CPW’s New Mobile PDF Map App

Even when you’re off the grid, you can use the new Colorado Parks and Wildlife’s mobile app to navigate in the backcountry.
Hikkwer on mountain top.
Find your way in the backcountry with CPW’s new mobile app.

Colorado Parks and Wildlife’s new app (CPW Mobile PDF) allows you to download PDF maps for offline use on your Apple and Android smartphones. Even in battery-saving airplane mode, CPW Mobile PDF makes use of your phone’s E911 capability to display your location in real-time on downloaded georeferenced PDF maps. Whether you are hiking, hunting, or fishing, this app can help guide you in the backcountry.

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E911 Capability – The FCC (Federal Communications Commission) requires wireless telephone carriers to provide 911 and E911 capability, where a Public Safety Answering Point (PSAP) requests it. Once it is implemented fully, wireless E911 will provide an accurate location for 911 calls from wireless phones.

Download CPW Mobile PDF

download the app from the apple store
download the app from the google play store

Get Maps!

Unlike many mapping applications, there are no base maps with the CPW app. You will need to know the location you are heading to for your backcountry adventure and then download free maps specific to that area. There are a number of free resources that will allow you to create a variety of custom maps that can be used with the app. For example, if you create maps with CPW’s hunting atlas, you can save them in satellite, topographic, and street views to meet your specific needs. You can also add waypoints, routes, and other custom markups to meet all of your adventure needs. This app will require a little effort on your end to make sure you have what you need before you head out on your trip, but the advantages of custom maps and the ability to navigate without cell service make it well worth the effort!


GEO PDF maps are available for free from several sources online.

Create Custom Maps with the Colorado Hunting and Fishing Atlases

Use the print option on the hunting and fishing atlases to export custom geo pdfs.

For hunters and anglers familiar with the Colorado Hunting Atlas and the Colorado Fishing Atlas, you can now create custom maps for your hunting and fishing locations that can be used on your phone. Leverage the map tools to add waypoints, draw routes, and labels to your custom map. Save as a GEO PDF import to your phone and you are ready to go.

Don’t Run Out of Power!

Today’s phones are amazing, but they need to be charged, or you’ve got a brick in your pocket. There are two easy ways to charge your phone while in the backcountry external — battery packs and solar panel chargers.

  1. Battery packs need to be charged at home before going on the trail. When your phone needs charging, simply connect using a USB cable and start charging.
  2. Solar charges need the sun to charge. If your plans are in a bright sunny area, you can recharge your phone mid-adventure.

When using your phone for navigation, always plan to use more battery power than you would on a normal day at home or around the office.

Have a Backup Plan

Batteries can fail, and Colorado’s backcountry terrain can confuse and disorient even the most experienced outdoorsman. Therefore, it’s important to know how to use a map and compass to avoid getting lost when venturing into remote areas. Watch the video below to learn how to navigate your way to safety in any situation. 

Video: Outdoor Survival: Chapter 5 – Map and Compass

4 Responses

    1. Maps created with CPW’s hunting and fishing atlases will not show private land borders. The maps will show public land borders (national forest, BLM, State Wildlife Areas…).

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