If you love the great outdoors, especially in obscure remote locations, you’d know there are several factors to consider when it comes to safety. Apart from fighting the elements of nature, practice demonstrated endurance, heavy planning and preparing yourself through strenuous exercise and fitness, there is still a majority of factors one cannot possibly account for. This is what makes expeditions or trekking to remote locations so fascinating to everyone.
Even if you’re just going a little bit off-route from a popular touristy spot, or have a plan for an unexpected off road for a while, the immediate danger lies in getting lost. Let’s face it – nobody apart from the locals can match the knowledge and familiarity of a location. Thankfully, there’s an app that can now help reduce the possibility of getting lost.
Commander Compass is a brilliant app for those looking to live their life on the edge and push their limits, but also want at least one form of assistance in navigation. Here’s everything you need to know about it:
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- Absolutely free of cost. There are in app purchases, but the app works perfectly fine without ads that are obstructing as well.
- Works completely offline.
- Does not require cell phone signals.
- Uses very little battery life, as compared to traditional GPS apps.
- Works even on basic phones that have GPS in them.
- Surprisingly accurate – and I’ve actually tested it to say this.
- Very customizable.
- Can cover even the remotest places accurately – even unexplored places.
- Ability to change/ alter route, mark your progress and track over the course of your adventure
How does it work?
Firstly, you need to know how to use a compass. This, you can learn quite easily by watching a bunch of videos from YouTube, but the basic principle is, as long as the compass is placed exactly perpendicular to your chest and straight, it will point towards the north. From the north, there are markings towards other senses of direction, such as north east, west, south etc.
You have the option to mark your desired location’s GPS coordinates in it and save those locations before your trip. Use Google Maps/ Google Earth and get the exact GPS points of the spots/ camps you plan to cross or go to. Alternatively, search and you’ll probably find someone who has already posted GPS coordinates, somewhere on the internet, of the most popular spots from a lot of famous routes.
Control the settings and only set one or the next check post in sight and use the compass to highlight its general sense of direction.
What makes this app better than a lot of others is the fact that the compass will only point towards your marked GPS location – regardless of the terrain or what’s ahead of you. Here you must use your own creative brains to figure out the best route out. For example, if the compass says your destination is about 2KM on your left, but on the ground you see there’s a huge river that’s impossible to cross, you should use your own sense of the area you’re in and find a slightly twisted or alternate route. Don’t worry – it will still point towards your goal regardless of your current position, and is updated constantly.
Areas to improve upon
Having tested it on my on my iPhone 5S thoroughly, I think there are some glitches that need to be worked through:
The elevation factor is not accounted for properly when calculating distances. This may be because iPhone 5S doesn’t have hardware to measure your altitude, so understandably, only software/GPS based GPS may be a little inaccurate.
There’s a minor delay in refreshing. Of course, the fact that it works in places where even grass wouldn’t dare to grow, is amazing in itself, but they could perhaps have an option to have faster ping methods/ manual option to refresh.
There should be an option to visually mark out my route. I get it that it’s a compass app and GPS compasses aren’t designed to mark out your route in visual, but that would have been extremely useful if they did.
A word of caution – never rely solely on one form of navigation when going off-route or trekking. There’s safety in knowing you have backups, and carrying a physical map among other forms of planning would be extremely useful in case for some reason your app crashes or deletes or just doesn’t work.
Try it out, and let us know your most wild trekking adventure/expeditions you’ve ever been to our official Facebook page
Remember. This is just a sample.
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