Do you like to explore the outdoors on your own terms?
Would you like to be better prepared to face the backcountry?
...using hardware you already own, with maps and data that travel with you into that wilderness that has no wireless?
Hello there outdoor adventurer, and thanks for stopping by.
I’m Nathan Mellor, an outdoor enthusiast with a love for maps, and the founder of BackCountry Navigator XE.
My mission: to make outdoor navigation easy and accessible to anyone with a smartphone.
That’s why I created the original BackCountry Navigator, which has been the #1 Maps & Navigation app on the Google Play Store for the past 6 years.
It’s helped countless outdoor adventurers like you to find their way through the wilderness.
Despite its success, I know there’s room for improvement, so I’ve been refining a vision for a brand-new app that’s better than ever.
BackCountry Navigator XE is my vision for the future of mobile outdoor navigation software and I need your help in bringing that vision to life.
Designed for today’s tech-smart outdoor adventurers, BackCountry Navigator XE will turn your ordinary smartphone into a full-featured outdoors GPS navigation device.
We plan on making BackCountry Navigator XE the world’s best mobile outdoor GPS app, and here are just a few of the exciting features we’ve got in store for you:
The original BackCountry Navigator has only been available on Android (with 4,352 5-star reviews and 6 years at #1 in its category), so I'm really excited to be bringing BackCountry Navigator XE to Android, iOS and the web.
More Maps = More Adventures
A huge selection of maps for exploring the wilderness are at your fingertips with BackCountry Navigator XE. We make it easy for you to download and use topo maps, marine charts, aerial photography and more. Not only that, backers will be first in line to suggest map services from governments or organizations willing to work with us.
We’re enabling the use of more overlay options than ever before, both free and affordable. These will include BLM Boundary maps, property maps, lake map contours, trail maps, specialty data and more. Whatever your adventure, we've got you covered.
Easier Grid-Based Organization
Saving map areas offline will be simple, with an easier, grid-based approach. Get it downloaded and keep it organized.
Going Global with VECTOR TOPO MAPS
Download vector topo maps for the Earth's surface with easy installation. Compact storage will allow whole states and countries to be downloaded. Flexible styles will make them most readable for you.
Easy To Learn
One of the major pieces of feedback we've had over the years is that the existing app can be a bit difficult to get the hang of. For BackCountry Navigator XE, we'll be focusing on making the app easy to learn and simple to use, so you can get exploring the outdoors quicker than ever!
Planning In The Cloud
With the cloud editor, you'll be able to plan your treks, and upload tracks and waypoints to customize your adventure on the web before you go. Your plans will synchronize effortlessly with your mobile device so you can navigate the outdoors easily. When you get back home, you'll be able to review exactly where you explored.
Sharing Is Caring
When planning and reviewing your adventures, you’ll be able to create links so you can share your plans with your buddies.
No Signal? No Worries
Today, your smartphone isn't limited to cell towers; it has the same hardware that’s been used by the military and handheld GPS devices for decades. Download the maps you need before you head out into the backcountry and your phone's GPS will handle the location tracking. BackCountry Navigator XE will work even when there isn’t any cell coverage.
- Hiking and Backpacking, both on-trail and off-trail
- Camping trips to find that perfect camping site or the way back to camp
- Kayak and canoe treks on inland lakes and streams or marine and coastal waters
- Hunting wild game in rugged areas
- Off-road vehicle driving
- Search and Rescue (SAR)
- Geocaching, cycling, fishing, and more!
BackCountry Navigator XE will be using a yearly membership across the web, Android, and iOS. This is a necessary change from BackCountry Navigator PRO, because of ongoing costs, such as creating custom maps, running servers, and using cloud features. We believe that the benefits of the new and updated features far outweigh the cost.
When BackCountry Navigator XE is released to the general public, subscriptions will be as follows:
When you support us on Kickstarter today, you’ll get some fantastic discounts and bonuses. The sooner you back, the bigger the discount!
When you back the project at Bronze XE level and above, you’ll automatically become part of the BackCountry Community.
In addition to regular behind-the-scenes updates, you’ll get the chance to be surveyed on the highest priority features, review potential UI designs, participate in beta testing and access the final app before the general public.
We’ll begin beta testing from December onwards. As part of the BackCountry Community, backers will get the chance to see, test and provide feedback on the app during development, and get access to the final version before it’s released to the general public.
With 8 years experience developing and managing the original BackCountry Navigator, I know exactly what it takes to successfully bring an app to market. We’ll be using the funds as follows:
In 2009, I was laid off from Hewlett-Packard after 12 years working as a software engineer.
The day after that, my youngest son Jonah was born.
Talk about stressful!
Where more sane and logical people would’ve gone and found another job, I pursued my passion for outdoor recreation and chased the dream of running my own online business.
After many long days in front of my computer screen, I brought BackCountry Navigator to market, and after many more, it became the top paid app in what is now the Maps and Navigation section of the Android Market.
Since then, I’ve got on to win multiple awards for mobile app development, written a book on ‘Android Apps For Profit’ and spoken at both AnDevCon (2011-2016) and Wearables TechCon (2015).
