Gaia GPS for Android – Open Beta

Today, we’re very happy to announce the Open Beta release of Gaia GPS for Android. You can download it from Google Play now.

Going forward, Google Play will have two versions of Gaia GPS – Beta and normal. Anyone who wants to can participate in beta testing, and the normal version will always get updates when they are finished and fully polished. We plan to update the current “normal” version of Gaia GPS to the new code towards the end of the summer. Most users will probably just want the production version of Gaia, but if you’re eager to check out our new cutting edge stuff, you can get the beta, and help us iron out the bugs.

This release is almost a total rewrite of Gaia – the maps are fast and smooth, and the UI has been overhauled on both phones and tablets. By the time this new app leaves beta, it will be extremely similar to the iOS app.

In the past, we have done all beta testing through private distribution. We are releasing a beta version on the Market because:

  • it’s much easier to manage adding new testers
  • we think we’ll get an order of magnitude more eyeballs on it
  • we noticed larger apps like Chrome do it this way
  • we’re eager to get the new release out, but can’t overwrite the old one until it’s fully cooked

Any feedback is much appreciated!

17 thoughts on “Gaia GPS for Android – Open Beta

  1. Andrew Post author

    Jacob… we posted the Beta to the Market for 9.99 to keep traffic
    on the app down, and to not affect sales of the real app.

    We’re happy to reimburse any current user who wants to check out the beta, and the release will get pushed as a normal update to the regular app too, when we’re done later this summer.

    Send an email to and I can reimburse you via PayPal or personal check, if you want to check out the beta.

  2. Andrew Post author

    That’s how we used to do it, but it just gets to be a pain to manage. We get lots of emails from people who request to beta test, and then we have this whole manual process to get them on board. This seems like the easiest route, and we saw other apps do the same.

  3. Jeff

    I haven’t tried it yet, but one comment kinda worries me…

    “By the time this new app leaves beta, it will be extremely similar to the iOS app.”

    Android has it’s own design language. If you make it look and feel like an iOS app that’s running on Android, I’m afraid you’ll have a bad time.

    I hope I’m reading too much into this. Android’s UI has been getting better and better, don’t reinvent the wheel.


    Have used GAIA GPS for 6 months now on my Nexus 7 on several hiking expeditions here in Arizona, Utah and Southern Nevada. Love it. Easy to use, and for me that’s saying a lot. Question is will your version have any effect on all the routes, tracks and way points I have recorded on my map trips so far? Your topo program augments a USGS mapping program I have used since 2000, Maptech, now My Topo.

    Thanks, Tom Crager Site Steward, Lake Havasu & Kingman Az. districts

  5. Andrew Post author

    The beta app is a separate app, and won’t affect your current install.

    When we release the beta update to the main app, we haven’t totally decided how data migration will work. If at all reasonable, we’ll migrate all the data automatically.

  6. Andrew Post author

    I think we’re doing it right.

    In both apps now, we’re using a UI where the screen slides over to reveal side menus. This is used by many popular apps like Facebook and Foursquare on iOS and Android, and we think it works particularly well for a map-focused app like Gaia too. There has been some convergence of the design of iOS and Android apps.

    Otherwise, I also mean there will be feature parity with iOS. For example, the new beta app can display all tracks on the map at once, and we should have GaiaCloud syncing set up this week too.

  7. Matt

    Sorry guys, love the app but not paying (again) for a beta test. Also, where’s the amazon app store love?

  8. Aaron

    Are you re-writing the way in which map images are stored? The current app runs into a filesystem limit somwhere around 30000 files on the fat filesystem, it would be great to get them into some sort of database, that would perform better too

  9. Andrew Post author

    @Matt, don’t worry, we’re pushing all the updates to the regular version as soon as they are fully cooked – beta is only if you want to see what’s in the works.

    Also, the price is just to keep people from downloading the beta instead of the regular version. We’ll reimburse anyone who wants to actively participate in beta testing if they care about the cost. Just send a note to


    Thanks Andrew– If at all possible, make it seamless. Much work has gone into the layers on topo’s with your program here. Also, here in Havasu several families use or are testing your program, including Havasu 4 Wheelere (180 families) Some use IHike, others are testing GAIA GPS which I use and like.

    Thanks. Tom Crager

  11. Greg

    Hi Andrew, thanks for the email update. One question i have is, is this compatible for Australian topo maps on a Motorola android phone. Your app with Victorian topo maps in Australia was my original email to you with your reply ” we are working on it ” so is this it or still waiting.. Regard’s Greg

  12. Andrew Post author

    @Aaron We moved the temp cache onto the database, and we’re considering using MBTiles to store the map downloads, but for now the mass downloading works the same.

    @Greg I’m going to email you… I have news on that front, but not that I can share publicly 🙂

  13. Tom

    Is this truly stand alone? With a previous version I had to be logged into Google for it to work. All is good until I have to reboot after a battery swap . If I had no network access (e.g. when in the Canadian bush) the app would not function.
    Thank you.

  14. Tom

    Wow! I’m very impressed with the speed and responsiveness. I don’t at all mind paying $10 for this improved version.

    After less than an hour of use, I’m not sure I’ve got the interface down, but have downloaded several maps for offline use, which downloaded fast! Most important feature for me so far is that downloaded maps zoom beyond the previous magnification level 15 limit. Thanks!

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