Modern Gear with Modern Prices

A new crop of companies has popped up to beat back the trend of high-priced hiking gear. ​

According to Outside Magazine, people born in the 80s and 90s (millennials) don’t want the same characteristics in their hiking gear. Traditional outdoor gear has focused on the high-end and high-tech, giving even weekend warriors the same gear as their heroes.

In contrast, a new crop of companies like Rumpl, Sunski, and Hipcamp have popped up, which share a focus on inexpensive. This trend extends to new casual gear lines by industry stalwarts like REI (see Evrgrn).

New hiking blankets from Rumpl, light in your bag, and on your wallet.

New hiking blankets from Rumpl, light in your bag, and on your wallet.

Outdoor Magazine quotes multiple brand advisors in the industry, who see millennials as still wanting to hike, but turned off by high prices and gaudy brands. People still want adventure, but have no interest in becoming the next Ueli Steck, or purchasing $1,000 worth of gear for a weekend of adventure.

Gaia GPS – The GPS of the Millennials

Many people who use Gaia GPS remark on the low price, compared to a traditional handheld Garmin GPS. When Gaia GPS launched, it cost $2.99, but even today (at $19.99) buyers still gush about the low price of Gaia GPS. And at the same time, they see the product as superior, from the big screen, to the customizable interface.

Traditional handheld GPS units like those made by Garmin now fall into the category of MP3 players and Digital Cameras. These specialized, bulky GPS devices can run upwards of $600, and the maps cost extra of course. In contrast, for a 30th of the price, you can add Gaia GPS to your phone or tablet, and use a vastly superior user interface, afforded by big touch screens and continuous software improvement. This technology  doesn’t limit itself to the casual outdoorsman, either. Gaia’s user base includes search and rescue technicians, pilots, biologists, and firefighters.

So, hopefully as the price of gear drops, more people can get out there and see the beauty of nature. But hopefully not too many.

Map Your World with OpenStreetMap

Map your favorite places, and join a global movement that makes data free and open to all people. This guide will teach you to edit OpenStreetMap (OSM).

OpenStreetMap: More Than Roads

Whether you’re hiking in the woods or driving in town, you can edit the map near you to make it accurate and more complete. OpenStreetMap uses the local expertise of contributors to crowdsource detailed maps of the world, and anyone can use the data, provided they credit OSM.

Started in 2004, the number of OSM editors has grown from 1,000 on Christmas Day 2005, to more than two million today. The services now gains an average of 8,000 new users each month. OSM reached 20 million edits early last year, and its explosive growth shows no signs of slowing.

Reasons to Edit the Map

People contribute to OSM for all sorts of reasons:

  • Remote Forests and Trails While U.S. government agencies like the U.S. Geological Survey provide topo maps to the public for free, the governments of other countries charge a fee for their maps. People have banded together to make free – and sometimes better – maps through OSM.
  • Local Maps Some contributors want good local maps. For example, the OSM map of Berlin is probably better than any map in the world, because the Germans love OSM.
  • Crisis – In crisis, mappers pool their efforts to improve the OpenStreetMap so that first responders and emergency aid workers can navigate the affected areas.

And from personal experience, you feel a bit like a better person when you edit the map.

Getting started with

In the following example, I’ll show you how I made some edits to my own neighborhood.

The first step is to create an account with OSM at There are other tools you can use to edit the map, but this is the most common way.

Explore an Area

Enter an address, zip code, or city to search for the area you want to explore. Or, just click the Show My Location button (the arrow below the zoom controls on the right).

Your search results will appear on the left.


The map will center on your chosen location on the right; the place’s tags (attributes, or descriptive information) are shown on the left.

OpenStreetMap (OSM)

You may not recognize many of the tags, but don’t worry… editing is simple.

Editing OSM

Now, you’ll need to find something that needs to be added or changed. When I first registered with OSM, I didn’t know where to start, but after poking around for a few moments, I found plenty to do.

