The PATC's January 2012 newsletter announced the new product, stating it features the following:
- Full content of Maps 9, 10, and 11
- GPS tracking of your location, even without WiFi or cell reception
- Photos and descriptions for key locations throughout Shenandoah National Park
- Navigation tools including distance, bearing, compass and location
- Customized pins to record photos and locations along your hike
|Opening screen to PATC Shenandoah App|
|Every time you reopen the app|
you get this screen...
I also placed this map on the family's first generation iPad. At first the maps looked like they would be fuzzy - indicating an iPhone app that had not really been produced for the iPad, but it came in clear once the maps came up, and it is overall a very good resolution.
The PATC map also has a nice feature called the Line Tool, which allows me to estimate the length of a trail using my finger. And I love the option to locate where you are on a Shenandoah trail with the PATC app.
What the National Geographic app offers is more map. For Shenandoah, the NG app offers nearly all of Massanutten Mountain - really nice if you want to check out the interesting rock formations in Veach Gap or try hiking to Strickler Knob. But wait! There's more! NG includes not just Shenandoah, but maps of 20 National Parks, ranging from the really popular ones like Grand Canyon, Yellowstone, Yosemite and Great Smoky Mountains, to less visited parks like Joshua Tree and Channel Islands. Just the thing to pass the time while waiting in line for lunch. The high def versions of these maps must be downloaded to the iPhone (no doubt so you don't use up all your memory), but I make due with a couple of well-used maps (Shenandoah and Grand Canyon) and a couple of others for dreaming, like Olympic. And even if you don't download the high def version, you can look at the standard issue NPS version of each park's map.
|You must install the high def maps in the|
National Geographic app, but you get a
boatload to choose from.
Finally I should note that I have another app on my phone, called ATTrail 6. Though #6 does not cover much of Shenandoah - starting south of Roanoke, this app covers about 150 miles of the AT through the Calf Mountain Shelter in Shenandoah's South District. It is nice to have elevation profiles, which this app gives. But the app costs $2.00 for every 100-200 miles, dividing the AT up into 16 parts. And #6 has some bad data - although it lists the James River Foot Bridge, it does not show it on the map. It instead shows the older route used before the Foot Bridge was completed in 2000. A more recent AT reroute around Humpback Rock is also missing. Not recommended.
So which app do I recommend? If you are just hiking Shenandoah, there is no question that the PATC map is superior. But I am happy I got both. This way I can dream of returning to Glacier National Park.