GPS

Discussion in 'GPS 101 - Which GPS For Me' started by duffy1298, Feb 3, 2019.

  1. Addapost

    Addapost Been here awhile

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    I am planning on riding the TAT this summer and I need some sort of GPS. I had a bit of GPS phone app experience for car navigation (Mapquest) and trail running (MotionX) but zero experience with dedicated units. While researching for the TAT trip it seemed like the go-to unit was the Montana so I picked up one of those at an REI sale more than a year ago. I am technologically challenged in all ways and learning the Montana was no different. The short version of the story is I had zero success at figuring out anything at all with the Garmin. I did learn, however, that a cell phone App would work quite nicely- infinitely easier and much cheaper than the Garmin. I tried a few Apps and went with the one that appeared to be the easiest to use- fewest features and simplest operation- Gaia. I bought their top $40/ year version and sold my Garmin (was able to use that money to buy a pair of SIDI Adventure Gore Tex boots). From some of the threads and posts I've seen here outlining the types of things some folks do with their GPS's (they read to me like a pHd dissertation in electrical engineering) I think the features on Gaia are very basic, but basic is all I need. I can:
    -Find tracks out on the WWW and email them to my phone then open them up in Gaia. They magically appear on the Gaia map and are saved in the file folder.
    -Rename, change color, and hide/show any of the saved tracks
    -Record any track I ride then share that with anyone via email or AirDrop if another iPhone is close by.
    -Quickly and easily create a route right on the screen with my finger. Useful to reroute around some block in the primary route or to navigate off route for some reason.
    -Select from about 10 different topo, road, and forest service maps to show individually or layered on the screen.
    -Save custom maps on the phone for use out of cell service

    I am currently running this on my iPhone 6s (64 GB memory). The phone is in a waterproof, shock resistant Lifeproof Nuud case and is mounted on my bike's handlebars with a RAM mount (I forgot which one.) When on the bars it is plugged into a usb charger. It will charge fully even with the screen up full bright and running several Apps. I have seen reports that some phones will drain battery even when plugged into the charger if too many things are running on the phone, that is not my experience with my 6s.

    I now have 2700 miles on the bike with this set-up on the bars. More than half of that is off-road. About half of that off-road mileage is pretty aggressive technical single-track. I have had it in the rain. I have crashed and dumped the bike many, many times. I have bent the handle bars at least once. Throughout all of that I have had no problem at all with the security, safety, function. or mounting of the phone. I did a 5 day trip last August where the daily afternoon temps were in the middle to upper 90's with full sun. I never had an issue with the phone shutting down due to heat. Having said that, however, I am on a Honda crf 250 L that has no wind screen. I am pretty sure the air flow without a screen makes a big difference in those temps. If the phone is hidden from air flow behind a screen I could imagine overheating problems happening in that kind of heat but I don't know. My phone has not shut down.

    -While it is definitely true that the phone's screen is not as bright in full sun as a Montana type device, it CAN be read. If you hold them side by side in full sun the difference is huge. BUT you can still see the phone's screen, it does not become invisible. So the bottom line is it still does the job.

    -Touch sensitivity. I do not have gloves that function on the phone's screen. I personally don't like to frig around with that kind of stuff when riding anyway so it is not that important to me, I just stop if I need to mess with the GPS. One of my riding partners does have gloves that work with his iPhone so I will probably look into getting a pair, but it isn't that big of a deal for how I ride.

    -The phone's GPS is at least as accurate as other's dedicated units I have been around. I have never seen it's map position to be more than 30 feet off from where I was really positioned on the ground. It is often closer than that. This includes under heavy tree cover with no cell service- (GPS only).

    Pros:
    -Cheap cheap cheap. You already have the phone. Or you still have your last model in a drawer somewhere. Or you can buy a perfectly good one on eBay for less than $100. A GPS unit like a Montana starts at like $400 and go up from there. Apps are free or just a few bucks.
    -Connectivity. I have no idea how a Montana type device connects to the outside world (need a computer with you?) but we all know how a phone does it, cell or wi-fi, no extra device needed.
    -Ease of use. I could not for the life of me figure out how to use the Montana. I have huge respect for those of you who understand and/or can figure out how to use a stand alone GPS. I can't, I am stupid. But I can figure out how to use the App on the phone. In fact it was easy. It made me feel smart. Good luck with whatever you go with.
    #61
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  2. wbbnm

    wbbnm Long timer

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    I got a little confused from skimming your post as I am too impatient to read the whole thing closely. It sounds like you are looking for a GPS at first. But then it sounds like you have a system that is working okay for you.

    If you are going to ride the TAT you really probably need two GPS units unless you are going with someone else who also has a GPS. This is in case one breaks which is certainly a possibility on a trip that long. But maybe you could get by with just the roll chart if the GPS breaks.
    #62
  3. teamvisegrip

    teamvisegrip Adventurer

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    Yes it appears that ADDAPOST has a plan that works for him. Me I am still confused as to what works and what I need to do to get this working.

    I would still prefer a GPS unit over the Phone.

    I have read a lot of reviews and one gentleman wrote a very nice write up on it and still I sit confused. I guess I need to go and check them out at the store.

    I hate being so stupid on this subject. Funny as I can tear down a complete engine... port and rework it and I cannot figure this stuff out. LOL!

