Stand Alone Apple Watch App

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  • Official comment
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    Melanie Wilson

    EDIT: The stand-alone Gaia GPS Apple Watch app is now available.

    You can read all about how it works in the Help Center here.

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    Hello all,

    The stand-alone Gaia GPS Apple Watch app is now available for Beta Testing. 

    If you’re interested in joining the beta test group, please follow this link from your iOS device to get started: https://testflight.apple.com/join/ssEufmcy

    Here’s what to look forward to:
    The Watch app is designed to work independently from the iOS app. You no longer need to be running the Gaia GPS app on your phone to use Gaia GPS on your Watch. Features include:

    • Record tracks on Watch
    • Mark waypoints on Watch
    • Turn by Turn navigation on pre-planned routes with offline maps on Watch.
    • Health Kit integration


    Note:
    Routes must be sent to the Watch before use. To send a route to your watch:

    • In the iOS app, open the route in the Saved tab
    • tap the “...” button in the upper right
    • select “Send to Watch”


    Any feedback can be submitted directly through TestFlight and will go straight to the developers working on the project.

    If you have any issues installing the beta, you can find more thorough instructions in the Help Center.

    Thanks in advance for all your help!

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    Amata

    Yes, I tried the beta. It is worse than before. Before at least we had a map and could see our track and it synched with the phone, it was just buggy af and the map almost impossible to scroll in on.

    The Beta version is a glorified workout ap. It does NOT synch with the phone, it runs it's own track. But. No Map. And the phone doesn't show your track as started from the watch, so since the Beta version has no map, you have no map of your track. I will say, when you *end* your track from your watch *then* it shows up on your phone, finally. The way points never showed. I sent all this in to the ap developer on the beta flight test.

    Literally the on-board apple workout ap does a better job than the gaia beta, for the same things. The synch of the gaia beta watch ap to the workout ap is a fine *additional* feature, but to make it *only* a way to start a hiking workout, and pause / end, is pointless. And since it runs a unique track, that only shows once you end the track, it gives you no more info than the on-board workout ap does, which is far more seamless. Good job you made a buggy workout ap that only works for hiking?

    A GOOD GAIA WATCH AP NEEDS:
    1) The same track as your phone. The phone gives a bigger map after all. It needs to be the SAME track on each and controllable start/pause/end from either phone or watch
    2) Add waypoint from watch, that shows up on the synched same track/map on the phone
    3) A way to zoom in and out on the map with the apple watch scroll wheel (like, every other apple watch ap!)
    4) oh yeah, and, the map! 

    The route turn notice, synch with workout ap, those are bonus things if you want to include them. But those *alone* are really quite pointless, which is all it is right now.

    After all...You are GAIA. a MAP AP. NOT a workout ap.

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    emanuele.laface

    I just tried the beta. First of all the usage is really not intuitive. The App now is basically a way to track the activity, there isn't even the map anymore.

    I fully agree with the comment of Amata: the app is totally useless now, it seems a miserable workout app (and the video player on a tab seems to confirm the intention).

    Guys your iPhone App is great because people can have a map when the track is lost on the mountain, not to run in a city where there are millions of indications, neither to listen to music (there is Spotify for that).

    So, you should seriously spend some minute to try the App WorkOutDoors, basically you have to do the same concept without all the workout things but with your maps, the waypoints and the possibility to synch easily the tracks.

    When you open the app you have to see the map, your blue dot and the track that you are following. Then, if you really want, you may record something, but the browsable map with the track and waypoints on top is the bare minimum.

    You are the best for maps and you are not doing maps on the watch.

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    tcarlisle

    I was supper excited to see the announcement that the Gaia Apple Watch app will now allow users to download offline maps to the watch.  I've been waiting for this for a long time.  After using the updated watch app, though, I'm a lot less enthusiastic.  While the new watch app is certainly a welcome step in the right direction, there are currently a lot of problems with it.  Below is a list of problems and missing features that I've encountered. I share this with hope it will help your developers understand how to improve the Gaia Apple Watch App.

    • GPS looses lock on satellites and, even when it has a lock, the GPS is inaccurate. (All other watch apps I've used do not have this issue so it seems that software, not hardware, is the problem)
    • If routes are deleted from the phone/desktop app without first deleting them from the watch the routes become orphaned on the watch without anyway of deleting them.  (This happened to me and now I have routes stuck on my watch without a way of removing them.  I even tried un-installing and re-installing the watch app but the routes are still there.)
    • Users should be able to delete routes directly from the watch
    • Difficulty in sending routes to watch app.  Phone hits 50% download then stalls.  Changing screens on the phone and then coming back to see if the download has completed will then show a status of "Sent to Watch" but the route is not actually on the watch.  Users have to delete the route from the watch (using the phone app) and try again to send it to the watch.  Repeat until successfully downloaded to watch--which can take a handful of tries and lots of time.
    • Watch app constantly says it is downloading routes and cycles through a percentage count even though I'm not sending data to the watch.  This is going to burn battery life.
    • The watch app shouldn't have to be open--let alone the active window--for the phone app to recognize and download routes to the watch.  This should be possible without even opening the watch app.
    • Cannot pan the map only zoom
    • Zoom levels are 3 static settings rather than fluid, infinity zoom like other apps.
    • Cannot zoom in close enough to be able to actually see detail, like which way the route is going at a junction.
    • No haptic or audio alert when going off route
    • Watch App goes off route and never gets back on, even though I'm clearly back on route
    • The 2nd screen on the watch that indicates arrows and distance to turns is confusing.  It also does not re-orient with users body position and is practically useless.  Also, if I go off route this screen will just say "Off Route" for the remainder of the route.
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    emanuele.laface

    I agree 100%. You are wasting the time of the developers with this app for the Apple Watch, nobody will be attracted by your application if you continue on this road. Gaia GPS is a map application, you should stop to code a (poor I have to say) workout app and focus on what you are good for: the maps.

