iPad as a GPS - thoughts?

Discussion in 'Mapping & Navigation' started by lmychajluk, Apr 5, 2010.

  1. lmychajluk

    lmychajluk Long timer

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    Anyone get one of these yet?

    Been thinking of getting an eBook reader, but for a bit more, the iPad seems to be a pretty cool gadget. I'm thinking it will fit in the map pocket of a larger tank bag. The screen isn't supposed to be the best in sunlight, but that might not be that much of a factor w/ decent voice guidance, or to stop and check routes on the side of the road. Not looking for alot of super-GPS features or missle-guidance accuracy, but as a gadget for traveling, maybe this thing w/ Google Maps or the Navigon software might be just the ticket? What say you guys?

    http://www.navigon.com/site/us/en/mobile_navigator/iphone
    Think they'll have an update for the iPad soon?
    #1
  2. HBToni

    HBToni Adventurer

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    :lol3
    I hope you are kidding:freaky
    Then again, I guess it depends on the riding you are up for. In town I'm sure it would work alright navigation wise, but then you still have that giant piece of $600 metal-glass you don't want to scratch in your tank bag.
    I had an Iphone for a brief time and took it on a ride 15 miles out of town (Boise, Idaho)- zero coverage.
    So for traveling I couldn't see it as very useful except for extended rests at restaurants and motels. While being much less cool, I feel like a netbook would do an equally well, if not better job.
    :cob
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  3. HBToni

    HBToni Adventurer

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    Sorry if if I accidentally came across rude, I feel like you made a really good point bringing this up but I wasn't sure if you were serious. I love the Apple hardware but the idea just has never come to me of the Ipad for motorcycle navigation. That's why I think you made a good point.
    #3
  4. jwest

    jwest Adventurer

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    and it will be powered how? also, every time you want to see something the screen will have gone off and won't be touch sensitive through the plastic and/or gloves.....i see problems but it would be sweet if those issues are solved.

    I am guessing people have 12v adapter thingies set up for travel? to charge phones, run gps?

    the coverage/signal would be the biggest issue though.
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  5. hobbner

    hobbner Been here awhile

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    The Ipad will be awesome to run some of the topographic software that is already out there for the ipod touch. I think the Ipad will be a awesome compact travel computer that compliments a standard gps reciver well.

    As for using it soley as a navagation device...my riding is too rough for that!
    #5
  6. HBToni

    HBToni Adventurer

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    +1
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  7. Suzkuz

    Suzkuz Life in Tandem

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    By stitching a bit of conductive thread onto your glove's fingertips you can make it work with capacitive touch screens.
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  8. intothenew

    intothenew Briar Patch Navigator

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    The coverage issue is not an issue if you have the maps installed before departure, and if it has a dedicated gps chipset. Or, you can dongle a dedicated receiver.

    Buy a BMW tank bag if you want to touch while she is covered. :deal
    #8
  9. markbvt

    markbvt Long timer

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    FWIW, the Wifi-only iPad does not have a GPS chipset, but the 3G-enabled iPad (which isn't available yet) does.

    I too have been thinking that an iPad in an appropriate sort of case, with power adapter and good GPS software, would be a pretty cool device for street-oriented touring. With that much screen real estate, so much more map detail can be displayed, which in turn means you can use it more like a paper map -- seeing where a road goes or what roads go in the general direction you're interested in, rather than just getting a snapshot of the immediate area around you like a typical GPS provides.

    Mounting an iPad to the bike and powering it will not be such big issues -- the problem is going to be software. Maps will need to live on the iPad; the built-in Maps app is useless since it needs a wireless data connection to download the maps on the fly. Something like the Navigon or TomTom software will be necessary, if they develop iPad versions -- or better yet, hopefully some developer will step in and offer a more motorcycle-friendly software product that has good multi-point route planning features (not just point A to point B routing like the TomTom software). Hopefully they'd also include track features.

    Oh, jwest, by the way, the display can be set to stay on constantly. At least, it can on the iPhone, and there's no reason the iPad would be any different.

    --mark
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  10. cablebandit

    cablebandit Web Adventurer

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    You won't be able to see a thing with the glossy screen. The thing is like a mirror.
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  11. lmychajluk

    lmychajluk Long timer

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    Well, no, I really wasn't kidding...but no offense taken.

