Tablets for GPS

Discussion in 'GPS 101 - Which GPS For Me' started by trganey, Feb 19, 2015.

  1. markbvt

    markbvt Long timer

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    Care to tell us a little more about what you're having trouble with?

    I've heard a lot of people complaining that Garmin's solution is difficult to use, but to be totally honest, I've never understood what people find so difficult. For me building a route in Basecamp is almost exactly like building one in Google Maps, and following it once it's on the GPS is exactly the same as following a basic point A to point B route. Maybe if you explain what aspects you're having trouble with, we can get you squared away, because to be honest, Garmin's solution does exactly what you're looking for in the most capable (and trouble-free) manner I've found yet.

    --mark
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  2. EmmEff

    EmmEff Long timer

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    I have to agree with this. I use BaseCamp to generate routes for Locus and OsmAnd as well as my Garmin GPS. It is not very much different from using Google Maps.
    #82
  3. DRONE

    DRONE Dog Chauffeur

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    I have a 20% off coupon from Amazon (an apology for screwing up some Xmas presents) and I'm thinking I might use it for an iPad Mini. The 128Gb Mini 4 with wifi & cellular is $719 and after discount is $575, while the 64Gb version is only $629/after discount $503 which makes it a downright affordable method to finally kick Garmin to the curb for once and for all.

    So . . do I really need 128 gigs onboard? Where I ride I am almost always NOT in range of any wifi or cellular signals so I'd need to use stored maps. My current GPS (a Montana 650) seems to get by with only 4 gigs, and the routable Garmin topo maps I use reside on 4Gb SD cards. If I bought the 64-gig Mini, am I really going to be scrunched for space? If I buy the 64-gig and later on need more storage space, can't I buy a 64Gb low profile USB 3 drive for $17 (link) and call it good? I'm a little over my depth here, though, because I have no idea how big are the iOS map files I'll need for the Mini. I'm also not sure if topo maps are available for the iOS.

    What says the oh-so-knowledgable community?

    Don't think this matters, but I use my GPS (1) as a rolling map, (2) to display a gpx route, (3) to calculate a route from my current location, and (4) to find gas and groceries and motels. I don't use audio in my helmet so I don't care about audio, nor do I store music on my GPS.
    #83
  4. EmmEff

    EmmEff Long timer

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    Nope, you definitely do not need 128GB. Even with multiple navigation applications and maps for a wide geographical area, 16GB is plenty. The only caveat being that if you want to use the iPad for carrying movies/music/pictures while you ride. In which case, there is no such thing as too much.

    If it were me, I'd buy less iPad and add an external Bluetooth GPS like Bad Elf or Garmin GLO.

    No, you cannot add directly connected (USB, for example) storage to an iPad. You can use a wifi-enabled drive that the iPad can retrieve files from, but this is not the same.

    For what it's worth, I've experimented with navmii, MotionX-GPS, Galileo, GPS Drive, maps.me, Pocket Earth, and Topographic Maps Canada. Between all of these, I have my mapping needs covered. There's also Sygic, Navigon, Garmin, and several others for strictly on-road navigation. I've not tried iTopoMaps, Topo Maps, and several others with topo capability.
    #84
  5. worwig

    worwig Long timer

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    You didn't need anything near that unless you need to carry a lot of movies and such media with you.
    I have a bunch of videos, that take about 20Gb. I carry all of my digital photos, which is about 20Gb. Music, about 4Gb.
    GPS maps for multiple programs take about 7Gb.

    So the GPS isn't going to need a lot.
    #85
  6. DRONE

    DRONE Dog Chauffeur

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    Thanks for that info. Just what I needed.

    I didn't realize the iPad Mini 4 had no USB connection but now looking at the specs I see it has an external Lightning port, but that's it.

