Having said that, there are currently 3 apps that I love for trip planning and route finding that I want to share here. They all have different strengths and functionalities that make them very useful.
I am not much of a geek and will try to describe their advantages and limitations to the best of my abilities.
|Elsay Peak Screenshot on the OsmAnd App|
The app is also awesome as a full fledged turn by turn navigation for driving in areas where your data plan might not cover you and navigation through your phone would therefore be too costly.
Although I found the interface and navigation of the settings takes some getting used to the screen is fully customizable and you can display all the info you could wish for.
|Example of a trail in the Trailforks App|
This is a mountain biking app and it gives you the difficulty rating, length and elevation profile of the trails within a given geographical area. It shows your position on the map via GPS, so it is helpful to get your bearings if you are in an unfamiliar place or to check for the availability of trail networks if you are visiting a new region whether you are biking running or hiking.
|Fat Dog 120 Course Map on the PDF Maps App|
If you happen to have a PDF map of the area you would like to explore you can import it to the application on your phone and you will then be able to see your own location on the map. The hitch is that the file you are uploading must be GPS referenced, which means it has location data embedded in the file. Usually you will not know in advance whether or not this is the case, so just import the map and hope for the best. This App is particularly awesome if you find a race course map for an event that you would like to explore. Just import the file and follow the course.
OsmAnd and PDF Maps will work entirely without the need for a cellular network connection. This will enable you to put your phone in airplane mode while being out and about. This dramatically extends your devices' battery life especially while you are in the back country. With Trailforks you will have the ability to download the actual trails onto your device. These are then layered over a google map and will require a data connection unless you make the area in question available offline in your mapping application.
I am personally using an Android device that still has a removable battery, so I can exchange it on the fly if I run out of juice. Most newer model cell phones will sadly not allow you to swap the battery without the use of tools anymore. There are powerbanks and other options available to recharge on the fly too if you fear that you will deplete your battery.
Be save and have fun exploring,