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 Post subject: GPS Watch vs Smartphone?
PostPosted: Tue Oct 15, 2013 1:14 pm 
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Joined: Thu Oct 29, 2009 3:22 pm
Posts: 680
Location: Durango, CO
Wondering what people are doing for GPS out there? I was touring with my partner last year, and his Iphone was very helpful on a day trip, especially when in the woods to see our line. I've wanted to get a Suunto for a while, but have been holding out. With the smartphones out there, is it just as good to use a smartphone now? I found with him it was a little spotty with GPS on Google Earth, but the interface made it awesome to navigate. Pretty sweet to be able to use google earth together with GPS.

Compare that to something like the Ambit2 out there. It is easier to access, but not as nice of an interface obviously.

From a size standpoint, the Iphone is 4oz, compared to the ambit at 2.8oz.

My thought is that if an Iphone has the coverage, its probably better for day trips.

What are people doing?


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 Post subject: Re: GPS Watch vs Smartphone?
PostPosted: Tue Oct 15, 2013 2:20 pm 
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Joined: Sat Aug 13, 2011 4:27 pm
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Location: Rainier Beach
I use this:

http://www.gaiagps.com/

On my Android phone and it works great. Download the USGS maps while you have a signal, then use your gps in the backcountry... no signal needed.

Not sure why anyone would buy a separate gps when this is out there and works well.

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 Post subject: Re: GPS Watch vs Smartphone?
PostPosted: Tue Oct 15, 2013 5:39 pm 
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Joined: Sun Oct 18, 2009 3:18 pm
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Location: New Castle, Colorado
I went with the Suunto Ambit watch, as I wanted to instantly see UTM coordinates. so that I could translate coordinates onto a topo-map without pulling out a GPS (or smartphone).

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 Post subject: Re: GPS Watch vs Smartphone?
PostPosted: Wed Oct 16, 2013 7:08 pm 
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Joined: Tue Apr 09, 2013 7:16 pm
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Location: New Hampshire
After tons of research (lots here, thanks all) & budget wrestling, talking riding partner into 1 etc...I just got a Garmin Rino 120. Wanted a 130 because the new ones don't make sense to me for the money but it should be all I need.

Don't want to carry a 2way a Nav & my phone. Don't trust just the phone. Expensive solution for what seems like dated tech, hoping that they do the job intended.


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 Post subject: Re: GPS Watch vs Smartphone?
PostPosted: Wed Oct 16, 2013 7:46 pm 
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Joined: Sun Oct 18, 2009 3:18 pm
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Location: New Castle, Colorado
I am not up to speed on a GPS enabled smartphone. What smartphone(s) are you thinking about, that has actually GPS and not just triangulation of cellphone towers?

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 Post subject: Re: GPS Watch vs Smartphone?
PostPosted: Wed Oct 16, 2013 7:49 pm 
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Joined: Sat Feb 11, 2012 10:32 am
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Location: Northern NM
I'm leaning heavily toward the Suunto Ambit 2 but not all the way there yet, still looking at the Garmin Fenix... I think these will beat your iPhone on battery life, plus you have actual altimeter/ barometer for accurate vert tracking.

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 Post subject: Re: GPS Watch vs Smartphone?
PostPosted: Wed Oct 16, 2013 9:25 pm 
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Joined: Sat Aug 13, 2011 4:27 pm
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Location: Rainier Beach
Powder_Rider wrote:
I am not up to speed on a GPS enabled smartphone. What smartphone(s) are you thinking about, that has actually GPS and not just triangulation of cellphone towers?


All Iphones and pretty much all Android phones have gps. That's how they get you driving directions. There are a bunch of different map apps that do pretty much the same thing, but Gaia is my fave after Stuka on here turned me onto it 2 summers ago...

Basically you download a USGS map onto your phone while you have service. Then you can load it up in the app when you are out touring, and then the gps app drops a little pointer icon onto the map to show you where you are and which direction your phone is pointing. Shows elevation and lat/lon coordinates too. Way more accurate elevation than my watch with barometric altimiter...

