Field-Testing BaseMap’s New High-Speed Offline Maps

Mar 17, 2021 | Offline Maps | 0 comments

Offline Maps are Essential

Being an avid outdoorsman and professional guide who spends nearly 100 days every year in the field, a solid mapping system is an absolute necessity anytime I leave the comfort of my home and head afield. This need is exponentially amplified when heading to an area for the first time. Cellular coverage away from civilization is often spotty at best, making the ability to download maps beforehand a game changer. Knowing BaseMap had just come out with their new high-speed offline maps, I decided to put the new update to the test.

In-the-Field Test: A DIY Aoudad/Javelina Hunt

The rugged and unforgiving Chinati mountain range of West Texas provided a picturesque backdrop for an epic week of hunting aoudad and javelina with friends new and old. Anxious to see what the hype was surrounding BaseMap’s new high-speed offline maps, I began downloading a high-resolution map of the ranch as we topped off the gas tanks in the little town of Marfa, Texas. Knowing that this typically took several minutes I ran into grab a drink for the drive ahead. When I came out the map was done. Curious of how fast it actually downloaded, I deleted it, and downloaded it again. I was blown away as I watched the map download in a mere 51 seconds! I did have a solid 4GLTE connection, but the speed in which the map downloaded was impressive to say the least.

Aoudad, also known as barbary sheep, are commonly referred to as the poor man’s desert bighorn sheep—and with good reason. Our daily routine consisted of long days behind the glass, and miles upon miles of hiking through rocky, uneven terrain in search of bachelor groups of rams. Being in an area that I had never been, I constantly found myself referring to the offline maps that I downloaded prior to the hunt. The morning of day two found us four miles into the backcountry and coming close to the Chinati State Park line. With no fence to mark the boundary, the offline map paired with the built-in GPS was the only indication we had of the property boundary and our location. We snapped a few pictures and continued our hunt staying well within the ranch boundary. Six miles later we arrived back at the truck parched, sore, and sunburnt, but grinning ear to ear, as we unloaded an incredible 32-inch ram off our backs that fell to one well-placed bullet from my dad’s 280 Ackley Improved.

Pictured: Author Colton Heward
Although aoudad was our primary target, the ranch also had a healthy population of javelina. Being that they were a secondary target, I would open my offline maps and drop a pin whenever we saw javelina while sheep hunting. The evening of day three was drawing to a close and the sheep hunting was near done for the day. With a little bit of light left we hustled to a nearby dry creek wash that we had seen javelina in the day before. As luck would have it, we located the group of javelina not 300 yards from where we had seen them the day prior. With the wind in my face, I quietly slipped within 37 yards. When the largest bodied pig in the group stepped into a clear shooting lane I drew, settled my pin, checked my bubble, and squeezed the trigger. The arrow seemed to fly in slow-motion as it arced through the air and disappeared into the unsuspecting javelina. Mere seconds later the javelina expired not 50 yards from where I had shot him. The euphoric sensation of successfully hunting an animal with your bow, no matter how big or small, never gets old.
When hunting multiple species, drop SmartMarkers™ of your secondary target as you spot them so that once you are tagged out on your primary target you can easily/efficiently return to punch another tag.
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My Personal Takeaway

By the end of the week our group had gone five for five on trophy class aoudad rams with several javelina in the cooler as well. BaseMap’s offline maps were used on a daily basis keeping us within ranch boundaries and providing valuable intel of where game had been seen.
BaseMap has always had the option to download maps, but the new features of the high-speed offline maps have improved the simplicity and efficiency of this process. First, I found they download much faster than their previous maps just as they have said. Second, all offline maps are saved to a map vault allowing quick access to previously downloaded maps from the cloud. As I mentioned earlier, you can download a map, delete it, and grab it again in mere seconds ensuring that you don’t bog up the space on your device. Third, I loved the new multitask abilities – my maps would continue to download as I checked ranch boundary lines, viewed SmartMarkers, and even while I responded to a text message. The new update certainly made saving, planning and navigating a breeze.
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