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USA backcountry hike from Mount Madonna to Loma Prieta involving 2 topographic geoPDF quadrangles and iOS/Android plus GPX tracks & waypoints

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Andy Burnelli

Dec 31, 2021, 11:32:10 PM12/31/21
USA backcountry hike from Mount Madonna to Loma Prieta involving 2
topographic geoPDF quadrangles and iOS/Android plus GPX tracks & waypoints

a. We need a free ad free iOS/Android app to show our position on the map.
b. We need reliably accurate 1:24K or better geospatial geoPDF maps.
c. We need to stitch geoPDFs together & we need to add tracks & waypoints.

This is the first process I came up with to help a group of high school kids
navigate a backcountry hike from Mount Madonna to Loma Prieta without
following trails (where the kids are on both iOS and Android).

The goals are to provide them with a process that they can navigate on the
phone under the common conditions that the phone has to be self sufficient.

Here's the first process I came up with but I ask for improvements from all.

1. Install Avenza Maps <>
Android: <>
iOS App: <>
2. Obtain a geospatial PDF (with or without your desired waypoints & tracks)
(see one method below)
3. Load those GeoPDFs into Avenza (using the yellow "plus" button)
That's it. When the kids hike, their position shows up on the geoPDF.

When the kids hike, their position shows up on the geoPDF on their phones.
When they move out of one quadrangle, they can switch quadrangles.
It's not pretty. It doesn't have tracks. Nor waypoints. But it works.

They can even add a GPX track of where they've been onto the existing maps.
Here's the process I used to obtain the specific geoPDFs from the USGS.

1. Go to the USGS Store "Map Locator" to find the quadrangle to download.
And search for the quadrangle of interest.
For example, I searched for:
a. Mount Madonna
b. Loma Prieta

2. On each desire quadrangle perform this process to obtain the geoPDFs.
a. Doubleclick on the middle of the desired quadrangle
b. That will insert blue teardrop & show a blue "View Products" button
c. Press the "View Products" button to obtain the desired geoPDF

3. "View Products" will provide a long list of current & historical maps.

For Mount Madonna, I chose the following 2018 topographic map.
Name: CA_Mount_Madonna_20180905_TM_geo.pdf
Size: 64360685 bytes (61 MiB)
SHA256: 8AD221503568F28F534E28767681CC7326E88C0B26058DB86870F8B9063D8289

For Loma Prieta I chose the following 2018 topographic map.
Name: CA_Loma_Prieta_20180905_TM_geo.pdf
Size: 67062849 bytes (63 MiB)
SHA256: 4C822EB88CC2799288A0BF9BE41D884FA0CB05861BC1AF9EA93DE432E8ED075A

At this point each kid can load the maps above into his iOS/Adroid phone
and Avenza will show his current position on those geospatial PDF maps.

This works, but the process can be improved by a lot.

We need a few things that others who know more than I do can help with.
A. Is there any other Android/iOS free app that works as well or better?
B. How can we most easily stitch the maps together into a single map?
C. How can we most easily add desired waypoints & desired gpx tracks?
The goal is a completely free but simple method for kids to download and use
backcountry topographic maps on their phone for accurate crosscountry hikes.

Andy Burnelli

Jan 1, 2022, 3:56:09 AM1/1/22
On 1/1/2022 1:57 AM, sms wrote:

> Your problem is the "free" part. You can do this with an app like All
> Trails, importing gpx tracks and downloading offline maps. But to do it
> for free requires a lot more work.

I don't completely disagree with you but only because iOS is involved.
Not only should the results be free, but they should be ad free too.

I know of free ad free Android backcountry map apps using USGS topo maps.
But I have to also find iOS apps (these kids are more on iOS than Android).

I found a problem with Avenza that it only tracks inside of _three_ geoPDFs.
It warns you on the fourth that you need to pay for the pro version.

So I'm still looking for a good free ad free geoPDF map app for iOS/Android.
Since the kids are hiking tomorrow morning, I'm working all night on this.

I found _another_ set of excellent USGS topographic geoPDFs which are even
_newer_ than the 2018 versions found otherwise where these are dated 2021.

As always, here are the steps since I had to write them up for the kids
anyway (as the maps are 65MB each which is too large to email to them).

I post this hoping others will benefit, since I'm a good person overall
(I always want to give and get back in return, so everyone wins together).

1. Go to the USGS National Geospatial Topographic Maps Program web site
2. Press on the green "Get Maps" button
3. Press the clear "Launch" button, which takes you to the downloader
4. Check the box for "US Topo" and in the right type into the search bar
"mount madonna" or "loma prieta"
5. That should zoom to the desired adjacent set of USGS quadrangles
The steps are tricky as the web site really stinks for finding the links.
6. Zoom into the map area until only the desired quadrangles are visible.
(I'm not sure if this step is needed as I did it hoping I could right
click on the map to download it but you can't. But at least it lets
you know that you are on the correct quadrangle by name.)
7. In the "Datasets" tab on the left side, make sure the following are set.
[x]US Topo
[x]US Topo Current
[x]7.5x7.5 minute Data Extent
[x]GeoPDF File Formats
8. Then, in the "Datasets" tab on the left side, run the "Keword" search:
"mopunt madonna" or "loma prieta"
9. That search should result in the "Products" tab showing the desired map:
For "mount madonna" my "Keyword Search" found:
US Topo 7.5-minute map for Mount Madonna, CA
Published Date: 2021-11-19
Metadata Updated: 2021-11-23
Format: Geospatial PDF, Geospatial PDF
Extent: 7.5 x 7.5 minute
When you press on the blue link titled "Download Link (PDF)", you get:
Name: CA_Mount_Madonna_20211119_TM_geo.pdf
Size: 48491507 bytes (46 MiB)
SHA256: 1027FA6289C5F76484A087AEC69D53FB055DDC9996B2301A6F9FA6D92C994E45

For "loma prieta" my "Keyword Search" found:
US Topo 7.5-minute map for Loma Prieta, CA
Published Date: 2021-11-19
Metadata Updated: 2021-11-23
Format: Geospatial PDF, Geospatial PDF
Extent: 7.5 x 7.5 minute
When you press on the blue link titled "Download Link (PDF)", you get:
Name: CA_Loma_Prieta_20211119_TM_geo.pdf
Size: 50061089 bytes (47 MiB)
SHA256: 94F7E94F18D71885EEEB0E838FD2DDCA1BC872AF59213923F1749E2FF39F8BFF

10. Load that into Avenza and you are able to track your current location.
Note that Avenza free only allows tracking in three maps though.

What we need is a free iOS/Android app that can track any number of geoPFDs.
Do you know of any free ad free iOS/Android app that uses geospatial PDFs?

Andy Burnelli

Jan 1, 2022, 4:40:03 AM1/1/22
On Sat, 1 Jan 2022 19:20:01 +1300, Your Name wrote:

> Why bother with a silly app? You're probably not going to have any
> internet connection and the battery will run out.

Everything will work offline. It has to.
Bear in mind these are kids. They don't plan ahead.
They asked me at the last minute.
And they love their phones (mostly iPhones by the way).

But to your point of the paper PDF, check this out (it lasts 7 days).
<> I just made this paper map for them

> Best just to get ye olde paper-based maps instead (or even better are
> plasticised ones that won't tear easily when wet) - they'll work no
> matter where you are.

Paper sucks when printed on a black and white printer at 8.5x11 inches.
Plus these are kids. They were born with a phone in their cradle.

They may have cellular signal on the 4000 foot peaks but not in the ravines.
I told them to keep the phone off or at least in airplane mode.

I thought of printing a paper map which could be tiled and then spliced.
One way to do that is the following, which does most of the work for you.

1. Visit any geospatial map generator that can create custom geoPDFs.
I used Caltopo but many generate geoPDFs <>
2. Zoom into the areas of interest (search by location or by coordinates)
Loma Prieta:
Mount Madonna:
3. If desired right click on any spot to "add" (named) markers or tracks
(Press the Export button to export waypoints/tracks to GPX/KML.)
Note in some browsers you can only export once due to a bug I guess.
(You can also import tracks from other apps onto this topo map.)
Note that this exported GPX/KML file is separate from the map,
but when you load it into your map program later, it shows up there.
Note that you can check elevations at any point with a right mouse
click and you can easily measure distances (e.g., Mount Madonna to
Loma Prieta is 16.64km or 10.34 miles as the crow flies). You can
draw a "range ring" or measure area, or get an elevation profile
between two points, or a bearing line which you can insert into
your bearing app (which we'll talk about later).
4. Click the Caltopo "Printer" icon button & set page size, scale, etc.
(e.g., 1:24,000, 8-1/2x11, etc.)
The free caltopo won't print to larger than A4 so to print a
larger size we'll need to post process multiple PDFs using tricks.
5. Add as many map pages as needed to cover the desired hiking area
(Note when you click "Add Page", Caltopo assumes the new page is
in the middle of your viewing area where you have to move that
new page to the desired location by grabbing the center red button.)
Note that you can re-align the map pages as desired at any time.
Note that you can set the scale as desired (e.g., 1:24,000).
6. When you've sectioned out the desired areas, press "Generate PDF"
That generates a whole bunch of things including a multi-page geoPDF
& URL for anyone to access it & even a QR code for others to access

Note the free Caltopo can only save a PDF for 7 days so get it fast.

Note that it's trivial to copy the resulting map onto your phone if
you're on Android but it's always a little harder if you're on iOS.

The easiest way therefore to get the resulting map into Avenza that both the
Android & iOS users can use is to simply point Avenza to the generated URL.
7. Start Avenza on your phone & press the yellow "plus" button
8. Press "From the Web" & enter the URL provided to the multipage geoPDF
<> <=== *this link only lasts 7 days!*

In summary, the advantage of Caltopo is not only that you can run all sorts
of calculations but that you can also plan out your route and then export
that route in any number of common formats (e.g., gpx) that any map app will
read later.

Another advantage of Caltopo is that you can create a geoPDF of anything
contiguous and it will be a multipage PDF (such as the four page geoPDF
created above) which you can later stitch together separately using
something like posterazor or even Adobe Acrobat to print to paper format.

