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App or equipment to improve IPhone's GPS?

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I have used Groundspeak's geocaching app on my iPhone since I started caching and love its intuitive, paperless design. But I'm getting frustrated with its GPS limitations. Instead of springing for a dedicated GPSr, is there an app or supplementary equipment that will provide better satellite linking/locking (especially with cloud cover, tree canopy, and buildings or landscape obscuring parts of the sky)?

Thanks for any advice. :)

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I have used Groundspeak's geocaching app on my iPhone since I started caching and love its intuitive, paperless design. But I'm getting frustrated with its GPS limitations. Instead of springing for a dedicated GPSr, is there an app or supplementary equipment that will provide better satellite linking/locking (especially with cloud cover, tree canopy, and buildings or landscape obscuring parts of the sky)?

Thanks for any advice. :)

If you enjoy the hobby....get a handheld GPS and Premium membership so you can load up pocket queries. You'll be glad you did.

 

We started with the iphone and the Groundspeak App. We currently have 2 handhelds. I still use the phone to log our finds in the field. After using the handheld GPS's....and going back to using the phone to find FTF's - the phone is horrible compared to the handheld!!

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I have used Groundspeak's geocaching app on my iPhone since I started caching and love its intuitive, paperless design. But I'm getting frustrated with its GPS limitations. Instead of springing for a dedicated GPSr, is there an app or supplementary equipment that will provide better satellite linking/locking (especially with cloud cover, tree canopy, and buildings or landscape obscuring parts of the sky)?

Thanks for any advice. :)

What version of iPhone do you have?

 

What limitations are frustrating you?

 

I have heard of a GPS dock you can buy. It is kind of like a bulky Otter Box that has a good GPS in it. Also, if your phone is jail broken, you may be able to use a bluetooth GPS. These are usualy about $45-$80, and some are very good (look for accuracy AND sencitivity ratings).

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I have used Groundspeak's geocaching app on my iPhone since I started caching and love its intuitive, paperless design. But I'm getting frustrated with its GPS limitations. Instead of springing for a dedicated GPSr, is there an app or supplementary equipment that will provide better satellite linking/locking (especially with cloud cover, tree canopy, and buildings or landscape obscuring parts of the sky)?

Thanks for any advice. :)

What version of iPhone do you have?

 

What limitations are frustrating you?

 

I have heard of a GPS dock you can buy. It is kind of like a bulky Otter Box that has a good GPS in it. Also, if your phone is jail broken, you may be able to use a bluetooth GPS. These are usualy about $45-$80, and some are very good (look for accuracy AND sencitivity ratings).

 

I have an iPhone 4. It's not jail broken & my tech savy brother recommends I not "break" it as I could have complications I'm not able to manage.

 

The frustrating limitations are short battery life and poor satellite reception. If there's cloud or tree cover, and sometimes even without, my proximity readings and even compass lock on the cache's coords jump around. One second it'll say I'm 70 ft from GZ, but a few moments later, even if I haven't moved, it'll claim I'm 5 ft away.

 

I can solve the battery issue with a "juice pack." So if a GPS dock will improve my satellite reception/lock (and allow me to hide caches with accurate coords) I'd be in heaven. I don't cache in rough terrain and (knock on wood) have never dropped my phone. The Groundspeak App will accept PQs and handle other features of a premium membership.

 

I've been researching dedicated GPSrs. I agree that using just one unit would be the ideal, but with my tight budget (and appreciation of the iPhone's maps & satellite images, and familiarity with its geocaching functions) I'd like to explore what I can do to enhance my iPhone's GPS & then decide what kind of upgrade will suit me best.

 

I've also considered finding a basic GPS with very good satellite reception that will accept caching coords, but not duplicate my iPhone's paperless features. I'd probably need a compass, too (preferably electric), but haven't turned up anything fitting that description yet. Then I'd use both devices while caching. I've gotten a lot of generous advice about GPS models in the GPS forum on this site--but most advice has focused on units with paperless caching abilities.

 

Could you tell me more about the GPS dock (manufacturers, models, features, etc)? Thanks!