The basic steps are:

  • Click the Edit button at the top of the screen to enter edit mode. Microsoft Bing aerial imagery will load in the right pane, with existing OSM features superimposed on top.
  • Trace over the imagery to add roads, buildings, and other missing features.

I recommend you go ahead and do the built-in walkthrough on Then jump in and improve the map near you.

Editing From the Field

We’re focusing here on using aerial imagery to help improve the map. But another way (and some say the pure way) to improve OSM is to collect data directly from the field.

Here are ways you can collect data to help edit OSM:

  • Go find out the name of a feature on the map. While tracing from imagery is helpful, tagging new features adds a whole other dimension to the data.
  • The next time you’re out on a trail, record what you can do there (hiking, biking, horseback riding, etc.)
  • Mark the exact coordinates of features in the field, using an app like Gaia GPS
  • Record hikes and drives of unknown roads and trails with GPS apps

Since aerial imagery can be years old, your tracks and waypoints will provide the most up-to-date information for OpenStreetMap. See the end of this article for a list of resources and tools to help you edit the map.

Editing from Imagery

Look at minor roads in off-the-beaten path areas. Parks are another good place to start, since many of them lack information for restrooms, foot paths, playgrounds, and other features. You’ll get a kick out of this, and spend more time than you think fixing your local haunts.

I started by homing in on a local ball park, and found neither the baseball diamond, nor the park road featured on the map.

OpenStreetMap (OSM)

Adding New Features

To add a new feature, you’ll use the tools at the top of the right pane.

  • The Point tool drops a map marker at a point of interest.
  • The Line tool traces roads, rail lines, trails, bike paths, footpaths, and other linear features.
  • The Area tool lets you add detailed footprints of buildings, schools, businesses, lakes, swimming pools, and more.

No matter which tool you choose, you’ll want to zoom in far enough to be able to mark features accurately.

OpenStreetMap (OSM)

Line features, as they appear in OSM.

Adding a Road or Path

In this example, I’ll add the minor road with the Line tool, and the ballpark with the Area tool.

To begin adding a road or path (what OSM calls a “way”):

  • Select the Line tool at the top of the right pane. Bear in mind that a line should run down the center of the surface. If you’re adding a road, your line should connect to another road that’s already mapped in OSM.
  • Click on the point where the center of the new road connects with an existing road. This will create the first node, or point that helps define ways and shapes.
  • Follow the course of the road; where it begins to turn, click to anchor a new node that will allow you to swivel and follow its shape.
  • Press the enter key (or double-click on the final node) to complete your line. You’ll have a burgeoning sense of accomplishment, but you won’t be finished quite yet.

OpenStreetMap (OSM)

For this example, I connected the new road where it begins at Karakung Drive, and traced it to its dead end at a parking lot. Your sketch doesn’t have to be perfect, but if you make a mistake, use the undo arrow at the top of the screen. You’ll be an expert at tracing features in no time.

Next, you’ll be prompted to add a feature type for the new road.

  • Set the Feature Type to “Road,” then select a subtype (Residential Road, Motorway, Primary Road, etc.). Click the information icon (i) for a description of each type.
  • If you’re not sure what to choose, set the type to Unknown Road. (If you’re adding a path, choose Path as the feature type, then select the appropriate subtype.)

Then, name and tag the road:

  • Add the name of the road or path. Since the road that goes through the ballpark is unnamed, I left that field empty.
  • By default, roads are assumed to be two-way. If your road is one-way, change the value in the One Way field. Add the speed limit, if known.
  • You can indicate which types of traffic are permitted in the Access section. If you’re not sure, leave this section empty.
  • You can also note the type of surface in the Surface section. Most roads are tagged as paved, which means the surface is sealed with asphalt, paving stone, metal, or other material. If you know the surface is asphalt, you can specify that here. If you’re not sure, tagging more generally as paved or unpaved is fine.
  • If you like, you can include additional fields, such as address, phone, and website with the Add field drop-down menu.
  • Finally, be sure to save your edits with the button at the top right.

