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Joey
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Joey
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PostThu Nov 10, 2022 9:33 am 
The U.S. military developed the TAK map software to help with situational awareness. Why might a hiker care? 1. There are free civilian versions for android/iOS/windows. 2. Ongoing development is funded by the feds. 3. You can save and use offline a wide variety of basemaps. 4. You can load and use offline various data inputs including GPX/KML/KMZ 5. Geolocation is included and you can record your track 6. You should soon be able to load and use offline ArcGIS data (I recently reviewed a beta version of ESRI's plug-in) Disadvantages: A. Roughly 80% of the features are not relevant to most hikers and therefore it 'feels' complex. B. There is a learning curve. On the other hand, there are tons of videos online. So far, ATAK iTAK seems almost unknown among recreationists unless the user learned about it via the military or because they are a first responder. For anyone willing to learn, these apps seem to do everything that most hikers need. We need a "Beginner's Guide To ATAK/iTAK For Play". Here is a recent related post. https://www.advrider.com/f/threads/atak-itak.1602721/ For more info/download: ATAK https://www.civtak.org/atak-about/ https://www.civtak.org/download-atak/ How to install
iTAK https://apps.apple.com/us/app/itak/id1561656396 WinTAK This page has download link: https://www.civtak.org/2020/09/23/wintak-is-publicly-available/

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philfort
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PostThu Nov 10, 2022 10:11 am 
Has anyone here used this successfully? I would love to have an alternative to the very buggy Gaia GPS.

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zimmertr
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PostThu Nov 10, 2022 10:35 am 
philfort wrote:
would love to have an alternative to the very buggy Gaia GPS.
I build routes using Caltopo, export the GPX, and sync it to my Garmin Fenix watch. Then use turn by turn navigation on the watch in real time. And fallback to route finding skills or Caltopo with downloaded map tiles on my phone if I want to adventure. Though I almost always preemptively plan adventure side trips and build GPX files for those too.

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Joey
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Joey
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PostThu Nov 10, 2022 10:43 am 
ATAK user Guide. See p.12 for building routes. https://www.civtak.org/2020/04/01/civtak-4-0-user-manual/ Note that iTAK lacks some of the features in ATAK. Not sure yet if anything hikers want is missing from iTAK

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philfort
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PostThu Nov 10, 2022 11:05 am 
Joey wrote:
Note that iTAK lacks some of the features in ATAK.
I will say there's definitely a learning curve. You can't even turn on GPS from within the app, I had to go into my phone's settings and enable it for that app. No idea how to actually download a map yet, it seems I'll need to make some account and connect to some server? I found a webpage that listed all the community servers, and there were 0.

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Cyclopath
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Cyclopath
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PostThu Nov 10, 2022 11:19 am 
Tacticool milsim not my thing.

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Joey
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Joey
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PostThu Nov 10, 2022 11:31 am 
philfort wrote:
I will say there's definitely a learning curve. You can't even turn on GPS from within the app, I had to go into my phone's settings and enable it for that app. No idea how to actually download a map yet, it seems I'll need to make some account and connect to some server? I found a webpage that listed all the community servers, and there were 0.
No, you do not need to connect to a server to get basemaps. Links to a number of basemaps are built-in. If you are online you can (1) view those basemaps and (2) save tiles for offline use. For additional basemaps: https://github.com/joshuafuller/ATAK-Maps We need to find a video that shows how to activate these basemaps. I think the notion of connecting to a server is if you want to have a team where everyone sees the same info on their phone. I could be wrong on that but at least for hiking no server is needed.

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Joey
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Joey
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PostThu Nov 10, 2022 11:43 am 
Here is another source of ATAK newbie documentation https://www.reddit.com/r/ATAK/wiki/index/

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philfort
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PostThu Nov 10, 2022 12:01 pm 
Joey wrote:
No, you do not need to connect to a server to get basemaps. Links to a number of basemaps are built-in.
Not on iOS. The only map sources are apple maps, which does not include topo maps. (And it's not clear if there is a way to download it for offline use either).

