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using iphone and gps while out on the trails?

rapid_uphillrapid_uphill Posts: 841
edited August 2010 in MTB general
Im thinking of buying an iphone instead of a gps system. does anybody use the iphone gps while out in the middle of nowhere? does it still work or do you need to be within a certain range of a mast? and how accurate is it?

is the battery life drained when in this mode?

Posts

  • chedabobchedabob Posts: 1,133
    The GPS still works (I think) even when you're out of range of a mast, it just takes a lot longer to locate you. Accuracy varies. On a good day it can be accurate to within a few feet. On a bad day it's 1/4 mile out.

    Battery life is about 3 1/2 hours on the 3GS continuous use. Well, that was before iOS 4. Not had a chance to test it out since.
  • Bar ShakerBar Shaker Posts: 2,313
    The GPS is very useful but you need to use an app that uses decent quality maps. The terrain maps in Motion X are my favourites.

    The iPhone 4 is meant to have 50% better battery life but the new OS4 operating system gives much better GPS use for the 3GS as it can still work when the screen is dormant. I also have an external battery and a dock extender lead so I can get a full 8-9hrs GPS when on a full day's ride out.

    Accuracy is initially from triangulating the phone masts, until GPS gets a fix. GPS is far more accurate than the phone mast triangulation.

    I had thought of getting a Garmin but there really is no point if you have an iPhone. There are lots of GPS mapping apps now. Some really good ones for skiing and boarding too.
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  • ceecee Posts: 4,553
    I use mine to track my routes...no cell signal required.

    if its just to see where you are...the gps should work anywhere with a clear view of the sky...however...downloading the appropriate segment of google maps to pinpoint your position however...requires cell signal.

    I am sure there will be GPS apps that include the maps so no connection is required though...but these are usually coslty...the TomTom one is £40 for UK, £50 for Europe.

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  • LeighMLeighM Posts: 156
    I'm using Endomondo on my 3G/OS4 and it tracks my route really well, even with the phone in my shorts pocket.

    As has been said, without a cell signal, you'll have no google map on which to plot your position.
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  • chedabobchedabob Posts: 1,133
    Trails Lite will let you download maps, as will Memory Map (although that's really pricey). You can also jailbreak your phone and increase the amount of offline data that Google Maps stores.
  • jmjjmj Posts: 100
    I use my Iphone generally for position checking on random rides where I'm unsure of the way, using the Memory Map free app (comes with a fair chunk of free OS Landranger maps). Useful if you're unsure if you've got off the foot.. erm.. bridleway. As others have mentioned though the battery life sucks. IPhone lives in camelback, waterpoofed.

    For route logging I use a Garmin Etrex Legend, which can be bar mounted, is waterproof and can take the odd knock. The maps are pants but it'll last all day on a set of AAs.

    As for accuracy, I've checked IPhone against Garmin and Military GPS. All equal in positional accuracy, Garmin fastest to get an accurate fix.

    Jeff
    Commencal Meta 55 Team custom build
    Giant Trance 06
  • I find it loses signal a lot and is entirely inaccurate sometimes. Seems quite random, for instance it recorded none of my route on cannock monkey trail. Could have been the particular app so I will try a new app.
  • hoochylalahoochylala Posts: 987
    jmj wrote:
    As others have mentioned though the battery life sucks.

    I'm really not sure where this comes from. Although I am glad I don't experience it. I regularly ride 4 hours plus tracking my ride on the endomondo application and still have 30-40% battery at the end of the ride (3GS also). Strange.
  • jmjjmj Posts: 100
    hoochylala wrote:
    jmj wrote:
    As others have mentioned though the battery life sucks.

    I'm really not sure where this comes from. Although I am glad I don't experience it. I regularly ride 4 hours plus tracking my ride on the endomondo application and still have 30-40% battery at the end of the ride (3GS also). Strange.

    It comes from using Runkeeper on a 3GS. After a 2-3 hour run the battery is pretty low. Haven't tried it recently since switching to iOS4, possibly it's improved. Different apps may use battery differently I suppose, depending on how often they update the GPS position.

