Free Compass App and other usefull free Outdoor Apps for Android Smartphones?

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Erbswurst

Native
Mar 5, 2018
1,489
543
Berlin
Sometimes I set up my tent on a camping ground that I reached by car and can't see the sun.

In this case usually my real compass is stored well protected deep in the rucksack.

This situation happens regularly to me if I am in southern France and arrive relatively late at the camping ground.

Because I want to decide where to put the tent in the shadow of a tree for the morning in hot conditions or directly in the morning sun in cold and whet conditions, I would like to use a smart phone compass app for my decision, because I have my smartphone in the pocket and don't need a 100% sure information. If the app makes a fault it doesn't really matter.

Did you try out such compass apps and can you recommend me one?

Are there other usefull outdoor applications for Android smartphones you can recommend like perhaps Altimeter or something else?

I am only interested in applications I don't have to pay, because I don't trust in that stuff generally, and I just want to play with it. I only invest money in classic hardware equipment off course.
 

Erbswurst

Native
Mar 5, 2018
1,489
543
Berlin
Most areas in central Europe are so developed, that way markers and destination panels are everywhere.

But if you don't pay attention you sometimes are suddenly lost in the forest and forced to dig out compass and map.

If the scy is cloudy and if one didn't find a nice place to stay before sunset that easily can happen.

I never leave home without a minimal survival equipment and I nearly always take a complete very lightweight 3 seasons trekking and bushcraft equipment with me if I leave the town.
If I am tired I don't want to surch for an accommodation. Often I just walk a few steps in the forest.

But because I usually don't need the real compass it usually is stored very well protected deep in the rucksack.
And I don't want to dig it out for orientation on a touristic camping site. I don't replace the TV comedy show for the tourists around!
 
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Robson Valley

Full Member
Nov 24, 2014
8,451
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McBride, BC
The best hunting areas here were logged off at least 15-20 years ago.
The regenerated and replanted forest can have zero visibility.
There's a spider web of logging machinery trails which all look the same in a snowstorm.
Today, visibility is maybe 100 M in snow and low over cast sky (no mountains to be seen.)
It took my compass to get me out of there on a past trip.
Outside the village, there's basically no cell phone service. Up top, a satphone if you can afford it.
GPS fails in steep-sided valleys. I don't know that a phone app would work here at all.

My day pack usually includes a petrol stove in a pot, lots of fire lighting supplies and 3 silvered "space blanket" Mylar sheets
to reflect heat and get out of the weather. Rolls of nylon cord. I'm dressed for moving very slowly for the temperature.
Instant coffee for maybe 6 cups and assorted left over Hallowe'en candy & chocolates. Frozen OHenry bars are pure heaven.
 
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Erbswurst

Native
Mar 5, 2018
1,489
543
Berlin
I think such "space blankets" are totally over rated and dangerous. Lightweight military poncho and real moisture permeable lightweight bivvy bag are the minimum for whet-cold conditions in my opinion. But only if one is able to start a fire in every condition. If not, additional sleeping bag or better equally warm jacket, trousers and spare socks would be a sensible idea.

I got in France last summer several times in GPS free holes with the car.
Funnily that usually happened 15 minutes after I had left my detailed paper map of the area.
 
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Janne

Guest
Feb 10, 2016
12,368
2,260
Grand Cayman, Norway, Sweden
You could always buy a bunch of those cheap button compasses, have a few in your car, one in your wallet and so on.
Or, buy a car with a GPS system already installed.

Or buy a Tissot T-touch with a compass function
 

Robson Valley

Full Member
Nov 24, 2014
8,451
1,497
McBride, BC
Main thing for me is to get out of the weather. Then I have to figure out which direction to go.
Visibility is so bad in a sudden mountain blizzard, might as well go home.
One place I hunt is where we call "the pine flats", a huge outwash delta area for the McKale River.
Even on a good day, it looks the same in all directions and no landmarks to remember.
I know I'm west of the only big road and north of the river somewhere.
Just habit but I always take a compass shot before I go in there.
 
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Erbswurst

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Mar 5, 2018
1,489
543
Berlin
I could, Janne, but I just want to add an app to my smartphone!

I don't want to have more stuff. Instead of that I payed a lot of money in the last years to reduce my stuff and rucksack weight and to get everything more compact and lighter.
 

Janne

Guest
Feb 10, 2016
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Grand Cayman, Norway, Sweden
Get rid of the smart phone.
:)

Just pulling your leg!

But what if the battery dies on your phone?

I have a compass app on my iPhone. Never used it. I checked it, it works fine.

The compass on my T-touch possibly saved my and sons life once though.
 

Robson Valley

Full Member
Nov 24, 2014
8,451
1,497
McBride, BC
I guess that I might have figured out in time which direction was what in the forest.
My Brunton (8066?) Eclipse has saved my a$$ from a hard night out three times.
I don't own a iPhone thingie. So apps are out. I can make do with a little planning.
 
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Erbswurst

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Mar 5, 2018
1,489
543
Berlin
Janne, if I reach a tourisic camping ground and want to use that smartphone app I usually charged it in the car for round about one hour and it is totally charged, 100 % full.

Should I have forgotten to charge it, what never happens because I am a high professional traveler, I would go to a neighbour pitch, look at the number plate and would see, if that is an Austrian, a German, a French, an Irish or a British car.
Fortunately I speak all three languages pretty well, so I can choose the right language.

If it is an Italian it becomes complicated, because my Italian is bad, so I have to think about what I say.