Afterwards, OSM will prompt you to write a short summary of your changes in the left pane. For example, you could write something like “Added a minor road and speed limit.”

OpenStreetMap (OSM)

Adding a Park or Building

I added the baseball diamond outline. You may want to add a body of water, grove of trees, your place of work, or a favorite restaurant.

  • Select the Area tool at the top right.
  • Click on a corner or edge of the feature to place the first node.
  • Continue tracing around the feature; you’ll see a polygon taking shape as you go.
  • When you’re finished, press enter to complete the shape.

OpenStreetMap (OSM)

OSM offers tools to help you smooth out your tracings. While they won’t help you if you’re tracing a ballpark, they can make outlining buildings and other features a lot easier.

If your square, rectangular, or circular sketch is an “approximate” one that could use a bit of help, complete the drawing, then click on it. A menu of tools will appear on top of your sketch. Click the square-shaped tool (Square Corners) to fix up square and rectangular shapes, or the circle-shaped tool (Make Circular) for circular ones.

Add tags for the new feature in the left pane.

  • I searched for “baseball” in the search box at the top left, then set the feature type for the ballpark to Baseball Diamond.
  • I entered Reilly Field as its name.
  • Since I didn’t know if the park is lit or not (probably not, and I don’t see light poles on the imagery), I kept the value in that field as “unknown.”
  • I also added the address and the website for Haverford Township Little League.
  • Don’t forget to Save your edits, and then summarize them in the left pane.
  • Also, make sure to Tweet or Facebook your changes, and get your friends mapping too.

OpenStreetMap (OSM)

Your Edits Reach Millions

It may take a few minutes (or hours in some cases) before your edits appear on, and start to percolate out to other maps and services that use OSM data. When you edit the map, your changes will start being pulled by all of these apps and maps used for so many things, used for fun and for research and for work.

Hundreds of millions of people use OpenStreetMap each day. OpenStreetMap data powers some of the best websites and apps out there, including our own Gaia GPS. Here are a few others:

OpenStreetMap (OSM)

The newly added features, as they appear to OSM users.

Become an OSM Expert

There are several resources to help you get started with OSM. Learn more at these sites, and happy mapping!

  • Video Tutorials
  • Beginner’s Guide – A community-maintained guide for beginners.
  • OpenStreetMap Wiki – Need help with tags? Get detailed keys, descriptions, and documentation here.
  • OpenStreetMap Help – post a question; get an answer.
  • – This tool makes collecting data from the field and updating OSM easy. Print off atlas pages in advance, sketch and annotate what you see, then upload the photos of your notes. Open your updated Field Papers file in OSM to start editing, based on your firsthand experience.
  • Track-Making Apps – a list of iOS track-recording apps that can be used to update OSM.
  • Recording GPS Tracks – OSM’s instructions on how to edit the map by uploading GPS traces.

Folders and Timeline for Android has arrived

After years of discussion and months of work, we’re delighted to bring Folders to Gaia GPS for Android. Folders allow you to group your tracks, photos, other data in the ways that makes sense for you. We also added a new Timeline view to the app.


With the release of Gaia GPS version 6.0 for Android, you can now organize, share, import, and work with your data more easily. Find information about managing your folders on our Knowledge Base.

get organized – you can have folders like “Rocky Mountain Maps” or “Difficult Hikes” – group your data however you prefer, toggle visibility for collections, and share sets of data with others

easily access imports – Gaia automatically groups imported files into folders to keep your data together

keep less data on your phone – delete folders from your devices, and restore them on when you want them again

folders blog pic 1


With the timeline, you can view all of your data on one screen, grouped by age.

folders blog pic 2

Trail Finder – Expanded Elevation Coverage, Tips on Using It

Since we launched the Gaia GPS Trail Finder 3 weeks ago, people have plotted a zillion trails, all over creation. This has given us the chance to talk to users about their experiences, improve the docs, observe log files, and squash bugs.

