For the most part, off-road technology has remained rather stagnant with no real major change in the sport. The electronic industry around us is growing at a rate that makes us feel our phones are outdated the day after we get them.
Off-road navigation is one area that has progressed and molded to the changes in technology. Paper maps and Thomas Guides were once the only way to go, but now a push of a button on our phone we can get just about anywhere.
Phones and cars with built-in GPSs are great for on the pavement, but are subpar when off the grid. LeadNav is an iOS-based app that can help you get around in the dirt. The app is not the traditional type of GPS, this app allows you to create the route, record the trail, and more.
The off-road racing community has gobbled the app up and has been using it in racecars and chase vehicles. We were first exposed to the app when we went with Terrible Herbst Motorsports for the Baja 1000, but have used the app in our own vehicles since then.
This year alone LeadNav has helped support teams at both King of the Hammers (KOH) and The Mint 400. “For KOH we had over a quarter of the 120 UTV’s running it and a dozen of the top King class pro’s running the app,” Damian Clapper Founder and CEO of LeadNav explained. “We had seven of the top 10 finishers in King utilizing it including the Campbells.”
“Rob MacCachren ran it again after his win with it at the Baja 1000,” Clapper continued. “This time he utilized a ton of audio waypoints jammed in, then ran on his iPhone into his helmet. The Mint 400 was absolutely crazy. Obviously, Rob Mac again won utilizing its audio and a ton of notes. On Fremont Street, we had at one time Rob Mac, Jessi Combs, Shannon Campbell (flew in to hang out), Lalo Laguna, Casey Currie, Jay Leno, and Camburg next door who we loaded out all hanging out in our booth.”
All iPhones and “Data” capable iPads have an internal GPS chip which means you do not need cellular data or even a cellular plan. However, “wifi” only iPads or the iTouch do not have this chip and therefore it will need an external Bluetooth GPS puck to give your position.
We have had a great experience using it in Project Storm Trooper as well as the 2017 Ford Raptor we drove at KOH. Our second-generation iPad does not have a built-in GPS chip so we picked up Dual’s XGPS160.
In some cases even if the device has a built-in chip the GPS puck will work better. The puck can pick up your location faster and simultaneously receives both GPS (US) and GLONASS (Russia) satellite system signals. This means that there will be no more GPS lag that can be common when using your phone’s navigation.
Having our tablet mounted on a Ram mount it allows us to pull the GPS Puck and tablet out and place in any vehicle. During KOH we loaded the race course and the satellite images provided by LeadNav onto our tablet. We were able to drive around knowing exactly where we were at all times.
You do not have to be a race team to use this app, it works just as great for the weekend warrior. Being able to track and record your route will allow you to revisit trails you enjoyed, send trails to friends to run, and add notes.
This is just the start for LeadNav and racing organizations. “We directly supported Mad Media with the setting up and coordination of the Mint with our new mapping and overlays,” Clapper said. “We are now on the hook to continue that with them, Ultra 4, and now prepping to direct support NORRA.”