Ditching Garmin for android or iphone as GPS

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

  1. rickypanecatyl

    rickypanecatyl SE Asia adventure tours

    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2008
    Oddometer:
    1,839
    Location:
    Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
    I just opened the Equipment sub forum and was about to ask the exact same question with a bit of a different twist. Sorry if this is hijacking...

    I'm a technotard and just got my first ever smart phone - Samsung Rugby Smart. I've used GPS though since it first came out though I haven't kept up with them... I was noticing how easy it was to read the google maps on the Rugby and was wondering what the point of my Garmin 62s was. Here's what I've found in the past few days; I'm wondering if there are simple solutions to the issues.


    - 62s is far faster at keeping up with me as I move.
    - 62s gets a signal better.
    - Rugby doesn't work at all where I need it most - in the jungle. It only works where I have cell coverage.
    - - - I'm guessing this has 2 causes; First I don't know how to use it as a gps without cell phone coverage.
    - - -Secondly very few GPS get signals in the jungle because of the canopy density. Before the SIRF antennae in the 60 series I'd only get a signal 10% of the time; with SIRF I get it 80% of the time - enough that if I'm lost I can look for a lense dense spot and be fairly confident I'll get a reading.
    So my big question here is, is there an external antennae that can plug into the micro USB or that is BT that would make it work as good or maybe even better than the Garmin 62?
    - Finally though neither is waterproof (Yes I know what the advertising says) the 62 is much more rugged than the rugby. (BTW the 60 is much more waterproof than the 62. I had to replace the 62 for water damage after less than 1/10 the abuse the 60 got!)

    Of course that doesn't matter if you don't ride in the rain and in fair conditions in civilization I certainly like how big the screen and how nice everything looks on the rugby compared to the Garmin.
    #21
  2. Offcamber

    Offcamber Long timer

    Joined:
    Aug 23, 2010
    Oddometer:
    2,184
    Location:
    New Hampshire
    I tried the smartphone thing and it didn't work for me...screen was too small and had bad glare in the daylight. Couldn't operate it with gloves on. Needed to be plugged in all the time because the Nav apps chew the battery up. Heated up so bad I was afraid the phone would be damaged. This was with an HTC Incredible. I have since changed to a Samsung Galaxy S3 but I still prefer my Montana for Navigation.

    One other reason and this may not be a concern for others but When I ride I keep my phone on my person....if I had a bad get-off I don't want the phone on the bike where I may not be able to get it if I need to call for help.
    #22
  3. Mr_Gone

    Mr_Gone Viking Berserker

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2010
    Oddometer:
    13,344
    Location:
    Mountain Home, AR
    I personally love using my smartphone for GPS/navigation. I listen to music through earbuds while I ride, and the Navigation app will pause my music (Winamp), tell me where/when to turn in a sexy British female voice, and then automatically resume my music. So far, I haven't had any problems, but I'm primarily using just in larger cities where I can't easily just ride through town and find my destination.

    I haven't used my Garmin GPS at all. Then again, I'm not going off-road where cellular service might be an issue. YMMV.

    For me, this is the best/easiest option. Not ideal for everyone.
    #23
  4. the kaz

    the kaz has become "FERAL"

    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2007
    Oddometer:
    1,761
    Location:
    West Coast EH.....
    I use an Atrix with a Gps app. No data. Super fast. Super bright. Has a cradle.......it was free so not worried so much about water :evil and has not been a problem yet :D
    useing it with gloves did not work until I put conductive thread in the fingers becuase guess what I wanted to use my phone as well as my Atrix.
    #24
  5. 8lives

    8lives Dharma Bum

    Joined:
    Jan 16, 2012
    Oddometer:
    2,035
    Location:
    Shasta County,Calif
    Ok so I'm new to this,and cheap as hell,I have a android,a ancient GPS(just shows Latitude and Longitude),and paper maps(the last 2 always go well with a gen1 KLR)at the moment this works well,I do have to stop often and ask for human updates(good chance to meet women in remote places)the guys with GPS often give me that same look you get when you ask someone what time it is, if I was in a hurry and wanted to know where I was going I would drive a cage and stay on the freeway.I'm probably over in the corner eating candy and babbling about what kinda oil I should use.Sarcasm and Irony always near,can't seem to out run um!
    #25
  6. twowheelpilot

    twowheelpilot Adventurer

    Joined:
    Jan 31, 2013
    Oddometer:
    41
    there are a ton of bluetooth gps receivers out there: here is a link to some on amazon: http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_ss_i_0_16?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=bluetooth+gps+receiver&sprefix=bluetooth+gps+re%2Caps%2C400'

    i used the global sat 359 before phones had built in gps and it worked like a charm.
    #26
  7. AdrianB1

    AdrianB1 Adventurer

    Joined:
    Jun 11, 2012
    Oddometer:
    79
    Location:
    Bucharest, Romania
    I received a dedicated GPS unit ~ 15 years ago (quite a monster) and used it for a few years, but later I got a Windows Mobile phone with iGO and now I use Android with OSMand.

