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

OutdoorActive and ViewRanger

Update 26th November 2021

Please read the following from ViewRanger via email received today…

We would like to inform you of an important change:

Soon the ViewRanger service will be discontinued.

In order to focus all our effort on our Outdooractive app and website, we will be switching off access to the ViewRanger app and website. This email explains how you can continue to access your maps and other data through the Outdooractive app and website

Timing
We currently expect to switch off access to the ViewRanger app and website at the end of February 2022. You can start accessing maps and data through the Outdooractive app and website now by following the steps in this email.


One-off payments in ViewRanger
If you made one-off payments to access maps of an area within ViewRanger, then you will be able to access maps of those areas via the free version of the Outdooractive app and website. The maps will be from the same map data provider or from an alternative map data provider depending on the map region:

• Great Britain: if you currently have access to OS map tiles in England, Scotland, or Wales, you will have access to 1:50,000 and 1:25,000 OS maps across Great Britain.

Other data in ViewRanger
By connecting your ViewRanger account to Outdooractive, routes you have plotted, routes you have downloaded, activity tracks you have recorded, a record of the challenges you participated in, and points-of-interest you have marked, will continue to be available within your Outdooractive account.

Accessing Outdooractive
To access maps and other content in Outdooractive you will need to have an Outdooractive account. The content described above is available for you via a free Outdooractive account. If you would like to access more advanced functions alongside that content then you can upgrade to a Pro or Pro+ subscription.

It seems those who have purchased, not subscribed, lifetime tiles and area maps with still have access to them indefinitely if they connect their ViewRanger accounts to OutdoorActive – regardless of which free or subscription plan you choose.

End of Update

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…

‘Hello.

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.

244 replies on “What is happening with #ViewRanger now that they have been bought by OutdoorActive.”

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.

I’m in the same position having bought the whole UK set of premium maps in viewranger. I had the whole set downloaded so I only needed GPS (no Internet connection).
It is true that in OA I get access to the same maps but only with an Internet connection. I can download small areas for offline use but have to think ahead to do this. They disappear once you sign out. They have given me a year of pro+ membership for free. Access to the set of maps I purchased will continue if I request by email every year. I can’t say I’m happy.
Looking at the OS app it’s £24 a year for access to the full set of maps and, although they disappear when you sign out, you can download very large areas for offline use.
I feel the maps I bought have been stolen from me though as OA are dictating how I use them and it’s much more limited.

You’ll still have access to the maps, but the big problem for me is that you will no longer be able to download the whole set of maps to your phone to have them there when and where you need them and not rely on a mobile signal. In the new system, you either have to have a mobile signal wherever you are or download small areas in advance. This is no use to me, as I’m often in an area with no signal and simply want to know exactly where I am or what something is when driving or doing unplanned walks

Thank you for initiating this blog. Very useful.
I’m confused about credits. I have 500 in VR and I don’t see how I use those in my transferred OA account. Am I missing something?

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.

I bought VR maps for most of the country.
They are on my current phone and can be used with no internet connection. On OA, when I am out on the hills and have no internet connection, quite often the case, I will not be able to access the maps unless I downloaded them before starting out. These downloads are not permanent, unlike VR.
And when I buy a new phone, I will lose my lifeline of downloaded VR maps for ever.
Is this correct?

PilgrimChris writes that he has lifetime OS maps – so do I – or I did until today – been switched off! No longer any acccess to the lifetime subscription, only purchased tiles.
This is very bad….

Chris – very good post, thanks. I think that your summary captures most of the disappointments and concerns that I see VR users are expressing.

VR wasn’t broken, so why this attempt to “fix” it? I can only think that the VR people were offered more money by OA than they could sensibly refuse for their product, but have grossly underestimated brand loyalty. Any assumption that VR users will automatically transfer their loyalty to OA is, if Google Play reviews are to be believed, misplaced.

I’ve tried to get clearer information from VR about how all of this will work but get obfuscatory replies along the lines of their “we’re not disappearing, just not developing any more” message – whatever THAT means!

It’s their good fortune that OS have, right at this moment, seemingly dropped the ball with their latest update and poor customer service (if reports are to be believed) otherwise I think that many of us VR fans would have switched allegiance by now – and still might.

I’m very sad about what has happened to VR and must admit to a feelings of betrayal.

Exactly. Destroy what you have and sets you apart just to be trendy and “do what all the others do” with this need to either be within mobile signal range or plan ahead to download where you might be later that day – these tiles are only 50 k m in size, so tough if you’re travelling somewhere in the car

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.

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~~

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.

Yes, but you can’t download all the maps to your phone – you have either to be in range of a phone mast or know where you’re going to be when you need them and download tiles in advance which then get wiped when you sign out

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.

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’ve had the same experience. Although I only use the free version of VR, it’s been an excellent tool for planning and following walking routes. I too linked to Outdoor Active and really didn’t like it at all. The app is obviously designed to make as much money as it can.
At every turn there’s an advert or “offer”,
I did take a risk with the 50 odd walks Id synced to Outdoor Active by deleting the app via the in app settings menu. Thankfully my maps are still showing in VR. Hopefully they’ll still be there tomorrow!

But, if you don’t link, you won’t be able to use your bought maps after February as the Viewranger app will no longer work, or so they tell me

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”.

Hi, Pilgrim. I have been using VR for 3 years, actively. I put tutos (french speaking) on Youtube, about using VR. As a member of Club Alpin Français, I often teach beginners using topo map and GPS. I can’t teach VR any longer. VR is not perfect, I wrote them about some improvements, but now it’s over.
Now what ? We must look for competitors, but none is totally good for me : simple in the web browser, simple on androïd for every action, many functions and easy to learn for beginners, … and cheap.
We need benchmarks, and also organize some sort of a users union to discuss with OutdoorActive, Iphigenie, Openrunner …

Hello Jean-Francois, and welcome to the club that none of us wanted to be in: “The VR is now pretty useless club”.
I can understand that the developers (2 guys from Cambridge, UK I believe) would be tempted to sell their “baby” after 12 years of perfecting it, especially if OutdoorActive(OR) offered a LOT of money. What I don’t understand is why OR then made such a mess of the takeover and altered things in the app that mean no-one wants it anymore. It’s a crazy business decision!
Like you say, there are no real like-for-like competitors – VR was the best. However, I am looking at the OS app (only good for the UK I’m afraid) and one called Gaia which has had some good reviews. I wish you luck and still hope that someone will fix VR, but honestly that does not seem likely.

VR isn’t broken and there don’t seem any immediate plans to retire the app. I’ll continue to use it until then.

From OutdoorActive…
‘What if I don’t want to transfer my data to Outdooractive?

“There is no obligation to connect your viewranger account to OutdoorActive…”‘

https://t.co/QkUBTor2Ci

TopoGPS is a good alternative with a very active developer who listens to feedback.

I’m a bit surprised by your latest reply in support of VR under OA’s ownership Chris, although I can believe that you’re also a more expert user of the app than me and maybe use it differently/smarter too. Since OA took it over my own experience has been that it has become buggy (freezing mid-hike – pretty important it doesn’t do this) and consuming battery at a markedly increased rate too.
So for you to say that VR isn’t broken is technically correct, but I would argue that i can’t use it whilst the issues I’ve noted (I’m not alone in this) persist. It’s also my understanding that to continue my in-app use of OS mapping I would indeed have to link VR to an OA account. In-app OS use is a deal breaker for me. Have I misunderstood this?
In short, VR is not the excellent app it once was even just a short while ago and I’m hugely frustrated by that.

I too am disappointed, as VR has worked flawlessly for me even on some very long walks (in the UK and elsewhere). But I’m going to try sticking with VR and also continue to use the OS app as a back up. I’ve always felt better taking the redundancy approach (within reason) on long walks. While my experience with Memory Map was mixed (and the reason why I switched to VR) I am thinking of giving the MM app another try. But what a shame we are even having this discussion.

VR still works flawlessly… if you haven’t connected it to OA.
I use VR most days and not experienced any issues.

Alas, I am among those who linked my VR to OA. Clearly, a mistake as you rightly point out Chris. However, I had the impression at the time that OS mapping updates would not be possible if I did not link the two. Buyer (walker) beware I suppose.

Mapping updates are still being honoured as the app is not only being maintained, but is still available to download from Google Play Store (last time I checked) AND map tiles are still available for purchase within the VR app.
What VR and OA have said is that the VR APP will no longer be updated with new features etc, but the app WILL be maintained in it’s current version.
Also OA have stated in their FAQ’s that VR users are under no obligation to link accounts.
Unfortunately none of this was made aware to VR customers/users prior to the takeover and the splash screen in the VR app was (and still is) worded in such a way as to influence a user to link accounts.

I don’t support VR under OA ownership Robert.
Unlike most people I didn’t link my VR account to OA so still have full, unadulterated use of the VR app.
Nothing within it has changed, I still have all my lifetime maps and I use it as I always have.
I don’t experience any of the problems your experiencing Robert.
As OA have stated that whilst VR will no longer be updated it will still be maintained AND you can still purchase map tiles through VR I can’t understand why you think it’s broken.
People who linked their account to OA have experienced some issues with VR though.
However, myself and 6 other VR users who HAVEN’T connected have not experienced any problems.

Thanks for the quick reply Chris, much appreciated. The nub seems to be whether one linked VR with OA or not. I’m prepared to accept user error in not realising that this was an option at the time of renewal which, for me, happened to coincide with OA’s acquisition of the app. I shall go back to them again and ask for my VR subscription to continue on the basis that they unlink (delink?) it from OA and then I might be able to reverse matters and regain a situation like your own with a satisfactory, no, an excellent app.
Can you confirm that your subscription allows for updating OS maps without having to link VR and OA please? Thanks.

Hi Robert,
Sorry for the delayed response.
User error is s difficult term in this instance. VR made it seem like you HAD to link your account to OA. (I nearly fell for it myself!)
The VR app continues to contain the splash screen prompting to link accounts – I just ignor it.
Good luck with trying to reverse your own linking of accounts – I’d certainly be interested to hear whether you’re successful or not. Unfortunately I suspect you won’t be.
As for my lifetime subscriptions – yes they still update automatically. I suspect this is because VR is still a standalone app and is not only being maintained, but also continues to sell map tiles.

Hi Chris – this is a partial update and may help you respond to others on this thread too.

1. I haven’t tried to ‘unlink’ my VR and OA accounts, instead I’ve taken out an OS Maps app sub (£25.99).

2. I did have an exchange with VR (I believe, but am not 100% sure, that it was one of the developers – or should I say maintainers) and he told me that OA will not allow VR to sell anything now so, no, I couldn’t get OS mapping without a linked OA account. Not sure what you mean about buying ‘map tiles’ in the VR app.

3. OS Maps has been a mixed blessing – it worked well on the one track I created but when I used a provided .gpx for a challenge walk yesterday the route kept disappearing and only firing the app back up reinstated it, but at the cost of losing the stats. It’s also clunky in the way it swaps files between mobile and desktop but it does work. We reverted to using VR because we were pretty much on waymarked paths all the way, so basic mapping was OK.

