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Offline Xpat

Re: GPS vs Smartphone apps - my research
« Reply #40 on: December 31, 2017, 06:27:54 pm »
My iPhone 6 and I believe most of the modern cell phones have GPS receiver that doesn't  rely on cell towers, but works off satellites. At least my works perfectly fine in the middle of Okavango delta or Lesotho mountains without any signal whatsoever. And I'm sure it can be charged off the bike, so battery life is probably not big deal for that.

That said - while I like to have the phone/tablet with detailed countour maps as back-up, right now I prefer GPS for its robustness (though I hate the idiotic user interface - on Garmin that is). But I do not use any navigational functions, I just use it as a map that shows me where I am on it and navigate myself following the map.

Offline Twister

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Re: GPS vs Smartphone apps - my research
« Reply #41 on: December 31, 2017, 07:12:34 pm »
Cell phones does not need towers to determine where they are. They need the towers to download maps in some GPS applications. There are standalone applications like Cygic (Tom Tom maps) and OSMAND (Open street maps) that can navigate without any GSM reception, they store the maps on the cellphone.
« Last Edit: December 31, 2017, 07:14:05 pm by Twister »
 

Offline Ri

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Re: GPS vs Smartphone apps - my research
« Reply #42 on: January 01, 2018, 09:13:11 pm »
I dowloaded that Cygic and used it today - fantastic!!  :thumleft:
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Offline troos

Re: GPS vs Smartphone apps - my research
« Reply #43 on: January 17, 2018, 10:00:38 pm »
I dowloaded that Cygic and used it today - fantastic!!  :thumleft:

 :biggrin:

so 'n bek moet jam kry :-)

ek geniet my sygic elke oomblik wat ek dit gebruik
 

Offline ultraflight

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Re: GPS vs Smartphone apps - my research
« Reply #44 on: January 19, 2018, 08:45:21 am »
Until cell phone makers beef up battery life and provide more than A-GPS, for which you need cell phone towers, GPS makers don't have much to fear  ::)

A-GPS do not NEED cellphone towers. However, if a cellular signal does happen to be available, then it will much quicker, fetch the data tables for the current satellite constellation, from the internet, rather than download that data from the GPS satellites, which takes a bit longer.   That only affects the time to acquisition, which means how fast it gets a position fix from the moment you switch on the GPS, i.e. launch the nav app.

In terms of downloading maps while you are riding, yes, you can either hope to always have a cell signal, or else pre-download the maps via Wi-Fi for offline use later when on the road. Even Google Maps now allows you to download offline maps for any areas you expect to need later. Every app I losted in tne original post features offline maps capability.

Battery life? Fit a 2A USB charger on your bike and have the phone charging while you ride.
Even a dedicated GPS has limited battery life and will need to be charged on multi-day tours.
« Last Edit: January 19, 2018, 08:48:26 am by ultraflight »
 
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Offline Ri

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Re: GPS vs Smartphone apps - my research
« Reply #45 on: January 19, 2018, 11:16:29 am »
Until cell phone makers beef up battery life and provide more than A-GPS, for which you need cell phone towers, GPS makers don't have much to fear  ::)

A-GPS do not NEED cellphone towers. However, if a cellular signal does happen to be available, then it will much quicker, fetch the data tables for the current satellite constellation, from the internet, rather than download that data from the GPS satellites, which takes a bit longer.   That only affects the time to acquisition, which means how fast it gets a position fix from the moment you switch on the GPS, i.e. launch the nav app.

In terms of downloading maps while you are riding, yes, you can either hope to always have a cell signal, or else pre-download the maps via Wi-Fi for offline use later when on the road. Even Google Maps now allows you to download offline maps for any areas you expect to need later. Every app I losted in tne original post features offline maps capability.

Battery life? Fit a 2A USB charger on your bike and have the phone charging while you ride.
Even a dedicated GPS has limited battery life and will need to be charged on multi-day tours.

Yes, went on a trip with a power pack and the USB charger on the bike, downloaded Sygic on the way and could then get lost with more confidence :thumleft:

I'm amazed that a map of South Africa is only about 165MB :o

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Offline husky

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Re: GPS vs Smartphone apps - my research
« Reply #46 on: January 22, 2018, 08:48:14 am »
Which Sygic version did you download?  Free or Premium?
 

Offline Twister

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Re: GPS vs Smartphone apps - my research
« Reply #47 on: January 22, 2018, 03:27:38 pm »
The free version has full functionality but for a limited time.
 

Offline Superboet

Re: GPS vs Smartphone apps - my research
« Reply #48 on: January 22, 2018, 03:55:25 pm »
sub
 

Offline Twister

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Re: GPS vs Smartphone apps - my research
« Reply #49 on: January 22, 2018, 06:17:43 pm »
The free version has full functionality but for a limited time.