    How it goes: I set the destination and put the phone in the pocket. I also have 3 batteries, so power is not a problem, I hear the navigation instructions in the BT headset (SMH10) and listen to music in the meanwhile. I do not use the GPS navigation so much as I do not need it (I study the map before leaving and at the stops, if needed), I used it mostly offroad with the mountain bike and it is good enough for me.
    #27
  8. 8lives

    8lives Dharma Bum

    Joined:
    Jan 16, 2012
    Oddometer:
    2,035
    Location:
    Shasta County,Calif
    Ok so today I downloaded copilot and looked at OSMand,I wonder if I should mess with OSMand? I have google maps already,the thing with google maps is I do a lot of trails/fire roads and google doesn't seem to cover those,any thought from the group?I'm gonna eventually warm up to modern navigation!I own a Sextant from my sailing days but its odd to use it in Bakersfield on my way to Vegas!
    #28
  9. rickypanecatyl

    rickypanecatyl SE Asia adventure tours

    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2008
    Oddometer:
    1,839
    Location:
    Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
    Can someone help out a techno dummy here... :lol3 Anyone know if the Samsung rugby smart has the chip? I spend about 50% of my time outside of cell phone coverage and it's where GPS is most important to me. When I bring up google maps there I get a message that says something like "no data location available" - is there some setting I can set so I can at least use the GPS chip in the phone even if there is no cell coverage?

    (FWIW I just figured out what an "app" was last week... at least I think I know what it is! 8lives I do however know what a sextant is... I must sound pretty old!)
    #29
  10. bluesman

    bluesman Long timer

    Joined:
    Feb 13, 2007
    Oddometer:
    3,695
    Location:
    Hoegaarden, Belgium
    It's kinda simple.
    If you get 100 USD priced smartphone do not expect it to work as good as 600 USD GPS.
    If you get 500 USD smartphone it will be faster than 500 USD GPS.

    It does not need data plan to transfer info to PC ( thou I can't imaging not having it nowadays). If your PC at home you can walk into WiFi spot when you get close to civilization and connect to Internet and your data will upload etc. etc.
    Or if your PC with you you can simply connect to it - BT, cable, Wife peer-to-peer and upload.
    I use Galaxy S2. Screen is bigger than GPS.
    I use hard waterproof case that attaching and detaching as simple as anything else.

    Capacitive screens do not react to touch in thick gloves, but do react to touch in my summer leather gloves.
    If you want you can work on tuning sensitivity of the screen, but to be fair it is pain on S2.
    Or you can sew in conductive tread - and it works, despite people say it should not.

    Battery life is concern, but since I run other stuff from same splitter I always have my smartphone plugged in and did same with GPS before.

    There are loads of free navigation software for Android and even more chargeable but cheap software and maps.
    You can have road info online, but you can switch it off to avoid data traffic.

    S2 for example have excellent GPS receiver chipset in it and good triangulation, making position acquisition very fast.
    You do not need data plan even for that. Triangulation does not use data traffic. But in any case it will work without triangulation just fine. Route recalculation also lightning fast IF you have good smartphone with serious CPU etc.

    So, performance wise PND GPS or smartphone - not sure GPS wins.

    GPS wins on waterproofness, ruggedization and touch sensitive screen.

    Smartphone wins on connectivity, ability to synch automatically, pure performance/power, size, weight, flexibility to use any software and any maps and triangulation-based rough positioning, having standardized charging interface (let's not talk iPhones :))
    Saying that I seen my friend's iPhone (I do not like iPhones to be frank) rolling off his bike at 50 kmph in very same type of hard case I use with my Galaxy and nothing happened. It bounced off road few times and flew almost under my bike but no damage. Reason was - he left it on the tank instead of putting into holder.

    However, if you want there is rugged smartphones available, Android based. For example Runbo X3 and X5.
    #30
  11. Chop Chop

    Chop Chop Long timer

    Joined:
    Aug 31, 2009
    Oddometer:
    1,757
    Location:
    Sunny Coast, Qld Aust

    I don't have an Iphone, but they advertise these on tv over here(Oz)

    http://www.indepthcases.com/


    .
    #31
  12. mikesova

    mikesova Michigander

    Joined:
    Apr 30, 2009
    Oddometer:
    2,201
    Location:
    Gladwin, Mi

    I recommend going name brand: ziplock. You just can't trust the no-name brands.

