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Old 04-18-2012, 10:52 AM   #1
ruffntuff OP
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Iphone or GPS?

Does anyone have any thoughts on the best/easiest/most reliable/durable way of navigaing on a bike trip from Virginia to Alaska and back? I've been looking into the Iphone but since it's not made for exposure to the elements I'm not sure it would be a good idea...plus not sure about how good service will be in BC. Also, i'm a total technology idiot so too many bells and whistles freak me out. I've never used a GPS, so I have no idea what to look for in that department either.
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Old 04-18-2012, 11:01 AM   #2
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From my point of view, if you're going to be in service range most/all of the time - why not? I have an Android which I can listen to music and get audible directions to my Scala G4. You could have it powered in a tank bag or even in a pocket. I've been looking at GPS units all morning and I think I am going to get a Garmin Montana for the backcountry road thing (if I don't just use a paper map), then my phone for navigation while on the road.
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Old 04-18-2012, 11:26 AM   #3
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droid does. I have the EVO since it came out. I use it for GPS and music. Whatever phone you go with, if you do, make sure it has real GPS and not the Agps, which just uses towers to triangulate position.

oh, and dual sport maps dot com has an android app for backcountry stuff too.....
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Mention to HogWild which way the wind is blowing where you're at, wait 20 minutes, and he'll post a picture of the intersection your at and a Google Earth route of how to get there.
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Old 04-18-2012, 12:00 PM   #4
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both?

Maybe both, for redundancy? Some handheld units (I got a Garmin 60csx) are a bit more rugged than an iphone. The screen is big enough if you mount the unit on an extender arm (see below for my setup) from the handlebar.

Potential downsides of phone:
- no map without phone connection (depending on application; certainly the iphone google map doesn't update without cell phone connection)(*** but see added info below);
- touch screen might not work through waterproof case (the ones I've seen don't).

My mounting setup (complete with 2007 cyclegadget prices...):
Code:
PL-PPC-002  $28.95      1     Straight Garmin power cord with PowerLet Plug
RAM-9M      $18.00      1     9mm Mounting Hole
RAM-COMP    $8.00       1     Compact Base / Cradle Ball Adapter
RAM-GPS60   $7.50       1     Garmin GPS60 Cradle
RAM-LONGARM $17.00      1     5-1/4" Black R-A-M Arm
ADDED: On my new phone, Google/Android 'Labs' (under settings/labs when viewing a map) in android 4.0.4 has a 'pre-cache map' extension that downloads google maps for offline (no cell phone) use. No satellite view though.

Gruesome screwed with this post 04-29-2012 at 09:28 PM Reason: pre-cache map option for Android 4.0.4
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Old 04-18-2012, 12:11 PM   #5
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I suppose it depends on your carrier, but just riding around in Northern Illinois and WIsconsin, I loose cell coverage on a regualr basis the further west (and the more into the Thulies) I go, the worse the coverage becomes -- I can't imagine that you'd be in any better shape for at least 50% of your trip . . . .

If it was me, I'd by the best garmin I could afford (search for refurbed units) and go that route.
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Old 04-18-2012, 12:17 PM   #6
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Garmin has a Streetpilot app that downloads maps of North America to your iPhone so you don't need a signal (which would get expensive when roaming in Canada)

http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/garmi...435740864?mt=8

The interface is pure Garmin, which is good. The downsides are that the phone isn't going to take any exposure to the elements, so you'll need to keep it covered, and it's difficult to work with when you are wearing gloves.

If money is no object I'd get a Zumo that is waterproof and designed for motorcycle use. If that's not an option, then a waterproof handheld GPS with a handlebar mount is good. I used a 60CSX in the past.

If you already have the iPhone, then the Garmin software is a cheap option. Keep your eye's open as they often knock it down 50% and it's hard to beat for $30
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Old 04-18-2012, 02:20 PM   #7
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You dont need cell service for an iPhone GPS

app to work properly
I've used the Navigon app in Europe with all the telephone functions disabled. It's a proper gps receiver on its' own.
I've used it as an adjunct to my Zumo 550.
The iPhone is a power hog when using GPS. I keep it powered using a Powerlet adapter. It's also great with Bluetooth into the helmet..
There are plenty of sturdy cases available for the phone
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Old 04-18-2012, 03:07 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ruffntuff View Post
Does anyone have any thoughts on the best/easiest/most reliable/durable way of navigaing on a bike trip from Virginia to Alaska and back?
waterproof or treated paper Map.

No really then I'd bring a durable GPS I use a Garmin 60csx, But I don't use the Garmin for telling me how to get somewhere.
I use it to tell me where I am. Then I use the map to show me the options on where to go.

Then I pick them out.

Last is the smart phone as the GPS and map back up device.
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Old 04-18-2012, 03:25 PM   #9
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To my surprise the iPhone has the best GPS receiver from any phone I tried. I used to use a N95, but the iPhone is 10x better. Dunno where this notion that they have weak GPS comes from. I thought so myself for a while but I have perfect tracks from when I go trail riding with my bicycle. My friend's galaxy takes a while to lock in. The iPhone is almost instant.

