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Who needs the ‘net? New Paddle Partner app tracks GPS without an internet connection

paddle partner internet free kayak app 15783086 ml
Terry Schmidbauer/123RF
When kayakers and canoeists hit the water, the idea is often to get off the grid and away from civilization. However, many also want to be able to track their journey or figure out where they’re headed next. Thankfully, a company named Paddle Partner recently developed a new version of its app which lets users access their location and create maps while offline at select national parks and river destinations. Since most apps and gadgets on the market that offer real-time tracking require an internet connection, Paddle Partner’s update means boaters can leave the paper maps at home.

While using the app, its “Mobile Map” function tracks GPS points, finds campsites and locates other points of interest along water trails in the Everglades National Park, Big Bend Saltwater Paddling Trail, Delaware River, St. Croix River, and the Namekagon River. Over the course of 2017, the company plans to expand even more by adding additional paddling trails throughout North America. App creator Kyle Wendel said that on top of the convenience of the app, it also prevents paddlers from getting lost and into potentially dangerous scenarios.

“We feel that safety is every paddler’s number one requirement,” Wendel told Digital Trends. “Paddle Partner gives all paddlers the knowledge of knowing where they are at all times without any Internet connection.”

In addition to tracking a user’s basic location, Paddle Partner also calculates the distance remaining to their desired destination, tracks paddling speed, and keeps a measure of their longest paddling sprint. It contains info and GPS navigation to all surrounding camping supply stores, river outfitters, and places to eat.

A basic version of the Paddle Partner launched in 2015, however, the company recently gave the app a makeover. With the upgrade finished, it’s now scheduled to release the new-and-improved version on April 27. This includes added features like a preparation map for pre-trip planning, a current route feature to take users back to a former spot with one click, and a river feature which returns users back to the river they started on. Additionally, it also offers a paddle speed feature that tracks arrival time to a destination at two, four, and six miles per hour.

Currently available only for iPhone users via the Apple App Store, the company says an Android version is in the works.

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