    By the way, I think that you convert the map in images on the watch because Apple Watch doesn't have the same features of iOS to load vectorial maps, this is why are so slow and it takes so long to upload maps to the Watch.
    I am writing a SpriteKit interface to render directly the vectorial maps that is what (I think) did the developer of WorkOutDoors.

    If you don't go for true vectorial map on the Watch you will always have the hiccups that you are experiencing like slow browsing and slow offline caching of the maps.
    I would be glad to share what I am doing with you.

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    Alice

    I actually preferred the old watch app. I use it for riding and it showed me mph and not just pace. I loved that I could add a waypoint from my watch and it would put it on my track. Now I think it’s useless. The mileage was incorrect and the track I made didn’t save. 

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    Thyme Traveler

    Even trying to create a “placeholder” route to contain the offline maps for a given area—when all I want is to view/scroll/zoom the maps, see my location on them, etc—the watch app forces me to navigate the actual route start to end, and requires me to create a track.  So dumb.  ViewRanger can be sluggish but at least it accomplishes these basic functions easily.  WorkOutDoors is awesome, but its maps are what they are and the map text size is impossible to read.  Bringing those worlds together would be transformative.

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    Amata

    It sounded like there were maps added now to beta, based on above comments, so i re-downloaded the beta to test it again.

    I am still not seeing any maps. I can only assume that maybe it shows up if you are following a route (which, won't transfer, it always times out around 60% transferred and never finishes, and I gave up trying). But if my assumption here that map only shows if you have a route to follow is true, that STILL doesn't solve the request to: HAVE A MAP BECAUSE GAIA IS A MAP AP.

    I shouldn't need to upload routes to be able to see a map on my watch. 

    I went ahead and ran a track anyway - not that it did any good, as it doesn't show gaia anywhere, not on my phone, not online, nowhere, and despite you trying to integrate it to the workout aps, I got zero credit for the walk.

    The other bug I had is it constantly stopped counting if my watch face turned off. It should run the track continually, even with the watch face not on. Watches now are raise-to-see, we don't leave the screens on 100% the time, and the track needs to continue consistently even with screen-off.

    The map needs to be *your main feature* on the watch ap.

    Because as stated: gaia is a *map ap*. Do what you are known for, please! Stop trying to become something you are not - because you aren't even doing it well! Play to your strengths! That's all we ask :) When I open Gaia, I need to see my awesome Gaia maps! The first screen! Right there, the map, for me, to use!

    I have an apple watch SE, if that helps, and I did send in a report via testflight so you should have all the data as to what i'm running.

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    Amata

    Sounds like you should hire @emanuele.laface ^^^

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    doowylloh

    I've tried all the apps.  Gaia's apple watch app is useless.  There's an app called workoutdoors that is currently the best out there.  Their maps however are lacking.  They are vector based like Gaia's.  My dream is that Gaia would team up with that developer and create a standalone app.  The combo of Gaia's vector maps and workoutdoors apple watch app would be a dream. 

     

     

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    PaulnSans

    I agree guys. It’s the reason why I haven’t bothered with the purchased versions of this app. I use a work around so that I can transfer the GAIA GPX files onto WorkOutdoors then use that app on my watch to stay on the track / route I upload. I can record the hike on that App and I can use it as indicated to navigate with once I have uploaded the GAIA created route. Painful to say the least and not worth buying the pro version until I can have a working watch app to go with it.  I guess it could just be a case of seeing if someone else is hungry enough to want to create it.  Perhaps GAIA are happy with their sales levels now and are happy to just become complacent. 

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    sputnik1

    +1. Pretty please? 🥺

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    Amata

    YES PLEASE
    I mean, the series 5 has an internal compass, now is the time, gaia! make us a good watch ap! 

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    Gregory

    Seriously. Please. We need a stand alone GAIA GPS app for Apple Watch.

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    Deric

    Do it. Do it. Do it. 

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    fredcohn

    I will add to this list by saying that the Gaia GPS watch app MUST be connected to the iPhone's Health app to function properly.  If the connection is not allowed, you can not end a track properly or reset the app to start a new track.  The only option at that point is to force quit the app.

    I'm a big user of the Health app but I'd rather not feed it with data from Gaia GPS...

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    Jim Margolis

    @fredcohn

    Thanks for reaching out. Sorry for the trouble. We have identified a bug in the Watch app that is preventing some tracks from being ended.

    I don't have a timeline on when this will be fixed, but please know that we are working on it.

    If you have any further questions, please contact Support here.

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    Ryan McElroy

    Hey @tcarlisle,

    We really appreciate your feedback about the new Watch app. This is all helpful to hear. I'm sorry your experience with it hasn't been exactly what you expected, but please know we're listening. I've passed along your comments about these issues and features to the team for consideration in future updates.

    If you've got any further questions, we're happy to help. Contact Support here.

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    tcarlisle

    Ryan,

    Thanks for the response.  Like I said, a stand-alone Gaia Apple Watch app is definitely a welcome step in the right direction.  If you can get all these issues worked, and feature improvements made, it will be quite the compelling feature that currently no other major mapping service is offering.  I hope those improvements can come soon! 

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    emanuele.laface

    Oh, I have already the job that I love, so it was not my intention, and also there are much better coder than me around. But in the spare time I don't mind to help, also because I love the iPhone version of Gaia GPS and it is frustrating that they are not doing a good version for Watch, that's why I am doing by myself.

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