The MotionX on the iPhone Thread

Discussion in 'GPS 101 - Which GPS For Me' started by basketcase, Nov 12, 2011.

  1. Johnf3

    Johnf3 Long timer

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    I have the regular Motion X (not Drive), bought it mostly to record my mountain bike rides and to use as an odometer/bike computer.

    I have an iphone 3gs and have issues with getting an accurate track and accurate distance/speed data real time. Even though I have GPS coverage at all times, the track will show no speed/distance intermittently (mostly after stopping then starting or changing direction) even though I am pedaling right along. I am not losing a signal. On my 6 mile loop that I ride, it may record 5.1 miles or so. It seems to lose a connection with the internal GPS whenever I turn sharp or stop and start. The recorded track shows the general shape of the loop but it is not representative totally (lots of cut corners, etc)

    Talking with the Motion X programmers, who are very helpful, they blame my phone, since the app depends entirely on the GPS chipset to work. Fair enough, I took my phone to my phone tech and the GPS chip checks out ok. He says the 3gs does not have a sophisticated enough GPS chipset to really record good great track details and accurate distances when it comes to mountain biking, etc. I have played with it for two weeks now and just can't get a good result with this app for my intended purposes. It records a track good in the truck where speed remains constant and there are not a lot of direction changes.

    I have the phone in a holder on my bars, and I know it is not losing a signal. I guess I need to upgrade to a iphone 4 for this app to work right. Any other 3gs users out there?
    #41
  2. TRZ Charlie

    TRZ Charlie That's MR. Asshole

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    IOS 5.0.1 also has know issues and sometimes makes the native gps program in-op too. This only happens on certain serial number runs of the gps chip.

    I called MotionX they helped a great deal with trouble shooting but the bottom line is that I will have to wait until 5.0.XX comes out to see if it has been addressed.
    #42
  3. Johnf3

    Johnf3 Long timer

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    Interesting. I forgot to mention that I am running 5.0.1 in my initial thread. I did tell the Motion X programmers though.
    #43
  4. deeve

    deeve Adventure Lite

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    I am looking at downloading some maps for a track I received and I know I will not get a single out there. I have two questions....1. Is downloading better then caching? I would like to download the area where I will be traveling, and if I understand it correctly caching will store the maps that I view as I scroll through the track but will start to delete them if I view too much. DL lets me pick a bigger area, but I have to make sure I am DL the entire area of the track. 2. What is the difference between the different types of map, like MotionX and Bing? I read the descriptions, but not sure which I would want to DL.

    Thanks!
    DAVE
    #44
  5. ericw

    ericw Been here awhile

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    Hi All-

    If anyone is on the fence about trying this app, I recommend giving it a try. Mind you, I've spent many days in the saddle with GPS mounted up front, formulating a list of what I'd need in a truly easy to use off-road GPS.

    After a few years of f'in with Garmin's POS line up :topes, I've finally found a true off-road GPS app for my iPhone (3GS) that incorporates all of the features I've been looking for, Motion-x.

    I just received an app update from Motion-x that now includes the only remaining item I had on my off-road GPS "wish list" for the iPhone, the ability to show more than one track at a time on the map. :clap I'd sent a number of email requests to Motion-x developers regarding this issue and they obviously listened/responded to their users. Unlike Garmin with their own laundry list of issues.

    Even before this update, I've logged thousands of off-road miles in California desert and mountain single track using the iPhone and Motion-x without a single issue regarding durability, readability or ease of use on the bike. The multi-track view is a great addition but the app was pretty close to exactly what I needed before that... nice.

    Two must-haves for on the bike, 12v power adaptor for external power to the iPhone and Ram Mount's "Finger Grip" mount.

    The Motion-x app (with free updates) was $9.99 (EDIT: Right now it's on sale for $1.99) and if my two and a half year old iPhone ever dies, they're $49.00 at AT&T. Can't say the same about Garmin's endless releases of not-ready-for-prime-time GPS's at $500+ a pop.

    But I'm not bitter... :rofl

    Kudo's to Motion-x!

    (No, I don't work for them)
    #45
  6. Jeff@TheQuadShop

    Jeff@TheQuadShop TAT survivor

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    I got the update this morning and have been trying to load multible tracks but still can't figure it out. How'd you do it?

    It's on sale for $1.99 right now by the way.
    #46
  7. ericw

    ericw Been here awhile

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    Hi Jeff -

    When your on the map page, in the lower left about 2/3 down the screen there's a "Maps" button. Press that, then press the "Recorded Tracks" button. I think that recorded tracks are basically every track you have loaded/recorded - and then they're divided up from there.

    Once you press "Recorded Tracks", it'll give you a number of choices, "Show All" (tracks), "Hide All", "Show Recently Added", "Show Import", etc. The recently added and show import keys should cover most all the track files you've recorded or imported, but don't "quote" me on that.

    This is a really nice feature they've added, I like to have bail-out routes, go-arounds and other options available to view real-time while I'm on the "main route".

    Another new feature I noticed, you can choose different colors (25 or so) for different tracks - cool. Edit 'em right on the iPhone.

    Hope this helps, since the update is so new I'm sure I'll need a few days to discover all the new goodies they've added.

    Thanks for the tip, updated my original post.

    Ride safe!
    #47
  8. Jeff@TheQuadShop

    Jeff@TheQuadShop TAT survivor

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    Ahhhh, that worked great thanks man!

    I like this app so much that I sold my Garmin 376c.
    #48
  9. Johnf3

    Johnf3 Long timer

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    After talking some more with the customer service folks at Motion X, I have a few more observations. Keep in mind that what I am using the app for, my results are different than others. As usual, the customer service support from these guys is top notch.

