Viewranger mapping software can be added to any mobile phone with a built-in internal GPS receiver or that has a Bluetooth GPS receiver connected. The result is that the Viewranger software provides OS digital mapping on the screen of the phone with the addition of a fully featured navigation system. Here the Viewranger software is loaded to a Nokia 5800 phone.
The mobile phone that you load the Viewranger software to is obviously important. The Nokia 5800 is a flagship option with a 7x4cm screen that provides touch-screen operation. A stylus is provided for easier operation and this is attached by a lanyard so it can’t get lost. The device is certainly the most stylish out of those featured and comes with three buttons at the base of the screen and three more along the sides. The Viewranger software is operated by on-screen touch-sensitive graphic icons. The device has a built-in 3.2 megapixel camera and is powered by a rechargeable internal battery.
On the hill
The first thing that struck me was the clarity of the screen on this device: it is astonishingly clear and crisp, and by far the best here. Operation of the functions via the touch-screen was equally impressive. A swipe of the thumb moved the map across the screen with rapid regeneration of detail. When the device is turned to the horizontal position, the OS map rotates so that north is always towards to the top. This sounds like a pointless gimmick, but it’s actually really useful as it allows you to view the area of the map you really need. A finger can be used, but the stylus is ideal for creating routes on screen and switching between functions. You get all the usual functions such as route creation as well as 3D panorama maps that identify features around your location. Additional maps can be downloaded directly via a mobile internet connection or are available preloaded on SD memory cards that slot into the side of the phone. I did not find the interface quite as easy to navigate as some other units, but that may just be because I have used other units more. You do not get the road turn-by-turn functionality, which is slightly surprising considering that this type of device may appeal to a more general user. The Care and Maintenance section of its handbook makes it clear that this device is not rugged enough to handle rough mountain use.
Price Nokia 5800 phone £300 (may be less on contract). Viewranger mapping software £156-60 for whole of UK at 1:50k. Extensive range of mapping to cover smaller areas of UK for as little as £30 inc. most of Europe
Display 7x4cm, colour touch-screen
Power built-in rechargeable battery
Memory MicroSD cards
Computer interface USB port
Made in China
Stockist details – tel. (01223) 421355; www.viewranger.com
The Nokia 5800 has an incredibly clear touch-screen; view flips between vertical and horizontal; Viewranger software can be used in many mobile phones. But it’s not as waterproof or durable as other devices. It’s ideal for tourists and fair-weather outdoor use.
Review by Graham Thompson
First published in Trail magazine January 2010