alpenvereinaktiv.com App

by Matt Nobles

Over the course of the past two years, the ÖAV and DAV have been heavily involved with the development of a route-planning app called alpenvereinaktiv.com.  This is for hiking, cycling, skiing and alpine tours. In my opinion, the many functions of the app make it a really useful tool for AAC(UK) members.

Summary of planned route shown on smartphone – from here you can open “Tour” which is a description of the route, or “Karte” which opens the route on the map.

I find that routes are best planned on a laptop or computer; the results can then be followed using the app on your smartphone.  To plan a tour, you start by selecting the relevant activity.  For winter, as well as for summer activities, a large selection is available.  The selection of the activity mainly affects the routing. Thus, in the activity “cycling”, the route is guided, if possible, on cycle paths, in “hiking”, on trails. Also, the speed is different, so that the calculated time to cover the route varies depending on the activity.

Waypoints can be easily set with the mouse on your computer as you plan your route. For most activities, the route you want will follow recognised paths – and the app will automatically select these. For ski and alpine tours, however, it is necessary to plan certain routes off the beaten track; it is possible to do this via the option “Free Entry”. You can also create a tour by importing an existing GPX file, (i.e. a GPS track). In this case, no waypoints need to be set manually, although it is easy to revise your imported GPS tracks if you wish to put in variations to the original  route. You can also add notes (as detailed as you require) to accompany the route you have planned (which will then be accessible when you are following the route on the ground).

After your tour has been created, the calculated data and the elevation profile will be shown. Elevation metres in ascent and descent, length and duration of the tour are estimated. Obviously the duration only shows pure walking time without breaks, and the estimates cannot account for any technical difficulties in the route. Nevertheless, it is a very useful tool for estimating the likely duration of a route. Other useful tools available include map layering which indicates the steepness of slopes. Satellite imagery and topo maps are also available.

When the app was first introduced, it only used Open Street Mapping which, although really useful, had limitations. The new version of the app (introduced at the start of the year) has a paid option, which allows the user access to ALL Austrian and German Alpine Club maps. Thus, you can plan your routes on the most detailed and up to date versions of these maps  and take them with you on your smartphone.

Planned route on smartphone – using Open Street Map

Planned route on smartphone – using Alpenverein Karte
Summary of planned route shown on smartphone – from here you can open “Tour” which is a description of the route, or “Karte” which opens the route on the map.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The new app incorporates many other features, such as displaying huts on your route. The online reservation for Alpenvereinshütten is now also integrated into alpenvereinaktiv.com and this applies to all huts participating in the transnational project of ÖAV,SAC, AVS and DAV. Another great feature is that, once your route is complete, you can create a 3D “flight”;  although this might sound a bit gimmicky, it actually gives you a very good, immediately visual impression of the terrain you will encounter.

3D Flight of the planned route – viewed on smartphone

Once you have completed your planning, you can now download the tour on to a GPS device if you wish. Alternatively you can follow the route directly on your phone or, more usefully, download the relevant maps and route on to the phone so that it can be followed offline – hence reducing battery usage to an absolute minimum (since your phone is now just acting as a GPS device). You can additionally generate a PDF file, which can then be printed off – thus you have an electronic map and route – and a printed version too.

Tours can be shared with friends via the relevant link;  you can also  “publish” them, which means anyone in the alpenvereinaktiv.com community can see and use them. You can also make use of tours that other users have published.

Costs:

The app is available for both iPhone and Android. There is a free version of the app but this is now very limited in both scope and content. The Pro version costs €29.99 for twelve months and, for Alpenverein members only, this includes access to all ÖAV and DAV maps. The Pro+ version costing €59.99, additionally includes maps of France and Switzerland.  If you purchase your app through www.alpenvereinaktiv.com/en or through the ÖAV shop on www.alpenverein.at/shop/shop/index.php?kategorie=2005012 your membership number will entitle you to the maps on the Pro version and a €10 discount on the Pro+ version.

In summary, I have used the app for over twelve months and have been very impressed. I think that, for the cost, access to all ÖAV and DAV maps, now takes it to a new level. Unfortunately the latest version of the phone app is in German only, but some practice quickly enables a user to find their way around.

If you use the app, or are planning to start doing so, I wonder whether you might be interested in joining in an AAC (UK) alpenvereinaktiv.com Users Help Group – where we could share tips, solve issues and discuss our experiences. If you are interested in the possibility of starting and participating in such a group, please email me: matthew.nobles@gmail.com


[Update 15 April 2019]

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