GPS--Most User Friendly?

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Doug Shaw
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Re: GPS--Most User Friendly?

Postby Doug Shaw » Tue Sep 24, 2013 12:30 pm

Somewhat of a Prick wrote:Keep phone in airplane mode, only turn on GPS when you need to use it. I've gone on several multi-day trips with my S3 and never came close to running dry.


In addition to airplane mode, another suggestion is to adjust your GPS poll interval to a longer interval. I use GPS Essentials, which allows you to set a poll time for the GPS - how often the device tries to recalculate its position. I will usually set it to "as fast as possible" to get my initial position when I've just turned it on, then set it to update just once per minute while I am moving. Less processor usage by not repeatedly recalculating your position every second, thus less battery consumption.
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oldschoolczar
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Re: GPS--Most User Friendly?

Postby oldschoolczar » Tue Sep 24, 2013 1:16 pm

Somewhat of a Prick wrote:
oldschoolczar wrote:
bob863 wrote:would it help to know that even if you have a strong GPS signal, you may not have reliable mapping info unless you have a strong signal to your carrier who can provide you with the mapping data??? If you know in advance where you will be heading, you can probably download mapping data into your device which
might help your GPS-capable device figure out where it is....




bob863 wrote:what would you bet your life on??? Technology that only lasts as long as your battery & carrier signal or proven map & compass???


That's why most people who use a GPS device recommend a dedicated unit and not a smartphone. But you should always carry a map/compass and know how to use it!



GPS doesn't use carrier signal, it uses satellites just as your standalone unit does.

Again, keep phone in airplane mode and only flip on GPS when you need it.


GPS smartphone apps that I've seen do use cell signal to download the topo maps/background... so yeah if you haven't downloaded maps prior to your trip or you move into a new area... you could potentially need a signal. Smartphones don't have WAAS or GLONASS (the old Soviet equivalent of GPS) capabilities or 3D compasses or barometers (yet?) so they aren’t quite as accurate as dedicated GPS units that have these capabilities. My GPS also can be dropped off a cliff or into a creek and still work flawlessly. It's way easier to carry and access and I'm also not using up the battery of a potential emergency device (my phone). I’m not afraid to use it in shite conditions because I’m not worried about having to shell out $500 to replace it if I drop it in the rocks like a smartphone. When using more advanced features, making a route, using the compass, etc, I've found it to be way easier on my dedicated GPS. For me, touchscreens seem cumbersome and frustrating in the wilderness.

I don't think most people will get the same battery life that you claim to get. I used to use a Samsung Nexus S for GPS navigation before I got a dedicated GPS. On my Nexus S I was lucky to make it through a medium-length day trip (~8 hours) with only GPS on and screen dim (cell service off). My GPS can easily make it through 4+ medium length day trips… and it’s bright enough to see! The biggest battery consumer on a smart phone is the screen, so if you’re looking at the screen a lot and actually using it for navigation (and want it bright enough to see) you’re still going to burn through your battery fairly quickly.

This is a matter of opinion and how one wants to utilize their GPS.. Having used both, a smartphone is great if you just want to get some stats, save tracks, and compare data. If you’re relying on your GPS as your primary navigation tool (with a backup map/compass of course) then you should really check out a dedicated unit.
Last edited by oldschoolczar on Tue Sep 24, 2013 1:23 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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oldschoolczar
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Re: GPS--Most User Friendly?

Postby oldschoolczar » Tue Sep 24, 2013 1:19 pm

Doug Shaw wrote:
Somewhat of a Prick wrote:Keep phone in airplane mode, only turn on GPS when you need to use it. I've gone on several multi-day trips with my S3 and never came close to running dry.


In addition to airplane mode, another suggestion is to adjust your GPS poll interval to a longer interval. I use GPS Essentials, which allows you to set a poll time for the GPS - how often the device tries to recalculate its position. I will usually set it to "as fast as possible" to get my initial position when I've just turned it on, then set it to update just once per minute while I am moving. Less processor usage by not repeatedly recalculating your position every second, thus less battery consumption.


With a dedicated unit you don't have to sacrifice performance in order to gain battery life. Peace of mind is another big plus with a dedicated GPS unit. I don't have to be constantly worried about my battery flipping sensors on/off and adjusting screen brightness.
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Somewhat of a Prick
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Re: GPS--Most User Friendly?

Postby Somewhat of a Prick » Tue Sep 24, 2013 1:58 pm

oldschoolczar wrote:
Doug Shaw wrote:
Somewhat of a Prick wrote:Keep phone in airplane mode, only turn on GPS when you need to use it. I've gone on several multi-day trips with my S3 and never came close to running dry.


