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GPS App or Garmin GPS??
  
 
SSISteve
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p.1 #1 · p.1 #1 · GPS App or Garmin GPS??


I plan to do a little trail hiking to waterfalls, etc. and wanted to know for those hikers out there do you use an iPhone app to help guide you or a handheld GPS? Also, whichever you use what are your favorites? Thanks.

Steve



Aug 31, 2017 at 05:18 AM
Bacalhau
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p.1 #2 · p.1 #2 · GPS App or Garmin GPS??


some phones and tablets have a WAAS chipset "https://learn.sparkfun.com/tutorials/gps-basics/gps-glossary", which is short means you can receive a GPS signal fix without wifi or cellular service - however you must download area maps ( or already have then saved to a sd card/internal memory) of given location.

The handheld gps unit does not need wi-fi, likely to have already the maps pre-loaded, and allow to replace batteries on the go

I hike mostly in areas with no network coverage at all, so paper map, compass and dedicated gps are a must.
when in areas with coverage, the web related content that one can get with a tablet /smartphone is very helpful; so if the world had a full 100% network coverage, I would likely hike with a small tablet packing a super-capacity lightweight battery (read holding charge for a week or two without compromises)...one can only dream

ps: leave room for the "10 essentials" in your pack too



Aug 31, 2017 at 04:12 PM
chez
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p.1 #3 · p.1 #3 · GPS App or Garmin GPS??


Bacalhau wrote:
some phones and tablets have a WAAS chipset "https://learn.sparkfun.com/tutorials/gps-basics/gps-glossary", which is short means you can receive a GPS signal fix without wifi or cellular service - however you must download area maps ( or already have then saved to a sd card/internal memory) of given location.

The handheld gps unit does not need wi-fi, likely to have already the maps pre-loaded, and allow to replace batteries on the go

I hike mostly in areas with no network coverage at all, so paper map, compass and dedicated gps are a must.
when in areas with coverage, the web related content that one can get
...Show more

You can preload maps onto your phone and use it for GPS without network coverage.

Personally I'd give the phone a try...it's cheap to download an app and a dedicated GPS unit is just another tech gadget to carry in your pack.



Aug 31, 2017 at 05:34 PM
dsjtecserv
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p.1 #4 · p.1 #4 · GPS App or Garmin GPS??


As far as I know all common smartphones have GPS capability independent of network or wifi connection. There are several Android apps that allow you to download a variety of topo and other type maps ahead of time and then provide robust GPS capabilities, including tracks and waypoints, around that. I have used Backcountry Navigator Pro for a number of years for the purpose. I have never used a dedicated GPS device. I believe there are iPhone versions of such apps, though until now BCNav was not one of them. However, they just announced a Kickstarter campaign for Backcountry Navigator XE, which will have both Android and iPhone versions. You might want to check that out.

Dave



Aug 31, 2017 at 05:56 PM
Bacalhau
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p.1 #5 · p.1 #5 · GPS App or Garmin GPS??


yes and somewhat no.
preloading maps does not work well all sometimes, and gps capability (which in many cases is more of a wording thing than full abilities) is true but in many makers/models dumbed down for cost-saving and increase of data usage.
depends a bit on how much of land/map area you need, your device storage and yes all phones to have gps capability/ability, but not all have a dedicated chipset.
And yes there are apps for offline use, but their accuracy suffers a bit if they don't have the WAAS.
For relatively small areas and within civilization reach, the phone will do best.
Remote countryside, not



Aug 31, 2017 at 06:16 PM
rw11
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p.1 #6 · p.1 #6 · GPS App or Garmin GPS??


phones are not as accurate as a GPS unit, cell towers or not

nothing works everywhere



Aug 31, 2017 at 06:36 PM
15Bit
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p.1 #7 · p.1 #7 · GPS App or Garmin GPS??


How long are you going out for?

Bear in mind that an iPhone chews through battery at a fairly rapid rate (at least mine does), and without some charging option you'll have no GPS and no phone calling capability within a day. A GPS which takes AA cells is limited only by the number of spare batteries you can carry, and you can leave your phone turned off to save the battery for emergencies.

