Making the Most of the Tracking Feature in the onX Hunt App

onX Hunt users already have access to the most reliable backcountry map data available, but navigating complex terrain can still be a challenge. Seasoned outdoorsmen and women know that finding your way back after a long trip is almost as much of a challenge as the hunt itself. Thankfully, onX is here to help.

The Tracking feature allows you to record your path as you travel and saves it on your map, taking the guesswork out of backtracking so you can have the confidence to explore the unknown. It provides you with other useful information such as the time the trip took, the distance, and average speed. This data is saved along with the Track and can be viewed in the My Content menu.

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The Tracker can be accessed by tapping the Tracker button in the bottom-right corner of the onX Hunt App. When you tap the green “Start” button to begin recording, the blue dot that shows your location will turn red to indicate that the Tracker is enabled. As you travel the track will appear as a bright blue, dashed line on your map. After you finish recording, you can change the color, style and weight of the line by tapping the “Edit” button next to the saved track in the My Content menu. For complete instructions on how to use the Tracking feature, click here. Also want to track your back road drive to your backcountry hunting spot, try the Offroad App.

Screenshot of the onX Hunt App with the Tracker recording

Tracking Online vs. Tracking Off-Grid

The onX Hunt App uses your device’s built-in location services to record each point along your path as as you travel. In online mode, the App will use cell towers to determine the location of these points. When using the app in Off-Grid mode, it is disconnected from the cell network and uses GPS satellites instead. Depending on your surroundings, either setting could be more accurate.

It’s best to use the Tracker in online mode if:

– You have a strong cell signal connected to at least three towers
– You find yourself in thick tree cover which can block GPS signals
– You just need to record a quick trip near a town or city

Tracking in online mode generally works best in populated areas where the app can connect to enough cell towers to accurately triangulate your position. If you notice your location bouncing around a bit on the map, this indicates your device is having trouble locating you and you will get a more accurate reading using the App in Off-Grid mode. There are apps available for download on your device that will provide you with information about cell towers and signal quality in a given area, such as “Open Signal.”

Cell tower with night sky background

It’s best to use the Tracker in Off-Grid mode if:

– You’ll be away from populated areas
– You’re in hilly terrain that may block cell signals
– You’re unsure of the quality of cell coverage you’ll have in a certain area

By default, the app will be in online mode until you tap the “Go Offline” button in the Off-Grid maps menu. Unless you have maps saved for Off-Grid use, all of the map information you see in the onX Hunt App is downloaded over the internet, so it requires an active wi-fi or cell network connection.

Even if you have a strong cell signal, your device may only be connected to one or two towers, decreasing the accuracy of your location services. This means the recorded track will not match your actual path and you may see the line make odd jags and turns.

Tap the “Go Offline” button in the Off-Grid maps menu to disconnect the app from all cell towers and have it rely solely on the GPS network. Make sure to save a map of the area first.

Bowhunter looking at the onX Hunt App in the backcountry

Other Factors Affecting Tracker Accuracy

Most devices have Power or Battery saving features that should be disabled. Additionally, the location services on many Android devices have a “Locating method” setting that should be set to “High Accuracy.” These features will affect how often the device checks your location, so if they’re not set correctly, your track will not be as accurate, and you will see straight lines connecting points on the Track instead of an accurate representation of your path.

When used properly, the Tracker becomes an indispensable tool for anyone that spends a lot of time in the backcountry. Besides keeping you safe and helping you locate those perfect spots again, having a visual representation of the trip on your map will give your campfire stories some evidence to back them up. Used together with the other Map Tools, the Tracker will help you personalize the onX Hunt App and turn it into a record of your outdoor adventures.

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Written by Ryan Curtis