WorkOutDoors: Maps and training app for the Apple Watch

Offline maps: On the left you mark on the map which area you want to load onto the watch, in the middle you can see the data transfer process and on the right you can see the progress: darkened tiles have already been transferred, the lighter ones not yet.

I had a little epiphany a few days ago when I stumbled upon the "WorkOutDoors" app. This runs on the iPhone and has a companion app that runs on the Apple Watch. In this case you have to say that the main app is the watch app. The iPhone app is more used to manage tracks and make settings. To show the advantages of this nice watch app, I have to go a little further ...

Desperately wanted: An app for the Apple Watch, with good maps for hiking, cycling and other outdoor activities (Photos: Sir Apfelot).

Desperately wanted: An app for the Apple Watch, with good maps for hiking, cycling and other outdoor activities (Photos: Sir Apfelot).

Apple Watch map app for hikers

For a long time I have been looking for a suitable map app for hikes that shows me where I am on the Apple Watch and that can perhaps even display GPS tracks on this map. Theoretically one would think that one could use Apple's map app for this purpose, but this mainly shows roads and bike paths as well as public transport connections. For hikers, the small paths that run through meadows and forests are simply missing.

Criticism of the Komoot Watch app

Komoot unfortunately without map view.

Komoot unfortunately without map view.

So far I have always been very satisfied with the Komoot app for the iPhone. It offers everything you could wish for on the iPhone and, if necessary, even says the places where you have to turn as a "hiking navigation app", but unfortunately the Komoot watch app is total nonsense.

Here you only see a kinked arrow and a rough estimate of how many meters you have to turn in a certain direction. However, there is no map view where you can see how the route is and whether you have already reached the right junction. However, since the display of the distance to the turn is very imprecise (sometimes several hundred meters away) and the display of the arrows sometimes has nothing to do with the real way (arrow goes to the right, but you have to go straight on), I quickly got it stopped using the Komoot Watch app.

Done right: The WorkOutDoors Watch app

Now that I've installed WorkOutDoors, hiking has become much more comfortable. The app allows various things that are extremely helpful when you hang around in nature. To give you a little insight into the advantages I personally get from this app, I have put together a few points here.

The WOrkOutDoors watch app offers many features that are missing in other outdoor apps.

The Watch app from WorkOutDoors offers many features that are missing in other outdoor apps.

1. Pure map display on the watch

A feature that I use again and again is the pure map view without having to start any activities. The WorkOutDoors app shows a colored map on which not only roads but also hiking trails and even small paths in the forest. The map material has recently come from Mapbox, so that you have a reliable map base in vector format. With the pure map display, you can quickly get an orientation and, if necessary, discover new paths in the area.

Here you can see a few screenshots from the developer's website. You can see that the map display is quite helpful despite the small watch display. Purely. and zooming out works smoothly with the rotary wheel of the watch (called Crown).

Here you can see a few screenshots from the developer's website. You can see that the map display is quite helpful despite the small watch display. Purely. and zooming out works smoothly with the rotary wheel of the watch (called Crown).

2. Import of GPS tracks in gpx format

Many hiking portals now offer hikes as GPS tracks. This can usually be downloaded as a gpx file and used in the GPS device or in the GPS app of your choice. If you have installed the WorkOutDoors app on your iPhone, you can directly say when downloading the files that they should be sent to WorkOutDoors. The iPhone app then collects these and the gpx data can then be transferred to the Apple Watch via the app. So you have a marked route on a map on the watch and can quickly look for the way in between without having to dig the iPhone out of your pocket.

3. The app also works without an iPhone

If you are only jogging with your Apple Watch, you can also use WorksOutDoors. It offers various training courses from jogging to sailing to wheelchair use. I mainly use it for hiking, but mostly with the iPhone in my backpack - but: It only works with the watch. The LTE-Watch can of course download the map material while on the move, as long as the mobile phone reception allows it. Other watch models benefit from the next feature ...

The WorkOutDoors app supports an extremely large number of activities. Including exotics such as riding, sailing or high-speed wheelchair use.

The WorkOutDoors app supports an extremely large number of activities. Including exotics such as riding, sailing or high-speed wheelchair use.

4. Offline maps

In my opinion, a big plus is the possibility of using maps offline. To do this, mark the relevant map section in the app on the iPhone (see screenshots below) and this is then sent from the iPhone app to the Apple Watch. If you don't have an LTE Apple Watch, you can still use the map material on the go if the iPhone is at home. I saved the immediate surroundings on the watch, which took about a minute. I have not yet tried out how many square kilometers you can fit on your watch, but I am sure that I have already achieved a good 100 square kilometers.

Offline maps: On the left you mark on the map which area you want to load onto the watch, in the middle you can see the data transfer process and on the right you can see the progress: darkened tiles have already been transferred, the lighter ones not yet.

Offline maps: On the left you mark on the map which area you want to load onto the watch, in the middle you can see the data transfer process and on the right you can see the progress: darkened tiles have already been transferred, the lighter ones not yet.

