Forums Splitboard Talk Forum Advice on Iphone GPS
Viewing 19 posts - 1 through 19 (of 19 total)
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  • #579919
    buell
    534 Posts

    Looking for thoughts on setting my Iphone up as a GPS unit. I do like to track my route to make sure I can follow it back to the car.

    Thanks

    #676346
    Incalescent
    225 Posts

    I like Motion-X GPS, though I think the maps kinda suck. Does anyone know if Hillmap makes an app where you can download the maps for offline use?

    http://goldenincalescent.blogspot.com/

    #676347
    nickstayner
    700 Posts

    GaiaGPS. Amazing app.
    @breadbox wrote:

    I like Motion-X GPS, though I think the maps kinda suck. Does anyone know if Hillmap makes an app where you can download the maps for offline use?

    Gaia gives you access to all USGS topos which are easily downloadable for offline use, plus a number of different downloadable overlays (sat imagery, USFS topos). I have used it pretty extensively this season and have no complaints at all other than the battery useage. But with some forethought (turning off wifi/data if you don’t need it, ensuring offline mode in Gaia, etc…) this can be mitigated and you’ll have plenty of battery life for big day tours. Multi day & you’ll want some kind of charger.
    Can’t say enough about this awesome app.

    #676348
    HansGLudwig
    601 Posts

    Here’s my take. . .
    viewtopic.php?f=49&t=16315

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    #676349
    HansGLudwig
    601 Posts

    @breadbox wrote:

    I like Motion-X GPS, though I think the maps kinda suck. Does anyone know if Hillmap makes an app where you can download the maps for offline use?

    Hillmap does not. I’m pretty sure you can create a path on Hillmap and export it as a kml. That format should be transferable to most apps: google earth, GiaGPS (which I use), Motion-X.

    I have Offline Topo Maps (OTM) which is the ugly, cheaper, little sister of Gia GPS and love it. I haven’t found anything (more accurately have no use for anything) that I can’t do with either Strava (free app) or OTM.

    Re: O.P. – FWIW, I’m done with Apple. The next phone I get (& computer) will be something cheaper and more flexible: Linux/Unix, Android. Then I’ll jailbreak the phone and turn it into a BC tool with podcasts, mapping and photography apps, and GPS.

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    #676350
    BobGnarly
    220 Posts

    Keep your phone switched off IMO unless you need to use it. Having a full battery could save your life.
    Buy a gps unit if you want gps

    #676351
    wjb
    163 Posts

    @bobgnarly wrote:

    Keep your phone switched off IMO unless you need to use it. Having a full battery could save your life.
    Buy a gps unit if you want gps

    I think if you need to plan your whole route with gps or doing a multi day traverse you should get a gps. If you just need a couple waypoints to get you back to your car below the treeline a phone could be very handy. I bring a separate battery (mophie) to make sure I don’t get caught out of juice.

    #676352
    UPGRAYEDD_2505
    127 Posts

    I use an app called Topo Maps, which was around $7 I think. I’ve used it to find the car below treeline a few times by marking waypoints in the morning. It doesn’t do tracks, but that doesn’t seem like a problem to me unless you were on a crevassed glacier in a whiteout or something. If it’s mid winter and really cold, battery life can be an issue. I keep the phone in airplane mode, but if I was doing an overnighter or something navigationally challenging, I’d print out a paper map.

    #676353
    dishwasher-dave
    460 Posts

    I have had very good luck w/ GPS Kit (but looking at reviews Gaia seems like a good choice as well).

    Anytime you are using the GPS, battery life is an issue but if you turn off the app when not in use or keep your phone off or in airplane mode and just turn it on when you need to check something it works fine. I’ve continuously tracked for about 9 hours and that was about the limit of my phone’s battery. I generally don’t have a need/desire to continuously track so I’m fine with this. When turned off and only turned on momentarily to check something my phone has worked fine on a 6 day tour.

    FWIW, I’ve found Strava’s GPS skills to be much less accurate in the mountains (which is a bummer since it seems to draw less battery).

    I understand the argument to carry a dedicated GPS and there are times, like in complex glaciated terrain on a multi day trip, where I would. That said, just loading and looking at topo maps on a phone is an incredible resource. I can easily carry every map for the entire Sierra in my phone all year. Combine that with all the other tools (camera, peak finder, books, notes, clinometer, communication, scrabble) that a smart phone can provide and it’s arguably one of the most useful tools we can bring with us. Just keep it 30cms away from your transceiver.

    I know that GPS manufacturers look at smartphones today the way compact camera makers looked at smartphones 5 years ago.

