Here is our competitive analysis of Gaia GPS vs OnX Offroad and Gaia GPS vs the Garmin Overlander.  After 7 years of use and comparing Gaia GPS to many competitors we still think Gaia GPS is the best app for offroad and overlanding. Do other apps have features we like? Yes, but Gaia is still the most robust and functional app. 

Where we see the competition heating up is in curated content (show me trails) Both Garmin and OnX are marketing this aspect of their products. OnX has developed landing pages on its website to highlight trails in AZ, CA, Moab, and N and S Colorado. We fully expect this catalog to expand over time. In fact, OnX is actively seeking “Trail Guides” to help them develop content. While not being able to speak to specifics on what Gaia GPS has in the works we know they are working on similar things. Garmin does not offer this to date. Based on a new motorcycle GPS Garmin is offering we could see Garmin adding some level of trail selection to the Overlander in the future. 

We recently planned a 6-day trip using both the Gaia GPS app and the online portal. Based on our experience with OnX and looking at the feature set of the Overlander the same near-effortless planning could not have taken place. Can Gaia GPS be improved? Of course, it can. The great news is the Gaia team is constantly working on these improvements. App updates are frequent and Gaia has been working on improving the tools used on the gaiagps.com account dashboard.

Read our planning article for more insights. There are a variety of tools that serve a similar purpose. There is no way to review them all. Use your best judgment by reading reviews like this to decide what works best for you. 

- Safe Travels

Gaia GPS vs OnX Offroad -

Gaia GPS has been under consistent development for over 12 years. During that time many competitors have surfaced. OnX is one of them. OnX appears to have a large marketing budget since our social media feeds have recently seen lots of ads by them. Marketing brings in potential customers. A well-developed product keeps customers. As of writing this article OnX isn’t anywhere close to being as user-friendly and robust as Gaia GPS. Some may argue Gaia GPS is not user-friendly for novice tech users but we have helped hundreds become Gaia pros through the years. Gaia has a very good support website and a very good support team of people. When OnX Offroad initially launched the app there was no support site. As of May 2020, there is one. 

The only edge we will give OnX Offroad is on curated content. However, one of the trails OnX recommends in AZ is permanently closed. We took the time to notify them. In place of any app curated content, there are many great websites to give you tracks and ideas of where to explore. While it is nice that OnX is building its own database we don’t see this as a reason to not choose Gaia GPS. We suggest TrailsOffroad.com, TrailDamage.com for Colorado, and RideBDR.com for the amazing border to border overlanding routes. There are hundreds of resources available. 

We have an annual subscription to OnX Offroad and will continue to test the app. We will also use it on an upcoming trip side by side with Gaia GPS for future review purposes.  Keep working OnX!

Gaia GPS Support: help.gaiagps.com
OnX Offroad Support: https://onxor.zendesk.com/hc/en-us

Feature

Map Layers

Over 250 with a premium subscription including over 12 map layers for offroad and overlanding use. Including MVUM, NatGeo Maps, multiple topo layers, private and public land data

3 map layers - Topo, Satellite, Hybrid

Ability to Layer Maps

Yes

No

Ability to download offline maps

Yes - Gaia GPS provides 3 methods. Select an area with detail level, download maps for a specific track, draw a polygon area and download maps

Only area. Limited to set sizes and detail levels. Much less flexible.

Record Tracks

Yes

Yes

Create Waypoints

Yes - including waypoints with photo

Yes - including waypoints with photo

Import Tracks and Waypoints

Yes - via email or text link and open in-app feature. Also via GaiaGPS.com

No ability to import tracks via the app. Must do online. 

Export Tracks and Waypoints

Yes - In-app or share via GaiaGPS.com

Yes - OnX calls recorded tracks and waypoints “Markups”

Create Routes

Yes - In-App and GaiaGPS.com

No

Runs on multiple devices iOS and AndroidText

Yes - One license for all devices

Yes

Apple CarPlay Integration

Yes - extend the app to a larger screen with no additonal hardware. As of 9/2020 Gaia GPS is the only Off-Road Navigation app with Apple CarPlay support

No

Road Navigation (Turn-by-turn) Navigate to a waypoint

Links out to Apple or Google Maps app for directions.

In-app straight-line guidance

No, only straight-line guidance

POI Data
(Point of Interest)

Yes - with Gaia Topo Layer, USFS Recreation site layer and other map layers like NatGeo

No

Camping Database

No - requires 3rd party app(s) on your device

No - requires 3rd party app(s) on your device

Emergency Location Services

No

No

Ability to share location in real-time

No

No

Price - Annual Membership

Two Levels starting at $20.00 a year.


