Baring the event of no cell service, there are a couple apps that provide good tracking at NO CHARGE! (other than a little data usage...)
The simplest is www.RoadID.com and it's RoadID app <<<.
Here's a link to a simple run out to a private pond where we fished this weekend. LINK <<<
This can be particularly useful if you are out in you boat in the fog and need to find your way back... or so that you next-of-kin can come collect the remains... The tracks seem to be stored indefinitely.
Among other things, my family uses it to track each other running errands just to figure out if things are progressing or what may be delaying the return.
BackGountryNavigator app <<< has download-able maps, works without cell towers on your android phone (ande maybe on others) and includes GPS, altitude and speed indicators and summaries enroute. I have the PRO version, at a cost of of out $12.00. This app can be set to display on a vvariety of bap backgrounds, from topo maps to mapquest. The photo to the right was from a dual sport ride north and east of Terligua, TX back in February. See the Lt Dan article later in this blog.
See one of my articles 1/1/16 about using the BackCountryNavigator app at THIS LINK <<<
The details are complicated enough that you should check their tutorial before finding your self trying to us the app out in midst of nowhereville. You can also use it to load GPX tracks into the phone and follow them. We did this in Harrison AR for a dual-sport ride of about 70 miles. Worked well, although we apparently followed the map backwards.
I don't think the tracking system works while you are traveling. So far I have only been able to look at the tracks when completed and stored. They can be transferred to Google docs or gmail or EVeryTrail.com.
Speaking of everytrail... if you are looking for abandoned roads (like the one we used 50+ years ago to access the south end of Little Grassy Lake) there's great detail and topo info. The online version is free. I haven't tried the mobile version which has a fee attached.
AllTrails is a little more fun and is free. I have used the online version and the mobile app.
Again, whether on two-wheels, on foot or out in your boat... tracking devices take the worry out of being far.
Also tinkered with but not discussed here are
- Real-Time GPS (worked to follow LA - Barstow - Vegas riders.