iPhone + Navigon vs a real gps

Discussion in 'GPS 101 - Which GPS For Me' started by doctor_big, Oct 15, 2010.

  1. IntrepidRunner

    IntrepidRunner Been here awhile

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  2. EmmEff

    EmmEff Long timer

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    Yes, I think so. I've not used MotionX-GPS on my bike, but it fits those criteria. It obviously accepts a GPX and will show tracks and waypoints. Not sure about the support for routes since I've never tried it, but perhaps somebody else will chime in on that.
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  3. IntrepidRunner

    IntrepidRunner Been here awhile

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    How long will an iPhone 4S be able to receive GPS signals while running on the battery?
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  4. Mr Dual Sport

    Mr Dual Sport Roamer

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    I turn off the data use on my phone (have maps downloaded using Gaia) and turn wifi off. With the phone options set like that I can record tracks for 12 hours straight with Gaia running in the background and have about 40 to 50% of the battery left depending how often I look at the screen.
    #84
  5. abhibeckert

    abhibeckert Long timer

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    With the screen on and at full brightness to combat direct sunlight, around 2 hours.

    With the screen off, I've done a 6 hour ride and still had a bit of juice left, maybe 8 hours max?

    This was using MotionX GPS set to it's most power hungry (and most accurate) track recording mode. Different apps will probably drain the battery at different speeds.

    Also, as the battery gets older and depending on your usage/charge cycles and the luck-of-the-draw physical properties of your individual battery... you will notice the battery life go downhill over time. A new device gets much longer battery life than a two year old one.

    If you've got a strong phone signal, your battery will last longer. My 6 hour test was mostly in poor or no signal areas. Removing the sim card (assuming it's a GSM iPhone) will probably give significantly better battery life, but I haven't tested. Airplane mode disables the GPS receiver unfortunately, which is stupid in my opinion.

    You can buy battery packs that double the battery life of the phone, according to (possibly biased) claims of the companies that sell them. And I reckon you could charge the phone while riding... keep in mind, a flat lithium-ion battery charges *much* faster than an almost full one. So if you're down around 10% and charge it for 5 minutes while having a break from riding, it will actually get quite a lot of charge in. Pay attention to how many watts the charger puts out. Look for "iPad compatible" if you can, they're beefier and will charge an iPhone quicker than an "iPhone compatible" charger.
    #85
  6. max384

    max384 Bandaided

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    It probably differs with the 4S, but my 3GS will last two to three hours with screen settings on bright with the Navigon app open and all others closed. The navigation apps are real power hogs (well, likely the internal GPS within the phone is what is really hogging the power).

    I put a DC cigarette lighter adapter in both of my bikes. I got the one they sell at Radioshack for like $8. I then use a little bit of silicone caulking around the base where the wires come out to waterproof it and use heat shrink wrap where appropriate. It works great and only takes about 30 minutes to put in, if taking your time and being tedious with it (though, of course, I'd imagine this could vary depending on the bike).

    Anytime I have the iPhone on the mount, I have it on the charger. This way, I can keep the screen as bright as I want and don't have to worry about battery life. If I wasn't going to put a DC adapter on the bike, I wouldn't even consider using the iPhone as a navigation device. They eat battery life too quickly and the last thing I want is to drain the battery on my phone and then be left with a dead phone when I really need it.
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  7. John Smallberries

    John Smallberries Long timer

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  8. motoroberto

    motoroberto Been here awhile

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    How do you get motion-x to plot a route? I downloaded it and imported some gpx files (to my iphone 4s), but when I ask it to follow a track or go to a destination it just shows a 'crow flies' line and total distance without directions.
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  9. abhibeckert

    abhibeckert Long timer

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    The GPS chip does use a bit of power, as do the accelerometer, magnetometer and gyroscope (all of which are used by most navigation apps), but the real power killer is the screen (if it's on) and the CPU/GPU (which must also be turned on, and is working pretty hard especially if it's applying error correction to the GPS signal - which it usually is).

    Your 3GS battery life seems a bit better than I get from my iPhone 4. Probably the retina screen is a bit more power hungry and pushes the GPU harder.
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  10. abhibeckert

    abhibeckert Long timer

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    MotionX GPS doesn't do routes, it only does tracks. It's not designed to be used for street navigation.

    You can convert routes to tracks... see various other threads. ;-)
    #90
  11. Jeff@TheQuadShop

    Jeff@TheQuadShop TAT survivor

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    If you want to use routes, you need MotionX Drive.
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  12. motoroberto

    motoroberto Been here awhile

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    Can I put tracks onto Motion-X Drive?
    Here's my situation:
    I'm totally unexperienced with gps, and I'm going on a multi-day multi-destination ride. The organizers have provided 3 gps tracks (one for each day) and a list of waypoints.
    I would like to have the option of turn by turn directions for the tracks with the appropriate waypoints for that day also on the track (as given to me the waypoints are a separate list, not shown in perspective to the track for that day).
    Is this gonna be doable with the iphone and Motion-x or Motion-x drive? I'd like to get away with using what I have (the phone),
    or should I just bite the bullet and get a regular gps?
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  13. Jeff@TheQuadShop

    Jeff@TheQuadShop TAT survivor

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    No, MotionX GPS does the tracks. There is no turn by turn when you off road..
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  14. abhibeckert

    abhibeckert Long timer

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    As far as I know, you can't. But Motion-X Drive doesn't exist where I live so I could be wrong (it uses completely different maps to MotionX GPS and those maps do not cover the whole world).

