Tips for using Mobile in Outdoors…

Mobile phone:

The mobile phone that you carry with you can be useful for a multitude of things, most of which, you will already be familiar with. On a personal note, we chose not to use the mobile for navigating, as being ‘old school’, our preference is map and compass.

If you use any of the navigational apps available,(and there are a number of very good one available) just be conscious of the fact that should you lose life in the phone, you potentially may have lost all contact with the outside world should you need assistance in terms of locating and recovering folk.

The following a re just a few useful tips to assist along the way.

Flight mode – prolong your battery life.

The airplane mode is a setting that turns off wireless connectivity on your phone. This can be used in any place where there are no cell towers or Wi-Fi to connect to the internet.

If you use this setting it helps by preventing your phone from continually searching for service and thereby draining battery life.

OS Locate – excellent re location App (and more)

The app converts GPS location readings from your mobile phone to Ordnance Survey National Grid references (6,8 or 10 if you prefer) along with an estimated position error and an approximate height indicator in either Feet or Metres.

No mobile signal? No problem: OS Locate does not require a mobile signal to function – the inbuilt GPS system can be relied upon, even in the most remote areas which is a definite plus for us!

The other brilliant features that are worthy of mention on this app are easily found in the settings option. In here you will find more than you will ever need to know with regards to:

Help with map reading
How to take a bearing

For all the above reasons you definitely should have this as your navigational app of choice on your handset.

Camera – capture the moment

It’s always great to Capture the moment and the fond memories of how great you were on your last mountain conquest (the more balanced among you will just want to remember your adventures), plus it’s a helpful Navigation aid which will enable you to re-locate in the eventuality of you getting misplaced. (Never lost, always misplaced).

Relive App – great for route capture

This is a fabulous free App that will enable you to capture all your outdoor activities and record the metrics. If you go for the enhanced version there are a range of in-app purchases to be had, but we find the basic set up is more than adequate for our purposes.

Turn your activities into beautiful stories, including animated 3D videos.


This is a little bit of reassurance that when, heaven forbid, you find yourself in an incident in the Mountains, the MRT have a brilliant methodology of reducing the time taken to find and rescue a casualty.

There are many apps for smartphones which show the phone’s location, but these rely on the lost person having the app installed before they get lost. The beauty of SARLOC is that it uses the web browser installed on the smartphone to interrogate the GPS and locate the person, normally to within a few metres. No need to install a separate app.

PhoneFind – developed by John Hulse (also an Ogwen team member), in collaboration with Binks and fellow Lakes team member Jon Lynch – and launched this year for use by UK mountain rescue teams, offers the same location process, integrating the information into the incident logging software back at base.

How SARLOC and PhoneFind work

The rescue team simply sends an SMS text message with a link to a webpage. Clicking on this link opens a page in the phone’s browser which queries the phone to identify its location. This data is then displayed to the user and automatically added over the internet to the MRMap database. So, whoever it is back at base with the kettle, handling the call-out, can see the casualty’s location on the digital OS map display. And, more importantly, he or she can now instruct team members exactly which direction to head in.

The first successful use of SARLOC was in May 2011, when Llanberis team members were talking to a lost person ‘somewhere on Snowdon’. They sent a SARLOC message and, within seconds, had a fix. They stopped the hill team, just walking out the door with a long search

in prospect and radioed the grid reference to the helicopter crew – who flew straight to the location, to hover directly above the casualty.

To date, SARLOC has been used at least 1600 times operationally in the UK. Its accuracy is consistently found to be between 10 to 50 metres.


• Make sure you enable your smartphone’s ‘Location settings’ feature BEFORE setting off. Ref:

Happy exploring

Martin & Chris

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