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Thread: iPhone GPS App??

  1. #1
    Member cod's Avatar
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    Default iPhone GPS App??

    I'm looking for a good IPhone GPS App that will work in the backcountry where there is no cellphone coverage. I don't need or want one that seems to be geared towards road/driving directions. I'm thinking backcountry, maybe topography related. Most of what I'm seeing on my browsers is heavily weighted to driving directions. Any help would be appreciated.
    Your sarcasm is way, waaaayyyyyyyy more sarcastic than mine!

  2. #2
    Member Team Kabob's Avatar
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    None, you need cell signal for iPhone's to work.

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    Member Erik in AK's Avatar
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    Motion X.

    You're welcome.
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    Member cod's Avatar
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    Not true from a reliable source. Heard from lodge owner there is one that works (obviously) off satellites. Remember, iPhone is really more computer than phone. GPS itself is just computer to satellite.
    Your sarcasm is way, waaaayyyyyyyy more sarcastic than mine!

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    Member cod's Avatar
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    Erik. Thanks. Motion x was one I read about. Seemed it was geared more to driving/roads. What's your experience w it in backcountry? Use it much??
    Your sarcasm is way, waaaayyyyyyyy more sarcastic than mine!

  6. #6

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    Gaia GPS. 10 bucks. Topographic. (if you get it PM and I will tell you how to setup alaska topographic maps)

    The GPS (any GPS) works without a cell connection but you have to save off your map area before you go out of cell range (or the map won't be visible because you don't have a data connection.)

    Another one that is FREE is PDF Maps. You down load a hi res scan of the acutal Survey topo map (Like Anchorage B-7) and then you can turn on GPS and it will put you on the map. All the local survey topos are free in that app.

  7. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by Team Kabob View Post
    None, you need cell signal for iPhone's to work.
    That used to be the case, but not any longer. You just have to use an app that you can download the maps for the area you will be in ahead of time. The reason it seems that iphones won't work is that most of the map programs require a cell signal to download the maps, otherwise it just shows a dot in the middle of nowhere. As long as you have a program to download the maps ahead of time, you are good to go.

    The one big drawback to consider when deciding to use your iphone as a GPS in the wilderness is the battery usage. GPS functions really suck the battery life quickly and most don't have a way to recharge when out and about. If you have a method to recharge or are just planning to use it sparingly, great, but if you are intending more extensive use and/or don't have a way to recharge, I would really suggest getting a dedicated GPS for your outdoor adventures, one that uses regular batteries that you can swap out during the trip.

  8. #8
    Member cod's Avatar
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    Thanks Skier and Jeeper. It's as I suspected. My snowmachine has 12 v plug ins so I could plug into power if needed for power draw down. However, I think i'ld be good for my day runs from home. I'll do some research on your suggestions and see what looks good.
    If you guys can give what you have found as pros or cons I would appreciate your input. My IPhone has been helpful but I'm told once one gets back in the hills on homer side cell coverage goes away. I have a garmin sport 76 but find it a bit of a hassle to use. Plus I don't have a topo map on it. I probly should plug it into my PC and see if it uploads any mapping. I've had it a number of years now but have been reluctant to plug it in for fear of losing stored waypoints etc. ( as I read something about that possibility in its brochure).
    At least my iPhone has a topo map and a blue blinking lite to let me know where I am. And I easily can drop a pin for locations.
    Your sarcasm is way, waaaayyyyyyyy more sarcastic than mine!

  9. #9

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    As mentioned, you don't need cell coverage for GPS to work.

    if you have a twelve volt plug in your battery issues are not issues.

    download some apps to your phone and check them out. Most have free trials.

    i have found the iPhone is much, much faster than my older gps unit.....

  10. #10
    Member Erik in AK's Avatar
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    Works great. I tracked my travels at ACL and they're way out of cell range.
    If cave men had been trophy hunters the Wooly Mammoth would be alive today

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    Member cod's Avatar
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    Last nite I downloaded the PDF Maps app. I loaded up about 5 topo maps on my phone from it. My blue blinking lite that shows one's location is off a bit. It shows me on one side of the river when I'm actually on the other. One other thing I noticed is that I miss the 'satellite' view. To bad they don't have an overlay topo lines (contour lines) on a satellite view. Oh well. Can't have it all. ( or can u?). It is a bit difficult to see your overall location on such a small screen, but it is what it is. As u zoom out to see where u are in the big picture it's pretty hard to see the contour lines.
    I still will take a gander at Gaia as suggested. As a freebie, PDF Maps can't hurt to have on the phone. So thanks for the heads up on that one. At least a guy has a blue blinker on an actual map instead of a blank screen.
    Your sarcasm is way, waaaayyyyyyyy more sarcastic than mine!

  12. #12

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    once you get a position walk a few steps in one direction till your indicator moves or moves a couple of times. that will help get a more accurate fix.

    Also, just zooming way, way in will align your position better on the map.