    God loves a good joke! LOL!
    #63
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  4. Addapost

    Addapost Been here awhile

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    My long-winded response was to let you know that you are not alone in the "what the f*ck is up with this stupid gps thing?" There are definitely different types of brains out there. The good folks who design and program GPS units their brains work one way. Anyone whose brain works that way will say, "yeah Garmin is easy I don't know what the problem is, I love it." But for those of us whose brains work differently we're like, "WTF???" Anyway, good luck.
    #64
  5. wbbnm

    wbbnm Long timer

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    Your problem might be taking a too global approach to learning how to use a specific GPS or a specific phone App. By that I mean watching an entire tutorial video or heaven forbid reading an entire manual.

    What works for me is to learn one thing at a time. I make a list of the things I want to be able to do and then tackle learning them one by one. I keep a running log of notes in a text document as I learn something. Just writing it down helps enforce the memory. And occasionally I will include a pic.

    Here is a possible list:

    Learn the basic navigation philosophy of the unit/app. You don't have to know what every icon or submenu does yet.
    If applicable learn how to download maps to the unit.
    Learn how to make the unit show you where you are on a map.
    Learn how to make the GPS draw a track as you move around.
    Learn how to save the track on the unit and maybe how to transfer the track to a computer.
    Learn how to display a track and how to follow it. You could use a track created above.

    Learn how to download a track file from a computer to the GPS unit.
    (if you don't have any tracks, you could try finding some online. Creating your own if you don't know how should maybe wait til later.)

    Then repeat the above with routes and waypoints.
    #65
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  6. ohgood

    ohgood Just givver tha berries !!!

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    if you try to use your iphone on the tat it will break.
    and you'll run out of gas.
    and you'll freeze to death.
    and monkeys will rape your dog.
    and your engine will blow up.
    and you'll 'lose signal' or something like that.
    and you'll die in a firey ball of pitch that is inescapible.

    or something. or you'll be fine. either way, you're still going to die.

    ;-)
    #66
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  7. Torquemada

    Torquemada Adventurer

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    Awesome.

    The ghost of Steve would say “You’re holding it wrong then. So wrong.”

    Mines been dropped so many times it’s going to sue me for back royalties.
    #67
    ohgood likes this.
  8. Torm

    Torm n00b

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    I am also struggling with the many options available for GPS. I do a mix of on and off riding with multiple bikes. I love my Sena 10 and the Garmin Montana has been recommended to me but the Garmin Montana series GPS has no Bluetooth capability and I wonder if that's super important . I would like turn by turn audio for city riding but also do some off roading in the Sierras where that doesn't matter. My phone is an older Android but would not want multiple devices running if that can be avoided. Any thoughts appreciated.
    #68
  9. Addapost

    Addapost Been here awhile

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    If nothing else you can try a quality gps app on your phone for free then decide if you need to spend the money for a dedicated unit. I tried both (a Garmin Montana and an app on my iPhone) I decided that not only was the app much easier to use and much cheaper than the Garmin but it does everything I need it to do. I sold the Garmin and haven't regretted it. Try a phone app, you have nothing to lose. People literally navigate around the entire planet using a cell phone gps app. Good luck
    #69
  10. ohgood

    ohgood Just givver tha berries !!!

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    you can plug in headphones to the output of the montana. and carry a laptop to make routes for it to display. and stop at a coffee shop to plot a new route if/when traffic collisions block a section of road. lol i'm kidding about that last part. nobody is going to pull out all the cables and laptop to reroute around a traffic collision.









    orrrr doooo they ?
    #70
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  11. Torquemada

    Torquemada Adventurer

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    This may be helpful or put you to sleep depending on your level of enthusiasm for GPS :)

    As a techie consumer with no inside knowledge of Garmin, I’ve been looking into the dev path Garmin seems to be going down with the Bluetooth and WiFi connectivity in the 66 series as well as the way it works with the Garmin Explore mobile app

    The Explore app really hasn’t evolved much past a simple point-to-point planner and isn’t any less complicated than doing it directly on the device which can be a b**** for the casual user.

    The sync between the device and phone (BT) and cloud account (WiFi/Wireless) works pretty well. Create and asset on one, shows up on the others. One of the problems however is the app doesn’t do turn-by-turn routing at all or aware of current road, traffic or weather conditions.

    The reason I’m putting so much focus here on the app instead of the GPS unit is that, via the new cloud service, the app is already well integrated with connectivity-wise and usable by itself with no device needed but any of the usable BaseCamp-like features have yet to be implemented.

    So good score for being directionally accurate on what they need to do to compete but they have a lot of work to do. They’re also hiring in their technology department like crazy so maybe they’re on their way. We’ll see.

    ohgood is correct; go for an app for quick, live, condition-aware routing like for cars. When I’m commuting unknown urban areas I’ll sometimes just talk to and route with the iPhone listening to it through the helmet comm instead of the GPS unit.
    #71
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  12. ohgood

    ohgood Just givver tha berries !!!

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    yup.

    I've been waiting for years, and wondering... why the hell they weren't updating their hardware and software to interact with other devices like people EXPECT them to interact in 2013... wait 2019 !

    it's like looking at the new trail tech voyager pro and saying "you were so close, if your just had routing capabilities !" .... and then when you ask about it they say "it may come in future updates"with about as much concern as tossing a moldy sandwich. they're soooooo close to knocking on Garmin and smartphone apps door, but they have to finish the project first
    #72
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  13. Torquemada

    Torquemada Adventurer

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    It’s all there for the taking isn’t it? They just totally need to compete with each other. Somebody poke ‘em with a stick.
    #73
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  14. ohgood

    ohgood Just givver tha berries !!!

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    I'm trying!
    #74
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