[Cdt-l] Gaia GPS app in place of dedicated GPS unit

Jonathan Ley jonathan at phlumf.com
Wed Apr 2 21:18:51 CDT 2014

My thoughts exactly on GPS units. to add a few comments:

-        Many hikers carry a cell phone anyway, so why not have it all in
one unit?

-        The screens on phones tend to be a lot better than GPS units. 

-        There are good solar-charging options now, which might be lighter
than an extra battery pack.

-        Most phones have many gigs worth of memory built-in, so storing
lots of mapping data isn't a problem. 

One downside is weatherproofing. But, a plastic baggie can help with that


My ideal solution would be if someone finally released a color "e-ink"
screen in something about the size of a mini tablet or large phone (and it'd
need built-in GPS). The battery life on that could be excellent - similar to
a Kindle. Actually, the technology is there right now, but with really low
refresh rates & resolution. OK for looking at maps, but that's a pretty
small market. 




From: cdt-l-bounces at backcountry.net [mailto:cdt-l-bounces at backcountry.net]
On Behalf Of Brett
Sent: Wednesday, April 02, 2014 12:16 PM
To: cdt-l at backcountry.net
Subject: [Cdt-l] Gaia GPS app in place of dedicated GPS unit


Although a dedicated GPS unit like the eTrex 20 / 30 will provide slightly
better accuracy, another approach is to use a smartphone GPS app such as
Gaia GPS. This app is considerably more intuitive to use than the eTrex
series, has essentially no storage limits beyond those of the device itself
so you can load all the Bearcreek waypoints without having to convert them
to POI's, and you can view and query all of the waypoints without jumping
through hoops. Because you're only planning to get a fix on a waypoint here
or there for guidance purposes, rather than following a GPS track all day, 3
meter accuracy and a full week of battery life are less crucial. 


Off-contract Samsung Galaxy phones running Android can be had for less than
half the price of an eTrex 30. I've only used the iPhone, GPS functionality
is independent of a cell signal using Gaia GPS, but would assume the Galaxy
mimics the same functionality. Accuracy is fine for casual use, might take a
bit longer to handshake on startup without a cell signal / sim card


Battery life can be extended with an external USB battery charger, such as
Anker Astro, which comes in various capacities that work out to about 1-2
ounces product weight per single recharge capability.


Gaia GPS app installation and upload / download management would be via a
WiFi connection in the case of a phone without a cell signal or sim card.
Gaia GPS can store 1:24000 quad maps for off-line use, possibly not for the
entire CDT at once though, given the very large size of that data set. But
probably enough maps could be stored strategically to reach the next known
WiFi connection in town.


The eTrex 20 is my go-to unit for field-recording tracks and waypoints,
where accuracy and battery life are the most crucial. But were I to
thru-hike the CDT with Bearcreek's data, I'd probably just carry my cell
phone and save on the extra weight and fiddle factor. Ultimately GPS doesn't
normally factor into one's hiking day to the extent that one might imagine
it would.


- Brett



From: "cdt-l-request at backcountry.net" <cdt-l-request at backcountry.net>
To: cdt-l at backcountry.net 
Sent: Tuesday, April 1, 2014 10:00 AM
Subject: Cdt-l Digest, Vol 79, Issue 1


Yeah, Bob--I know exactly what you mean. I load waypoints every year
and somehow it doesn't imprint itself on my memory--each time it is
like doing it for the first time. My brain just balks at storing it in
memory. Kind of like setting up my drip irrigation timer.
I also glaze over at explanations. I print out the explanations and
eventually re-read and mess around with the GPS them until I "grok"
them. This process is weirdly uncomfortable--like I have to force my
brain to concentrate on this stuff. I had no problem with math and
science in school, or learning computer related skills, but the GPS is
something else for some reason. 
----- Original Message -----
From: "Bob Sartini" 
To:"Mary Kwart" 
Cc:"Eric White" , "Larry Swearingen" , "CDT Emaillist" 
Sent:Sun, 30 Mar 2014 08:38:04 -0400
Subject:Re: [Cdt-l] Custom POIs
 Nor do they care. And unfortunately the people who backpack like us
 AND understand how the technology works don't seem to speak in a
 language some of us can understand. Personally I glaze over very
 quickly when reading what appear to others to be very precise
 directions. I got it done a year ago and have no idea how.
 But I think Bear Creek will load it all up for you. Check the web
 On Sun, Mar 30, 2014 at 1:26 AM, Mary Kwart  wrote:
 > Well--the trouble isn't using GPS in the field, that is easy, the
 > is downloading the stuff beforehand with lousy documentation for
the gadgets
 > we use and the way we use them. I also carry a compass, which I
have used
 > since the 70's, but using a GPS in the field is like driving a
Porsche over
 > the compass Volkswagen. Much faster to locate yourself. GPS
companies just
 > aren't geared to our type of use, but to the needs of people
geocaching and
 > doing low mileage trips.
 > --Fireweed


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