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Moun10Bike

Can a Smartphone Replace a Dedicated GPS?

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i geocache with just my iphone sometimes when im out of town and forgot my GPS but it is so much nicer to use a GPS unit that can get you withing 6 feet. Im only using a cheap GPS but if you really wanna get lost with your geocaching try using a phone to find a cache in the backroads of Montana. However im sure urban caches will be just fine with a phone.

The replies here i find to be kind of juvenile.

dry.gif

 

Your experience may be true, but it's not the same for everyone, and I know this first hand. Share your experiences, but don't make indefensible blanket claims that can mislead people. Here I go again: I've only cached with a smartphone, for almost 8 years now. It's more than capable - over water, in heavy forest, in urban cores, in the wilderness, in desert, on mountains... a dedicated GPSr can provide a nicer experience, entirely depending on comparison brand and model (not merely smartphone vs gpsr), since it's a class of device dedicated to GPS technology; and while I haven't personally experienced finding 'a cache in the backroads of Montana', I can make the reasonably educated guess that it's certainly not worse for smartphones than other locations I've mentioned. Finally, your last sentence is quite condescending.

 

If you don't like'em, that's aboslutely fine, even if your only experiences with them have been negative. I don't doubt that to be true; many people have only had bad experiences with smartphones. And that's valuable to know for others who may cache like you. But please don't drop everyone or every device into that same bucket of experience (and then make calls of juvenility towards opinions that differ from yours).

 

Let's all cache with whatever we enjoy and prefer, without making it a device competition, and take everyone's personal experiences to mind when deciding on which device to make use of for ourselves! mmk? bad_boy_animated.gifcool.gif

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[Careful, do not press this button]

 

if you really wanna get lost with your geocaching try using a phone to find a cache in the backroads of Montana.

[i told you!]

 

Ahem. I cache with a phone, and only a phone, in the deepest backroads of Alberta. A typical spot would be a trail off a rutted track off a branch oilwell road off a gravel road off a numbered highway somewhere far away. No cell signal, nobody around for miles except bears and moose. Maybe a faint glow on the horizon from a city somewhere, when you turn away from the campfire at night. Internet? Hah!

 

It's my favorite kind of place, actually. And my Garmin never gets to go along anymore. Just the phone.

 

Oh, and while sitting in front of that campfire, I can pan around a much larger version of the exact same map (on the tablet), planning the caches for tomorrow on the big screen. Love it. (I have a solar panel for boosting up the gadgets, so usually it's beer that runs out first, after a few days.)

Edited by Viajero Perdido

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[Careful, do not press this button]

 

if you really wanna get lost with your geocaching try using a phone to find a cache in the backroads of Montana.

[i told you!]

 

Ahem. I cache with a phone, and only a phone, in the deepest backroads of Alberta.

 

Yep, Tasmanian wilderness. In fact even though we couldn't stop and search I had the phone loaded up to cache across the Nullaboar Plain. There's always cached that I can't find but there are certain hide styles that I simply suck at, besides, it's s poor tradesman who blames his tools.

 

I've had dedicated units on the past and simply found them difficult to use. The first was a Magellan with a really odd charger that fit in multiple directions but only charged in one orientation, which wasn't marked at all.

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The replies here i find to be kind of juvenile. i geocache with just my iphone sometimes when im out of town and forgot my GPS but it is so much nicer to use a GPS unit that can get you withing 6 feet. Im only using a cheap GPS but if you really wanna get lost with your geocaching try using a phone to find a cache in the backroads of Montana. However im sure urban caches will be just fine with a phone.

 

I am not sure that it is the device or the tools that you use. I no longer take my GPSr with me when we head off into the back roads of the states and countries we visit, away from cell reception. The offline maps that I use with my iPhone and iPad have gotten me where I needed to go both on and off road. And when driving the voice routing is better than what I have on my handheld gpsr.

 

When a friend and I recently hiked 18 miles through forest canyons and hills, without cell reception, we often turned to a smartphone (my Blackview) because the trail and topo maps I had were better than what were on his GPSr. If we needed to look at the cache description for earthcaches, we again used the phone because it displayed the graphics on the cache page. Both devices got us to the caches along the way, both had ample power for our hike.

 

I'll strap the GPSr to my kayak when I'm out on the water because it hooks nicely into place. But if I have to get out of the yak, I use the phone. The GPSr would be capable, but I like the offline apps and maps on the phone better.

