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  #1  
Old 13 Mar 2012
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Smart Phone VS Garmin et al as a GPS tool

I contend ,, that Garmin in the past ,, using out dated software,, shoddy workmanship on the units,,mediocre after service and greedy propriety exercise of maps,, have enjoyed many years of monopolistic share of the market. We beat them by using OSM,, now new challenge is on the horizon.

With the advent of the smart phones, which is indeed getting smarter,,,provides many choices of free maps and online resources at our finger tips, without connecting usbs or using their exclusive software ,, can enjoy ,, what is out there on open ,, free and available, for any one. Garmin in general
is becoming less in demand and their financials will hurt as time progresses.

On that note ,, I think as we,, a special breed of riders,, who travel the globe ,, shoud discuss in ernest the merits of the new technology vs old ,,

Software ,,
Hardware ,,
Pros and cons ,,
User experiences ,,
Service problems ,,
The cost ,,

I use and have used Garmin ,, but I am totally committed to Smart Phones.
So you know where I stand.
Please feel free to offer us your insights.
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  #2  
Old 13 Mar 2012
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Reason the Smart Phones Makes Sense as a GPS

One major reason is this Locus APP ,, tried many ,, this is the best IMHO

Locus

https://www.google.com/webhp?hl=en#h...iw=925&bih=623

The choices of maps are truly mind blowing,, With SP,, you can actually go on a hike,, knowing that you have many many hours of battery life,, has GPS tracking ,, such as Latitute APP by Google,, where your loved ones will know ,, exactly where you are in the middle of the Sahara desert. If you don't move a ft for a day,, they will know you are in trouble.

With Galaxy Asia version ,, you can watch local TV for free and host of radio station ,, I usually listen to BBC news, when I am on the road. Or have family go to whereismydroid.com ,, register your SP ,, again exact location ,, even initiate a video from their end.

Durability,,, Can Garmin survive this?
Crash test iPhone 4S vs Samsung Galaxy S II - YouTube

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  #3  
Old 13 Mar 2012
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A few months ago I didn't know what the word app means!

I am eagerly standing on the sidelines of this thread to see what the collective wisdom is. i.e. I don't have a smart phone but these gadgets seem to be all pervasive.
I think your list, below, covers it for now at least because this technology is moving on so very fast.

Quote:
Originally Posted by seouljoe View Post

shoud discuss in ernest the merits of the new technology vs old ,,

Software ,,
Hardware ,,
Pros and cons ,,
User experiences ,,
Service problems ,,
The cost ,,

Quote:
Originally Posted by seouljoe View Post
One major reason is this Locus APP ,, tried many ,, this is the best IMHO

Locus

https://www.google.com/webhp?hl=en#h...iw=925&bih=623

The choices of maps are truly mind blowing,, With SP,, you can actually go on a hike,, knowing that you have many many hours of battery life,, has GPS tracking ,, such as Latitute APP by Google,, where your loved ones will know ,, exactly where you are in the middle of the Sahara desert. If you don't move a ft for a day,, they will know you are in trouble.

With Galaxy Asia version ,, you can watch local TV for free and host of radio station ,, I usually listen to BBC news, when I am on the road. Or have family go to whereismydroid.com ,, register your SP ,, again exact location ,, even initiate a video from their end.

Durability,,, Can Garmin survive this?
Crash test iPhone 4S vs Samsung Galaxy S II - YouTube

Water Proof comes at 12 bucks
Amazon.com: iOttie Waterproof Skin Case Cover Pouch for Samsung AT&T Sprint Galaxy S2 Multi Purpose Protective Skin for Underwater Activity, Fishing, Ski, Snowboarding, Dustproof: Cell Phones & Accessories

Luxury Water Proof at 28 bucks
Amazon.com: Waterproof Tough Hard Phone Case for the Samsung Galaxy S2 i9100 SII European Version: Electronics

Another Water Proof 20 bucks
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Brand New Things
I have looked back through this forum for approximately the past 12 months and there are very few threads that discuss smart phones.
Of those which do there has been only a small response, apart from this
http://www.horizonsunlimited.com/hub...-gps-nav-57025
In there are one or two other recommended apps for the software side of things, and OSMAnd gets a few honourable mentions.

