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Old 09-30-2012, 07:42 PM   #16
ben2go OP
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WoW!I'm glad I started this thread.I didn't think I'd get but one or two responses.Getting lots of good info for you guys.Keep it coming.
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Old 10-02-2012, 01:47 PM   #17
abhibeckert
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rydah View Post
Some companies are offering "rugged" Android smart phones that are water, dust, shock resistant, so would be better suited for motorcycle use.
Has anyone actually tried any of these? I've yet to see any reports on how good they are.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rydah View Post
Problem with smartphones is you don't have as powerful a GPS radio as on a stand alone unit, so reception can be an issue. Also, data plan usage can get costly when navigating this way.
My experience is the opposite with regards to reception. It's almost perfect, it is usually correct within 2 meters, and it gets a cold fix on my position very fast. Obviously I haven't tried every phone available, but I'm not aware of any that are known to be bad.

Data plans are an issue if you use the wrong mapping software (eg: stay away from google maps unless you use it very rarely). It's something to be aware of, but there are simple steps you can take to make sure you never use any data or use almost no data.
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Old 10-02-2012, 04:00 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by abhibeckert View Post
My experience is the opposite with regards to reception. It's almost perfect, it is usually correct within 2 meters, and it gets a cold fix on my position very fast. Obviously I haven't tried every phone available, but I'm not aware of any that are known to be bad.
They are very good if you are in coverage areas, but when you get out in the boonies, they are no match for a stand alone GPS, and sometimes can get no satelite reception at all. This is of course up here in the US; can't comment on Down Under.
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Old 10-02-2012, 05:21 PM   #19
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GPS tracking is a function of the GPS chip used, the antenna, and to a lesser extent the software running them. A phone requiring an always-on location fix will obviously have a head-start when the GPS app is run up. Also, the cell-site info and to a lesser extent any WiFi info will assist in narrowing down the location to speed up that first fix. A-GPS it's call, at least on the WiFi side.

I've not done full side-by-side comparisons between my CyberNav (Android tablet) and my Dakota 20 but, seat of the pants, the Dakota wins on first lock in difficult situations. It will simply pick up satellites where the CyberNav won't. I'd say the CyberNav has just as good, if not better (newer anyway) chip, but it just doesn't have the space for a decent patch antenna. The Dakota is built around the antenna; the CyberNav is built around the screen. Thus, the CyberNav is a little more like my old Etrek... sometimes I need to move to a better location to get a fix. But, once it's got that lock, it seems quite tenacious.

I'm talking about deep woods stuff. Out on the road, you're not going to notice the difference and the A-GPS stuff might even give a tablet/phone an advantage.

David...
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Old 10-02-2012, 06:23 PM   #20
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Those of you considering an Android phone for a GPS should check out this thread: http://www.advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=691537
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Old 10-02-2012, 06:36 PM   #21
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Last I used it, you don't need cell service to use Google Maps. I have the entire west coast saved on my phone.
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Old 10-02-2012, 08:49 PM   #22
worwig
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rydah View Post
Problem with smartphones is you don't have as powerful a GPS radio as on a stand alone unit, so reception can be an issue. Also, data plan usage can get costly when navigating this way.
I must disagree with this to some extent. It will vary with the devices of course.
All Android phones that I have seen include cell tower assistance and even Google location services that get you near your location if they see WiFi. Those location assistance services 'kick start' the GPS hardware so that it can locate you very quickly off of the satellites.
And many new devices, like my Galaxy SIII have chip sets that not only locate you by GPS, but also by Glonass. So here I am, sitting indoors, and seeing 18 satellites. Not something you are going to see from a normal GPS reciever. Needless to say the satellite lock was very quick and it is a very accurate location.

As for mine. I have a charge cable and a handlebar clip. Not waterproof though. I use OSMand, NAV free, and CoPilot, for maps on my device that don't need a network connection. Plus of course Google and Bing maps when online. I haven't used my Garmin in a long time.

The challenge for me is getting a screen that is visible in sunlight, modifying gloves to work with the touch screen, and the waterproofing.

I like having multiple versions of software maps to choose from in front of me.
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Old 10-02-2012, 10:06 PM   #23
FixerDave
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even more options

Quote:
Originally Posted by worwig View Post
...The challenge for me is getting a screen that is visible in sunlight, modifying gloves to work with the touch screen, and the waterproofing...
high-contrast black/white maps help a lot more than you would expect them to. Definitely worth a try. A sunshade helps as well and does protect from the elements somewhat, but it can be awkward to work around.

Other than that... I probably won't get around to trying this, not before truly daylight-readable screens are cheap, but I've been thinking about using an e-book reader as a remote screen. Basically, pick up a cheap monochrome e-ink tablet and figure out a way to display a picture, once per second. The same picture, over and over again. Then, update that picture by screen-caps on the actual GPS tablet.

The actual GPS could be small, protected (though you'd still need it for touch-screen controls), and the display wouldn't really matter. The e-ink display, on the other hand, could be mounted in a protective case (that you wouldn't need to open all the time) and be fully readable (even more readable) in direct sunlight. No sunscreen, big, and depending on how good the look-angle is it might even be mountable directly on the windscreen. Those e-book readers can get pretty thin and light.

A once-per-second update, or even 3 or 4 seconds, would be fine for displaying a map. I ride fast, but not THAT fast. Getting a small app to grab a screen-cap and post it to a file once per second would be trivial. Getting the e-book reader to see that file (USB, bluetooth, or ?) and display it might prove a little more challenging. However, I do think the idea has merit. I just don't have the time to do it and my high-contrast maps are actually good enough for my navigation needs. Not awesome like e-ink would be, but good enough.

David...
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Old 10-03-2012, 06:47 AM   #24
worwig
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FixerDave View Post
high-contrast black/white maps help a lot more than you would expect them to. Definitely worth a try. A sunshade helps as well and does protect from the elements somewhat, but it can be awkward to work around.
Some of the software I use allows you to change the rendering colors, which helps a lot.
I created a sunshade for my phone. It helps keep it dry too. That sits on a shelf because it is so large to let you work around it. It was a bit too much.
The e-ink display is an interesting idea. I don't know of any e-ink display with an auto refresh though.
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