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Old 12-09-2013, 10:18 AM   #1
jrsue OP
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Montana vs Cell phone debate

Ok I came HERE, to the place that has the most GPS knowledge of anywhere on the internet, at least for the way I use GPS.

Got in a bit of a dispute with a few people claiming that I simply was in the dark ages for not using an Android device (Cell phone or Tablet) as my primary GPS.

They claim they're Android device Phone/Tablet will maintain as good or better GPS fix as my Montana. They say by using the APP Backcountry Navigator (BCN) the device will funtion as a GPS with or without cell signal. Also make claims about hundreds of downloadable trail maps. Also claims of how rugged they are when combined with Otter box's, also claims of better resolution and trail detail....well you get the idea they were Raving how much better their Tabs were than even a high end unit like a Montana.

Where I come from...been using GPS since 97. Currently using a Montana, up until the Montana been using 376's (10 yrs) use them on Motorcycles (GS),ATV's,Snowmobiles, etc. I am what I would consider a power user as many here are. I know Mapsource inside and out. I'm getting there with BaseCamp. When I ride (off road and off trail) I am constantly fiddling with the GPS, zooming, Panning, turning on/of tracks, changing track colors, finding nearby roads or trails, etc etc many of you know the drill.

Now I have a Samsung Note 2 so is it worth looking into this, Am I really in the Dark Ages?? Are they that good?

Or are these Cell Phone/Tablet people a bit uninformed as well. Cheers thanks for your help.
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Old 12-09-2013, 10:25 AM   #2
ZEmann
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good question

because I have a Garmin 60 that I was trying to get familiar with
and while on some OHV trails I got lost I could not figure out where the hell I was

I opened the phone fired up Verizon navigator and found my way using what looks like google earth satellite image

I was pissed at myself and not real impressed with my old free Garmin and forget fiddle on the fly I have o pull over and put on my readers for adjustments

so I was contemplating the Oregon or Montana because I think you can use satellite images ?

maybe I can just use my phone? and my spot 3 tracking ?
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Old 12-09-2013, 10:33 AM   #3
jrsue OP
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Well I can tell you this, if you take some time and learn the Montana and also learn to use BaseCamp, you will never be lost. But it does take some time to know your GPS/Bascamp inside and out, and thats what you need when you most rely on it. and right here is the best place to learn.

Personally I would not trust the ruggedness of a Tab/Cell Phone, Ram mounted, and Hard wired to my bike.
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Old 12-09-2013, 10:54 AM   #4
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That is a long debate. And there is no good SINGLE answer. The closest answer is, use what you are comfortable with.

I've been using GPS devices for a very long time also, starting somewhere around 97 or 98. My current main devices now are a Garmin 276C and a Samsung S4. I'm not sure I've used the Garmin all year, my S4 is that good. I have no plans to ever update my Garmin.

For me, the smartphone means using one device. I get off the bike, put the phone in my pocket, end of story. With a separate GPS I have to worry about security.
I can quickly take a photo with the same device, or even a video when attached to the handlebar.
The S4 (and most new smartphones) have two systems, GPS and Glonass. It locks onto a dozen satellites in a second and is very accurate, even indoors.
The smartphone allows me to pick from a large number of free or pay map services. Map updates are free or cheap and POIs are plentiful. And yes, there are a LOT of maps that can be loaded onto the device so they work just fine when there is no cell tower around.
My one device is interfaced to my bluetooth headset. Music, phone, voice navigation, all in one. Easy to set up and manage wirelessly.
My smartphone covered about 12,000 miles this year attached to the handlebars. I have a bag that I slip over it if it rains (aLokSAC). No problems.
I have even been sitting on a forest trail looking at the maps, and bring up Google satellite view to get a better idea of which trail to take. You may not be able to rely on the cell connection, but it is an extra feature that can't hurt to have handy.
Then on the highway I can use Waze or Trapster. Helps me identify problem areas in traffic.

But....

The touch screens can be a problem to operate. I modified my gloves with conductive thread, and that does the job, but still.....
You need a home grown charging system. That can be a pain because some chargers are too slow to keep up with the power used by a bright display.
Speaking of displays, they typically aren't as bright as a motorcycle GPS display. I find them adequate though.
Then there is the waterproof issue. I leave my phone exposed on a RAM universal finger mount, and only cover it in rain. Works for me. I have tried numerous waterproof boxes, and they are ALL failures IMHO. The extra layer in front of the display makes them useless, and they trap heat which will often shut then phones down if you aren't careful.
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Old 12-09-2013, 11:17 AM   #5
jrsue OP
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Quote:
Originally Posted by worwig View Post
That is a long debate. And there is no good SINGLE answer. The closest answer is, use what you are comfortable with.

I've been using GPS devices for a very long time also, starting somewhere around 97 or 98. My current main devices now are a Garmin 276C and a Samsung S4. I'm not sure I've used the Garmin all year, my S4 is that good. I have no plans to ever update my Garmin.