 

I'd like to compare my options for different types & combo's of equipment, look at the positives & negatives of each, and then decide. Thanks for your help :)

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A little web surfing helped me find some iphone GPS "enhancers" such as Bad Elf, a GPS plus battery in a "juice pack", a similar battery/GPS combo in a protective cover by Magellan (for when I finally do drop my phone), along with a few others. Will any of these (or one I've overlooked) give my iPhone 4 GPS abilities close to a dedicated GPSr? Those that come with built-in batteries look like they double the iPhone's battery life--so I'd get at least 6 hours instead of 3 if I keep it running constantly. (Which is more than enough time for my caching style--my own batteries aren't what they once were ;) ).

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I have used Groundspeak's geocaching app on my iPhone since I started caching and love its intuitive, paperless design. But I'm getting frustrated with its GPS limitations. Instead of springing for a dedicated GPSr, is there an app or supplementary equipment that will provide better satellite linking/locking (especially with cloud cover, tree canopy, and buildings or landscape obscuring parts of the sky)?

Thanks for any advice. :)

If you enjoy the hobby....get a handheld GPS and Premium membership so you can load up pocket queries. You'll be glad you did.

THIS!

 

I started before the iPhone existed so I'm partial, hell, many GPSs at the time didn't even have maps. But yes, a handheld is a better way to go even with the iPhone App. Well, I should say, it is for the longer walk, challenging types. I do use my iPhone at times, and of course there are a ton of caches that don't even need an GPS (guard rail, lamp post, etc. caches). Heck...getting a good sense of coordinate only caching can be very helpful. I find that when I'm within groups, having a feel for coordinate knowledge and a feel of distances helps better than a silly arrow point toward the cache (from the App).

Edited by TheWeatherWarrior

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By the time you spend money on all those enhancers, you could've purchased a handheld (so to speak).

 

Explorist & Etrex units...on amazon from anywhere $107-$170

 

Search this forum for used GPS's. Search Ebay, craigslist ...etc. for cost savings.

 

If you buy a GPS now and you discover you want something different (with better or more bells & whistles), you can always SELL those units on this forum rather easily.

 

Our first handheld unit we only used for one week and didn't like it. We sold it on this forum almost immediately.

Edited by Lieblweb

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By the time you spend money on all those enhancers, you could've purchased a handheld (so to speak).

 

Explorist & Etrex units...on amazon from anywhere $107-$170

 

Search this forum for used GPS's. Search Ebay, craigslist ...etc. for cost savings.

 

If you buy a GPS now and you discover you want something different (with better or more bells & whistles), you can always SELL those units on this forum rather easily.

 

Our first handheld unit we only used for one week and didn't like it. We sold it on this forum almost immediately.

 

You make some good points, thanks for the advice. But if I got something like the "juice pack" with a satellite booster included, or Magellen's similar system w/ a protective case for around $100, I'd have a system I already know I like, with a magnetic compass that calibrates itself, higher quality satellite views than I've seen on GPSrs, paperless caching with premium features available, and maps already onboard. To me this looks pretty good & will save me the frustration of finding a model with equivalent features, installing maps, and learning to use a new system.

 

But maybe there are problems with "booster cases" like this that someone could explain? I'm just looking at the different possibilities, trying to learn the pros & cons of each, and decide what's the best "fit" for me. I've learned about different GPS models and some of their pros & cons--I'd like the same sort of info about "booster cases" (is this the right term?).

Thank you everyone for your time & advice :) Happy caching!

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I have used Groundspeak's geocaching app on my iPhone since I started caching and love its intuitive, paperless design. But I'm getting frustrated with its GPS limitations. Instead of springing for a dedicated GPSr, is there an app or supplementary equipment that will provide better satellite linking/locking (especially with cloud cover, tree canopy, and buildings or landscape obscuring parts of the sky)?

Thanks for any advice. :)

 

I would love more info to make my Samsung Galaxy S3 work better with the compass...today I was on top of a mtn with just sagebrush around and the nearest geocache was miles away but let there was one just 800 feet away and others too. I have the regular app from geocaching.com.

