anyone using their iphone / ipad for offroad gps nav? - JKowners.com : Jeep Wrangler JK Forum
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post #1 of 26 Old 01-14-2012, 03:34 PM Thread Starter
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anyone using their iphone / ipad for offroad gps nav?

ive been looking at dedicated offroad type nav units like garmin's gpsmap units. i already have an ipad, and the wife has an iphone. i can just add a gps antenna for my ipad and have a full gps unit by using a good app or use her phone.

so the question, is anyone using an iphone / ipad in lieu of a handheld / traditional nav unit for topo maps and navagation tracking? the thing i would love about my ipad would be the nice huge screen.

after a little research the two that look good to me are viewranger and gps tuner. i havnt downloaded either and tried them yet though.
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post #2 of 26 Old 01-14-2012, 03:40 PM
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I would rely on my garmin before my phone anyday!!!
The new receivers in the garmin pick up even in my downstairs apartment with blinds closed..
Iphone/pad needs a clear shot of sky.... or phone service.

If you can hook a antenna to the ipad that might be neat, i would like to check that out.

I use my handheld garmin for hiking ,hunting, biking, boating, everything!!
I just cant get use to the phone gps stuff yet.

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post #3 of 26 Old 01-14-2012, 04:15 PM Thread Starter
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there is a couple of gps antenna "add on" devices that use bluetooth that seem to be pretty good, this one namely...

http://www.amazon.com/Dual-Electroni...=34PHX1IR5C3C8

one review i read was someone was using it in their downstairs basement and still had a signal.

put that baby on the dashboard and keep your phone or ipad inside the vehicle as you go.

it seems the gps signal is rock solid with that unit. the next question is are there any good apps that run well and do a solid job of navigation and tracking for offroad purposes. i know the tomtom and garmin apps get really good reviews for onroad, but i can just use my droid phone for that.
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post #4 of 26 Old 01-14-2012, 04:32 PM
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Cool antenna.
Guess I may have to timer with the iPad.

I have had garmins so long its hard to get away from them.
The updates on mine show dirt roads and lots of other stuff I didn't think it would.
I am working on a downloadable super lift trail guide for our club that frequently wheels there.
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post #5 of 26 Old 01-14-2012, 04:55 PM
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I use a combination of my standard car gps and my iphone. The iphone actually works REALLY well! I use it for geocaching all the time and love it. It's not a super high-end GPS that would be much better, but it definately gets the job done. Just make sure you have a car charger to keep it going.

I use MotionX GPS app from the app store with no other add-ons. You just set the area you're traveling in and can download all the "map tiles" to your phone for that area in advance. That way even when you don't have signal, your GPS will still work on the pre-downloaded maps.

Any specific questions?

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post #6 of 26 Old 01-14-2012, 05:11 PM
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I don't trust anything that relies so heavily on Assisted GPS for accurate navigation. I have a Garmin Legend HCx with Topo and it locks on like a pit bull, runs reliably on 2 AA batteries for 25 hours. Plus, the Navteq maps for devices like Garmin are still more refined than anything I've seen for mobile phones. Just my .02, I'm sure that the iDevices and Droid navigation will get better as time goes on, but they still haven't sold me on prime time use yet.

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post #7 of 26 Old 01-14-2012, 05:38 PM
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I don't have an iphone but when I want an accurate gps signal I use a holux bluetooth gps receiver. The one I have works really good. I bought it years ago b4 gps was popular on phones. Its a m-1200. Works great on the android with a seperate app running. Not sure if it would work for the iphone.
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post #8 of 26 Old 01-14-2012, 05:45 PM
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I had a Holux BT GPS I used to use with my laptop years ago. Those are great units. They utilize SIRFstar III receivers which lock on fast. The Garmin Legend I'm using right now has that same receiver and it works awesome!

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post #9 of 26 Old 01-14-2012, 06:21 PM
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You guys end up needing add-on devices??? The iPhone's built-in gps works just fine for me.

