Ditching Garmin for android or iphone as GPS

Discussion in 'GPS 101 - Which GPS For Me' started by twowheelpilot, Feb 2, 2013.

  1. Buddy_Holly

    Buddy_Holly Imminent Train Wreck

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    The more I read about EARL the more I get pumped about it. For 300 you get so much functionality. On my last look at their site I saw that they are adding another port for an external antenna (This again is something I have limited concern about- but it expands it capabilities beyond just a GPS). The site says it will have a five hour recharge time in sunlight from the built in solar panel- I would think that a full day of riding might not be enough to charge it and use it at the same time, but just having it be able to catch first light and last light of the day should be great for most riders who don't ride sun-up to sun-down.

    They have some video of the refresh and scrolling on it and it seem acceptable. For me just being able to make a stop and see in the sunlight where I am and if I am on track would be a big bonus. While riding if it is constantly refreshing I can see this as a problem because all of the lines will be blurry and indistinct. I hope this is not the case- especially since while riding it won't be perfectly stable on any handlebar in the dirt- it will be blurry from movement on its own. With color screens this is less of a big deal but with grey scale it can get hard to see.

    In the end I am hoping for the best. At the worst I will have a new e-reader for books, that I can run every andriod ap on, and charge with solar.
  2. SauceSquatch

    SauceSquatch Been here awhile

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    I really appreciate the knowledge here and I am hoping that OsmAnd is my solution. For a long time I have been using google maps as my preferred method of navigation just because it's so easy and there is a web based interface that I can create my maps with (which i have gotten pretty decent at). The one nice thing that I really love about google maps is that you can download your area for offline use (menu > Make available offline) so you don't need to use any data, just GPS signal. I was just in the appalachians so I downloaded about 250 square miles of the area I was going to be in before hand.

    However I really want to be able to load up some GPX maps that have been created by the community and OsmAnd seems to be the ticket, just tested and loaded up some .gbx files. They have a great how-to as well:

    https://code.google.com/p/osmand/wiki/HowToViewGPXTracks

    As for the debate of smartphone vs. Garmin I can only speak to the smartphone and for the money I feel it's a viable solution despite the shortcomings (not waterproof and screen visibility in sun). My gloves (dianese 2-stroke) work on touch screens and in mild rain my windshield protects the phone from getting wet (while at speed), in heavy downpours I pull the phone off the mount and throw it in the tank bag until it's safe. It works but if I had $500-$700 with nothing better to spend it on it seems like a dedicated device would be pretty nice.

    I have been using a Galaxy GS3 for over a year and it's been great, just got a GS4 and it's pretty awesome, however they just announced a GS4 'Active' which is waterproof (AT&T only right now).

    After a few rides I'll report back on how well it's working for me.
  3. VStromNC

    VStromNC DNS/DNF

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    I am in the same boat.......

    I've had my Zumo 550 since late 2006. I use it on both my Vee and my KLX450. Basically, I am using a technology that is now approaching 7 years. It always confounds me as to why my Zumo takes me to a place/destination one way and then routes me back home another way even if I hit detour numerous times. Never figured that out. I also believe that I should be able to "record" my route and edit/manage without a lot of fuss.

    Mapsource was OK and now I am learning Basecamp to handle my routes and tracks.

    I just got a new VZ Galaxy S4 and now I am thinking that instead of buying another dedicated GPS such as Oregon or Montana which I heard is much better at tracks, I am thinking of just purchasing an Android App or two although I need a way to easily create routes and/or tracks and upload.

    Google Maps is interesting but I simply can't get the hack of building my route as I always mess it up because the "Draw a Line Along Roads" seem to automate some of the routes and follow another road/route that I was not interested in. The "Draw a Line" feature does not follow the existing road and so I am not sure if it is accurate if I import into an Android App. What is the secret to effectively using Google Maps?

    As far as the Android Apps, I ran across couple of apps that I believe will work for both my street (routes) and Trail (tracks).

    https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=appinventor.ai_den12x4.EMFB&hl=en

    Anyone have any experience with EMFB app? It claims to handle routes directly from Google Maps while incorporating few nifty features such as weather radar, etc.

    Second app for trails and single track is Dual Sport Maps app for Android. I was not aware until after reading these threads that DSM may close down although they are promoting the DSM for Android, etc.

    http://www.advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=753520

    I tend to agree that current smartphones are more like computers and theoretically should offer more functions and ease of use than dedicated GPS units. I maybe wrong.

    Any feedback on Android Apps and secrets to using Google Maps will be appreciated.

    Thanks.
  4. Emmbeedee

    Emmbeedee Procrastinators

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    You guys should look up the new Garmin Monterra. There's a thread started today about it. Looks like a game changer.
  5. StuInFH

    StuInFH Been here awhile

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    So I just got a Montana with all the fixings to hedge my bets vs the insecurity of DSM's future and now this Monterra comes out. Whew, sure glad I paid a bit extra and got it from a retailer with a liberal return policy. But with no phone in the Monterra (yet), I guess I still have to carry my Rugby Smart. Wise to do so in any case for redundancy anyway, I guess.
  6. ADWrider

    ADWrider AKA Acorn27

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    I'm totally new to GPS and tracks, but a few days ago I ran some tracks downloaded from Cannonshot. I was able to open the GPX files in the Motion-X app on my iPhone and follow the tracks no problem. I pre-loaded the map data in case I was out of cell range. The 4s has GPS capability so it would get nav data without cellular.