4. Finally, in looking for a VR replacement I also approached AllTrails. Customer service was excellent but the deal breaker for me was that you can’t buy OS maps with them.

Hope there’s at least something in the above waffle that is helpful! Rob

Sadly, VR is broken, as the app will no longer work after February – i have this from the horse’s mouth yesterday and today. There will also be no option to download all the maps permanently to your phone or use the ones you have already downloaded. You’re left only with the options of being in an area with a phone signal or downloading small 50 k tiles in advance, assuming you know where and when you’ll need them, then they get wiped when you sign out

Hi,

Like you, I have stuck with VR, unfortunately, my yearly OS subscription expired a couple of days ago, and so I have been “forced” to move over to OA. I have a month’s free trial and I will see how it goes in that time

Thanks for your thoughts

Hi Degs.
VR is still fully functional without any of the issues that have blighted some users who have linked their VR account to OA (duplicate tracks, increased battery usage, slower performance, sync issues etc.)
VR and OA have both stated that the VR app is not being retired and linking to OA is not compulsory.
Whilst there will be no further development of the VR app it is being maintained. The latest Android app update was a storage issue update in line with the latest Android OS update. Another update to the VR app is due in October and will involve having to download your purchased maps and tiles again.
Currently the VR app is fully functional and I use it weekly.
It’s always good practice to export your tracks and routes to gpx files stored elsewhere – mine are exported to me Google Drive.

Hi Chris and all. Great post. A big fan of VR here in Ireland. Through Viewranger, I purchased the whole of the 26-county Republic Ordnance Survey tiles, for 6 years now, using them on the Viewranger app on the phone up on the mountains, on cycle lanes, etc. A fantastic app. I don’t recall ever paying a subscription fee (to anyone), just signed up and purchased tiles (from what I remember anyways). I’ve checked my bank records (can this be so? I am on a premium lifetime subscription for 1000 years, madness I know! until the year 3018 – guess it’s a thing VR do for lifetime subscriptions!).

Like you, Chris, I will not be clicking on any OA spiel to sign up with them, or upgrading/moving over to this buyout from OA, UNLESS my purchase of tiles is honoured, my tracks created are intact (I’ve downloaded them to gpx files, just to be safe) and I get as good a product as I’m currently using. I paid, was it €140-150?, for the LIFETIME use of the OS Ireland tiles (this lifetime anyways). To me, I have always expected that to be that. I could have just kept purchasing hard copy paper maps, but invested in VR instead.

Yeah, agreed Chris, not enough info on what happens afterwards, but I would be seriously disappointed if I lose access to the said purchased OS tiles. ‘A special gift’ for all current VR tile owners/account holders from OA? Complete marketing toddle, nothing can replace what I have purchased. Do not take this away, OA!

Buddies, beacons, etc…Don’t dress it up, OA, ‘taking the best of VR…’ I just want live access to where I am, and where I gotta go, on the mountain/trail…

Question: You did great research on what happens next to VR. As am not moving across to OA unless forced to, can the app still work as normal, ie, with live positioning/tracking of location up on the mountain using purchased tiles, ability to create new tracks, etc? You and everyone else prob in the same boat here I guess, i.e., we don’t know..Correct me if I’m wrong, or not making sense….

Thank you for a very useful article.

I’ve used Viewranger for 3 years with a standard subscription, with the OS 25k maps for my local area (c. 50M radius) downloaded to a phone for walking (including recording routes), plus 250k and 50k on a tablet which I use fully offline as a car GPS. I opted for Viewranger after testing several packages including OS and Anquet. I’ve now downloaded my local area at 25k in OA (+ Mull for a walking holiday) and will give them a thorough test over the next month. (Unfortunately, saved Viewranger OS maps aren’t recognised by OA). If OA works as well offline I will switch to the annual subscription for walking, but keep using the Viewranger maps in the car for the time being (I’m guessing that if the device isn’t connected to the internet, there is nothing to tell the maps to switch off).

Like others I’ve never used Buddy Beacon, Skyline etc. and don’t want ‘bells and whistles’, just a reliable GPS map package that doesn’t rely on an internet connection or crash the phone.

At least there is some continuity, unlike with Tracklogs (my preferred PC route planning package) which simply disappeared.

Hi Stan – I for one will be interested to hear back from you after your trial of VR under OA ownership.
Cards on the table – I was so disappointed in the ‘new’ VR* that I’ve moved to OS Maps, although my experience there is pretty poor too so far (apparently, the bugs, crashes and glitches in the current Android version will be fixed in an update later in June ’21). Even when fixed it will not be a direct replacement for VR, but as long as it is stable on the hills, that’s all I ask. Currently, routes disappear, it freezes, loses data etc.
*I was duped in to linking my VR and OA accounts when the change of ownership occurred but others have said that avoiding this linking means that their VR is working perfectly well as it did before.

Hi Robert,

On the ground I haven’t found a lot of difference, but I tend only to use VR/OA as a GPS map and occasionally to record routes. Broadly speaking I’m satisfied with OA, except that it doesn’t seem to have a facility to make maps download to my SD card rather than main phone memory.

On Mull all my downloaded VR Landranger and Explorer mapping disappeared or became inaccessible, so I had to switch to OA. There’s also no facility in VR to download any more maps. The OS road maps can still be used. The version on my car tablet (I have the full Landranger UK series downloaded) still works, possibly because there is no internet connection to stop it.

Have you or anyone else had this problem?

Stan

Thanks Stan. To get new maps, you HAVE to have your VR and OA accounts linked and will be using OA’s version of VR from that point on (VR are not allowed to sell anything now). VR can still be used unlinked to OA (NB: once linked it is irreversible) and existing maps in your VR account should still be available although no new ones can be bought via VR, only via OA as I say.
To his credit, one of the original developers of VR has stepped up and answered questions/addressed concerns about VR’s future in TGO magazine. Here’s a link to that article:
https://www.tgomagazine.co.uk/news/viewranger-to-outdooractive-navigating-the-transition/

Agree with most of what has been said above. For me the killer deficiency is the automatic snapping to footpaths in OA. I have used the flexibility of VR to plot off-path routes and use my own tracks to create such routes, both on OS 1:25k and French IGN equivalents. VR worked for explorers as well as well as way-mark followers, OA doesn’t, (and nor does OS App which also snaps to principle paths). Why would you alienate this group, who are presumably a significant market segment worldwide. There is a great business opportunity for someone to duplicate the functionality of VR and dump the bells and whistles which few of us seem to want or need. Memory Map doesn’t come close in useability, though it is snap-free. Please someone take up the challenge and deliver us from OA.

Thanks for that Philip, yup found the magnet icon on OA. I have just had a very useful email conversation with one of VR’s founders and subsequently plunged into OA. I am now a convert, route planning a breeze and you can combine free roaming and snap to footpaths to speed up planning. Yes it is more expensive but if, like me, you also walk in Europe it actually works out no more expensive because of the included subs to ING etc. The indexing and listing options make keeping tabs on your routes really easy. The interface is less instantly intuitive but a few hours playing has made it feel much more responsive and friendly. So far limited walks in New Forest have not suffered GPS drop out but we shall see what happens in more remote areas. I think OA communication has been terrible and the huge negativity out there is a product of this but the reality is actually closer to OA’s claims, this is a very versatile and full featured app but it does need time invested to re-learn how to do stuff.

Hi David. I’m really pleased that you’re happy with OA and a lot of the bugs inconsistencies with the app have been addressed.
A lot of the negativity (mine included) was (is) indeed surrounding the poor communication from OA, but not only because of that. Much stems from the fact that OA released a product not fit for the purpose of a lot of VR users whilst targeting those same users.
It’s great that Craig Wareham is responding to emails, yet it’s a shame that he has been ‘forced’ into a conciliatory role simply because OA themselves won’t easily engage with their customers or potential customers.
When paying for a service good customer service relations are paramount.
Hopefully OA will not only have resolved the issues that continue to plague their service, but also put in place a customer service department.

I emailed VR support today after seeing a tweet by Chris about the wonderful Share your adventure web page closing down. I had heard that VR had been bought out but gave it no more thought than that.

I was concerned after I realised that VR is my most used mapping app and that I had accumulated a fair amount of “tiles” over the years I had been using VR. I use it now for looking up areas and on my bike rides to check my position from time to time and its handy that the maps are on my device when signal is poor.

I had a standard reply about linking to the new app etc and that any credits would be taken in to consideration when offering a new subscription. They did add at the bottom of the email:

“You can continue using ViewRanger if you prefer, it is not closing. We are only doing essential updates for operating system changes now, but you are welcome to continue using it with a free account or any purchased maps.

If it is closed in the future, then there would be a further announcement with plenty of notice and options.”

How long the VR app will remain is uncertain, but for now at least I can continue using it as before.

I should say that it was good that someone replied quite quickly on a Sunday afternoon to a random email.

Hope this helps.

Adrian thanks for sharing dude.
The information at the bottom of the email reply you received is encouraging…

Tangentially related to this thread, I have been looking for a replacement for my VR app. I initially went for OS Maps but it is very buggy for Android users currently. I’ve been in a discussion with OS who now promise a “new and improved OS Maps web platform! With exciting updates and new features”. It’s a bit fussy about what browser you use and didn’t like my Opera one. Subscribers are getting an early peek; release date is first half of July ’21. Here’s a link:

https://osmaps.com/new-os-maps-web?utm_campaign=2957690_OS%20Maps.com%20migration%202&utm_medium=email&utm_source=Ordnance%20Survey%20Leisure%20Ltd&dm_i=2I1H,1RE62,9GJUVK,61T94,1

In other news, I have got a premium subscription now to the Memory Map app. Function-wise it’s no VR or even a (properly working) OS Maps, but it’s stable and reliable in the hills if a little quirky. There’s a great WordPress blog on using though – far superior to MM’s own guides IMO.

The OS Maps browser is good – in my opinion better than OA for route planning, the only other one I use now – but the OS Maps phone app is rubbish. I only keep that on my phone because I have downloaded digital versions of paper maps that I bought last year.

I used Stuart’s guide to get me started with the app! I have to agree that it is a brilliant resource and a far better guide than Memory Map’s own.

Hi Pilgrim Chris

Picked up on your long running Viewranger versus Outdoor Active posting last night which made interesting reading. Thanks for starting the very relevant discussion. I am a purchaser of Viewranger units via the old scratch card system and up until 2020, by purchasing batches of units at £15 or £25 via the VW website. I recently used up the last of my pre-puchased units for UK OS map tiles and wanted to buy some more. I am not a VW subscriber and do not wish to link my VW account to OA and face an ongoing annual subscription and lack lustre performance compared to the reliability of good old Viewranger. I have spent well over £200 since 2015 on map tiles and premium maps in Europe and Ireland / Northern Ireland.

