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Monday, March 16, 2009

Smart Phone GPS

Have been experimenting with a number of walk tracking methods on my IPhone. There are many pedometer style applications, which work fine but need calibration. Now that I have a GPS phone have looked at several GPS applications as well. Installed MotionX GPS. Cheap at $2.99 from the App store and works well. It has a hard time acquiring a satellite indoors, while my Garmin gathers an indoor signal readily. It overlays any path you take onto a set of open source street and topo maps.

Accuracy is very good, very similar to my Garmin, it readily tracked which side of a suburban road I was walking on. Has a virtual compass, route management and sharing software, waypoint analysis, timing, etc. You can take pictures with the phone, then associate them with a waypoint and send the pictures via email to record your trip. Does not have turn-by-turn directions, not meant to replace a car GPS. I figured the interface out fairly quickly. Only problem discovered so far is that the GPS drains the IPhone battery quickly. So may not be good for a very long hike in the woods. I will be doing some tests on my usual round-the-lake walks in the coming days.

Another review.

2 comments:

Mark said...

With MotionX-GPS you can save battery power by pressing the sleep button on top of your phone to turn off the display. The app will continue running in the background. You will see significant improvement in battery life. Try it out!

Franz Dill said...

Thanks Mark, will do.

Another thing I have noticed is that sometimes the GPS does not lock on to a satellite, even in open air (some trees) and in areas that it previously locked without problem. Likely not a Motionx problem but an IPhone GPS issue. Somewhere I read one way to clear this was to reboot the IPhone, is that likely? Also said I should turn off the wifi, which is inconvenient. Thanks for the help.