Locus Map, not only for hikers and bikers

Michal, Locus team

During the 13-year history of Locus, we have encountered many interesting and even bizarre ways of using the application. Thanks to its infinite versatility and countless configuration options, the original app for geocachers, hikers, and bikers has also found its way to professionals of various specializations. So, for example, one transport company uses Locus to locate rail switches and substations, a manager of an oil pipeline in Alaska uses it for monitoring and maintenance work, and some bus drivers in Poland use it to teach newcomers the location of bus stops… Today, we will write a bit more about other such rarities.

It helps in nature conservation

This is probably the use of our app that pleases us the most. Seven years ago, we wrote about how Locus Map was being used by conservationists in New Caledonia to map the presence of some endangered species, such as the flightless Kagu bird.  

Photo by Philippe Brun

Three years ago, Locus Map was featured in a documentary by the US channel VICE News, which reported on the struggle of naturalists and conservationists from Hawaii’s Maui Invasive Species Committee (MISC) with an invasive species of fire ants. Conservationists are trying to control their rapidly expanding colonies with helicopter spraying. And Locus Map guides the pilot to just the right spot.

Screenshot from the VICE News documentary

The ability to plot the recorded route on a map with the “real” width of the sprayer’s sweep allows the pilot to target his flight over the contaminated area quite accurately, effectively covering the entire affected area.

Screenshot from the VICE News documentary

The same team of scientists appeared in the BBC documentary series Green Planet hosted by Sir David Attenborough last year. Its fifth episode, “Human Worlds,” shows Locus Map again “in action” on a helicopter, this time sniping invasive plants in the jungles of the Hawaiian island of Maui.

Screenshot from the BBC documentary

Experts from MISC’s data and digital use team are very enthusiastic about the app. “We love your app and have been using it for years to control invasive species. Not just plants, but also coqui frogs and little fire ants (and others). Your customizable interface has been really useful. We record tracks to show the locations that we survey and use quickpoints to record control locations for invasive species. There are other conservation organizations here in Hawaii that are also using Locus.

Among the features of Locus, they praise the ability to share backup files, custom offline maps, and export/import data in GPX and KML formats. Their colleagues also used Locus Map on Guam to map the invasive brown tree snakes.

It helps to protect lives and property

Another large group of users is among rescue workers, firefighters and other S&R forces. A few years ago, we started a support program for them, where we provide free Locus Map Premium licenses to the teams. As a result, Locus Map is already used by more than 50 S&R organizations around the world.

Rescuers from Spain’s SGISE (Societat Valenciana de Gestió Integral de Serveis d’Emergències) list the benefits of the app for their organization: “By using an offline map application, we can guarantee that all the fire brigade units have the same handouts and maps. One of the uses of this app is to continuously provide information and data from forest fire units shared across the organization.”

Screenshot by SGISE

Using Locus, the organization not only shares location data of targeted fires but also builds a database of hydrants, forest access and escape routes, water reservoirs, etc. Locus is also used to navigate units in the search for missing persons.

Screenshot by SGISE

It helps in the development of new technologies

Finally, as an imaginary icing on the cake, there’s a truly rare project that we wouldn’t have dreamed of. We were approached by Seacraft, the designers and builders of underwater propulsion and navigation systems asking for our help and cooperation. 

One of the Seacraft developers comments: “Orientation underwater is especially difficult, due to often low visibility, and the impossibility of GPS signals to penetrate through the water layer. This is even harder, with fast movement achieved using Diver Propulsion Vehicles. To facilitate this, Seacraft created a dedicated underwater navigation system based on the dead-reckoning called ENC3, which is commercially available in several variants.

However, sometimes visual referencing and the ability to perform real-time navigational decisions are needed. Here, Locus Map with some modifications was a ready tool to implement as an underwater map system. With the help of the Locus team, it was possible to rapidly create working prototypes facilitating operation underwater.”

Diving with a map display in the front is a pure pleasure, however, if you’re already breaking your piggy bank to buy a similar device because your favorite app works on it, we have to disappoint you for now – it is not commercially available yet.

Photo by Seacraft

Cool, huh? But remember, these extreme cases are only possible because we’ve just made our outdoor navigation app much more flexible in terms of related features, customization, and available content to work with, so everyone can enjoy it as they like. We’re still focused on our core activities of hiking and biking, but we’re also versatile enough to handle other ways to get around the outdoors sustainably.