The only way to purchase map tiles once you exhaust the pre-paid units held in your account appears to be through the app itself (Not as it used to be, via the virtual “Map Shop”). Last night I was down to 4 units and that was not sufficient to pay for the 20 units needed for one 25K map tile. Once you try to buy a tile and you have insufficient units remaining, the app then offers the registered user the chance to purchase 133 units for £1.99 via Google Pay – and that is what I did. So I am now able to purchase 6 X 25K map tiles.

I wrote to VW last night and received a standard copy and paste reply from Russell Cox speaking for support@viewrangercom technical support. It was just the standard reply trying to persuade me to merge my account with Outdoor Active which I will not be doing.

I will take a look at lone walkers (Stuart’s) review of the latest Memory Map app. I tried it five years ago as I have a set of registered 2014 MM DVDS for UK in 25K and 50K which I run on my PC. The app wasn’t any use then compared to the excellent performance from Viewranger, but the Memory Map program running on PC does a good job.

In the meantime I intend to continue using Viewranger tiles and if the original owners decide to pull the plug I will take up the matter with Cambridgeshire Trading Standards to see if they can help users like me who feel very wronged.

Kind regards
Phil Catterall,
Pickering, North Yorkshire

Hi Pilgrim Chris

Picked up on your long running Viewranger versus Outdoor Active posting last night which made interesting reading. Thanks for starting the very relevant discussion. I am a purchaser of Viewranger units via the old scratch card system and up until 2020, by purchasing batches of units at £15 or £25 via the VW website. I recently used up the last of my pre-purchased units for UK OS map tiles and wanted to buy some more. I am not a VW subscriber and do not wish to link my VW account to OA and face an ongoing annual subscription and lack lustre performance compared to the reliability of good old Viewranger. I have spent well over £200 since 2015 on map tiles and premium maps in Europe and Ireland / Northern Ireland.

The only way to purchase map tiles once you exhaust the pre-paid units held in your account appears to be through the app itself (Not as it used to be, via the virtual “Map Shop”). Last night I was down to 4 units and that was not sufficient to pay for the 20 units needed for one 25K map tile. Once you try to buy a tile and you have insufficient units remaining, the app then offers the registered user the chance to purchase 133 units for £1.99 via Google Pay – and that is what I did. So I am now able to purchase 6 X 25K map tiles.

I wrote to VW last night and received a standard copy and paste reply from Russell Cox speaking for support@viewrangercom technical support. It was just the standard reply trying to persuade me to merge my account with Outdoor Active which I will not be doing.

I will take a look at lone walkers (Stuart’s) review of the latest Memory Map app. I tried it five years ago as I have a set of registered 2014 MM DVDS for UK in 25K and 50K which I run on my PC. The app wasn’t any use then compared to the excellent performance from Viewranger, but the Memory Map program running on PC does a good job.

In the meantime I intend to continue using Viewranger tiles and if the original owners decide to pull the plug I will take up the matter with Cambridgeshire Trading Standards to see if they can help users like me who feel very wronged.

Kind regards
Phil Catterall,
Pickering, North Yorkshire

I’m another long time user of Viewranger. I foolishly connected my account to Outdooractive and have been given a “pro” account. (1) I’ve tried using the Outdooractive app but in this area of Somerset the blue GPS location symbol is mostly in the wrong place whereas if I use Viewranger it’s always in the correct place using the same phone. If this can’t be fixed then Outdooractive is useless to me. (2) I have been used to being able to have all of Southern England at 1:25000 on my Android phone as I can download onto an SD card. Unfortunately the Outdooractive app only lets you download offline maps to main storage so my 16 Mb phone is beginning to look very very small for storage.

So far Outdooractive app looks useless …

I have a similar experience, having used Viewranger on subscription for a few years both for walking and on an old phone as a car GPS. The car one (with all 1:250k & 1:50k of the UK) is intact as it never connects to the internet, but on my current phone (Android) I connected VR to OA and all the downloaded VR maps were deleted or blocked back in June (in the middle of a walking holiday in Mull). OA also blocked access to my downloaded OS maps without warning after the free trial period – in the middle of leading a walk on Exmoor – and didn’t re-recognise them after subscribing, requiring me to delete all the data and start again.

My main beefs are that OA won’t download maps to an SD card, limiting what I can store offline, it’s painfully slow to start up even with downloaded maps, and there’s no way to choose to download for instance only 1:25k maps. I haven’t encountered a huge problem with location finding (I’m also in Somerset, on Exmoor) though it is slower than VR and the dot can jump back and forth in tree cover.

When I opted for VR I tested some of the rival packages and thought VR came out way above the others. I may explore MemoryMap again as I also want something to replace Tracklogs, which is my default planning tool on PC. In the meantime I’ve sent some suggestions to OA.

Hi Stan, I’ve moved to Memory Map (a brief dalliance with OS Premium showed a buggy app which kept dropping my track and data).
MM’s quirky but there’s an excellent blog guide on using it, written by a pal of Pilgrim Chris’s – worth a look I’d say.

It’s fairly certain that someone will replicate VR. There’s a substantial user base who would be prepared to pay a small fee to enjoy the sensible features without a ‘subscription model’ rip-off.

Has anyone used Topo GPS yet? Chris mentioned it was a good alternative to VR. I have downloaded it and bought a few OS 25k tiles as a trial, but not used it yet. It looks easy to use and seems to have similar functionality to VR. You can purchase OS 25k tiles or take out an annual £25 subscription for all GB 25k mapping. The OS Business Partner page describes Topo GPS as suited for “outdoor professionals” which sounds promising -https://www.ordnancesurvey.co.uk/business-government/partner-member/topo-gps

I also foolishy linked my VR to OA recently after 7 years of great perfomance from VR which I used mainly for track recording and importing hills lists from QGIS/ArcMap as VR POIs for mobile use.

I never had a VR subscription, but bought large areas of OS 50k and individual tiles at 25k. VR still working, but perhaps increased battery use (or is that just my battery getting old?) and track recording arrow seems to take much longer to appear on the map than it did before.

Hello, I have read with interest most of your interesting comments and share the frustration & disappointment of ling term VR users. I have used the app for the last 7 years. When I received the 1st email pushing me to transfer my account to OA, I downloaded the app to see what it was like, and immediately knew it was not comparable to VR, so I never activated it & deleted the app. I have always used the free version, downloading offline opencycle maps to my devices. I hardly ever had any problems navigating in any of the countries I have used it. I have saved about 1000 tracks & routes on my account. My concern is that, despite the reassurance given by the VR developers, my app will suddenly stop working & I will lose all my routes/tracks. I asked VR support if there was a way of saving them all in bulk I can’t remember what the reply was, but in any case it was not suitable, as I would not be able to identify the routes. My question is, does anyone know if it would be possible to save the gpx files with the names/details they have been saved in the a account to a computer, but all in bulk, not one by one, so that they could be transferred to another app if needed?

Hope this makes sense. A real shame if we were to lose this amazing app. Many thanks

You should be able to find them all in a folder. On Android, in internal storage under Viewranger/Tracks. They are however an odd extension type.
What I did is move over to OA, hated it, left a bad review (as many), now moved my newly made OA tracks back into VR (can you believe OA was so bad, when I paused a track it lost all I had hiked to that point?!). I will keep using VR to record new tracks but, every month or so, export any new tracks to gpx on my computer (and possibly import in OA). I mean, OA even asked me to pay to download my own tracks on the app (but not on the website?).
That will leave me with OA having all my tracks, should VR cease to open over night and should the .vrtp files in their Android folder not be usable/convertible.
P.s.: it’s ridiculous. I travel worldwide so I used the £5 membership, without OS maps, now I’m forced to pay 27 or what it is for OS maps. Free OA is absolutely useless. Hopefully the incredibly bad rating on Google Play will get them to do something about it (scratch OA for VR in an ideal world).

Thank you!

Unfortunately, they don’t seem to care about any of that. 🙁

Also, I’m really sad now that they are terminating VR in February.

I’m already feeling as though I’m going to lose a dear friend in February. I’m going to feel ‘lost’ without VR on my phone; it’s been my walking companion since 2008.

Hello there.
So, I did the mistake of combining both VR and OA accounts. I wanted to try out the OA app and see how it does, compared to VR. Horrible experience and lack of key features that VR has.

Can anyone please tell me, now that I’ve combined both account, what will happen at the end of the year??

Also, I’ve noticed that nobody mentions how incredibly different the Elevation gain and loss are from one app to the other. I have hikes that gives me 1500m, of elevation gain, in VR, and when I sync with OA it only says 800m… ridiculous…are they even using topographic maps??

Hi Sergio

I did some very extensive testing of OA early in 2021, when my VR subscription ran out. (Happily, VR support gave me a free activation code so that I could use the Premium features for another year – except those that were removed, like BuddyBeacon, AR, etc, and the OS maps of course).

I would go hiking with three apps running – VR, OA and a pure GPS logger which does nothing except log my GPS position.

One of the things I noticed was that the elevation model in OA is garbage. The one in VR gave sensible and consistent results, for example one of my usual walks is three laps of the same route. VR gave the same elevation data each lap. OA gave different elevations, not only from VR, but also for each of the three laps. This was despite me walking on exactly the same path – no variations at all. OA could not even agree with itself each time around the circuit, let alone VR. I think OA uses GPS altitude rather than a Digital Surface Model for elevations, the problem with that is that elevation is the least accurate axis when using GPS-derived position.

I found a list of other problems that most users haven’t even commented on. Either they don’t mind so much, or they haven’t noticed.

For example: OA ‘snaps’ your recorded track to your planned route, until you are a certain distance away – then it ‘jumps’ to your actual position. VR simply records your position all the time. I confirmed with the GPS Logger that it wasn’t a problem with tree cover, ephemeris or accuracy (HDOP/PDOP) – it wasn’t. It was just OA exhibited behaviour that some developer, somewhere, thought would be a ‘good idea’ but really makes it quite dangerous if following a narrow path along a ridge in poor visibility. OA essentially can’t be trusted to tell you where you are (even with a high accuracy GPS signal), only where it thinks you want to be, until you are a certain distance off-track. One reason I could not use it in the hills.

Another gripe was that OA used significantly more battery than VR, just for doing the same thing. Track following, track recording, offline use… OA would use 60-80% *more* battery that VR, and I’d even start VR first and close it last. In short, I simply could not use OA for my longest walks even with a full charge at the start as the phone would have run out, unlike VR which worked fine for a full day hike.

– Matt

Thank you Matt, this comparison is very helpful. I have been trying different apps over the last month, and so far I haven’t found any that has the same functionality as VR, which is very disappointing. I didn’t even have the premium version of VR! I am now trying Orux, it seems quite complicated & you can’t store your routes in your account so unable to synchronise in multiple devices.

I agree with you, VR is the only app that doesn’t drain my phone battery. The difference is significant.

So are we going to get a warning of when exactly OA will deactivate our VR apps & accounts?

