What is happening with #ViewRanger now that they have been bought by OutdoorActive.

OutdoorActive and ViewRanger

If you hadn’t heard, ViewRanger, the much respected app (and service) used by millions worldwide as a route plotting, route recording and peerless navigational aid, used by individuals and rescue organizations worldwide, has been purchased by OutdoorActive – “The digital home for experiencing the great outdoors.”

I’m not going to get into why this has happened – I don’t know for sure and I don’t want to get into speculation – this post is simply about what is happening to a much loved, used and respected application. The following is an email response from ViewRanger…


ViewRanger is now part of Outdooractive and ViewRanger is no longer selling new subscriptions. Any existing VR subscripting will be honoured until it expires in 2021.

Outdooractive works on a subscription basis. When connect your ViewRanger account to Outdooractive, you’ll be given a free period or a voucher based on what you own in ViewRanger. The subscription gives you the whole country, plus numerous other countries, rather than needing to buy separate subscriptions in ViewRanger. The maps are all up to date, updated regularly. And for OS GB, the maps are the high resolution ones, not available in ViewRanger.

Any gifted OA subscription will not automatically renew when it expires. OA charge an annual fee of €30 for Pro or €60 for Pro+ (or in-app £26.99 for PRO and £53.99 for PRO+).

ViewRanger credits do not transfer to Outdooractive, but they are taken account of when they set you up initially and obtain an incentive in OA.

You can continue using ViewRanger, it is not stopping, but we are only doing maintenance on it now, no new development.

Outdooractive bought the company behind ViewRanger, with the aim of combining the two to make the best possible outdoors app and service. Over the last year we’ve been working to add the best features of ViewRanger to Outdooractive (for example Buddy Beacon, Skyline, Wear, Challenges), and that continues, with the aim of making Outdooractive the best app. So we do expect most people will choose to move to Outdooractive over the coming year. But you are welcome to stay using ViewRanger too.’

So, according to ViewRanger (VR), we can continue using the VR app as “it is not stopping“, and, although there will be “no new development” of the app, VR will still be “doing maintenance on it“.

This would also likely mean any existing maps, tiles etc. purchased by a VR user would still be available in the VR app (although this is yet to be confirmed).

Had OutdoorActive’s (OA) own app been fully developed and tested and was truly “combining the two to make the best possible outdoors app and service“, before they tried to ‘sell’ it to us as a better app than VR, then I might not have needed to write this post.

However, having tested the OA app recently, I find it lacking. Not least in the area of reliability in the field. It’s all well and good OA bigging up what it sees as VR’s “best features” (“Buddy Beacon, Skyline, Wear, Challenges“), but I don’t think any of those are VR’s best features – I certainly didn’t use any of them in the 11 years I’ve been using VR.

It’s in the mountains I want reliability of satellite lock, app robustness and reliability, to know where I am on a track I’ve created and am following (even in a ‘whiteout’), to know that if I lost my compass I could rely on VR to get me to safety. Can the current OA do that?

Well maybe it can, I just don’t know. But I KNOW VR can. Trust takes ages to acquire. VR had mine. OA needs to work hard to get it.

For now I’m sticking with VR until it becomes no longer viable for the purposes I use it for. In the meantime I’ll be looking at alternatives should VR truly bite the bullet. At least I can still rely on VR whilst I search for its successor.

12 thoughts on “What is happening with #ViewRanger now that they have been bought by OutdoorActive.

  1. I completely share your ‘views’. I’ve used a number of competitor apps in the field over the years and VR has been the most reliable (which is what counts). I’ve only toyed with VR’s bells and whistles — too busy actually walking and navigating I suppose. Might have to revisit the OS and MM apps again. Thanks for this Chris!

    • You’re welcome 🙂
      I’ll stay with VR until/if it ceases. I’ve got lifetime OS premium maps for the whole of the UK so I have time to find a suitable replacement.

