Oct 21, 2010 at 7:43 pm #1264653
@johnbrown2005Locale: Portland, OR
Anybody have good luck using iPhone GPS apps? Just found one called Gaia GPS that seems like it could be useful, on first glance, have not tested it. What are your experiences with that program or any other? Seems like battery life would be limiting step.Oct 21, 2010 at 8:15 pm #1656839
@umnakLocale: Southeast Alaska
I've had this app for about 6 months and it is good off the grid and great on. By off grid I mean it works well outside of cell service. I download the topo for where we will be and the gps puts it on the downloaded map. Doesn't work on airplanes, but then I shouldn't be using it there anyway.Oct 21, 2010 at 8:29 pm #1656843
I really like the Topo Maps GPS app for the iphone. It has free downloads of the USGS Topo Maps and stores them in the flash memory for offline access. It has some nice features for measuring distance on the trail and all of the standard stuff such as waypoints and searching for POIs as well. Here's a good link to their website for the various features of the app:
I've also been happy with the MotionX GPS app but it doesn't have the same offline map integration that Topo Maps has.
Battery life suffers significantly though when using the GPS with any of these apps.
-SkipOct 22, 2010 at 3:52 pm #1657107
@johnbrown2005Locale: Portland, OR
Am trying GPS Kit too, better interface than Gaia GPS, but no MyTopo.Oct 22, 2010 at 5:27 pm #1657133
@jcarter1Locale: Pacific Northwest
I've tried 5 programs, and Gaia GPS is my favorite. This is because Gaia has seamless USGS topos with a shaded-relief overlay, which I find very helpful. It also has a nice screen that shows a customizable trip computer, including total elevation gain in addition to altitude. Finally, it has an easy system for downloading large clusters of topos.
But there are other map programs that have higher resolution scans. And GPS Kit certainly seems to have the cleanest UI. Does anyone know if GPS kit also has USGS maps as an option?
With any program, though, you don't want to use tracking unless absolutely need to; but if you have a full topo map, why do you need tracking if you can always see where you are on the map?
I went on a 4-day backpacking trip with an iPhone 4 this past summer. I removed the sim card (this is the only way to turn off the cellular antenna but keep the GPS on). I checked Gaia GPS 10-12 times a day for 30 seconds to a minute, took a few minutes of videos, listened to about 6 hours of audiobooks, and used the LED as a flashlight for about a minute. After the trip I still had 79% battery life. And I found acquisition times as well as accuracy to be on par with Garmin H high-sensitivity receiver. The GPS in the iPhone 4 is MUCH better than previous models; I would only take the iPhone 4 out in the field.Dec 2, 2010 at 3:20 pm #1670223
@daveheissLocale: Pacific Northwest
I switched to an iPhone 4 a few weeks ago, and I like the multi-function idea of using it as my GPS device. I only use GPS on occasion, primarily to verify my location in situations where there might be some doubt. Maybe one location check a day, if that.
So an iPhone app sounds good to me, but I'm not sure which apps might fit the bill. I've looked at:
Gaia GPS (nice overall package)
MotionX GPS (a bit confusing)
GPS Kit (nothing special)
Topo Maps (good looking maps)
Trails GPS Tracker (very basic)
Have I missed any?Dec 2, 2010 at 7:45 pm #1670319
I've had good luck w/ AccuTerra:
You can purchase shaded, color topos for many regions and pre-cache them. That way you have GPS and a good topo without any cell signal. I'm quite stoked w/it and have purchased many cali maps. I like it a lot for backcountry skiing when you're trying to follow a trail that's covered in snow.
You can also email kml tracks and see rate of travel, elev etc.Dec 28, 2010 at 11:07 pm #1678552
@drewdoty1444Locale: Santa Cruz, CA
I too am debating getting a gamin Oregon series or an i phone4. I need it for the canyons of utah ie. The maze and other areas in the desert. I like the multifunction of the I phone. just curious as too the reliability of the I phone in remote places ( no roads, no reception, no people). Anyone have some real world experience with it in the backcountry? Better or worse than a garmin gps unit? Do they use the same satellites? I am a newbie to gps so sorry for the lack of knowledge.
DrewDec 28, 2010 at 11:29 pm #1678555
@verberLocale: San Francisco Bay Area
iphone 4 has a gps receiver and using the same satelites. It can work in the back country assuming the applications your are using stash the maps rather than depend on real time use of say, google maps. I found that the iphone's performance to lag the the better garmin by a generation or so. That's to say they still get an accurate location fix, but it takes them longer, especially from a cold start. The other issue with the iphone is that it burns through batteries pretty quickly if you want to keep the gps application active. It's fine for spot checking location, but isn't up for a full day tracking your location.