Marita

Thanks Matt…

Yes, Elevation gain and loss are as important as how much distance we are hiking, specially when we are planning various days of trekking and we need to establish how much we will hike, each day, depending solely on elevation profile. If OA can’t get it right, how can we even start working with it.

But I’ve noticed that it’s not just OA…These last months I’ve been trying out other hiking apps, using them together all at the same time.

Neither GaiaGPS, Alltrails, Wikiloc, OA and OS MAPS seem to get the elevation gain and loss the right way. Basically, the best hiking app, VR, is the one that is ending. 🙁

I’ve been sending emails, continuously and insistently, to OA criticizing the amount of glitches and errors they have. I even promised that I would subscribe to the pro plus if they fix it the elevation gain and loss. Perhaps if more of us keep insisting, sending them mail after mail, they will correct it?! …I don’t know …this is just despair right now, from me.

They must have noticed, by now, that they have really bad rating, at Google play store, but for some reason, they don’t seem to care.

Gosh 🙁

I’m not sure how long I’ve been using ViewRanger – the oldest receipt I can find for buying tiles is 2008.

I’m quite a simple user – i buy the maps, plan and record routes. When I had the app on a Nokia N95 I don’t think there was such a thing as a subscripton service? and besides I was travelling to places with no signal – so off grid was how I started and has remained the need.

I’m only just getting to grips with what is being proposed – but I don’t want subscription, I don’t want to connect to the hospitality industry, I just want to plan and record routes.

In terms of impacts to me – if I can keep using the app that would work, I have the whole of the UK, but some functionality seems to be going from the website? Its been a long time since I used it – but I don’t seem to be able to synch anymore ? it suggests I use google drive. I don’t seem to be able to view the map with all of my tracks showing ?

The other impact is that I wanted to start buying the European maps – and again going to places with no signal …

All good things hey !

Like many very disappointed with out door active – anyone had problems transferring their tracks – it’s synced only 25% of my 500 tracks. Seems less stable in the field.

I am still using Viewranger on a Nokia 808 Symbian phone lucky i brought all the 1:25k OS tiles that I need. I thought i had lost my credit, however, since connecting my VR account to OA I still have some credits left now. Anyway, I’m so glad I never subscribed now! I have tried the OA app but can’t find a way to show all my tracks at the same time which i need as a mountain biker I am looking at individual downhill trails combined with a route in a certain area.

Does anyone know if there is another app that would show you all your tracks/routes on your device, other than our lovely VR?

Completely ruined one of the best apps available! Not to mention losing my ‘lifetime subscription’ to OS maps actually resident on my phone.

I gave up with Outdooractive a few months ago after various crashes and maps becoming inaccessible. I currently use the OS app on the phone (for maps I have paper copies of), plus MemoryMap where I took the plunge and bought the complete set of 1:25000s. Neither have the easy functionality of Viewranger, though MemoryMap also part-solves another problem, the demise of Tracklogs for PC-based mapping. Again I don’t think MemoryMap is as intuitive as Tracklogs, but it does mean I have the whole country for the price of 6-8 Tracklogs Explorer maps.

I’m probably a different kind of user of VR than most of you. I survey telegraph poles and plotted them on VR using the supplied National Grid Reference in GB and NI. Being able to switch from Road maps to satellite maps was a very handy way to picture where the pole route went.
Wish I had read this thread before linking my account. I can’t work out how to plot POI’s from grid references in the new app so I will be using VR until it no longer works.

Send an email to OA and explain your situation. A part of me still believes that OA will improve and correct some aspects, if their VR users keeps insisting on it.

Also, fyi, VR is planned to end somewhere near the end of February. 🙁

I am another happy ViewRanger user with an annual subscription to access OS maps. It is still the best walking app. The only problem is occasional error on total ascent of a tracked walk. Outdooractive on the other hand has so many essential functions missing. It also drains phone batteries VERY quickly. Today a full charge vanished in just under 2 hours! No other apps running. This makes the OA app useless. VR works all day on my phone and still leaves me with battery power. The list of OA problems would take too long to mention. Despite promises to include many of VR’s features i see little change after 12 months and no information on what we might expect in the future. A sad loss as there is nothing on the market as good as VR.

It looks like it won’t be long before VR stops working ?

I just got this email:

Soon the ViewRanger service will be discontinued.

In order to focus all our effort on our Outdooractive app and website, we will be switching off access to the ViewRanger app and website.

Ive had an email saying vr is shutting down in Feb 2022. But if I link my account I will get access to my lifetime maps in oa. Has anyone tried this and does it work? In the sign up screen it says to confirm what you have read above about lifetime maps, but I hadn’t read anything. I even scrolled through the entire t&c’s but still read nothing. So I haven’t linked anything yet. So sad about Friday.

Hi. I just tried this and(surprisingly) it worked. I had quite few tiles covering most of lake district, south downs and a few pockets around the country – which I didn’t want to lose. I’m pleased to say that I now have offline OS (1:25k + 1:50k) for the whole of GB. Plus a year’s free Pro+ subscription. I imagine they must have had many complaints from people losing stuff they thought they had bought forever. Fair play – they seem to have responded.

Alas, they’ve only gone and done one on us again.

The reason you have offline access to your paid-for maps in the Outdooractive app is because of the free Pro+ subscription. I don’t currently have a subscription (already used the free year’s Pro+ I was offered) and have just linked my paid-for maps but there is no way of downloading them in the Outdooractive app without buying a subscription.

So if you haven’t agreed to that legal waiver yet, you may want to hold off for now…

Yes, we get to keep access to our purchased maps in OA but, unlike in VR, it’s impossible to save them to one’s phone unless one pays for a subscription.

Now I don’t know about you but the maps are of very limited value to me unless I can store them for offline use in the field.

So this ‘solution’ is not much of a solution in fact and is in fact doing is over again!

I’m not sure that’s the case Fergal.
Drop Mike or Craig at VR an email and ask them. Would be good to know either way.

Hello Yes I got the same missive from Viewranger. I am a tiles purchaser not a subscriber. No mention of what is happening to the my.viewranger server service where I have synced access to my tracks, routes and future planned adventures and others tracks and routes. Maybe my.viewranger will also go in February> Wait and see, in the meantime I will continue to use Viewranger and my.ranger for as long as I can, because its unlikely there is anything better. I reckon I’ve spent around £200 on mpas and tiles since I starting using VW anout 7 years ago…
Cheers, Phil

In answer to my query, I just had a response from Mike Brocklehurst at Viewranger support, who tells me the VR app will cease to work after February.

This might offer a solution: https://android.gadgethacks.com/how-to/permanently-stop-any-app-from-updating-play-store-no-computer-needed-0184063/

Only a ‘might’. It depends on exactly how they are going to stop VR working. If the kill switch is already in the app’s code, then it’s too late. Unless anyone has an earlier version of the app, before the off switch was added?

The procedure above ‘grabs’ the existing installation and re-signs it, so it appears as a different app to the real VR. You then have to remove your existing installation though, so be very careful to backup all your purchased maps, map downloads and tracks BEFORE uninstalling the VR app.

It seems very vindictive to actively obliterate a working app. No more updates I could understand, but to actually kill it off…? Maybe the reasoning is that no one would move to OA while VR still worked?

Hi Chris,
It’s not vindictive.
VR has been purchased by OA and, as such, no longer exists. The founders of VR now work for OA who have their own app and vision.

The difference is …imagine you bought a car outright, no Finance, and that car company is then bought out buy a leasing company – and they stop you using your car.

Nowhere other than software would this likely be possible – I bought a product, they retrospectively turn that into a service and control what I can do with it.

It just feels like John Lewis turning up – taking half the cushions from my sofa and then wanting to charge me for sitting on it.

Hi Stephen.
Using a similar analogy….
Imagine you decided to use a free car that had the ability to get you from A to B (VR itself is free).
But then you wanted to upgrade the free car with tools to enhance your experience. You purchase some enhancements, but, after a while, the company who gave you the free vehicle could no longer afford to maintain your free vehicle.
Another company steps and offers you another free vehicle AND give you the option to transfer your purchased enhancements to the new free vehicle (OA)
You’re not leasing anything, l and your enhancements work in the new vehicle. The new vehicle may take some time to get used to and you may not want to use it, but you have the option.

Hi Chris – I can’t answer below your answer that’s below this 🤔

One thing is for certain – your analogy would seem to make a happier view ! 😊

I don’t remember for certain if I paid for the app when I bought it – but I’m pretty certain I did when it first moved to the iPhone ?

Earliest receipt I can find is £60 in 2008 for a section of 1:25k

When I got it though – there was no online access to maps, you just had to buy them, and buy them I did. I used them on a Nokia N95 and then the iPhone.

It didn’t feel like a free car – it felt like I bought a product – maps and app combined, a product and not a service, freehold and not leasehold.

And thus it feels like 12 years later someone is saying ‘the map and apps you bought? Well the app is still ours and we are taking it off you’.

Was the app sold, given, leased ? Certainly felt like I bought it and owned it for the last years – felt like a change of direction to online, and now feels like another change of direction where they are coming back a decade to take it off me.

Stephen, to reply to your reply (no reply option on that reply), I believe the app was free, but you had to buy (outright buy at that time) the high resolution maps you’d need to actually use it. A few low res maps were free. Yes, it came over as a ‘package deal’ to me, too.

I too used it on an N95 – that tiny display!

And to reply to PilgrimChris’s reply (no reply option on that, either):

However, what if I were perfectly happy to keep using this free vehicle, with no further free servicing on offer, and no further improvements, because I was happy with my free car as it was, and it was perfectly serviceable for my needs?

But the donor of the free car came round in the night and burned it out to stop me continuing to use it.

Hello, can anyone tell me how I can save all my gpx tracks & routes in bulk so that I can save on my computer for future use if the app ceases to work, please? I have over a 1000, can’t afford to do one by one. Many thanks

Hi Marita,
You can’t save in bulk via the app.
There might be an option on the website (if it’s still running).

Thanks. Yes, the website is still running. I was told by viewranger a few months ago that i could save in bulk, and I did, but no idea where to and you couldn’t see the individual gpx tracks/routes. So to me it was useless. I was wondering if the viewranger community had any other ideas….

I’ve no idea about routes, but for your tracks:

They are all saved on your device, as text files, but in a specific, VR-propriety format. The data saved seems to be very similar to that found in a GPX: lat, long, altitude & time. It would seem to be feasible to create a script to convert them to GPX – which would enable their use on other mapping applications (although the time data looks a bit odd).

Attach your device to a computer (usually via a USB cable) and access the device’s memory from the computer. On my phone, the folder is “This PC\Galaxy S7\Phone\Android\data\com.augmentra.viewranger.android\files\Tracks”. It may be different on your device. But basically, you need to find the “com.augmentra.viewranger.android” folder, and the tracks are in the “files\Tracks” folder under that. You should see a lot of files, ending with .VRTP. They are your tracks. Copy all the VRTP files onto your computer to save them. You can view them with a text editor eg Notepad.

