Cell phone GPS

Items that do not fit the categories above.
Forum rules
This forum is for general, mountaineering-related topics. For more details, please see the Terms of Use you agreed to when joining the forum.
User avatar
DenneyR
Posts: 153
Joined: 3/1/2007
14er Checklist (4)

Cell phone GPS

Postby DenneyR » Sat Dec 29, 2012 11:31 am

I've been thinking about a GPS for use when climbing off trail in the mountains. they are all pretty expensive (more than I want to spend)

So I was thinking about a cell phone with ability to pin point and mark locations so I can follow my route, use it to back track if I get turned around or maybe view the best route to my destination.
The other question would be would the GPS on the phone work since on many of the 14er's there is no cell reception.

Does anybody have any experience with this......or maybe I'm off track and should just get the GPS

I basically have no experience with this electronic stuff :oops:
User avatar
dehrlich101
Posts: 528
Joined: 7/9/2006
14er Checklist (46)
14ers in Winter (2)
13er Checklist (19)

Re: Cell phone GPS

Postby dehrlich101 » Sat Dec 29, 2012 12:18 pm

DenneyR wrote: So I was thinking about a cell phone with ability to pin point and mark locations so I can follow my route, use it to back track if I get turned around or maybe view the best route to my destination.


I haven't seen a good GPS app on a smart phone that would give you the ability to pin point or mark locations. I have a running app that will track me along the route but wouldn't rely on it to backtrack. The thing with Cell phones is that when you're using the GPS and internet they will run out of battery faster, add some cold weather and they will be dead before you know it.

I haven't owned a GPS for awhile, and while they are great navigation tools it can still fail on you (Dead Batteries, broken unit, inaccurate). Learn how to read a map and use a compass, then use the GPS as an aid.

DenneyR wrote:The other question would be would the GPS on the phone work since on many of the 14er's there is no cell reception.


Yes, the GPS does still work but make sure to download any maps before you lose reception.


Bottom line - If you definitely want to go the GPS route, I would get a actual GPS. Check out the Garmin eTrex series. They are relatively inexpensive for GPS units.

http://www.rei.com/search?query=garmin+etrex
I am glad I shall never be young without wild country to be young in - Aldo Leopold

Support Colorado Search and Rescue - CORSAR Card

LOJ
User avatar
its_not_a_tuba
Posts: 968
Joined: 8/13/2009
14er Checklist (34)
14ers Skied (1)
14ers in Winter (2)
13er Checklist (4)

Re: Cell phone GPS

Postby its_not_a_tuba » Sat Dec 29, 2012 12:32 pm

I have an App called Topo Maps by Phil Endecott on my iPhone which I love. The nice thing is that it uses actual USGS quads and you can download as many quads as you want for free. It doesn't have full tracking capability but you can drop / import waypoints. I am more of a map and compass guy though so having this show my actual position on a quad map makes for a much better supplement to my in-hand map than a traditional GPS. I download the area I am going to be in and leave it off in my pack most of the time. If I am not feeling confident about my position I boot it up and check my location, much faster and more accurate than trying to triangulate with a compass.
"Wilderness settles peace on the soul because it needs no help. It is beyond human contrivance." -- E.O. Wilson
User avatar
jdorje
Posts: 1483
Joined: 6/16/2010
14er Checklist (11)
13er Checklist (22)

Re: Cell phone GPS

Postby jdorje » Sat Dec 29, 2012 12:37 pm

I use backcountry navigator on Android. I actually think an older android phone - in the $10-50 range - might be better for this, as it would have a weaker processor and longer battery life. Lack of battery life is the biggest issue; one of my Android devices will run for 15-30 hours easily while running GPS but my main phone will only last like 3 hours. This app is perfectly fine for creating very accurate tracks, adding waypoints, exporting to GPX/KML, etc.