    It worked slick and for now I have no intentions of buying a dedicated GPS unit as this iPhone setup worked great. Total investment <$50 including waterproof bar-mount case.
  7. Outwardbound

    Outwardbound Been here awhile

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    Problem is (as I understand it) that phone based GPS'es usually don't have the maps in their memory. A 3G/4G connection is necessary to access maps beyond a small area. Germin's (for the most part) have them internally.

    Yes some apps have the ability to download maps of limited area, but it would take a shitload of them to cover something like the TAT.

    Anyone know of a phone app which has all the maps internally ?
  8. ADWrider

    ADWrider AKA Acorn27

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    Good point. For day or weekend rides like I'm geared up for now, the pre-load map data works fine. But for a longer trip covering a large distance without cell coverage that could be an issue.
  9. lmychajluk

    lmychajluk Long timer

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    With WiFi, the Monterra should be capable of running Skype. Though not a perfect solution, it gives the option of being able to pull over at a Hot Spot and make a call.
  10. kave

    kave Gravel rules

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    My god, you havent read anything in this thread?
    Any navigation app you buy for your phone will offer you to download the map in segments to the phone. I use Navigon on the iPad and iPhone and it uses the same maps as Garmin does.
  11. StuInFH

    StuInFH Been here awhile

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    Yeah, that's a good point. But I hope to avoid hot spots when I'm pitching the tent at the end of the day (for as long as I can anyway). Even with my smartphone I still wont have a PLB/Spot-type device on-board, so when I get one of those too, I guess I can send my ok messages home with it (with the Connect version or similar).

    When Google gets their WiFi ballons all over the skies we'll be set. And no way to get away from it all either.
  12. milzispete

    milzispete who did what where?

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    im using a Samsung s3 as my sat nav and it works great with the exception of not being able to see the screen in direct sunlight. now thinking the monterra might be the answer if it can run android apps

    Sent from my GT-I9300 using Tapatalk 4 Beta
  13. Chisenhallw

    Chisenhallw Avowed Pussbag

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  14. acesandeights

    acesandeights Asperger

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    I'm considering the new Nexus 7.
  15. SwissFreek

    SwissFreek Adventurer

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    Kind of wish Garmin would update their app to be an iPhone version of the Montana (or Monterra). Not likely since they'd obviously rather sell you either, but it'd be nice to be able to interface with BaseCamp and standard Garmin maps/tracks. I'd willingly pay a large amount of money for said app ($100? quite possibly).

    Currently using an iPhone in a Lifeproof case held by an X-Grip on the handlebar. Apple maps on the road and MotionX GPS on the trails. Works pretty awesome, especially once I rigged up a charger. Can't fathom buying a dedicated Garmin at this point...

    I have a regular iPad but that's just too big (for the bike) and quite difficult and expensive to ruggedize, which only makes it bigger, but when Apple makes a retina iPad mini, I will be "upgrading", and that WILL go on the bike. It's just about the perfect size.


    Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk 2
  16. DigDig

    DigDig Been here awhile

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    Like someone else mentioned above, I use Navigon. With it you can pick and choose which State or Provinces you want to load on it to help save memory. I have an iPhone 4 (16GB) and loaded all the areas for my Trans-Labrador Highway trip coming up soon (starting from western Mass) and it only took up about 1.5GB. I also use Motion-X GPS for creating tracks, which also allows you to download maps for offline use. Problem with Motion-X is that their map formatting takes up a lot more space, fine for smaller areas, but not big trips. For the same TLH trip it would have taken more than 15GB to get the same level of detail as with Navigon.
  17. MrMac

    MrMac Been here awhile

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    Dacula, Ga.
    CoPilot can load all of N. America in about 1.5 gb, including maps, app, POI's etc., although the road network in Mexico is limited to main routes. Plan your route from Key West to Deadhorse, no problem!
  18. Twohondas

    Twohondas Long timer

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    I use HERE Maps/Drive on my Nokia phone. I download updates via Wifi. The USA mapset is loaded on the phone. Nokia now owns HERE maps which used to be called Navteq ie the maps on Garmin GPS units.

    I believe the same HERE apps are available for IOS/Android.
    http://here.com/download

    While HERE Drive has voice directions which work well, it is still really a point and shoot GPS. I still prefer my "old fashioned" Zumo 550 for complicated routing/planning and accessibility, although I now use the Nokia for local auto travel most of the time.

    Phone GPS is backup on the bike.
  19. my6

    my6 Been here awhile

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    Me too. I'm waiting for a guy to call me back about one right now. It's a 1st gen 32gig. It should do the trick for me...:evil
  20. btao

    btao RIP Lilolita

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    Here's one community member: New Google Maps BLOWS! :becca

    It's the worst update Google has ever done to any of their products EVER. The new google maps is pointless and a piece of crap! It's not finished and should never have been released!

    That aside... phew, i could go on as I'm on the developer's G+ blog and persistently complain along with the whordes of others. I'm really seriously digging the Earl!!!

    I had never heard of it, but shouldn't be under the radar any longer. That thing is going to be friggin awesome for everything outdoors. The screen is e-ink, so it views better in sunlight, it has all the connectivity needed, it's a full Android tablet with WiFi and Bluetooth, has solar charging, has tons of radio communication options, alerts and stuff, 20hour charge life while in use, waterproof, shockproof, any glove friendly, built in weather station, and more.

    I quote " Does Earl come with a warranty?
    We want to set a standard behind the quality of our design. If Earl breaks, send it back and we'll send you a replacement at no charge."

    Damn. It's perfect, and shipping this month.

    In the forum they link to the RAM mount for the 7" tablet for motorcycle mounting. It's the perfect size for viewing on bumpy trails IMO.

    It's been a while since I've been this excited about the arrival of new gear t3ch...