Cairn FAQ

 
 

HOW DO I ACCESS THE MAPS I'VE DOWNLOADED?

Once you've download a map area that area will simply be available, even when your phone is out of range or in airplane mode. You don't need to do anything special, just use the app as if you had service. You will see a box indicating the map areas that you've successfully downloaded.

WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE BLUE AND GRAY DOTS?

Blue dots indicate a spot cell coverage was detected by Cairn users. Gray dots indicate that no coverage was found. Tap on the dot to see which carrier(s) did or didn't have coverage at that spot.   

WILL CAIRN WORK IF I LOSE CELL RECEPTION?

Yes! It is designed to work offline, but it really helps if you download the map for the area you'll be exploring before you lose reception. We recommend doing this at home over wifi. Our safety notification feature only works if you set it up before you're out of range. But rest easy knowing that your safety contacts will be alerted if you're overdue regardless of your phone's status.  

HOW DOES THE FREE TRIAL WORK?

Currently we automatically offer a 30-day free trial of our premium features. At the end of the trial period there is no need to cancel anything; simply sign up for Premium membership if you'd like to continue using those features, Premium features include:

  • Sharing your real-time location with your safety contacts

  • Downloading maps from anywhere in the world for offline use

  • Recording and saving your trail & trip stats (iOS only)

  • Accessing driving directions to the trailhead

If you do subscribe, you can cancel your premium membership through your phone's Settings app. After the trial period you will still be able to see cell coverage on maps and view trail info such as distance, elevation, and estimated time of arrival.

WHAT IF MY BATTERY DIES OR MY PHONE BREAKS WHILE I'M OUT?

We notify your safety contacts if and when you‘re overdue. This message is trigged from our server so your contacts will get it, even if your phone is offline. 

Any tips for extending my phone's battery?

1. For iOS: Put your phone into low battery mode. This offers significant battery savings without interfering with GPS functionality and location tracking. To do this, go to your iPhone Settings app, choose Battery, then turn on Low Power Mode (or just ask Siri!).  

2. Turn off wifi and bluetooth. You're unlikely to use these in the backcountry. You may also consider putting your phone in airplane mode.  

3. Consider carrying a small battery pack. We do, especially on multi-day trips.

4. Use the stat tracking feature only when you're moving. Tracking the stats for your trip is more battery intensive because we're collecting lots of granular data. (The stat-tracking feature is available for iOS only.)

5. Turn off your phone at night. Many people like to use their phone to take photos during the day. But at night, there's not as much reason to keep your phone on. 

6. Keep your phone warm. A cold phone uses more battery. Who knew? 

DOES CAIRN SHOW COVERAGE DATA BY CARRIER?

Yes, you can tap on a point to see which carriers have coverage (or not) at that point. We don't have data for every carrier (or every point, for that matter) as this data is crowdsourced by other adventurers who use Cairn. 

CAN I MAKE EMERGENCY CALLS VIA OTHER CARRIERS?

Yes! You may be able to make an emergency call (to 911, for example) even if your carrier doesn't have coverage. Your phone just needs to operate on the same frequency band as a carrier that does have coverage. Always try to call 911 in an emergency, even if it doesn't look like you'll get through.

How is my Privacy Protected?

Your trust is important to us. We take your privacy and security seriously, LIKE SUPER COMMITTED! We anonymize cell coverage data to only show the carrier and if there was (or was not) a signal at a specific location to other users. We expose data you’ve shared to safety contacts with them only, for safety reasons. In the event of an emergency we encourage your safety contact to share this data with local search and rescue (or other authorities). For full details check out our Privacy Policy.

WHAT HAPPENS WHEN I PUT MY PHONE IN AIRPLANE MODE?

Unfortunately we can't tell the difference between airplane mode and no service. So any data you collect when in airplane mode will be recorded as no coverage. However, we know that using airplane mode in the backcountry saves your battery. And so we take this into account in our coverage aggregation algorithm for an area. Please use airplane mode as you normally would, but know that it will be recorded as no coverage. 

DO I STILL NEED TO CARRY A FIRST AID KIT?

Absolutely. And the rest of the ten essentials as well! Cairn is just another tool to throw in your box of safety gear. We are not advocating that you use your phone at every opportunity, and we get that you probably want some peace and quiet when you're out. But the vast majority of modern day wilderness rescue operations are initiated by cell phones.   

WHY DOES MY PHONE SHUT DOWN IN THE COLD?

Phone batteries don't like the cold and your phone will shut itself off even if it has plenty of charge. Some people keep their phones in their inside jacket pockets, or slip in a hand-warmer to keep their phone batteries warm.

HOW CAN I HELP GATHER MORE DATA FOR THE COVERAGE MAP OF THE WILDERNESS?

The best way is to get more people using Cairn. You can invite people via Twitter or Facebook using our handy links. If you're a member of a Facebook or Yahoo outdoor group, share this website there. We can use all the help spreading the word that we can get. 

Is Cairn free?

Yes! It's free to download and use. In addition, we have a premium membership that allows you to use all the latest features and services. Everybody has access to the premium features for the first 30 days and you will have to opt in explicitly to sign up for Premium. Those that don’t upgrade will not get charged and will simply have access to the free features after the first 30 days. Premium features include:

  • Sharing your real-time location with your safety contacts

  • Downloading maps from anywhere in the world for offline use

  • Recording and saving your trail (iOS only)

  • Driving directions to the trailhead

How do I cancel my premium membership?

If you’ve purchased a membership and would like to turn off auto-renew, open your profile (tap the icon in the upper right corner) and then tap the gear icon (also upper right). Then choose ‘Manage Subscription’.

MY QUESTION ISN’T ANSWERED HERE. NOW WHAT?

Please email us at adventure@cairnme.com. We’re anxious to help.