Elevation Data Improved

When we first launched, there was a bug that prevented most routes from seeing elevation profiles, which we pretty quickly patched up.

Also since launch, we expanded elevation lookups to higher latitudes, to include Alaska and the upper reaches of Canada. You can see the coverage today in the diagram below.

We thought 60N-60S was a good start, but we immediately got some presumably very cold people complaining.

Coverage of Gaia GPS elevation look ups.

Coverage of Gaia GPS elevation look ups, for routes and other things in the app.


Tips on Using the Trail Finder and OpenStreetMap

If this is your first time hearing about the Trail Finder, you can check it out here. For instructions on creating a route, you can visit this article that includes a quick video tutorial.

Here are some tips for using the Trail Finder more effectively.

  • The Trail Finder works best with OpenStreetMap sources, including OpenHikingMap and OpenCycleMap, because it relies on the same data as these maps. It may not pick up trails on sources like USGS topos.
  • If you see a trail on the map, but it won’t snap to the route, there might be a gap in the trail data.
    • Try to zoom in and find the gap, and then you can go edit a fix in at
    • Email us at if you improve OpenStreetMap – we’ve love to hear what you did.
OpenStreetMap logo

You can improve the Trail Finder and the maps Gaia GPS better by contributing to OpenStreetMap.

Bugs and Limitations

Be aware of these limitations:

  • Walking and biking routes cannot be longer than about 250 miles.
  • Routes must be composed of 9 or fewer points. Make your route sparse, and drag the line as needed.
  • If you sync a Trail Finder route to the Android app, route points show up as waypoints. The fix for this will be out this week.
  • If you get a routing error, also try deleting the last point you created. We automatically log routing errors and investigate them.

User Ideas and the Future of Gaia GPS

Last week I spent more than a day sorting, merging, closing, and clarifying all of the ideas ever posted for Gaia GPS. It now takes about 10 minutes to scan the remaining 200 ideas, and there used to be more than 700:

All the spam is gone, similar ideas are consolidated, and it’s a good time for folks interested in Gaia GPS to add your votes and ideas, and help us set our future directions. This forum factors heavily into what we do, and your comments could end up the topic of a meeting. You can add ideas on the website, or in the app itself.

Here are some notes on what I read, and hints (but not promises) about future work on Gaia GPS.

Gaia GPS user idea forum.

Idea Theme #1 – The Top Ideas

There are two ideas that currently win by a large margin. Each of these ideas has more than twice as many votes as any other, and more votes than the bottom 100 ideas combined.

  • Folders to organize data – This already works on iOS and web, and rolls out to Android this week. So, that one is in the bag.
  • Drawing/calculating capabilities for the map – This idea has been phrased in many ways, but essentially people want to draw lines and shapes on the map, and highlight/download/search/route based on those shapes. This will take us a couple of months to build, test, and get it right. No ETA on this one yet, but probably more of this in the future, and it comes up in discussion frequently.

Idea Theme #2 – Improve the UI

There are several ideas that hit on places in the UI where we could simply improve what’s there. These ideas actually excite me a little more right now than features, because Gaia GPS does so much already, and people do have reasonable critiques to offer.

  • Ability to remove unused map sources – This one is a long-standing gripe, especially among international users who don’t need USGS topos in their menus. This improvement will likely ship before end of August.
  • Keep heads up mode locked – This is actually an idea we didn’t originally agree with, but now do. It’s also likely we’ll fix/improve this in the next few months – there’s not much work to it.
  • Need multi-select – This tends to come up for power-users. They want to do some sort of operation (delete/exports/etc) with a selection of data. I think this is mostly addressed with Folders (perhaps with some tweaks), and we’ll see if the freshly updated idea gets further votes.
  • Translucent/wider GPS tracks – This is one place where we look rough next to the native maps app. This may also be low-hanging fruit we pluck soon.

