Lake map apps for Android and iOS devices have become increasingly popular among fishing enthusiasts, boaters, and other water sports enthusiasts. These applications offer a comprehensive and detailed navigation guide of lakes, rivers, and waterways, complete with contour maps, depth charts, and other useful features. With the availability of free lake map apps, users can now access accurate and up-to-date information about their favorite water bodies, without having to invest in expensive hardware or software. This document aims to provide an objective overview of the benefits and limitations of free lake map apps for Android and iOS, as well as some factors to consider when choosing the best app for your needs.
We have compiled a list of 8 Free Lake Map Apps For Android & iOS for your consideration, which have undergone rigorous testing and evaluation by our team of experts.
Table of Contents
- 8 Free Lake Map Apps For Android & iOS
8 Free Lake Map Apps For Android & iOS
1. Boating Marine & Lakes
The Boating app is a tool for water activities that provides marine and lake nautical charts and advanced features similar to those found on GPS plotters. Users can try all charts and features for a limited time by downloading the app. A 1-year subscription allows access to chart layers for offline use, daily updates, chart overlays, and advanced features. The subscription can be used on compatible smartphones and tablets by logging in to the Boating app with the same account.
The subscription includes various chart layers for offline use, such as the Nautical Chart, SonarChart, Community Edits and ActiveCaptain Community, and U.S. Government Charts. Daily chart updates are also available via download, with up to 5,000 updates every day. The app also offers features like chart overlays, dock-to-dock autorouting, connections, advanced map options, weather and tides, GPX import/export, AIS, plotter sync, and timeline.
After a year, users can renew their subscription or continue using their maps with free features. Free features include SonarChart Live, track, route, distance, markers, wind forecasts, map options, sync my data, share location, and more. The app is designed to load and operate on devices with an OS of 5.0 or higher. However, continued use of GPS running in the background can significantly decrease battery life. Wi-Fi is a registered trademark of the Wi-Fi Alliance. Autorouting is for planning purposes only and does not replace safe navigation operations.
2. i-Boating: Sweden Marine Charts
The Marine Charts App is designed to provide offline access to nautical charts, inland river navigation charts, and lake contour maps for kayaking, yachting and sailing. With the added feature of boat route assistance, this app is the first marine navigation tool to provide voice prompts. The app supports Nautical Charts course up orientation along with Tide Charts & Currents prediction for nautical navigation. Users can create new boat routes/waypoints or import existing GPX/KML routes onto the device. Marine AIS (NMEA) support is also included.
The app offers GPU accelerated offline vector NOAA charts/ENC charts with text that stays upright on rotation. It also offers lake depth map shading/safety lake depth contours for customizing boat safety depth. Additionally, the app includes Maritime Aids to Boat Navigation such as Beacons, Buoys, Boat Launch areas, Boat Ramps, Marina, Fishing Attractors, and more. Users can record marine tracks and auto-follow with real-time track overlay, and utilize voice prompts for marine navigation. HD 1ft/3ft depth lake contour maps are also available for anglers, for selected lake maps, for fishing/trolling (freshwater/saltwater).
The app provides seamless marine chart quilting, including details from Coastal, Approaches, Harbour, and Inland ENC (Electronic Marine Charts), along with waypoints, tide & currents, and anchor alarm. Users can magnify text & icons, and access wind prediction overlay with bearing true/magnetic.
3. Garmin ActiveCaptain
The ActiveCaptain app, provided free by Garmin, serves as a link between compatible mobile devices and Garmin chartplotters, maps, charts, and the boating community. This versatile app is designed to enhance the experience of boating enthusiasts, regardless of whether they use their Garmin products for fishing, sailing, cruising or diving. By pairing the app with a compatible chartplotter, users can wirelessly transfer and access charts, maps, updates, routes, waypoints and feedback from the ActiveCaptain Community. Additionally, the OnDeck Hub can be purchased to provide boat tracking and monitoring from virtually anywhere.
The app presents a range of features that bring a connected, all-in-one boating experience to users’ fingertips. The app provides an easy, user-friendly way to purchase charts and upload them to registered Garmin chartplotters on board vessels, with exceptional coverage, clarity, and detail, including integrated Navionics and Garmin data. The app also allows users to access and update the charts from almost anywhere, and wirelessly transfer them to their Garmin chartplotter for use on the water. Users can plan their trips or scout fishing spots using the Plan a Trip feature and transfer the data to their chartplotter to view their routes and waypoints.
The ActiveCaptain app includes a User Data Sync feature that automatically backs up and syncs data between the app and the chartplotter. There is also an ActiveCaptain Community feature that allows users to join a community of boaters to get up-to-date feedback on marinas, boat ramps, and other points of interest. Users can check ratings, read reviews and view pictures of various POIs to make informed decisions on the water. As well, users can contribute to the community by adding POIs, reviews, and pictures from their compatible mobile device.
The app’s Helm feature lets users view and control their compatible chartplotter using their smartphone or tablet, even when someone else is at the helm.
The Lowrance App offers a comprehensive fishing experience both on and off the water. The app connects users to their Lowrance Products, providing tips and tricks for catching fish and locating hot spots through live and downloadable nautical charts. By saving favorite routes, waypoints, and trails, users can easily plan and navigate their next fishing trip, with all features accessible offline. The app is compatible with various Lowrance electronics and offers a range of functionalities, including personalization, marine weather forecast, and real-time AIS.
To use the Lowrance App with Lowrance devices, a NOS software version of 20.0 or higher is required. Compatible devices include Elite ti2, Elite FS, HDS Carbon, and HDS Live. The app is regularly updated to provide the latest maps and functionalities, and users can access C-Map maps for free online. Additionally, users can purchase downloadable maps for remote areas without internet access. Interested users can take advantage of a 14-day free trial.
