like your advise

    Regards

    Bernhardt Swart

  14. #10
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    Default Re: Tracks4Africa Guide Map app review

    Hi Bernhardt,

    Just a quick note with regards to planning and choosing between the app or the GPS: if you are planning your routes on computer, you can send this to your GPS with a program called Basecamp. This is a program designed by Garmin specifically for planning and transferring data between computer and GPS.

    It is not possible to plan on the computer, and send the routes and points you created, to your smartphone - the app for the smartphone is not a Garmin product, and does not communicate with Basecamp. I find it however easy to plan a route on my smartphone (and if you have a large screen tablet, even better), and save it on my phone. If you are sitting around the campfire tonight and quickly want to check an alternative route for tomorrow, it is also easier to grab the smartphone than dig the laptop out! Some of the Garmin Street navigators have bigger screens, but route planning on my Montana (meant for more off-road navigation), is tough with the smaller screen.

    You can also have a look at our blog: https://blog.tracks4africa.co.za/sma...or-navigation/ and https://blog.tracks4africa.co.za/why...works-offline/

    Regards

    Lizette
    Last edited by Lizette Swart; 2017/12/06 at 07:56 AM.
    Lizette Swart

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  15. #11
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    Default Re: Tracks4Africa Guide Map app review

    The app on Android looks solid, I will be using it around the Kosi Bay area in just over a week. Have done some route planning and added way points etc.

    What I was surprised with is that my google maps has roads (probably sand tracks at best) that the T4A does not have... I would have thought that T4A would have had them.

  16. #12
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    Default Re: Tracks4Africa Guide Map app review

    Hallo Vellati,

    Thank you for the feedback!

    Our T4A data is based on data sent in to us from our T4A community, that has actually travelled on those roads. This means we know the tracks do exist, and we can also give an estimated travel time for the track, based on the actual time used to travel on that road. It also means that if no one recorded their tracks and then sent it to us, we do not have the tracks on our maps.

    Once you have travelled to Kosi Bay, maybe you can confirm the tracks for us, and we will be sure to add it to our maps. You can also record your tracks by making sure your track log is switched on on the app: click on the menu icon (3 bars on righthandside bottom of screen), scroll down to "useful information", select "trip monitor", select the up arrow (^) on the righthandside bottom, and select "trip monitor settings" - turn on "enable auto-saving" and "save track log". Your track will now be recorded as you drive (provided you are actually using the app - it will not record without opening the app on your smart phone).

    To download your tracks to the computer, you first need to export them - using the same menu, you can also export the tracks. This saves the tracks somewhere on your phone - it is a bit of a challenge to find as different phones seem to save it in different locations. On my Samsung I find it in: my files - device storage - android - data -za.co.tracks4africa.nng.africa - user - tracks. You can either connect your phone to the computer and download the tracks to the computer, or select all the tracks and export via email.

    Kind regards

    Lizette
    Lizette Swart

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  17. #13
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    Default Re: Tracks4Africa Guide Map app review

    Lizette,
    A few questions on Overland App for Android:

    1. Is the Track Log file in .gdb file format, or ??

    2. Does this file also contain waypoints and routes ?

    3. Is the lowest zoom level 100m, or lower ?

    4. Is map updates for free, or ??

    5. Track logging will continue, even if I open other applications like WhatsApp ??
    Herman Meyer.

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  18. #14
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    Default Re: Tracks4Africa Guide Map app review

    Hi Hermann,

    The tracklog is in .gpx format, so easy to open up in Basecamp/Mapsource/Google Earth. Unfortunately no routes or waypoints are contained in this file. I can find the waypoints I created on the app in another file, but the file type is xxx.upoi - I have tried to open this with several tools, but no luck.

    When I search for a specific point, and display it on the map, the lowest zoom level is 100m. I then tried to just zoom in on the same area, without displaying the actual point - no legend with the loom level is displayed here, but it seems that the zoom level is the same as for displaying a specific point - i.e. 100m. So yes, the lowest zoom level appears to be 100m. I am not sure how that compares to the GPS, I will try and do some comparisons and let you know.

    Once you have purchased the app, the updates are for free, yes.

    I will get back to you on the continued track log when opening other applications - I've been using the app when hiking, and I know when I open the camera to take a photograph, the app notifies me "gps signal lost". I have a track from August 2017 where the track log continued uninterrupted, but I have last other tracks I have done since (I reinstalled the app without downloading tracks first - not my brightest moment), so I have only one track to look for interruptions in the track. I will do some recordings in the next two days, and let you know what I find later this week.