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ahem, people tested stuff.

 

how why - https://www.fgdc.gov/standards/projects/FGDC-standards-projects/accuracy/part3/chapter3

 

results - https://www.fs.fed.us/database/gps/mtdcrept/accuracy/

 

 

i noticed the thread got quiet earlier when i asked if people thought that agps helped during triangulation (yep, still calling it that) and instead argued other things. shall we ignore the results above now, and argue about the colors of the gps ?

 

sweet, happy 2017

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ahem, people tested stuff.

 

how why - https://www.fgdc.gov/standards/projects/FGDC-standards-projects/accuracy/part3/chapter3

 

results - https://www.fs.fed.us/database/gps/mtdcrept/accuracy/

 

 

i noticed the thread got quiet earlier when i asked if people thought that agps helped during triangulation (yep, still calling it that) and instead argued other things. shall we ignore the results above now, and argue about the colors of the gps ?

 

sweet, happy 2017

 

What, specifically, excites you about these tests? Posting undescribed links doesn't elucidate any kind of point.

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ahem, people tested stuff.

 

how why - https://www.fgdc.gov/standards/projects/FGDC-standards-projects/accuracy/part3/chapter3

 

results - https://www.fs.fed.us/database/gps/mtdcrept/accuracy/

 

 

i noticed the thread got quiet earlier when i asked if people thought that agps helped during triangulation (yep, still calling it that) and instead argued other things. shall we ignore the results above now, and argue about the colors of the gps ?

 

sweet, happy 2017

Thanks for the links.

 

I don't see a description of the actual measurements.


  •  
  • Accuracy of GPS is not a constant over time and varies depending on the available satellites.
  • I also wonder how the canopy types were achieved beeing identical for all measurements.

 

What exactly do you draw from this report?

Here e.g. the measurements for a Garmin 650T and a Samsung Galaxy S5:

b8d74387-3387-4e84-a1c9-58e1f1a48a01.png

03012860-8c50-4233-ae8f-7cdc6fc71c81.png

My interpretation would be that both have approximately the same accuracy in the open but that the Garmin is better with restricted reception conditions.

Edited by Hynz

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...

My interpretation would be that both have approximately the same accuracy in the open but that the Garmin is better with restricted reception conditions.

 

I think it is interesting that the Samsung accuracy gets worse when averaging a waypoint in the open setting , whereas the Garmin improves.

Also the effects of WAAS are noteable, as it's clearly not always an improvement, if the numbers can be trusted.

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ahem, people tested stuff.

 

how why - https://www.fgdc.gov/standards/projects/FGDC-standards-projects/accuracy/part3/chapter3

 

results - https://www.fs.fed.us/database/gps/mtdcrept/accuracy/

 

 

i noticed the thread got quiet earlier when i asked if people thought that agps helped during triangulation (yep, still calling it that) and instead argued other things. shall we ignore the results above now, and argue about the colors of the gps ?

 

sweet, happy 2017

Thanks for the links.

 

I don't see a description of the actual measurements.


  •  
  • Accuracy of GPS is not a constant over time and varies depending on the available satellites.
  • I also wonder how the canopy types were achieved beeing identical for all measurements.

 

What exactly do you draw from this report?

Here e.g. the measurements for a Garmin 650T and a Samsung Galaxy S5:

b8d74387-3387-4e84-a1c9-58e1f1a48a01.png

03012860-8c50-4233-ae8f-7cdc6fc71c81.png

My interpretation would be that both have approximately the same accuracy in the open but that the Garmin is better with restricted reception conditions.

 

 

yep, that's what it shows for the s5 vs 650t... but then i compared the motorola vs the 680, and i think someone might have handed the project over to a highschooler to finish up, while the paid folks went fishing.

 

the main thing was to pass on yet another supposedly trustworthy, and fully documented, accuracy study. people can draw whatever they want from it, or go out and test for themselves. either way, it's fine by me. :)

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Also, only iPad Mini 4 and iPad 2 were tested for Apple? blink.gif

 

yep. odd, ain't it ?

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This result from the Etrex 30 (sorry can't do a screenshot at the mo)

 

Garmin Etrex 30 Tested Accuracies By Canopy Type

...

No WAAS Yes No 60 4.04 23.15 16.21

is particularly strange as it suggests that it's significantly more accurate under dense tree cover than it is under medium tree cover. Which does make me wonder how the tests were performed.

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ahem, people tested stuff.