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I have used Groundspeak's geocaching app on my iPhone since I started caching and love its intuitive, paperless design. But I'm getting frustrated with its GPS limitations. Instead of springing for a dedicated GPSr, is there an app or supplementary equipment that will provide better satellite linking/locking (especially with cloud cover, tree canopy, and buildings or landscape obscuring parts of the sky)?

Thanks for any advice. :)

 

I would love more info to make my Samsung Galaxy S3 work better with the compass...today I was on top of a mtn with just sagebrush around and the nearest geocache was miles away but let there was one just 800 feet away and others too. I have the regular app from geocaching.com.

 

I still don't know if augmenting my phone will work as well as I hope. But I found the equipment by searching the internet (example: gps booster for iPhone 4): maybe a similar search will pull up products compatible with Samsung. Also, I do most of my caching in or near town where I have good phone reception. I don't know if phones will still work for caching without connection to a cell tower. Good luck!

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Does this thread belong in the GPS & Technology sub forum ? Sorry if I started it in the wrong area. I don't know how to transfer it, but would be greatful if someone would move it if it doesn't belong here. Thanks!

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Change your case.

 

I cached exclusively with really really good results with my iPhone.

 

Aesthetically I changed my case one day.

 

Next three days geocaching cords were way out to lunch. WTH? I'd never been like that before. I couldn't believe that many caches had soft coordinates.

 

Thought about it that night. Put my old case back on, my caching went right back to being awesome.

 

The case can mess with the cords

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Change your case.

 

I cached exclusively with really really good results with my iPhone.

 

Aesthetically I changed my case one day.

 

Next three days geocaching cords were way out to lunch. WTH? I'd never been like that before. I couldn't believe that many caches had soft coordinates.

 

Thought about it that night. Put my old case back on, my caching went right back to being awesome.

 

The case can mess with the cords

 

Huh...never thought of that. I've always cached with the same case, but GPS results are unreliable with cloud & tree cover, & usually better with clear skies.

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I have heard that that Magellan addon works well. Magellan is a top end GPSr manufacturer, so it really should work well. They advertise that the ToughCase has a built in high sencitivity GPS receiver. You really can't ask for much more than that. This item seems to get rid of almost all the "cons" of a smartphone, while maintaining all the "pros".

 

Also, tonnes of people say the iPhone4 works well for geocaching, so maybe it is an issue with your phone (or as suggested, your case).

 

Before taking some of the advice here and switching to a handheld, remember all the advantages of a phone. The fact is a hand held requires maintanence to keep the caches on it up to date. As a phone user, you may find that very anoying.

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I have heard that that Magellan addon works well. Magellan is a top end GPSr manufacturer, so it really should work well. They advertise that the ToughCase has a built in high sencitivity GPS receiver. You really can't ask for much more than that. This item seems to get rid of almost all the "cons" of a smartphone, while maintaining all the "pros".

 

Also, tonnes of people say the iPhone4 works well for geocaching, so maybe it is an issue with your phone (or as suggested, your case).

 

Before taking some of the advice here and switching to a handheld, remember all the advantages of a phone. The fact is a hand held requires maintanence to keep the caches on it up to date. As a phone user, you may find that very anoying.

Yes, the maintenance and learning curve involved with a handheld have been part of my hesitation in investing in one. I would like better satellite reception and longer battery life, but even without these I'm pretty happy with my iPhone. :) I need to confirm that the Magellen unit is compatible with an iPhone 4, but so far that kind of product looks like the best fit for me.

I've learned a lot from everyone's comments--thanks for everyone's time & patience! I won't be buying anything soon, but when "the big day" comes, I'll drop a note about my new toy & how it works. Happy Caching!

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What do you mean compatible with your iPhone. The iPhone isn't compatible with any device. You can't hook them up to transfer files.

 

On the other point I know a couple who only use their iPhones and have found thousands that way. If the only thing you are looking for is better GPS signal an external bluetooth will do the trick and cuts down on battery use.

Edited by Walts Hunting

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