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Joey
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Joey
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PostThu Nov 10, 2022 12:30 pm 
Basemaps are defined by XML files. If you put such an XML file on your iCloud then you can install that basemap. This guy has collected/made XML files for a bunch of basemaps including USGS topo, google, bing, esri, etc https://github.com/joshuafuller/ATAK-Maps Video with the general idea for installing basemaps into iTAK from XML files:

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philfort
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PostMon Nov 14, 2022 9:29 pm 
Turns out this app is a battery life killer, on the iPhone at least. Even just running in the background doing nothing (and location services only enabled while using).

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rossb
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PostTue Nov 15, 2022 10:55 am 
Is this similar to using Linux instead of Android? Android sits on top of a (modified) Linux kernel. Savvy users can run Unix commands on Android phones, just as they have with iOS (which runs on top of a modified BSD Unix shell). There are also "pure" Linux phones. For all I know, you can install your own, just as you can build your own Linux PC, and not pay a dime for the OS (you just pay for the hardware). This is definitely an option if you want more control (e. g. security) or want to save money. But most users won't bother. They will use the feature after it is "wrapped" by the app (or OS). This means they pay a little more, but don't have the learning curve. This leads to a few questions. What features are available on ATAK iTAK, but not on CalTopo (or some other costly app)? How much work is it to use some advanced features on CalTopo versus installing and running a free version? In the past I used a used a free GPS app on the phone, but found it to be a real pain. Is it easier now -- especially if you are doing basic stuff? In other words, can you save yourself some money by running a free GPS app without spending oodles of time messing with the code? (I've always felt like people running Unix at home were "into it". In other words, they liked messing with the code, and weren't just trying to save a buck. It is kind of like home brewers. Yeah, you can make good beer and save yourself a lot of money -- but most home brewers aren't trying to save money -- they really like the craft.)

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Joey
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PostTue Nov 15, 2022 11:58 am 
Best home brew we ever made back in the day was with water straight from Ipsut Creek. But that's another story... rossb: Is this similar to using Linux instead of Android? Me: Don't know. But I suspect ATAK and iTAK are simply apps developed like other android and iOS apps. I am not a CalTopo user. But in general I know it has various advanced features for back country travelers that are not in ATAK. If a person needs those features then CalTopo is the answer. If there was an ATAK user guide for hikers, then I expect people use it. After all, it does everything most hikers need, is free, is maintained/enhanced by fed funding and gives you access to more basemaps for offline use than CalTopo or anything else.

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rossb
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PostTue Nov 15, 2022 3:13 pm 
@Joey -- My point is that it is quite possible that many of the CalTopo features sit on top of ATAK/iTAK, just as many of the features of an Android phone sit on top of a Unix based kernel. If CalTopo has all of the features, the only reason to use ATAK/iTAK is to save money, or because you want more control. If it lacks some features, what are they? So far as I can tell, CapTopo has all of the features you mentioned (it just costs money). I definitely see the value in saving money. I definitely see the value in having more control. But in both cases, it just isn't worth it to me, for the same reason I now own a Tivo, not a Linux based DVR (Myth TV). Been there, done that. I would definitely encourage others to explore this option, for the same reason I encourage others to make their own beer. It will save you some money, it might be fun, and you might find that it is a calling. It also might mean that I eventually buy a pint from you. cheers.gif

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Joey
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Joey
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PostTue Nov 15, 2022 3:38 pm 
rossb wrote:
My point is that it is quite possible that many of the CalTopo features sit on top of ATAK/iTAK, just as many of the features of an Android phone sit on top of a Unix based kernel.
Sorry I missed getting that. But in reply, Matt Jacobs was writing earlier versions of CalTopo at least 10 years ago. ATAK was not made available for general civilian use until 2018.

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