 

how why - https://www.fgdc.gov.../part3/chapter3

 

results - https://www.fs.fed.u...crept/accuracy/

 

 

i noticed the thread got quiet earlier when i asked if people thought that agps helped during triangulation (yep, still calling it that) and instead argued other things. shall we ignore the results above now, and argue about the colors of the gps ?

 

sweet, happy 2017

 

Choosing what kind of device to use for geocaching based solely on it's accuracy is kind of like buying a care only based on how much horsepower the engine provides.

 

aGPS doesn't help during triangulation. aGPS *uses* triangulation to establish an initial satellite fix after a cold start. That's especially useful when the GPS is turned on a long distance from when it was last turned off. Once the satellite fix is obtained, aGPS doesn't "help" triangulation or improve accuracy except under the rare condition when satellite links are lost but there is still access to cellular towers. In that case, it's only academic as the accuracy of triangulation by cellular triangulation isn't good enough for geocaching.

 

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Choosing what kind of device to use for geocaching based solely on it's accuracy is kind of like buying a care only based on how much horsepower the engine provides.

Yep, and geocaching is about more than just watching those numbers. (Did I just say that?)

 

There are far too many factors involved in being accurately led to the target anyway. The GPS could be 100% accurate, within 1m, and it could still be meters away. It's not about highest accuracy, if anything it's more about reliability. As long as the device gets you close enough for you to sufficiently use your geosense to whatever degree you've trained it and that may be necessary depending on how accurate the CO's GPS was, then it's done its job and is sufficient for you.

GPS selection is a very personal decision :)

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Haven't read much of the thread so my reply may be a bit off at this point. This relates to the thread's title question.

 

Since it's what the majority use these days, it's evident that a phone can pretty much replace a dedicated gpsr. However, this doesn't mean that a phone is the best choice for everyone. They have their advantages but at the same time, disadvantages. Phones have come a long way but unless extra steps are taken, most can't compete with gpsrs when it comes to battery life, display in bright sunlight, ruggedness, and water resistance.

 

I think it comes down to how much a person geocaches and where they geocache. I've been on many day long and weekend caching trips where the old Garmin stayed on pretty much 10, 12 hours at a time. I don't know of any phone that can do this, even with a higher capacity battery, without being plugged in/unplugged from a charger. In sunlight, screen display is always easier to read on the gpsr compared to the phone. I try to be careful but i have to say that i've dropped the gpsr quite a few times while caching. Some of these were onto rocks, or this one time, out of a tree. I'm pretty sure my phone wouldn't be alive today after these instances. Falling out of the canoe, yes i've done it,, it was sure nice that my Garmin was waterproof and that it floated.

 

Sure, i can buy an extra battery(ies), a hard waterproof type case, screen protector, and cover the screen with my hands to cut out glare,,, Question is, why would i want to?

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Haven't read much of the thread so my reply may be a bit off at this point. This relates to the thread's title question.

 

Since it's what the majority use these days, it's evident that a phone can pretty much replace a dedicated gpsr. However, this doesn't mean that a phone is the best choice for everyone. They have their advantages but at the same time, disadvantages. Phones have come a long way but unless extra steps are taken, most can't compete with gpsrs when it comes to battery life, display in bright sunlight, ruggedness, and water resistance.

 

I think it comes down to how much a person geocaches and where they geocache. I've been on many day long and weekend caching trips where the old Garmin stayed on pretty much 10, 12 hours at a time. I don't know of any phone that can do this, even with a higher capacity battery, without being plugged in/unplugged from a charger. In sunlight, screen display is always easier to read on the gpsr compared to the phone. I try to be careful but i have to say that i've dropped the gpsr quite a few times while caching. Some of these were onto rocks, or this one time, out of a tree. I'm pretty sure my phone wouldn't be alive today after these instances. Falling out of the canoe, yes i've done it,, it was sure nice that my Garmin was waterproof and that it floated.

 

Sure, i can buy an extra battery(ies), a hard waterproof type case, screen protector, and cover the screen with my hands to cut out glare,,, Question is, why would i want to?

 

This is my line of thinking, exactly. I have to carry my phone everywhere I go. I chose it because it's sleek and doesn't take up a lot of space or weight down my purse much. I don't want to gussy it up to look and feel like a Sherman tank.

 

I think it's great that phones have caught up, because they make the game accessible to more people, and it means that over time we'll have much less of the "sorry, placed with iphone" cache coordinate issues. If someone's happy and finding caches with their chosen device, that's great. At the end of the day we're all at the mercy of the person who placed the cache anyway!