The disadvantage of Caltopo is that the free version is limited so if you
know of a better web site for the kids to create a multi-page geoPDF, please
let all of us know as the goal is to help them and all of us do it better.

Andy Burnelli

Jan 1, 2022, 5:40:27 AM1/1/22
On Sat, 1 Jan 2022 02:20:12 -0500, Paul wrote:

> You want an established trail, because that makes it easier to
> predict when you will arrive. This time of year, you lose the light
> early.

Thanks for your advice as you are always purposefully helpful
(and often funny in the way you are seasoned and sarcastic about things).

These kids don't want to follow any "established trail" and I don't blame
them as I wouldn't want to follow any trail anyone else made for me either.

> If you've ever hit "heavy brush" (which won't show on a map), then
> you will know what "impassible" means.

This is exactly why the OSM maps suck horribly when compared to USGS topo
maps in rugged country such as these Santa Cruz Mountain ranges are.

Everyone knows I love the OSM concept, and for roads, it works pretty well,
but for accurate terrain features, OSM sucks like you can't believe.

If OSM would work I would have told them to download OSMAnd~ (at least it's
free on Android - I don't know if OSMAnd~ is even on iOS which is
unfortunately always greatly limited in free ad free app availability).

> Small animals will cut a trail
> through that stuff, but for you to pass, you travel on your hands
> and knees along their trail.

A game trail is fine though, but often in chaparral you can only go over or
under, but not through it (which only people in chaparral would know).

Some of these hills are so steep that you can see even the deer slipped.

These kids will all be carrying a harness and climbing gear and they have
opted only for 100 feet of rope which they will re-use as needed on cliffs.

> And a couple hundred feet of that,
> is experience enough thanks. You couldn't do a mile of that stuff.
> And you can't stand up and run away screaming, because... you can't
> stand up in it. It's impossible to stand up. It's too thick.

The ravines out here are so steep and soft sided that I make the analogy
that to enter a ravine is like how the Japanese and Germans entered WWII.

You can always enter anywhere you like on your own terms, but once you are
in the ravine, then you can't leave the war on your own terms anymore.

The ravine controls where you will finally find peace, and that's usually
at a body of water at the bottom which, thankfully, is flat or at least
not clogged with impenetrable poison oak (you hope).

> That's why you use a proper trail. You want the experience to be
> enjoyable, not an "ode to exercise". When I went on that trip,
> I wasn't expecting to go through heavy brush.

These kids _want_ the challenge of taking their bearings at one mountaintop
and then descending down the mountain into the depths of the ravines to find
their way, by compass and topography, back to another high mountain point.

To that end I made sure they had a few key free ad free compass type apps on
Android that I haven't had a chance to find on iOS yet for free.

*Azimuth Compass* (which is just a fast simple easy to use compass app).

*GPS Waypoint Finder* (points to objectives & gives distance information)

*mvglasow SatStat* (does nav stuff but also gives them cellular tower info)

> Going through heavy brush is fine if you're on your own property,
> and the purpose of the trip is to "cut trail". You can take your
> time, and do a couple hundred feet per day. The stuff I was going
> through, I think I'd want a battery chainsaw, rather than a
> machete.

I know rather well what you speak of as the greasewood and coyote brush are
easy to traverse but it gets worse in manzanita & toyon thickets and even
worse when the buckeye, canyon maple, madrones & oaks change to horridly
spiny ceanothus bushes which are the nastiest things this side of poison oak
vines coming out of the ground as thick as your forearm such that your feet
are a foot above the ground until they crash through and then you trip over
if you have any forward momentum (as you might on a hill).

> Established trails are boring, but they exist for a reason.

Between you and me, I doubt these kids will get anywhere near where they
"think" they will, as it's 10 miles point to point and they only have 3 days
to do it, but they have no idea how difficult this terrain is.

The parents are dropping them off at Mount Madonna and they are supposed to
call them for a pickup at the radio towers on Loma Prieta but I doubt
they'll make even half the distance.

Luckily you can drink the water in the streams out here (I drink it all the
time for example) and there aren't too many bugs to speak of. The mountain
lions will see you but you'll never see them. Rattlers aren't a problem and
neither are the coyote or bobcats so they're relatively safe as long as they
don't get too cold and wet crossing or walking in the cold water streams.

Just in case, they each have a tiny bottle of bleach (two drops per liter),
and they each have a knife and a physical compass and a first aid kid.

They came to me after having planned this for months where my job was merely
to supply them with iOS and Android apps that they could synchronize on.

I'm trying to find an iOS & Android free ad free _offline_ star chart
program for them at this moment where the three on Android I'm testing are
*Sky Map*

*Star Chart*

*Stellarium Mobile*

Since the goal is to help the kids and to help others learn how to navigate
completely offline using their iOS & Android smartphones, if anyone knows of
a free ad free iOS app that does the same thing as those above, let us know.

Andy Burnelli

Jan 1, 2022, 6:28:42 AM1/1/22
On Fri, 31 Dec 2021 23:38:12 -0600, sticks wrote:

> I use Gaia, it's free, and really works great. Used it from the Rockies
> in Canada, , Glacier Park in Montana, desert southwest, and always when
> I hike locally in the midwest. Most areas already have marked trails to
> follow, or you can make your own, or simply record where you go and
> create your new gpx file. It really does it all for free.
> There are other options you can pay for, but I've found the free stuff
> works great for me.

Thanks for pitching in since no one person knows everything about both iOS
and Android free ad free registration free navigation apps for the kids.

A great thing about GAIA GPS is that it apparently works on both platforms
which is great because most of these kids are on iOS and not on Android.

Android Gaia GPS
iOS Gaia GPS

Unfortunately, when I installed Gaia GPS on my devices (I have plenty of iOS
and Android devices to test things on), like Avenza it asked for a login,
but unlike Avenza, it didn't have an "X" button or "skip" option that I
could find.

It said "Gaia GPS is now a part of the Outside family. Creating an account
with Gaia GPS also gets you an account with Outside along with all the
benefits that an Outside member has" which is all well and good, but it's
really bad form to force an account upon a person for _any_ app.

As you may well be aware, almost nothing on a phone should require a login
account, and as you may be aware, the main reason a company forces such
unnecessary things is to keep tabs on you (which is why my Android phone
works just fine with _zero_ accounts set up on it for example).

We're trying to teach these kids how to use a phone just as much as we're
trying to supply these kids with only the best most private apps possible.

Given any offline navigation app that requires a login is completely
worthless, can you let me know if I made a mistake in not finding something
as simple as a "skip" button when I tried to install Gaia on my devices?

Andy Burnelli

Jan 1, 2022, 8:22:24 AM1/1/22
On Fri, 31 Dec 2021 22:57:37 -0000 (UTC), Andy Burnelli wrote:

> Kids going hiking for three days from point to point in the mountains.
> They'll start around 500 feet in elevation and turn back at around 4000.
> *What are the best apps you'd recommend they put on their smartphones?*
> [They asked me to make a list for them & they're on both Android & iOS.]
> Conditions are USA, Santa Cruz Mountains (rugged, no trails).
> Cellular signal will be spotty at best (no matter the cellular carrier).
> Topography will be rough (they'll be carrying only 100 feet of rope).
> I'm starting the app list now, from memory, but I figured there might be
> (a) purposefully helpful people out there who (b) have done this before.
> What iOS & Android apps would you recommend a bunch of kids use for back
> country hiking where they will not be following any established trails?

In searching for a way to find already-stitched geoPDFs which can
a. Show the current position
b. Show that current position along a previously imported gpx track
c. Save a breadcrumb track of the actual track taken over time

I looked into the National Geologic Map Database project web site which
provided additional formats {geoTIFF, JPEG, KMZ, & geoPDF} which may be
useful (particularly the geoTIFF perhaps?) as described in detail below.

1. Go to "Accessing USGS Topographic Maps Has Never Been Easier"
2. Press on "Get Maps" on the top bar
3. Enter "Loma Prieta" or "Mount Madonna" in the "Search by Location" bar.
That found 27 maps for each from 1880 to 2021 in a variety of scales.
Loma Prieta:
Mount Madonna:
4. Place the date slider from 1880 to nearer to 2021 & select the 24K scale.

The result will be four maps of the 2021 series for each in four formats
a. Loma Prieta


GeoTiff (19MB)

GeoPDF (48MB) CA_Loma_Prieta_20211119_TM_geo.pdf




GeoTiff (18MB)

GeoPDF (46MB) CA_Mount_Madonna_20211119_TM_geo.pdf


5. I didn't test it due to time constraints, but the results should be
usable inside of the aforementioned iOS/Android Avenza freeware.

Note the JPEG has viewing value in that everyone on iOS & Android can use
The geoTIFF may have additional value perhaps when I get to the point of
stitching together multiple quadrangles to create a single map with an
existing proposed GPX track for the kids to potentially follow.

I haven't yet delved deeply into the geostitching software which is mostly
going to be run on the Windows platform since it will require manipulation.
*FOSS QGIS professional complete GIS mapping packages*

*OziExplorer* GPS Mapping Trialware for personal use only

*GDAL translator library for raster and vector geospatial data formats *

But unfortunately stitching doesn't lend itself to emergency quickie tests.
*Update on GeoPDFs in QGIS.*

*QGIS - Creating a GeoPDF*


*Working with GeoPDF*

*Working with GDAL*

Time is running out so if you have experience stitching together
multiple geospatial maps into a single usable map that can do the
following on both the iOS and Android platform, that would help!
a. It must show the current location on the stitched map
b. It should be able to import & show a given planned track on the map
c. It should be able to save & display the current track on the map

Andy Burnelli

Jan 1, 2022, 8:54:56 AM1/1/22
On Sat, 1 Jan 2022 12:36:02 -0000 (UTC), Nikolaj Lazic wrote:

> Install Osmand and track recording for it.
> When they get back they can upload their track and mark thing they found
> on the Openstreetmap.