Idea Theme #3 – More Maps

Few apps provide access to the depth of maps that Gaia GPS does, and we always look to add more. In updating the Idea Forum, I left the big map ideas separate, and consolidated the less popular ideas to improve their visibility.

  • Tons of ideas for maps – From more regional hunting maps, to vector nautical charts (we have raster), this idea consolidates many of the less popular map requests. It’s a pretty cool list, and we actually will add more of this to our catalog, or to our third-party links.
  • There is a request for USFS Motor Vehicle Maps with a lot of votes. Gaia GPS provides ways to import these and similar maps, but we could do some labor to collect some maps, properly “geo-reference” them, and make them easily available. This hasn’t quite become a priority for us, but not out of the question by any means.
  • Accuterra – Some people like Accuterra’s outdoor maps. I sparked a discussion about about Accuterra for Gaia GPS on our Forum recently too, because I am not a huge fan, but wanted to take another poll. A few things stop us from using these maps – the expense, the integration chores, and also that we believe in a future of open maps. We want to use Gaia GPS as a vehicle to contribute to OpenStreetMap. If the OpenStreetMap topos in the app are worse than Accuterra today… well then that’s the actual problem I want to solve.

Idea Theme #4 – More Features

In considering a new feature, we consider how hard it will be to build, whether it complicates the UI, how many users would use it, and many other factors. Here are some thoughts on some of the top requests by votes.

  • Compass is the top feature request. But it’s obvious people don’t just want any old analog compass – they want a compass or radar like interface, integrated with guidance, personal data, perhaps some geocaching, and other features in the map. This also hasn’t been a priority, because we’d like to do it right, and that’s a lot of effort.
  • Intermittent recording mode. For long range backpacking trips, people would like something lighter than recording a track (in terms of battery usage), but more mappable and shareable than making a bunch of waypoints/photos. This is something we might tinker with eventually.
  • Manage maps between device/PC – This idea is half-deployed, and the other half is in the works – I’d say we’ll mark this as fully resolved this year, or at least by next season. The solution here is basically MBTiles – a file format to bundle up maps. You can already import these on Android if you have GaiaPro, and you’ll soon be able to do the same on iOS. The other part of this we’d want to do before resolving the idea is the ability to also export MBTiles from the app, not just import.
  • More audible alarms – In Gaia GPS today, you can get voice over when you hit mile markers. There is a ton more we can do with voice in both guidance and announcing stats/distance. I’d expect leaps and bounds in this area over the next year. This sort of feature adds to the UI, but doesn’t add clutter, which is great.
  • Export to “Open In…” – You can export GPS data from Gaia GPS a lot of ways, but not open in another app. In hindsight, this would be really easy to add, and not clutter up the UI, so we’ll probably do it quite soon.
  • Track your friends – People have long called for a feature to live track friends, but this just doesn’t work where we intend people to use Gaia GPS – offline, in the woods. Many of our competitors have done this sort of feature over the years, and we’ve never seen it catch on. So, I wouldn’t expect it from us, until iPhones start talking to each other like walkie-talkies, using mesh networking, through a forest full of trees.
  • Stats and notifications on the lock screen – People would like to see stats about their current trip on the lock screen of the iPhone. We set the technical stage for this with our Apple Watch work, so I’d expect some of this on the phone as well.

Other Directions

All of that is to say, we’re listening! We also have a few ideas of our own, though these also come from listening to support requests, and other forms for feedback.

  • Search – We plan to make search work well offline, including auto-completing against trail and park names. We’ll have new search rolling out to website, Android, and iOS probably before year end. Throw in a vote/comment for this one if you’d like to see a stronger search capability. There are not that many votes for search, but maybe because it wasn’t all that well labeled.
  • Details/Sharing - We also consider the Details screen for a trip (on all platforms) to now be one of the weakest points in the UI. We’ll probably design these again from scratch, with lessons learned. Pictures will be bigger, controls will be more iconic, and we’ll look at usage stats to make sure our changes have the desired effect. These have evolved bit-by-bit for years, and now need a fresh look.