Standard Membership:
$20/1 yr
$48/5 yrs only $6/yr


Premium membership unlocks the entire map catalog of over 250 map layers. Premium membership is $32 for a 1 yr subscription or $128 ($26/yr) with the 4XOA discount. 

https://www.gaiagps.com/membership

$29.99/year

Gaia GPS vs the Garmin Overlander -

Before talking about features we think it is important to discuss pricing. Gaia GPS is a free app with an annual subscription to get full use of all of its features. The Overlander is a dedicated hardware device costing $699.00. In the 7 years of using Gaia GPS we have owned many different mobile phones and tablets. Gaia has run on all of them. As the hardware technology improved so has Gaia GPS. Gaia GPS also now supports Apple CarPlay. CarPlay allows you to extend the screen of your iPhone for free. Buying a dedicated GPS device means you hope the manufacturer will keep it up-to-date. The Overlander offers all-in-one convenience while also compromising on feature sets. One interesting feature is the ability to use up to 4 Garmin cameras with the Overlander. From what we have read owners of the Overlander who also bought the cameras have been pleased with the functionality. A premium 5-year subscription for Gaia GPS is only $128.00. Compare that to the price of the Overlander we see it as an easy choice. All of the supplemental apps on the Overlander like iOverlander and Foursquare are available as apps on smartphones and tablets. 

Feature

Map Layers

Over 250 with a premium subscription including over 12 map layers for offroad and overlanding use. Including MVUM, NatGeo Maps, multiple topo layers, private and public land data

4 map layers - Topo, 3D Topo (driving mode), Open Streets, and Satellite

Require Download USGS Quad and Satelite.

Ability to Layer Maps

Yes

No

Ability to download offline maps

Yes - Gaia GPS provides 3 methods. Select an area with detail level, download maps for a specific track, draw a polygon area and download maps

All maps are built into the device

Record Tracks

Yes

Yes

Create Waypoints

Yes - including waypoints with photo

Yes - including waypoints with photo

Import Tracks and Waypoints

Yes - via email or text link and open in-app feature. Also via GaiaGPS.com

Must upload to SD Card or use Garmin Explore online dashboard

Export Tracks and Waypoints

Yes - In-app or share via GaiaGPS.com

Must upload to SD Card or use Garmin Explore online dashboard

Create Routes

Yes - In-App and GaiaGPS.com both have auto routing features for hiking, cycling, and driving. Gaia use the OpenStreets database to help choose routes adjustment can be made by add manual points. 

Yes - using Explore(™) app at Explore.Garmin.Com. Routes are straight line. There is no autorouting feature. Multiple points need to be set to account for curves and turns.

Runs on multiple devices iOS and AndroidText

Yes - One license for all devices

NA - Dedicated Hardware Device

Road Navigation (Turn-by-turn) Navigate to a waypoint

Links out to Apple or Google Maps app for directions.

In-app straight-line guidance

Built-In Garmin Roads app via Drive button

POI Data
(Point of Interest)

Yes - with Gaia Topo Layer, USFS Recreation site layer and other map layers like NatGeo

Various complimentary built-in apps for food, gas, lodging, camping

Camping Database

No - requires 3rd party app(s) on your device

Yes, via the iOverlander App which is loaded on to the device along with Garmin existing database

Emergency Location Services

No

Yes with additional Garmin InReach hardware purchase and subscription plan

Ability to share location in real-time

No

No

Price - Annual Membership

Two Levels starting at $20.00 a year.


Standard Membership:
$20/1 yr
$48/5 yrs only $6/yr


Premium membership unlocks the entire map catalog of over 250 map layers. Premium membership is $32 for a 1 yr subscription or $128 ($26/yr) with the 4XOA discount. 

https://www.gaiagps.com/membership/

$699.99 - No annual membership/subscription fee

As mentioned 4X Overland Adventures offers discounts on the annual Gaia GPS membership/subscription fee. Click here for more details.  We receive a small affiliate payment for each subscription.

Note: 

We are not paid to write reviews nor are we sponsored by any companies to write reviews.  Gaia GPS provided 4XOA with an Apple CarPlay radio for testing purposes. Furnishing the product did not equal a positive or biased review. 4XOA has done consulting work for Gaia GPS. All with the intent of improving the application for Overlanders. Our reviews have no impact on Gaia GPS's roadmap or any other companies. You can agree with our opinions/reviews or disagree. As stated we welcome other companies to submit products for review. With regards to navigation apps, we deem Gaia GPS the "Gold Standard." Every other navigation app we review is compared to Gaia GPS. If a competitive app has a feature that we feel is better than Gaia GPS we point it out. 

We would gladly accept products to try with one string attached.  We will give an honest review of the product whether the end result is a favorable review or not.

Competition is always good. App and hardware developers have taken notice of the growing offroad and overlanding community. In the end, you as the consumer wins. 

If you choose to sign up for a Gaia GPS subscription via this website we are paid a small affiliate fee along with you receiving a discount on your subscription. This in NO way impacts the articles we write. We are not paid to produce content or give fake reviews. At any time if this policy was to change it would be fully disclosed. 

All product names, logos, and brands are the property of their respective owners.

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