For me, the smartphone means using one device. I get off the bike, put the phone in my pocket, end of story. With a separate GPS I have to worry about security.
I can quickly take a photo with the same device, or even a video when attached to the handlebar.
The S4 (and most new smartphones) have two systems, GPS and Glonass. It locks onto a dozen satellites in a second and is very accurate, even indoors.
The smartphone allows me to pick from a large number of free or pay map services. Map updates are free or cheap and POIs are plentiful. And yes, there are a LOT of maps that can be loaded onto the device so they work just fine when there is no cell tower around.
My one device is interfaced to my bluetooth headset. Music, phone, voice navigation, all in one. Easy to set up and manage wirelessly.
My smartphone covered about 12,000 miles this year attached to the handlebars. I have a bag that I slip over it if it rains (aLokSAC). No problems.
I have even been sitting on a forest trail looking at the maps, and bring up Google satellite view to get a better idea of which trail to take. You may not be able to rely on the cell connection, but it is an extra feature that can't hurt to have handy.
Then on the highway I can use Waze or Trapster. Helps me identify problem areas in traffic.

But....

The touch screens can be a problem to operate. I modified my gloves with conductive thread, and that does the job, but still.....
You need a home grown charging system. That can be a pain because some chargers are too slow to keep up with the power used by a bright display.
Speaking of displays, they typically aren't as bright as a motorcycle GPS display. I find them adequate though.
Then there is the waterproof issue. I leave my phone exposed on a RAM universal finger mount, and only cover it in rain. Works for me. I have tried numerous waterproof boxes, and they are ALL failures IMHO. The extra layer in front of the display makes them useless, and they trap heat which will often shut then phones down if you aren't careful.
Thanks for the reply, I think your last paragraph highlights one of the shortcoming of a Cell Phone. On the fly GPS adjustments thru an Otter Box seem to me would be very difficult to do. Its hard enough with the Montana touch screen compared to the 376/276 with actual buttons.
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Old 12-09-2013, 01:00 PM   #6
levain
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Quote:
Originally Posted by worwig View Post
That is a long debate. And there is no good SINGLE answer. The closest answer is, use what you are comfortable with.

I've been using GPS devices for a very long time also, starting somewhere around 97 or 98. My current main devices now are a Garmin 276C and a Samsung S4. I'm not sure I've used the Garmin all year, my S4 is that good. I have no plans to ever update my Garmin.

For me, the smartphone means using one device. I get off the bike, put the phone in my pocket, end of story. With a separate GPS I have to worry about security.
I can quickly take a photo with the same device, or even a video when attached to the handlebar.
The S4 (and most new smartphones) have two systems, GPS and Glonass. It locks onto a dozen satellites in a second and is very accurate, even indoors.
The smartphone allows me to pick from a large number of free or pay map services. Map updates are free or cheap and POIs are plentiful. And yes, there are a LOT of maps that can be loaded onto the device so they work just fine when there is no cell tower around.
My one device is interfaced to my bluetooth headset. Music, phone, voice navigation, all in one. Easy to set up and manage wirelessly.
My smartphone covered about 12,000 miles this year attached to the handlebars. I have a bag that I slip over it if it rains (aLokSAC). No problems.
I have even been sitting on a forest trail looking at the maps, and bring up Google satellite view to get a better idea of which trail to take. You may not be able to rely on the cell connection, but it is an extra feature that can't hurt to have handy.
Then on the highway I can use Waze or Trapster. Helps me identify problem areas in traffic.

But....

The touch screens can be a problem to operate. I modified my gloves with conductive thread, and that does the job, but still.....
You need a home grown charging system. That can be a pain because some chargers are too slow to keep up with the power used by a bright display.
Speaking of displays, they typically aren't as bright as a motorcycle GPS display. I find them adequate though.
Then there is the waterproof issue. I leave my phone exposed on a RAM universal finger mount, and only cover it in rain. Works for me. I have tried numerous waterproof boxes, and they are ALL failures IMHO. The extra layer in front of the display makes them useless, and they trap heat which will often shut then phones down if you aren't careful.
How do you upload tracks/routes that you made at home or pilfered from the internet? That's the only thing that holds me back.
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Old 12-09-2013, 01:43 PM   #7
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Wife has iPhone with GPS apps, it works ok. Not as good as a gps.
I have a nexus 7 with apps and it works good in the car or truck with its larger screen.
Montana works great on the bike or atv, you can see the screen in the sunlight.
I usually just take the Montana it's a real gps.
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Old 12-09-2013, 02:42 PM   #8
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I've owned a bunch of different GPS units and currently use the Garmin 478 on my bike. To me, it's about the perfect GPS, although it's getting a little dated.

Since Garmin isn't really making a 478 alternative that I'm comfortable with, I've been considering one of the large screen Samsung Android phones as a replacement.

It's a bit of a gamble for me, as I like my iPhone.