42 Comments

  1. Emmanuel Quignard
    30. 6. 2023

    Personally, it is the very first time I have fallen in love with an app. The sensation is so fullfiling. Thanks to the teem to help me enjoy life at such a level...

    • Gerhard Halbarth
      22. 8. 2023

      I use the app on my motorbike for navigation, very fast and accurate. i can share my tracks and poi for my friends with only one program.
      at beginning very tricky because the much options to set.
      thanks

  2. Tomek Poland
    30. 6. 2023

    Great article. I can't imagine it is so elastic.

  3. PiEn
    30. 6. 2023

    I'm a cctv and security alarm specialist from Poland. My company is taking care of a security system on a big, closed residential housing estate. We use Locus app for keeping record of camera locations (over 100 places), outside junction and switching boxes (over 70 boxes) as well as the paths of underground installations like copper and fibre cables (over 10km of paths). This app have greatly helped us with collecting and logging the information as well as reduced the time needed for finding fault locations.

    We had need for a tool to log locations on map, describe the type of location (icons, photos etc...) and guide a serviceman to a location. I've used Locus for biking and milsim before so using it was my first thought. It was a good decision.

    Thank you Locus team for this versatile application :)

  4. Serge Meul
    30. 6. 2023

    We are using the app since 2016 to locate our hiking path in the mountains. From this date we are using it each holiday. It is the most complete app in Google store. Also the helpdesk is quick for answering in case of issues. I recommend it to everyone 👍👍

  5. Andrés
    30. 6. 2023

    We are working in conservation, on Colombia, the app is a greit hepful for our personal

  6. Tom
    30. 6. 2023

    I'm waiting for the day where I can buy my first Locus device for navigation! Locus software and a dedicated device - a dream!

    There is simply no competitor to this awesome peace of work!

    Start crowdfunding for the Locus Navi and you get my money!

    • Tom Westheimer
      30. 6. 2023

      This Tom agrees!

  7. Konrad
    1. 7. 2023

    We use locus in our company for enviromental survey to write down location of animal tracks or our stuff like bat detectors or harbour porpoise underwater c pods.

  8. Hans
    1. 7. 2023

    Great story!!

  9. Alfio
    1. 7. 2023

    Grandi passi nel settore. Ottima app.

  10. Sergio Boscacci
    1. 7. 2023

    Inizialmente la utilizzavo per la mtb.. poi ho iniziato ad usarla, vista la grafica e la possibilità di interagire, anche nel servizio A I.B. (anti incendio boschivo di Regione Lombardia) e ricerca persone di cui faccio parte. Stiamo creando un gruppo di lavoro su cartografia /GPS e la proporrò certamente...
    Grazie per il lavoro fatto e per quello che ci aspetta...

  11. Ronald
    1. 7. 2023

    Ich bin seit Jahren begeisterter Locus Fan und habe die Silber Edition. Bei den vielen Funktionen muss man sich aber erst einmal intensiv mit allen Einstellungen beschäftigen. Dann gibt es nichts Besseres.
    Mich stört nur die Häufigkeit der Routing Ansagen. Bei jedem Querweg kommt die Ansage "folge dem straßenverlauf". Das ist etwas stressig. Es würde ja reichen wenn wirklich nur bei Abbiegungrn eine Ansage kommt.

    • Thomas
      1. 7. 2023

      Das ging mir genauso. Ich liebe Locus und nutze es bestimmt seit über 10 Jahren, aber fürs Navigieren beim Mountainbiken zum Beispiel, habe ich mir noch einen Wahoo zugelegt.

  12. Piotr
    1. 7. 2023

    Używam Locusa od lat, jeszcze w czasach gdy nie miałem zegarka rejestrującego ślad, robił to Locus w pokrowcu przyczepionym na przedramieniu z telefonem.
    Już wtedy był support dla map TrekBuddy.
    Teraz, niezastąpiony w górskich wycieczkach (Słowacja, Polska), już z mapami kupionymi z poziomu Locusa.
    Nie wyobrażam sobie życia bez Locusa 😀

  13. Scott
    1. 7. 2023

    A have an M.A. in Geography and find that this little app is very versatile. I downloaded into it all the known archeological sites in my municipality, and known paths, and can add more that had not yet found their way onto base maps. I also enter the location of a wide variety of plants my pharmacist wife is interested in, and those that I am too (edibles).
    I have even designed my own symbol library to complement those the app has.
    This damn little program is almost a GIS system!