Also, if it's p****ing with rain, a weather sealed GPS is going to fare a lot better than an iphone.



Aug 31, 2017 at 07:04 PM
JohnJos
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p.1 #8 · p.1 #8 · GPS App or Garmin GPS??


I use Gaia GPS and download maps for it. It works nicely on my iPhone.

However, I have a dedicated Garmin handheld GPS and it has been at my side for many years in the outdoors. I have topography maps for North America that I download it it for each trip I'm taking. Works very well in my opinion. But it does not give you an aerial photo view and that can help sometimes. Having both is indeed beneficial at times.

John



Aug 31, 2017 at 08:26 PM
Dustin Gent
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p.1 #9 · p.1 #9 · GPS App or Garmin GPS??


so here is what you do when using ANY GPS app on an iphone/Android. Turn on the airplane mode, turn on location services.

All smart phones nowadays have a GPS receiver built in. They do not use cell phone service. I have earth mate app (garmin bought delorme last year), and it is fantastic!! When i was in the Wind Rivers for 6-7 days last summer, my phone lasted quite a while when using the app.

the app is $30 a year, and you get coverage for all states in very detailed maps.



Sep 01, 2017 at 12:39 AM
jcolwell
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p.1 #10 · p.1 #10 · GPS App or Garmin GPS??


My old Garmin eTrex (Mk I, probably) failed to engage, and so I just bought a new Garmin eTrex Touch 35, plus the US SouthWest microSD map card. I'll let you know what I think about it, in a couple of weeks.


Sep 01, 2017 at 01:02 AM
 

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elkhornsun
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p.1 #11 · p.1 #11 · GPS App or Garmin GPS??


I use a GPS as I find it more convenient with it powered by AA batteries and I would just as soon not have Verizon sending my location data to the government and having a SWAT team breaking down my door in the middle of the night because some computer program determined that my movements were suspicious (happens all the time).


Sep 04, 2017 at 07:51 PM
dsjtecserv
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p.1 #12 · p.1 #12 · GPS App or Garmin GPS??


Bacalhau wrote:
yes and somewhat no.
preloading maps does not work well all sometimes, and gps capability (which in many cases is more of a wording thing than full abilities) is true but in many makers/models dumbed down for cost-saving and increase of data usage.
depends a bit on how much of land/map area you need, your device storage and yes all phones to have gps capability/ability, but not all have a dedicated chipset.
And yes there are apps for offline use, but their accuracy suffers a bit if they don't have the WAAS.
For relatively small areas and within civilization reach, the phone will do
...Show more

Being "within civilizations reach" is irrelevant; that's simply not an issue. Input from wifi and towers is not needed for useful GPS use. I have never had any problem with preloaded maps (when I remember to preload them before getting into sketchy service). They have the same content and characteristics as topo maps and a rather large selection of types and vendors. I have map data for many large areas stored in the phone memory, and even more could be stored on a card. In fact I have moderate-resolution maps for the entire eastern US stored. I sometimes record tracks during plane flights (in airplane mode, naturally), which is an interesting "off-label" application!

At high zoom ratios it is sometimes hard to see the context of the surrounding area on the small screen, but that is even more of a challenge on most dedicated GPS units. The capabilities of the software coupled with the intrinsic GPS functionality have served me well; it was not a "wording thing" that has taken me through off-trail bushwhacks in West Virginia, Joshua Tree, and several other areas. I see no evidence that it has been "dumbed down" in any way that is meaningful for its usefulness for navigation. Other than the downloading of the map data (which can be done at leisure thorough wifi), there is not data usage, so no need to reduce capabilities for that (or any other) reason.

Units with WAAS chips may indeed be more accurate, but I certainly don't need meter-level resolution in order to know where I am or navigate a path through the backcountry. And indeed, I have found the GPS to be spot-on when I'm in the presence of known map landmarks. Ironically, GPS accuracy suffers most in urban areas with interference of buildings, etc.; this is far less of a problem in the open country. Accuracy in the several-meter range is more than adequate, and is certainly far better than what you get with map and compass!