I bought Sygic 4 phones back. The License is transferable between devices when you need to upgrade your phone and map updates are free. Money well spend
 

Offline Ri

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Re: GPS vs Smartphone apps - my research
« Reply #50 on: January 22, 2018, 09:22:48 pm »
The free version has full functionality but for a limited time.

I bought Sygic 4 phones back. The License is transferable between devices when you need to upgrade your phone and map updates are free. Money well spend

I'm still considering whether to buy the full package. It really is a nice app and definitely worth it, but I got it just to check my position when I'm out of cell phone signal range, and it worked very well for that. Map is very detailed and it's easy to use.
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Re: GPS vs Smartphone apps - my research
« Reply #51 on: January 22, 2018, 09:38:37 pm »
There are free GPS solutions as well using open street maps.
 

Offline ultraflight

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Re: GPS vs Smartphone apps - my research
« Reply #52 on: May 25, 2018, 09:17:29 pm »
I bought a Garmin Zumo 395 which really works very well, but still I keep my iPhone in a RAM X-Grip type mount on my handlebar.

Originally I thought my phone navigator apps would be my backup in case the Garmin has technical problems,
But I found that though the Garmin Zumo performs exactly as expected, using Gaia GPS app on my Phone is still more practical when doing very long rides on multi-day tours. So now my Garmin Zumo is my backup navigator and a glorified MP3 music player (via my Sena 30K bluetooth kit).

 

Offline Sláinte Mhaith

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Re: GPS vs Smartphone apps - my research
« Reply #53 on: May 26, 2018, 03:44:10 pm »
I installed Here We Go map app.  Looks a lot like Google maps. You have the option to save the map for offline use and I see it save the whole of SA.
 

Offline ultraflight

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Re: GPS vs Smartphone apps - my research
« Reply #54 on: May 28, 2018, 01:35:53 pm »
Here We Go, Sygic and many other GPS apps are perfect for just getting to a destination, but not suitable for a pre-planned route if you want to ensure you go via specific interesting roads, passes, stops, etc.

I plan my tours on Tracks4Africa maps using a combination of Mapsource and Basecamp apps.
Each day, a different colour route.
Then once I am happy with the actual routes, I convert them to tracks, so that the GPS does not choose different connecting roads than those I planned, then export to GPX file which I can then import into almost any GPS app that supports import of GPX files. Scenic App, Gaia GPS, Easytrails GPS, even Google Earth. On a PC, one can import the GPX into Google Maps as well, which will then show up on your mobile version Google Maps.

 

Offline NoRush

Re: GPS vs Smartphone apps - my research
« Reply #55 on: May 28, 2018, 10:05:11 pm »
The dark art of planning exporting routes, tracks for use is starting to make a lot more sense, great thread  :thumleft:
My GPS is dead so the smart phone will have to do.
 

Offline Dunnes

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Re: GPS vs Smartphone apps - my research
« Reply #56 on: June 11, 2018, 07:54:15 am »
Dagse Dogs

I thought I might add my experience. I have experimented a lot over the last 5 years or so with using my cellphone as a GPS. I only started riding in Jan 2016, but I used my phone before that for hiking. Some of the hiking was in very remote areas where I wasn't guaranteed cellphone signal. This meant that I needed a app that could work offline. I have a CAT B15 android phone that works well for this type of stuff. I also take along an old Garmin GPS V for when the cellphone cannot pickup gps signal in deep valleys (hiking in the Drakensberg). I now use two apps on my phone for most situations:

I found a great app - GPX Viewer - by Vectura Games:
It is a viewing app, which means it doesn't make or record tracks or gives directions. What makes it great is that you can load your track onto the phone, then in the app chose Google's Satellite imagery as the background map. I then scan through my track, which makes the app save the imagery in the phone's cache memory for later use. I then switch the phone to airplane mode. This works very well when you've found a small track on Google Earth and want to follow it and be able to see the satellite imagery of the surrounding area. I find that a cellphone works very well (compared to a GPS) when you are following tracks on a more dirt oriented ride with single tracks and tweespoor. Note: If you leave the phone's mobile data enabled, it normally tries to update the imagery around the track. This is normally fine, but if you're somewhere in the middle of nowhere, it then removes the saved imagery and tries to load new ones. Then you are stuck with just following the track on a white screen, which is also okay. Note that the paid version lets you hard save (on the SD card, not just cache memory) the satellite imagery data on the phone, which is perfect!
It's also great that you can easily have the map rotate according to your direction of travel and to follow the GPS location. Then if you need to have a look around, it easy to deactivate it from the front screen.
You can also upload multiple tracks and files for when you want to decide on the route on the day.

