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 Post subject: Advice on Iphone GPS
PostPosted: Wed Apr 09, 2014 12:58 pm 
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Joined: Sat Jul 05, 2008 7:38 pm
Posts: 385
Location: Eugene and Coos Bay, Oregon.
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


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 Post subject: Re: Advice on Iphone GPS
PostPosted: Wed Apr 09, 2014 6:00 pm 
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Joined: Thu Jan 13, 2005 3:08 pm
Posts: 241
Location: 109-blocks-of-watch-yo-f'n-back, CA
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?

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 Post subject: Re: Advice on Iphone GPS
PostPosted: Wed Apr 09, 2014 9:55 pm 
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Joined: Sat Dec 15, 2007 5:44 pm
Posts: 695
Location: The Magic City
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.


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 Post subject: Re: Advice on Iphone GPS
PostPosted: Wed Apr 09, 2014 11:43 pm 
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Joined: Tue Nov 16, 2010 11:41 am
Posts: 278
Location: Altadena SoCal
Here's my take. . .
viewtopic.php?f=49&t=16315


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 Post subject: Re: Advice on Iphone GPS
PostPosted: Thu Apr 10, 2014 12:05 am 
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Joined: Tue Nov 16, 2010 11:41 am
Posts: 278
Location: Altadena SoCal
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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 Post subject: Re: Advice on Iphone GPS
PostPosted: Thu Apr 10, 2014 2:48 am 
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Joined: Wed Feb 29, 2012 9:48 am
Posts: 202
Location: Sydney
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


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 Post subject: Re: Advice on Iphone GPS
PostPosted: Thu Apr 10, 2014 3:17 pm 
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Joined: Thu Feb 17, 2011 2:12 pm
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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.

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 Post subject: Re: Advice on Iphone GPS
PostPosted: Thu Apr 10, 2014 3:58 pm 
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Joined: Wed May 27, 2009 11:01 pm
Posts: 119
Location: June lk, CA
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.

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 Post subject: Re: Advice on Iphone GPS
PostPosted: Thu Apr 10, 2014 4:09 pm 
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Joined: Fri Feb 18, 2005 8:56 pm
Posts: 470
Location: Meyers, CA
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.


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 Post subject: Re: Advice on Iphone GPS
PostPosted: Thu Apr 10, 2014 4:20 pm 
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Joined: Wed Feb 29, 2012 9:48 am
Posts: 202
Location: Sydney
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


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 Post subject: Re: Advice on Iphone GPS
PostPosted: Thu Apr 10, 2014 9:23 pm 
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Joined: Sat Jul 05, 2008 7:38 pm
Posts: 385
Location: Eugene and Coos Bay, Oregon.
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.


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 Post subject: Re: Advice on Iphone GPS
PostPosted: Fri Apr 11, 2014 6:12 am 
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Joined: Sat Dec 15, 2007 5:44 pm
Posts: 695
Location: The Magic City
You can browse all the maps and overlays you have access to w/ GaiaGPS for free on their website: https://cloud.gaiagps.com/map/


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 Post subject: Re: Advice on Iphone GPS
PostPosted: Fri Apr 11, 2014 11:01 pm 
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Joined: Fri Oct 07, 2011 7:51 pm
Posts: 49
Location: Wakatipu, NZ
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.

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