 

The rubber that covered the on/off button on my trust old Oregon has worn out, rendering it distinctly not waterproof, so I think I'll be in the market for a new one this year. Accuracy is not one of my shopping criteria.

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I think it comes down to how much a person geocaches and where they geocache.

Since I (and many others) can attest to extreme caching with a phone, both location and quantity (I for one can now add a mountaintop in remote Iceland to my list), then while generally speaking this may be true, it moreso supports the position that it really comes down to personal preference. Environmental factors are shared experiences, but willingness to deal with environmental factors (accomodation or preparation) is entirely up to the individual, as opposed to an obstacle that cannot be overcome.

 

I've been on many day long and weekend caching trips where the old Garmin stayed on pretty much 10, 12 hours at a time. I don't know of any phone that can do this

See above.

To expand a bit on that experience (any statements below are based on my willingness to deal with environmental factors, and preparing for them), I had an iPhone 6S Plus and a 4S inside my jacket for warmth as I climbed the mountain for a 7 hour round trip hike. Both devices still had plenty of battery at the end - the 4S was constantly on keeping my GPS tracklog while my 6S+ was used for navigating and taking photo/video. I was conservative in my use of the 6S+ outside the jacket due to the cold (the one factor that can't be assuaged by accessories), and sure enough at the peak when I was taking more photos and video it shut off when it still read over 60% battery. After warming up it returned to normal use.

 

Could other devices fair better in the cold? Sure. But the tradeoff isn't something that I, personally, would prefer. So "better" in the context of geocaching/outdoors use, for me, is what I had and used. For someone else, it might be a different setup.

 

I even set out on the hike with a few sets of batteries, thinking I would be needing them at that some point, even having the two phones. I didn't use one extra battery. I was impressed :) The 4S will still over 75%, IIRC, so I would have been plenty confident in the phones with another 3-4 hours on foot before resorting to external power.

 

Now, to directly address your 10-12 hour point - were I actively caching for up to 12 hours with the phone(s) on the mobile network constantly communicating data, maps, GPS location/averaging, screen interaction - that's a different situation. Objectively, the phone would certainly die faster, yes. But the phone is also doing a lot more than a GPS-dedicated device. (of course one could be willing to 'prepare' be employing offline strategies, but that's a subjective factor). So yep there are tecnical factors involved, but also the personal factor of what one is willing to accept or prepare for in the overall "geocaching" experience which is much more than just technical specs.

 

Even with a higher capacity battery, without being plugged in/unplugged from a charger. In sunlight, screen display is always easier to read on the gpsr compared to the phone. I try to be careful but i have to say that i've dropped the gpsr quite a few times while caching. Some of these were onto rocks, or this one time, out of a tree. I'm pretty sure my phone wouldn't be alive today after these instances. Falling out of the canoe, yes i've done it,, it was sure nice that my Garmin was waterproof and that it floated.

 

Sure, i can buy an extra battery(ies), a hard waterproof type case, screen protector, and cover the screen with my hands to cut out glare,,, Question is, why would i want to?

And that IS the question, what it all boils down to :). That is the most important question.

 

One person may be fine wanting to, another may not. It is good to know the strengths and weaknesses of any device, and the opinions of people in their experiences, so as to make an informed decision (or take numerous personal tests before making a final decision) - which is different than someone objectively saying "this is better" or "this is worse" in a context that's highly affected by opinion.

 

Comparative stats are most informative - but because willingness to deal with shortcomings is subjective, we just need to keep that in mind before drawing any universal conclusions.

 

For device quality in the context of geocaching, it's much more than mere numbers.

 

As you said at first, the current landscape of geocaching devices moving towards smartphones seems to indicate that a smartphone can replace a dedicated GPS. And this makes perfect sense if one realizes that in the context of "geocaching" GPS quality includes more than mere device technical capabilities.

 

(maybe that means the original question needs a context -- can a smartphone replace a dedicated device on mere GPS tech specs? I'd hope not - if it's dedicated, hopefully it's the best at what it can do. For geocaching? All signs point to yes, generally speaking, it can, though that's not a universal conclusion since it's subjective)

 

I think it's great that phones have caught up, because they make the game accessible to more people, and it means that over time we'll have much less of the "sorry, placed with iphone" cache coordinate issues. If someone's happy and finding caches with their chosen device, that's great. At the end of the day we're all at the mercy of the person who placed the cache anyway!