The timestamp in the VRTPs is in fact a UNIX format, so it is understandable.

I’ve just discovered your tracks might be in a different folder: “This PC\Galaxy S7\Phone\viewranger\Tracks”.

If I get bored this week, I’ll see if I can create a script to convert the VRTPs, but I’m not promising!

Thanks for this update. I too am very concerned at what to do. I tried OutdoorActive (OA) a few months back and it was truly awful, with very little functionality of VR. The final straw was that despite turning off all settings to do so, ALL my tracks and routes were still uploading as public and I had to go in every.time to turn it to private. This took me hours after the initial upload. Totally dire as it was a GDPR privacy issue in that it was obvious to all where I lived. I am a long term owner of all the UK 1:25 and 1:50 maps, having been with VR since Nokia Symbian days in 2009 or earlier. I use these maps offline as there is often no mobile reception where we are. I had an email months ago saying there was no plan to close access to VR, but now there is. I hated OA but have no idea what to move to? I only use the downloaded maps, online apps would be useless to us. We record lots of tracks. We record lots of routes on the app to use later on. I have thousands of tracks and hundreds of routes. VR have obv. sold out for money and OA are scrapping a fantastic app to use their own useless one. I am not happy at this latest move.

You should have a look at Background Navigator Pro.
It’s the one of the two apps I’ve chosen to replace Viewranger ( the other is Alpinequest).
It’s a £12.99 one off fee and you get 1:25k and 1:50k OS downloadable offline OS maps plus others.

Hi, yes that’s it.
I mentioned the “pro” bit because there are three apps and Pro is the one I went for because of its one off fee.
I tried the XE version of the app (yearly subscription) but preferred the Pro.
Alpinequest is very functional and its battery usage appears to be light but, alas, no OS maps.

How can they disable the app if we don’t update it ?

I have purchased all GB and all of France now I’ve looked … I want to be able to use those where I have no signal l, as I always have.

(I can’t reply to PilgrimChris’s reply to this, so I’ll reply here.)

However, what if I were perfectly happy to keep using this free vehicle, with no further free servicing on offer, and no further improvements, because I was happy with my free car as it was, and it was perfectly serviceable for my needs?

But the donor of the free car came round in the night and burned it out to stop me continuing to use it.

Your thoughts on this, Chris/community..any info/knowledge?

Can I record new tracks, name them, colour them to stand out, on the newly transferred-to-OA maps after the end of Feb ’22? On a free OA account. Or is it just a case that I can look at/ follow my current tracks (OA will transfer my tracks from what I’m reading.. is this correct?) Note: I still haven’t moved over to OA, but will do so before Doomsday. Would I have to subscribe, if I want to add new tracks in OA (bad story if you have to..).

I will back up beforehand, looking at Marita’s original thread here, and the very helpful advice following. As mentioned in an earlier comment, I am (still!) a happy VR customer, I own (purchased not subscribed) all of Ireland’s 1:50k tiles (plus EAST-WEST Mapping’s excellent set of 1:25k tiles covering the Dublin/Wicklow Mountains). Much disappointment will ensue if E-W maps don’t transfer to OA also..

Chris or anyone find any info on this?

Hi, I joined ViewRanger and was migrated to OutdoorActive in October. This morning I received a notification from Apple saying my Subscription to ViewRanger has been Discontinued, and I now find that I cannot access my migrated OutdoorActive account….. indeed my account seems to have disappeared.

In VR i always used the way of making POI’s by entering coordinates in DDMM format. In the OA app i can not find this way. Only by clicking on the map i can add a POI, but not as accurate as by entering coordinates. Will this option ever be build in OA? If not i will search for an alternative program.

Been using VR for the last of 10 years. Never subscribed but bought loads of tiles which are downloaded to my phone since I always use VR outdoors, in aeroplane mode (saves battery).In light of the updated replies from VR above, if I switch to OA, can I still do this WITHOUT SETTING UP A SUBSCRIPTION? There was a comment above that suggested you had to have a [paid] sub to access your tiles when offline – is this correct?

This is disastrous. Due to covid and other things I have not used VR for a couple of years. Two days ago I started it up and was “persuaded” to migrate to something I’d never heard of. I’ve had no emails warning of this, and being a solo walker don’t really follow the usual gossip. I’ve had VR for yonks, no subscription, just hundreds of pounds worth of purchased maps. Apparently I now have a free sub to OA Pro+, but not for ever it seems. The damn thing is defective in many ways – as everyone has said. When first opened it had no maps, so I clicked their help button to be taken to a message that I either accepted advertising or paid Euro2.50 pm for their manky website! Upon complaining that my maps had not been ‘synced’ as claimed, their reply was that I now had full maps of the entire UK. However these turn out to be online, and I now have to laboriously download a single screen at a time rather than use my own offline maps that I paid good money for. Ridiculous.

Worse, I also started up Navionics (coastal marine charts) to find that Garmin have bought it and now force me to login before it will start, ie it now needs an internet connection. They tell me that one login will persist and allow future logins while offgrid – all my small boating is done offgrid – but for the last two days their server has given errors instead of logging me in. This is not fit for purpose, and they are now refusing to reply to me.

It seems that the dark side is winning all round …

So …. I now have an app update for ViewRanger sat on my iPhone. It must almost certainly be the one to disable it……. Anyone else in the same situation?

I haven’t seen an update yet.

Though, TBH, I would have made sure the kill code was in the released version BEFORE announcing it.

I have the same update. I will not be updating to the new version and I’ll wait to see what happens when they disable VR.

Is it strange that I’m feeling the loss of VR already?! It’s been my hiking “companion” for years and now it’s going away.

I feel the same sense of loss. It’s been a knowledgable walking companion for so many years – someone you could rely on.

One positive on OA is that they are answering questions on Service@Outdooractive.com

I’ve asked a couple of questions which I’ll share here in case they are helpful:

*******

Hi

I’ve just migrated from ViewRanger, which I’d been using since 2008.

Everything I used on ViewRanger was off line – where I could see all of my routes and tracks on the map – and orientate myself accordingly.

How can I have my routes all display at once in OA please ?

I really want to be able to see all my routes and no others – at the moment I only seem to be able to filter online routes from other people. Which I’ve no use for.

If the answer is to add them to ‘my map’ – do I have to do that one at a time ? I’ve hundreds of them.

Hope you can help – I’m worried that your app is really built around an online and community experience – rather than just maps that I can mark and use offline.

Stephen

**********

Hi Stephen,

Sorry, the only way to show multiple route lines is using My Map.

The easiest way to bulk mark is using the PC. Use the lists at http://www.outdooractive.com, click the M+ on the routes you’d like to see. Or similar with the buttons in the lists in the app under My Page – press and hold to show the check/tick boxes, select those you want to include, then use the bookmark button at the top.

We are pushing for this to be changed, it was discussed this week.

**********

I’ve just then gone back with this:

Thanks for the reply, it’s appreciated.

It’s a key change to help make it viable in my opinion. Perhaps others would disagree but controlling what data you see seems core to being able to match just drawing your routes onto a paper map, heading out and picking which one is around you based on conditions and access – and of course that can all be in a place with no access.

Can I ask something else along that line too please ?

Is there a maximum area you can download for offline use? As above I often head to quite large areas, driving unsurfaced roads to reach areas I would then access on foot, and repeating that cycle a few times before I get back to a point where I can be online.

So I can need really quite a large area on my device – and to avoid being lost or stranded I need to be sure there is no online dependence for that. For example if something happened that logged me out, would that require a connection to log back in and deny me access to those maps? That could be really dangerous – I wouldn’t want to be lost in an area I don’t know well, in bad conditions, unable to find my way back to the car …

Sorry for the questions – I just need to make sure it is safe.

If the approach has moved to online – but dropped the basic ‘digital map’ functionality I need to know to be safe.

***********

See what they say.

In the meantime I’ve downloaded Gaia and AllTrails to see what they are like.

First impressions: Gaia looks nice and simple – AllTrails looks like another online community type app.

Like many I have been using VR since Nokia Symbian days and the offline mapping and ability to plan routes on my tablet sitting in my campervan without signal has been awesome. I am a x country cyclist and OA’s ability to draw routes that stick to bridleways is also awesome, coupled with the voice navigation. I can leave my phone in my pocket and be directed which is a great feature, or export good gpx for my garmin.
However that is only because i have been gifted a £56 pro+ subscription for 1 year. When that year ends in 9 months i may have access to maps (not certain about this) but i will have no functionality unless I pay.
What I would like is a much reduced pro+ license for OA going forward. I am acknowledging that things have changed and there are some benefits to OA but I won’t pay £56 / year. They need to acknowledge that I bought maps in good faith and have had functionality removed.

Like many of you i loved VR since Nokia Symbian days and over the years have aquired all the tiles i need, including Switzerland and France. . I now have a pro+ license for Outdoor Active for a year. As a cross country cyclist i use it for planning and following routes.
OA has voice turn by turn navigation that works realy well, so can leave the phone in my pocket and be reminded to turn left in 40 yds onto track, then continue straight for 1 mile etc. The route planning is also awesome, can stick to bridleways and roads and produce good detailed gpx downloads for my garmin if i want backup. The route planning cleverly allows os mapping in the view but uses open cycle map for the routing. You can download the mapping associated with a route so it works off grid.
Got to decide if i want to pay £56 a year in 9 months time, but enjoying it at the moment.

The car analogy seems complicated. Here’s a simpler one:
You buy some maps from a shop that sells old fashioned paper maps. A few years later the shop ceases trading and is taken over by another company. They find a record of customers who have bought maps, go round to their houses, and rob them of all the maps they have bought. They then contact all the old customers to tell them they should come back the shop so they can buy the maps again. They’ve painted the store front and there’s a new cafe inside, so the customer experience will be much better!

Not quite a correct analogy.
The maps you PURCHASED through VR are still available in OA.
Only subscriptions need renewing.

They’re available, but you can’t download them in full and keep them permanently. You can only download small areas which get wiped when you sign out. So you have to know in advance where you may want to use the map and download that map. The reason I bought the maps was to have them permanently on my phone for when I needed them, wherever I was, such as when travelling by car

It’s already happening!
I haven’t updated VR app, to the last update available and I can’t sync desktop with app itself. Also, it’s not syncing with OA.

One question, one very important question.
Does anyone know if it’s possible to download all maps to our phone, so I can use them offline without depending on their servers?!??

If this is possible it would be life changing and we could still be using the app without any need for the desktop version.

One more question…where can I find my saved area maps on my phone (the ones I’ve downloaded already)?

Of you know anyone from IT that could be of help, please ask them before they shut down the VR servers.

Support told me that we can’t use downloaded maps after the changeover, as, to use the maps on your phone, the app has to contact the site and this will be blocked. But I’m not sure if that is right, as currently I can use downloaded maps where there is no phone signal, so presumably the app doesn’t currently contact the site. Strange!

