Accurately Record Tracks Online or Offline with My Trails For Android

My Trails is a map and GPS tracking app that I recently discovered for use on my Android smartphone.  I have used and written posts about other cycling mapping and tracking apps before, but this one surprised me with how accurate it was.  It is very customizable with its many preference settings.  This is a powerful, accurate tool that is full of functionality and will come in handy for cyclists looking for a good map reference app.


Watch the video above for a quick tour of My Trails and some of its functions.

I found it to be a little complicated at first.  After reading through the "Quick Start", the online user manual and online FAQ, accessible from within the app's Preference menu, I figured out pretty quickly how to use it and set up the appearance and behavior settings to my liking.

Some of the features of My Trails that I found particularly useful are storing of offline maps, the ability to show multiple tracks simultaneously, saving tracks on your device and online, custom track colorization, its many map source choices and planning tracks from the website.

The ability to store offline maps is one feature I like.  It is more reliable, saves on data use and for remote areas without data coverage you still can record your tracks and view your map.  Navigating your offline map is smooth and instantaneous since there is no data downloading lag time.  For each offline map that you create an online fallback map can be configured.  The online map will take over when moving outside the offline map that you have created when data coverage is used and available.  Overall the map dragging and pinch zooming is pretty fast and smooth compared to other mapping apps.

You can save and name each of your tracks on your smartphone or online with My Trails, GPSies, Dropbox, or FrogSparks.  An "Auto upload tracks after save" option is also available.  Use this save feature to refer to tracks at a later time or show multiple tracks on a map simultaneously with the track manager.

Custom track colorization is one of the unique features of this app.  It will allow the user to set tracks to be colored according to just a solid line, altitude, rate of ascent, speed (computed or measured) GPS accuracy and slope.  Select track color for solid type or as an outline for colorization tracks.

My Trails is loaded with many maps to choose from.  I usually use the Google Hybrid map but select the one you prefer using.

Create an account and login to the My Trails website to upload a new trail, draw a new trail or create a marker.  The website allows you to plan a track on your computer and import it into My Trails.  After saving your planned track, send it to your smartphone via email or login to your My Trails account under Preferences>Accounts>My Trails in the app.  Instructions on how to do this can be found in the FAQ online guide in the Preferences menu under question 10, "How can I plan a track?".

Set up the way you would like the maps to appear in the Appearance section of the Preferences menu.  I select the Larger Icons, Larger Buttons and Show HUD (heads up display) when biking to make things easier to see when glancing down.

I will use this app and run it in the background while also using Endomondo Sport Tracker Pro to track all of my ride statistics.  I found that the GPS accuracy of My Trails far exceeds that of Endomondo Sport Tracker Pro.  See the example below from a section of a recent ride.  The My Trails track on the left is on the exact route I took while the Endomondo track on the right is in the general vicinity.

There are many more features than these I have listed above, but they are a good start if you want to track your rides accurately.  My Trails is available at the Google Play Store in a free version and a Pro license version for $2.75.  I recommend buying the paid version to unlock more functions in the app. 

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