MRA Navigation Tips & Tricks
A worthy alternative to your TomTom or Garmin?
On this webpage, we would like to tell you a bit more about the advantages and disadvantages of using a navigation app on your smartphone. And, of course, particularly our own navigation app MRA Navigation. There are two key points you should know about before deciding whether or not to navigate using MRA Navigation.
First, a separate GPS device such as TomTom or Garmin is currently more stable than a navigation app on your smartphone. This is because smartphones often run dozens of apps at the same time and their operation often depends on the Android or iOS version and type of device. The stability of the apps improves every year, and the development goes very fast.
Secondly, using MRA Navigation is a lot cheaper than a separate GPS system. Most people already have a smartphone, so you don't have to make a separate purchase. The mounting hardware is not really expensive and lasts a long time. A premium GPS device costs around €399 and is used for no more than 5 years on average. MRA Navigation costs just €80 for 6 years, that’s 2x a 3-year subscription at €39.95 (even less with the current 20% discount).
Those are the two main considerations, the rest is often personal preference, hence more information below.
MRA Navigation is what we call a 'standalone app'. You can navigate, track, and create routes with the app. The map material is from Here, available online and offline, the same map material used by Garmin. You can navigate to a destination as well as drive self-made routes. Via the website on a PC you can also upload routes and create meandering routes that you can open in the app and drive immediately. Under development is a private trip and meandering route function for which you will no longer need a website. We profile MRA Navigation as a navigation app for enthusiasts of accurately driving self-made routes.
This fantastic function lets you add coloured routepoints on the MyRoute-app website and add text to them. Coloured routepoints can be seen in the navigation app and, if you click on a coloured routepoint in the app, you will also see the text that you added on the website. That works very well in practice. For example, for lunch stops, sightseeing, photo opportunities and warnings!
You can create events via the MRA website. When we go on a trip, we create an event on the website, we invite our friends, and we add route(s). Then everyone can open the event in MRA Navigation, select the route and drive; everyone has exactly the same route. It really doesn't get much easier!
Skip routepoints automatically
MRA Navigation navigates via hard routepoints, which seems to be a disadvantage. But give it a try, if you miss a point, for example due to roadworks, you ignore about 3 directions and the routepoint is automatically skipped. If you want to skip a lot of routepoints due to other circumstances, this is also possible manually! Regardless of any kind of diversion, you will always be guided back to the route.
Other tips & tricks
Because MRA Navigation navigates via hard routepoints, it is important to place routepoints correctly on the road. So zoom in and check routepoints completely, not on roundabouts, near exits, junctions and crossings, or on or under a viaduct. We also advise to make the routes in the Here map, the same map as MRA Navigation. Use enough routepoints, but don't overdo it.
Online and offline
You can download offline maps in MRA Navigation. The advantage of navigating online is that you have access to live traffic information. The disadvantage is that the request for route directions can fail with bad connectivity. We always navigate online in the Netherlands and offline abroad. You only need an Internet connection to open a self-made route.
On the road
We drive all over Europe with MRA Navigation, so no longer using TomTom or Garmin and that is going very well. Not only do we navigate with the app, but we also track the route and add photos and text to it with the app. Never use multiple trackers at the same time, as stability may suffer. In the MyRoute-app Navigation you turn on the tracking with the push of a button while following your route.
If the app crashes once - it does not happen often, but cannot be ruled out - see if tapping the screen is enough to restart the app. Sometimes you have to restart the app, and the route starts where it left off. In exceptional cases it is a 'hard crash' and you have to restart the route. You can choose to start at the beginning, start at the nearest routepoint, or choose a routepoint yourself via "Change Route Settings".
The new generation of premium devices such as the top-of-the-line Samsung and iPhones are now IP67 or IP68 certified. I would not recommend swimming with them but motorcycling in a rain shower is possible. If it is really going to rain hard for a long time, we advise you to cover them, just to be sure. Nowadays there are also smartphones that are dust-resistant, shock-resistant and waterproof; I myself use a CAT60 to my full satisfaction. Cheaper options are also available via Chinese websites; we hear good reports about the Dogee rugged smartphones.
Mounting the smartphone on your vehicle
A smartphone needs power, we advise providing a charging option. Most, somewhat newer, vehicles already have a 12V connection as standard. There are also good after-market waterproof 12V contacts for sale. It is also important to mount your smartphone safely and neatly on your steering wheel or dashboard. I am very satisfied with the RAM Mount Quick-Grip, sturdy and beautiful. My size is satisfied with the Quad Lock, we think these are the best two options at the time of writing this web page.
Hopefully, you now know a bit more about navigating via an app on your smartphone and our own MRA Navigation app. In our opinion, MRA Navigation is an excellent and economical alternative to the well-known GPS devices. In addition, MRA Navigation can also be very useful as a spare GPS. To make it even more attractive, we offer you a 20% discount on an MRA Navigation subscription. A 3-year subscription does not cost €39.95 but €31.96, converted to monthly price; that is less than 1 euro per month...