Exactly!

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Now, to directly address your 10-12 hour point - were I actively caching for up to 12 hours with the phone(s) on the mobile network constantly communicating data, maps, GPS location/averaging, screen interaction - that's a different situation.

 

I was actually surprised to read that your phones held up for that trip. But then i got to your statement above. For the gpsr tracklog and for the picture/video taking, i'm taking it that your display wasn't on the whole time. This would be the difference. When i say gpsr on, it's with the display on for that 10 or 12 hours. No doubt some people do it, but i wouldn't want to have to constantly power down/up the display when navigating to different caches.

 

Again though, i agree with you in that it's pretty much personal preference. Both have their positives. It's more important to me that my device have the built in positives that i mentioned above.

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Now, to directly address your 10-12 hour point - were I actively caching for up to 12 hours with the phone(s) on the mobile network constantly communicating data, maps, GPS location/averaging, screen interaction - that's a different situation.

 

I was actually surprised to read that your phones held up for that trip. But then i got to your statement above. For the gpsr tracklog and for the picture/video taking, i'm taking it that your display wasn't on the whole time. This would be the difference. When i say gpsr on, it's with the display on for that 10 or 12 hours. No doubt some people do it, but i wouldn't want to have to constantly power down/up the display when navigating to different caches.

 

Again though, i agree with you in that it's pretty much personal preference. Both have their positives. It's more important to me that my device have the built in positives that i mentioned above.

 

Right, the phone screen wasn't on the whole time, but from what I understand, the screen itself doesn't use much power. Maybe I'm wrong on that. In doing a bit of research, found a few articles talking about iPhone 4 battery life under various settings. I'm curious now to run some tests on my iPhone 6S+ to see how long it lasts under certain settings. Interesting.

Nonetheless, I have used my phone exclusively a few times for geocaching trips without power plugs. One hike was a 9 hour trip, but I used it conservatively and had a battery backup. Actually used very it similarly to the recent mountain hike, only a bit more - in the pocket, and used when checking locations for a caches along the trail.

(it's nice now being able to use GPS in airplane mode)

 

Essentially, if we want objective comparative technical capability, then we can only compare the lowest common functionality. GPS device is offline, actively tracking GPS, with and without the screen active where applicable. Reduce a phone's functionality to that, and we can have an unbiased battery comparison. But in practice, in geocaching context, most people will be using the phone simultaneously for much more than mere offline GPS (knowingly and/or willingly), so it can never really be an objective 1:1 comparison because preference has now come into play (eg, "I know my phone uses more battery connecting to the network, so I'm willing to accept shorter battery life for that capability which I wouldn't have with just a dedicated device")

 

..anyway. Must test phone life at different brightnesses. :)

 

ETA: Here's another test with the Phone 6 in some real world (ish) uses.

Edited by thebruce0

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Again though, i agree with you in that it's pretty much personal preference. Both have their positives. It's more important to me that my device have the built in positives that i mentioned above.

 

To me, the comparison is not based as much on the device as it is on the software -- really, what I want the device to do. During an 18 mile hike, I used a high capacity/waterproof/rugged android and had well over half the battery available at the end of a long day without charging. I used it the same way that I would have used my Oregon 600, but the caveat is that I generally do not track unless I am on water or bushwhacking off trail. On this trip, my friend kept a track on his 60 csx to record the stats, so I saw no need to do it.

 

Along the way, we stopped an an earthcache that required us to compare graphics that were on the cache page. My friend did not have that on either his gpsr or his phone. But I had the tools to do that, both on my iphone and android, because the apps I used saved the images on the cache page for offline use. Even when I used to cache with the Oregon, I always brought my iphone just for that reason.

 

My preferences have always focused on the maps, display, graphics, and filtering capability of the device, which are largely software issues. Over time, I began to use the Oregon less and less -- now it is primarily a kayaking device since I can strap it on the cockpit's console and map where we are going or track where we have been. Both devices will get you where you need to go for the purposes of this game. Whatever positives you have with either a gpsr or phone may make it the right device for you.

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Again though, i agree with you in that it's pretty much personal preference. Both have their positives. It's more important to me that my device have the built in positives that i mentioned above.

