It can take about 45 seconds to acquire satellite signals when you first start your app or device, or roughly 15 seconds if it has been used recently. Because the signal cannot pass through solid non-transparent objects, GPS requires an unobstructed view of the sky to work correctly. Thus, signal reception can be degraded by tall buildings, bridges, tunnels, mountains, etc. Also, moving around while locking onto several satellites makes it harder for those separate signals to triangulate your exact location. Please try to stand still when receiving a GPS fix, unless there is absolutely no alternative.
Ride with a fully charged GPS!
If your smartphone app is your GPS, turn off other apps that may be running in the background if they are not needed while you're out on the trail.
If using a GPS device, carry extra batteries. If your batteries are running low, save your current track, replace your batteries, then remember to start a new track.
Use any GPS device or smartphone app that will export a .GPX file of your ride--.GPX is the format Top Trail uses to calculate your mileage and display your trails.
When uploading your trails, check the Privacy > Only Me option if you are riding private trails—mileage still counts but only you will be able to view your trails.
For the purpose of recording your trails for Top Trail, you are free to use any GPS device
that is designed for outdoor/recreational use or a GPS app installed on your smartphone. There are many to choose from: some apps free, others are not but they are relatively inexpensive. See the article: "GPS Equipped Riding" for more information.
Here's a link to download the summary of a Power Point Presentation shared at the Nebraska Horse Trail Riding Expo in March 2017: Riding With a GPS.
When choosing a GPS, the critical feature/
requirement it needs to work with Open Trail/Top Trail is the option or ability to export your recorded trail (track) from the app or device in .GPX file format. Open Trail/Top Trail requires .GPX file to render your trail map and calculate your mileage.
Most importantly at the start of your trail ride remember to start your GPS! Before too long turning on and starting your GPS will become a habit— a good habit!
When the ride is over, be sure to save your final track and either clear your track or turn off the app or device.
Next you will need to get that track from your device or app to your computer. The way you do this varies depending on which app or device you're using. See Tutorials for more specific information. For instance, with EasyTrails you can upload your recorded trail directly to your Open Trail / Top Trail member account using your phone. When using a Garmin device, you can plug it into your computer and use Garmin Basecamp or Garmin Connect (see Tutorials) (a free program from Garmin) to transfer the .GPX file to your computer.
With the .GPX file now on your computer, you need to get it into a folder on your hard drive (for example, your "downloads" folder). The process will vary depending on what app or device you're using. See Tutorials for more detailed information.
You should know where your downloaded tracks are saved on your computer. It makes sense to rename your individual .GPX files with the date, the horse's name, and the area ridden (081614LeoJAR for example) but you are not required to do this. It just helps for future reference.
Still on the home computer or laptop, sign in to your Open Trail account and click on your horse's name. Then click "Upload Trail."
For more information, check out the Tutorials page.