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Looking For Simple GPS Unit?

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Re: Looking For Simple GPS Unit?

Postby AlmostThere » Sun Mar 19, 2017 10:26 am

I know you're not -- I'm always mindful of conversations on here being public, tho, and I've seen a lot of people jump to confessing how they only use a GPS because it's the bee's knees. That goes against the cases of people following them off a cliff and needing to be shorthauled off a ledge by a chopper, and I feel I need to put in the case for having the failsafe there.

I actually reviewed a GPS phone app, Viewranger - some of the apps are getting real close to being similar to the standalone GPS in functionality. And Viewranger's last update lets me take a picture with the phone and tag it with the UTM coordinate, so I'm starting to use it not for navigation but for trail crew -- taking a picture and tagging the coordinate so when we come back we have the correct tools to take out the fallen trees or re-establish tread.



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Re: Looking For Simple GPS Unit?

Postby LMBSGV » Sun Mar 19, 2017 12:20 pm

Almost There, thanks for the Viewranger recommendation. It looks better suited to my possible uses than the other Android software. Since I've been navigating by paper maps for over 40 years, I might look at Viewranger once or twice an entire trip, but since I'll be carrying the phone anyway, I can't see a downside.
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Re: Looking For Simple GPS Unit?

Postby Tom_H » Sun Mar 19, 2017 1:42 pm

rlown wrote:How long does your battery last and how often do you turn the unit on?


Russ' question is very important. A battery in a phone is not like a long lasting battery in a GPS unit. Even then, any battery can fail.

AlmostThere is correct, these conversations are public, and for the many others who may read this, one should never go into the wilderness depending solely on GPS. They fail. Batteries fail. These things should only serve as a complement to map and compass skills.
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Re: Looking For Simple GPS Unit?

Postby AlmostThere » Sun Mar 19, 2017 3:18 pm

One good thing that Apple did was to change the OS to allow the GPS chip to operate while the phone is on airplane mode. That vastly extends the life of the battery over what it used to be. But after doing an experimental track on Viewranger on a day trip, it still ate half the life of the battery to keep it running and take occasional pictures. The additional charging devices I've seen to charge phones via USB cables are not going to let you keep it charged more than a few days, and solar panels may do some charging but they aren't as effective/reliable as the second battery/device option.

I still take a point and shoot camera. The batteries are much lighter and last much longer than the phone battery. The GPS units that take AA or AAA you can easily pack a set of batteries per day/two days (however long your unit lasts, I have a Magellan that we're lucky to get 6 hours out of a pair of AA batteries) and be careful about turning it off when you stop for the day.
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Re: Looking For Simple GPS Unit?

Postby rlown » Sun Mar 19, 2017 3:23 pm

And Lithium batteries last longer than alkaline AA/AAA in the cold. My Samsung S4 will stay charged for about 10 hrs of normal use. A lot longer in "Airplane" mode. Either way, my batteries usually sleep with me when not in use. My Rino 530 GPS will last 8 days but that's only sporadic use.
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Re: Looking For Simple GPS Unit?

Postby AaronRDavis » Sun Mar 19, 2017 7:27 pm

Using Gaia on my iPhone 7--maybe 10-15 times per day, plus taking 10-20 pics per day, I can get around 5 days on a full battery. This is with the phone on Airplane mode. I bring a backup battery brick if I plan heavier use.
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Re: Looking For Simple GPS Unit?

Postby sambieni » Sun Mar 19, 2017 7:33 pm

I was thinking of a GPS last year and then came across this blog post. I followed it and worked like a charm for using my IPhone, plus managing/extending battery life:

http://www.adventurealan.com/iphone-gps ... ckpacking/

I have no idea who this blogger is; maybe some of you do.
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Re: Looking For Simple GPS Unit?

Postby Snowtrout » Mon Mar 20, 2017 9:00 am

Insaneboost, if you still want a dedicated GPS unit, I have a Garmin Etrex 30 I am getting ready to sell. Great little unit and you can add a map chip to it. PM me if you are interested.
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Re: Looking For Simple GPS Unit?

Postby Bill21 » Tue Apr 04, 2017 11:29 pm

I have owned several different GPS handhelds since the 90s. I have an etrex 30x. Last season I started using Gaia on my iPhone. I don't think I can say which is simpler or easier since it does depend a bit on you and I can list strengths and weaknesses on both from a usability standpoint. I don't think you would go wrong on either one. Do plan to spend hours familiarizing yourself on finding maps, downloading maps, and getting to know the machine. Get to know whichever you pick. The etrex i'd rank as more rugged than my iPhone in Otterbox case.
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Re: Looking For Simple GPS Unit?

Postby ericZ » Thu Jul 06, 2017 5:19 pm

This subject has piqued my interest today, before finding this thread. One thing I've read is that with an iPhone, you can not only switch to airplane mode, but go into the battery options and turn on low power usage. I've known about airplane mode, but low power mode is new to me.Those two options can really help conserve battery life i've read.

eric
fresno, ca.
Last edited by ericZ on Fri Jul 07, 2017 9:09 am, edited 1 time in total.
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