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Thread started 31 Oct 2013 (Thursday) 17:26
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hollis_f
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Nov 23, 2013 05:34 |  #16

DocFrankenstein wrote in post #16473737 (external link)
I have a later reiteration of etrex and GPS phones don't compare in accuracy and locking onto the signal.

All the phones I've had over the last 5 years, or so, have had excellent accuracy. And, with the added clues the latest phones get from WiFi access points, the time for first lock is often much better than my (admittedly old) eTrex.

I find my phone great for intermittent mapping usage. If I'm lost in London, or confused in the countryside then I have mapping apps for both situations. Being able to carry 1:50,000 Ordnance Survey maps of the whole of the UK, and 1:25,000 for much of it, is extremely cool.

But using GPS for logging really does eat up the battery. Yes, power packs will work - if you remember to plug the phone in when it's needed. When I'm on holiday I don't want to be bothered by gear - I want everything to be plain and simple.

My BGT-31 is small (but not so small as to make it unusable - maybe 1/3 the size of my eTrex). It's sensitive (no problem keeping track in its case, in a bag, in a bus). And it's got great battery life.

At the start of the day I switch it on, put it at the bottom of my bag and forget about it. At the end of the day I put it on recharge. If I forget, no problem - the battery will keep it going for over 48 hours (and that's without putting it into battery-saving mode). At the end of the trip I just download the various data files, translate them to .gpx and tag all the images.


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Wilt
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Nov 23, 2013 09:04 |  #17

pwm2 wrote in post #16473661 (external link)
It's just that:
1) I don't need to buy that separate GPS. But I already have lots of power packs allowing me to use lots and lots of phone/pad time without mains or vehicle power to recharge.

2) That GPS that is seldom used must not be forgotten - my backpack always contains a power pack (I just rotate them) and I always have a phone.

3) That GPS is stupid. An attempt at telling remaining power level using a single LED - it just silently stops recording if I miss keeping track.

4) The phone says where the car is, and shows which way to walk to avoid wet ground or similar, allowing use of a cross-country map.

5) With the phone I can look for ceocaches or similar at the same time.

6) When not having to worry about power level, I can also take a backup of my photos without carrying a laptop. A power pack is tiny and light-weight compared to a laptop.

7) Wanting help spotting an object on the night sky - the phone...

8) Sitting under a tree while waiting for a rain shower to end? I'll read a Kindle book.

It's just that the phone alternative works so very well for me that even if I actually own two separate GPS recorders, I never like to use them. I first started to like to use the phone when I switched phone from a Nokia N95 to a Nokia N900. Then switching to a Samsung S II and getting access to the huge amount of Android apps, a separate GPS never felt even close to be an alternative again. Same kit to go to a business meeting, or putting the rain-protected phone on the handle bar of the bike for 6 hours of riding or go for a weekend somewhere without power.

I am not advocating NOT carrying a phone... I am merely suggesting the bulk and weight of battery pack vs. bulk and weight of GPS are similar. Of your itemized reasons 4-8 go away simply because, like you, I carry a smartphone; so continue using the smartphone for reasons 4-8, just don't use it for photo location logging. #3 goes away simply with a suitable selection of GPS tracker...I bought mine about 9 years ago!

Now you're down to reasons 1 and 2, which are very valid issues. But if you remember to bring your photographic kit along, why not simply have the GPS logger part of that kit?! That way, wherever your camera goes, the GPS is inherently there already. Clipped to your camera strap, or in your camera bag with spare battery...takes no thinking at all. Forgot your camera, forgot your GPS at the same time, and with no camera you have no reason to have a GPS along, would you? :)


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pwm2
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Nov 23, 2013 09:15 |  #18

If the phone is already busy running with GPS on, I might just as well let it save the track.


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DocFrankenstein
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Nov 23, 2013 19:29 as a reply to  @ hollis_f's post |  #19

Tdragone wrote in post #16468531 (external link)
All the phones I've had over the last 5 years, or so, have had excellent accuracy. And, with the added clues the latest phones get from WiFi access points, the time for first lock is often much better than my (admittedly old) eTrex.

For cities, with WiFi help a mobile phone will work much better for sure.


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Tdragone
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Nov 23, 2013 22:07 |  #20

DocFrankenstein wrote in post #16475217 (external link)
For cities, with WiFi help a mobile phone will work much better for sure.

True; but like I also mentioned; in National Parks there typically isn't wifi. Or places to recharge a cell phone easily.


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DocFrankenstein
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Nov 23, 2013 22:11 |  #21

Tdragone wrote in post #16475480 (external link)
True; but like I also mentioned; in National Parks there typically isn't wifi. Or places to recharge a cell phone easily.

That's why I carry etrex away from civilization.


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pwm2
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Nov 23, 2013 22:12 |  #22

Tdragone wrote in post #16475480 (external link)
True; but like I also mentioned; in National Parks there typically isn't wifi. Or places to recharge a cell phone easily.

They work fine without wifi. And a power pack containing multiple recharges isn't heavy or large.


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Wilt
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Nov 23, 2013 22:39 |  #23

DocFrankenstein wrote in post #16475217 (external link)
For cities, with WiFi help a mobile phone will work much better for sure.

Good point...and triangulation via cell tower location works indoors, while GPS does not!


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DocFrankenstein
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Nov 23, 2013 23:14 |  #24

I would not rely on a cellphone in remote outdoors though. Sure you can recharge it, but they're generally not waterproof and not very damage resistant.

I always have a map and a compass, but I never want my GPS to just die. A cellphone I expect to die any minute from getting wet or being dropped.


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pwm2
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Nov 23, 2013 23:18 |  #25

DocFrankenstein wrote in post #16475595 (external link)
I would not rely on a cellphone in remote outdoors though. Sure you can recharge it, but they're generally not waterproof and not very damage resistant.

I always have a map and a compass, but I never want my GPS to just die. A cellphone I expect to die any minute from getting wet or being dropped.

Well, I did get me a waterproof and quite damage-resistant one.


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DocFrankenstein
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Nov 23, 2013 23:41 |  #26

pwm2 wrote in post #16475599 (external link)
Well, I did get me a waterproof and quite damage-resistant one.

I'm not saying they don't exist... or that you don't have one. I'm generalizing that most phones are not waterproof.

Is samsung galaxy waterproof? Can I use it with gloves on, skiing at -20? Can I use it in pouring rain? Does it have a lanyard? How much does it weigh? If it's raining and the batteries are dead, can I just swap them and forget it, or do I have to run a cable from battery pack to the GPS? Will the cable short circuit?

That's the type of questions I have for navigation tools. You may have different requirements.


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pwm2
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Nov 24, 2013 00:51 |  #27

I use a Samsung Xcover 2.

It's far far from perfect. The touch gets hard to use when it rains. I will probably test a Sony next time for rain use. But I have been using it fitted to the handlebar of my bike and "collected zones" for hours in the rain.

I'm not sure but I think the weaterprotected Galaxy S 4 Active also suffers from bad touch in the rain.

I don't use a lanyard.

I always have a small, traditional compass hanging in a strap, so if I would need to, I would be able to manage for hours without a GPS.

But all that really is irrelevant since I have never tried to claim that a mobile phone is "the one true solution". What I have noted is that battery consumption really need not have to be an issue. And the better phones definitely competes with any other standard GPS solution. Besides supporting all other things you can do with a modern smartphone.


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DocFrankenstein
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Nov 24, 2013 01:05 |  #28

We agree.


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