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10 hiking apps and gadgets for hitting the trail this spring

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© Joshua Reddekopp via Unsplash Hiking

By David Nield

A spring hike is a great way to take advantage of the newly-warm weather. But it also comes with hazards like lingering snow, unpredictable downpours, and winter-damaged roads and trails. To prepare, you need to bring basic essentials like extra clothing, snacks and water, and first aid supplies. In order to hit the trail with even more confidence, we also recommend that you carry technological help: Download some extra apps and pack a few trusty gadgets. We've selected 10 pieces of spring-hiking tech that will guide you through the great, still-slightly-damp outdoors.

 

1. AllTrails

When you're deep in the woods, you can't exactly rely on Google Maps. Instead, download AllTrails (free for Android and iOS), an app with 50,000 maps of trails all over the world.

Once you've chosen a route, AllTrails will plot your progress on a map, display upcoming terrain, and track statistics like steps, distance, and elevation. It will even save this information so you can see how far you've traveled in a single day or across your entire hiking career. The app also boasts user community of hikers who share photos, advice, and reviews to help you research interesting trails in advance. And it wraps up all this guidance in a sharp-looking interface that's a pleasure to use.

The one downside to AllTrails is its reliance on a network connection—which can be pretty weak when you're actually out in the woods. If you want to download maps for offline access, or print them out, you'll need to pay for a Pro subscription, which costs $30 per year or a one-time fee of $100. The Pro account also includes the ability to create and save custom routes.

 

2. Amazon Tap

Starting Saturday, Google Maps will include a revolutionary new feature. Using what we’re sure is cutting-edge proprietary technology, it will allow users to answer one of life’s most persistent questions: Where’s Waldo?

Yes, it’s the latest in Google’s long-running tradition of April Fools’ Day pranks. But it’s actually going live in Maps – and for some, it’ll be a welcome dose of nostalgia. The “Where’s Waldo” books, which were wildly popular in the 1990s, were known as “Where’s Wally?” in their original British incarnation. Creator Martin Handford’s incredibly detailed, colorful drawings, full of goofy visual gags, were tailor-made for drawing in young fans.

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The Google Maps minigame reproduces original drawings from the series, but tags them as real locations including a beach in Australia and a ski slope in Chile. Players must scroll around the images to find Waldo and his friends. You’ll have to find Waldo in each map before advancing to the next one. The Google version arguably adds some fun to the exercise, including by tracking which characters you’ve found in each illustration.

The minigame is already active in the desktop version of Maps, where it can be accessed through a pop-up image of Waldo on the edge of the app. According to The Verge, it should also be available on Android and iOS versions starting some time Saturday, and will be active for a week.

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Technology - U.S. Daily News: 10 hiking apps and gadgets for hitting the trail this spring
10 hiking apps and gadgets for hitting the trail this spring
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