GPS recommendation?

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Orchid Thief
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Post by Orchid Thief » Sat Feb 28, 2015 10:02 am

Guess I'll be more patient with it & try again. I like the old Magellan for its accuracy but I've used it so much the paint on the buttons has worn off & I can't remember what some of the buttons do. In a perfect world I'd sub in the S5 for GPS work because I always have it with me anyway. One device instead of two ... one battery to manage instead of two ...

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gedstrom
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Post by gedstrom » Sat Feb 28, 2015 10:53 am

netllama wrote:The industry has largely been cannibalized by the smart phone market. For the average user, a standalone GPS unit is a waste of money when their smart phone can do the same thing, plus 1000 other things for about the same cost. The long term direction of the GPS industry is going to be high end ($$$$) specialized units, primarily for military and business use cases.

Unfortunately, the multi-day 'off the grid' wilderness use case is effectively a niche market now.
Not only the stand-alone GPS market, but the in-car navigation systems. I have an iPad rather than an iPhone and wonder how I ever got along without it. I use MotionX as my GPS program and have it upload my current location every 10 minutes to the MotionX servers. Of course, this doesn't work when I am really out in the boondocks like Death Valley and have no cellular coverage, but it does provide a good place to start looking for me if I turn up missing on one of my many solo trips.

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hwstock
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Post by hwstock » Sat Feb 28, 2015 4:11 pm

My standalone gps definitely does better in canyons, and gets a fix more quickly in off-cell-service areas, than smartphone GPS (canyons like in Red Rock and Zion). It also get 24 hours of life from a pair of lithium AAs. But I expect that may change. Currently, the smartphone market is heavily biased to people streaming videos of football games and asking directions in urban areas, so the best chipsets and gps antennae are not going into phones. But that could change. There are many things my dedicated gps does quickly, that seem to be hard with smartphone gps emulators (at least those things are beyond the people I ask).

A manufacturer could offer a light waterproof case with a light 6 hour rechargeable battery backup -- that is a technology available right now, but no sales drive it. One of the ironic trends is for phones to get larger and larger --- when you really want something compact that can be attached to your packstrap, without danger of smashing it on rocks.

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wbdeford
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Post by wbdeford » Sat Feb 28, 2015 4:18 pm

Orchid Thief, here is the manual for the Magellan GPS 315/320...has a nice picture of the buttons :) http://www.manualslib.com/manual/97330/ ... s-315.html

I still bring a point and shoot camera with me as it gets much better resolution than my Droid.

Thanks, everyone, for weighing in....probably going to just live with the fact that I won't get the entire trip tracked on my GPS...I ordered cables to hook up my Magellan 315 to my computer, so I think I will have everything else I wanted.

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MojaveGeek
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Post by MojaveGeek » Sat Feb 28, 2015 6:28 pm

When I'm out hiking and using my GPS, I have it on a lanyard around my neck and tucked into a front pocket. I want to be able to access it frequently. I also usually carry my phone, a Galaxy S4, (for emergency, in the unlikely event that it has coverage). The phone stays in a hardened case in my backpack (despite the Otter Box I carry it in). It's just not rugged and dustproof enough. And the batteries are an additional issue. When the phone is dry, it is dry. When the GPS runs dry, I just change the pair of AA batteries, from by spare battery cache which will also power my flighlight if needed.

As for GPS being a niche market... maybe! I would not venture into desert back country without it. Yet, this summer I hiked in Colorado, Montana, and Washington, in places with forest and trails, and although a map was important, the GPS was really not needed at all when there is clear tread with forest service numbers and even signs.

So maybe there is less demand for them than I was thinking.

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wbdeford
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Post by wbdeford » Sat Feb 28, 2015 6:59 pm

MojaveGeek,

I like having my GPS to tell me my progress, both in distance and elevation. It also makes it easy to find things that I set down for a side trip, and in case of emergency, I can tell the emergency people exactly where I am. I also carry it tucked in a front pocket and access it frequently.

I learned a lesson with my cell phone....I had it in a side pocket that was not well zipped up and lost it on the Telescope Peak trail, along the side of Rogers. I set a GPS Landmark when I discovered it was gone and went back, scanning the side of the trail until I got to a place I knew I still had it, and marked that. I think I found the phone on the 3rd pass, on the down side of the hill, but fortunately not too far to retrieve it. I marked that spot, too, and all 3 points are still in my GPS....

Looking up these points now, I can remind myself of long-forgotten details....I searched about a 0.4 mile stretch of trail....I found it a little over an hour after noticing it was missing, even though it was only a little over 300 feet away.