    #676354
    BobGnarly
    220 Posts

    @wjb wrote:

    @bobgnarly wrote:

    Keep your phone switched off IMO unless you need to use it. Having a full battery could save your life.
    Buy a gps unit if you want gps

    I think if you need to plan your whole route with gps or doing a multi day traverse you should get a gps. If you just need a couple waypoints to get you back to your car below the treeline a phone could be very handy. I bring a separate battery (mophie) to make sure I don’t get caught out of juice.

    Spare battery is a great idea

    #676355
    buell
    534 Posts

    Thank you for the thoughts everyone. I have carried a Garmin Oregon400 for the last few years but since I also carry my phone, I am interested in simplifying things a bit, if possible.

    I generally just use the GPS to find my car in the forest coming back down from volcanoes in the spring, but I often leave the track option running just in case I get stuck in a white out well above tree line.

    It definitely sounds like I need to make sure I have enough battery to get though my day and have some extra for an emergency. There is often no cell service much below the summit on the volcanoes anyway unfortunately. I do carry a PLB for serious issues but really hope to never need it.

    #676356
    nickstayner
    700 Posts

    You can browse all the maps and overlays you have access to w/ GaiaGPS for free on their website: https://cloud.gaiagps.com/map/

    #676357
    Draizuh
    61 Posts

    I use android and google’s Mytracks for tracking and a NZ specific app New Zealand Maps for topo maps. It can pin point your location but thats not much help unless you are here.

    As i use a Samsung S3 i can change the battery and i carry a spare unless i get in shit but there isnt that much reception in the mountains here so using it as a phone isnt really an option unless you can top out on something high close to a tower.

    Getting a Suunto watch for tracking and hopefully a dedicated GPS unit for maps soon but my usual touring buddy always carries one anyway.

    #676358
    Snowolf
    86 Posts

    Just in case anyone has not mentioned it…..

    I have the iPhone 4s and the IOS7 upgrade has degraded battery life even a bit more than before so battery life is a paramount concern. A nifty trick to use to really increase battery life while using the GPS (not in aircraft mode) is to set your sim card so you can lock and unlock it. Power the phone off then restart. It will ask for your sim pin but just cancel. The phone will boot without cell support so the cell radio does not power up. Fortunately though, the GPS radio works with the sim deactivated (or even physically removed). The phone will last for days (in standby) like this instead of croaking in about 24-36 hours with the sim active. What I like about this as opposed to airplane mode, is the GPS signal locks on instantly when you start your app or you can run it for longer periods without the cell radio killing your battery in the field. This trick works with Android and WIndows phones as well and will greatly improve battery performance when you do not need cell service and there is no tower for the phone to lock onto.

    #676359
    Jefe009
    675 Posts

    I’ve used Gaia for years, and never had issues as long as I keep an eye on my battery. (Android Razr Maxx)

    For overnights I carry a (charged) Anker recharger, that could theoretically charge my phone 7 times over. Adds a pound, but crazy peace of mind as well.

    Can’t imagine anyone would carry both a dedicated gps and their phone once they discovered Gaia or OTM…

    www.splitlife.net

    #676360
    Snowolf
    86 Posts

    Well, for me personally, it’s because the iPhone 4S I have will shut down in temperatures much below 35 combined with anemic battery life. My Magellan Triton GPS will go for days on 2 AA lithium batteries in 20 below temperatures. Now I can’t confirm this but I have been told that an actual GPS unit has a better radio and is more accurate than cell phones and that is a concern for some.

    #676361
    nickstayner
    700 Posts

    @snowolf wrote:

    Well, for me personally, it’s because the iPhone 4S I have will shut down in temperatures much below 35 combined with anemic battery life.

    I have the 4s and have never had this happen. Are you keeping it in a spot that keeps it warm?

    #676362
    802smuggler
    369 Posts

    Sounds to me like the iphone that is shutting down at freezing has a tired battery. Mine started doing the same thing but the battery was holding a much shorter charge regardless of temp. Exchanged it for a 5s and one of the best things is just having a fresh battery. Also takes incredible pictures.

    #676363
    Snowolf
    86 Posts

    That is a good point! My battery did in fact fail and I had it replaced. In the process, I lost my GPS radio so Apple gave me a replacement 4S. Admittedly, I have not had the shut down problem since, but Apple tech did say they do not make any claims of functionality below 35F.

    Yes, I do now in fact make sure to keep it in an inner pocket to prevent it from getting cold. Shutting off the sim card and thus the cell radio has made a HUGE difference in battery life in the field too. It is almost as good as putting it in airplane mode but now there isnt that PITA of switching out of airplane mode and locking onto a satellite to use GP. Its a quick, turn it on, check my bearings, turn it back off and ride…. :clap:

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