    Now, about that suggestion of getting an external Bluetooth GPS like Bad Elf or GLO--that's one more thing to have to carry and mount and recharge out in the boonies. Why? I'm willing to put up with some extra hassle, but what does an external GPS do for me? I thought the iPad Mini 4 with wifi & cellular had a GPS receiver built in. No?
    #86
  7. DRTBYK

    DRTBYK All Things GPS Supporter

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    iPad Mini 4 w/cellular:
    All models
    • Digital compass
    • Wi‑Fi
    • iBeacon microlocation
    Wi-Fi + Cellular models
    • Assisted GPS and GLONASS
    And, GPS works in Airplane Mode on ALL iOS devices that have GPS.
    #87
  8. EmmEff

    EmmEff Long timer

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    For the simple reason an external GPS will be more accurate.
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  9. DRTBYK

    DRTBYK All Things GPS Supporter

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    EmmEff, can you point me to current objective comparison data that shows that to be the case? Also, keep in mind that the Navigation App you are using on a Smartphone or Tablet may affect the location accuracy: positively or negatively.
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  10. EmmEff

    EmmEff Long timer

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    There isn't much discussion on the topic and even less "formal" research.

    Apple, more specifically Qualcomm, who makes the LTE chipset in the iPhone/iPad, do not publish sampling rate or accuracy specification of the GPS.

    At an application level, iOS Core Location does not allow specifying the sampling rate, rather only selecting the highest or best accuracy, which is presumably better than the next option of 10m accuracy. Reference: https://developer.apple.com/library...ple_ref/doc/constant_group/Accuracy_Constants.

    The article linked here seems to suggest the sampling rate of the iPhone 5s is limited to 1Hz. (I realize the discussion is about the iPhone and not iPad, however the iPhone uses the same LTE chipset as the similar generation iPad so they should be close to the same, if not identical)

    This in-depth discussion about accuracy would really only affect those who need the accuracy, either for competition reasons or when riding off-road where 5m or worse accuracy might not be sufficient. I believe some posters in this thread and others have indicated that, even at trail speeds, an accuracy of 16' may not be good enough.

    This article, although directed towards the use of an iPad in a private airplane, suggests there are reasons beyond accuracy why one would want to use an external GPS vs the built-in GPS. That being reliability.

    The Bad Elf Bluetooth GPS specifications suggest 10MHz sampling rate. Although I believe that to be an typographical error (thinking it should be 10Hz), it is obvious at 10,000 samples per second, it would need to interpolate the values and deliver it at a rate that the bandwidth of Bluetooth (768kbps) can handle. For example, two 32-bit values, one each representing the latitude and longitude, would saturate available Bluetooth bandwidth at a sampling rate of only 12Hz.

    I cannot think that any navigation/mapping application that is to taken seriously would somehow further interpolate the sampling rate from Core Location to decrease the accuracy. There's a Gaia GPS support Google Group where discussion of accuracy of the GPS and Gaia itself has been raised on occasion.
    #90
  11. DRONE

    DRONE Dog Chauffeur

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    That's the only reason--accuracy? Because I'm not gonna use this for geocaching where you're trying to find out which rock the cache is hidden under. If the iPad Mini can get me to within 50 feet or so of my actual location, I can figger out the rest.

    I spent a little time googling this, and haven't found any "studies" or tests, but I did find this one comparison performed by a forester about a year ago using an iPad. -- Field Test: Bad Elf Surveyor, Garmin Glo, iPad Air2
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  12. EmmEff

    EmmEff Long timer

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    It sure will. Carry on and disregard everything I said.

    Edit: based on that article and my cheapness, my experimentation will be done this coming riding season using a non-LTE Mac Mini and a Garmin GLO.
    #92
  13. DRTBYK

    DRTBYK All Things GPS Supporter

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    As noted, there are very few, if any, empirical test being done between the better smartphones and the better GPS Products. Mobile Apps can 'enhance' the delivered accuracy by doing averaging and using additional sensors: e-compas, gyro's and accelerometers. Mobile Apps also control if the GPS radio stays on or not; even in Sleep Mode. As for reliability, I don't think the referenced "pilot" article provides much in the way of objective data, but I don't know any pilot that wouldn't want redundancy (backup) for their NavAids.