More complicated are the swiss cars, because I usually don't know from the numberplate if they speak, French or German, usually I try it in French, because they usually speak French if they make holidays in France, even if they are German or Italian native speakers. If they speak French with German accent I continue in German.
If they are Skandinavians I speak English with them.

If they are Dutch I ask them, what they prefere, German, English or French. Usually they say that I can choose.
So I choose German.

If they speak only Dutch, I speak Berlin dialect, because it's more or less the same.

If they are Spanish I try it in French or English. If that doesnt work I speak Italian.

If they are Belgic, I speak French.

If they are Scottish I ask them in English to point with the finger to the east, because they will understand me, but I usually don't understand Scots.

Others are to poor to make holidays in France or they are Northern American, from New Sealand or Australia and use a rented car, but usually speak very well English or French and nothing else.

People from Luxemburg speak German.
People from Lichtenstein German too.
Both are relatively seldom.

People from Monacco or Andorra speak French, but make their holydays somewhere else.

After I got out wich language I should use, I simply ask them, where they expect the rising sun. Usually they know that. If not, I ask another one.

If nobody is there at the camping site, it is in the low season, and it doesnt matter, where is shadow in the morning because it isn't so hot. So I put my tent right in the middle of the pitch.

If my battery should become empty somewhere else, I simply would dig out my Silva Ranger SL and if necessary a head lamp and look at it.
That usually works pretty well.

As you see, I develloped several strategies to survive in central Europe.

But if I arrive at a camping ground the easiest would be to use simply a relatively well working smartphone app.

If the compass app doesn't tell me the truth, It will become hot in my tent the next morning, but because I usually don't close the outer tent and use during the summer a Snugpak jungle bag if I go by car, I will survive even that.

In the worst case scenario I would have to hop in the pool or take a shower.
Because I am a good lifeguard swimmer I will survive even that.
 
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Wander

Nomad
Jan 6, 2017
452
468
Here There & Everywhere
These are the outdoor related apps I have on my phone.
I'm not claiming they are the best of their kind, but they are free and they've all proved useful at one time or another.
All the usual caveats apply with regards compass apps - never fully rely on them and they're no substitute for an actual compass. But given the purpose you want it for (orienting your tend at a campsite) it'll be fine.
Some of the apps (e.g. OS Grid Reference) won't be much use outside the UK but I've included them because they could be of use to others reading this thread.
Anyway...

Compass:
https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.gn.android.compass&hl=en_US

Sky Map:
https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.google.android.stardroid&hl=en_US

OS Grid Reference:
https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=net.blerg&hl=en_US

Bird ID:
https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.isoperla.birdid&hl=en_US

Mushroom ID:
https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.headcorp.bookofmushrooms&hl=en_US

Tree ID:
https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.woodlandtrust&hl=en_US

Butterfly ID:
https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.natural_apptitude.butterfly&hl=en_US

Wild Flowers:
https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=naturebritain.uk.flowersofbritain&hl=en_US

Torch:
https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=ru.irk.ang.balsan.shortcutled&hl=en_US

GPS:
https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.memorymap.mm2&hl=en_US

And for a bit of fun whilst waiting for a train...
Become Rick Wakeman:
https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.sofeh.android.musicstudio3&hl=en_US

Have a game of Mahjong:
https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.kristanix.android.mahjongsolitairetitan&hl=en_US
 
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Erbswurst

Native
Mar 5, 2018
1,489
543
Berlin
Thank you very much!

I will try that, if nobody comes along now and tells me that another option would be better.

The plants and animals are usefull for me too, because I want to learn that vocabulary.

See, Janne, we are in the middle of the future! Living science fiction!
 
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Janne

Guest
Feb 10, 2016
12,368
2,260
Grand Cayman, Norway, Sweden
Not me. I still prefer the printed word.

Started re reading the Icelandic Sagas last night.
In Swedish, my Icelandic is very rudimentary.

My future is behind me!

This app might help you as you are somewhat challenged in the language department?
:)

https://www.google.com/aclk?sa=L&ai=DChcSEwja84GM3qPmAhULeIYKHWCTARsYABAAGgJ2dQ&ae=1&sig=AOD64_2jkFU8bZ8RkjzEiA9HhNIkyAYO5A&q=&ved=2ahUKEwiciPqL3qPmAhVKwlkKHcWgDccQ3ooFegQIExAB&adurl=https://itunes.apple.com/app/id288113403?mt=8&gclid=EAIaIQobChMI2vOBjN6j5gIVC3iGCh1gkwEbEAAYASAAEgKBaPD_BwE
 
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Erbswurst

Native
Mar 5, 2018
1,489
543
Berlin
Thanks for the translation app!
I'll try it out.

The Edda isn't so nice, because it's printed. The Edda is nice, because it was spoken!

The beginning of the disaster was when they started to write, because immediately they started to write down nonsense.

Before that they kept in mind only the essentials.
 

Janne

Guest
Feb 10, 2016
12,368
2,260
Grand Cayman, Norway, Sweden
They wrote them down as they were told, verbatim.
These latest translations are translated from the original, 10-11th century texts. The tail end of the Norse epoch.
A project done by the Scandi governments, some Icelandic literary people and the Swedish Academy.

All existing sagas. Wonderful stuff!
 
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Suffolkrafter

Member
Dec 25, 2019
44
27
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Suffolk
Bit late answering this thread, but try locus maps. I love a good paper OS map and compass, along with a pacing chart. But navigation apps have helped me out of a few fixes. Locus is great, comes with two free maps (i.e. two countries) for download onto phone. You only have to register an email address etc. Once you download contour shading to go with the map (also free), I would say they're pretty much as good as OS. I used to use orux maps, but moved to locus recently.