Add Your Voice

If you made it this far, we definitely want to hear from you.

Read the 160 ideas for iOS, and the 40 ideas for Android – and add some ideas or comments of your own.

Free Data Sync in Gaia GPS

About half of the people who use Gaia GPS enable the free data sync in the app. We used to call this service “GaiaCloud,” but now we just say the app lets you “sync with” This blog post will tell you why and how to sync.

You should sync, because syncing lets you:

  • Automatically back up your data
  • Use your data on multiple devices, and on
  • Publish and share your trips
  • Archive data to save space

Automatically Back Up Your Data

When you get a new device, upgrade, (or drop your phone in a river), it’s great to know you can simply log in to Gaia GPS on your new phone, and sync back all of your data.

And when we say backup, we mean it. Your data exists on your devices, in our live database, and in up-to-the-minute snapshots that we archive. Our backups work, and we’ve had events where our servers go nuts, but we don’t suffer data loss of any kind.


After using the sync option, you can view your data on the web

Sync your Data on Multiple Devices

Many people use a combination of iPhones, iPads, Androids, and Syncing data makes sharing data between devices simple and pleasant, and it’s really great to be able to plan trips on a big screen (iPad or computer), and then just take the phone or small tablet on the trip.

sync from the ipad

Plot a route on your tablet and sync to your mobile device

Publish and share your trips

When you publish a track, others will be able to view your track page and download the GPX file or choose to add it to their online tracks. You can also share your tracks with friends on Facebook and Twitter.

You can do this one track at a time, or even auto-publish all of your tracks as you create them. Tracks you share get a nice webpage with pictures, stats, graphs, comments, and more.

sync and view track pages

View the tracks you sync on the web and share them with friends

Archive Data to Save Space

Some power users find they have too many maps and and too much data to keep it all on device conveniently.

But when you sync, you can keep a digital copy of all of your tracks, waypoints and maps online, and sync them to your device only when you need them.

If you delete any data from your device, it will automatically archive online, instead of deleting. You can manually toggle the archive settings for each track from your online account. Deleting data from will also permanently delete it across all devices.

archive data you sync online

Archive data online so that it does not sync back to your device

Free to Use

You can create your account from the iOS or Android app, or on This is totally free, and separate from GaiaPro, a service that gives additional features and maps for the app and website.

At no cost, you can sync and back up all the data you use in Gaia GPS – trips, routes, imports, photos, maps, waypoints, and even your map source list. You can also use a bunch of great features on, with or without the app, including the new Trail Finder.

If you don’t use the service, we’re curious why. Send us a note at

Plot a Precise Trail with the Gaia GPS Trail Finder

Welcome to the future of hiking folks. We’re delighted to introduce the Gaia GPS Trail Finder on

Trail Finder Snaps to Real Trails, with Elevation Profile

Jesse showed off his Trail Finder demo one recent morning, and seeing it in action astounded our whole team. You simply click where you start, and click the points you want to visit, and the tool will map out the trail for you. Check out this demo video, plotting a trail in Yosemite.

I used this to mark a trail for a recent hike, and it takes no time at all. You get an instantaneous elevation profile graph and other stats as well – very useful to find a trail that matches how strenuous you want the hike to be. Here is the route I make in the video below.

Automatically Sync with Gaia GPS

When you use the Trail Finder on, it will sync to your Gaia GPS app automatically. In the backwoods, you can select these routes for guidance, and Gaia GPS will highlight the trail for you, tell you how far off trail you are, and other stats. You can share the trail with your companions as well, and they can sync easily to their Gaia GPS, or download data for any app they use.

Also, the Trail Finder works well with the Download Maps For Track feature in Gaia GPS. Find a trail on, then press Download Maps For Track in the app, and go. You can do this for multiple map sources as well, such as topos and imagery.