Given the goal is to help these kids and, at the same time, to enable anyone
on either iOS or Android to perform the basic task backcountry hikers need,
I thank you for the advice to use OSMand~ which has excellent tools to
a. Display an OSM topographic map offline
b. Show the current location & route on that OSM topo map
c. Show a planned route on that OSM topo map

The free OSMAnd iOS app is here, I think:
And, I think, here on the Apple App Store:
While the payware iOS OSMAnd+ app is here, I think:

Likewise, the free FOSS Android OSMAnd~ app (almost OSMAnd+) is here:
Where that OSMAnd~ is almost exactly the same as the OSMAnd+ payware.

I've been using OSMAnd~ for many years and I love the concept of open street
maps that don't require an account to work just fine completely offline.

What I love about OSMAnd~ is that it saves tracks and it displays them on
the map and it copies your current coordinates easily for use elsewhere.

But what's unfortunate about OSMAnd~ is the OSM contour maps are crap
compared to those of the USGS within the United States. For areas _outside_
the United States, the contour maps may be the best that is available.

But inside the USA where contours are everywhere (this is very rugged hilly
steep landslide fault line topography), unfortunately, OSM contour maps suck
for anything other than blindly following already well established trails.

I must caveat that statement with the fact that I _love_ the concept of open
street maps, and I use OSM frequently for offline road maps, but if you've
ever compared a USGS map with an OSM map in hilly terrain, you'd know what I
know about OSM maps not being anywhere near the usability of the USGS maps.

Andy Burnelli

Jan 1, 2022, 11:50:08 AM1/1/22
On Sat, 1 Jan 2022 05:46:57 -0800, sms wrote:

>> Can you create a gpx file, in advance, and import it into the program?
> I see that you can do that. It looks similar to All Trails. Alas,
> offline maps are not included in the free version.

This may be similar to what Steve may be asking for in creating tracks from
scratch. I don't know as the kids are now already on their way so I stopped
looking a few hours ago but this seems to maybe allow folks to draw tracks.

You bring up an excellent point, as you often do, that one set of tools we
have so far only discussed from the PC perspective are those tools that
allow folks to _draw_ GPX tracks onto the map and then export those drawn
tracks (and waypoints) to a GPX file (e.g., Caltopo) which is then imported
into the smartphone nav app.

But we haven't discussed yet tools on the iOS/Android smartphone itself
which allow the user to draw the tracks and export it as a GPX file.

The goal, of course, would be to be able to do on both iOS & Android:
a. Offline, free, no login, no ads, etc.
b. Draw tracks & save the results in a variety of formats, including GPX
c. Import tracks and modify the results before saving to a new GPX file
(If conversion is needed, then GPSBabel may be needed though.)

Here is a free tool that purports to let you draw tracks, but it has ads.

This also purports to draw what you input, but maybe it's only waypoints?

Perhaps here is where OSMAnd~ can excel in drawing tracks on the smartphone?

This purports to be a GPX viewer and editor so it may also work:

I couldn't figure out how BRrouter works with Locus but I know Poutnik uses
it a lot so maybe he can explain if "the wanderer" is still lurking about.

Grasshopper apparently does "route planning" but it required a signup.

Anyway, they're on their way, but it's still a useful endeavor to find the
best iOS and Android (or even Windows) free track sketching tool so that
other people can plan a back country route and then see how well they're
keeping to that planned route.

Andy Burnelli

Jan 1, 2022, 12:01:11 PM1/1/22
On Sat, 1 Jan 2022 05:45:42 -0800, sms wrote:

> Untrue. But you already knew that.
> Look at the actual FCC maps for cellular coverage in that area (from
> <>.
> Look at the actual WhistleOut maps for cellular coverage in that area
> (from
> <>.
> Indeed, T-Mobile coverage is extremely spotty. AT&T coverage is a bit
> better. Verizon coverage is excellent. And I've personally experienced
> this as well at Mount Madonna and Mount Umunhum though not at Loma
> Prieta Peak.

In this thread about iOS/Android backcountry offline free registration free
ad free navigation tools, I'm not going to argue cellular coverage for a
couple of rather pragmatic reasons, one of which is that for the topic of
backcountry navigation, we have to _assume_ that cell coverage isn't

And given I've emailed the map information mostly to the kids who are on accounts (verizon) & some are one accounts (AT&T)
and even one person is on a account (t-mobile)... what that
means, practically speaking, is that coverage has to be there for all the
major carriers for me to give up on trying to find offline navigation tools.

The goal is for all of them to map together, so if even _one_ carrier (most
likely T-Mobile is what you're saying and I'm fine with that for this
purpose), then we _still_ need to give them fully offline navigation tools.

Yet another reason why coverage doesn't matter for this thread even if it
very well may be that the areas in question are _not_ backcountry areas in
terms of (oh, say, Verizon) cellular coverage is that coverage in any one
spot doesn't change the _second_ reason for this thread, which, as always,
is to help _others_ (who may be in completely different areas of the USA).

> At least, for the safety of the children, go get a Verizon/Total
> Wireless SIM card, for $1, and activate a $10/120 day account on
> Verizon/Page Plus, so they'll have coverage in case of emergency
> (assuming they have a phone that is compatible).

The kids are already on their way as they all met up at the break of dawn.

One thing I'm actually worried about is that the weather at this time of
year can get at least to freezing at night, and these kids can be soaking
wet since you can't possibly hike this area without ending up in a ravine.

But that's up to all the parents to worry about where I'm just trying to
find suitable best-in-class navigation apps that the kids can make use of.

> Here is a coverage comparison for southern Alameda, San Mateo, Santa
> Clara, and Santa Cruz Counties: <>. Again
> the coverage differences, outside of the urban areas, are enormous. All
> the experts agree that if coverage in rural areas is important that you
> should stick with Verizon (or at least have a Verizon back-up phone).
> Also see the document: Prepaid Phone Service for Foreign Visitors to
> the United States at <>.

It's OK that you feel the coverage is better for some carriers than others
in the rugged mountains between Loma Prieta & Mount Madonna, but that
doesn't change the goal one bit for fully offline backcountry nav tools.

One necessary functionality we didn't cover in depth for backcountry use is
a breadcrumb logger, where I already know OSMAnd~ has a fine trip recording
plugin. <>

Since I'm always all about team efforts, and since I always want everyone to
benefit from the tremendous knowledge imparted by everyone in every thread,
here are some breadcrumb trackers I was able to begin testing for them.

Since I was pressed for time, I only researched Android breadcrumb apps.

Even though it's too late for this set of kids' hike, if you know of good
iOS free login free ad free breadcrumb apps, let us know so that everyone
can make use of the information in this thread (especially since the "rich
kids" in this hike are mostly on iOS & Verizon anyway).

Andy Burnelli

Jan 1, 2022, 1:14:10 PM1/1/22
On Sat, 1 Jan 2022 07:32:09 -0800, sms wrote:

>> Put 911 and the local rangers' rescue number on speed dial! Also carry a
>> couple of good quality  FRS two-way radios and some spare batteries.
> Uh '911 on speed dial?' If they don't know how to press 911 then they
> shouldn't be going on this backpacking trip!

They were almost all born with an iPhone in their cribs, so dialing a phone
isn't an issue with them (battery life might be though - we'll see).

> Not really a park the whole way, so ranger's phone numbers are not
> necessary, if they exist at all. 911 is enough.

These kids grew up with iPhones in their hands as they're a mix of girls and
boys who are a bunch of "rich kids" (one of whom is my grand daughter) where
I'm told (by some) they all do coke in the bathrooms of the local high
school, where most of them are clearly on iPhones and on Verizon, so you'd
feel right at home with these kids (probably no different than your kids a
bit further up north on the same set of mountains but on the other side of
the fault line).

> If the kids are like him, and on T-Mobile, then 911 is the only thing
> they need anyway since 911 calls will go through on the carriers with
> coverage in that area.

It's not a good plan when hiking in the hundred acre wood to rely on 911 to
save their buns if they get in trouble. I reminded them to stick together
and if anyone turns back (which some very well might), that nobody goes in
any direction alone.

I handed them my radio and told them not to use except in case of emergency
and all the neighbors on the mountain are already on the same repeater
anyway where most of the kids are from the surrounding area so we're all on
alert via our ham radios.

> Only AT&T and Verizon have good coverage up in
> that area, see <> and
> <>. It often upsets T-Mobile aficionados
> when vast differences in rural coverage are shown, but I feel that it's
> important to be honest about the differences in networks since it's a
> matter of both convenience as well as a matter of safety.

For the purpose of this thread the coverage doesn't matter for a variety of
reasons, one of which is that the whole point is to not have to rely on a
cell phone just to do a bit of navigation in the back country ravines.

Anyone hiking needs the same stuff in that it _all_ must work offline.
Nothing can require a login (even the phone doesn't need a log in).

What they need is what anyone needs who does backcountry hiking...
a. They need a good compass (manual and electronic)
b. They need a good waypoint finder (delivering bearing and distance)
c. They need a good underlying USGS geomap (for accurate positioning)
d. They need a good breadcrumb logger (to marvel over the hike later)
e. They need a good route planner & waypoint exporter (to keep on target)

Just in case they needed it, I gave them the huge JPEG files so that at the
very worst they can zoom into where they think they are located and still
have detail enough to match with the surrounding terrain (which is where
USGS maps excel over the OSM maps that I would wish were a lot better).

Actually, I just thought of something they could use on both iOS and on
Android which is one of those emergency SMS apps which will send out the
location of the phone when triggered.

*GPS to SMS - location sharing*

Googling, this explains emergency iOS & Android location sharing.
*How to set up emergency location sharing on Android and iOS*

>> If they're at least 21 years old and it's legal in your area, bring a
>> handgun. If only over 18, then a light weight collapsible or compact
>> survival-type rifle.`
> Not allowed in County Parks like Mount Madonna.

I think they'll need brush cutters more than anything given that they aren't
following the trails, where it's only about 10 miles as they're only going
one way - but I seriously doubt the younger ones will make it.

Even the leaders are only sophomores in high school (I think one girl is a
junior actually but she's a shy one so the leaders are the sophs mostly).

It's only 10 miles but it's a rough ten miles I would say just looking at
the terrain. I drew out a GPX swath from pinnacle to pinnacle and looked at
the underlying elevation which is an appreciable change from 2,000 feet at
Mount Madonna to 3,600 feet at Loma Prieta but with crossings of Uvas Creek
& Alek Creek and Croy Creek (each at about 1,400 feet) as the crow flies
(the lowest crossing point being around 1,000 feet).

