When it comes to GPS-powered software, anything more complicated than a TomTom or Google Maps gives us a headache. But there’s a whole underground movement of ramblers, geocache hunters and hardcore wanderers who use GPS data in ways that make doing long division in Latin seem preferable.
So, we approached TrailRunner with a little trepidation. Thankfully, it’s very Mac friendly – pitched above simple navigation systems, but still useful and accessible to people who’ve never heard of waypoints. Although, once you start using TrailRunner, you’ll know exactly what they’re for.
Think of it as sat nav for your legs. It’s for planning routes you undertake on foot, either as a runner or a rambler, or perhaps on your bike or rollerskates. While a car sat nav plans routes for you, TrailRunner provides the tools you need to create your own routes manually – using built-in mapping and waypoint placing.
TrailRunner is more about collecting routes than creating them, though. The accompanying iPhone app enables you to track your route while you’re out. When you get home you can transfer your waypoint wandering to TrailRunner on your Mac. You can rate routes too, so you can return to rewarding circuits or share routes via email. You can output maps as PDF files for running mates who don’t use TrailRunner.
It’s a cool tool for geocachers too – GPS-toting geeks who hide bundles in places off the beaten track, then share the co-ordinates for others to find them. TrailRunner’s great for keeping track of and hunting planted caches.
TrailRunner’s not for everyone, but if you like walking or running or just getting out and about in the wintery weather, it’s a good companion.