    This app appealed to me as a way to record my mountain bike rides. The single track I ride is very tight and twisty, with frequent severe direction changes. I have ridden enough with this app and know it well enough to say that Motion X doesn't drop track points or "breadcrumbs" quick enough to 100% record the track distance accurately. I guess it is also possible that the GPS chipset in the iPhone isn't good enough to allow higher track recording resolution. Anyways, you can overlay the track on google earth or the satellite map on the app and see where it cuts off corners on the tight turns, which makes the distance travelled less than actual. It adds up pretty fast on a tight track. This in turn makes the average speed and pace features of the app inaccurate.

    I have now had this app on a iPhone 3gs as well as a iPhone 4. Clearly the GPS chip set in the 4 and 4S is superior compared to the 3GS because the accuracy is much improved with the 4. Battery life is also better. Battery life is so poor with the 3GS that I don't recommend using it without acces to a charger at the same time.

    For the couple of bucks it cost to get this app, it is an amazing deal. My only wish is that they include a feature to allow the user to define the trackpoint resolution, preferably by time (ex. every one or two seconds). This would improve track accuracy greatly when recording tight tracks with many severe direction changes.

    I have my fingers crossed that the programmers can do this. If they can, it could truly replace a dedicated off road GPS device.
    #49
  10. soffiler

    soffiler Adventurer

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    Hey Johnf3: I use MotionX on the mountain bike too, and comparing stats with cyclo computer I've noticed the same thing. MotionX always under-reports distance. As you say, it is related to how often it records a track point. The GPS thinks your ride is a series of straight lines between the points. More points means closer to reality. I *think* this is related to the "Activity Mode" (blue button at top of Track page). Not sure; this is a guess on my part. Try choosing a slow-moving mode like hiking and I *think* it will record points more frequently. I keep meaning to try this myself and keep forgetting. Mine is in Auto mode.
    #50
  11. Johnf3

    Johnf3 Long timer

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    I realize the activity mode plays a part in how the track is recorded. Like I said, I have played around with the program quite a bit, spent lots of time with Motion X customer service, etc. Still no real luck. To my logic, which is probably wrong, slow moving activities would require less frequent recording, not more. I am beginning to think it is more of a limitation with the iPhone GPS chipset than the app. Wishful thinking that a two dollar app could rival a dedicated off road GPS, but maybe the Motion X programmers can come up with something. We will see.
    #51
  12. soffiler

    soffiler Adventurer

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    Depends whether track points are recorded based on time or distance. And on the chipset limitations as you point out. Off-subject but I also have NatGeo Topo app and it allows you to choose track point recording; every 5 yards, 10, 20, 50... Distance based in other words. I realize this says nothing about MotionX. In your discussions with MotionX, has this come up? There may be track-file size limits, too. Probably not imposed by iOS but perhaps imposed by programmers to keep things under control somehow.
    #52
  13. Johnf3

    Johnf3 Long timer

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    The person I have been in communication with did not indicate whether track points are distance or time based in Motion X. He did say they would look into whether they could add the ability to allow the user to choose track resolution. Hopefully both time and distance options could be included, and with the option of very closely spaced track points. The reason I say that I think the chipset may be the limitation is because it is very choppy on updates, for lack of a better term. Speed changes only update every couple of seconds, so maybe that is the best it can do? I can turn 10 ft circles in my driveway with my Trail Tech Voyager GPS and it records a nice tiny little circle for the track. No way the iPhone GPS does that with the Motion X app.

    I agree about the file sizes, however, they say you can store 101 tracks presently.
    #53
  14. janliness

    janliness Battery Discharger

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    Let me add a fourth way that I accidentally found tonight :clap

    I simply grab a .gpx file and email it to myself as an attachment. When the email gets to my iPhone, I press on the attachment until a menu pops up which conveniently has "Open in MotionX GPS" as a button. Press that button and MotionX GPS launches and gets right to the import screen.

    later,
    jan
    #54
  15. John Smallberries

    John Smallberries Long timer

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    Very cool. I'm planning a ride around Lake Huron and have a very detailed Google map route broken into 8 segments. It will be my most involved test of Motion-X route importing. I'll try your method.
    #55
  16. XB12R

    XB12R Long timer

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    I have MotionX and an old 3G iPhone. The phone, due to its age is extremely slow and needs to be replaced. I would not consider this an effective navagation tool. Would the MotionX with a 4S or 5 iPhone be good enough to get me out of the woods? My wife and I went for a dog walk last week in a remote spot and ended up getting lost. At first I was thinking about getting another GPS just for hiking like a Dakota or Oregon. Would a IPhone5/MotionX be just as effective?
    #56
  17. Jeff@TheQuadShop

    Jeff@TheQuadShop TAT survivor

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    It works so well on my iPhone 4 that I sold my Garmin 376c.
    #57
  18. abhibeckert

    abhibeckert Long timer

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    Upgrading will make a huge difference.

    The 3G has around 30MB of memory available (excluding what the underlaying system uses), while the iPhone 5 has around 800MB available.

    MotionX doesn't need 800MB but I'm not surprised to learn 30MB isn't really enough to function reliably. And there are other GPS apps, such as Sygic, which really do need the full 800MB.

    It's time to upgrade, if you use your phone for anything more than making calls.
    #58
  19. Jeff@TheQuadShop

    Jeff@TheQuadShop TAT survivor

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    I used MotionX GPS on my old 3GS and it worked fine.
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  20. FTBTX

    FTBTX Adventurer

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    Does anyone know if MotionX or other iPhone GPS apps can feed turn-bu-turn via bluetooth to a headset?
    #60