 

To me, the comparison is not based as much on the device as it is on the software -- really, what I want the device to do. During an 18 mile hike, I used a high capacity/waterproof/rugged android and had well over half the battery available at the end of a long day without charging. I used it the same way that I would have used my Oregon 600, but the caveat is that I generally do not track unless I am on water or bushwhacking off trail. On this trip, my friend kept a track on his 60 csx to record the stats, so I saw no need to do it.

 

Along the way, we stopped an an earthcache that required us to compare graphics that were on the cache page. My friend did not have that on either his gpsr or his phone. But I had the tools to do that, both on my iphone and android, because the apps I used saved the images on the cache page for offline use. Even when I used to cache with the Oregon, I always brought my iphone just for that reason.

 

My preferences have always focused on the maps, display, graphics, and filtering capability of the device, which are largely software issues. Over time, I began to use the Oregon less and less -- now it is primarily a kayaking device since I can strap it on the cockpit's console and map where we are going or track where we have been. Both devices will get you where you need to go for the purposes of this game. Whatever positives you have with either a gpsr or phone may make it the right device for you.

 

Yeah, one of the things that drives me nuts about the phone apps is a very small functionality thing that probably only matters to me, but really really matters and prevents me from even using my phone for occasional caching on the fly. But I get why someone looking for other functionality would prefer a phone over a handheld GPS.

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This result from the Etrex 30 (sorry can't do a screenshot at the mo)

 

Garmin Etrex 30 Tested Accuracies By Canopy Type

...

No WAAS Yes No 60 4.04 23.15 16.21

is particularly strange as it suggests that it's significantly more accurate under dense tree cover than it is under medium tree cover. Which does make me wonder how the tests were performed.

 

maybe there were more than a couple times the paid folks went fishing, and let hte highschoolers finish up ?yes, i agree, several of the results are odd and counter what i would expect to see. for instance, the 680t vs the motorola.

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ahem, people tested stuff.

 

how why - https://www.fgdc.gov.../part3/chapter3

 

results - https://www.fs.fed.u...crept/accuracy/

 

 

i noticed the thread got quiet earlier when i asked if people thought that agps helped during triangulation (yep, still calling it that) and instead argued other things. shall we ignore the results above now, and argue about the colors of the gps ?

 

sweet, happy 2017

 

Choosing what kind of device to use for geocaching based solely on it's accuracy is kind of like buying a care only based on how much horsepower the engine provides.

 

aGPS doesn't help during triangulation. aGPS *uses* triangulation to establish an initial satellite fix after a cold start. That's especially useful when the GPS is turned on a long distance from when it was last turned off. Once the satellite fix is obtained, aGPS doesn't "help" triangulation or improve accuracy except under the rare condition when satellite links are lost but there is still access to cellular towers. In that case, it's only academic as the accuracy of triangulation by cellular triangulation isn't good enough for geocaching.

 

yep, i'm familiar, thanks for the explanation though, i'm sure someone could understand it's uses better because of that.

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Again though, i agree with you in that it's pretty much personal preference. Both have their positives. It's more important to me that my device have the built in positives that i mentioned above.

 

To me, the comparison is not based as much on the device as it is on the software -- really, what I want the device to do. During an 18 mile hike, I used a high capacity/waterproof/rugged android and had well over half the battery available at the end of a long day without charging. I used it the same way that I would have used my Oregon 600, but the caveat is that I generally do not track unless I am on water or bushwhacking off trail. On this trip, my friend kept a track on his 60 csx to record the stats, so I saw no need to do it.

 

Along the way, we stopped an an earthcache that required us to compare graphics that were on the cache page. My friend did not have that on either his gpsr or his phone. But I had the tools to do that, both on my iphone and android, because the apps I used saved the images on the cache page for offline use. Even when I used to cache with the Oregon, I always brought my iphone just for that reason.

 

My preferences have always focused on the maps, display, graphics, and filtering capability of the device, which are largely software issues. Over time, I began to use the Oregon less and less -- now it is primarily a kayaking device since I can strap it on the cockpit's console and map where we are going or track where we have been. Both devices will get you where you need to go for the purposes of this game. Whatever positives you have with either a gpsr or phone may make it the right device for you.

 

Yeah, one of the things that drives me nuts about the phone apps is a very small functionality thing that probably only matters to me, but really really matters and prevents me from even using my phone for occasional caching on the fly. But I get why someone looking for other functionality would prefer a phone over a handheld GPS.

 

what functionality do you miss? which app ?

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Again though, i agree with you in that it's pretty much personal preference. Both have their positives. It's more important to me that my device have the built in positives that i mentioned above.

