How do I GPS-enabled my smartphone map?

Common Questions

This section covers the most common questions our users have asked.  Please continue to read further for detailed explanations of how to GPS-enable our maps on your smartphone.

YES!  This is one of the most popular features of OffTheGridMaps.  Most of our maps can be loaded directly onto your smartphone, and as an added bonus, they can also be GPS-enabled so you can pinpoint your location while your on your adventure.  GPS-enabled maps even work offline and places without without cell service!

It's takes just 3 simple steps:

  1. Just download and install the Avenza Maps smartphone app onto your Apple or Android device.
  2. Purchase your selected map from our map store.
  3. Click the "Download Map" button from either your on-screen purchase, or in the email receipt.

With Avenza Maps installed, your map will automatically be GPS-enabled and available offline, even without cell service.

No, you are not required to create an account to use Avenza Maps.

  • When the app asks you to create an account, you can simply click the small "X" in the upper right-hand corner to bypass the registration screen.
  • This screen only shows up the first time you open Avenza Maps.

To download maps onto your mobile device, be sure to first install the free Avenza Maps app from the Apple Store or Google Play store.

  • After installing Avenza Maps, open your email receipt and click on the "Download" link in the right-hand column.  You map will automatically start loading into the Avenza Maps app.
  • Once you're map is loaded, use your GPS-enabled map offline, even in areas without cell service.

To prevent sharing purchased maps, all OffTheGridMaps digital purchases are limited to 3 downloads per map.  Once you reach this limit, you will not be allowed to download the map any more.

Since OffTheGridMaps are not sold through the Avenza Maps store, it is considered a "third-party" map.  The free version of Avenza Maps supports up to 3 free third-party maps.  To make room for a new map, you may either:

  • delete a previously downloaded (third-party) map, or
  • purchase the in-app subscription that unlocks unlimited maps.

We highly recommend purchasing the "Plus" subscription for unlimited third-party maps, because we want to have all of our maps with us, all of the time.

Take your smartphone companion map offline!

Smartphone Maps

Avenza Maps™ is a mobile map app that allows you to download maps for offline use on your iOS or Android smartphone or tablet. Use your device’s built-in GPS to track your location on any map. Zoom in, zoom out, track your location, save points of interest, measure distance and area, and even share your trip highlights with friends.

OffTheGridMaps can be GPS-enabled through the 3rd party smartphone app, Avenza Maps.  While OffTheGridMaps isn’t directly affiliated with Avenza Maps, we think they have a great product and have chosen to integrate our maps with their app.

Avenza Maps starts with a free version that will turn your OffTheGridMaps into fully interactive smartphone maps.  However, we recommend the paid “Plus” subscription.  Please see our recommendations below, or the complete feature list comparison from Avenza Maps.

  • Standard version (Free)
    • Free for personal and recreational use.  Limited to 3 downloaded “third-party” maps
    • NOTE: OffTheGridMaps are considered third-party maps because they are not sold directly through the Avenza Maps Store.
  • Plus subscription (RECOMMENDED)
    • While highly recommended by OffTheGridMaps, it is not required.
    • Great for keeping all of your favorite maps on your phone at the same time.
    • Purchasing the “Plus” subscription from within the app unlocks the capability to import unlimited “third-party” maps.
    • You do not need the Plus subscription for maps purchased directly from the Avenza Map Store.
  • Pro subscription

The standard version of Avenza Maps is FREE TO USE for personal and recreational use and comes packed with a ton of features.  However, you can only have up to 3 maps loaded at a time.  To make room for a new map, you can either

  1. delete a previously loaded map or
  2. purchase the in-app “Plus” subscription unlocking unlimited maps.

If you’re like us, though, we want all of our maps with us all of the time and therefore highly recommend purchasing the “Plus” subscription for unlimited maps.

How do I use Avenza Maps on my smartphone?

Using Avenza Maps

Below we have highlighted key articles that we think will help you get the most from Avenza Maps.  For additional help articles, we encourage you to visit Avenza Maps excellent online support page.

What else can I do with my GPS-enabled map?

Always be sure to export your map features BEFORE deleting your map! When exporting your map features, we recommend the following settings:

  • Export format: KML
  • Send to:
    • “Email” (if sending to friends), or
    • “Device Storage” (if you want to import into a map already on your phone)
  • Media Size: “Small” (only relevant if you have pictures associated with pins)

When you head to the field, there are a number of techniques that you use to improve and extend the battery life of your smartphone.  Generally we can get about 6-8 hours of reasonable map use by following these guidelines:

  1. DO NOT put your phone into “battery saver” mode.  This may be counter-intuitive, but unfortunately this setting degrades your GPS signal.  When trying to record your GPS tracks in this mode, you’ll find that your results will probably not be what you are hoping for.  Therefore, we just don’t recommend it.
  2. Shorten the screen timeout.  The number 1 drain on the battery is powering the screen.  Be sure to turn off your screen as soon as possible when you are done looking at it.
  3. Screen Brightness.  In addition to shortening the screen timeout, decreasing your phone’s brightness can extend the life of your battery dramatically.
  4. Airplane mode.  We recommend turning your phone to “Airplane Mode”, because it will cause your phone to stop searching for cell phone towers.
  5. Turn off WiFi and Bluetooth.  Just like airplane mode, your phone is constantly searching for WiFi or Bluetooth connections.  By turning turn these services off, you’ll extend your battery life.
  6. Keep your phone warm.  Especially during winter weather, the cold is like an energy vampire.  Keeping your phone warm, preferably in an inside pocket near your body, can allow you to use your phone (and maps) longer.
  7. Keep it charged.  This one is really important, because you probably won’t have a charger handy.  We suggest two options:  A) taking an extra battery pack to the field is a great way to get a quick charger, and B) if you are driving from place to place, be sure to take your car charger and charge up anytime you’re in your rig.