    Jeff
    Commencal Meta 55 Team custom build
    Giant Trance 06
  • Bar ShakerBar Shaker Posts: 2,313
    On many apps you can turn down GPS update periods which makes a dramatic improvement to battery life. I leave mine on max as I prefer the better resolution of the data.
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  • biff55biff55 Posts: 1,404
    Im thinking of buying an iphone instead of a gps system. does anybody use the iphone gps while out in the middle of nowhere? does it still work or do you need to be within a certain range of a mast? and how accurate is it?

    is the battery life drained when in this mode?

    forget it , won't be a patch on a dedicated gps.
    mate tried google maps on his phone while lost out on a ride together.
    after several minutes waiting to lock signal , it showed us as a red dot on a green background with a motorway as the only terrain feature :shock: :lol:
    fat load a good it did us.
    thus purchased garmin dakota gps this week , sweet 8)
  • it is a lot of money for something that is probably going to get covered in mud but the amount of stuff it can do is amazing.
  • biff55biff55 Posts: 1,404
    it is a lot of money for something that is probably going to get covered in mud but the amount of stuff it can do is amazing.

    you talking about the iphone or the dakota i just mentioned ?
    well the garmin is shockproof and waterproof while the iphone can access youtube and facebook and ebay
    i know which one i'd take to navigate a bike ride :lol:
  • i was talking about the iphone but what is the battery life on the dakota? because 3 hours is no use to me.
    biff55 wrote:
    you talking about the iphone or the dakota i just mentioned ?
    well the garmin is shockproof and waterproof while the iphone can access youtube and facebook and ebay
    i know which one i'd take to navigate a bike ride :lol:
  • biff55biff55 Posts: 1,404
    according to the manual i got it says 20hrs max
    but this will be reduced if you have screen brightness on full all the time and the digital compass switched on all the time.
    should still be good for a 12 hr ride using it regulary.
    most important issue is what batteries you use.
    best results are either use hi-power lithium which last the longest but arent rechargable thus expensive
    or rechargable MINH batteries ( at least 2000 mA/hr ) which last almost as long but can be re-used ( the option i've gone for )
    got a duracell mini charger with 2 AA rechargable batteries for £10 from asda.
  • This thread has talked me out of the smart phone option!

    A lot of you are opting for the Garmin Dakota but has anyone compared it to the Memory-Map 2800? They're doing a bundle for £295 which includes seamless OS Landranger 1:50 000 for the whole of GB. Which sounds like exceptionally good value. What would I be missing over the Garmin if I chose that?

    It would be a back up to my preferred OS Explorer and compass navigation which is very good but not entirely reliable ... 8)
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  • rookieerookiee Posts: 9
    I was using my 3GS but there are some obstacles which pop-up later. Firstly, 4 hour is max with full bat, wifi iff, BT off, screen off (in background Runkeeper). So you will need extra power or battery pack. I bought mine in Singapore for 25 EUR. Secondly I need good mapping sw on the route and for my country there are no topo maps for iphone. So that leaves me with either with automotive navigation (which is useless in forests) or google maps. It's cool if you have data package at your carrier. Third problem is GSM signal coverage. When you really need it it's gone. The fourth thing is Iphone is not so cheap and I would never carry mine on a handle bar. I've crashed several times and if I had it there I think I would need a third iphone now. :)

    So, I wanted to switch to Iphone 4G but I changed my mind. For difference in cash (I would get around 400 EUR for my old one) and I would have to pay another 200, 300 EUR to get 4G I decided to buy myself a decent GPS. I bought Garmin Dakota 20 (optional was EDGE705) and I'm really satisfied. It has everything I need and more and I can use it on hiking, biking, on a boat and if necesarry in car. I paid 250 EUR (no map software), it's water-proof, it survived heavy crash and it's still alive. :) I would expect a little better screen but for me that's the only disadvantage.
  • alfabluealfablue Posts: 8,497
    This thread has talked me out of the smart phone option!

