How to Use Gaia Maps Offroad & Import 4×4 Trails

Living in Moab means being able to plan overlanding and off-roading adventures whenever we wish. There are so many great places to explore and see from the most popular trails to some hidden gems in the national parks. That is why we at Dixie 4 Wheel Drive organize our trail rides, to get as many people as possible to experience this beautiful corner of our country.

Even though the goal of these excursions is to enjoy the journey, we need to have an idea of where we’re headed. Without maps to help us plan our routes, we could end up going round in circles, getting lost, or simply giving up. We constantly get people coming to our auto shop looking for more resources on southern Utah routes. They often ask if we carry physical maps during our trips. We rarely do because it’s quite a hassle. Instead, we’ve come to increasingly rely on navigation apps. They give us the convenience of carrying maps on our devices and accessing them whenever we wish.

One of our favorite navigation apps is Gaia GPS.

Gaia GPS Maps For Off Roading

If you’re looking for an off-road app that will be an invaluable companion, then Gaia fits the bill. This app allows you to plan a trip, plot out routes, create waypoints and even share them with friends. It contains several 4X4 and overland maps to make planning your next expedition a breeze. Even better, it shows public and private lands as well as campsites for trailers, trucks, and cars. The weather information on the app is updated every 12 hours to alert you to the kind of conditions to expect where you’re going.

Gaia GPS can now be integrated with Apple Car Play so you can display the maps on a device right on the dash, making it easier to follow turn-by-turn directions. The app is available in both free and paid versions. You can check out the free one to get a feel for the app before paying to unlock tons of premium features.

Using Gaia GPS Maps For 4X4 Off Roading

The Main Map Screen

The main map screen has lots of features. The main icons at the top of the screen help you navigate around the app. These icons include:

  • The magnifying glass which is the search icon helps you search for points of interest, trails, waypoints, and parks

  • The expand icon allows you to enter full-screen mode. Long press this icon to open the map display options where you can toggle on/off the top and bottom controls, the compass, stats bar. There are also options to rotate the screen or lock it.

  • The crosshairs icon enables you to locate and see where you are on the map.

  • The create icon with the + sign opens a menu that allows you to create routes, add waypoints, download maps, import files, and take pictures.

  • The layers icon at the end is for Map Sources – here you’ll be able to add and change the map sources visible on the main map

Importing GPX and KML files

  1. Start by adding the files you wish to your device’s storage.

  2. Open the app and navigate to the main screen.

  3. Tap the + on the top menu and select import files from the menu list.

  4. Browse for your file and tap to import it.

To import a file via email,

  1. Email the GPX or KML file you want to import to yourself as an attachment.

  2. Open the email on your device.

  3. Long-press the attachment, tap the share option then choose to either open or copy it to Gaia GPS.

Note: A new folder is created every time you import a file into Gaia GPS.

Downloading Maps

Another great feature of Gaia GPS is being able to download and save maps for use when offline.

  1. Find the area you’d like to download.

  2. Then go to the layers icon on the main screen and select a map source

  3. Next tap the create icon (+) and select download maps

  4. Once the blue dots appear, you can pinch and zoom to adjust the download box

  5. Using the slider at the top right of the screen to adjust the maximum zoom which makes the map more detailed

  6. After that tap save and name your map.

  7. Remember that you’ll need Wi-Fi or be online to complete the download.

Creating a Route

When planning a trip, you first need to create the route you will use.

  1. Start by navigating to the layers icon and select an open-street source map.

  2. On the main screen, tap the create (+) icon then tap create a route. Make sure you’re connected to the internet to have the route automatically snap to an existing trail.

  3. Tap mode from the bottom bar to select your mode of travel i.e. cycling, driving, and hiking. These will snap the route to the nearest trail while you can use the straight-line mode to create your own route on unmarked trails.

  4. Tap and drag the blue dot on the screen to the start of the route.

  5. To plot your next route point, tap and long-press anywhere on the screen.

  6. To add a waypoint, tap any of the blue dots (route points) then tap the pencil icon that appears. This allows you to add a waypoint or delete the dot and the route point.

  7. Once finished, tap Save at the top-right of the screen and name your route.

There’s a lot more you can do with Gaia GPS including sharing tracks, routes, and waypoints with your friends. This makes it easy to plan trips as all of you can agree to meet at a certain place and your friends can also edit or add waypoints to the route. Additionally, you can record a route as you follow it or even add photos to waypoints.

So if you’re looking for an app that can help you discover new places to explore and also help you plan your overlanding or off-roading adventures, give Gaia GPS a try.

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