  2. I signed up for ViewRanger and after a month or so received an email about the Outdoor Active takeover, so I took up the offer and since that time have been using both VR and OA. As I signed up to VR with Apple ID it took about a week to transfer my subscription from VR to OA.

    Have either of them let me down? Only VR during a weekend in the Lakes before the transfer to OA, with it constantly stopping tracking my route, so by the end of each day walking I have 15 or so short routes recorded. But I suspect that was user error as I had only just installed the app and signed up for a subscription.

    For me OA is a good app that works and has all the features I want. I also have an OS subscription but as that does not have an Apple Watch app I don’t use it except when viewing maps on my MacBook.

    Then there is the website. Initially I was put off ViewRanger by the website and think the OA website is far better. VR’s website to me is old looking and clunky. To be honest I didn’t know Outdoor Active existed until I received the email about the takeover and transfer of account. But I do think the OS website is better than OA for viewing maps and plotting routes.

    In summary I prefer the OS app but as no watch version don’t use it when walking the fells and use OA. I prefer OA to VR, but maybe as a user of VR for only a month or so didn’t become familiar with the app so for me it was an easy step to take.

  3. I am so disappointed. I only just started using ViewRanger as the free app – living in cambodia to track our tourist trails and also our patrol team patrols. it looked like it would be very good. HOwever.. disappointing to find that it won’t be sticking around likely for the longer term! and that they aren’t continuing to support its development.

  4. one thing i did just notice.. satellite views are not free on Outdoor active – at least in your desktop account.. viewrangers were free – albeit oldish pictures.. that is a downer~~

  5. You are exactly on point – reliability is the main feature that made VR my preferred app for navigation in the mountains. VR has won my trust over and over again. The app, to me, is the equivalent of a trustworthy friend. Changing it for another, just doesn’t feel right.

    • I just received an email from VR that said when my subscription runs out I will still be able to CONTINUE using the free version of VR.That will work for me.Like some of you others I just like/use the basics and it works well.

  6. Just received an email from VR that stated that when my subscription ends I will still be able to continue using the free version of VR.That will work for me.

    • You’re one of the lucky ones then Brian. A lot of users were fans of the in-app full UK OS mapping (25k and 50k) add on that made VR a trusted companion up on the hills.

  7. I have been a just of ViewRanger for over 2 years. I use it a lot for planning routes on both road bike and mountain bike for leading rides with British Cycling groups. ViewRanger doesn’t always automatically follow national Cycle Routes (road biking) or bridleways (mountain biking) automatically, but it is very easy to either move any of the waypoints on the triple, or drag the route itself to change it.
    Today I linked my account with OutdoorActive and tried to create a simple road bike route. The experience was a dreadful step backwards from that of using ViewRanger. It worked ok if I got the waypoint in the correct place first go, but if I changed my mind, the only thing I could do was delete the last waypoint – there is no way of dragging any of the waypoints and it was not possible to drag the route itself into a different road. I haven’t tried following a route on OutdoorActive yet.
    I have purchased a lot of maps through ViewRanger and I am not at all pleased that I will lose the route planning functionality that I have hitherto enjoyed. I absolutely do not agree that the “best features of ViewRanger and OutdoorActive” have been combined. What consultation was there with users? Nobody asked me!

    • You’re points are echoed by many who linked their ViewRanger account with OutdoorActive.
      Which is why I haven’t linked mine. Unfortunately, once linked, you can’t unlink it ☹️.

    • I can only agree with you Valerie. The sale of VR to OA was a bad day for VR users. Unless OA bought it just for market share, their handling of the takeover has been an object lesson in incompetence. I see no signs of hope with the app now and fear it is dying – plenty of friends who were VR users have not renewed their subscriptions and one who did regrets it because the “best of the best” version now on sale is buggy and crashes/hangs mid-walk. VR was beloved for its reliability and that seems to have gone.

      I think I’ll move over to an OS App subscription – it’s not as good as VR was (and is, by all accounts, not great since an update over the new year, but I have faith they’ll fix it – albeit at standard “quango speed”.

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