Android Auto gets off-road navigation app for your backcountry trips

Gaia GPS brings off-road adventures to Android Auto

Android Auto on dash screen
(Image credit: Shutterstock)

Google’s in-vehicle operating system, Android Auto, is launching compatibility with Gaia GPS for all your backcountry navigation needs. Gaia is an app that stands apart from the crowded navigation space, offering drivers an alternative to the native Google Maps app and Waze, which provide navigation across conventional routes. 

Made for drivers who prefer their trips to be a little more off-road, Gaia is a specialized app that covers a range of off-road activities — and it’s just landed on Android Auto.

Given that you’re in a compatible vehicle with the app installed and Android Auto connected, the latest beta of the Gaia GPS app now hooks up to the head unit so you can navigate your favorite routes across wilder terrain. Gaia’s official site has provided a hefty guide on how the app works with Android Auto. You’ll need to sign-up to the official Play Store beta, wait for the app to update on your handset, sign in, and then check "you've created drivable routes (i.e. in driving mode) on the app or site." 

That's according to Android Police, which says that when you connect to the head unit inside of your vehicle, "Gaia will be available in the launcher and will show your current location as well as the six routes that are the closest to you." You can, of course, manually search beyond these initial six routes, as well. 

Gaia GPS x Android Auto

(Image credit: Gaia GPS)

Gaia GPS users with Android Auto can see their routes in satellite-view, as well as topographical and trail maps. Another cool feature is the ability for users to get second-screen functionality while displaying a map view on the dashboard. The Android Auto display lets the smartphone app function separately with all of its features intact, so users could mount the device, using it as a secondary display, perhaps with a different aerial shot or angle from the map on the main screen.

The Gaia GPS and Android Auto compatibility update is rolling out as we speak, with full functionality of the tie-up set to hit devices this week. It follows a busy few months of improvements for Android Auto, including a new Android Auto dashboard update and improved messaging controls when using the platform inside your car. 

Luke Wilson

Luke is a former news writer at T3 who covered all things tech at T3. Disc golf enthusiast, keen jogger, and fond of all things outdoors (when not indoors messing around with gadgets), Luke wrote about a wide-array of subjects for, including Android Auto, WhatsApp, Sky, Virgin Media, Amazon Kindle, Windows 11, Chromebooks, iPhones and much more, too.