Here you can see the route in the app, the route details on the left, and the route overlaid on a USGS topo on the right.

A route showing inside the Gaia GPS iOS app, made with the Gaia GPS Trail Finder

A route showing inside the Gaia GPS iOS app.

Open Data and Software

The Gaia GPS Trail Finder uses open data and open software.

The data comes from OpenStreetMap, which many of our maps are based on – when you plot a trail, you see trails on the map get highlighted by overlaid vectors.

The software uses the Valhalla routing engine to generate routes, and the Pelias geocoder to lookup names for points. Valhalla and Pelias were both developed by Mapzen, an open-source mapping lab dedicated to building open mapping tools that run on open data.

All routes between 60°S and 60°N include elevation profiles that are generated from SRTM digital elevation models. The digital elevation models were obtained from the Open Terrain project, who provides easy access to terrain data that is freely available from US government sites, but hard to access.

Open Beta, Later GaiaPro

This summer, we’re making the Trail Finder available to everyone as an “open beta,” but this feature will eventually only be available to GaiaPro users. We have made a few website features GaiaPro (such as printing), which gives us good incentive to keep building and improving the online tools, since the website is otherwise free (and ad-free).

Future Directions

With some additional work, we’ll be able to get this working in the Gaia GPS app on iOS and Android. We can also add voice guidance features, like warning you of impending trail splits, and that will be cool indeed.


You should not trust these routing directions with your life, nor should you 100% trust any map source in Gaia GPS. Gaia GPS is just one tool to help stay safe in the woods, and you should also:

  • research the area you are visiting, and talk to the local park or forest ranger
  • carry and know how to use a paper map and compass
  • bring a friend, especially when visiting unknown territory
  • review and download multiple map sources and aerial imagery
  • bring the right gear and supplies

Improved Automatic Syncing in Gaia GPS 10.1 for iOS

We just released a new version of Gaia GPS for iOS (10.1). You can see the release notes here (and in the app).

Perhaps the most important change is that Gaia GPS will now sync data when it connects to a wifi network. Before, syncing would only occur when you saved things online, so a lot of people got in a state where they had to manually force a sync when they made tracks and photos offline. This change should mean your device will stay in sync with without manual action.

If you are curious, you can also see a lot of past release notes for our apps here.


Gaia GPS now syncs data automatically when connecting to the network.

iOS 8.4 Fixes Issue with Bluetooth GPS Devices

In the latest version of iOS (8.4), Apple fixed an issue that caused many external bluetooth GPS devices not to function properly with most apps on the iPhone and iPad.

This affected most bluetooth GPS devices from all brands, including Bad Elf, Garmin GLO, and Dual XGPS. To read more about this issue, check out the ‘cleared to upgrade‘ blog post from Bad Elf. If you rely on one of these devices, you might want to follow their new program, where they will test all new iOS releases on most devices and post if it is safe to upgrade.

Many of you have emailed us about this problem, and we are glad to say iOS 8.4 should fix it entirely.

To update to iOS 8.4, use the Settings app:

  • Open the Settings app on your device
  • Tap General
  • Tap Software Update
  • Tap Download and install

Picture above, a Bad Elf GPS. People use devices like the Bad Elf or Dual XGPS150, with iPads that don’t have an internal GPS. They are also used in aircraft where the iPhone/iPad GPS doesn’t work well, and for high-precision applications.


Drafting the App Store Preview Video for Gaia GPS

Apple recently started letting developers include 15-30 second “Preview” videos on the App Store.

Check out the latest drafts of our video for Gaia GPS. Email us at and let us know what you think! We’re polishing this a bit more, and also putting together an iPad variant.

You can also view an even earlier version of the video. We simplified this original concept, to fit nicely into the 15-30 second time requirement for App Store Previews.

For further reading, check out this well-done example we referenced from the Pedometter++ app, as well as the Apple documentation for how to make these videos. Our production takes advantage of a capability we built for internal testing and development, the ability to replay GPS tracks in the app.