The other great app is Oruxmaps:
It is a free app that lets you use a garmin type map (IMG file) that you have on your phone's SD card offline. Seeing as my phone is a bit slow, I found this app great as it loads up quickly and works efficiently. The interface is a bit technical and takes some getting used to, but its not a problem for me. Most things are customizable, which is great.The tracks are also easy to see on the map.
I find this great as I haven't felt the need to fork out the cash for tracks4africa since using the OpenStreetMap (OSM) maps available for free. I have tried different maps (OpenMapChest and the GMapTool maps) on my phone, and only found the GMapTool map to work. I am not sure whether the tracks4africa maps would work as I haven't ever bought one.
There is a great guide wrote by someone on the 4x4community forum on how to do it: http://www.4x4community.co.za/forum/showthread.php/238631-OpenStreetMap-Topo-BaseCamp-Garmin-and-Android
Here are the links to the free maps which are also routable:
GMapTool maps: http://www.gmaptool.eu/en/content/africa-south-osm-topo-routable
This one has a lot of the hiking trails in south africa on, which is great and it also has contour lines added too. The only issue is that sometimes, the tracks on the map isn't properly connected so when creating a route on Basecamp or Mapsource, it will force you to go around as the track isn't properly connected. I try to sort out some of these errors on the OSM wiki, but it takes time. And Oruxmaps can read this IMG file.
OpenMapChest: https://www.openmapchest.org/maps/southern-africa/
This map doesn't have the contour lines added, but it looks a bit less cluttered when viewing it on your GPS. Its a bit smaller, so it loads quicker. But for some reason Oruxmaps doesn't read this map.

You are welcome to ask if you have any questions on this. I have over the years figured out this system that works perfectly for me.
 

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Re: GPS vs Smartphone apps - my research
« Reply #57 on: June 11, 2018, 08:40:27 am »
This is how I go about planning a ride:
I create a route on Garmin Mapsourse or Basecamp.
A route connects several waypoints together from your startpoint to your destination. When you transfer this route to a GPS, the GPS might use different roads to connect your waypoints, so you end up following a route which may be significantly different to what you planned. The solution is to convert the route to a track on your PC, then send the track to the GPS, which then cannot change from what you had planned... however, you get no voice guidance along a track, so you need to visually follow a line on your screen. I usually set the zoom to see about 5km ahead,

Garmin does not intend you to navigate by way of a track, unless you need to use the track-back function.  The easy way to prevent a discrepancy between what you plan on your PC and what appears on your unit is to ensure that both mapsets are the same.  You can't (for example) plan a route using SASM on the PC and then transfer to a GPSr running T4A without deviations occuring.  Also, you need to ensure that each of mapset versions are the same.

Personally when I ride, I find a zoom setting of 300m to be the best for general riding because it gives clear and early enough views of the depth and angle of turns & curves on unknown roads.  When off-road I zoom further in to either 80 or 120m depending on speed at the time.

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Offline ultraflight

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Re: GPS vs Smartphone apps - my research
« Reply #58 on: June 21, 2018, 10:24:32 pm »
Sorry @Brewed_Coffee but even when the absolute identical maps are used on Mapsource/Basecamp to plan a route and copied to the Garmin GPS with the very same mapset and same version number, the GPSr will most often take you along different roads than those you planned on the PC, unless you drop frequent shaping points along the specific roads you wish to follow. This is because the route sent to the GPSr consists of a discreet number of points only, which the GPSr then needs to “connect the dots” according to the specific settings it has. Try as you might, playing with the numerous settings on the PC and the GPS unit, you will never get them to route exactly the same.
On my new Zumo 395, if I open a track, I can mark it to be visible on screen, then click MENU, then CONVERT TRACK TO ROUTE. This then creates a route that will as closely as possible, follow the original track. I make the track Red, and the route Magenta. This way while riding, I can see if there is a discrepency between what I planned and where the GPS has decided I should go. This seems to work quite well until I get to where roads have changed, then I can manually try to work my way back onto the original track somewhere down the line.
This gives me the best of both worlds, the turn-by-turn guidance of the route, but I still retain the ability to double-check if we are still on the intended track.
Of course there is the setting you change on the GPS for off-route recalculation, between Always, Never, and Prompt. I choose the latter then decide on a case by case basis.
 

Offline Sláinte Mhaith

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Re: GPS vs Smartphone apps - my research
« Reply #59 on: June 22, 2018, 08:31:34 am »
Sorry @Brewed_Coffee but even when the absolute identical maps are used on Mapsource/Basecamp to plan a route and copied to the Garmin GPS with the very same mapset and same version number, the GPSr will most often take you along different roads than those you planned on the PC, unless you drop frequent shaping points along the specific roads you wish to follow. This is because the route sent to the GPSr consists of a discreet number of points only, which the GPSr then needs to “connect the dots” according to the specific settings it has. Try as you might, playing with the numerous settings on the PC and the GPS unit, you will never get them to route exactly the same.

Yip, the routing differs even if the maps are the same.
I found that if you place the waypoints on the road rather than at the end of a road the routing is more accurate.