Android GPS Trackers Group Test – The Plan

A few years ago, before Offa’s Dyke – Alex and I were walking part of the Nantlle Ridge in Snowdonia. Alex was recording the route using Sports Tracker (I think), and I was using ViewRanger – what was surprising was the fairly large difference in calculated distance and height gain / loss.

This morning, I was reminded of this as I was mulling over a discrepancy in distance between Social Hiking and a GPS unit, and GPS tracker apps in general (as you do). For my 1000 mile challenge, I have been using ViewRanger to record my progress – ViewRanger is a fantastic app, but feels like overkill when you are not using the maps or Buddybeacon (to share the walk live on Social Hiking). With 170 miles still left to go, I wondered whether it would be a good opportunity to have a look at other options available for recording tracks.

So, for the rest of the year, I have decided to run a group test of GPS tracker apps available for Android. The criteria is simple – the app must be able to record and export a gps track. I will be looking at things like ease of use, accuracy (based on how data compares with peers), cost, battery life, progress features, sharing features and anything else that catches my eye.

As well as being a useful test to run, it will also give me some extra motivation to complete my 1000 mile challenge, and will be helpful in my ongoing testing of the Powermoney Extreme and the North Face Etip gloves.

Diving into Google marketplace, it is really quite surprising how many apps there are that allow you to record a track! I found the following that seem to meet the criteria:

GPS Tracking
Google My Track
Backcountry Navigator
Alpine Quest GPS Hiking
Gaia GPS
GPS Essentials
Maverick GPS
Speedview Pro
Trip Track
Ultra GPS logger
GPS Grid Reference
Trimble Outdoors
Allsport GPS
MM Tracker
My Trails
Sports Tracker
Run Bike Route

Let me know if I have missed out your favourite. As the list is quite large, I will do a brief test of all of them, and then choose my top 5 for a more detailed test (including battery performance). The final test results will be published at the end of the year (possibly the start of next year) but I will be using the Twitter hashtag #trackertest throughout if you want to  stay updated with the test.

5 Replies to “Android GPS Trackers Group Test – The Plan”

  1. How did this turn out? I just stumbled upon it while trying to find an overview of some of the many (handheld) GPS apps available. I looked around to try and find if you had written it up somewhere, but couldn’t. I’m certainly interested though.

    1. Hi Brian – to be honest it was abandoned as the apps were getting updated quicker than I could properly test them. There definitely seemed to be a massive discrepancy between distance and especially altitude between the apps. My favourite sports tracker was Sportypal Pro – easy to use and seemed very reliable (it even recovered from phone crashes). For more outdoor apps, none of the apps I looked at were as good as ViewRanger for maps, features and tracking (with the added bonus that it shares to Social Hiking), although Alpine Quest was ok and did offer free 1:50k OS maps to download (they cost money on ViewRanger). Hope that helps!

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