I have occasional trouble in cities and when driving with a delay or failure to lock on to satellites, but, ironically, this has never happened in the backcountry. I still carry some sort of paper map and compass wherever I go, but I have not used the compass in years. Other than the small screen, I have had no real issues with using a phone coupled with a robust app as my primary navigation tool.

Dave



Sep 07, 2017 at 07:56 PM
rw11
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p.1 #13 · p.1 #13 · GPS App or Garmin GPS??


Input from cell towers can be critical for useful GPS use on a phone. But it depends on a variety of factors. I find valleys and canyons to be most difficult for geolocation using a phone OR a handheld GPS.

Back East it is not hard to get geolocation that will satisfy most photogs. Not so for accurate work (scientific or survey work), esp. in the Intermountain West.

This makes sense because they block some of the satellite signals.

In some areas nothing will work for really accurate geolocation except a calibrated base station - and that is why Trimble and others make them.

The only way to know for sure is to try a unit in the area beforehand.



Sep 07, 2017 at 08:34 PM
dsjtecserv
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p.1 #14 · p.1 #14 · GPS App or Garmin GPS??


For the level of usefulness needed for backcountry navigation and photography (that is, NOT for scientific or survey use) I have never run into any restrictions, not have I heard of any location where satellite signals are "blocked" (by jamming interference?). I'd be interested if you could identify any such areas. Would this not also similarly inhibit the usefulness of a dedicated GPS device (which was the original question)?

I never, ever, count on input from cell towers in the backcountry. Sometimes I get a weak signal and can send texts, but I would not count on it for accessing maps, since downloading would be too slow. I doubt that there would be triangulation of multiple towers needed to improve on the location accuracy GPS function alone; and since the GPS works fine when I have no signal I don't know if I could tell the difference!. So I'd continue to question that network connection is needed, or even of any real benefit, for simple backcountry navigation.

Dave



Sep 07, 2017 at 08:50 PM
rw11
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p.1 #15 · p.1 #15 · GPS App or Garmin GPS??


Like I said it isn't a big problem back East - where you are.

It can be in the West



Sep 07, 2017 at 11:23 PM
dsjtecserv
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p.1 #16 · p.1 #16 · GPS App or Garmin GPS??


Not had a problem in the west either. Any ideas of where it can be a problem?

Dave



Sep 08, 2017 at 12:39 AM
Bacalhau
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p.1 #17 · p.1 #17 · GPS App or Garmin GPS??


dsjtecserv wrote:
Not had a problem in the west either. Any ideas of where it can be a problem?

Dave

PNW

cell coverage is quite different among carriers. For example,T-Mobile sucks in eastern Oregon. I guess it depends quite a bit of app used and phone too.
In the end gps it's mostly to track milleage and confirm location against map. The phone often stays in the car...



Sep 08, 2017 at 03:46 AM
dsjtecserv
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p.1 #18 · p.1 #18 · GPS App or Garmin GPS??


We aren't talking about cell coverage, but rather GPS only (airplane mode). I've used it without issue all over the west (including North Cascades).

Dave



Sep 08, 2017 at 03:53 AM
Todd Warnke
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p.1 #19 · p.1 #19 · GPS App or Garmin GPS??


I've had GPS issues rafting here in the west - Green and Yampa in Dinosaur, the Green in Utah, some odd spots on the San Miguel in Colorado. But even then it was seldom for very long, and we still knew where we were (waterproof paper maps are essential as well). That said, I prefer a battery powered standalone GPS. Easier to keep charged, cheaper if you lose it, no temptation to find signal and check email! OTOH, if it's a day trip, a phone with a preloaded map is the easiest way.

Peace,

Todd



Sep 08, 2017 at 06:15 AM
Dustin Gent
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p.1 #20 · p.1 #20 · GPS App or Garmin GPS??


i used the earthmate app last year, and it worked as well as my buddies Garmin e-trex 30x. i did two trips into the wind rivers, among other places (all over southern utah). $30 a year is a good deal i think for a phone app, especially for a garmin/delorme product


Sep 08, 2017 at 02:12 PM
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