  13. #13
    Member cod's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cjjeeper View Post
    once you get a position walk a few steps in one direction till your indicator moves or moves a couple of times. that will help get a more accurate fix.
    Also, just zooming way, way in will align your position better on the map.
    Tried the suggestions. Still off as before. Post Office in town is on the wrong side of the road, too. The maps probably just arent calculated quite right but still it would give me a fairly accurate idea as to where I was. The PDF maps will definitely be a help. I havent researched Gaia yet.Thanks.
    Your sarcasm is way, waaaayyyyyyyy more sarcastic than mine!

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    Are the map and the phone using the same GPS datum? Maybe the map is NAD 27 and the phone is using WGS 84. That would throw things off a hundred feet or so.

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    Member polardds's Avatar
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    You can buy a blu tooth gps satellite receiver. We use them in aviation. (http://www.amazon.com/Dual-Electroni.../dp/B004M3BICU) That will give you an accurate gps fix to whatever app you want to use. You could mount it to your handle bars easily.

  16. #16
    Member cod's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by NRick View Post
    Are the map and the phone using the same GPS datum? Maybe the map is NAD 27 and the phone is using WGS 84. That would throw things off a hundred feet or so.
    Interesting. I reviewed the PDF maps and noticed they are all slightly tilted to the counterclockwise position on the screen. ( probably to adjust for earth curvature?). I also noticed these words on the bottom of the PDF maps along with the other pertinent information. "Horizontal Datum....1927 North American Datum". And also, perhaps my 'position being off' solution/situation. It says...."To place on the predicted North American Datum of 1983, move the projection lines as shown by dashed corner ticks 70 meters North and 122 meters east."
    Sounds like that must be the adjustment I need to make. Agreed? I would say that is the approximate error I'm seeing on the phone. I would just have to keep in my mind that approximation. The 2 places I checked (my home and the PO) both were off by that much and in the same direction.
    Your sarcasm is way, waaaayyyyyyyy more sarcastic than mine!

  17. #17
    Member cod's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Erik in AK View Post
    Works great. I tracked my travels at ACL and they're way out of cell range.
    thanks Erik. What is "ACL" and what kind of map comes up with it? Satellite, contour, hybrid?
    Same question for U, pollard... What kind of mapping comes up with your device?
    and why would u need another 'device' (Bluetooth) if .... 1. You already have a GPS. OR 2. You have a downloaded and stored (PDF map) on your iPhone.
    Jeepers..... I'm assuming the PDF maps download will ALSO turn my iPhone into a GPS unit that 'works off satellites, right?? I'd hate to get lost out of cell phone range, go to my iPhone PDF mapping and THEN find out I have no blu blinking lite cuz I can't get cell tower OR satellite.
    Your sarcasm is way, waaaayyyyyyyy more sarcastic than mine!

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    Avenza PDF Maps. What a great free app. Way easier to use than we have any right to expect from a freebie. Thanks for the heads up cjjeeper. Plenty of topo maps covering what appears to be all of alaska, including Barrow and more detailed options for the Kenai Peninsula. The ability to store maps on the device is extremely helpful. The maps cover 13 x 17 sq miles about on the larger topo's at 2 mb and slightly smaller more detailed topo maps at 2 to 3 mb. Most of the topo's if not all are 1:24,000.

  19. #19

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    Quote Originally Posted by BRWHUNTER View Post
    Avenza PDF Maps. What a great free app. Way easier to use than we have any right to expect from a freebie. Thanks for the heads up cjjeeper. Plenty of topo maps covering what appears to be all of alaska, including Barrow and more detailed options for the Kenai Peninsula. The ability to store maps on the device is extremely helpful. The maps cover 13 x 17 sq miles about on the larger topo's at 2 mb and slightly smaller more detailed topo maps at 2 to 3 mb. Most of the topo's if not all are 1:24,000.
    welcome!

    I like that app too.

  20. #20

    Default not perfect...yet

    Quote Originally Posted by cod View Post
    thanks Erik. What is "ACL" and what kind of map comes up with it? Satellite, contour, hybrid?
    Same question for U, pollard... What kind of mapping comes up with your device?
    and why would u need another 'device' (Bluetooth) if .... 1. You already have a GPS. OR 2. You have a downloaded and stored (PDF map) on your iPhone.
    Jeepers..... I'm assuming the PDF maps download will ALSO turn my iPhone into a GPS unit that 'works off satellites, right?? I'd hate to get lost out of cell phone range, go to my iPhone PDF mapping and THEN find out I have no blu blinking lite cuz I can't get cell tower OR satellite.
    Cod, yes your phone will work without a cell tower connection as a gps unit.

    If you leave your app up it will track on the phone, but that uses power. If you need to conserve power close the app or switch to another one.

    If you turn cellular off the gps will not work. The phone has gps circuitry but it requires the cellular to be on (cannot be in airplane mode.) Obviously this is a drain as it is searching for a cell tower in the back country so you have to keep that in mind also.

    Big picture, you may need to consider either an extra battery pack for your phone or a separate gps. (i know that is a downer). But be aware you have to manage the power draw on your phone or you will be up a creek without a gps.

    For day trips its okay (depending on your phones battery age, conditioning etc) but if you are out more than a day you need to plan wisely how often you power up to get way points or check location.

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