BackCountry Navigator has been far more successful than I could’ve imagined at the time, and I’ve learned so much along the way about how software can help people in the outdoors.
I know there’s so much more I can do with BackCountry Navigator XE to help adventurers like you to navigate the outdoors easily and I can’t wait to share this journey with you.
Help me bring BackCountry Navigator XE to life, and create the world’s best multi-platform, outdoor navigation software by backing this project today.
Thank you so much for reading, and see you in the outdoors!
- Nathan :-)
Founder of BackCountry Navigator XE
P.S. If you have any questions, check out the FAQs below
Will BackCountry Navigator XE work on my phone?
You’ll need one of the following on your smartphone: iOS 9+ (latest recommended) or Android 4.1+ (latest recommended).
GPS is needed for real time navigation. Most devices today have GPS. If the specs say “GPS” or “Assisted GPS”, that’s okay. Don’t count on using “network location” to navigate in the backcountry.
An electronic compass sensor is helpful, though not required. Some cheaper phones and tablets leave this out to save money. Again, check the specs for compass sensor.
You do not need internet access out in the field, but you will need internet access back home to plan for your adventure and preload maps.
Will BackCountry Navigator XE work on my tablet?
Sure. Keep in mind the items mentioned above.
It is common to leave out GPS in cheap tablets from lesser known brands, while bigger brands usually have them. However, notable big brands that don’t have GPS are the wifi-only iPad tablets and the Amazon Fire.
Will BackCountry Navigator XE use my battery up quickly?
Nope. GPS does use battery power, and you can use it sparingly if you want. In modern phones, however, the biggest drains on a battery are often the screen and searching for a signal when there is none. If you turn on airplane mode and keep the screen off when not staring at it, you can last for full days and sometimes weeks, as has been reported by some.
What kind of maps can I expect?
Those who have used BackCountry Navigator will be familiar with many of them. A document describing them is at this link.
What are overlays and what kinds of them will be available as add-ons?
Can I download the maps?
Will this work if I live in the US/UK/Australia/another country?
Yes. GPS works in all over the world.
If you’re wondering what maps there will be for you, keep in mind that all countries are part of the world, therefore worldwide sources will work. However, see our provided list of map sources in case there is something specific for your part of the world.
If I have BackCountry Navigator PRO. Will I get updated to the new version automatically?
BackCountry Navigator XE will be a brand-new app with lots of improvements, so you won't just get it by turning on "automatic updates' in Google Play. The best (and quickest) way to get the new app is to back our Kickstarter today.
BackCountry Navigator XE will be using a yearly membership across the web, Android, and iOS. This is a difference from BackCountry Navigator PRO, but necessary because of ongoing costs of creating custom maps, running servers, and using cloud features. We believe that the benefits of the features far outweigh the cost.
What about today's BackCountry Navigator PRO (for Android)?
Since BackCountry Navigator XE won't be out publicly until next Spring, you will, I hope, still get a lot of use out of the BackCountry Navigator you have now.
While we hope that BackCountry Navigator XE will be so good that everyone will want to jump to it right away, we acknowledge that some users will take months or more to transition.
The BackCountry Navigator of today will continue to be supported and updated much as it has been even long past the release of BackCountry Navigator XE
I very recently bought BackCountry Navigator PRO, plus some add-ons, and a subscription? Are you forcing me to buy something else now?
Since BackCountry Navigator PRO will still be supported and updated, no one is being forced. As mentioned above, we prefer that people want to move to XE.
If you have a subscription to Accuterra or Caltopo maps, we recommend you keep it active at least till next Spring, or until you are ready to move to XE.
We plan to work out a process to give credit to those who have bought BackCountry Navigator in the last 1-2 years or have unexpired subscriptions or add-ons. This credit will likely be in the form of virtual currency in the new app, discount on membership, or an extension of a membership.
This process cannot be worked out till BackCountry Navigator XE is released next Spring. And we certainly plan to automate the process, because we want to avoid doing this one at a time for 100,000+ people.
Where is my pledge money going?
66% Research and Development of software
26% Content Creation
8% Kickstarter fees + payment processing
When will I get my app?
December 2017: Beta of website begins
February 2018: Beta of Android and iOS version begins
May 2018: iOS version goes to AppStore
May 2018: Android version live on Google Play Store
Can I share your project on Facebook?
We'd love it if you did! Thank you! Simply click the button below:
Do you have a press kit I can download?
We sure do! Click the button below to view and download it:
Risks and challenges
With 8 years experience developing and managing the original BackCountry Navigator, I know exactly what it takes to successfully bring an app to market. Based on years of feedback and surveys, I've been able to identify what I will be doing differently this time, particularly to keep it simple.
I have identified a common framework for software that will run on both Android and iOS to maximize code reuse.
We have been able to prototype the most basic and important things for this project - displaying maps and data.
I have confirmed that there are people with knowledge and experience in the field of maps and data that can work on the project once we have the funds to hire them.
I've done lots of research for XE already and built time into the development timeline, so I'm very confident we'll deliver the app on schedule.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (30 days)