Luckily they'll be able to drink the creek water if they get thirsty so they
don't need to carry more than a soda bottle's worth or two of bottled stuff.

Anyway, I'll wrap up my research for now as I haven't slept all night trying
to help them out where I appreciate all the kind help that others have
offered here, which shows you have good hearts and caring souls.

The whole point is to help each other so that we all know more about cross
platform backcountry navigation apps after reading this thread than before
we read it.

Andy Burnelli

Jan 1, 2022, 1:40:40 PM1/1/22
On Sat, 1 Jan 2022 09:28:19 -0800, sms wrote:

> Not assured, but especially in the Santa Cruz Mountains, where it's
> really not "back country" there's a tremendous difference in coverage
> because Verizon and AT&T service evolved over 3+ decades and the
> carriers they were spawned from spent a lot of money to cover the area.

I agree with you that it's not "back country" per se, in that there will
always be "something" of civilization within a few miles as the crow flies.
Mount Madonna:
Loma Prieta:

I realize knowledgeable people like you and nospam already know what the
area is like but for the others reading this to get an idea of what these
high school kids are attempting this four page geoPDF map shows the track.
<> (this free map will only last for 7 days)

> There was a slight dip in coverage when AMPS was turned off. T-Mobile
> just never made much of an effort, at first it was because it would take
> so many towers to provide coverage with 1900 MHz GSM and later because
> the population density just didn't warrant the capital expenditures.

This is my T-Mobile coverage on my balcony for 5G on my free T-Mobile phone.

I can't complain that I get 250Mbps even with the high 29ms ping latencies.

> I know that it often upsets T-Mobile aficionados when vast differences
> in rural coverage are shown, but I feel that it's important to be honest
> about the differences in networks since it's a matter of both
> convenience as well as a matter of safety.

Remember, T-Mobile upgraded all USA customers on postpaid with any data to
unlimited data including unlimited 5G data and we have free roaming and free
hotspotting also so while I know you love Verizon, I don't know if you have
a family plan as good as mine where they gave me a handful of free Samsung
phones and free upgrades to almost everything.

Still, it doesn't really matter what the coverage is for a thread on what
the best offline backcountry nav related apps are since you can't be assured
of coverage everywhere on the planet just because you love Verizon Steve.

However, I will grant you the bulk of these kids are on iPhones (almost all
of them actually) and most of them are on Verizon based on the email-to-text
addresses they gave me to send them the maps. Only one is on T-Mobile. My
grand daughter who is a high school kid (and who is on an iPhone 12 mini
that T-Mobile gave me for less than half price although California made me
pay 10% sales tax on the full price that nobody every pays except idiots).

Andy Burnelli

Jan 1, 2022, 2:56:18 PM1/1/22
On Sat, 01 Jan 2022 12:34:09 -0500, nospam wrote:

> [Steve is] the very opposite of honest and [he] shills for verizon.

I'm not exactly sure why Steve is even bringing up Verizon coverage versus
AT&T and T-Mobile because the whole point of "back country navigation" is
that you can't ever assume that a cell tower will be within reach.

Nonetheless, I gave them apps which will show the nearest cell tower on an
OSM map (not the Internet kind of tower lookup but a real estimate) so if
they need to "head toward" a tower, they can and they can easily tell which
tower is closest (Verizon, AT&T or T-Mobile) simply by which phone shows the
closest tower on the OSM map inside that FOSS non-Internet tower-lookup app.

> the differences between the big three cell carriers are not 'vast' and
> there are plenty of areas in the santa cruz mountains where there is no
> service at all, not even verizon.

The kids must be within coverage because I received a text from them at 11am
regarding their progress hiking in the hundred acre wood since daybreak.

Moving forward on the thread topic so that everyone can benefit from what we
all collectively can add to the mix, these are a bunch of the free ad free
login free smartphone map-creation apps I didn't get a chance to test out.

*Trail Sense* smartphone hiking toolkit by Kyle Corry
It can place beacons so you can navigate back to them without the net.
It will tell you when the sun will set so you know when to pitch the tent.
Without the Internet, it says it can even predict the weather.

*Paper Maps* by Abbro Inc (this seems to be an Avenza clone perhaps?)
This implies it will open almost any map format no matter what.

*Custom Maps* by Marko Teittinen
This implies it can make a custom map out of almost any image you have.

*Magic Earth* offline routing app by General Magic
This claims to have 3D maps with 3-inch accuracy on both iOS and Android.
But unfortunately it uses underlying OSM maps.

*All-In-One Offline Maps* by Psyberia
*AlpineQuest Off-Road Explorer (Lite)* by Psyberia
This app claims to have topographic maps all stored offline.

*SatMap Xplorer* supposedly accurate mapping software

Please note that I haven't tested these apps but they were on my list to
test for these kids, but time ran out and the kids are on the mountain as we

Tonight will be a test for some of them who have never camped out before.

Let's hope they don't have to stop in a spot so steep they have to tie their
legs around a tree not to roll down the hill (oh, those were the days).

Andy Burnelli

Jan 1, 2022, 3:56:58 PM1/1/22
On Sat, 01 Jan 2022 13:19:02 -0600, Bob Campbell wrote:

> I realize you normally post absurd scenarios in your never ending quest to
> make Apple look bad.

I tell the truth about iOS and Android and Windows and Linux.

Doesn't it ever occur to you that it's only on the Apple platform that the
truth is verboten to be spoken? Nobody worries about the truth about Google
in an Android newsgroup, for example. Nor Microsoft in a Windows newsgroup.

Only the Apple newsgroups hate whenever someone tells the truth, even as in
this situation, I said many times that most of these high school kids are on
iPhones so that's why this thread has to cover both iOS and Android apps.

> My first reaction is: here we go again. You will
> follow this up with 'we had to cancel the trip because there were no free
> iOS apps that met my artificial, carefully-constructed requirements, while
> of course there were millions of Android apps'

What you whooshed on is I _started_ the topic testing Avenza, which works
_exactly_ the same on iOS as it does on Android (AFAIK), and yet you're
apparently complaining that there are free ad free cloud free login free
apps on iOS now?

I realize that you're from the Apple side so to you it's a strange thing
indeed to have a free, ad free, login free, cloud free app that works.

But that's always the goal (even on Windows or on Linux) so it's not just
Android users that benefit from a plethora of free ad free login free apps.

> If this scenario is actually true, then depending on the answers to my
> questions in the first paragraph this could range from difficult to
> disaster.

The goals have never changed that we _always_ want free ad free login free
fully functional apps on _all_ platforms (it doesn't matter if it's iOS or
Android or Windows or Linux).

Hell, on Windows I don't need to log into _any_ mother ship to do work.
Same with Linux. And certainly the same with Android.

Why is it that _only_ on iOS you must log into the mother ship so that they
can track every app you download and what you do with that installed app?

Why can't iOS work with the privacy inherent in _every_ other common OS?

> A 3 day hike WITH KIDS is not something to undertake lightly. Plan.
> Research the area, particularly if no one hiking is familiar with it.
> Don't expect to have Google maps working 24/7.

Um... that's what this thread is all about.
The kids wanted to have good apps.
They asked me for help and advice.
I asked _you_ for help and advice.

It's how intelligent kind-hearted purposefully helpful people do things.
Isn't it?

> Carrier coverage and app availability should be the least of your concerns.

What's interesting is that only you and nospam think that it was my concern.
I never once said that carrier coverage was a concern.

In fact, I specifically mentioned _many_ times that it's _not_ a concern.
What is a bit disconcerting is that you and nospam don't even realize that.

It makes me wonder a bit about your lack of intelligence, but I'll try to be
nice in the new year so I will simply say that if you think I cared about
carrier coverage even in the least, then I have to wonder why you fabricated
that belief system out of the exact opposite in terms of obvious facts.

> That they seem to be SO important means either the people planning
> this are utterly clueless OR you are - in fact - doing your usual trolling.

What's scary is you fabricated that entire belief system out of nothing.

And then, after you created your own scarecrow, you beat it with the word
"trolling" even as your _entire_ premise was fabricated by you out of

I'm truly trying to be nice when I simply state that the fact you fabricated
your entire belief system sans even a single fact makes me apprehensive
about attempting to carry on an adult conversation with people like you are.

I see the despicable cruel sadistic heartless nospam has agreed with you.
I hope the rest of the ng, adults we can hope, can see the facts you can't.

Moving on, there are still a bunch of navigation apps to test, where the
"Paper Maps" Avenza replacement is what I'll test next for the ng team.

Notice that "Paper Maps" (like Avenza) works on both iOS and Android.
iOS app: <>
Android: <>

Given that both Avenza & Paper Maps work on both iOS & Android, they fit the
test criteria of free, ad free, login free, offline topographic nav apps.
(which allows us to test USGS geoJPEG, geoTIFF, geoPDF, & KMZ formats)

Here's what I tested for the team (so that everyone may benefit).
1. Download Paper Maps onto your smartphone.
2. Press the black "Plus" button at the bottom.
3. Select "Import Map (PDF TIFF)"

At this point I connected the phone to Windows over USB so that I could
slide all the files into the storage space on the phone to test Paper Maps.

A. First I tested the USGS geoPDF files.
"Paper Maps" showed my location on those USGS topographic files.
B. Then I tested the USGS geoTIFF with the same good first test results.
C. The geoJPEG showed up in Paper Maps but a bullseye didn't locate me.
D. The KMZ didn't read in (Paper Maps seems to seek a KML file instead).

The first map I imported into "Paper Maps" freeware was a previous geoPDF.
When I pressed the location bullseye, it found my location on that geoPDF.
But it didn't do much else that I could tell (it edits the map a bit).

The nice thing about the variety of geoTIFF files that were downloaded from
the site was that you can track yourself on a satellite
imagery map (apparently) in addition to tracking yourself on a geoPFD.

There "seems" to be a tracking feature in "Paper Maps" much like that which
was in "Avenza" but I wasn't able to test it out more fully before writing
this up for you.

The good news is that "Paper Maps" doesn't seem to have the 3-map-limit that
"Avenza" has so in that respect, "Paper Maps" is better than Avenza.