  14. Diane
    2. 7. 2023

    Proficiat!

    Wij zijn recreatie e-bikers en we vinden de app super! Ook heel handig om ritten te plannen! Al menige apps gehad maar dit is de beste! Eén tip: het blauwe pijltje (cursor) mag iets vetter gedrukt ....

    Interessant verhaal!

    • Michal, Locus team
      3. 7. 2023

      Hi Diane, thanks for your feedback! You can enlarge the cursor or use a different cursor in Locus settings > controlling > map screen > map cursors.

  15. Tullio
    2. 7. 2023

    I use it also whenever I find mushrooms ! Of course I also add pictures of the biggest 😉

  16. Lukas
    3. 7. 2023

    Everything sweet but would be nice to keep support on wearables too - Garmin connectiq app has a bug for over a year now, not to mention no support for devices like Instinct 2X which is basically ver 2 with bigger display...

    • Jan, Locus team
      4. 7. 2023

      Hi Lukas, oh, how we like to keep supporting Garmin devices via our dedicated addon, but the team behind Connect IQ platform do their job to destroy whole platform and demotivate all remaining devs pretty well! :( Currently the app can't be even updated to support latest devices like Instinct 2X as they removed support (without any notice in advance) for key method how the app can even run on so much different device models. So the current status is that we are trying to find the best solution how to continue to support the app even in the future, but it may mean its major rework and removing lots of older devices from compatibility list. No clear decision on this yet, but definitely among priorities for us.

      • Tom
        6. 7. 2023

        Unfortunately Garmin is very bad in providing good software! Have a look at the forums and see how many people have problems.
        Locus folks, start a crowd founding for your own device! Pretty sure you will be market leader pretty soon - there's no better peace of work out there!

        • Lukas
          8. 7. 2023

          But hardware gets better and better - battery life of Instinct 2X is awesome so I wanted to use it with Locus - no luck so far but hopefully it'll be fixed - dwmap for example works fine so it's possible

        • Rostislav Psota
          15. 7. 2023

          As I go Pacific Crest Trail 2024 with Garmin Fenix 7X and Locus, I am working hard to make sensible symbiosis of those two wonders. So far, I found the best to prepare my day hike at Locus and transfer it to Garmin. What I need walking long distance is not to loose track. Garmin is enough for it. Better handle of waypoints from side of Locus would be great - second next think I need is to know, how far next river crossing or campsite is. To know more details I will switch Locus. I will let you know end of 2024 how it worked😉

      • Freischneider
        21. 7. 2023

        If the addon now works for older devices. Then keep it.
        Make a new one for newer devices.

  17. Momchil Tsvetanov
    3. 7. 2023

    I am a wilderness guide and survival instructor, consulting adventure shows from different countries. From few years our crew use only Locus map in the nature, as using very readable Lomaps and giving easy transfer with various formats and apps. Thanks for your great job!

  18. Andrew
    5. 7. 2023

    Currently I work as a postman: I deliver Newspapers at night and Mail at daytime in constantly varying districts. Locus Map is the killer app for that purpose, I can mark all the destinations on the map with custom symbols before I start and do not have to memorize hundreds of different names and streets and products.

    I only wish there were more and better sorting-options in the POINTS-Folders, if I could sort the points in the folders along streetnames/houseNr. my workflow would be greatly improved.

    Thank you so much for this awesome App. Of course I have the Gold-Membership.

  19. Andrzej
    7. 7. 2023

    Locus Maps is the main reason I haven't switched to iPhone and using Android, because there's no iOS version.