Other features

I would like to leave it with these features for now. You can do a lot more with the app and set various things. But you can do everything on the developer's website read up. The compass function is certainly helpful for hiking, as it shows you the direct route to the starting point with information on the distance. So if you get lost in the neighboring forest, you will find your way back and be home early for coffee and cake. ;-)

You can find the WorkOutDoors iPhone app on iTunes here:

[appbox app store id1241909999]

You then install the watch app as usual via the "watch" app on the iPhone. If "WorkOutDoors" does not appear there immediately, restarting the watch and the iPhone is helpful. Then the app was on my list and I was able to install it on the watch.

I hope you enjoy the app as much as I do when you're outside. If you have any hints, tips or questions, please leave a comment here.

 

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21 comments

  1. Great, I dropped the app right away. Thanks Walter

  2. Peter says:

    A comparison between different apps wouldn't be bad. I use Outdooractive with great maps of Germany. Scale up to 1: 25000. Map display on Apple Watch and offline use possible.

    • sir appleot says:

      Hey, thanks for the hint. I didn't know that the Outdooractive app also has a watch app with a map display! I will also load myself some time ...

  3. Klaudia says:

    Great, thank you for the review!

    I am currently considering buying an Apple Watch, I like to hike and the whole time I was wondering whether there was a sensible app for it so that you don't have to pull out your iPhone all the time.
    Especially in winter you have a clear advantage with a card on your wrist ;-).

    Happy hiking and 'apples' ;-) I wish you :-)!

    • sir appleot says:

      Hello Klaudia! Actually, we can only warmly recommend the Komoot app for hiking with the iPhone. But unfortunately, their app for the Apple Watch is not particularly good. It doesn't show a map, just arrows with the direction of the turn and the route to get there. In the forest, however, this is unfortunately very imprecise, so that one often runs past a turn or does not know which one is meant. For this reason, WorkOutDoors is very helpful here! Happy hiking to you too!

  4. Hans Theisen says:

    Thank you very much for this great recommendation!
    I just downloaded the app. Tomorrow I will start the second part of the pilgrimage from Görlitz to Prague. We start in Mnichovo Hradiste. In accordance with your suggestions, I downloaded the map excerpts for the individual stages.
    But what I don't know now: How can you enter the individual stages: e.g. From Mnichovo Hradiste to Mlada Boleslav?

    • sir appleot says:

      Hello Hans! Now I'm too late because I was sick, but maybe the information will help you later: I did a tour with WorkOutDoors and I think I had to import a GPX file. For proper navigation, I would recommend Komoot. That run on the iPhone and as a "quick map" maybe WorkOutDoors on the Apple Watch. Just have to see how you get there with the battery. For full-day hikes, it could be tight. But I wish you a nice time on the pilgrimage!

  5. Hans Theisen says:

    Thanks again for the recommendation,
    the app on the watch was at the end when I finally knew how to use it properly, a great help! When we walked 10 km through Prague (on green paths, sometimes just trails that were marked) you could use the map on your iPhone to find your way around. On the watch you could then see very well whether you were still on the way and where you should turn.
    The maps are really fantastic. It's fantastic how easy it is to download map sections and transfer them to your watch, that went on a route when we were suddenly outside the downloaded map section, even while walking!
    It's a shame that you can't edit the maps and draw a route on the map. Then it would be perfect. But it was very good that way.

    • sir appleot says:

      Hello Hans! Nice that it went so well. I'm sure the developer will add a little more features when the Apple Watch can do more and has more battery life. But as you say: Even now, the little app is a great thing. : D

  6. Hans Theisen says:

    The clock lasted for about 25 hours without any problems on our hikes up to 7 km, i.e. with breaks.

    • sir appleot says:

      Wow, I didn't expect that at all! : D I think the next version of the watch is worth buying again ... but then I will take the version without LTE, I think. Which version are you using, if I may ask?

  7. Niels says:

    Dear apple oot,
    Which watch does it work with? Also with the Gen.1?
    Thanks and Greetings
    Niels

    • sir appleot says:

      Hello Niels! I can not tell you that. I have the Series 3 and it works. I would just install and test it. Doesn't cost the world. : D Or you write their support. They definitely know.

  8. Marion says:

    Hello Apfelot, thanks for introducing the app. Unfortunately, I only get a small section of the map downloaded at a time. You have a bigger section on the screenshot, how do you do that? Thank you and greetings Marion

    • sir appleot says:

      Hello Marion! I think you have to zoom out once and then load the large section. Then you can zoom in again and have all the details that were previously seen on the large "zoomed out" view.

  9. Jurgen Karl says:

    Hello, I deleted tours on the WorkOutdoor app, but they are still on the watch. What can I do ?

    • Jen Kleinholz says:

      Hello Jurgen! In a pinch, I would delete the Watch app from WorkOutdoor and reinstall it immediately. Everything should then be fresh. Your tours are on the iPhone and can be re-synchronized from there.

  10. Lo says:

    Finally some content between all that online crap .. Thanks for that! Directly loaded, the app.

    • Jen Kleinholz says:

      Hello Lo! I don't know exactly what you mean by online crap, but I am happy if you have a different assessment of this blog. 😂

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