However at least on a quick inspection, Avenza seems to be a more functional
app than is Paper Maps in terms of being a good cross platform (both iOS and
Android) free USGS map interpreter on the cellphone offline.

If others have more knowledge than I do on the differences between Avenza
and Paper Maps, the knowledge you impart would be beneficial to us all.

Andy Burnelli

Jan 1, 2022, 4:10:27 PM1/1/22
On Sat, 1 Jan 2022 12:34:12 -0800, sms wrote:

> Since
> my "kid" also went backpacking this week, I thought it was an
> interesting post.

The goal is to either learn from others or to impart knowledge to others.
I think about two dozen (or so) very good apps were tested in this thread.
That's _value_ in and of itself, is it not?

> A couple of months ago we were in Maine and found AllTrails very helpful
> and it has the capabilities he wanted, but it's definitely not free. But
> it's so straightforward to use that for us it was worth it to subscribe.
> We could have created gpx files and uploaded them and then known if we
> were going off-route. This would be useful in areas with no trails, and
> the route between Loma Prieta and Mount Madonna is not a route with
> trails the whole way, or even most of the way.

What's wrong with having two dozen hiking-related apps which are:
a. Fully functional
b. Free
c. Ad free
d. Login free
d. Cloud free

What on earth do you have against fully functional free apps Steve?

Only you, the Campbell troll, and the nospam troll complained that these
fully functional free apps exist on both Android and on iOS Steve.

The fact that Avenza and Paper Maps works beautifully, for example, isn't
something you should be repeatedly complaining about, is it?

> My daughter went backpacking with her friend to a huge park in Santa
> Clara County this week, Henry Coe. It's not really a park you want to
> backpack in in the summer because it's very hot, but this is a good
> time. You can see the big differences in mobile coverage at
> <>, though even Verizon doesn┤ have
> complete coverage.

I know the park well as do most people in the Silicon Valley who hike.
The one thing I don't like about it though is there is no shade.

Personally I prefer the Santa Cruz mountains because there's more variety.

> It often upsets T-Mobile aficionados when vast differences in rural
> coverage are shown, but I feel that it's important to be honest about
> the differences in networks since it's a matter of both convenience as
> well as a matter of safety.

Rest assured I understood two things about your carrier coverage comments:
a. They don't matter for the case of intentional offline nav functionality
b. They do matter if 911 is your major concern (it's not for me though)

I'm not saying 911 wouldn't be a major concern in an emergency situation,
but I'm an old man Steve, with almost fully grown grandchildren and I've
never needed to call 911 in my entire life (hiking all over the place).

Again, I'm not saying access to 911 isn't a great thing but I am saying that
if the purpose of the thread is to ask for advice on _offline_ apps that
work both on iOS and Android, your posts extolling the virtues of Verizon
seem out of place, don't they?

Especially as I said most of the kids are on Verizon and on the iPhone.
They're "rich kids" after all.

Andy Burnelli

Jan 1, 2022, 10:27:18 PM1/1/22
On Sat, 01 Jan 2022 16:50:06 -0500, nospam wrote:

>> Hell, on Windows I don't need to log into _any_ mother ship to do work.
> windows 11 home requires an msa account. it's *not* optional.

I'm on old equipment so I'm not allowed by M$ to be on Win11 yet. :)

But yes, nobody on Windows likes that Microsoft (as Apple has always done)
keeps tabs on them with the requirement for a login in Windows 11 now.

>> Same with Linux. And certainly the same with Android.
> false.
> android also requires a google id unless someone is willing to jump
> through numerous hoops and give up substantial functionality in doing
> so.

I'm going to try to be nicer to people like you, nospam, in the new year,
where it's amazing that you think something as simple as pressing "skip" is
"jumping through numerous hoops".

Just as with not having iTunes on a Windows computer gives you _more_
functionality than having it on your system, you're not capable of
understanding that _not_ having a Google Account set up on the phone gives
you _more_ privacy and functionality than you ever thought possible.
a. Google Play search filters become far _more_ functional.
b. YouTube functionality becomes _vastly_ more functional.
c. Your contacts and that of your children _remain_ private.

> you have claimed to have done that, except that not having a google id
> does absolutely nothing to stop google from tracking you. it actually
> has the opposite effect, for reasons you also do not understand.

Again, I'm going to be nicer to people like you who say idiotic things that
you have no concept of since you've _never_ even done something as simple as
hit the "skip" button in the Android setup, so I'll just refer you to the
fact that there are Google apps on your iOS device also, and, given it's
impossible on the crippled iOS to _not_ have to log into the mother ship to
obtain your apps, Apple has _better_ track of you than does Google in most

>> Why is it that _only_ on iOS you must log into the mother ship so that they
>> can track every app you download and what you do with that installed app?
> that is simply false.
> ios users do not 'log into the mother ship' and it's impossible for
> apple to track what someone does with 'that installed app', if they
> even cared (and they don't).

We've covered this in detail where Apple keeps _tons_ and tons and tons of
data about you which you simply can't avoid since with Android you can just
hit the "skip" button and you never need to log into a Google server again.

Back to the point of the mothership keeping tabs on the kids, not a single
parent has heard from the kids since 11 am where even then they weren't all
that chatty with us. They were descending down the mountain at 11 am so they
must have traversed a few ravines by now.

They have down sleeping bags, a closed-cell bedroll, small 1 and 2 man
tents, plastic bags as all-purpose tarps or raincoats, a very small amount
of water (they can drink from the creeks), a tiny bottle of pool bleach & an
eyedropper, wool socks and polypropylene wicking long johns, wool caps and
hats and cloth gloves, a second change of dry clothes in plastic bags, a
camp flint, a knife, a handle-free easy packing pot with a separate
collapsible pot holder, one set of climbing gear amongst the group with a
short length of about 50 feet or so of rope, and I had noticed vibram-soled
Justin boots for some of them, however most are in sneakers or light Merrels
but some were in sturdier Timberlands, almost all are using internal frame
backpacks (although my kid is using my external frame Jansport from the
seventies) which can hold a 3-person tent along the external upper rails and
the lighter sleeping gear on the lower rails, TP, etc.

> what you further fail to comprehend, despite having it been explained
> to you on more than one occasion, is that third party app developers on
> all platforms can and do use any of several analytics packages that
> *do* track what you do, and in some cases, with very fine granularity.

How is that Android app going to report back to the mother ship when the app
has no access to Internet via either the wi-fi or cellular on a app-by-app
basis by virtue of the fantastically functional NetGuard FOSS firewall that
iOS simply lacks the functionality of (all by its itty bitty self)?
* Simple to use
* No root required
* 100% open source
* No calling home
* No tracking or analytics
* No advertisements
* Actively developed and supported
* Android 5.1 and later supported
* IPv4/IPv6 TCP/UDP supported
* Tethering supported
* Optionally allow when screen on
* Optionally block when roaming
* Optionally block system applications
* Optionally notify when an application accesses the internet
* Optionally record network usage per application per address

It's only iOS (of all common consumer operating systems) which lacks the
basic functionality of a system wide firewall (all by its itty bitty self),
which is required in today's day & age what with telemetry data tracking.
*Tech Giants Apple and Google Track User Telemetry Data Without Consent*
"Both devices connect to their back-end servers every 4.5 minutes."

The difference is Apple _requires_ the poor unsuspecting iOS users to have
that easily tracked mothership account; Google can't.

> since you don't understand how any of that works, you are unable to
> block it, which means you *are* being tracked and data mined, despite
> thinking you are not. your ignorance actually puts you in a worse
> position than you otherwise would have been had you done nothing.

In the new year I will simply note that you Apple apologists can't fathom
that it's _only_ iOS (of all common consumer operating systems) that lacks
the system-wide functionality of a FOSS firewall such as NetGuard provides.

With respect to GPS location radios, you apologists _hate_ that iOS can't do
something as simple as set a mock location in the system settings (all by
its itty bitty self) which Android easily does as of the past few releases.

Can you imagine _Apple_ giving you that power to fake your location so
easily using the phone all by its itty bitty self working with the OS?

The fact you hate is that Apple tracks your location without your consent.
*How Apple tracks your location without consent, and why it matters*

Heck, no other system but iOS requires an entire second computer just to do
something as simple and basic as list all the user-installed apps into an
editable text file, to give you an idea of how crippled Apple made iOS.

For some reason you apologists _hate_ that Apple's crippled iOS can't do
even these, the simplest of basic tasks that _every_ other common consumer
operating system easily does (even that expensive Apple PC can do what
Android easily does - which shows it's just iOS which is crippled by Apple).

Bear in mind the iPhone hardware isn't all that far behind the Android
hardware in terms of functionality (save for the missing essentials such as
jacks and expansion memory) but it's simply that Apple cripples what apps
the user can put on the phone (such as spoofing your actual location).
*Apple Apps Continuing to Track Users Despite Apple's Privacy Prompt*

Google can't stop the user from installing apps that Google themselves hates
so much that they won't allow them on the Google Play repository, such as
this YouTube app or this Google Play client or even the fully functional
ad-blocking NetGuard firewall (the Google Play version is crippled).
YouTube on steroids <>
App Manager on steroids <>
Firewall on steroids <>
Google Play on steroids <>

>> Why can't iOS work with the privacy inherent in _every_ other common OS?
> because that would be a step backwards, making it *less* secure, the
> very opposite of what you claim to want.

The fact remains that Apple _requires_ you to have their cloud account which
they keep tabs on and whose information even Apple admits they provide to
others as they see fit for profit or for reporting purposes, whereas on
Android, the fact remains you simply hit the "skip" button and the phone
works just fine without an account on the mothership keeping track of you
like Apple does in spades.
*Apple Apps Track User Despite Refusing Consent - Here's Why*

Back on topic since the purposefully unhelpful fear mongering Apple
apologists _hate_ that Android has so much free, ad free, login free, FOSS
app functionality, the news so far is the kids are, at this very moment, on
the mountain somewhere, almost certainly in a ravine (gravity rules),
enjoying their 3-day backpacking adventure in the hundred acre wood.
<> (this free map will only last for 7 days)

No parent has heard from any of them (to my knowledge) since 11am when they
were still on the side of the mountain, but luckily the night is relatively
calm and clear at the Mount Umunhum (aka hummingbird) weather station
with lows in the 30s and 40s (which is no problem if they're dry).

