Author Topic: Using a Smartphone as a GPS  (Read 240 times)

DaveKubler

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Using a Smartphone as a GPS
« on: September 03, 2014, 07:42:03 pm »
**Hey all, Rusty here.  I thought this topic was worthy of it's own thread.  Thanks to DaveKubler and others who have already contributed.  Rusty out.**


Hey guys.   So, I just happened upon this discussion and thought I would share my personal experience.   You do NOT need a dedicated GPS unit such as a Garmin...  Most people these days own a smartphone.....but even if you don't , I will tell you why this is a better solution.   

  Common misconception...  Smartphones (Android/Iphones) aren't a GPS device, they use cell towers for signal....not satellites.   This is absolutely not true.  They use cell towers to transmit and receive data, such as text/phone calls/internet. ....    Every modern smartphone has a dedicated GPS receiver (remember..GPS doesn't transmit anything out from your device, unless you have an emergency SPOT device...is just RECEIVES satellite positions.)  So, you can effectively turn your smartphone in AIRPLANE mode...shutting off cell tower communication, yet you STILL will be able to locate yourself via your phones GPS receiver.  Here is the catch..Google Maps, and most other programs utilize cell signal to keep the base layer MAP for you... 

I am not versed in the options for Iphones, but I ASSURE you there are a few to choose from that will allow all of this....   I am an Android guy... 

You can do everything I am saying here....with a smartphone WITH NO PAID CELL SERVICE hooked up with it....they all have WIFI, or just dump your files in it via a USB to a PC....very easy.  you can just take the phone to a starbucks, and load whatever youwant on it. 


The Android App OsMand+   (there is a free version, but is so cheap and worth it...)  is about 5 bucks..     It allows you to PREdownload full state maps, with contour and/or hillshade options...  has maps from every country...etc..  there is NO charge for maps, nor updating them (which it basically reminds you when needed).   

This app has WAY more features, much easier to use...is VOICE NAVIGATION ....offline (middle of NO cell service..)....it also does tracking of your track to GPS, for sharing or later following, it has a LIVE feed function (that DOES require to be in cell service)... you can easily spot places on the map, then have it navigate you there.   You can take existing GPX tracks and dump them in  to follow at any point in the future...you can put more then one track in at a time..     
As far as creating tracks from a map that you might want to follow later... .you can easily do that on many sites on line now..  the one I use is MapMyRide.   

The better phones these days have some pretty cool features...  I use my MAIN phone for my GPS, I have for over 20,000 miles on some pretty gnarly offroad.   The new Samsung Galaxy S5 is waterproof...dustproof....with no case.  I use a RAM X-grip with a arm and ball....     If you HAD to buy a smartphone for no other purpose but your bikes GPS, you could pick up an older NOTE (at least with wifi), dont get service on it.....get an otterbox for it...load the app via wifi...whatever else ya want...heck, load MUSIC in it to listen to...its a freaking mini computer with you ...   you could accomplish this for PENNIES compared to what they **** you for with the Garmins.... and I have had SO many frustrated Garmin people just be amazed at how well my system works....   people have thanked me, cause they used the money they save to buy other gear :) 

I have spent countless hours researching and trying all of the options out there...  I am a fanatic.   (thats how I wound up with a 690 ) 

Get with me if you are interested, but have questions.   

If not, and you just want to stick with the whole Garmin thing (the whole industry is a buzz about the switch from dedicated GPS to smartphones)...   Thats cool :)    There is no doubt in my mind what is best for me. 



« Last Edit: September 05, 2014, 09:30:18 am by Rusty Shovel »

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Milesofsmiles

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Re: Using a Smartphone as a GPS
« Reply #1 on: November 14, 2015, 07:56:44 pm »
 One reason I would hesitate using a smart phone for a GPS on the bike is because they're fragile. Second reason I would hesitate is because they're all touch control. I like the GPS that has buttons on it because when you have gloves on, touch control does not work worth a damn and you end up switching screens when you least want it to happen. Dedicated GPS unites 99% of the time always work, while smart phones are computers that freeze and exhibit other computer problems. Also, smart phone power connections are flimsy compared to a good GPS. When discussing maps, gps topos are all crap as they all come from the same 3rd party vendor who has the exact same mistakes and missing roads while smart phones have an much broader choice of world wide topo maps. I use my smart phone when off-roading in my 4x4 and GPS on my bike. I transfer all tracks, routes, campgrounds, beer stops and more between both devices.