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.
Halfmile’s Pacific Crest Trail maps have been updated for 2015 and they include cool new elevation profiles created by programmer Tom “66” Reid.
Colors used on FAA charts.
The new elevation profiles feature color coding in the style of FAA Aeronautical Charts, improved formatting to show more waypoints, and mileage that matches the 2015 Halfmile PCT mileage estimates.
Information on the elevation profiles includes:
- Page numbers to identify which PCT map pages are covered.
- Black dots for every half mile of trail.
- Red dots marking individual waypoints along the PCT.
- PCT mileage from the Mexican border every two miles.
- Elevation gain/loss is estimated (see the red circle above) for every two mile section of PCT.
The new elevation profiles are included with each section of PCT maps, or just the new elevation profiles for California can be downloaded here, or Oregon/Washington profiles can be downloaded here. Since PCT mileage estimates have changed for 2015, be sure not to mix and match 2014 and 2015 version 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