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    GPS or iPhone app???

    GPS units can get speedy, maybe this could be a good alternative...??? I’m looking at the GAIA GPS app for my iphone...anyone out there using it? If so, any thoughts/comments pro or con?

    #2
    Was that "speedy" or "spendy"? On the overall use of a smart phone on the handlebar or control area, my only concern is always what might happen to the phone in a mishap. I mountain bike and would never attach my smart phone to my bike, but that is my situation. Lots of people use their smart phones like you indicate, and they work pretty well for that. I think the only caveat is that one should position the phone in as safe a spot as possible. I've seen some attached to where even the bike tipping over from the sidestand on a sidewalk could damage the phone.

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      #3
      Whether or not to use a phone or dedicated gps depends on what you are looking for out of it

      Probably the only downside to dedicated gps is cost

      Downsides to phone are hard-to-read displays - particularly in sunlight, the phones and their mounts usually aren't' all that rugged, many applications don't work well or at all when you don't have cellular, no sensor integration that some gps's provide, generally poor accuracy in comparison, less flexibility in the data gathering, etc.


      I'm a dyed-in-the wool navigator since long before gps was even started. Started with backcountry map-and-compass and the early electronic nav (ADF's, VOR's, LORAN, etc.). Was a very early adopter of GPS - got first one somewhere in the early 90's (character display only) and strapped a handheld to my moto in '95. A phone is likely never going to make me happy but they suffice for many if not most folks.

      I'm using a really nice unit with an absolutely brilliant 5" display that reminds me of the maxell guy in front of the speaker when it's on full brightness even in full AZ sun. I can set the display to go completely black after a timeout for super dark night time use and it's dimmest is very dim but readable. It's super rugged and waterproof with a handle bar mount that is not only as rugged but the unit snaps in in less than a second with one hand and out with two in the same time. Fit's in my pocket easily. It has every feature I want and gets used for the bike, motos, 4x4, watercraft, aircraft, and yes, even the car. I have a variety of maps for it although on the bike it mostly lives on the data page. Gives real-time weather radar if I have my hotspot on. It connects to my sensors - pedal cadence on the ring so gives me the crank or the motor on those rare moments I'm not pedaling, wheel sensor that self calibrates the wheel size based on GPS over time, temperature sensor mounted underneath the bars, and even a heart rate sensor (real deal strap for the chest) and logs all that, position, and then some at once per second. All that data reads directly into google earth and it's fun to see where my heart rate, pedal cadence, speed, etc. along the entire ride. It was $500 for the unit, new.

      No way I'm going to get that from a phone...

      Click image for larger version

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      • AZguy
        AZguy commented
        Editing a comment
        One thing I've found that is lacking in not just phone based gps but also many consumer gps is that they won't log data at the receiver rate whihc is typically 1pt/sec. They have algorithms that only log a point after you've moved so far or deviated from a straight line some amount but it's definitely far from 1pt/sec. In the bad old days when memory was small and expensive that made some sense but much less so today when you can log at 1pt/sec for days and days and barely touch the memory.

        How important is that? Well most of the time not so much but if you are where the vegetation is thick and things are ambiguous having a point 20m away is too far IMO and since there's little downside to recording them are the full rate not much good reason to do so. The way I look at these things which is admittedly a bit OCD I have no use for units like that.

        Even if I only used the device I have on the bike the $500 is worth it for me but since it is appropriate for and I use it on any vehicle I can better "justify" it =]

        This unit is very solid and been banged around, dropped, crashed, etc.

        The brilliant display alone just about makes it worthwhile. I've never seen a brighter, clearer display on a consumer unit.. like mentioned it blazes even in full bright sunlight and there are very few units that can do it as well.

        It also runs a very long time on the battery. I typically charge it once a week when it gets down to about 50% or so even when I'm riding a lot. I have a spare battery and they did something really cool and made it so if you take the battery out it has contacts for three AA's if you're in a pinch...

      • KennVFRidr
        KennVFRidr commented
        Editing a comment
        Is this the unit your using?
        https://buy.garmin.com/en-US/US/p/53...07-00#overview

        Bright screen and battery life might make it a worthy expense...just have to save for it. Looked at a couple other units on the Garmin site, but battery life was very short compared to this one.

      • AZguy
        AZguy commented
        Editing a comment
        That's the one. It's large but you can see from the picture I posted it's not bad - wouldn't want it much larger. they're decent moto units to if you are still riding the VFR. Not everyone is keen on it. The moving map is slow compared to a smart phone but in all reality plenty fast enough to do the job for me - I do think the folks used to smart phone speeds and touch sometimes don't really get a purpose built navigator doesn't need all that but it's what they're used to. Like mentioned most of the time when on the bike I just have it on the page with all the data fields - pedal cadence, heart rate, trip odometer, speed, moving time, moving average speed, max speed, temperature, time, etc., etc. - for the bike knowing the moving average, moving time and trip odometer are good indicators of how we're working the battery and I've got the batt-man on the other side of the bars that is super good for battery monitoring. I don't need the bafang display at all outside for changing PAS levels.

        OTOH the moving map is brilliant and when you want/need that really nice... nexrad is a plus during our monsoon season (like now)

        You really need to see that display ot appreciate it though. Likely the best thing about it. Battery life is just not an issue. I bought a second one - paid like $30 for it. I have never run a fully charged battery even close to half way on a full day of riding though so it's not really needed - I just keep one sitting at 70% in case I forget to charge when it gets low (never happened) or accidentally leave the unit on when I get home... that's happened a couple of times

        Someday I'm going to get a 48V to 12V and power it and other things form the bike battery but I don't know when I'll ever get around to that =]

        On the moto (or anything with power) the powered mount is very cool and just supplies vehicle power to contacts on the side of the unit so no fuss no muss, just plop it into the mount and it's not only running but charging...

      #4
      Originally posted by TNC View Post
      Was that "speedy" or "spendy"? On the overall use of a smart phone on the handlebar or control area, my only concern is always what might happen to the phone in a mishap. I mountain bike and would never attach my smart phone to my bike, but that is my situation. Lots of people use their smart phones like you indicate, and they work pretty well for that. I think the only caveat is that one should position the phone in as safe a spot as possible. I've seen some attached to where even the bike tipping over from the sidestand on a sidewalk could damage the phone.
      It was meant to be spendy... :-) ...my riding won’t be hard core mountain biking. Downhill will just mean coming back down the mountain, and while I’m sure some time will be spent on trails, likely more time will be spent exploring DNR and FS roads.

      PS: I still have my eyes out for a side stand solution for the bike...

      Comment


      #5
      I'm using the Gaia app on Android, worked great for tracking our route while we explored trails that sometimes disappeared. Click image for larger version

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      • KennVFRidr
        KennVFRidr commented
        Editing a comment
        What type of mount are you using?

      #6
      I'm not using a mount - I either have my phone in my pocket or side pocket of my backpack. Seems to still work fine.

      Comment


      • AZguy
        AZguy commented
        Editing a comment
        Screen brightness is a lot less of an issue that way =]
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