One point made in that earlier thread is that the mapping needs to be available offline; my guess is that all "good" mapping apps have this capability.

But, dumb question of the day, does a smart phone need to have online connectivity for its' GPS to be active?

ps to a moderator; this subject is worth being a sticky
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Last edited by Walkabout; 13 Mar 2012 at 12:08. Reason: Spelling & a ps
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  #4  
Old 13 Mar 2012
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Talking Need to be online to use GPS?

Not a dumb question at all.
Nope ,, Nada ,, it is entirely separate from internet. Works just like Tom and Gar.
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  #5  
Old 13 Mar 2012
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This is a really interesting thread - thanks for starting it.

For me it boils down to the right tool for the right job. The main difference between dedicated GPS units and Smartphones boil down to the underlying tech.

Smartphones will poll the satellite about once a second, dedicated units do it several times per second - this gives a significantly more accurate position amongst other things. Smartphones have batteries that are designed for phone calls etc, a dedicated GPS unit generally has a much longer battery life as it's designed to do just that.

Dedicated units can display maps from multiple sources - paid for and free - and can, via bluetooth, share and connect to a phone in order to share position and updates online via a GSM/GPRS connection. Smartphones can display maps from free and paid sources as well as online sources 'live' - such as google maps. But given the cost of data connectivity outside of your native country I'm not sure about the value of a 'live' map. Certainly an up to date map would be useful.

So for me - a dedicated unit, that is waterproof, hardy (my Garmin Zumo has bounced down the road at 70+ MPH several times and is fine - I dropped my iPhone from my desk onto a tiled floor and it smashed). So why would I want a smartphone, that requires lots of additional software (paid and free) and addition hardware (to make it waterproof)?

Incidentally Garmin are doing very very well at the moment - mainly because they understand that people want the right tool for the right job - there's units for motorbikes, cars, boats, walkers, skiers, airplanes..... all designed specifically to do the job.

I'll put my Garmin Zumo against any Smartphone any day - and it'll win on every score!
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  #6  
Old 13 Mar 2012
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Uk smart phone in Europe?

Hi, sorry no answers just questions, i have never owned at sat nav and have only recently bought a smart phone (samsung galaxy ace). can i access my maps riding from UK to Morocco at no cost? i was considering the option of buying a Spanish sim card but i will also be in France, Portugal, Morocco and Italy.
Any advice appreciated. Andy
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  #7  
Old 13 Mar 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Andysr6 View Post
Hi, sorry no answers just questions, i have never owned at sat nav and have only recently bought a smart phone (samsung galaxy ace). can i access my maps riding from UK to Morocco at no cost? i was considering the option of buying a Spanish sim card but i will also be in France, Portugal, Morocco and Italy.
Any advice appreciated. Andy
I've been reading into SeoulJoes' link, so I know the answer is Yes!
(Don't ask me how to do it though).
This is the locus link as it comes up for t the EU:-
Locus
Interesting capability is in there
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  #8  
Old 13 Mar 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Andysr6 View Post
Hi, sorry no answers just questions, i have never owned at sat nav and have only recently bought a smart phone (samsung galaxy ace). can i access my maps riding from UK to Morocco at no cost? i was considering the option of buying a Spanish sim card but i will also be in France, Portugal, Morocco and Italy.
Any advice appreciated. Andy
Hello Andy

Easiest, slick and free "app" for what your want is NavFree for crossing France / Spain / Portugal / Italy when in Morocco you can use Osmand both require no network to operate, but Osmand does require some effort to learn.
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  #9  
Old 13 Mar 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mattcbf600 View Post
This is a really interesting thread - thanks for starting it.