Sergio, unlike in VR it isn’t possible to access maps you have downloaded for offline use in OA. You have to plan ahead and just download an area that you’ll be using. That area is then available to be used offline while you go for your activity in that area.
If you have bought whole maps or tiles through viewranger then OA should give you a membership which has access to the same maps.
The VR maps you bought and downloaded to your phone I understand are not usable in anything other than VR. Such a shame. It does seem we are losing out.

I want to find a way to download all ViewRanger Labdscape maps, either to my phone or pc and then access it whenever I wish to.

This way I would be able to still use the VR app without the need to sync and download the maps from their servers.

If anyone knows how to do this, please share… it’s not the maps you buy and then have on your phone, it’s the ViewRanger Landscape maps, since I’m in Portugal and here we only had those as options.

Ahh 😕 I think you’re describing having used their online maps. There will be no way to get those.
The VR maps I have, I bought a long time ago and downloaded from a link they sent me. I then directly loaded these onto my device, into one of the VR application folders – and used them offline from there.

Oh … 🙁

…and those maps you bought, are they from all Europe, or just UK?!

If they are from all Europe, Is there a way I can have them?!

I’m entering into despair, thinking I’m about to lose VR.

After trying many many other apps, I still can’t find a substitute that equals VR. There are some things from one app and things from other, but none put it all together.

Do you happen to know where can I find the online maps I’ve downloaded to my phone? I can’t seem to find them on the ViewRanger folder.

Original Viewranger users who bought map tiles (NOT Subscription) should be able to continue to use the app in existing devices, I believe. Subscription users will not – when their paid for year is up they will lose their mapping and Viewranger will then be worthless to them. When purchased tile users replace their aging devices it is likely that the Viewranger app will have been withdrawn from the Android Play Store so they will likely not be able to continue using Viewranger, but their purchased UK OS maps should still be available without subscription in (the inferior at present) Outdoor Active.

For overseas mapping outside UK the application I would suggest you could try is Locus Map Pro Version 3. Its worth learning to use it and offers many of the features in Viewranger and is reliable. I buy the Lo Maps Locus sell which are an enhanced version of Open Street Map. I’ve used the app extensivelywith Lo Maps in Europe and Australia and will continue to do so.

Good luck SergioF,

Phil

VR Support to,d me that we won’t be able to use our downloads “lifetime” maps, as the VR app will need o contact the site first and this will be blocked. I queried this, as obviously this can’t be the case now or you would not be able to use downloaded maps if there is no phone signal, which is not the case, but they said that is how it will be

@PhilC

Thank you so much for the app suggestion, I’ll take a better look later on, but I’ve Installed it already. Looks promising.

One question, does the app allow for import and export of .gpx?
Also, does it have a desktop version that allow for sync between the app?

The thing I’m most curious about is to see if the Elevation gain and loss are as good and precise as the one from VR.

Yes Sergio, Locus V3 you can import GPX POI files (I import 100s of summits and GPX tracks. I don’t think there is web server support. I am unsure if this is available though in V4 which I haven’t looked at yet as it was on subscription, like a lot of this software is going. The owner has retained access to V3 and its still supported. Long may it continue. I was using Locus Lomaps in the Tres Montes Portugal area last October, it never let me down me driving and walking to summits in the area. Good luck, Phil

When I go to import, on ViewRanger, what kind of files can I import?!

I know about .gpx, but are there any free maps I can download so I can use offline. If yes, what format should I be looking for?

Nope, we’re not going to be allowed to continur to use the VR app after 28th, they are switching it off, as I understand it from the developer – “ViewRanger is being switched off on 1st March – after that date it will only show an alert to change to Outdooractive. The web site will still allow you to manage data, but not display maps.”

That’s the full extent of the reply I got when trying to raise my concerns with Outdooractive.

I’ve spent a couple of hundered quid on downloading premium maps for VR over the years, I’m pretty aggrieved that I’ll be left with nothing. Doesnt make any sense to buy a loyal customer base then put two fingers up to them in the initail transition. Like others I am very attached to the offline option, esp hiking in mountainous areas, An area of 50x50km just doesn’t cover an hike much over 2 days, and mobile data connections arent always availble. Back to the paper versions for me I guess.

I have 7 comments on here, all saying “awaiting moderation”. Not clear if only I can see them or whether this is just a mistake

Is there anything similar to viewranger/ locus that uses openCycle rather than openstreet maps? Ideally I would like to use an app where I can download opencycle maps all over the world, as I have done with viewranger.
On another note, I have been told by someone in Outdooractive support team that previously worked in the VR support team that the app will cease to work by 1st March, not making any distinction between subscribers or non-subscribers. Not sure I will take the risk, so I will move accounts to have their basic options. At least I should not lose my routes & tracks

I hope youa re wrong the the app will cease to function even for us old time tile buyers! I’m pretty sure you can get the OSM and OSM cycle map installed offline with contours in the free version of Locus (there are ads I think). The pro version doesn’t cost much though. Th eLo Maps are cheap though and very good. I like them for driving routes and walking.
Cheers, Phil and thanks to Pilgrim Chris for starting this thread – very useful

Hi Marita.
I’m using the full version of Alpinequest.
It cost me £8.99 from the Google play store.
All of the Openstreetmaps (including the cycle maps) are available to download on there.
As is the open street Topo map.
As are the Thunderforest adaptations of the OSM maps.
And plenty more, including Topo maps for loads of European and worldwide countries.
I’ve only downloaded UK areas but if your sure then they have an “alpinequest lite” and an “all-in-one offline maps” app for you to have a play with it free of charge.

Thank you Matthew. I had downloaded the free version of Alpinequest but after looking at the app options, I deleted it last week, so I must have missed something! I will have another look and see if I can get what I need with the paying version, basically I’d like to download maps for offline use and need to be able to synchronise 2 devices + web. Thanks again for your response

You’re welcome.
I don’t know if it can synchronise between devices and the web. That may be the stumbling block.
You may have tried the “Alpinequest lite” app which I didn’t find very helpful.
I found that the “all-in-one offline maps” app gave a better representation of the full paid version.
I haven’t got a clue as to why they the those two separate free versions. It certainly helps to confuse

Actually, I hadn’t deleted it. I am trying so many apps that I am getting confused. Well, I actually had the openCycle map on the lite version, but I must have been put off by something, not sure what, as was considering Lotus instead. I am also trying out the paid version of Oruxmaps. You can download lots of maps too, but opencycle is only to be used online, can’t save tiles for offline use. Thanks again. Yes, the clarification “if you’re not sure” was helpful!

Do you mean Locus?
If so I should point out that (in my understanding) you need a further subscription to be able to download the cycle maps for offline use.
Locus is one of the many apps I tried, so I feel your pain regards the number of apps 🙂

The paid version of Alpinequest definitely allows the OSM cycle map downloads.
I downloaded the OSM cycle map, the OSM Topo map and the Thunderforest landscape map (based on OSM) earlier today for a walk I’m doing this Sunday.

**One caveat is that I’m in the UK, I can’t imagine that it would be different if you’re not in the UK, but I felt it’s something I should mention **

I started a thread on the walkhighlands forum on the subject Viewranger’s demise, I don’t know if any of it would help

https://www.walkhighlands.co.uk/Forum/viewtopic.php?f=20&t=109518

That shows how confused I am!: yes, I meant “Locus”, 🙂 I will have a look at your link, thank you. I live in the uk but VR has been my companion everywhere, UK & abroad, so looking for an app to do the same. Yes, the lite locus says you need the paid app to download the openCycle maps for offline use. I have contacted the developer about the synchronization. I think that was the issue. I always use 2 phones for navigation so i definitely need to be able to synchronise. Will try the all in one too.

Oh, and thank you for your next post too! Actually, I used that link before to use the maps in Oruxmaps! Good to know it can be used in other apps too. Thanks again for your comments and happy walking & navigating!

PS I have read your thread with interest, we all have the same issues! So which Apps have you actually settled for? You seem to have tried them all, even the one-off payment ones too! I have only paid for one (OruxMaps, very cheap) so far, but have tried about 5 or 6.

It feels like I have tried far, far too many apps.
It’s strangely comforting to know that many people are also experiencing the same issues
🙂
The two apps I have settled with are …

1:
Alpinequest for £8.99: this gives me most of the maps I’ll use including all the openstreet maps and the Thunderforest maps. The “traffic light” slope warning map overlay is handy too.
You can also download bing satellite map tiles which I’ve found handy for finding woodland ridings.
It’s perhaps a bit complicated at first but that’s only because it has so many functions.
If I’m 100% honest if I’d discovered Alpinequest first then I’d possibly have chosen that instead of Viewranger.
My ONLY problem with it is that it doesn’t offer Ordnance Survey maps.
Therefore …

2:
Backcountry navigator Pro for £12.99.
This is quite a basic app but I got it because I can download 1:25k and 1:50k Ordnance Survey map tiles at no extra cost.
I also put the Scotland openandromaps map on it as a backup.

I’m sorry to say that Orux is one of the few apps I’ve not tried so I can’t offer a comparison with the ones I’m using.

I don’t know if either of those offer a solution to your mapping problem.
Either way, ‘appy hunting 😂👍

I am trying to use some of the apps to follow a route or even record a route but some (alpinequest for example, and I think backcountry too) dont let me unless I subscribe, which is a pain, as I want to see how accurate the tracks/routes are. I lead for ramblers and need my routes to be as accurate as possible. I am already disappointed with some apps that cut corners when you record a track; I cant see an option to make the tracks as accurate as possible. Interesting to see that we need 2 apps to replace a beautiful one!

Snap, I’m a Rambler’s walk leader too 👍
I did record tracks for a few walks with Alpinequest, backcountry navigator Pro and my smart watch.
My smart watch was most accurate.
I found I needed to switch off my battery saver for the 2 apps to record properly.
However, I found them both to be very similar in accuracy to Viewranger.
They both do slightly cut the corners but
Viewranger used to do that to me too, It was always obvious what path I was on though.

Regards battery usage: I would say that Alpinequest is similar to Viewranger.
Backcountry navigator Pro was a little heavier but it wasn’t awful

There probably is a magic app out there that’ll do it all but I settled on 2.
In fact, to be fair I’d say locus is probably the best all rounder, I simply went with the (potentially) cheaper options.

Sorry, me AGAIN 🙂
It just occurred to me to mention that IF you try Locus you can download a free map from
https://www.openandromaps.org/en
it’s based on the OSM maps and it works in the free version of Locus.
It’s actually a very good quality map with loads of details.

Backcountry navigator Pro sounds interesting – I am really only interested in GB-wide OS maps, location search, POIs and live tracking – but I’m wondering why everyone isn’t rushing to it. What does it not do that Viewranger does (did)?