  20. Mathias Schoen
    10. 7. 2023

    Ich nutzte LocusMaps gern und viel. Geleändeplanung in der Fotografie, Farradtouren, Stadttouren. Ich vermisse die Themes, z.B. Hilo. In der Stadt und Outdoor ist es nett zu wissen, wo ich essen kann. Für mich wäre die Lokalisation von PARKPLÄTZEN ebenso wichtig, ansonsten kann ich die Routenplanung mit dem Auto nicht nutzen. Ich hoffe, diese Funktionen kommen bald. Ansonsten wird das Tool für mich als "Triple User" (Fahrrad, Wandern und Auto) unbrauchbar.
    Grüße

  21. Bryan Lim
    10. 7. 2023

    Here in Philippines,The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) also using the app since 2017 in the monitoring of forest plantations, survey and as well as in monitoring of environmental threats. Its advanced features offers a great help to the agency.

  22. Rostislav Psota
    15. 7. 2023

    I will brimg my bits to this - I use maps from this devoper for maybe three decades (I used Locus precedessor Smartmaps to travel across East Europe). In 2024, Locus will be my main navigation tool on Pacific Crest Trail SouthBound. Just to explain importancy of reliable navigation going from Norh - trail is often hidden under snow, trail markings are mainly oriented for hikers coming from other direction. I don't know better outdoor navigation. And I am proud it comes from my country-Czech Republic. ❤️

  23. patrick
    30. 7. 2023

    bonjour,
    je decouvre l'application et j'aimerai vraiment pouvoir l'utiliser ... mais je fais du velo de voyage avec un iphone.
    La version ios, c'est prévu, pour bientôt ?

    • Michal, Locus team
      31. 7. 2023

      Hi, the first testing version is to be published in a few days but it'll be a very light version with only a few basic features.

  24. laisvas
    10. 8. 2023

    The web locus planner fails to load maps properly, though a few days ago it was OK.

    • Michal, Locus team
      11. 8. 2023

      Hi, we noticed that yesterday too. Now it is OK. Probably some issue on the server provider's part. Anyway, next time when you encounter any problem with the app or the web, please contact our helpdesk at https://help.locusmap.eu. Thanks.

  25. Phil
    26. 8. 2023

    I have used the Locus Classic app on my smartphone while navigating on inland rivers and lakes. Despite not showing depths or navigation markers it gives me situational awareness when comparing to a paper chart. I find this particularly useful when navigating the Shannon river in flood conditions, where the twists and turns of the river were hidden. By comparing my position on the app screen view of the river course with the marked navigation channel on my paper charts I was able to avoid going off course and risking fouling a submerged fence or ditch, or running aground. It saved the expense of a full GPS marine plotter system which I would otherwise rarely have use for.
    That said, it would be great if the app included a waypoint system which allowed for trip planning travelling along waterways instead of roads and tracks, for example to and from harbours on the lakes. Currently it is only possible to do this by following a previous track recording to/from that destination.
    Fingers crossed that option might be added.

  26. Rüdiger
    1. 9. 2023

    The app is really phantastic. Currently I'm preparing our sailing trip and also for this purpose Locus helps. Unfortunately the planner on PC doesn't support OpenSeaMap - maybe in next version?

    • Michal, Locus team
      1. 9. 2023

      Hi, we do plan adding some more maps on the web planner but not OpenSeaMap... :(

  27. EN
    3. 9. 2023

    Interesting article. It seems you highlight your app's versatility, yet when I submit bugs related to non-core uses, they get rejected.
    For example tracks over the intl date line wrap around the earth. In theory one could user a glider to cross it.
    Also, Track lines and cursor course line is straight vs following great circle arc. You claim it would be too difficult to implement even though your Guidance feature already has it implemented.

    • Michal, Locus team
      5. 9. 2023

      Hi, yes, we highlight our app's versatility and usability for the purpose it is designed - hiking, biking or geocaching. If you want to discuss over-the-edge possibilities like flying a glider around the globe, please look for some around-the-globe-flying app. Locus Map is not that one.

      • EN
        12. 9. 2023

        You illustrate the issue. Any mention of using the app beyond hiking/biking causes the bug/issue/request to be pretty much ignored and misunderstood. I didn't say I'm flying around the globe, I said your app says I do if I cross the date line, which is obviously wrong. I don't think its too much to ask to fix simple bugs or have already implemented features be consistent across the app. Yet this entire article highlights using locus maps beyond the purpose it was designed.

        • Michal, Locus team
          13. 9. 2023

          If you have any problem with the app, please visit the helpdesk at help.locusmap.eu where the devs are available for help or advice. The commentary thread under a blogpost is not the right place. Thanks.

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