My review of WikiCamps has been one of the most popular on the site so when I updated to the latest version I decided I had to write another review and also provide a tutorial The latest version of WikiCamps is a little different to use than the previous version, so here’s some tips on getting up and running quickly with it. There are a lot of additional features in WikiCamps, but most of the time travellers will be looking for a good camping spot or caravan park close to where they are or are going to.
If this is your first time using the app, you need to do a few things to get underway. They may take some time to complete (this depends on your internet speed), but once completed you can use the app offline without the internet. If you have already done this, skip to the ‘Using WikiCamps’ section below.
Getting things ready. First, from the main screen tap ‘Offline Content’ then ‘Offline Maps’ and download the Australia map. This is around 140Mb so it may take time – be patient. Next, return to the Offline Content page by tapping back and now tap ‘Offline User Content’. Wait while the app checks what is available and when it has finished this, tap on any state(s) you want to download comments, prices, photos etc for. If you are travelling in say, Queensland, you can tap the state and it will turn green, then tap the ‘Download now’ button at the top. Again, this may take a while to download – as I write this there are over 30,000 comments and over 14,000 thumbnails of photos so be patient. It should only take 5 minutes or so per state. When this is done, move on to the next step.
Using WikCamps. The ‘View Map’ feature is the simplest way to get started. Tap this and if your tablet has GPS (and it’s turned on) the map should centre on your current location. To find sites in another location, tap the ‘Locations’ icon at the top (don’t use the Site Name search, unless you know the name of a camping spot). Now tap City/Town search and start typing the name of the town – note the app gives you suggestions quickly to choose from. The map will zoom into the town you select after tapping the name of it. To zoom out, just use the ‘pinch zoom’ method to see a larger area. After doing this or if you move the map a little, you will see zoom out/in buttons at the lower right you can use instead of the pinch zoom method. Pity they don’t stay there all the time but you soon get used to it.
You should now see all the sites / locations WikiCamps has stored and this may be confusing at first. Here’s how to make it simpler to find what you are looking for – let’s use our example : At the moment we are only looking for free camps with toilet facilities, so by using the site filters feature you can remove the results of things we aren’t looking for. Tap the ‘Filters’ at the top of the map screen, then tap ‘Site Types & Flags’ – we have tapped to select the following items – Has Free, Has Toilets. Before you leave the Filters screen, tap the icons at the top you don’t want to view – we have also removed all of them except the Camp Sites and Dump Points (first and last icons at top). Once you have set up your filters, tap the back button twice to return to the map and you will now see just the types of locations you want to see – too easy!
Next, to view details about a site – tap an icon once to show the name of the site, then tap the ‘More details’ button at the top to view all the features, comments, prices and photos. We read all the comments to get a good picture of a site as often very negative comments can put you off but some people are very hard to please! Note that you need to be online to view the full size photos, but you can often get a good idea about a site from the thumbnail anyway.
Note that you can leave your own comments about any site too – you just need to set up a free account to do so from the main screen – tap the My Account feature to do this. This also gives you access to the Chat Forum feature where you can search for comments / help added by other WikiCamps users – of course, you need to be online to view / add to the forum or add your own comments about sites. Other features include a compass and satellite finder (if your device supports these features) and a handy checklist that you can edit to help when you are setting up / preparing to leave a site.
I hope this has helped first time users of WikiCamps. If you are using the old version, the upgrade worked fine for me and brought across the map, offline content and my account settings which was great. This app has become an essential for us as we travel around Australia – I see that there are now WikiCamps apps for the New Zealand, UK, USA and Canada so that this great app can now be used by overseas travellers.
Price : A$7.49
Size : 10Mb
Needs : Android 2.2+