An Android phone running Halfmile’s PCT app.
We know a lot of hikers are using our Pacific Crest Trail app but the numbers are even surprising us.
Halfmile’s PCT app is starting it’s fourth hiking season installed on more than 10,631 smartphones and we expect the numbers of hikers using the app to grow over the next few months.
About two weeks ago Halfmile’s PCT app was updated for the 2015 hiking season and this gives us an opportunity to see how many times the app was recently updated and count how many smartphones it is currently installed on. Most smartphones update apps automatically when they have an internet connection.
Halfmile’s PCT app is available free for both Apple iPhone and Google Android phones. Apple and Google report statistics somewhat differently, but here is what we know as of March 31st:
- The iPhone version of the app was updated 5,620 times in the past two weeks.
- The Android version of the app is reported by Google to currently have 5,011 active installs.
Google provides more information than Apple about things such as the model of phone, Android OS version, and cell phone company used. We found the cell phone company information especially interesting. Here are the cell phone companies of our 5,011 Android phone users:
US Cellular 1%
Virgin Mobile 1%
TELUS Mobility 1%
A minor revision to the Halfmile app is being released to address stability issues and correct a few of the waypoint descriptions. The Android update is available now, the iPhone update should be approved by Apple in about a week. We encourage hikers to always update to the latest version of the app.
The Halfmile PCT app on an iPhone.
Halfmile Pacific Crest Trail iPhone and Android smartphone apps have been updated for the 2015 hiking season.
Halfmile PCT apps are a companion to Halfmile’s 2015 printed map set to aid navigation. The app determines your location and, if on the PCT or one of its side trails, it calculates trail distances to over 3,000 PCT landmarks and displays any relevant trail notes. The app also calculates elevation gains and losses to landmarks and compass bearings and distance to landmarks. The IOS app includes a live trail diagram to aid navigation.
Halfmile apps do not contain maps of the Pacific Crest Trail — think of them as a very accurate, location aware, digital PCT Data Book.
Changes for 2015 include:
The app data is now synchronized with the official 2015 Halfmile maps and GPS data.
Over 1000 new PCT landmarks have been added for locations such as water sources, trail junctions, campsites, road crossings, etc.
Over 90% of the PCT track data has been replaced using much higher accuracy sources than before.
Compatibility with new smartphones and new operating systems.
Various small fixes and enhancements have been made to improve readability.
The Halfmile PCT app is available free at the iTunes Apps Store or Google Play.
Since Halfmile’s PCT mileage estimates have changed for 2015, be sure not to mix and match 2014 and 2015 versions of PCT maps, apps, or GPS data.
We have been asked by several hikers about the abbreviations used for waypoint names on Halfmile Project PCT maps, apps, GPS data, and Google Earth files. Here is a list of the most common abbreviations:
BB — Bear box or bear locker (mostly in the Sierra)
CG — Campground
CS — Campsite
GT — Gate
JMT — John Muir Trail
Hwy — Highway crossing
NF — National Forest boundary
TH — Trailhead
TR — Trail
PL — Powerline
PO — Post Office
RD — Road crossings
RR — Railroad track
Ski — Ski lift
Wild — Wilderness boundary
WA — Possible water source (not on http://www.pctwater.com, mostly north of mile 700)
WR — Possible water source listed in the PCT Water Report at http://www.pctwater.com
WACS — Possible water source and campsite
WRCS — Possible water source from the Water Report and campsite
Curious which waypoint types are most commonly used? Here is a list from the new 2015 Halfmile Project data:
3161 — total number of 2015 waypoints
972 — WA waypoints
745 — CS waypoints
498 — TR waypoints
466 — RD waypoints
152 — WR waypoints
73 — GT waypoints
61 — Hwy waypoints
54 — PL waypoints
33 — Wild waypoints
21 — CG waypoints
16 — BB waypoints
12 — TH waypoints
8 — PO waypoints
6 — NF waypoints
6 — Ski waypoints
Updating maps for 2015
The 2015 Pacific Crest Trail hiking season is rapidly approaching and understandably we have been getting questions about what’s changing in the 2015 edition of Halfmile’s PCT maps and when new maps, apps and GPS data will be ready.
2014 was a massive data collection effort for the Halfmile Project team. Halfmile and Dirt Stew thru-hiked the PCT (Halfmile northbound, Dirt Stew southbound) carrying very accurate custom GPS devices designed for mapping long hiking trails. 8,296,179 new data sample points and 5,065 new waypoints were collected.
GPS reception can be challenging along some parts of the PCT due to tree cover or terrain such as mountains or canyons that sometimes block GPS signals. This is especially true in Oregon and Washington. The custom GPS logging hardware performed amazingly well because of the outstanding performance of the ublox NEO-7P GPS module, external mast mounted antennas, and the merging of multiple GPS data sets using software developed by David Lippke. We are confidant this is the most accurate data ever collected of the PCT.
Overall the new 2015 data has an average horizontal accuracy of 1.9 meters. Here is the horizontal accuracy by PCT section:
CA Sec A: 0.67 meters Continue reading
CA Sec B: 1.26 meters
CA Sec C: 1.11 meters
CA Sec D: 1.19 meters
CA Sec E: 0.81 meters
CA Sec F: 0.98 meters
CA Sec G: 1.18 meters
CA Sec H: 1.44 meters
CA Sec I: 1.62 meters
CA Sec J: 1.51 meters
CA Sec K: 1.61 meters
CA Sec L: 0.49 meters
CA Sec M: 0.57 meters
CA Sec N: 0.46 meters
CA Sec O: 0.68 meters
CA Sec P: 1.92 meters
CA Sec Q: 2.37 meters
CA Sec R: 2.19 meters
OR Sec B: 2.66 meters
OR Sec C: 2.49 meters
OR Sec D: 2.57 meters
OR Sec E: 2.32 meters
OR Sec F: 2.45 meters
OR Sec G: 3.78 meters
WA Sec H: 3.45 meters
WA Sec I: 2.94 meters
WA Sec J: 1.75 meters
WA Sec K: 3.34 meters
WA Sec L: 2.42 meters