Incidentally Garmin are doing very very well at the moment - mainly because they understand that people want the right tool for the right job - there's units for motorbikes, cars, boats, walkers, skiers, airplanes..... all designed specifically to do the job.

I'll put my Garmin Zumo against any Smartphone any day - and it'll win on every score!
Have a look at the Motorola Defy -it's survived my better half for over a year now and that includes me driving over it and her ringing me when she's in the shower (don't ask why please).
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  #10  
Old 14 Mar 2012
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UK to Morocco on Galaxy

Quote:
Originally Posted by Andysr6 View Post
Hi, sorry no answers just questions, i have never owned at sat nav and have only recently bought a smart phone (samsung galaxy ace). can i access my maps riding from UK to Morocco at no cost? i was considering the option of buying a Spanish sim card but i will also be in France, Portugal, Morocco and Italy.
Any advice appreciated. Andy
Andy ,,
Go to app market now called Google Store ,, download Locus free version,, then go to google maps ,, save a driving directions under my map ,, then send your self an EM with the driving directions kml attachment and click download in your galaxy em program,, Locus will ask you whether you want to save ,, say yes ,, or in Locus ,, dat,, add ,,,tracks ,,, click my map ,, it will ask you to log into google em account and choose UK to Morocco under my maps ,, you can do this with way points/favourites.

Locus works off line ,, Simply open Locus ,, go to map ,,, download ,, select area ,, high light the area then click download ,, you now have truly offline map,, you can trekk remote corner of Himalaya with confidence now ,,

You have dozen choice of maps ,,

If you like Locus ,, to get more function ,, you pay 3 quid or 5 bucks for the pro version. (But not necessary for basic navigation)

Make sure to go to Harry's Bar in Casablaca ,,,like the movie,,, almost feels like the real thing,, Also golf is great all over Morocco. (Movie was not filmed at Casablanca but at a Hollywood lot)
Food bazzar at Marakeshi ,, amazing.

Last edited by seouljoe; 14 Mar 2012 at 05:32.
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  #11  
Old 14 Mar 2012
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Amazing Offline Maps for Android

All formed ,, constant updates ,,
All free ,,
Google engined ,
Just go to market on your smart phone ,, search MAPDROYD (Use Y)
https://play.google.com/store/apps/d...droid.mapdroyd
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  #12  
Old 14 Mar 2012
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MapDroyd

Hi, loading to my phone now. this is much simplier than i hoped and only possible with your help

Thanks Andy
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  #13  
Old 14 Mar 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by silver G View Post
Have a look at the Motorola Defy -it's survived my better half for over a year now and that includes me driving over it and her ringing me when she's in the shower (don't ask why please).
So far, here we have a Motorola Defy and a Samsung Galaxy (not long ago this G word to this UK user was either a chocolate bar or something in outer space).
But, reading webpages tells me that there are loads of these gadgets on sale with lots of model names from a range of manufacturers - are there any others in use by HUBBers that can be recommended for travelling?


Quote:
Originally Posted by mattcbf600 View Post
For me it boils down to the right tool for the right job. The main difference between dedicated GPS units and Smartphones boil down to the underlying tech.

Smartphones will poll the satellite about once a second, dedicated units do it several times per second - this gives a significantly more accurate position amongst other things.

But given the cost of data connectivity outside of your native country I'm not sure about the value of a 'live' map. Certainly an up to date map would be useful.

So why would I want a smartphone, that requires lots of additional software (paid and free) and addition hardware (to make it waterproof)?

Incidentally Garmin are doing very very well at the moment - mainly because they understand that people want the right tool for the right job - there's units for motorbikes, cars, boats, walkers, skiers, airplanes..... all designed specifically to do the job.

I'll put my Garmin Zumo against any Smartphone any day - and it'll win on every score!
Matt,
+1, It is a most useful thread!