Happy New Year and thanks go out to all the purposefully helpful
good-hearted people who simply wanted to help out in suggesting fully
functional free ad free login free offline iOS & Android navigation apps.

Given our children and grandchildren are on both iOS and Android, the two
cross platform nav apps which seem to be keepers (since they can work on
almost any map that you have in your possession) seem to be "Avenza" and
"Paper Maps", but certainly more testing is needed for me to confirm which
is better for back country off road off trail hiking navigation purposes.

iOS/Android *Avenza* <>
iOS/Android *Paper Maps* <>

Andy Burnelli

Jan 2, 2022, 9:00:02 PM1/2/22
On Sun, 2 Jan 2022 13:25:36 -0800, sms wrote:

> T-Mobile also includes taxes
> and fees in the price (on some plans) which can be a big savings if you
> live in an area with high taxes, though it seems like subscribers in
> low-tax areas are subsidizing those subscribers in high tax areas

I pay $100/month on T-Mobile for unlimited everything (even in Europe except
calls are 20 cents per minute in Europe) with about $16 in CA taxes & fees.

> Where T-Mobile was really poor was in the Santa Cruz mountains where we
> spend a lot of time in state and county parks. The coverage maps from
> the FCC and Whistleout confirm this, see <>.

I live in the outskirts of the Santa Cruz mountains where all three carriers
aren't the greatest in signal strength simply because there are no towers
within miles.... <>
but all three will give you for free (if you ask nicely) a femtocell or a
microcell which gives you _perfect_ coverage inside the home.

The carriers used to offer three different types of augmentation
1. A femto cell (which plugs into your router)
2. A repeater (which sits in an upstairs window) & transmitter
3. A wi-fi router (nowadays they're all wi-fi enabled though)
But now most of them seem to prefer the femto cell (or micro cell).

Since they're free, you may as well get them (I've talked all three carriers
into giving them for neighbors), where the T-Mobile 5G speeds outside have
been getting better and better lately for some reason (mine are at 250Mbps).

Dunno about other carriers' 5G speeds in the Santa Cruz Mountains though but
I know T-Mobile sells a $55/month wireless Internet box for some areas
(but not yet for mine where we don't even have the option of cable so we
have to get our Internet from an access point which is miles away over LOS).


To always be helpful to others, and while it's impossible to obtain
graphical wi-fi or graphical cellular signal strength data on iOS, the
Android free ad free google free Android apps I like best is this one.

Andy Burnelli

Jan 2, 2022, 9:18:59 PM1/2/22
On Sun, 2 Jan 2022 08:10:10 -0800, sms wrote:

> It often upsets T-Mobile aficionados when vast differences in rural
> coverage are shown, but I feel that it's important to be honest about
> the differences in networks since it's a matter of both convenience as
> well as a matter of safety.

All I know is that two Verizon and one T-Mobile kid is still on the hike
where the others who turned back (admittedly most were on Verizon) found
some way to call their parents so they must have had cellular signal.

The Mount Umunhum (mt. hummingbird) weather station is showing 4 to 7 degree
(about 40 to 45 degrees Fahrenheit) which isn't all that bad to sleep in.

What would be on topic and useful to add value in the new year is to list
free ad free iPhone and Android apps which can queue up an sms/mms message
so that the kids can set up that sms/mms message at any time and then the
app will repeatedly try to send that sms/mms message even if it only has a
one minute (or whatever) window of cellular coverage in sight.

Having never considered the task before, how do most iOS and Android mms/sms
messaging apps handle a message when the user attempts to send it at a time
when there is no cellular coverage, and then later, a coverage window opens?

Andy Burnelli

Jan 4, 2022, 7:07:37 PM1/4/22
On Tue, 4 Jan 2022 09:41:55 -0700, Ken Blake wrote:

> The automated message could be as simple as:
> "Time 12:00pm 37.1107807°N,-121.8446759°W, 3,766 feet (1,148 meters)"

Even better might be an app which provides a clickable time stamp Google URL
link to where they are in the SMS app to a satellite image from about the
500 meter AGL view (preferably all this is settable in the emergency SMS/MMS
app settings). It could provide this time stamp location ever (settable)
hours which would help us keep tabs, on a daily basis anyway, of the status.

BTW, we just heard from them according to phone calls I've been getting.
Apparently they did call at 12 (they called their own parents, not me) where
piecing together the news I think they made it to triple falls before giving

One of those kids' parents are heading off to a nearby place called Uvas
Canyon County Park which is apparently available by road and which is only a
bit more than half way of the 10 miles as the crow flies they were trying to
backcountry hike.

Here are some photos from just one of the kids who had turned back earlier.

Andy Burnelli

Jan 4, 2022, 7:30:58 PM1/4/22
On Tue, 4 Jan 2022 13:59:43 -0800, sms wrote:

> The difference in coverage is not debatable.

I get it that you feel Verizon is better in terms of coverage.
It's also not relevant when we're asking for cross platform apps.
It's especially not relevant when you have a gaggle of kids.
Each of whom may be on iPhones (mostly) or Verizon (mostly).
But maybe not.

The question was which cross platform free ad free apps do hiking best.
The answer is in this thread, which the kids made use of before they left.

What we need now is simply a good free ad free cross platform SMS app.
That app would queue up a message or a location stamp at settable times.
That app would continually try to send the message if there is no signal.
The _instant_ they have signal, the queued up messages would be sent off.

That way we'd know roughly where they are without them needing to stop.
It might use up a lot of battery though (which they won't have much of).

Anyway, all the kids are back. Safe & sound, I'm told.
They completed their three-day adventure in the hundred acre wood.
Almost on schedule (they apparently kept to the route most of the way).
The only problem was they only went about three quarters of the goal.

But that's good enough considering some of these kids never hiked back
country before where I must repeat it's rather steep in these mountains.

Overall this one picture sums up this type of trip in a succinct way.

Thanks everyone for all your help and advice choosing the best cross
platform apps for people to use on both iOS & Android for offroad hikes.

Andy Burnelli

Jan 4, 2022, 8:10:59 PM1/4/22
On Sun, 02 Jan 2022 16:44:30 -0500, nospam wrote:

> regardless, every carrier has dead spots. nothing is 100%.

On Tue, 4 Jan 2022 13:59:43 -0800, sms wrote:

> The link I provided <> shows the maps
> from the FCC web site
> <> for coverage
> in that area.
> The link I provided <> shows the maps
> from the Whistleout web site
> <>.
> The difference in coverage is not debatable.
> It often upsets T-Mobile aficionados when vast differences in rural
> coverage are shown, but I feel that it's important to be honest about
> the differences in networks since it's a matter of both convenience as
> well as a matter of safety.

To always strive to learn as much as we can from _every_ person in each
thread, particularly people who are attempting to add value to the thread...

Now that the kids are back from their adventure in the hundred acre wood, we
can look at Steve's coverage maps a bit closer to glean details from them.

The good news in terms of what Steve had to play with is that he was given
the choice of Mt. Madonna to Loma Prieta so he couldn't cherry pick areas.

To be fair to Steve, and given the kids are back safe & sound (if a big cold
and soggy), we have the luxury to now look a bit deeper at Steve's coverage
maps for the three major carriers (AT&T), (Verizon),(T-mobile) keeping in
mind that coverage maps are only useful if there is an exact place that you
want to get coverage (which we have given we know the bearing for the hike).

Even given we only know now roughly the route the kids took, we can still
draw that presumed line of hike onto Steve's three coverage maps to easily
determine (roughly) what their respective coverage might have been.

If we take into account Nibbs Nob, Lands End, and Three Falls as datapoints
on the maps, we can approximate what their coverage would have been overall.

Here are the two images from Steve with that presumed line of hike redrawn.

I must admit the coverage does appear to be drastically different along what
we can objectively presume to be the basis of their planned bearing of hike.

Andy Burnelli

Jan 4, 2022, 9:31:12 PM1/4/22
*On Tue, 4 Jan 2022 17:44:46 -0800, sms wrote:

> While no carrier has 100% geographic coverage if you plan to travel to
> more remote areas, like National and State Parks, or if you are going to
> be driving through rural areas, or if you're visiting the outskirts of
> urban areas (often called the 'greenbelt'), then you'll want to avoid
> T-Mobile and choose AT&T or Verizon.

Speed matters too...

To always be objective about all facts that reasonable people present,
Steve's coverage maps did show Verizon & AT&T covered the deep ravines
better'n T-Mobile in these coverage maps between Loma Prieta & Mt. Madonna

Steve didn't get to cherry pick the coverage areas so we have to take his
maps at face value since a bearing from Mt. Madonna to Loma Prieta was set.

However, what matters is not only cellular coverage but data speeds too.
*Fastest Mobile Networks 2021*
"For our 12th annual test, we drove more than 10,000 miles,
speed-testing AT&T, T-Mobile, and Verizon 4G and 5G in cities,
towns, and rural regions all over the US. We found a radically
new landscape - and a surprising winner."

Also, if you care about 5G, that coverage matters also to some people.
*T-Mobile Marks 5G Milestones*

Where this is my data speed at home in the same mountains the kids hiked in.

And this is my cellular signal strength with the femtocell turned off.

However, we have to be careful to be testing cellular and not wi-fi speeds.

BTW, no longer does 5G eat up your battery, apparently, according to this.
*On Verizon and T-Mobile, It's Time to Turn 5G Back On*

Andy Burnelli

Jan 4, 2022, 9:47:38 PM1/4/22
> Where this is my data speed at home in the same mountains the kids hiked in.
> <>
> And this is my cellular signal strength with the femtocell turned off.
> <>
> However, we have to be careful to be testing cellular and not wi-fi speeds.
> <>

I accidentally referenced the wrong screenshot for the cellular signal
strength graphs where anything above about ~-90 to ~-105 decibels is decent.

Note that unfortunately, this kind of information is _impossible_ on iOS
even as it's trivial to accurately & graphically debug cellular on Android.