    I think you're getting the terminology wrong. A "track" does not support turn by turn navigation. A track is just a series of points without any concern for whether or not there happens to be roads that can get you from one point to another. Some tracks can only be navigated by aircraft or boat for example.

    With Motion-X GPS the answer is maybe. I'd need to know more about these "tracks" you're talking about. It definitely won't give you turn by turn but it is perfectly capable of overlaying a track (or several) on top of a map so you can follow it/them, or navigating from one waypoint to another.

    If the points in the track don't already follow the trails or roads you're going to be riding down, then you can use various tools on your PC or Mac to convert it into a track that does follow the roads. It won't give you turn by turn, but it will give you an orange line that *exactly* follows where you're supposed to go (if the map data is good), and you will know within seconds if you've taken a wrong turn.

    With Motion-X Drive, I'm pretty sure it will be useless for you. But keep in mind this is just two apps... there are many other apps available for iPhones.

    What kind of roads or trails are you riding down? Where are they? What type of "track" are the ride organisers going to provide? Without knowing all of that, it's not clear whether a regular GPS will be better or worse than your phone. If you load the tracks up into google earth, do they follow the roads?

    Why don't you just buy MotionX now and test it for yourself? Whatever you do, you want to be properly familiar with your GPS on the first day of the actual ride. Install MotionX, create a few of your own tracks and waypoints, then try following them. Try importing the tracks for this event and see how they look... some tracks might have hundreds of miles from one point to the next and just a straight line between them. In that case you'll probably need to convert the track into something more detailed to use MotionX GPS.
    #94
  15. motoroberto

    motoroberto Been here awhile

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    Thanks abhibeckert and John Smallberries for the detailed info.
    I understand now that tracks are connected points "over" a map, and therefore I can't get turn by turn.

    I think the tracks they supplied are pretty well detailed, they seem to follow roads/secondary roads/trails on the map.
    These maps are 300 miles away so I can't check for sure but zooming in on the track maps w Motion-X shows the tracks over labeled roads (or trails).
    I'm assuming when I'm at the start of a track that I select "follow" on Motion-X and my position triangle will appear on the map at the beginning of the track and I just follow the red line, with the triangle following in real time. Is that right?

    The thing I really don't understand still is how to transfer the waypoints to the track map.
    There are 16 waypoints and 7 tracks. The waypoints are fuel and lunch and beer (most important) stops. When selected they just come up as a single point on a map.
    Is there any way to transfer the waypoints to the tracks? Otherwise I suppose I could scan through all of the tracks to see where each of the waypoints are, but it would be a lot easier if there was a way to transfer the waypoints to the tracks.

    I may get Motion-X Drive anyway just to get me to the start w turn by turn.
    Or maybe not- I've always been a map guy, feels weird jumping into the gps world.
    Then again it's only 99 cents...
    leaves plenty of cash for beer.
    #95
  16. abhibeckert

    abhibeckert Long timer

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    You can place the waypoints in a gpx file (with a variety of different apps on your PC) and import them into MotionX, then have some or all of them visible on the map. If you organise them into folders, you can control visibility for a set of markers.

    Don't bother for anything off road mate.
    #96
  17. IntrepidRunner

    IntrepidRunner Been here awhile

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    I just came back from a weekend at a professionally hosted dual sport ride at Yosemite. I used my iPhone 4S with MotionX-GPS with some success. First, addressing motoroberto's statement, MotionX-Drive will not work for off-road and you cannot import tracks into it. In the wilderness, MotionX-GPS works only if you download all the maps, way points and tracks in advance. Doing so in Wi-Fi works best.

    I had my iPhone attached to my left forearm in a TuneBelt, zip-tied in two places to be sure it did not fall out or fall off me. This allowed the iPhone to go about four hours without a charge, then I charged it at the lunch stops. I brought the AC charger and a USB DC cigarette plug. The only problem I experienced is that in heavily wooded areas, the map would not move, probably due to not getting a GPS signal. I'm not sure if that is all there is . A quick glove removal and a finger drag along the rout found my position and I was off again.

    A dedicated GPS receiver, with a big display has the iPhone beat. But as a back-up, it works.
    #97
  18. JasonLester

    JasonLester Riding north

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    I use Skobbler on my Iphone 4s. It seems to work pretty good in the cage. I have yet to really use it on my bike. It has the advantage of voice for free. I also downloaded the maps which cost extra but its .99 to use it on the 3g I think. entire world maps is 10 bucks. I wanted US and Canada and you can get just that 6 bucks. You also can only install what you need when you need it (state by state). So far I like it alot....have not tried uploading routes etc to it. I usually print my planned route and if something happens I cannot follow it, or need to find a different route, I go to the GPS...
    #98
  19. ScottB

    ScottB Spam Enthusiast

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    Well, for what it's worth, I'll be taking that UltimateAddons waterproof case on a road trip next month. I'll report back then.
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  20. ScottB

    ScottB Spam Enthusiast

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    So I've been working on this a bit in prep for my upcoming trip and it turns out Skobbler (a $0.99 product) will now sell you access to offline North American road maps, downloadable by state, province or country, for $5.99. Great if, like me, you are mainly a roadie! It also has capacity to program your routes in advance. I haven't tested it much yet, but will shortly report back.