In addition to airplane mode, another suggestion is to adjust your GPS poll interval to a longer interval. I use GPS Essentials, which allows you to set a poll time for the GPS - how often the device tries to recalculate its position. I will usually set it to "as fast as possible" to get my initial position when I've just turned it on, then set it to update just once per minute while I am moving. Less processor usage by not repeatedly recalculating your position every second, thus less battery consumption.


With a dedicated unit you don't have to sacrifice performance in order to gain battery life. Peace of mind is another big plus with a dedicated GPS unit. I don't have to be constantly worried about my battery flipping sensors on/off and adjusting screen brightness.


Yeah but you have to shell out several hundred dollars that not everyone has laying around.

Yes, I'd LOVE a standalone GPS. However my $10 backcountry nav app on my cell works just fine, and just leaving the phone in airplane mode and turning on GPS periodically to do what I need to do A-ok with me. 1/30th the cost and 99% the functionality. I'll take it.
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Re: GPS--Most User Friendly?

Postby jdorje » Tue Sep 24, 2013 3:04 pm

Most phone platforms the GPS will still run if airplane mode is on. I can extend the battery life a lot by turning off wireless and data, or just go full airplane.

A smartphone is a lot more costly than a GPS, sadly. But for most of us it's a sunk cost. Just don't drop it off a cliff.

A map and compass should almost always provide backup if the GPS fails, and your eyes and brain should provide backup if the map fails.
Last edited by jdorje on Tue Sep 24, 2013 3:18 pm, edited 3 times in total.
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Klinger1986
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Re: GPS--Most User Friendly?

Postby Klinger1986 » Tue Sep 24, 2013 3:16 pm

Dancesatmoonrise wrote:
Derek wrote:Used an Oregon for a while now. 4 years-ish?

I think its pretty easy to figure out, especially compared to others I have had. As mentioned, there was no real manual, but with the big 'ol icons, its quite easy.

Battery: The battery (in my view) is great. I use a standard energizer rechargables (not a special kind at all) and a set will last me two full day-trips on average...even in winter. A set in the GPS and a extra set in the pack has lasted all my backpack trips up to 3 days easily. Its crazy, but I'm still using some sets that I originally bought back when I got the GPS! Can't even imagine how many cycles they've been through.

Reception: Excellent. And I have an old version, so Im sure its improved even more since. Had it on +/- 200 summits, many many miles and have lost reception exactly twice. Once in a cave in the LCW (obviously) and once on Mount Glennon just outside Denver. I'm assuming that was a fluke, and it fixed itself within a matter of minutes and never happened again. Sometimes it takes a while to lock on once you turn it on for the first time in a new area, but nothing terrible.

If mine dies (knock on wood - but I have put it through hell) I'd buy another Oregon.

--D


Derek, this sounds pretty compelling. Would you recommend it to an old-school guy who is maybe beginning to think he should have an electronic device in winter, in addition to map, altimeter, and compass - but who can usually figure stuff out including these infernal little boxes with screens? :shock:

Not saying Jim is about to pop for a gps, but does cross my mind occasionally - and the negatives you always hear about batteries, learning curve, dropping signal - these things just serve to keep the idea on the back burner - but ultimately, there could be a gps in my future.... (did I really say that?? :( )

Sounds like yours is nearly ideal.


I honestly was a huge proponent of using just a map and compass until I used a handheld GPS. I still carry my map and compass, everyone should, but I use my handheld GPS more. Honestly, it is much more convenient and produces more data. I can clip it to my backpack and I have easy access to it at all times. It is so much easier than stopping, pulling out my compass and map, and then fighting the elements to gain my bearings. I love that it can tell me my exact location within 30 ft, and my current/avg pace.(This is great for gauging how long a trip will take, and if you have enough time to complete said trip.) I treat my GPS just like I treat a headlamp. I always bring extra batteries, so I don't see that as a negative. If you don't skimp on your GPS, then you will almost always have signal assuming you are not underground.(I don't understand why people buy a cheap GPS. The antennas are normally horrible, which means loosing signal all the time. Why spend the money on a GPS if it only has signal 80% of the time.) I would say the only con to getting a GPS is the learning curve. As I said before, you should always bring your map/compass. I remember back on September 11, 2001 that the United States killed all satellite activity, because of the attack. I also remember several hunters being stranded, because they only had GPS'. Lastly, while the Oregon is easier to use, the Garmin 62 series has a better antenna.(It is also more expensive.) If you have the money to buy a standalone GPS, then I would recommend it.
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