Also note that the _reason_ such powerful functionality is impossible on iOS
isn't that the iPhone hardware can't accomplish the task - it can.

It's impossible on iOS because Apple limits what apps the market can provide
while Google not only doesn't limit the functionality that the market can
provide but in some cases (such as YouTube or Ungoogled Chromium), Google
can't limit what the market can provide.

Since Apple can and does severely limit what functionality the market can
provide for iPhones, this type of functionality exist in droves in Android
and yet there isn't a single app that gives this functionality on the Apple
iOS app store (despite nospam fabricating numerous times that it does).

I'll believe nospam only after an Apple iOS App Store URL shows up to an iOS
app that can do what this free ad free gsf free app already does on Android.

Unfortunately, nospam's claims are never backed up with even a single fact.
The question is why nospam feels so desperate the need to fabricate
imaginary functionality for iOS apps that never exists on the App Store.

Andy Burnelli

Jan 4, 2022, 9:58:12 PM1/4/22
On Tue, 4 Jan 2022 17:18:37 -0800, sms wrote:

>> I get it that you feel Verizon is better in terms of coverage.
> No, how anyone "feels" about coverage is immaterial. You need to look at
> the actual coverage. Fortunately there are multiple ways to do that.

Rest assured that I explained to you quite a few times already that while
this thread isn't about coverage, I _did_ look in detail at your coverage
maps, and, in fact, I even plotted out the bearing the kids planned out.

You should know by now that I've never stated an incorrect fact on Usenet in
decades of posting simply because my belief systems are _based_ on facts.

Hence, I already re-posted your screenshots and agreed that the coverage
along a bearing these kids had planned shows dramatic coverage differences.

In fact, I also referenced a country-wide scientifically run PC-Magazine
test of all important _speeds_ of the major networks run earlier this year.
*Fastest Mobile Networks 2021*
"For our 12th annual test, we drove more than 10,000 miles,
speed-testing AT&T, T-Mobile, and Verizon 4G and 5G in cities,
towns, and rural regions all over the US. We found a radically
new landscape - and a surprising winner."

Two things about me Steve that you won't find in many others on Usenet.
*Not only am I rather intelligent but I'm objective about facts*

Those observable traits already put me far and above almost all whom you are
conversing with (not that a bar of "Lewis" or "nospam" is all that high).

Bearing in mind that I'm nothing like those Apple apologists who are
despicable people who lie about everything (just as Apple does) in their
defense of everything Apple (no matter what), I understand that you also
have much experience with _both_ iOS and Android devices (as I do also).

That means we can be more objective and correct about the differences when
it comes to finding free ad free google free navigation apps for the kids.

Andy Burnelli

Jan 4, 2022, 10:14:39 PM1/4/22
On Tue, 04 Jan 2022 20:48:05 -0500, nospam wrote:

> neither does sms.
> t-mobile coverage is nowhere near as bad as he claims, from people who
> have actually used it.

It would be helpful if people didn't quote either Alan Baker or Rod Speed
when responding in a thread that only _adults_ should be partaking in.

Nobody who is anybody does not have both of those idiots plonked long ago.

Getting back to coverage, while Steve hijacked a thread about cross platform
app functionality for backcountry hiking in the Santa Cruz mountains, if we
objectively _look_ at Steve's coverage maps, a priori, they do show
differences in the bearing that these kids had planned (which Steve didn't
cherry pick because the mountain objectives were chosen by these kids).

Looking at Steve's coverage maps, I do seem to see objective differences.

Don't you?

I think Steve is trying to point out that in _some_ places, Verizon coverage
is better'n that of T-Mobile (and/or AT&T) which you agree with in the main
in that _every_ carrier has their own unique set of dead zones & hot spots.
*Where Are the Mobile Dead Zones (and Hotspots)?*

Of course, what matters for most people when it comes time to _choose_ their
cellular provider isn't necessarily the coverage in Uvas Canyon so much as
the coverage at the outside of their house, as shown here for my signal.

And, let's be clear, not only does signal strength over time matter, but so
does cellular data speed matter, where this is a data speed at my house in
the _same_ Santa Cruz Mountain range that these kids just hiked for days in.

Being objective to both nospam's and even to Lewis' point that T-Mobile is
pretty good, both those indications and that of the countrywide test by PC
Magazine earlier this year show overall T-Mobile coverage & speed is good.
Couple that decent coverage and speed with decent prices, and that's why I'm
currently on T-Mobile although I've had both Verizon & AT&T in the past.
Because I'm rather unique on Usenet in being intelligent, purposefully
helpful, and caring that others get all the factual data, the trolls like
Alan Baker, Snit, Lewis, JR, nospam, and Rod Speed hate me. So be it.

Andy Burnelli

Jan 5, 2022, 4:38:08 PM1/5/22
On Wed, 5 Jan 2022 12:22:48 -0800, sms wrote:

>> What's wrong with free *roaming*?
>> I don't know how the MVNO's work when *roaming* but T-Mobile USA gives all
>> of us free *roaming* (at least on regular postpaid plans like mine is).
> LOL, pretty sure that you understand that "free roaming" doesn't mean
> "roaming on every other carrier no matter what" (except for 911).

First off, I never said anything about 911 but what I _did_ say was that
T-Mobile allows free roaming in the USA and in Europe.

I don't know _when_ I'm roaming but when I'm in Europe (which I frequently
visit) the roaming works just fine where _all_ the phone calls and wifi are
on the roaming towers - so we _know_ that roaming works.

I already can assume, ahead of time, that you'll likely claim T-Mobile
roaming in the USA sucks but what actual facts would you base that upon?

> You can look at the carrier's maps and they'll explicitly show where
> roaming is available. For example, in the Death Valley Area, the
> carriers, including T-Mobile, roam onto Commnet, see
> <>.

If you are going to provide a reference, I'll check it out.
But _that_ reference is in the middle of Death Valley for Christ's sake.

How many hours did you spend trying to find the _one_ spot that fit your
narrative Steve? It's unrealistic to claim the area we live in (which is the
Santa Cruz Mountains) is similar to Death Valley, Steve. It's just not.

We can cherry pick the area, where the area of concern should be where we
both live (which is in the fringes of the Santa Cruz mountains) and in the
case of this thread, the area between Mount Madonna & Loma Prieta.

It's all well and good that I can predict years in advance that you'll claim
Verizon coverage in those two areas is good and that T-Mobile coverage
you'll claim sucks (since that's your history) but we both _live_ there.

My coverage on T-Mobile is just fine and getting even better over time,
particularly with 5G for example - and this is in the same Santa Cruz
Mountains you claim that I don't have good coverage.

I just want to know if that good coverage is because of roaming or not.

> The problem for T-Mobile is that their native coverage is limited but
> they usually only roam onto the small rural carriers, and not usually
> onto AT&T or Verizon.

How do you know that?

Rest assured I knew (years ahead of time) that you'd say T-Mobile roaming
sucks but what actual _facts_ do you base that assessment upon in the area
we're talking about of the Santa Cruz Mountain range (where we both live)?

> In California, there are only two very small areas where T-Mobile has
> any roaming at all. In the far north there's a little roaming onto U.S.
> Cellular and in Death Valley there's roaming on Commnet.

How do you know that?
Can you point to a reference that backs up that claim?
(I'm not saying it's right or wrong; I'm asking where the data is from.)

> In fact T-Mobile complained to the FCC that AT&T and Verizon were
> gouging for roaming services while AT&T and Verizon insisted that since
> they incurred the capital expenditures of providing more ubiquitous
> coverage that they should be able to charge a lot for it. T-Mobile was
> especially upset that AT&T and Verizon were charging T-Mobile more than
> AT&T and Verizon MVNOs were being charged.

Steve... you are being inconsistent. Either T-Mobile is roaming on AT&T &
Verizon towers or they're not. You can't logically claim T-Mobile isn't
roaming on them and then claim that T-Mobile doesn't like what they're
paying to roam on them.

You can't have both in any one given area such as the Santa Cruz Mountains.
Something is fishy about your claims.

> If you go to Alaska, T-Mobile is 100% roaming and an MVNO like Mint
> Mobile has no coverage at all, nor do they roam on a carrier like
> Commnet in Death Valley.

First off, you claim _all_ three major carriers roam in that area, so how
can you then use _that_ as a comparison about T-Mobile versus Verizon?

It's not even close to a logical position to take, Steve, that you claim
Verizon is better than T-Mobile when in that area that you point out,
Verizon is exactly no better (or worse) than T-Mobile anyway.

I don't know your educational level but I assume you took basic logic.
What you claim makes no logical sense, by your own facts and admission.

Besides, let's stick to the Santa Cruz Mountains, and if we need to get to
specific towers, let's stick with the area between Mt. Madonna & Loma

You already presented a case of what the T-Mobile native coverage is in that
area, so now we just need to ask _how_ T-Mobile free roaming changes that.

> I added this information to the document "Coverage Differences Between
> AT&T, T-Mobile, and Verizon" at
> <>.

If you're going to provide a link, I, unlike the Apple apologists like
nospam, will actually look at the link to see if it backs up your claims.

That's a document you perhaps wrote titled
*Coverage Differences Between AT&T, T-Mobile, and Verizon*

What you claim there is EXACTLY OPPOSITE what PC Magazine recently claimed
where they must have spent tens of thousands (if not hundreds of thousands)
of dollars testing the coverage around the country that you write about.

What research do you run that beats that of the most recent PC Magazine
standardized testing which costs plenty of thousands of dollars to perform?

Why is your conclusion _not_ even remotely supported by PC Magazine's tests?

> It often upsets T-Mobile aficionados when vast differences in rural
> coverage are shown, but I feel that it's important to be honest about
> the differences in networks since it's a matter of both convenience as
> well as a matter of safety.

I get it that you claim that anyone who uses T-Mobile and is happy with the
coverage must be an unrealistic aficionado, but the fact is that my
neighbors, like yours, are on all three carriers and the coverage is about
the same for all three where I live & travel in the Santa Cruz Mountains.

I notice you don't read the PC magazine facts which shows that T-Mobile
coverage is just fine as it doesn't fit your pre-determined narrative.

