Cell phone GPS

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Re: Cell phone GPS

Postby dsunwall » Sun Dec 30, 2012 1:46 pm

I used Backcountry navigator on my old Droid, although it worked ok battery life and speed were hangups. I had 4 spare batteries but changeing them often was too time consumeing for me, I went back to useing a Garmin. I tried it agian with my new phone, a Samsung Galaxy S3, and have been very happy with using it for GPS, camera and phone. Battery life has been excellent, I've tracked for 16 hours straight on one battery. Airplane mode on and bluetooth off were the only settings I changed. Backcountry does have a setting for how often it records a data point, I might get even more life by increasing this time. You do need to download the maps ahead of time but that goes quick. Topo maps, satelitte images, road maps, several options to choose from. The map view is outstanding, much better than any GPS I have had.

It did take me a long time to get used to operating it, I think mostly because it is so much different than the Garmins I was used too. All the extra features do add to the complexity but do make it more powerful than a stand alone GPS, like the camera feature when makeing a waypoint, which of course links a photo you take at location to the waypoint. It will import and export GPX and KMZ files. Creating and handling these files and waypoints were confusing to me, the menu system seems wierd but I've got it figured out.

I do have one extra battery and will probably get one or two more, one per day out seems to work well, I change the battery in the tent before each new day. If I didn't want to track a full day every day I could of course get by with fewer batteries. I have an Otterbox that I added a tether too so I don't worry about dropping it on steep slopes, the slim design is not favorable for one handed photo shooting but I do have a technique that works.

I also like haveing all my photos geotagged, most point and shoot camera's do not have this feature. the one camera I do have with GPS does not geotag acurately enough for my likeing. A smartphone GPS seems to be very accurate.

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Re: Cell phone GPS

Postby shearmodulus » Sun Dec 30, 2012 5:55 pm

https://buy.garmin.com/shop/shop.do?cID=145&pID=87768

Etrex. $109.99 You can download the GPS routes from 14ers.com and upload to the GPS via USB. I used this system's predecessor (the eTrex Legend) in Iraq. It's simple, rugged and doesn't use up the batteries quickly.

I use a GPSMaps 62s with pre-loaded TOPO maps and routes but I'm a GIS dork and begged for it for Christmas one year.

But agree with all the above that a Map and compass are your primary tools. If you can't use those, GPS won't help you. It might actually make things worse.
"Roads? Where we're going, we don't need roads...."

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Re: Cell phone GPS

Postby pseudoghost » Sun Dec 30, 2012 6:13 pm

There are some great apps out there for cell phones, just make sure that it works offline: some of them do not.

Does anyone know if any of these apps allow you to put the phone into a battery conservation mode, where the GPS/phone is turned off, but periodically wakes to refresh it's status and then goes back to sleep? I imagine that would greatly prolong the battery life of the phone... But haven't been able to tell if any app supports it yet.

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Re: Cell phone GPS

Postby sam » Sun Dec 30, 2012 6:25 pm

pseudoghost wrote:Does anyone know if any of these apps allow you to put the phone into a battery conservation mode, where the GPS/phone is turned off, but periodically wakes to refresh it's status and then goes back to sleep? I imagine that would greatly prolong the battery life of the phone... But haven't been able to tell if any app supports it yet.


With the topomap app, I leave my phone off-(airplane mode on for Iphone), then when I want to know my location, I turn the phone on, open the app and let the GPS search for a moment then it plots me on the map (and gives me coordinates of my current location). I then take that location, plot myself on the 7.5 paper map, then off I go. I have used the phone this way for upwards of 4 days out in the backcountry

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Re: Cell phone GPS

Postby dfrizzle » Sun Dec 30, 2012 7:03 pm

+1 for Backcountry Navigator Pro (BNP) on Android phones. I used it with my old LG Ally and have it still with my Razr Maxx. Phone on airplane mode, gps on, wifi/bluetooth off and like a couple others have said, plenty of battery for one day. For multiple day trips, I use a rechargeable burton battery and hook it up to recharge my phone overnight. BNP takes a little getting used to but is phenomenal with a variety of good, free maps to download and use. Some of the maps have trails on them too, which I've found to be mostly accurate. Save yourself some dough if you have a decent smartphone and make it pull double duty!
One foot in and one foot back, but it don't pay to live like that.
So I cut the ties and I jumped the tracks, for never to return.

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