Viewranger app for free digital mapping in the Pyrenees
The Viewranger app is a free GPS and digital mapping app. It has excellent free, downloadable, hiking maps for the Pyrenees and all over the world. It’s perfect if you are doing a Hike Pyrenees self guided holiday, such as our Village to Village itinerary, and would like a digital map and GPS to check you’re on the right path.
Viewranger works offline – you do not need a data package or mobile coverage, It’s a good backup for the route cards with the instructions we provide for our self-guided holidays. Combined with our tracks, they make an excellent navigation aid, very helpful if you have any route-finding problems while on your hiking holiday.
Viewranger is available for both iPhone and Android. Setting Viewranger up is best done before you arrive, on a nice, fast internet connection (sometimes hotel connections are quite slow).
Below are some brief instructions. You can also read our step by step setup guide with screenshots and detailed instructions for each step.
Do you need mobile connection to use Viewranger?
No, you don’t need a mobile connection to use Viewranger. Download the maps and GPS tracks while you are on wi-fi at home or at the hotel. When you are in the mountains you can use everything offline without needing mobile phone coverage or data.
Will Viewranger locate me when I'm out of mobile coverage?
Yes, Viewranger uses GPS satellites to locate you, not the mobile phone signal. Therefore, even when you’re away from phone coverage Viewranger will still locate you.
Is Viewranger free?
Yes, although there are premium versions with extra features, the free version along with the GPS tracks we send you has everything you need to navigate in the Pyrenees.
Will Viewranger drain my batteries?
Yes, if you use Viewranger a lot when you are in the mountains then it will drain your batteries. If you just check your position a couple of times a day you’ll have no problems with batteries. REMEMBER in an emergency a mobile phone may save your life. Do not run your batteries completely down during the day. We recommend saving one phone amongst the hiking group to use in emergencies and not use for navigating. Another great idea is to use a power-monkey type of charging device. One about the size of a lipstick is quite cheap and will charge your phone a couple of times while in the mountains.
Does Viewranger work on iphones or Android?
Both, there are versions of Viewranger avable on both the Google play store and the Apple app store.
To set up the Viewranger app
1. Download the Viewranger app
Viewranger is available for both ios and android. You can get it here or just search for Viewranger in the app store or Google play. The app is free but offers in-app purchases and a premium version. We just need the free one.
Once you install it and open the app, it will prompt you to open an account. You can skip this or sign up: a free MyViewRanger account will give you access to more advanced features and organization of your tracks and maps, useful mainly when it comes to using Viewranger across multiple devices.
2. Get the tracks
Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will send you the GPS tracks for your holiday – these are the routes for each days hiking and there is a different file for each hike. You need the tracks emailed to an email account that you have on your phone.
Open our email with the tracks from your phone
- For iPhone: press on each track and choose the option to ‘Copy to Viewranger’. This will save the track to your Viewranger app. Repeat for each track.
- For Android: download each track to your mobile (by default, they will usually be saved to the phones ‘download’ folder. Open Viewranger, press the Menu tab > Import/Export > Import externally and find the file (usually in the download folder). Select each track and accept to import – repeat this for each track.
For either operating system, this is best done when you are on wifi. The tracks will then be ready to be used offline in Viewranger.
You will see the tracks appear on the map as you open/import them.
3. Download the map
To use Viewranger offline, you need to download the hiking map of the area to your mobile.
First, make sure that all of the tracks for the Village to Village route are open (if you’re not doing the biking option on the final day you can leave this track opened) and that you can see the tracks displayed on the map.
If the map is not centred on the right area (it may centre on your current location) you may not be able to see the tracks. In this case, press ‘profile’ (the person icon along the top) and then the ‘Tracks’ option. Select one of the tracks from the list and then choose the option ‘View This Track on The Map’. This will get the map centred on roughly the right area.
Press the ‘Maps here’ button/icon near the top right and then press ‘Save for Offline Use’.
IMPORTANT: Zoom in/out (pinch) until all of the Village to Village tracks are shown on the screen. This is the map area that will be downloaded.
Press ‘Download map’ the file size will be around 70 – 80 MB. It will ask for a name for the map; then press ‘Save’. The map will start downloading. Do not touch the screen until this is over!!!. (Otherwise, you have to go to Layer button > More maps > scroll down to find your map -usually at the end- and click on it to continue downloading).
That’s it! You’ll now have a digital hiking map and all the tracks ready to go on your hiking adventure.
4. Using Viewranger each day
Each morning you need to select the track for the hike you are going to do that day. Its simple to do:
- Press ‘profile’ (the person icon along the top) and then the ‘Tracks’ option.
- You’ll see a list of all the tracks. Select the track you’d like to follow (names and numbers are the same as on the paper route cards).
- Choose the option ‘View This Track on The Map’. The track will now be shown in red on the map. Make sure the red circle and crosshairs stay on the track and you’ll be going the right way!