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post #10 of 26 Old 01-14-2012, 07:15 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BrettDez View Post
You guys end up needing add-on devices??? The iPhone's built-in gps works just fine for me.
I don't need an add on but the reliability of the holux is unreal. It holds the sat locks much better than a phone gps can usually within a couple feet in tunnels as well. If I'm dropping crumbs id rather have a sure bet in case it gets darks and need to trace back without cell signal.
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post #11 of 26 Old 01-14-2012, 10:32 PM
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GPS Software for iPhone

I have Navigon for my iPhone and was using it until I got my Rubi with nav. It works great on the iPhone, it compares to the built in. Great 3-D maps.
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post #12 of 26 Old 01-15-2012, 12:32 AM
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I have Navigon for my iPhone and was using it until I got my Rubi with nav. It works great on the iPhone, it compares to the built in. Great 3-D maps.
I don't know which Chrysler NAV unit you have, but I have the RER in my 2010 Rubi. It does well on pavement, but has no off-road maps at all. My 5 year-old bottom-feeder Garmin Nuvi has better off-road capabilities, showing almost all the well-known trails everywhere I've visited, and can accept topo maps.

I've been interested in something for my iPhone but I'm not willing to drop the kind of cash being asked in the App Store without the possibility of a refund if it sucks.

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post #13 of 26 Old 01-15-2012, 12:35 AM
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gps? i just drive around till i find a familiar paved road


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post #14 of 26 Old 01-15-2012, 04:22 AM Thread Starter
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here are the links to the two apps i mentioned in the original post.

http://www.viewranger.com/en-us

this one looks SOLID from just the website and a little bit of reading ive done about it.

http://gpstuner.com/

this one looks good too, but i dont see any ipad option. it looks iphone only.
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post #15 of 26 Old 01-15-2012, 05:04 AM
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Here's the problem I found with the iPhones GPS. As soon as you lose the network, you also lose your GPS. I've tested this multipule times off shore and in the mountains. GPS in the network, but as soon as it drops so does the GPS and it's a major suck on your batteries.

Now in the network it's amazingly accurate. I have the TomTom app and MotionX-GPS for most of my navigation. Off road I usually carry my old Garmin.

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post #16 of 26 Old 01-15-2012, 05:27 AM Thread Starter
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you must be using apps that rely on network coverage. there are several out there (including the tomtom) that allow you to download maps to your device. it will run completely independent of network coverage as it runs off gps signal, NOT your phone companies coverage.

i found this out because im due for an upgrade on my phone. im currently using a droid 1 phone and i dont know if i want to switch to a iphone 4s or get another droid based phone for google's awesome onroad navigation. i found out that google's nav relies completely on network coverage, so as soon as you get "off the grid" whatever your phone didnt cache you get boned. im not too hot on that, but ive really never had any issue for just onroad stuff. for offroad i would never rely on it, however. id spend the coin on a dedicated hand held gps, but i just cant imagine there isnt a nav app out there that works just as well as what a handheld unit will do provided you have a good / adequate gps signal.

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post #17 of 26 Old 01-15-2012, 08:53 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wanderingtrail View Post
Here's the problem I found with the iPhones GPS. As soon as you lose the network, you also lose your GPS. I've tested this multipule times off shore and in the mountains. GPS in the network, but as soon as it drops so does the GPS and it's a major suck on your batteries.

Now in the network it's amazingly accurate. I have the TomTom app and MotionX-GPS for most of my navigation. Off road I usually carry my old Garmin.

Ron
This is completely wrong unless you're using an old iPhone 1 or 2 that pre-dated the GPS. I also use MotionX GPS and whenever I use it there is zero signal for the network. Just like mentioned though, you have to pre-download the maps to your phone. But it'll work to locate you even if you didn't get the maps. However you will not see the map data unless you downloaded it in advance prior to losing signal. I always do this a day or two before a planned trip.

The iPhone's GPS works independently from the network, verified through personal experience many times over.

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Last edited by BrettDez; 01-15-2012 at 08:56 AM.
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post #18 of 26 Old 01-15-2012, 10:32 PM
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I have an iPad 3G (1st generation) that I use for off-road GPS using a program called "Topo Maps" (duh!). My problem is that I have umpty-ump year old eyes and can't *see* those stupid little Garmin or Magellan GPS's! So anyhow, it's had no trouble getting GPS signals while in the outback, and because it's *big*, you can actually scroll around the map and plan things sort of on the fly without having a computer with you. I use a RAM flat surface ball mount with short stalk and iPad holder zip-tied (via 100 pound rated professional grade electrician's zip ties, not the wimpy little things at Wally World/Harbor Freight) to the passenger seat grab bar, which sort of inconveniences passengers but (shrug) they can just cope. Oh yeah, I also put a piece of motorcycle rubber inner tube between the grab handle and RAM ball mount to help protect. All in all, seems to be working well, I've been doing this for a year now and it's never failed to get signal or tell me where I am on the (pre-loaded) map. The only time I've ever had an issue is when going someplace I didn't pre-load, in which case I just have a blank map (duh!) and have to rely on my normal Magellan software running on the iPhone.