    A lot of you are opting for the Garmin Dakota but has anyone compared it to the Memory-Map 2800? They're doing a bundle for £295 which includes seamless OS Landranger 1:50 000 for the whole of GB. Which sounds like exceptionally good value. What would I be missing over the Garmin if I chose that?

    It would be a back up to my preferred OS Explorer and compass navigation which is very good but not entirely reliable ... 8)
    One of the main reasons for choosing the Dakota is the AA batteries rather than a built in battery on the Memory map or the Edge; as I will be doing multi-day tours this is a big benefit. Full GB OS mapping is available on eBay for £99, the Dakota 20 is £189 at Handtec, so price is comparable.
  • Happy HarryHappy Harry Posts: 345
    edited August 2010
    alfablue wrote:
    One of the main reasons for choosing the Dakota is the AA batteries rather than a built in battery on the Memory map or the Edge; as I will be doing multi-day tours this is a big benefit. Full GB OS mapping is available on eBay for £99, the Dakota 20 is £189 at Handtec, so price is comparable.
    That's just the info I needed. Thanks v much. AA batteries are a much better option and also I can have the same as everyone else :lol:

    EDIT: Can't find full OS GB mapping on eBay. Can anyone point me to it?
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    Whyte 19 steel '10
  • biff55biff55 Posts: 1,404
    alfablue wrote:
    This thread has talked me out of the smart phone option!

    A lot of you are opting for the Garmin Dakota but has anyone compared it to the Memory-Map 2800? They're doing a bundle for £295 which includes seamless OS Landranger 1:50 000 for the whole of GB. Which sounds like exceptionally good value. What would I be missing over the Garmin if I chose that?

    It would be a back up to my preferred OS Explorer and compass navigation which is very good but not entirely reliable ... 8)
    One of the main reasons for choosing the Dakota is the AA batteries rather than a built in battery on the Memory map or the Edge; as I will be doing multi-day tours this is a big benefit. Full GB OS mapping is available on eBay for £99, the Dakota 20 is £189 at Handtec, so price is comparable.

    yep , carrying spare ready charged batteries means you can stay out navigating the wilderness for days :D
    interchangable micro sd card maps means you have the exact info for whatever location you're in , though can be a bit pricey.
    and yep , got mine from handtec for £189 ( £100 off retail price ) :D
  • alfabluealfablue Posts: 8,497
  • alfabluealfablue Posts: 8,497
    I have found OSM, Cycling OSM and mtbOSM pretty good and they're free, though am am saving for the GB Discoverer maps.
  • biff55biff55 Posts: 1,404
    apparently you can download garmin maps for free off some sites but i've heard it's a real techno faff and beyond my primitive computing skills.
    but i got the whole of the usa road map card for £40 for my forthcoming trip :D
  • Cheers alfablue. Excellent service!

    Thank you.
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    Whyte 19 steel '10
  • biff55biff55 Posts: 1,404
    er , what about my useful contributions ?
    ungrateful rabble
    mutter , mutter , grumble grumble.
  • biff55 wrote:
    er , what about my useful contributions ?
    thankyou.gif
    Sorry biff, I did appreciate it :oops:
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  • Bar ShakerBar Shaker Posts: 2,313
    This might be of use to some people who don't want to carry multiple gadgets...

    Tough Case
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  • darren555darren555 Posts: 194
    I've got a 3GS and considered using it for mapping but the battery life just isn't up to it.

    It is great for position checking though. I use an OS Explorer map and an app called GPS2OS to get an accurate location.

    http://www.codeartisans.co.uk/
  • That is a good idea, i have bookmarked that site for future reference.

    Darren555 wrote:
    I've got a 3GS and considered using it for mapping but the battery life just isn't up to it.

    It is great for position checking though. I use an OS Explorer map and an app called GPS2OS to get an accurate location.

    http://www.codeartisans.co.uk/
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