There are numerous apps that store the maps on board. I tried a bunch of them and Navigon is my favorite with Garmin right behind it. Navigon has very nice routing options and it's quite easy to create routes with multiple waypoints. You can skip/add points as you go through your route. Browsing the map for that one road you know it's somewhere on there kind of sucks. Garmin is much better at that. Browsing through the map is much more detailed.

It also has strong topo map software. GPS-kit and MotionX are great.
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Old 04-18-2012, 05:39 PM   #10
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I tried to navigate using my I-Phone on my bike, and I will say that the screen is pretty small to see directions while you are riding. Thats just me though. YMMV.
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Old 04-18-2012, 08:01 PM   #11
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I have been using GPS for a long time now and have concluded that it is at best a navigation aide. If you don't know where you are going, it can take you on the wrong path. the consequences range from a minor annoyance to potentially dangerous. More than once, people pointing out "you went through what part of town - were you trying to get killed?"

I plan my trips on google maps or using a high quality water resistant map. The paper map sits in my map pouch on the tank bag. A garmin Montanna sits on the handle bar to let me know where I am and to help with routing. My iPhone has Navigon loaded and it seems to provide the best highway routing. I'll keep that in the map pouch as well on major city routes, but the iPhone needs to be powered since GPS navigation consumes a lot of power. The iPhone also gets really hot when navigating so it can cut out on a hot day, so it's just not reliable. Plus, the touch screen is wonky or unusable with a waterproof case. Try connecting a water proof case to power - it doesn't happen. Navigon does not need a 3G connection so it works anywhere, as long as you are getting a GPS signal.

All of my Garmins have crapped out on me, so I don't trust the hardware at all. Having said that, they do repair/replace them but I have extended warranty on the Montanna because I know it will break within 2 years. There are a lot of map options on the Garmin and that keeps me using their hardware.

A paper map gives better situational awareness of the various route options and it continues to work without power or view of satellites. That's why paper maps are my primary route device. The garmin is the navigation aid and the iPhone is my source of music and gps back up. That combination ensures I am never disappointed.
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Old 04-18-2012, 10:51 PM   #12
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I've rode to Alaska, I have a iPhone with the new Garmin all-included Streetpilot app, I have an opinion on the matter.
There's no cell service most of the way past Saskatoon.
For the most part you don't need a GPS for Alaska trip, as once you get to BC there's only one road most places you are going; no navigation needed!
It does come in handy for calculating distance to gas, but again, the whole way to Alaska there was never more than 100 mile between gas or lodging. Imagine that, people expecting other people to drive/ride to Alaska during the summer months. Not including the far over-rated and incredibly wasteful trophy ride chase to get past the Arctic Circle.
I rode up through Alberta from Chicago, rode down through BC and crossed over in Idaho. YYMV.

Now, if you're on a limited budget, you'll need to save money on a GPS to pay the $9 a gallon fuel, $15 a burger, $8 beers, $175 a night crappy motels, let alone the $300 chains, or $275 front tire prices you'll find in the Great North. If you can afford it, a stand alone GPS like a Zumo, or Montana with fancy bike mount is also cool to play with while bored as hell riding the long ass boring roads, XM works pretty far up if that's your thing.

If you have an iPhone already, buy the Garmin app with Canada for $60, get a LifeProof case + mount and a Bike USB charging plug to charge the iPhone while riding on your bike, save your money for the uber-expensive trophy trip and have fun! If you don't have an iPhone, go get one, because if you don't have an iPhone, well, you don't have an iPhone.
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Old 04-19-2012, 04:28 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mikemaycga View Post
I have been using GPS for a long time now and have concluded that it is at best a navigation aide. If you don't know where you are going, it can take you on the wrong path. the consequences range from a minor annoyance to potentially dangerous. More than once, people pointing out "you went through what part of town - were you trying to get killed?"
I understand the issue and have thought in the past that a demographic based GPS would be a good idea, keeping people out of parts of town where they don't belong, or guiding them there if that's what they are looking for. Not sure what it would have made of my time in the Lower 9th Ward, but there you go,

That said, how would a paper map or Google Maps help? Until Google adds a "Here be the Crack Houses" layer to maps, it's no different than a GPS.

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Old 04-19-2012, 09:37 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by Garp View Post
I understand the issue and have thought in the past that a demographic based GPS would be a good idea, keeping people out of parts of town where they don't belong, or guiding them there if that's what they are looking for. Not sure what it would have made of my time in the Lower 9th Ward, but there you go,

That said, how would a paper map or Google Maps help? Until Google adds a "Here be the Crack Houses" layer to maps, it's no different than a GPS.



Are you suggesting want a GPS that you tell what color you are and what colored people's neighborhoods you'd like to avoid?
That what your comments sounds like to me, and it's pretty fucking ignorant.

No need to reply as you comments are so far off topic in this thread anyways it's pointless.
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Old 04-19-2012, 10:03 AM   #15
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Are you suggesting want a GPS that you tell what color you are and what colored people's neighborhoods you'd like to avoid?
That what your comments sounds like to me, and it's pretty fucking ignorant.

No need to reply as you comments are so far off topic in this thread anyways it's pointless.
I see, so you get to call me "pretty fucking ignorant" and then try and dictate that I not reply?

I said demographic, if you saw that and just read it as "color" then that says all I need to know about you.
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