    I realize that it wouldn't be an ideal GPS, but as a general device to have on the bike that can also do basic GPS functions (I'm talking 3G version, not the WiFi only model) that can also take the place of your music player, bike manuals, guide books, etc... why not? If I can buy one device for $800 that would do 90% of what a $600 gps, a $200 MP3/media player, a $400 netbook or smartphone, and a $250 eBook reader would do, all in a relatively compact package that I can also use while comuting to work on the train, to me, that may just be worth it.

    There were some good points brought up. To summarize:

    1) Ruggedness - may not be suitable for off-road. Okay, maybe, but there's no moving hard-disk, so maybe it wouldn't be so bad. For me, I don't ride off-road, so I was thinking more sport-touring anyway. As for scratches - it would live in it's own in the map pocket of the tank bag, and I'm sure screen protectors will be available soon if not alreeady.

    2) Power - I have power in my current tankbag via a Powerlet adapter. As long as the iPad can be powered via a Car Cig Adapter (only a matter of time) or standard USB, I don't think power will be an issue.

    3) Constant-On screen - Don't know...I'd bet there'd be a way to lock it on, as previously mentioned.

    4) Touch screen - I didn't really expect to be able to touch on the go. I figured I'd fire up Google Maps or something like the Navigon software with my podcast or music playing in the background, put the thing in the map pocket of the tank bag, and go.

    5) GPS - Will the 3G have a 'real' GPS? Or just cellular triangulation? A real GPS chip would be better, obviously. If the right BlueTooth profile is on the iPad, I have a BT GPS unit that may work nicely.

    6) Map Updates - It seems to me that the Navigon software may include maps that are stored locally, which would be OK if there's built in GPS or support for an external GPS antenna. Otherwise, Google Maps or the built-in Map App would (I'm assuming) be limited to areas where you have 3G coverage. For me, in the NE (N. NJ, lower NY state, and down to Philly occasionally), it's not as bad as Idaho.

    7) Screen Readability - May be an issue. Heard that it's not the same type of screen as an iPhone, so it won't be quite as readable under direct sunlight.

    8) Overheating - Just read this morning that some people are reporting auto-shutdown in temps as low as 75. Could be a problem.

    I haven't played with one yet...may try to go to the Apple Store tonight to check one out, and then do some more research while waiting for the 3G versions to come out. Never really owned an Apple product before, so it could prove interesting...
    #11
  12. markbvt

    markbvt Long timer

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    Yes, it has real GPS. The GPS chip is part of the 3G chipset, which is why it's only on the 3G model, but it works independently of a 3G connection.

    --mark
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  13. joshearley

    joshearley n00b

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    As far as I know ( and I've only read about them), they don't multitask --so playing music while running a gps app is a no go.

    Please correct me if I am wrong!
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  14. Disco Dean

    Disco Dean Long timer

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    Music is the only multi-tasking program on the iPad - so yes you can play your music while you do other things.
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  15. markbvt

    markbvt Long timer

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    Also, the 4.0 operating system due out this summer will support multitasking.

    --mark
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  16. lmychajluk

    lmychajluk Long timer

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    I was worried about the multitasking as well. From what I understand, native apps will multitask (incl. music w/ browser, etc...). I'm not quite sure how this would affect other 3rd-party apps that ususally run in the background (i.e., IM apps).
    #16
  17. Albie

    Albie Kool Aid poisoner

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    Hardly, it's not really a computer as it only runs apps not real software.
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  18. Albie

    Albie Kool Aid poisoner

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    And if you're smart, you'll wait and buy one with 4.0 that way you don't waste your 1 free upgrade. :wink:
    #18
  19. KellyC

    KellyC TimeKeeper

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    I'm far from an Apple fanboy but I can get my mind around using the iPad with Google Earth to do pre-ride scouting/planning and post-ride analysis.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a6-92oIG8AY

    I don't know how robust the version of Google Earth is that runs on the iPad.

    But being able to use the device to plan rides and then dump and visualize rides after the fact sounds appealing.

    Given the fact that most of my nav and mapping world is tied to the PC, I will wait and see what the PC answer is to the iPad.
    #19
  20. Emmbeedee

    Emmbeedee Procrastinators

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    I think this reason alone would prevent it surviving if you actually placed it in a tank bag - have you any idea what the temperatures get up to in the map pocket?

    I figured it was pretty high and once tried a test, placing a normal outdoor thermometer in the pocket and it blew up - end literally got blown off from the heat.

    And that's in Canada where the Summers are nothing like as hot as they get down South.
    #20