I didn't trust it completely until I had to rely on it to get me unlost, but am a total convert now. :twocents:

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 Post subject: Re: GPS Watch vs Smartphone?
PostPosted: Thu Oct 17, 2013 2:07 am 
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Joined: Wed Jan 04, 2012 2:59 am
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Location: Amsterdam
I'm curious about this as well, I don't really wan to invest in a GPS. It will just be as a backup anyway because I prefer maps. Any Euro splitters want to chime in with some apps that have decent maps?

I've tried the Ortovox app, but not in depth yet

Swisstopo (maps are too expensive, I can buy a gps for that kind of money)

Androzic? Can't get that to work yet as I want. Seems you need to be a bit of a computer nerd to work with it.

Plain old Google maps/earth? May be better than nothing at all... I'll just be needing gps if the weather is bad and I can't find any reference points with a normal map and compass. I think you need cellphone reception for EArth, but Maps can be downloaded in advance right?

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 Post subject: Re: GPS Watch vs Smartphone?
PostPosted: Thu Oct 17, 2013 8:38 am 
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Joined: Thu Oct 29, 2009 3:22 pm
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Location: Durango, CO
Jefe, how is the GPS, is it accurate? And does it allow you put in routes, and show directions at all?


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 Post subject: Re: GPS Watch vs Smartphone?
PostPosted: Thu Oct 17, 2013 10:26 am 
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Joined: Sat Aug 13, 2011 4:27 pm
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Location: Rainier Beach
summersgone wrote:
Jefe, how is the GPS, is it accurate? And does it allow you put in routes, and show directions at all?


Very accurate -- to within about 10-15 feet in my experience. When I downloaded it it was free for Android, I think they might charge $20 for it now? At any rate, it works really well for everything I need from a gps; I think it's worth 20 bucks to try it out.

Yes you can put it routes, but I'm lazy and never do. Not sure what you mean by 'show directions' but the little pointer icon shows which direction your phone is pointing... so you know which way to go. If you don't feel like dropping $20 on it now I can show you in April when I'm out there for SF. Good luck Jason!

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 Post subject: Re: GPS Watch vs Smartphone?
PostPosted: Thu Oct 17, 2013 2:21 pm 
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Joined: Wed May 27, 2009 11:01 pm
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Location: June lk
I use an app called Topo Maps on my iPhone (I think it cost about $8). Sounds pretty similar to GaiaGPS; download the maps ahead of time, no cell signal necessary. I like it and would recommend it for day trips. It takes the guesswork out of getting out of the woods, going up the right drainage, and is nice to confirm that you are indeed where you think you are. If the car is parked in some random spot in dense trees, I'll mark it on the map. To be honest, I don't bother with paper maps anymore (but the weather here is pretty stable and predictable compared to Mount Rainier, etc).

If I'm worried about keeping the battery from getting drained, I'll keep the phone in airplane mode. I'm typically using the app to just occasionally check where I am, otherwise I keep the GPS off. If you're wanting to use the GPS to log you're every move, I'm guessing battery life would probably be a huge issue and some other device like a watch might be the way to go.

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 Post subject: Re: GPS Watch vs Smartphone?
PostPosted: Thu Oct 17, 2013 3:04 pm 
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Joined: Sun Oct 18, 2009 3:18 pm
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Location: New Castle, Colorado
Quote:
To be honest, I don't bother with paper maps anymore (but the weather here is pretty stable and predictable compared to Mount Rainier, etc).


I take a different viewpoint:

I take topo map, and Suunto Ambit GPS Watch to keep track of my routing via UTM coordinates. Backup: wife carries the Garmin Vista CX and compass on longer trips. A map is simple. reliable and instantly tells me all the information I need to know (compared to my small GPS screen) without having to fiddle with the GPS. I carry the topo map in a clear map case on my packs shoulder strap. With easy access, I keep track of the UTM coordinates. Of course the GPS watch is tracking and following the planned route.

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