5. Aqua Map: Marine & Lake charts
Aqua Map Master is an app designed to cater to the needs of boaters and fishing enthusiasts. It offers an array of features to make boating safer and more enjoyable, with expert input from experienced boaters. One of the primary features is the ability to download up-to-date nautical charts to aid in navigation during the boating season. Users can transform their device into a ChartPlotter with this app.
The app offers several features to help users plan and navigate their routes with real-time information on the next waypoint. It allows users to download charts on their device for offline usage and has an anchor alarm with advanced configuration. This app also provides tides and currents prediction and simulation, and users can overlay USACE surveys and USCG lists of lights on their charts (US only). Additionally, users can share and load tracks, markers, and routes (KMZ and GPX) and integrate with the ActiveCaptain and Waterways Guide communities.
Aqua Map Master also allows users to connect NMEA devices through WiFi, search with advanced settings, display AIS info from external devices with automatic collision detection, overlay satellite images on their map, measure distances on the map, and query map objects at their fingertips. Furthermore, users can check all the bridges, hazards, and best fuel prices along their route.
The app uses official nautical charts with depth contours, buoys, lights, etc., to provide the best boating experience. Users can download the maps on their device at home and use them offline on their boat without needing an internet connection. The charts used are derived from sources such as NOAA, CHS, BA, BSH, IIM, CNIG, AHS, NLHO, Explorer, and others. The app covers several areas, including the US, Canada, Bahamas, Caribbean, Bermuda, Mexico, Brazil, Argentina, UK, Ireland, France, Spain, Portugal, and Italy.
The C-MAP app offers a range of features to assist with nautical navigation and trip planning. It provides users with high-quality nautical maps, as well as real-time navigation, traffic, and weather information to aid in planning a trip on the water. The app also offers downloadable offline charts to help users stay safe while cruising, fishing, or sailing, even when a connection is unavailable.
Users can customize their maps by saving routes, waypoints, and tracks, all of which are accessible offline. Reviews and pictures can also be included to remember memorable trips or to share with friends and family. The app has several functionalities, including downloading the latest up-to-date offline marine charts for free, finding the best route with Autorouting, navigating with offline personal charts, and seeing AIS data within a 100 km radius, including position, speed, and course.
Users can also personalize their own maps by highlighting areas of the map based on their boat size, using their favorite units of measurement, creating places, routes, and tracks, and sharing them with others. The app also allows users to save places they want to visit and access them later from any device. The C-MAP app continues to update regularly to provide the best user experience, including up-to-date maps and functionalities.
Polaris Navigation GPS is a high-performance GPS system that doesn’t require any account setup or subscriptions. It can turn your phone into a powerful GPS navigation system and is useful for hiking, off-road, nautical, and trail GPS applications. Polaris is known for its stability, reliability, and flexibility and is used by land-sea search and rescue, military personnel, and millions of others worldwide.
The Polaris Navigation GPS system is suitable for offline adventures as it provides unlimited free access to offline vector and raster maps. It also includes offline nautical charts for the USA, all of which are shown with high detail and large, easy-to-read labels. Additionally, it has a comprehensive set of GPS tools and diagnostics such as the GPS compass and magnetic compass, GPS info panel, odometers, altimeters, speedometers, and chronometers.
The system has different map types such as Google Maps, OpenStreetMap-Mapnik, topographic maps, cycle route and hiking maps, vector maps, USGS Topo, NOAA Marine Charts, aviation operations charts, and Canada Toporama. It also has a waypoint navigation system, including a dynamic waypoint-finding compass that always points to the destination and reports estimated time of arrival, distance to target, and other statistics.
Polaris Navigation GPS also supports British OSGR and OSGB-36 DATUM (Ordnance Survey Grid) and coordinate formats such as latitude/longitude as degrees, deg:min, deg:min:sec, and UTM (Universal Transverse Mercator). The system also has a military coordinate finder – Military Grid Coordinate Reference System (MGRS) and hiking trails that show hiking paths courtesy of the Openstreetmap project.
The system offers marine navigation with NOAA Nautical Charts and nautical unit reporting.
8. Marine Ways – Free Nautical Charts
Marine Ways Boating is a marine navigation and planning application that provides access to free navigational charts. These charts include United States charts provided by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and New Zealand charts provided by Land Information New Zealand (LINZ). The application offers NOAA Electronic Navigational Charts (ENC), NOAA classic charts, and LINZ charts.
The application also includes route planning tools such as route plotting, travel mode, and route leg summary. Route plotting involves tapping and holding on the map for one second to plot waypoints, calculating distance and bearing for each leg added or adjusted. Travel mode automatically centers the map on the user’s current position as they move, while route leg summary displays detailed information such as start and end coordinates, distance, and bearing.
In addition, Marine Ways Boating offers buoy reports and obstruction information, with markers conveniently plotted on the map. Users can view current conditions and wave reports for fixed and drifting buoys, as well as location and history information about potentially dangerous, submerged hazards such as rocks and sunken vessels.
The navigational dashboard displays real-time information including current location, heading, speed over ground, and bearing. Users can also toggle various marine overlay data onto the map to get a better idea of the current boating conditions, such as water surface temperature, wind speeds, wind gusts, and wave heights.
Marine Ways Boating also includes location sharing over water, enabling users to display their last known location, speed, bearing, and boat name on the map for other users to view. They can also view the last known location, speed, bearing, and boat name of other users, as well as their distance and bearing from their own location. Weather information is also available, including weather precipitation radar, nearest observation station data, weather alerts, and land surface temperature overlay.