Phone App or GPS

For all high tech electronic equipment including GPS, PLB, chargers, phones, computers, software. Discussion of simple electrical devices such as torches, belongs in the main 'Equipment' forum.

Phone App or GPS

Postby kanangra » Sun 05 May, 2019 5:42 pm

These days are you still using hand held GPS units or is it all run off your phone now? I have an I Phone. What app would you recommend I download? Or should I just keep using the hand held. I use my phone for photos so if I could use it for nav. too it would save carrying the GPS.

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Re: Phone App or GPS

Postby crollsurf » Mon 06 May, 2019 8:04 am

Try gaiagps but to make it worthwhile you need to subscribe around $25/year.

Lot of nice features and no real phaffing around, so I think it is worth it. You can map and plan on your PC which is easier and then download route and map onto phone. Same with GPX and other formats.



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Re: Phone App or GPS

Postby kanangra » Mon 06 May, 2019 9:51 am

Thanks.

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Re: Phone App or GPS

Postby Son of a Beach » Mon 06 May, 2019 10:11 am

I use a phone rather than a dedicated GPS. However, you need to plan for the deficiencies of a phone, which in my opinion are:

  • Poor battery life. This can be mitigated by keeping it in airplane mode, and not tracking your location continuously - ie, use the location services only when required. You can also carry an extra battery (which can plug in to the usual charging port) if you think you need it (eg, for long multi-day trips).
  • Easily damaged. Recent models are often waterproof, but they are still easily damaged by dropping, knocking, etc. You need to either be very careful, or use a rugged case (or both).

If you are OK with these two limitations, then I reckon a smart phone is a LOT better than a dedicated GPS. You can do so much more with a smart phone, and it does all of the GPS stuff better than the GPS - it just depends on having the app(s) you require, and the map(s) that you require downloaded.

I have never owned a dedicated GPS, but when watching other people use them, it amazes me how terrible the maps are, how tiny the screens are, how poor the image quality is and how woefully terrible the user interfaces are. The GPSs may have improved, or perhaps I've only seen poor examples, but from what I can tell, phone apps are vastly superior - so long as you download the app(s) that meet your requirements.

(I can't recommend a particular app - I use an iPhone app that I developed for myself and it is not available on the App Store.)
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Re: Phone App or GPS

Postby ChrisJHC » Mon 06 May, 2019 12:34 pm

I have also converted to 100% phone for my GPS.
The best thing for me is that my phone now covers off multiple uses: communications (if lucky), GPS, camera, entertainment system (music and ebooks), backup torch.
I either carry a solar charger (for long trips) or battery pack (for shorter) but find I can happily do an overnighter just on the phone’s battery. Just remember to put it into aeroplane mode!

Re ruggedness, my phone is waterproof and dust proof. I’ve put it in a Quadlock case which also allows it to become my bike computer. I also have the Quadlock camera mount so I can take photos with my hiking pole as a monopod.

I use Pocket Earth as my GPS application. You’ll need the pro version which I think is around $10. This unlocks off-line maps and then another $10 or so for topographic maps.

I find there are plenty of GPX files around to download - the TrailHiking website is the one I use most often.
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