I am not sure how much accuracy is necessary; I used to be involved in surveying, yep, using GPS (to some extent when it was just becoming available), and that goes well beyond the requirements of navigation. As I understand things, the extra pings of the system will refine the precision achieved - not the same thing as accuracy.
Without precision, accuracy becomes an illusion, but navigators don't necessarily need high order accuracy in order to locate where abouts they are.

The availability of "dead" maps for smart phones seems to be mushrooming and I can see the attraction here.
Could Garmin (I pick on them because no one here seems to talk about Tom Tom et al, so far anyway) be running scared of this? My impression from reading this forum and a few other places is that their software is not friendly to the average end-user who just wants to get the result without playing about with the software.
Then, I assume the dead map version can be updated anytime the smart phone is near a free wifi outlet?

This thread evolved from another one specifically about Garmin and I have been put off, to some extent, by their marketing of GPS for such applications as navigation of golf courses. I surmise that Garmin have seen the threat from smart phones and have segmented their marketing to compete.

I still have an open mind about this and I am hoping for a load more feedback.
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Old 14 Mar 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Walkabout View Post
So far, here we have a Motorola Defy and a Samsung Galaxy (not long ago this G word to this UK user was either a chocolate bar or something in outer space).
But, reading webpages tells me that there are loads of these gadgets on sale with lots of model names from a range of manufacturers - are there any others in use by HUBBers that can be recommended for travelling?






I still have an open mind about this and I am hoping for a load more feedback.
Well I've been using an Asus 550 (Vodaphone something or other) for 3 years now - it's my daily phone and has been all over North Africa. It has internet and GPS with a socket for external antenna. It's loaded with Tom Tom as well. Although it's getting a bit slow by comparison to the likes of Samsung Galaxies it has served me very well - the gps is faster than my garmin too.
I have a toughbook in the car that can even use the gps.
It's been dropped many times though she hasn't tried it in the shower.

I must confess to being tempted by the HTC Titan - 4.7" screen and 1.6gig processor running windows mobile 7 . I have an aversion to Google, via android tracking my every move and then selling all that info on but that's for a different forum
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Last edited by silver G; 14 Mar 2012 at 18:05.
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  #15  
Old 14 Mar 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Walkabout View Post
As I understand things, the extra pings of the system will refine the precision achieved - not the same thing as accuracy.
Without precision, accuracy becomes an illusion, but navigators don't necessarily need high order accuracy in order to locate where abouts they are.
That's a really good point there actually... when you're stationary it makes very little practical difference - but when you're moving - even at 40mph it makes a massive difference - especially when coming up to complicated road-layouts and the device understanding where you are on that system and importantly how high you are so it understands if you're going under something, over it, or just to the left of it.

Smartphones get around this like the old GPS units did by 'locking' the path to a defined road - when you leave that road, or you hit a complex layout or the signal drops to just 4 satellites then you get very confusing directions and quite often wrong directions as the device mis-understands where you are.

Signal is an important thing as well. Smartphones have single small antennae that are combined with their GPRS/GSM antennae - these have significantly lower gain than the dedicated GPS devices which have the tech required to capture as many sats as possible and move between them at speed. To deal with the speed issue your phone will use it's GSM connection to determine where you are based on near-by cell towers, but as soon as you turn that off (say because you're in another country and don't want the roaming costs) you'll notice how long it takes to find a signal - this is also an issue around high buildings and even mountain passes - where your smart phone may struggle, your GPS will work.

Garmin software is a bitch by the way - hate it - so hard to use and takes so long to learn. Tom Tom software is very very good and very easy to understand but doesn't allow as much flexibility in terms of using free maps and data.

Here's a review I did of the Tom Tom Rider

TomTom Rider Review | The London Biker

and here's a quick comparison I did with the Garmin and Tom Tom when the Zumo first came out..

Garmin Zumo – Initial Review | The London Biker

It's fair to say that over the last two years I've had the Zumo my opinion has changed.
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