As dehrlich said, you have to download maps in advance: how you do this depends on your app and how much storage space you want to use on the phone. And since batteries may die or signal may be lost, it's certainly not a reliable enough tool to trust your life to.
-Jason Dorje Short
User avatar
Roald
Posts: 233
Joined: 7/2/2007
14er Checklist (57)
14ers in Winter (1)

Re: Cell phone GPS

Postby Roald » Sat Dec 29, 2012 2:01 pm

If you have an Android, I strongly suggest the "Handy GPS" app. Last summer I was looking for exactly the same thing, and this one does everything you're looking for. Very accurate altimeter, has an odometer, can both store and manually input waypoints, brings up your exact location on a google map, and best of all does not require cell reception. Also doesn't kill the battery either. Go to Google Play Store and search "Handy GPS".
chrismjx wrote:

Roald, in that one sentence you managed to demonstrate that A) you're an idiot and B) you're a hypocrite, and a perfect example of the cause of the modern-day problems in this country.
User avatar
geojed
Posts: 949
Joined: 6/30/2009
14er Checklist (50)
14ers in Winter (7)
13er Checklist (96)

Re: Cell phone GPS

Postby geojed » Sat Dec 29, 2012 4:22 pm

+ 10000 for Topomaps App.
pbakwin
Posts: 666
Joined: 6/10/2006
14er Checklist (53)

Re: Cell phone GPS

Postby pbakwin » Sat Dec 29, 2012 5:43 pm

Motion X has worked well on my iPhone. Only $0.99 & maps are free.
bob863
Posts: 529
Joined: 8/22/2006
14er Checklist Not Entered

Re: Cell phone GPS

Postby bob863 » Sat Dec 29, 2012 10:27 pm

hmmmm..."handy gps" app ....seems to work OK if you have a valid cell/wifi/gps signal.....I wouldn't trust my life with it....
most smartphones/tablets require a valid cell/wifi signal to be able to gain access to map "data" unless you have pre-downloaded map "data"...

I concur with dehrlich101....become very proficient with map & compass....they will never fail you....
User avatar
jdorje
Posts: 1483
Joined: 6/16/2010
14er Checklist (11)
13er Checklist (22)

Re: Cell phone GPS

Postby jdorje » Sat Dec 29, 2012 11:00 pm

Roald wrote:If you have an Android, I strongly suggest the "Handy GPS" app. ... Also doesn't kill the battery either.

If you want to make a track recording, you need something like 10-second intervals on your GPS data for it to be accurate. This will kill the battery (relatively speaking), no matter what app you are using.

If all you want is to turn on the GPS every now and then and have a map or elevation pop up, that's a lot less battery usage. (All GPS apps that account for the geoidal difference will have equally accurate altimeters.)

bob863 wrote:become very proficient with map & compass....they will never fail you....

Not really true, but using multiple tools is a good thing. Using a GPS will make you more familiar with topography in general, which will help in map/compass situations. (Edit: I'm not saying map and compass are in any way bad. But they are not foolproof any more than tech toys are.)
-Jason Dorje Short
User avatar
DenneyR
Posts: 153
Joined: 3/1/2007
14er Checklist (4)

Re: Cell phone GPS

Postby DenneyR » Sun Dec 30, 2012 8:22 am

Wow......great info everyone. (Not that I would expect any less from the great people on 14er's.com)
User avatar
sam
Posts: 89
Joined: 5/22/2007
14er Checklist Not Entered

Re: Cell phone GPS

Postby sam » Sun Dec 30, 2012 12:05 pm

its_not_a_tuba wrote:I have an App called Topo Maps by Phil Endecott on my iPhone which I love. The nice thing is that it uses actual USGS quads and you can download as many quads as you want for free. It doesn't have full tracking capability but you can drop / import waypoints. I am more of a map and compass guy though so having this show my actual position on a quad map makes for a much better supplement to my in-hand map than a traditional GPS. I download the area I am going to be in and leave it off in my pack most of the time. If I am not feeling confident about my position I boot it up and check my location, much faster and more accurate than trying to triangulate with a compass.


I also too agree with others about the TOPOmap App on Iphone from Phil Endecott. It is great. It works well into the backcountry when I do not have any cel service. I use it pretty regularly and having it place me on a map is great as I can then combine other navigation skills. It is great when I go out of state, I preload the maps ahead of time and delete them when I am done

pbakwin wrote:Motion X has worked well on my iPhone. Only $0.99 & maps are free.


I also use this as well, it is great for creating tracks, which can them be downloaded on Caltopo.com
User avatar
halfdomer
Posts: 16
Joined: 4/16/2012
14er Checklist (34)
13er Checklist (6)

Re: Cell phone GPS

Postby halfdomer » Sun Dec 30, 2012 12:53 pm

pbakwin wrote:Motion X has worked well on my iPhone. Only $0.99 & maps are free.


+1, I use Motion X and it allows downloading maps for offline access

Return to “General Mountaineering Discussion”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: chauck, emersonlamm, mountain_stoke, spiderman, TomPierce, Tornadoman and 17 guests