Cell phone vs. handheld gps?
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  1. #1
    Member doggitter's Avatar
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    Cell phone vs. handheld gps?

    I want something with course mapping ability and the downloading of back country, BLM and Forest Service road maps. I have a Galaxy S3 and it's always with me. Are there apps that will do a real good job of course mapping and such, or is cell just a fail way to go about it?? Loren.

  2. #2
    Senior Member small's's Avatar
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    Dualsportmaps is a good app but its off the market for a few months until a few changes are made. Check out locus. They have a free one and a pro. Dont know if they do all of what you want.

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    Senior Member peruano's Avatar
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    I'm a dinosaur and don't have a smart phone, but my wife does and I wouldn't have the thing for navigation off road. Its my understanding that cell phone gps functions don't work when you are out of cell phone range (they navigate off of cell tower info, not truely off of satellite). Case in point, I went to a wedding at a remote venue recently and navigated there 90% using my old Magellen (auto type), but I had friends (a family of 4 all with a smart phone) who arrived late because they had no cell phone coverage and hence their gps apps didn't work for them. It could be that some indeed use satellite info directly, but there are enough gaps in cell phone coverage in the western US that I wouldn't want something that could not reach the satellite. JMHO. Tom
    BTW I recently bought a Garmin Oregon and love the add on HuntRS chip that came with it for a cool $100 extra. It gives me detailed data on public versus private land ownership for the 4 corners states. (AZ, NM, UT, and CO). For someone who worries about getting shot or hassled for trespass on Mr. Ranchers piddly 40 acres in the middle of BLM land, its useful. Helps me in my rock collecting too (avoid NPS, and Indian lands where collecting would be verboten).
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    Senior Member OSOK's Avatar
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    I think if you're going to do a lot of off-road adventure riding that investing in a good GPS built for the purpose would be the way to go. For just navigating on backroads, I'm personally happy with the smart phone map and just carrying it in my pocket - I stop enough that I can reference the next leg of the trip and just keep doing that.
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  6. #5
    Member doggitter's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by peruano View Post
    I'm a dinosaur and don't have a smart phone, but my wife does and I wouldn't have the thing for navigation off road. Its my understanding that cell phone gps functions don't work when you are out of cell phone range (they navigate off of cell tower info, not truely off of satellite). Case in point, I went to a wedding at a remote venue recently and navigated there 90% using my old Magellen (auto type), but I had friends (a family of 4 all with a smart phone) who arrived late because they had no cell phone coverage and hence their gps apps didn't work for them. It could be that some indeed use satellite info directly, but there are enough gaps in cell phone coverage in the western US that I wouldn't want something that could not reach the satellite. JMHO. Tom
    BTW I recently bought a Garmin Oregon and love the add on HuntRS chip that came with it for a cool $100 extra. It gives me detailed data on public versus private land ownership for the 4 corners states. (AZ, NM, UT, and CO). For someone who worries about getting shot or hassled for trespass on Mr. Ranchers piddly 40 acres in the middle of BLM land, its useful. Helps me in my rock collecting too (avoid NPS, and Indian lands where collecting would be verboten).
    The newer smart phones all have and read true gps, not off of cell service. That factor is also included in my decision.

    I'd love to have a great gps mounted to the handlebars, but that 4-700$ addition isn't likely to happen, and that means if stand-alone happens it'll have to be one of the cheapest models out there. With the operating and features pitfalls of the cheap gps over a good one the choice on cell or standalone gps is even tougher. I loaded 5 mapping/nav apps in the last week on the phone to see how it goes but, like I think you guys are thinking, it doesn't seem like a smooth path to data.

  7. #6
    Member doggitter's Avatar
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    Thinking I don't want a full sized dc plug on the bike for a charge cord, so.. Mini USB Hardwire Cable for Garmin TomTom GPS GA NHWC2 | eBay

    eidt: Hmmm, maybe I'll rethink that space saving decision. I've been thinking of carrying a micro sized air pump and tube repair kit, which will need a dc plug.
    Last edited by doggitter; 01-05-2014 at 10:34 AM.

  8. #7
    Senior Member LittleCowTW's Avatar
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    I personally took advice from a hiking forum and just went with the iPhone with a life proof case. Seems to work fine with custom apps. I use motion x right now, which is apparently for my biking but it gets the job done and allows me to download area maps in advance.
    Persistence is the better part of genius.

  9. #8
    Senior Member LittleCowTW's Avatar
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    * mountain biking.
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  10. #9
    Member doggitter's Avatar
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    I got Forest Service maps downloaded to the phone and got the the software loaded but creating a course here and entering it in the phone has me stumped. Trying to pick the roads on google maps is a pain because every time I turn my head the thing changes my route. When I finally got a path to follow I couldn't get it saved so I could import to phone.

  11. #10
    Member doggitter's Avatar
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    I see Google maps can be saved for offline use now. The directions on how don't follow thru with my phone though.

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