    Regards

    Lizette
    Lizette Swart

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  19. #15
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    Default Re: Tracks4Africa Guide Map app review

    Lizette,
    Thanks for the info.

    So, apparently when cellphone do something else, the track-log will halt.

    Before such a T4A App and cellphone cannot do continues track-logs, upload and download waypoints, routes and track-logs; I will stick to my GPS.

    Cellphone + T4A can be a backup for GPS, yes.

    Thank you.
    Herman Meyer.

    AG0017 ORRA AG38
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    2015-02-03: Bush Lapa Miskewer 394.

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  21. #16
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    Default Re: Tracks4Africa Guide Map app review

    Quote Originally Posted by Lizette Swart View Post
    Hi Hermann,


    When I search for a specific point, and display it on the map, the lowest zoom level is 100m. I then tried to just zoom in on the same area, without displaying the actual point - no legend with the loom level is displayed here, but it seems that the zoom level is the same as for displaying a specific point - i.e. 100m. So yes, the lowest zoom level appears to be 100m. I am not sure how that compares to the GPS, I will try and do some comparisons and let you know.

    Once you have purchased the app, the updates are for free, yes.

    Regards

    Lizette
    Hello Lizette, ek sien my zoom gaan net tot by 3km. Hoe kry ek dat dit tot 100m sal gaan. Dan is die dorps name nog steeds so groot dat dit alles daaronder verswelg. Is daar al 'n verbetering?

    Groete,
    Last edited by Whisky; 2018/05/06 at 08:34 PM.
    Ben

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  22. #17
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    Default Re: Tracks4Africa Guide Map app review

    Hallo Ben,

    Ek dink jy kyk na die T4A Guide App - hierdie app gebruik 'n .jpg foto van die kaart as agtergrond vir die data - dit "display" slegs die inligting, en is nie bedoel vir navigasie nie, alhoewel jy wel jou GPS posisie as 'n blou kol op die skerm kan sien. Hierdie app kan net tot op 3km inzoom, en ja, die name van die dorpe is te groot op die kaart. Maar as jy bv. die icons vir die lodges aansit, behoort dit bo-op die dorp name te wees, nie onder nie? Ons werk aan 'n beter kaart vir hierdie app.

    Op die T4A Overland Navigator app raak die name van die dorpe weg soos jy inzoom.

    Groete

    Lizette
    Lizette Swart

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  24. #18
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    Default Re: Tracks4Africa Guide Map app review

    Kyk ek iets mis, of is daar nie 'n "map legend" wat aandui watter soort pad jy na kyk. Bv, waarna verwys die bruin en wit stippellyn? En die rooi stippellyn?

    Dit sal great wees as die kaart verbeter kan word, veral op die iPad raak die dorp en plek name heeltemal te groot en versper dit die detail
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  25. #19
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    Default Re: Tracks4Africa Guide Map app review

    Hallo Hendel,

    Jammer ek antwoord nou eers, ek was landuit uit vir 2 weke! Ja ons kyk na die kaart verbeter vir die Guide App, en om 'n "legend" by te voeg. In die algemeen is die soliede lyne hoof roetes (nasionale paaie, metro paaie, ens.) en is gewoonlik rooi of oranje. Bruin soliede lyne is dan kleiner paaie, en stippellyne is "minor" roads, bv. 4x4 roetes en hiking trails. Spoorlyne word aangedui deur wit en grys stippellyne.

    Ek hoop dit help, ek sal hierso laat weet sodra die kaart op datum gebring is.

    Groete

    Lizette
    Lizette Swart

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  26. #20
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    Default Re: Tracks4Africa Guide Map app review

    Quote Originally Posted by hermanm10 View Post
    Lizette,

    So, apparently when cellphone do something else, the track-log will halt.
    Hi Hermann,

    I have played a bit with my settings on my phone (I have a Samsung Galaxy J7) and used the app extensively while travelling in Namibia the last two weeks. Somehow I have managed to eliminate the "GPS signal lost" problem when I go out of the app to use another application - so it appears to be a setting on the phone that needs to be changed in order for the T4A app to keep tracking when you use another app. My settings did put the T4A app to sleep if it was not used for a few days, in order to save the battery. I changed that to never put the app to sleep - I am not sure if that is what fixed it, as I played with all my settings, but I think this setting is the most likely to cause the "GPS signal lost" problem. My app now keep tracking when I exit it to take a photograph.

    Sorry I cannot pinpoint the exact setting!

    Regards

    Lizette
    Lizette Swart

    [email protected]
    +27 21 880 8660
    www.tracks4africa.co.za

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