A little background before getting to the Gaia GPS Review… In 2018 I downloaded the the Gaia app for the iphone. I was a little nervous about the price ($30 for the app and another $10/yr. for the premium features). Once I got past the price of the Gaia app and subscription I was delighted to find that it was worth every penny.
Gaia Works Better than my Garmin
Here’s the overall summary… Gaia works BETTER than the last GPSr that I purchased. Granted, it’s been a few years since I purchased the eTrex series Garmin that we used for Geocaching, hiking, and SAR but Gaia has every feature that I would want – and more.
Our test run was on a recent climb of Mt. Defiance in the Alpine Lakes Wilderness Area of WA state. With my phone in airplane mode, we monitored our route along the trail, identified major landmarks, calculated our pace, distance traveled, and geotagged photos along the way.
The first thing that I notice and love? Because this all runs on the iPhone you don’t have to carry an extra device. Although an external battery charger is a good idea, I’m carrying that for time lapse videos and other things anyhow.
I love Gaia and it is now one of my favorite apps. Considering that Garmin is asking $550 for their Oregon unit (color TOPO maps with similar features) the $40 that Gaia is asking for is a steal.
Aside from the price advantage, Gaia has some blogging features that my Garmin can’t do…
Gaia GPS Review for Bloggers
One of the features that I love about Gaia is that I can share adventures directly from my phone to this blog. Many posts here are driven by my bucket list. Roughly half of the list is composed of hikes, sailing and running goals… ie they are all outside.
Gaia lets me collect GPS data and share them on a page that organizes my routes and photos. For example, we recently shot some sunset photos on Mt. Pilchuck (a very popular lookout hike in the Seattle area). I can post the data to a Gaia page and then can embed the results.
Example #1, Use the Gaia App to Embed route data:
Here is an example. The map below is from our Mt. Pilchuck adventure. I pushed the route to Gaia and they created a page with an embed code that copies right into a blog post. Easy peasy.
In addition, if you follow the link on the embedded map you can also download GPX and KML files. This makes the data sharable across other GPSr units, and even Google Earth although I haven’t tested this yet.
Example #2, Use the Gaia App to Share a slide show:
Although you can’t embed this content, if you want you can share the slide show that Gaia creates using any photos that you shot along the route. The slide show shows progress along the route and photos. Here is an example…
Overall, I love this app. The one critique that I would provide is that its alot of app and takes a little practice. I don’t really fault Gaia for that, I like all of the features. But fair warning to the app operator – take a few moments to figure out how this works before you go off the grid!
Additionally, I didn’t test Gaia for geocaching. Seems like you could just upload a GPX file and go. That said, I haven’t tested this.
On a final note, I’m going to turn my Gaia GPS Review into a little stock advice. If you are long on GRMN (a stock that I have liked for years) you may want to monitor the popularity/growth of Gaia. GRMN is good at building hardware to run it’s software. IMHO Gaia can easily undercut their eTrex series up through the Oregon because it works great, lives on your phone (one less thing to carry), and connects to the web.
If you are using Gaia or have comments or advice I would love to hear it! Drop a comment below…