Let's see.
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Old 12-09-2013, 04:06 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by levain View Post
How do you upload tracks/routes that you made at home or pilfered from the internet? That's the only thing that holds me back.
There are a bunch of apps that allow import/export of tracks. I use motionx gps. With it I can import/export tracks, acts llike a Spot as long as there is cell coverage, has many map choices, its cheap......

http://gps.motionx.com/iphone/overview/
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Old 12-09-2013, 04:09 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by mpatch View Post
There are a bunch of apps that allow import/export of tracks. I use motionx gps. With it I can import/export tracks, acts llike a Spot as long as there is cell coverage, has many map choices, its cheap......

http://gps.motionx.com/iphone/overview/
No good for those of us that have crossed over to Android.
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Old 12-09-2013, 05:16 PM   #11
worwig
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Originally Posted by levain View Post
How do you upload tracks/routes that you made at home or pilfered from the internet? That's the only thing that holds me back.
No brainer really. It depends on the software you are using.
I use ITN converter to convert about anything to about anything. I can generate waypoints on a number of programs, then copy those to the Android. A few times this summer I created routes using Microsoft Streets and Trips, then converted those to .TRP files and copied those to CoPilot on my Android. OSMAnd works with GPX files.
Not a problem.
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Old 12-09-2013, 05:45 PM   #12
AviatorTroy
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mpatch View Post
There are a bunch of apps that allow import/export of tracks. I use motionx gps. With it I can import/export tracks, acts llike a Spot as long as there is cell coverage, has many map choices, its cheap......

http://gps.motionx.com/iphone/overview/
Thre is a big thread on this somewhere around here but basically, I love this app and it's brother MotionxDrive, and almost never use my Garmin. GPX allows you to pre load tracks just like a Montana, and constantly records tracks you travel. Those are just a few of its many very useful features.
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Old 12-10-2013, 06:08 PM   #13
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Let's see.. On my Android devices (music player, phone, and tablet), for mapping/navigation I have:

CoPilot
Maverick GPS
MapQuest
OruxMaps
AlpineQuest
Locus Pro
GPS Essentials
Avenza GeoPDF reader (requires Android 3.0 or higher)
ArcGIS mobile
A couple of different Geocaching apps
Life360 (for tracking family members..!)

And a lot more available in the Android market..

Some are free, some not.

Choice can be a good thing. I can deal with the form-factor limitations, although I'm looking into a ruggedized tablet as a future option (can now be had for under $500). I usually travel with my Galaxy music player as my GPS, and have my phone as a backup/alternate. Never had a failure or problem except when I tried an Iphone once. It didn't like the vibrations from my KLR..!

I've tried Garmins. I really have. Absolutely hate them. Hardware is OK, but I could not get past the horrible interface. My first was a 12cx back whenever.. But soon switched to using PDA's, then 'smart' phones (same thing really). So much more flexibility, more options, more choices..
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Old 12-12-2013, 01:03 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MrMac View Post
Let's see.. On my Android devices (music player, phone, and tablet), for mapping/navigation I have:

CoPilot
Maverick GPS
MapQuest
OruxMaps
AlpineQuest
Locus Pro
GPS Essentials
Avenza GeoPDF reader (requires Android 3.0 or higher)
ArcGIS mobile
A couple of different Geocaching apps
Life360 (for tracking family members..!)

And a lot more available in the Android market..
Well, this is the same as the old Mac/PC debacle.
In my case the above list is a shortcoming. I am not interested in using 15 different apps for navigating. I like to use ONE app for everything navigating related which should support changing maps etc. But as it turned out you actually need to use lots of apps for difference purposes.

Can someone point me to a phone which uses a proper external waterproof charging connection like a Montana or Monterra?

For me it is much quicker to just disconnect a Montana from the mount when stopping than unplugging a phone from it's usb cable and mount.
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Old 12-12-2013, 03:43 AM   #15
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Originally Posted by kave View Post
Well, this is the same as the old Mac/PC debacle.
In my case the above list is a shortcoming. I am not interested in using 15 different apps for navigating. I like to use ONE app for everything navigating related which should support changing maps etc. But as it turned out you actually need to use lots of apps for difference purposes.

Can someone point me to a phone which uses a proper external waterproof charging connection like a Montana or Monterra?

For me it is much quicker to just disconnect a Montana from the mount when stopping than unplugging a phone from it's usb cable and mount.
You don't HAVE to , but you CAN use more than one
I use two One for off-road OSMAND and one for ON-ROAD (Ndrive)
but OSMAND, Co-pilot and Locus all do both ON and OFF-ROAD (tracks)

But where i live NDrive has better maps, it just takes two clicks to pop out and in one or other app so not that big a deal IMHO

It all comes down to price for me I can get a andorid phone eith waterproof cover and maps for about 100-120 a Montana (without holder etc) is at least 500 or more

My bike is worth about 1500 - am i going to spend 1/3rd of the bike value in nav equip ??
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