Your mobile phone can be very useful as a navigation and safety tool in Finland. If you plan on boating or sailing in Finland install these 3 must-have navigation and safety apps for your mobile phone!
All the apps are available in English. The free versions of the navigation apps fetch the maps in real time over the mobile network so you need mobile data to use the free versions. Mobile coverage is excellent on all lakes and very good also out in the Finnish archipelago. With the new EU regulation on the pricing for mobile services, if you have a European subscription, using mobile data is definitely an option. Check with your operator for the actual rates. If you visit Finland from outside the EU, a pre-paid mobile subscription is the way to go.
112 Suomi – emergency phone call with location information
112 (the European equivalent on 911) is also the emergency number that you should use at sea in Finland. In an emergency it could however be difficult to verbally give your exact co-ordinates over the phone. This is where the 112 Suomi mobile application steps in. It will send you GPS position along with your emergency call so that the coast guard (or other appropriate authority) will have your exact location.
The app is available for Android and iPhone and there is even an English version available!
Once you have downloaded the app, you need to ensure two things:
- Store your phone number on the app (in the international format with a “+”-sign followed by your country code and phone number (eg. US phone numbers must start with “+1…”). This is needed so that the emergency call can be combined with the correct location.
- Ensure that you have your phone’s location services on. The app will prompt you when launched, if the location services are off.
Skippo (previously 0100100 Merellä) – free charts and navigation for your mobile
Proper charts on your mobile phone can come in very handy. Taking the dinghy for a spin? Grab your phone and you are ready to head out a bit further. Someone wants to show you a nice place to anchor? Whip out your phone and showing you the location is a snap. The phone can even act as the emergency backup for your other navigational systems.
Eniro publishes a very nice free navigation app. It is based on the digital chart information provided by the Finnish Maritime authorities so you can be sure that the chart information is up-to-date. An other handy feature is that the app also shows AIS information. This is very useful when you navigate the main channels shared also by big ferries and other commercial vessels.
The free version needs an online connection to constantly download the charts. You can also upgrade to the Pro version which allows you to download and store the charts locally on your phone.
Available for Android and iPhone:
You can also browse the maps on the web: merella.0100100.fi, good for route planning etc!
Maastokartat – Finnish terrain map
Including a terrain map in this post might seem a bit surprising but the Maastokartat app is actually very useful also for boaters.
If you plan on staying in natural harbors, the Maastokartat app comes in handy in many ways. First of all, it is based on different material than the chart info and sometimes show rocks etc located close to shore that might not be visible in charts. It also has very up-to-date information on building, helping boaters avoid landing ro anchoring too close to them. Once you are in the harbor, the map is very useful for exploring your surroundings.
If you plan on boating on some of the smaller lakes in Finland, Maastokartat becomes invaluable. There are paper and electronics charts only for some of the bigger lakes (like Lake Saimaa). For the thousands of smaller, navigable lakes, Maastokartat is the only app that shows depth information, channels and markers.
Recetly the app has also gotten navigational information for the bigger lakes and the archipelago, but the implementation of these is not very good and I would recommend the 0100100 Merellä app instead.
You can buy a few upgrades to the free Maastokartat app, the most interesting being the option to download and store maps on the phone.
Maastokartat is available for Android and Nokia/Microsoft phones:
- Android: google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.swampsend.maastokartat
- iPhone: There is an app called Maastokartat for iPhone but it is not this same app and it is not free.