iPhone as an off-road GPS

Discussion in 'GPS 101 - Which GPS For Me' started by abhibeckert, Dec 29, 2010.

  1. jonesy250f

    jonesy250f Adventurer

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    What happens if you lose service on your phone though? Does the GPS still track you or does the phone just turn into an electronic topo map?
    #21
  2. giantjoe

    giantjoe some guy

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    #22
  3. Dansrc51

    Dansrc51 I need a cape....

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    questions for the OP, or anybody who knows. When I'm moving, my position with the GPS-X software "jumps". it's not a steady movement across the map. I've tried to find out if there is a setting or something I'm not doing right, but can't figure it out. :confused any ideas?
    #23
  4. Maddaddy

    Maddaddy Terradrifting

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    :huh
    Iphone as a Adventure tool? As long as you don't go more than 50ft away from a major interstate! :rofl

    Get a GPS for the love of Zeus!
    #24
  5. Dazed Productions

    Dazed Productions Been here awhile

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    From someone who uses motion GPS but bought a garmin 78s for the bike, my findings are:
    iphone
    -has nice large touch screen but is not sunlight readable
    -does not work with gloves
    -absolutely requires power as it is a real battery hog
    -motion gps is not good for following tracks
    -motion gps is not good for map management or track management
    -patchy gps performance

    Garmin
    -you can just run it off AA batteries (24hr battery life) or plug it in through a rugged connector
    -waterproof
    -has real buttons so usable with gloves
    -sunlight readable LCD (i.e. it is a transflective unit that does not need a backlight like the iphone other than in the dark)
    -down side is small lcd
    -works much more closely with computer allowing you to load different maps, tracks etc.
    -GPS performance is a lot better
    -Is much more capable of following tracks.

    The iphone is very capable for short trips but it doesn't really come close to a dedicated unit.

    Oh, one last annoyance on the iphone, the iphones always get a phone call, text message or other dialogue box that ends up over the top of your map at the worst time requiring you to stop, take gloves off and deal with the thing
    #25
  6. AviatorTroy

    AviatorTroy Following my front fender

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    Well after reading this thread last night I had to, for all of .99 cents, get MotionX on my iPhone. I'm still running a 3g, and waiting for the bug to be worked out when they release the iPhone 5! Regardless, even the 3g runs this program fine. It was easy to figure out how to download the maps by radius or route, and it doesn't seem to be the memory hog i thought it might be. Just tried it driving errands this morning, so not on the bike yet, but I do have a Ram cradle mount for the phone on the KLR. If it looks like I'm going to get wet I'll just take my eTrex.
    #26
  7. RainierDOG

    RainierDOG Adventurer

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    .............
    1 Ram snap in mount; never has popped out after crashing 20 times
    2 Gorilla tape back glass, leave lense opening; use rubber bumper all round
    3 Plug-in 12 v
    4 If its raining or rivers, put your iPhone in a ZipLock in your pocket!
    5 keep things simple and practical, don't need to view it every second
    6 MotionX-GPS I primarily use, as well as Accuterra, Maps
    7 Be careful of roaming charges when in Canada or Mexico.
    8 I like the pre-downloading of terrain and roads for maximum detail.
    the iPhone has 32 gig, I don't know how much a Garmin holds.
    9 MotionX utilizes OpenSource, which is public domain, basically
    the Wikipedia of GPS navigation. Gary and Min could be in same
    boat as Bill and Steve, programming vs. open internet.
    10 Cost: iPhone (you already have it = $0), MotionX $3, Ram $20, Ziplock
    10 cents. OK, so what are you going to do?
    #27
  8. Ware

    Ware Adventurer

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    It's hard to beat the screen size/resolution of the iPhone, but I agree with the areas where it's inferior to a dedicated GPS unit.

    If you find yourself wanting to give the iPhone GPS a try, check out the Accuterra Unlimited app. Their map is the best I've seen for off road. You download sections of the map from within the app, so cell service isn't an issue. With network connectivity, you can switch to Google Road or Satellite maps. It doesn't do routing, but it's great for recording and following tracks. Importing and sharing tracks is very straightforward, e.g. you can upload a .kmz track through your computer's web browser (over a wifi network). At around $5, it's a great value.

    http://www.mobile.accuterra.com/
    #28
  9. dpifko

    dpifko Can u smell the It's Its?

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    The GPS receiver and/or handling software in the iPhone isn't as good as the ones in most of the dedicated GPS devices. The GPS chip feeds the location to any app, so we're all slaves to its accuracy. Yes, it jumps around. Yes, it affects all GPS-dependent apps, though some are better at mitigating the headache. I haven't yet found a way of stabilizing it, either as a developer or as a user.

    Daniel
    #29
  10. Dansrc51

    Dansrc51 I need a cape....

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    Thanks. sounds like it will be relegated to a back up device.
    #30
  11. Trailryder42

    Trailryder42 Long timer

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    It's kind of a catch 22. The maps you can get for the Dedicated GPS units may not be as detailed or accurate as what you can get for your phone. Case in point, I've found the Accuterra maps to be more detailed in many areas than Garmin CN, and Topo.

    Got lost in Taylor Park, CO. last year with a group of friends. Had my 60cx with both CN and Topo. No help at all, blank screen. Pulled out my phone with Accuterra on it. Not only showed me the single track trail I was on, it allowed me to determine I was on the "Wrong" trail, that we'd missed a turn and showed the trail I had wanted in the first place.
    #31
  12. dpifko

    dpifko Can u smell the It's Its?

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    I've heard really good things about Accuterra.

    If the iPhone (or another smartphone) had 8-15 ft. accuracy on its GPS chip we'd be there. It's a shame you can't download a new GPS receiver from the App Store/Android Market ;-(.

    Daniel
    #32