All I want to know is that if I accept, a priori (that means sans facts
backing you up) that you claim T-Mobile coverage sucks compared to that of
Verizon or AT&T, and yet - if you take into account free roaming on T-Mobile
- why wouldn't the coverage be essentially the same in the area of concern
in this thread?

That is, you don't get to dig for hours to find the one spot where your
claims come true. You are stuck with (a) the Santa Cruz Mountains (where
both you and I live), and if we need greater granularity, then (b) the
towers affecting the area between Mt. Madonna and Loma Prieta.

If it's true what you say about T-Mobile towers, why doesn't the T-Mobile
free roaming fill in the coverage in _that_ area of common concern?

In summary, I am quite intelligent Steve, and therefore I can understand all
your arguments, but you just "saying" inconsistent things about the coverage
dilutes your argument immensely.

The fact I can _predict_ all your arguments years in advance is one thing,
but the fact that your arguments are _not supported_ in the least in the
latest PC Magazine countrywide tests should tell us that you have an ax to
grind with always claiming that Verizon is better than T-Mobile in the areas
we're talking about.

Maybe it is.
Maybe it isn't.

But your claims are completely inconsistent and hence not fully believable.
It could well turn out to be you who is a "Verizon aficionado" for example.

A key logical question is where do you get your facts from that T-Mobile
does not roam on Verizon or AT&T towers in the Santa Cruz Mountain area?

Andy Burnelli

Jan 5, 2022, 6:01:49 PM1/5/22
On Wed, 05 Jan 2022 11:06:06 -0500, nospam wrote:

> T-Mobile wins the 5G Download Speed award for the fourth time in a
> row, increasing once again its lead on Verizon and AT&T, with our
> T-Mobile usersน average 5G download speeds breaking through the 100
> Mbps mark.

Coverage is important, which, AFAIK, manifests itself objectively as
a. Signal strength over time
b. Cellular data speeds over time

Unfortunately Android can't test cellular coverage for any but the one
carrier whose SIM card is inserted, where I just ran a quick signal strength
and cellular data speed test just now on my free T-Mobile Samsung A325G
from my office inside the house with the phone wi-fi turned off.

1. I don't want apps with ads, and there are plenty of free gsf free ad free
speedtest apps but I figured people would trust "okla" so I installed it

3. Inside the house, my 5G speeds (wi-fi off) from the Santa Cruz Mountains
to Las Vegas (I had my gps spoofing app turned on) are about 60 down,
7 up & 39ms ping, with 4ms of jitter at as shown in the screenshots below

4. The cellular signal strength from the tower was nicely nested between
-80 dBm and -100 dBm which is a decent cellular signal strength for
inside the house and for being miles away from any cellular tower.

Those are actual numbers tested just now inside the house in the same Santa
Cruz Mountains that Steve claims the T-Mobile coverage sucks. Given that I
can only test T-Mobile, I'd like to ask Steve to run the _same_ tests for
Verizon where he lives (on the same California Santa Cruz Mountains range).

Can anyone say what the Verizon or AT&T signal strength & speeds would be?

Note: I don't like redacting much of the tower information so if anyone
knows what minimum tower information regarding privacy I can redact, please
let me know. <>

Andy Burnelli

Jan 5, 2022, 6:14:50 PM1/5/22
On Wed, 5 Jan 2022 07:24:05 -0800, sms wrote:

> It often upsets T-Mobile aficionados when vast differences in rural
> coverage are shown, but I feel that it's important to be honest about
> the differences in networks since it's a matter of both convenience as
> well as a matter of safety.

Hi Steve,

I don't shill for any cellular carrier (I've had them all and they're about
the same where I live in the Santa Cruz Mountain range).

I'm aware you get paid by Verizon somehow to hawk their products, but I
don't care about that other than to simply ask you to back up your facts.

All I care about are the objective facts.

1. I just ran a quick test for you which I ask you to also objectively run.
a. Please install Cellular-Z freeware onto your Android phone.
b. Please install Speedtest freeware onto your Android phone.
c. Turn off Wi-Fi & run the two tests I just ran for you please.

2. Inside the house, my 5G speeds (wi-fi off) from the Santa Cruz Mountains
to Las Vegas (I had my gps spoofing app turned on) are about 60 down,
7 up & 39ms ping, with 4ms of jitter at as shown in the screenshots below

3. The cellular signal strength from the tower was nicely nested between
-80 dBm and -100 dBm which is a decent cellular signal strength for
inside the house and for being miles away from any cellular tower.

Those are actual numbers tested just now inside the house in the same Santa
Cruz Mountains that Steve claims the T-Mobile coverage sucks. Given that I
can only test T-Mobile, I'd like to ask Steve to run the _same_ tests for
Verizon where he lives (on the same California Santa Cruz Mountains range).

It will take you only a minute or three to run those tests that I ran.
If you do not run those tests, then we'll know exactly why you won't.

Andy Burnelli

Jan 6, 2022, 1:34:13 AM1/6/22
On Wed, 5 Jan 2022 13:57:41 -0800, sms wrote:

>> First off, I never said anything about 911 but what I _did_ say was that
>> T-Mobile allows free roaming in the USA and in Europe.
> As you are well aware, that's a highly misleading statement.

I only care about the facts, Steve.

Like most people, I don't care if T-Mobile or AT&T or Verizon comes out on
top simply because I have an open choice of all three. I'm not being paid to
shill any of them so I can objectively tell the truth about all of them.

The only thing that matters is the objective truths - one of which is that
T-Mobile has free roaming in the USA and in Europe - whether or not you
happen to like that objective truth.

Running that search, the first hit is this "Domestic Roaming Data"
"In locations in the U.S. where we do not yet have network coverage,
we partner with other networks. When you travel outside of T-Mobile's
U.S. network areas, your phone automatically switches to use one of our
wireless network partners where available when you have data roaming
enabled. T-Mobile has two classifications of domestic roaming networks
based on the agreement we have in place with each partner, standard
and preferred."

Unfortunately that hit doesn't say when you'll know if/when you're roaming
and on which type of partner until you get to about 80% of your quota.

The next hit on that roaming search is the T-Mobile/AT&T roaming agreement.
But it's so old as to be almost useless as who knows what's still in place.

Digging through the hits, there isn't much about T-Mobile Roaming Agreements
that is recent information where I'd like to see some of your references on
the matter so that I can make an objective assessment of the situation.

The technical problem is that while I can tell if I'm on roaming, it's a
bunch of button presses, and even if I create a Shortcut to the Android
Activity that controls and describes whether or not I'm roaming, I would
need to be pressing it all the time.

What I'd need is a warning system that buzzes the phone whenever the phone
is roaming. Does that exist? Dunno. Let's look first.

These are all free and ad free google free app hits related to roaming.

Note for those in the EU there is this free ad free gsf free data watcher:
EU Roaming Data Watcher, by Marcelo Araujo <com.martindoudera.euroaming>

I'll test some of them out to see if they can log when/if I'm connected to a
roaming tower given I have my free roaming turned on 100% of the time and
yet I've never received any notification from T-Mobile via SMS (as they
claim they will send) notifying me that I'm at 80% of my roaming max limit.

Andy Burnelli

Jan 6, 2022, 1:52:15 AM1/6/22
On Wed, 5 Jan 2022 16:41:03 -0800, sms wrote:

> You really need to concentrate on facts.

Hi Steve,

Don't play that game with me since I _only_ speak facts.

In fact, I provided you the most important facts of all, which was at 2pm
today in my office inside my house in the mountains you claim don't have
T-Mobile coverage, I attained a respectable (not great, but respectable)
a. 60Mbps cellular data download speed
b. -85dBm cellular signal strength

I'm still waiting for the facts from you which would take you all of a
minute or two to run the speed tests and signal strength tests I ran.

We've been waiting for _years_ for you to provide those facts, in fact.

While -85Dbm is decent anywhere, certainly where you live your Verizon MVNO
should get far better signal strength & I would hope far faster speeds.

The fact you can't provide the facts is what worries me about your claims.
I would _hope_ after all this shilling you've done for your Verizon MVNO
that you would spend the same minute I spent running a speed & signal test.

And yet, you're apparently completely afraid to show us those facts, Steve.
That's a fact that I'm well aware of Steve.

Please post your cellular signal strength & speeds just like I did, Steve.
Those are the facts that matter.

Andy Burnelli

Jan 6, 2022, 2:14:59 AM1/6/22
On Wed, 05 Jan 2022 20:03:11 -0500, nospam wrote:

> In article <sr5dqv$sig$>, sms
> <> wrote:
>> You really need to concentrate on facts.
> the facts aren't what you claim them to be.
> the *actual* facts, supported by numerous industry surveys as well as
> customer reports, is that t-mobile 5g is consistently faster and far
> more widely deployed than verizon 5g.
> <
> st-results-claim>
> T-Mobile is destroying AT&T and Verizon in 5G speed
> ...
> For the 5G Availability award, T-Mobile proved itself the winner by
> providing the most 5G coverage and connectivity. 33.1% of users
> remained connected to 5G, while AT&T came in at 20.5% and Verizon
> at 11.2%.
> More importantly, T-Mobile handily beat its competitors with an
> average download speed of 71.3 Mbps. The next closest was AT&T
> with 54.9 Mbps, then Verizon trailing behind at 47.7 Mbps. 5G Upload
> was a closer race, with T-Mobile on top with 15.2 Mbps, AT&T with 10
> Mbps, and Verizon with 12.9 Mbps.
> <
> verizon>
> T-mobileąs 5G network is currently the broadest in the U.S., covering
> around 40% of the country compared to Verizonąs 11%. While 5G is
> still being rolled out across the country, T-Mobile has an edge due
> to more coverage and faster speeds when comparing its 5G service
> to Verizonąs 5G Ultra Wideband.
> <
> e-5g>
> T-Mobile wins the 5G Download Speed award for the fourth time in a
> row, increasing once again its lead on Verizon and AT&T, with our
> T-Mobile usersą average 5G download speeds breaking through the 100
> Mbps mark. In our last report, T-Mobile more than doubled its lead
> over second place from 16.3 Mbps to 35.2 Mbps. This time T-Mobile led
> by an impressive 62.7 Mbps and with a 5G Download Speed thatąs more