It’s gone, nooooooooo.
😔

I don’t use a computer at all, I use my phone for plotting routes and I’ve (ironically) found that Outdoor Active is quite good for plotting a route.
I mostly use a website though, it’s called plotaroute.com.
It IS a bit awkward doing it on my phone but it’s pretty user friendly. You can get it to follow any paths so it takes most of the hassle out if it.
It’s free version gives access to the Openstreetmap Outdoors and Cycle maps.
I’ve also tried to use the Alpinequest app to plot routes, it’s not bad but I much prefer that website.

Never heard of plotaroute! I will give it a go, thanks. I may try outdooractive on a desktop too, although I am reluctant to have anything to do with it

There are probably good alternatives to plotaroute but I’m a creature of habit.
I am using the free version and it’s suited me so far.
I know what you mean about outdoor active, I had deleted it but have reinstalled it to just use it’s plotting function.
I feel like a traitor 😄

I deliberately didn’t download the last update – and it still died today.

I better go back and read what I have to do to use OA now.

Disaster 🙁

Matthew, what do you use to plot routes on a computer? I used viewranger on opencycle (confirming the route OS just to make sure I was plotting on public paths). Plotting a route on a phone is very difficult (and not as accurate). Thanks

Hi,

I feel like I’ve been under a rock for the last year, as I’m just learning about this change-over now. I’ve been trawling through online posts trying to find clear answers to the following questions:

1. I have been using the free (no subscription) ViewRanger app with purchased maps – several hundred dollars worth of purchased maps. It sounds like I need to switch to Outdoor Active and purchase a monthly subscription in order to have ongoing offline access to these maps – is this correct?

2. Does anyone know for sure whether the existing ViewRanger app installed on my phone will no longer function after March 1?

If anyone has answers to these, they would be much appreciated! Thanks for posting about this, very helpful.

Thanks,
Harry from Canada

Does anyone know if you MUST transfer your Viewranger account to Outdooractive BEFORE Viewranger actually dies, or will one be able to transfer one’s accounts and maps etc afterwards? I suspect no-one knows, but if it is as I fear, there is no real choice but to transfer before the end of February, while Viewranger is still working…. Which is annoying, because there is the possibility that in reality Viewranger might actually go on working for years if one blocks any updating software?
Also, Backcountry Navigator Pro sounds interesting (I’m mainly interested in GB-wide OS maps, POIs and live tracking), but I’m wondering why everyone isn’t fleeing to that. What does it not do that Viewranger does (did!)?

I am not happy about the “conversion” of the Viewranger platform into Outdoor Active. I currently have access to both platforms on my phone and tablet and I find the style and quality of the maps provided to be very different; both in appearance and in the information they provide. The Viewranger map tiles are in “full O.S.” format, with the familiar system of symbols that have been around for decades, with colour coding, contour lines, features of interest etc. The Outdoor active map, in comparison, look very “basic”, with an dearth of colours, environmental information, contours etc. Yes, they do show the roads, footpaths etc needed for hiking and the like, but they definitely lack detailed local information of the Viewranger predecessor. I shall be looking into finding another mapping app, especially if the Viewranger maps that I have PAID FOR become unavailable when the switch is complete.

I’ve been a happy VR user for many years – creating my own private routes and saving tracks and using all in off-line mode as many of the mountainous areas of Scotland don’t have a signal. I was shocked today to find out the app was being disabled at the end of the month. So I connected my account with OA to have a look at the app and was horrified to find a massively confusing app full of adverts and all the useful features (showing your routes and tracks on the map) only open to subscribers.
So I’ll be immediately deleting my data and the app and hoping that the VR app will still be usable in the way that I’m used to as in being able to follow routes and save tracks. I’m assuming the sync will stop working so I won’t be able to create routes on my laptop any more so I’ll be checking the apps mentioned above for suitable alternatives.

Does anyone know if it’s possible to extract and covert VR map tiles into a non-proprietary format that can be used in other mapping applications? OA just doesn’t cut the mustard for me but I own many tiles for four different countries worth several hundred euros and I really can’t afford to buy them all again. I think I’ve found the location of the tiles on my android device and managed to copy them to the PC but they are in a proprietary VRC format. A tool called ViewToolRanger exists that seems to be able to covert files INTO VRC format – does anyone know how to decode VRC files into say PNG?

Hi all. I do hope you’ve not uninstalled viewranger yet… I’ve stumbled on a way in.
Quite simply import any gpx File you have on your device, hopefully viewranger will appear as an option.

So – can anyone tell me how to view all of my routes on OA please?

It tells me I have 211 tracks and 53 routes, and in VR I had them all showing on the map … I seem to be able to go into them and see one of them … but I don’t know how to get it to display all of them ?

Could anyone help please ?

Find a gpx file that you have saved, or previously downloaded. Click on it and there should then be an option to ‘open with’ and a list of available apps should be visible. Click on viewranger and it should open. – It’s a bit of a faff but gets the job done.

Hi Mike. I have a not quite up to date version of vr but would be interested in how you can install an old version. – also, you lost me with copy back to config folder…

OOh. Can you explain how to do that please? Where can you install an old version from and how/where from to do you find and copy the config folder?

this is what worked for me …

copy the Viewranger folder (important)

uninstall Viewranger, this will likely delete your maps and map codes so ensure you have copies

install an old version – I reckon anything before Autumn 21 will work – google will find it

copy config folder back into the Viewranger folder

copy map folders back into the Viewranger folder

on startup login to your account

all works !

suggest you do this quickly before they shut the login

Brilliant, Mike! Thank you so much. Works for me too: I’m up and running again. I chose the March 2021 Update and it works just fine. I’ve saved the update too, so when I get a new phone maybe I’ll even be able to put Viewranger on that too.

To find folders I attach my phone to my PC using a USB cable. I don’t know how you do it otherwise.

You can only really do this by attaching your phone to a PC with a USB cable. Then you should be able to see all your phone’s memory from the PC, to copy, delete and add files as required.

My Viewranger folder is “Phone\Android\data\com.augmentra.viewranger.android\files”. There may also be a few files in “Phone\viewranger”.

So I saved my VR folders, deleted the app, downloaded a August 2021 version of it and put the folders back on the phone. I now can download new tracks into the app, but how do I put older tracks on it that I already walked or downloaded before?
Also a concern: how long will it be working this way? Will it be over again once the phone has to be updated?

Copy tracks and routes from the backup. Update, depends what you mean. Make sure playstore doesn’t update the app. For a new phone, install from the old version then copy folders from backup.

Hi Mike (I am not able to reply on your message so I have to reply on mine).
I already copied the tracks and routes back in the same place I found them. As you said, most of the folders were here Phone\Android\data\com.augmentra.viewranger.android\files”.
And some here “Phone\viewranger”.
I also did ‘synchronizing’ in the app, but nothing happened there… so I don’t see my old tracks yet..

Just looking at this now and there’s a disclaimer if you sign over to OUTDOORACTIVE you can’t sue or ask for money returned for purchases in ViewRanger, hence I’m looking to see if anyone has asked for a refund.

I have asked for a refund but just got a reply stating I would benefit from getting all of Spain at the same resolution. So I tried checking this out on my tablet only to be told my tablet is not compatible with the OA app!

I have emailed about getting a refund with regards to the map tiles of Spain that I have purchased, all I was told is I am ‘better off’ as I now had the whole of Spain for free. Can I assume that when out of range of a mobile tower I would still get access to my maps at the same resolution or only when within mobile phone/tablet range?

Since VR closed down I tried downloading the OA app to my tablet where I have purchased and stored a considerable number of tiles from VR. To access them now that VR has ceased to operate I get the message that my tablet is not compatible with the OA app, so I now have to purchase a new tablet?

Surely it means it’s the VR maps that aren’t compatible with OA, not that the tablet isn’t compatible with OA?

Hi Chris, just wanted to post an update from a Memory Map perspective. Now that the VR is dead and people are in the process of selecting a replacement, this may be timely. Some of the folk who have posted comments will know that I publish a Memory Map user guide, created in frustration at what used to be, quite poor documentation from MM themselves. I have long been a VR user, even though I use MM on the desktop – which probably says quite a lot about the quality of the two mobile apps.
However, there is some good news for mobile users – a new version of the MM app, for both iOS and Android is about to be released. I’ve been given access to an early beta release and it looks excellent. It’s been re-written from the ground up and has some lovely features, as well as feeling much less ‘quirky’ than the original app.
One major function that VR users will particularly like is full POI management! Yes, we now have POI categories. This means you can hide or delete a single POI, or a group of POIs, you can move multiple POIs from one category to another easily. You can export individual, selected or groups – even VR didn’t let us do this!
You can also sync all your data, or only selected data items, between desktop and mobile, with ease.
Best of all, as with the current app, you have access to all your maps stored locally on your device, with no need for a mobile signal – I’m still trying to get my head round how OA can be considered a serious outdoor app when it doesn’t offer this!
You can find me on twitter @LoneWalkerUK if you have any questions and keep an eye on the memory-map.com website for news on the open beta release, due this week hopefully.

Many thanks for this MM update info Stuart, as well as repeated thanks for the exceptional MM guide you have written.
Anything that makes MM a bit less quirky is welcome. That said, fundamentally it’s a very good app at my low level of tech knowhow and, unlike you, I DO use it in the field since VR curled it’s toes up to all intents and purposes last year. Thanks again!

Memory Map seems to have come on a bit! Sounds potentially great. Is it the Version 6 that the website currently talks about that we should be looking at, or is it a soon to come V7 ?
Does it/will it 1) live track like Viewranger and 2) have a poper OS site search like Viewranger? OA site search is the entire web which is hopeless compared to Viewranger’s OS Index search.

Steve, v6 is the desktop version, but it will work with this new mobile version (via the cloud-sync feature).
If you’re still running v5 on the desktop you should think of upgrading to v6 (your maps will work in both desktop versions and in the mobile app) it’s loads better!
The mobile app (both current version and the new beta version) will record a track as you walk, just like VR. The search in both versions of the mobile app is a proper OS search as you would hope! The new version breaks the search results down into towns, lakes, hills, regions etc too which is awesome!
Stuart

Thank you, Stuart. Sounds seriously promising. Can you post on here when the new mobile version is out please? I don’t have V5 on my PC, but I have V1 on CDs !

Of course, will do. The mobile app (both current version and this new beta) will stand alone, there’s no requirement to link it to a PC version of the app. If you’re an old hand with MM this may be new to you, as you used to have to link the mobile version to the desktop to transfer maps.

OK. I found a replacement in Alpinequest pro. I’m glad that someone here pointed out that they use the thunderforest maps. So far I am happy with how the app looks and feels. On my way for a 2 day hike to test it.

Yes Alpinequest is overall a pretty good app, I’m very happy with it.
The Thunderforest maps are good aren’t they. Have you tried the OSM Topo map as well?
I also use the DEM (Digital Elevation Model) layers and maps, they seem pretty accurate with slope gradients.
Dare I say I think I actually prefer it to Viewranger.
The only reason I use a second app is to let me access OS maps.