–MarkDec 28, 2010 at 11:39 pm #1678557
@b-g-2-2Locale: Silicon Valley
A dedicated GPS receiver, such as a new model by Garmin, does a slightly better job of navigation compared to some other handheld device that also has a GPS receiver function. The dedicated GPS receiver is typically faster for Time To First Fix from a cold start, has slightly better position accuracy, and will operate slightly better in a marginal reception environment.
Of those slight differences, some users can see them, and some can't.
–B.G.–Jan 19, 2011 at 3:31 am #1685791
For anyone interested in using their Iphone 4 apps while backpacking, removing the sim is not the only way to keep gps working while the phone’s transmitter is off.
The second option is set up a sim PIN. When you restart the phone, you can choose not to enter the pin. This turns off the phone and allows you to use the gps and prolong battery life. I'm doing a test right now with MotionX. I've been running the track recorder now for almost 15 hrs, and the battery is still at 89%.Jan 19, 2011 at 5:29 am #1685804
Maybe I am ignorant as I only have an Iphone 3, but can't you just put the Iphone 4 in airplane mode like with the iphone 3 instead of removing the sim card or using a sim pin?Jan 19, 2011 at 5:36 am #1685806
Airplane mode also turns off the phone's GPS reciever.Jan 19, 2011 at 5:48 am #1685807
Airplane mode turns off all communication devices on the iphone…wi-fi, gps, bluetooth, as well as cellular.
Thanks for the tip on applying a sim pin. I'll definitely be testing that out. I've been so frustrated with motionx annihilating my battery while recording tracks. Never even crossed my mind to pull the sim card or put a pin password on it.Jan 19, 2011 at 8:58 am #1685862
on the iPhone 3 I can put it in airplane mode and still get a gps signal, does this no longer work on the iPhone 4 I take it?Jan 19, 2011 at 11:00 am #1685888
@saparisorLocale: Pacific Northwest
How do you set up the SIM pin?
NM, found it. Thanks for the tip.Jan 19, 2011 at 11:19 am #1685898
@redmonkLocale: Greater California Ecosystem
How are your verifying your GPS is working in airplane mode ? Are you sure you aren't mistaking location data over wifi for GPS ?
My iPhone has no GPS in airplane mode.Jan 19, 2011 at 4:31 pm #1685997
@cobbermanLocale: Northern Colorado
I've been wanting to get an iPhone and am especially excited about its GPS functionality. However, I'm looking at getting the Verizon variant when it comes out next month. Without a sim card to pull out or disable via PIN, will there be another way to disable the cell functions to prolong battery life? I was thinking airplane mode would work but maybe that's changed with iPhone 4.Jan 19, 2011 at 5:08 pm #1686007
To prevent the phone from trying to access either a wifi network or the 3g network, is there any difference between taking out the SIM card and simply shutting off the wifi and data connection through the settings? I believe this shuts off all connections, but leaves the GPS chip functioning. Am I missing something?Jan 19, 2011 at 5:16 pm #1686011
@redmonkLocale: Greater California Ecosystem
The cellular network. Your phone will drain your battery very fast looking for a cellular network to make and receive calls.
I can turn off 3G, and cellular data, and still have "five bars" of signal from ATT.
If I wander outside of cellular coverage, my phone will drain the battery quickly hunting for a cellular signal.Jan 19, 2011 at 5:21 pm #1686014
Ah. I forget that a simple cellular network and 3G are different things.Jan 19, 2011 at 7:30 pm #1686072
Can't you turn off individual components if you jailbreak an iphone? There may be other programs available that allow you to manage these components that are not in the App Store.Jan 19, 2011 at 9:01 pm #1686103
Its possible. I'm not up on the latest jailbreaking technology, but last I checked, the latest iPhone 4 update was't breakable yet.Jan 20, 2011 at 3:39 am #1686150
I believe that if you are running something lower than IOS 4.2 you can jailbreak (mine is 4.1 and jailbroken). 4.2 will likely happen in the near future.
I have seen some apps that allow you to customize the toggles, and that might be a way to add a GPS on/off toggle, but I have seen nothing that allows you to do it simply. If someone knows of one, please let us know.Jan 20, 2011 at 7:12 am #1686183
How do you set up SIM pin lock/unlock on iPhone 4 that has a locked SIM from AT&? Only three attempts to unlock allowed.
You must be logged in to reply to this topic.