Outdoor Navigation Using a Smartphone

17/03/2024 - 17/03/2024

Poole's Cavern

Bookings start from £35.00


Smartphones together with next-generation outdoor mapping and navigation apps have improved significantly in recent years. By making use of the smartphone’s location services (GPS and so on) apps can mimic a handheld GPS device and be used for outdoor location and navigation. This course is designed for those wanting to use a smartphone app as a backup aid to locate in an emergency and for basic navigation. It is based on the OutdoorActive app, which can be used both on Android and iOS platforms, because it is the leader in its field, has the greatest range of maps and features and specifically designed for a wide range of summer and winter outdoor activities. However, the principles can be applied to other apps although some key functionality and maps are likely to be missing from those apps.

The course begins by outlining some GPS fundamentals so that the capabilities and limitations of using a smartphone for location and navigation can be understood. The majority of the training focuses on OutdoorActive explaining the mapping available in the app, preparing the smartphone and app for use and understanding the very well-thought-out user interface or, in other words, how best to use it. The main practical part of the course covers using the map, locating on the map and in suitable coordinates to relay to emergency services. We will cover tracking, together with marking and creating waypoints that many apps simply cannot do, but OutdoorActive excels at. Then we will use the app for basic, point-to-point navigation; in other words, navigating from where we currently are either to a
waypoint previously stored in the device, a point selected on the map, or suitable coordinates. We will cover using both direct (beeline) and network (automatically following paths and tracks) navigation. Finally, we will look at some advanced features like “buddy beacon” and “skyline”. The course is designed so that participants can follow each step using their own smartphone with the app, initially in the classroom, then extensively outdoors for the second part, and practicing skills in representative terrain where the app is to be used. A set of course notes is available. OutdoorActive is available cost-free in a basic version, but you’ll need a Pro or Pro+ subscription for this
course. If you don’t already subscribe at Pro or Pro+ level and are not sure if you want to spend money on a subscription, you can get a cost-free trial of either, usually for one month, so you can start the trial, just before the course and, if you don’t take to it, you’ve lost nothing!

Please bring suitable outdoor kit for hill walking in the Peak District. A packed meal (optional as there is a café on-site) and your smartphone fully charged and optionally a powerbank and charging cable.

The course will be delivered by Rick Shearer. I have been leading groups in hills and mountains, in Britain and Internationally, both in summer and winter conditions for the past 30 years. In addition, for the past 15 years I have also been training outdoor navigators and leaders in how to use a GPS device safely and effectively to locate and navigate outdoors. Initially, this was using conventional handheld GPS units, the only available device then and, more recently, with wearable devices and smartphones using an appropriate app. Over 700 people have attended one or more of my courses. As a member of my local MRT, I also train the Team to use GPS devices in the challenging circumstances they sometimes face.

Please contact Rick directly with enquiries and bookings on 07967 358691 or via email rick.shearer@outlook.com

Upon completion, please allow 2 weeks for this workshop to be automatically added to your CPD record on CMS. You do not need to add it manually yourself. 

Where And When

17/03/2024 09:00
17/03/2024 16:30
Total Days
Maximum Bookings
Poole's Cavern
SK17 9DH
United Kingdom

CPD Points

CPD Points


07967 358691


  • BAIML Members

  • Non BAIML Members


Other Dates

04/05/2024 £120.00 Details
07/07/2024 £47.00 Details