Let us know how you get on with Alpinequest. I’m interested in its reliability for offline navigation and track recording accuracy.

To update on a replacement.

I lost access to the old VR app despite not having updated it for sometime, they must have put the code to turn it off sometime ago. I think they told me OA bought VR 2 years ago – so it must have been their plans for a long time.

Like many here then I’ve been trying many different apps to find a viable replacement for my needs – and I now have.

It seems many of the current mapping apps are now built around a subscription model, online access, and community data.

Non of that really interests me – what I need is simply digital maps that I can record and show my own routes on. It seems such a simple model (and was how VR started!) – but it seems the minority now.

What I’ve gone for is OSMAnd Maps – the Open Street Maps App.

It’s outstanding. You can use online maps, and they are many and diverse and good quality, but you can permanently download and operate entirely offline with very easily with various good quality maps too.

It has loads of options around showing and recording tracks, and managing POI, changing the layers and way you view a map – but it’s easy to use.

All new apps can be baffling to me to start with, but I’ve got this really quickly and it has a great balance of feature rich and easy to use.

I’m really happy with it.

You can use it free – which seems very workable. The omissions for me were contour lines and gradient shading. But for a less than £10 a year you get those (and other things) to download and keep on your device along with an enormous array of other maps.

I’ve found a replacement – and I’m no longer gutted VR has gone.

It’s good that you’ve found an alternative that you’re happy with and which suits your use case! I’m guessing there’s no support for Ordnance Survey mapping though – which is probably what most of us are interested in? Are you using it mostly for cycling, rather than walking?

Let me try and offer a perspective on that.

I used OS maps since I was a child, I grew up in the Lake District and had them on my bedroom walls, and ai spent days on end studying them and then going out to explore the bit I’d studied.

So I used Paper OS Maps, annotated with a highlighter pen, until about 2004 – when I bought Memory Map – I then switched to VR very soon after it came out.

I always felt there was a gulf between the quality of OS maps and any others (including IGN etc – but that’s a different conversation – but in short OSM Maps have evolved significantly since I last looked and (for my purposes) I no longer think there is.

I wish there was a way I could share a screen shot so you could see what I mean. I’ll try and think of so where I could host a picture and link it to here.

But my suggestion would be to look at them as an alternative. They are configurable – so don’t judge the base map against an OS map.

In terms of use – MtB and Hiking recreationally, but I also drive, often on unsurfaced roads to get access to wider areas and then would say hike from there. Offline access is critical.

Stephen, that’s an interesting update on OSM – I’d never have considered them suitable for hiking. I’ve only ever used OS maps, and like most people I guess that’s because they show me the PRoW network clearly and also show tracks on the ground that are not PRoW, including things like 4WD tracks and even the farmers’ quad tracks that establish themselves over time. For a hill bagger like me, spot heights are important to have. Features like fences and walls, especially on open access land are also very important – there’s nearly always a track of some sort beside a boundary and if it’s going in the right direction then I’m going to take it.
I will have a chat with MM and see if they plan to offer OSM maps along with their other map types, I know there’s a cost associated with their licensing, but it’s presumably much cheaper than OS map licenses.
For me £25-£30 a year is a small price to pay for access to the latest OS maps – I remember when the full UK 25K scale map would have cost thousands of UK£ to purchase on MM. Subscription pricing is also something I’m happy with, I buy so many commodities that way, it just seems to make sense – but I appreciate it’s not for everyone.

OSM maps (and their derivatives) are my go-to choice here in Scotland, even for hill walking.
I do have access to downloaded OS maps if I’m “off piste” and needing to see the worst of the crags etc though.
I use Alpinequest for most of my OSM maps; £8 one off fee, no subscriptions needed (currently).
Openandromaps also offer a very highly detailed maps based on OSM data, I downloaded the whole of Scotland for less than 300mb.
One caveat: not all apps will run the Openandromaps due to it being a “vector map.’
If you want to try it for free perhaps download the free Locus maps app then visit the Openandromaps site and get the appropriate area.
On the note of OS maps I got downloadable OS 1:25k and 1:50k OS for £14 one off fee.
It seems to be the world’s best kept secret and it’s called Backcountry navigator Pro (consequently it DOES run the Openandromaps map.
Very basic app, not as funtional as VR and like VR the OS map resolution isn’t great when zoomed right in.
So to recap I use two apps to replace VR:
Alpinequest for OSM (£8 one off fee)
Backcountry navigator Pro for OS and Openandromaps (£14 one off fee)

Sorry I forgot to mention that here in Scotland I’ve found than the OSM maps show far more of the paths and tracks that the OS maps do.

Indeed I’ve been banging on about the OSM maps for a while now, also the maps based on their data such as Thunderforest and Openandromaps.
I use the Alpinequest app to access and download OSM and Thunderforest maps.
I tend to use the cycle/bike, landscape and Topo maps.
I got the Backcountry navigator Pro app in order to have a capability to download 1:25k and 1:50k OS maps but I also use the incredibly detailed Openandromaps on it, this is also based on OSM data.
It’s a “vector map” and was able to download a complete map of Scotland for less than 300mb.

Agreed.
For cycling, walking and inland sailing – OsmAnd is one of the best of its type and knocks the socks off most others. Maps work offline and are of Ordnance Survey Quality with lots of extra detail and searchability. The turn-by-turn voice instructions are very useful especially when cycling. The + (Plus) version is worth the modest one-off subscription (for access to more maps).
One feature it lacks (as far as I can see) is the ability to analyse speeds on PC after the event. – This was easy with VR.
FWIW – Other App I use are:-
For when starting sailing races – SailRacer.net (not the other one of similar name).
For more serious nautical navigation – Marine Navigator/Visit my Harbour. Otherwise Navionics (costs more).

I’m afraid I disagree regarding OsmAnd maps are of Ordinance Survey quality. They simply don’t have the kind of detail OS has and which I rely upon when hiking in unknown areas.
That’s not to detract from OsmAnd’s strengths.
OS has spent decades (and a lot of money) ensuring they have one of the most detailed, up-to-date mapping systems in the world. This comes at a cost to the end user. It’s a price I’m willing to pay.
My problem isn’t with apps not having OS support as many do (although I see OsmAnd doesn’t), my issue is with navigational reliability over many days hiking and track recording and either too much bloat and/or too little customisation for real outdoor use in unknown areas.

Chris – Re OsmAnd (OSM Maps) detail Vs Ordnance Survey.
Could it be you’ve not experimented sufficiently (= configured correctly)?
Despite being a former long-term adherent to the unique excellence of OS (I started mountain walking circa 1960), I discover I’ve subliminally weaned myself off them.
If there is any loss of detail in OSM Maps (on which the jury might still be said to be out), it is outweighed by the convenience and SAFETY of being able to glance at a phone screen Vs wielding a map on a windswept mountain ridge. Navigating while cycling presents a similar case.
Is there a way to send you a screen-shot, eg of the Crib Goch approach to Yr Wyddfa (Snowdon), for example?

I still make sure that I have access to OS maps, for me the biggest benefits are the portrayal of rocky crags and some water features which aren’t shown on OSM.
However my go-to are various versions of the OSM maps and their derivatives.
Wonderful resource.

Just a snippet of info that may be useful to all. Some time ago, I downgraded and froze Viewranger at version 9.2.10 [3] because that was where support for Wear 1.6 ended. I didn’t notice any change and only learned of the VR change of ownership from a friend. Anyway, upshot is that VR is still working on my phone with any locally saves OS tiles that I purchased previously and any saved OSM maps. I don’t know if there would be any problems installing V9 now because VR may well try to connect with the mother ship to verify premium map licencing when installing them but simply copying the config, tracks and mapdownloads subfolders bay be all that’s needed I guess. Hope this is helpful and good luck!

Couple of updates worth sharing I think. Firstly, the closed beta of Memory Map is progressing with some new features being added and some stability issues being addressed. It feels like we’re still at least a couple of weeks away from an open beta, we have a couple of niggling issues which seem hard to resolve right now.

Secondly, and more importantly for the readers of this thread… I’ve been playing with VR on my backup phone. As well as my primary phone, I also carry an old Galaxy Note 4 for backup navigation purposes in case my primary dies for any reason. I thought it would be interesting to try and see if I could get VR running, using the instructions provided earlier in these comments. As well all know the app we had on our phones is non-functional and any subscriptions to maps have expired. As such, we need two main things to make this work… 1. an old version of the app and 2. purchased tiles or maps in your VR account. Number 1 is easy, but if you don’t have number 2, you can give up reading now.

I downloaded v10.11.30 (dated 7th April 2021) from this location: https://apkpure.com/viewranger/com.augmentra.viewranger.android/versions
You need to side load it on your Android phone (there is a setting you need to enable to allow side loading – Google it). It installed fine for me.
I then switched off auto-updates in the Play Store app, so there’s no chance it will get updated.
I then logged into my VR account and was surprised to find this worked too! Yes, my old VR account credentials worked and were validated – so I can only assume there’s still a VR server running somewhere! Or possibly they just added OA to the old VR servers and there’s no likelihood of the VR server getting switched off – not sure I want to rely on this, but hope springs etc.
I have purchased tiles in my account so I tried to download one of them – I was now not surprised to find it downloaded just fine.
I’ve found the GPS lock to be reeeaaally slow (took 5 mins initially) but other than that it seems to be working fine for now.
I’ve switched my map location to my SD-card and because this app version is old enough, my file manager can see the location and the map tiles I’ve downloaded. I have now copied these out to another location, in the event that the map server gets switched off sometime soon.
As someone mentioned earlier, this is only going to work for as long as the VR servers are processing logins and serving maps, so do it soon!

One thing I would say is don’t under any circumstances rely on this VR app to continue working – so only use it as a backup, or keep another app (with proper maps etc) installed and working in parallel to VR – there is a chance that the VR is going to die and sod’s law says it will be when you need it most!

Hope this helps someone.

I don’t think you need to worry about VR dying, it is functionally independent of any servers once you go through the setup, and as long as you have an old version it should keep working. To be sure I have prevented it communicating with the server via Blokada, but I suspect that is unnecessary.

Tiles work the same as maps, they are basically just smaller map regions. I’d be interested to see how / whether VR works without logging in to it. I will do some testing along those lines. Now that I have all my map files, I wonder if I even need to login at all, or whether the maps are validated against the login credentials. If they aren’t then in theory people could share map files with each other, just load them into the right place and hope VR reads them in. Let’s see I guess….

With maps you need to validate them with the install, after that the app is independent of the hub.

Like many I switched to OA then also upgraded my old S7 phone. I’ve managed to get ‘old Viewranger’ downloaded and working on the new phone as suggested above and with my maps. and some tracks, thanks all.

I tried tracking a few walks using both VR and OA together to see how they compare but both are now freezing. Pretty sure it’s not the phone putting the Apps to sleep, any reason they might conflict?

Thought this may be the best place to ask 🙂

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