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I use to mine in No. CA in the 80s & 90s and used topographical maps back then with lots of details , fire & logging road etc.

Any suggestions , I would like to check display & available details ?

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For a smart phone US Topo maps works well. It will show your gps location on usgs topo base maps, or other maps can be selected.  

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But out mining there is no such thing as cell phone reception ?

Yes sitting at home & couching it / research , there are far better options , BIG-BUT no reception working a site !

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There are a lot of programs like back country navigator that allow you to download the area of interest to your phone, which will work with the phone's GPS. It has a range of map options from topo to satellite. No need for service at your site

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Here's a list of some of the top ones for "no-cell service navigating". I use Avenza and sometimes Gaia.







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Well I am not looking for adding an , at least without someone doing the same things , AND USING IT , vs knowing there is an app .

As an example , looked a a topo app and one of the big issues which turns into at least 2 issues " this app uses your location even when app isn't open #1 , 2nd is charging / not able to swap batteries , then memory & storage of maps ect. 

And then someone that has used device for mining , finding claims , marking claims etc. 

Again rather than being hours +++ plus away from any changing , upgrading etc. a suggestion for a handheld dedicated [ swap battery , water & shock proof etc. ] maybe more unknown issues ?

Even if my iphone / app would give me most all I'm looking for , charging vs. batteryswap , ease of damage , lots of times a week or so before going to the grid , internet etc.

If you having been in this situation , it's hard to get all that may be required , with having been prospecting / mining .

A new iphone at least $800 , a GPS unit $150-300 .


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Ok, you are kind of making mountains out of mole hills regarding the problems you list (e.g., regarding always on app location permissions, you can always rescind them when you want to; regarding in the field charging - robust, high capacity low cost power banks are readily available and you can even invest in a solar cell for extended wilderness excursions, removable phone batteries are not required).   Downloading maps to the device BEFORE you are off the grid has been previously discussed.  None of these roadblocks you cite are show stoppers or insurmountable.

Perhaps a bad assumption that everyone has a smart cell phone with GPS nowadays, so if that is too big an investment, you can get one of several dedicated Garmin or similar GPS units with built-in and upgradable topo maps.

I use my phone in the field all the time with a protective case and screen cover easily holds up to the abuse.  I have used the following apps:

I have used Onx maps for property lines and detecting site permission location and for tracking site coverage while detecting.

Caltopo is a great open source custom electronic topo map creator and electronic GPS waypoint tracker.  You can generate and electronically save or print out custom topo maps as well.

I don’t use these for locating mining claims but I see no reason they can’t be used for that purpose as well.


ps You seem to be highly resistant to what I consider helpful and reasonable suggestions.  Perhaps we are all just missing the point in what you are really asking for or what you envision as a useful interface (not sure you even want an electronic interface).  If that is the case, my apologies for misinterpreting your request.


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I have done prospecting / mining 3 + decades ago and had lots of expensive topo maps , lost in fire , bummer had some X's marking some outrageous spots to go back to - to finish getting nu-gets out of a hole , that were the biggest ones I've found so far .

This was hours of dirt road , fire road and then hours of climbing , I may not be able to do today - oldfarters .

With the prospecting - walking in geologically known good area's , would like to monitor staying off of others claims , that may or may not be available as a software - current claims [ within a reasonable timeline at least that yr. if not less ? ]  .

I do have my iphone in a otterbox defender , and have had dropped off 50-80' antenna towers & survived , but most of the mining I want to do , is in / near rivers streams , otterbox will not help with that .

The part of if someone did the same thing prospecting and in or near water is a biggy , then I have looked at a lot of internet searching , and find lots of deal killers reading through spec.s / then also trying to avoid things I may not notice , that others , doing prospecting may have suggesting details .

I have been in solar / wind for about 4+ decades , another big but 😉 , is when you in narrow river / stream valleys , forested , you may only see the sun for as little as 2-3 hours , or less .

Lots of good ideas , but the been-there-done-that is kinda what I'm looking for - to help what I miss also .

Kinda like a picture making up for a 1,000 words , having used a device in a specific use , vs. all the possibiltles and then find any issues in the field ;(

Hopefully everyone does not take offense , understands , one major thing I've learn to mining / away from sources , same with my mobile service , need to be able to do what ever I need without have to go back to town , kinda like doing plumbing - making one trip to hardware store .   



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Chase has good advice.  I haven't touched a Garmin for ages. Once you start using the other apps you wont want to.

Just Download the  maps you need at home or when you have tower connectivity.

For claim research before heading out, Mylandmatters is a great site.


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As far as I am concerned get a Garmin Rhino they have access to satellite maps you can upload maps and tracks. If you have a detecting partner you can communicate between each other as well as send/get location of each other. All of my year 2006 on records were done with the rhino (Magellan GPS before 2006 great unit) Have a look at ........Nugget-spread...........all of those nugget were record with the Garmin Rhino.

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