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Thread: Phones vs dedicated GPS units

  1. #1
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    Question Phones vs dedicated GPS units

    Near the end of 2009, I had asked the question of whether or not the days of the dedicated GPS was numbered. I'm curious if anyone's opinion has changed in the interim. I was in the area this past July and am of the opinion that the new phones improved battery life to render the dedicated GPS obsolete on single day excursions.
    Every landscape which is dreary enough has a certain beauty to my eyes, and in this instance
    its permanent qualities were enhanced by the weather. H.D. Thoreau

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    My feeling is that a dedicated GPS is still better to use on day or overnight hikes, especially when deep in the mountains and forest where cell service is limited or non-existent. I've tried using my iPhone and the Google Maps app, but without data, maps can't render. I know the app now caches map areas, but have not tried that yet. On shorter hikes where data service is always available, and I'm not concerned about loosing 30 to 50% of my charge, I do like using the NeoTreks GPS app. But, on regulars hikes, I do prefer bringing my little Garmin Dakota 20. It gives about eight hours of use with just two AA batteries, and carrying a few extra doesn't add any weight to the pack.
    Bob

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    I just recently bought a new GPS to replace my progressively failing older one. I have far better luck getting signal with the GPS than I do with my phone. Of course I still have a flip phone instead of a smart phone (even though I am a software engineer). I dislike using a phone enough (and use it little enough) that I can't justify spending more than the $10/month I do for simple phone service. As I said, I find the GPS has a better signal in the mountains and the batteries can last quite a while. Plus when they die, I can just put in new ones and go for another full day. Not many options for doing that with a phone without buying a solar charger or something.

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    I had a flip-phone until about a year and half when I broke down and purchased one with a (at the time) ginormous battery (3300 mAh) that's supposed to last at least 17 hours of constant yakking or about 3 to 4 days of mixed use although I doubt I would achieve this amount of longevity in areas where cell phone coverage was weak. I have an older Garmin eTrex Legend series GPS which I wouldn't leave at home if I was on a overnight trek just because of its longevity and the ease of replacing the battery. My biggest gripe regarding these older GPS units concerns the exchange of data from the GPS into another program, such as Google maps. Perhaps this inability is caused more by my lack of technical prowess than by the GPS and/or available software.

    BTW, Adam, How were you able to create the trip map and elevation profile from the last day of your Pemigewasett loop. I'm quite impressed by that.
    Every landscape which is dreary enough has a certain beauty to my eyes, and in this instance
    its permanent qualities were enhanced by the weather. H.D. Thoreau

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gorque View Post
    BTW, Adam, How were you able to create the trip map and elevation profile from the last day of your Pemigewasett loop. I'm quite impressed by that.
    My current GPS is a Garmin 64s, but my old one was a Magellan Explorist 300. Along with the Magellan GPS, came their software Vantage Point. It has been updated a couple times since I first installed it, and while it has features/limitations that I don't like, it has many I do like too. Even now, I keep all of my hikes in there for viewing and information. One of the features that it has is exporting a track as a Google Earth file (.kml). I do that and then open it in Google Earth. I then show the profile (under the Edit menu I think) and move the map around to the way I want. Then it's just a mater of a screen shot and cropping that down. The software allows me to import tracks from various formats and also export them in various formats as well. I'm not sure if they still have the software for download on their site or not.

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    I prefer to use my GPS over my iPhone. As a geocacher, I find the GPS to be a lot more accurate when it comes to getting precise coordinates over the iPhone. And when I'm deep in the woods, the GPS keeps ticking while the I have almost no service with the phone.

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