    As you noted, I have also not found any Mobile (smartphone/tablet) device that provides a sampling rate higher than 1Hz. The Bad Elf spec is a typo which I confirmed with their tech support some time ago. It samples at 10Hz as does the Garmin GLO.

    I too will be doing 'field testing' again this year between my iPhone 6+ and my NAV5 and Garmin Monterra: all of which use different GPS Chipsets.
    #93
  14. ohgood

    ohgood Just givver tha berries !!!

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    I've tried very unscientific testing:
    throw three phones in the glovebox, and drive. no effort at all was given to make sure they weren't stacked on top of each other, or near the fan, or that any of them werent running 100 apps in the background. press record, toss in box, and go.

    the results are always the same: lines that are within 5-20 feet of each other, with occasional hiccups.

    if anyone wants a real test, tie a plumb Bob on your device and revisit the same rock 5-10 times, using your bob and the coordinqtes, on different days. it's about as eventful as watching paint dry.

    but, I know someone will get really excited to see a difference at some point.

    :-)
    #94
  15. BikerBobber

    BikerBobber Trying to get lost

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    I know my galaxy S5 worked excellently in Newfoundland last fall. Very accurate on trails. Followed a GPX track perfectly.
    I think it is note worthy that this was in Newfoundland without cell signal. Fringe area of many maps. The end of the known world.... Lol

    Bob

    Sent from my mobile
    #95
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  16. markbvt

    markbvt Long timer

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    For what it's worth, the GPS chipset in the iPhone/iPad is considered inadequate for aviation use; pilots who use iOS devices tend to pair them with a Garmin GLO, Bad-Elf, or similar external module. These have higher sensitivity and a much greater sampling rate.

    For motorcycle use, the built-in GPS chipset should be fine. But like EmmEff, I decided that there was no point in spending the extra $150 on the LTE-enabled iPad Mini when I could spend less on a Garmin GLO and get greater GPS accuracy/sensitivity. The GLO easily tucks into a tank bag map pocket, and it's easily charged overnight, or you can simply run a mini-USB cable to it.

    --mark
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  17. DRONE

    DRONE Dog Chauffeur

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    OK so now I have another problem. I can't seem to find any waterproof cases and ruggedized cradles for the Mini 4. Anybody have any recommendations? Looking for something similar to the LifeProof Fre case (link) and the LifeProof Cradle (link).
    #97
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  18. DRONE

    DRONE Dog Chauffeur

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    Crickets.

    OK. So I expect LifeProof will eventually catch up with demand and come out with a case and cradle for the Mini 4. In the meantime, I suppose I can get by with one of these from Supcase. LINK

    [​IMG]

    Not waterproof, but otherwise OK. I guess if it starts raining I can tuck it away in my tank bag.

    As for mounting, right now I'm using a Gadget Guy mount for my old GPS. I can take a 4x6 metal plate and screw that directly to the Gadget Guy base plate, cover it with Velcro, and Velcro the Supcase to the mounting plate. Should be pretty sturdy yet easy to take my Mini with me when I leave the bike, or to yank it off and bury it when the rain starts. Bearing in mind that this will be temporary until LifeProof comes to the rescue.

    I'm also thinking about putting a big patch of Velcro right on the back of the Mini and getting rid of the case completely.
    #98
  19. Iffykid

    Iffykid Long timer

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    Computer illiterate dinosaur and don't own a cell phone nor do I want too.
    I use a Garmin 1450 in the cage for point a to point b and a Garmin 2720 on the Wing.

    I do have a Ipad mini 4 wifi only and it will fit in the tank bag map pocket on the DRZ I have been wanting to get something that I can download GPX files and use for offroad and the like,
    So if I have been following this correctly all I really need to purchase is a Garmin Glo for $99 and I should be able to use the Mini 4 like a GPS and do GPX tracks?

    Thanks
    #99
  20. EmmEff

    EmmEff Long timer

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    Correct. You will also want to budget for a navigation app or apps, since not one application does everything perfectly. I posted a pretty comprehensive list of what's popular and useful in the App Store as far as navigation apps go a several posts back.