I think the fallacy that the iPhone/iPad doesn't have GPS signal when you lose your 3G signal comes from the fact that the built-in Google Maps app has to phone home to the mothership to show you the map. But that app sucks anyhow. All the real GPS apps (the ones with pre-loaded maps) have no trouble operating without a 3G signal.

Note: The non-3G iPad does *not* have a GPS built in to it (the GPS is on the 3G chip).

Note2: I originally used this Topo Maps software on my iPhone. It worked well there too, but the screen is rather small...
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post #19 of 26 Old 01-16-2012, 03:57 AM Thread Starter
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excellent. thats exactly the input i was looking for. looks like ill be ordering my gps receiver and start using my ipad for nav.

thanks for the comments badtux. much appreciated.
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post #20 of 26 Old 01-16-2012, 06:12 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BrettDez View Post
This is completely wrong unless you're using an old iPhone 1 or 2 that pre-dated the GPS. I also use MotionX GPS and whenever I use it there is zero signal for the network. Just like mentioned though, you have to pre-download the maps to your phone. But it'll work to locate you even if you didn't get the maps. However you will not see the map data unless you downloaded it in advance prior to losing signal. I always do this a day or two before a planned trip.

The iPhone's GPS works independently from the network, verified through personal experience many times over.
I've tried it with 2 different 4s's both quit updating GPS as soon as we dropped off the network, no signal, no GPS coordinates. Both switched to no GPS signal also. They stayed right where they lost the signal, no update. Hmmm...

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post #21 of 26 Old 01-16-2012, 06:18 AM Thread Starter
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you may have to tinker with your nav apps? or maybe whatever apps you are using is not designed to work without a data signal?

your problem is in contast with everything ive read about the 4 and 4S gps capabilities, like others have said here. hope you can get it easily figured out.
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post #22 of 26 Old 01-16-2012, 07:50 AM
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Quote:
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I've tried it with 2 different 4s's both quit updating GPS as soon as we dropped off the network, no signal, no GPS coordinates. Both switched to no GPS signal also. They stayed right where they lost the signal, no update. Hmmm...
It's the app you're using, dude. The included Google map app is just a front end to the web-based Google Maps. No 3G access to web = no map. If you were using a real GPS app for the iPhone like Magellan's, you would have seen it continue working just fine.

Believe me, I've been using my iPhone for navigation since 2009 (with the original iPhone 3G), and it works just fine in Panamint Valley, Death Valley, Saline Valley, the Rubicon Trail, the Sourgrass Trail, the Niagra Rim Trail, and everywhere else I've run where there's no cell phone signal. It's all about the app that you're using, you have to actually pay to buy an app (yes, *BUY* an app) that has its own maps built in (or downloadable), the free Google Maps app that comes with the phone is junk and always has been and always will be because of the current feud between Google and Apple.
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post #23 of 26 Old 01-16-2012, 09:33 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wanderingtrail View Post
I've tried it with 2 different 4s's both quit updating GPS as soon as we dropped off the network, no signal, no GPS coordinates. Both switched to no GPS signal also. They stayed right where they lost the signal, no update. Hmmm...

Ron
You said you use MotionX GPS. I also use this program. It has 3 modes of usage, make sure you have the correct one selected. Outdoor GPS mode is the one you want. Wifi/Triangulation mode may be selected on yours which only works when you have cellphone signal. So double check that you have Outdoor GPS mode selected. Also remember that you need to pre-download any map tiles you want to use.

Another note, apparently if you turn on airplane mode, the GPS also turns off. Odd since it's a receive only thing, but whatever.

Let me know if this helps.

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post #24 of 26 Old 01-16-2012, 12:38 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by badtux View Post
It's the app you're using, dude. The included Google map app is just a front end to the web-based Google Maps. No 3G access to web = no map. If you were using a real GPS app for the iPhone like Magellan's, you would have seen it continue working just fine.

.

ok..so BrettDez is using MotionX and badtux you are using Magellan RoadMate USA ? (checking app store on the phone as I type....)


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post #25 of 26 Old 01-16-2012, 12:44 PM
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i dont use it for offroad but i do for on road! the iphone apps are great... "gps nav 2" aka skobbler is what i use religiously... i also use mapquest! they arfe great and i swear by them!

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