Just one small example of how even if I don't need a GPS, I still want one :)

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gedstrom
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Post by gedstrom » Sun Mar 01, 2015 8:29 am

It's amazing when you think about all of the functions the iPhone or iPad can perform. The following is a list of just some of the things that I use my iPad for. These are just the more generic uses. I have other specialized uses that I am not including here:

GPS navigation while hiking.
Road navigation while driving.
Auto account book.
Online banking.
Address & phone book.
General notes.
Calculator.
ToDo list.
Blood pressure tracking.
Airline arrivals & departures.
Keeping up on the news.
Watching movies.
Listening to music.
Listening to podcasts.
Movies at local theaters.
Photo album.
Taking pictures.
Taking videos.
Time lapse photography.
Kindle book reader.
Prescriptions ordering.
Phases of the moon.
World-wide weather.
Stopwatch.
Alarm clock.
Sunrise & sunset times.
National Geographic.
Password vault.
Currency converter.
General web access.
Games.

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MojaveGeek
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Post by MojaveGeek » Sun Mar 01, 2015 3:19 pm

wbdeford, glad you found your phone! It would have been strange to find someone's phone out there!

One day late in the day was out walking around Gnome's workshop with friends. Didn't really need the GPS but had it running anyway from an earlier hike. I was getting a blister so stopped to change socks, then had to hurry to catchup with the others. As I was putting my pack back together I noticed something white - the key card for the hotel. "Good thing I didn't lose that" though of course replaceable. I forgot that the key card was in the fold of my brown wallet...

Which I noticed I didn't have, the next morning. I could immediately recall finding the key card, and the sea of brown rocks all the color of my wallet. But I just followed the GPS track and went right to it. Still wasted some time on that chase.

Moral: when you're in a hurry.. that's when you lose things!

N0 02
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Post by N0 02 » Sun Mar 01, 2015 4:35 pm

Incredible to just walk back to where you lost it. Technology can be a great thing.

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Post by D.A. Wright » Mon Mar 02, 2015 1:48 pm

As to carrying a GPS unit, I simply clip my Garmin eTrex, in its case, to my watchband. Makes it very easy to check data, it's open to the sky at all times, it's unlikely it won't fall off unnoticed like it has when clipped to my belt or pants pocket like it has in the past.
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Post by D.A. Wright » Wed Mar 04, 2015 1:22 pm

wbdeford wrote:....probably going to just live with the fact that I won't get the entire trip tracked on my GPS...
Just a thought. Have you considered carrying your laptop with you so that you can download your day's tracks each evening, or when you know you're close to the limit of your unit's capacity?

That's what I used to do in my early days of digital photography, when digital storage was expensive and didn't have much capacity. I'd just download my camera nightly in camp.
D.A. Wright
~When You Live in Nevada, "just down the road" is anywhere in the line of sight within the curvature of the earth.

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netllama
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Post by netllama » Wed Mar 04, 2015 1:29 pm

D.A. Wright wrote:
wbdeford wrote:....probably going to just live with the fact that I won't get the entire trip tracked on my GPS...
Just a thought. Have you considered carrying your laptop with you so that you can download your day's tracks each evening, or when you know you're close to the limit of your unit's capacity?

That's what I used to do in my early days of digital photography, when digital storage was expensive and didn't have much capacity. I'd just download my camera nightly in camp.
You don't even need a laptop to do that. The content of an SD card can be copied onto a smart phone quite easily. Far easier than hauling a laptop around the wilderness.

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DVWanderer
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Post by DVWanderer » Wed Mar 04, 2015 2:31 pm

Anybody know of any good phone apps that will pinpoint your location via gps...but overlaid onto a quality resolution aerial image?

I use google earth almost exclusively when navigating around the back country and I love how it'll zero right in to my location. But with extremely poor resolution sat images due to the lack of service most times.

Even if I could save the high res maps while at home before heading out, that would work for me. I've been unable to locate a few hidden secrets outdoors before as I just cant see what I'm doing with the poor quality aerials!

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netllama
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Post by netllama » Wed Mar 04, 2015 2:37 pm

DVWanderer wrote:Anybody know of any good phone apps that will pinpoint your location via gps...but overlaid onto a quality resolution aerial image?

I use google earth almost exclusively when navigating around the back country and I love how it'll zero right in to my location. But with extremely poor resolution sat images due to the lack of service most times.

Even if I could save the high res maps while at home before heading out, that would work for me. I've been unable to locate a few hidden secrets outdoors before as I just cant see what I'm doing with the poor quality aerials!
I think what you're looking for is Mobile Atlas Explorer, if you want to create your own maps/atlases:
http://mobac.sourceforge.net

It can generate files for consumption by a very large number of apps, including the USGS stuff.

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hwstock
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Post by hwstock » Wed Mar 04, 2015 9:01 pm

Gaia, and Backcountry navigator (both on iOS and android) allow one to use aerial/satellite photographs. it's pretty easy to make the selection. But you have to pre-cache the photos you want to use for an area, as they are normally pulled off an internet server as needed. That process is simple for BCN, a bit more of a pain for Gaia. The biggest SD cards available now will not hold all the hi-res imagery for the entire US. Both apps allow you to import tracks and waypoints in gpx and other formats. I often cache up to 10000 square miles of maps before a trip.

Even Google maps will let you pre-cache images... but the process is more obscure.

Unless you force backlighting, aerial maps look like mud on a small screen. Lighting eats up battery life.

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