    [​IMG]

    I have been going back and forth on this. My garmin Nuvi 250 isn't working well on the bike anymore. I think the vibes are causing the connection from the USB connector to constantly connect and disconnect. It's super annoying. I've been trying to find a decent GPS that has a good power connector, but there just aren't really any that speak to me, in my price range.

    I have been thinking about a 7" android tablet to strap to my tankbox (because I would like a tablet and I would like a new GPS).
    #32
  13. worwig

    worwig Long timer

    Joined:
    Nov 30, 2009
    Oddometer:
    1,891
    Location:
    Hog Mountain
    Are you asking if it has a true GPS chip set? Yes it does. You would have to look really hard to find an Android device that does NOT have a GPS chip set.

    In your settings, look for 'location services' or something like that. You can turn on the GPS and cell tower locating.

    Install the app "GPS status & toolbox". When you run it, it should start popping up the satellites that it is seeing, or tell you why it isn't seeing them.
    #33
  14. worwig

    worwig Long timer

    Joined:
    Nov 30, 2009
    Oddometer:
    1,891
    Location:
    Hog Mountain
    OSMand using the offline OSM maps has decent forest and fire roads. You likely won't find many on Google or CoPilot.
    #34
  15. cug

    cug -- Super Supporter

    Joined:
    May 31, 2009
    Oddometer:
    6,732
    Location:
    Sunny California
    The GPS knows where you are - it probably has the geolocation coordinates down to 3m exact of where you are. What it can't do on its own is show it to you on a map, because it does not have the map on the phone and normally downloads it via the data connection on demand.

    So, what do you need? Basically a software that accesses the geolocation your phone already has and that has build in maps that are stored on the phone so it can show you where you are on that map.

    There are a wide variety of free and paid Maps application for Android and iOS. I don't have any experience with your phone or Android in general, but the general idea is the same on Android or iOS: you need an "app" with "offline maps data". Take a look at these:

    http://techpp.com/2012/03/09/top-android-map-apps/

    Maybe that gives you some ideas. Keep in mind that your phone is on the Android 2.3 "Gingerbread" version of the Android OS, so pretty old but also the most common as far as I know. Make sure that the Maps app actually works with that OS and phone before buying anything (if it's paid). Play around with the free apps and see if you find something that works for you.
    #35
  16. JimVonBaden

    JimVonBaden "Cool" Aid! Supporter

    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2005
    Oddometer:
    85,359
    Location:
    Alexandria, VA
    The 2610 is like 7 years old tech!

    Except for maybe a bit of drop-out in the city, modern GPS units have all that, and are still better than a cell phone IMHO.

    A GPS from Garmin, the best IMHO, will run about $150 for a non motorcycle specific unit, and has every feature you could want on it, including an MP3 player. I use a waterproof mount for mine, so I can use my car unit on my bike.

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    $15 for the mount delivered, and that included the waterproof case.

    Jim :brow
    #36
  17. twowheelpilot

    twowheelpilot Adventurer

    Joined:
    Jan 31, 2013
    Oddometer:
    41
    here is my setup.

    i originally bought an interphone f5 and when i called about questions, they let me know about the phone specific cases they also offer.

    i have an iphone that i use this case with http://interphonewireless.com/products/device-mounts/tubular-handlebar-mounts/iphone-4-4s-mount-kit-for-tubular-handlebars-smiphone4/

    only my iphone 4s fits in it and all the buttons are easy to access even with gloves on. not being able to use gloves is a bit bothersome, but i have gotten used to it and mostly use my headset to control the phone via SIRI. i am going to try the conductive thread sewn into the gloves.

    i plan on getting something to get power off the bike into the iphone.

    for now i am very happy with the setup.
    #37
  18. twowheelpilot

    twowheelpilot Adventurer

    Joined:
    Jan 31, 2013
    Oddometer:
    41
    the problem with the non-motorcycle gps's is that they dont allow you to connect a bluetooth headset. some of them have bluetooth so that you can bluetooth your phone into and then use your phone on the gps via a speakerphone. and the motorcycle specific ones dont always work great with a bluetooth headset.
    #38
  19. JimVonBaden

    JimVonBaden "Cool" Aid! Supporter

    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2005
    Oddometer:
    85,359
    Location:
    Alexandria, VA
    That's true, but also true of some phones depending on your headset.

    Personally I dislike the noise associated with Bluetooth and prefer hard wire.

    Jim :brow
    #39
  20. worwig

    worwig Long timer

    Joined:
    Nov 30, 2009
    Oddometer:
    1,891
    Location:
    Hog Mountain
    Link???????
    #40