Mini-Review: Snap+Map for iPhone

This is a helpful app for finding yourself in a map. For example, if you’re at a large zoo you can take a photo of their park map, then calibrate the app by dropping two points on it at known spots in the park (say, the main entrance and the front of the monkey cage). From then on, the app can show your position in the map.

Maybe a zoo wouldn’t be too much or a challenge, but how about a large ski resort? This morning I downloaded a PDF version of the trail map for Fremont Older preserve – a favorite trail running area of mine. I extracted an image of the map and mailed it to myself (easy way to get a photo to an iPhone). The Snap+Map app can use an existing photo, so it imported it and I was off. I ran to two easily identifyable spots (tops of hills) and dropped my two “Snap Points”. I continued my run, and stopped at a couple of other known spot, and checked the map – it showed me pretty close to where I was, within 100 feet.

When I got home I added another map, but used GPS coordinates printed on the map and hand entered the Snap Points. Since this task only has to be performed once (well, at least once per edition of the map!) I don’t mind spending the 10 minutes.

I also used their Upload feature, and sent my maps to their service – so others will be able to just use a pre-calibrated map. I can foresee maps of common tourist attractions (Disneyland, etc.) being readily available as more people use the app.

Of course, this app is IN NO WAY a substitute for a paper map, general navigation skills, and situational awareness. I wouldn’t download someone else’s map of a large trail run area and trust that I’d be able to find my way.

Cost: $1.99

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