 

To me, the comparison is not based as much on the device as it is on the software -- really, what I want the device to do. During an 18 mile hike, I used a high capacity/waterproof/rugged android and had well over half the battery available at the end of a long day without charging. I used it the same way that I would have used my Oregon 600, but the caveat is that I generally do not track unless I am on water or bushwhacking off trail. On this trip, my friend kept a track on his 60 csx to record the stats, so I saw no need to do it.

 

Along the way, we stopped an an earthcache that required us to compare graphics that were on the cache page. My friend did not have that on either his gpsr or his phone. But I had the tools to do that, both on my iphone and android, because the apps I used saved the images on the cache page for offline use. Even when I used to cache with the Oregon, I always brought my iphone just for that reason.

 

My preferences have always focused on the maps, display, graphics, and filtering capability of the device, which are largely software issues. Over time, I began to use the Oregon less and less -- now it is primarily a kayaking device since I can strap it on the cockpit's console and map where we are going or track where we have been. Both devices will get you where you need to go for the purposes of this game. Whatever positives you have with either a gpsr or phone may make it the right device for you.

 

Yeah, one of the things that drives me nuts about the phone apps is a very small functionality thing that probably only matters to me, but really really matters and prevents me from even using my phone for occasional caching on the fly. But I get why someone looking for other functionality would prefer a phone over a handheld GPS.

 

what functionality do you miss? which app ?

 

It's not anything missing, it's just a quirk that is present in my iPhone and my Galaxy. I am quite certain that in some fashion they have the same general functionality as my Oregon, they're just not comfortable for me to use.

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Again though, i agree with you in that it's pretty much personal preference. Both have their positives. It's more important to me that my device have the built in positives that i mentioned above.

 

To me, the comparison is not based as much on the device as it is on the software -- really, what I want the device to do. During an 18 mile hike, I used a high capacity/waterproof/rugged android and had well over half the battery available at the end of a long day without charging. I used it the same way that I would have used my Oregon 600, but the caveat is that I generally do not track unless I am on water or bushwhacking off trail. On this trip, my friend kept a track on his 60 csx to record the stats, so I saw no need to do it.

 

Along the way, we stopped an an earthcache that required us to compare graphics that were on the cache page. My friend did not have that on either his gpsr or his phone. But I had the tools to do that, both on my iphone and android, because the apps I used saved the images on the cache page for offline use. Even when I used to cache with the Oregon, I always brought my iphone just for that reason.

 

My preferences have always focused on the maps, display, graphics, and filtering capability of the device, which are largely software issues. Over time, I began to use the Oregon less and less -- now it is primarily a kayaking device since I can strap it on the cockpit's console and map where we are going or track where we have been. Both devices will get you where you need to go for the purposes of this game. Whatever positives you have with either a gpsr or phone may make it the right device for you.

 

Yeah, one of the things that drives me nuts about the phone apps is a very small functionality thing that probably only matters to me, but really really matters and prevents me from even using my phone for occasional caching on the fly. But I get why someone looking for other functionality would prefer a phone over a handheld GPS.

 

what functionality do you miss? which app ?

 

It's not anything missing, it's just a quirk that is present in my iPhone and my Galaxy. I am quite certain that in some fashion they have the same general functionality as my Oregon, they're just not comfortable for me to use.

 

Hmm, well I'm curious by nature. Just wondered what it was, now even more interested since the quirk is cross platform.

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Again though, i agree with you in that it's pretty much personal preference. Both have their positives. It's more important to me that my device have the built in positives that i mentioned above.

 

To me, the comparison is not based as much on the device as it is on the software -- really, what I want the device to do. During an 18 mile hike, I used a high capacity/waterproof/rugged android and had well over half the battery available at the end of a long day without charging. I used it the same way that I would have used my Oregon 600, but the caveat is that I generally do not track unless I am on water or bushwhacking off trail. On this trip, my friend kept a track on his 60 csx to record the stats, so I saw no need to do it.

 

Along the way, we stopped an an earthcache that required us to compare graphics that were on the cache page. My friend did not have that on either his gpsr or his phone. But I had the tools to do that, both on my iphone and android, because the apps I used saved the images on the cache page for offline use. Even when I used to cache with the Oregon, I always brought my iphone just for that reason.

 

My preferences have always focused on the maps, display, graphics, and filtering capability of the device, which are largely software issues. Over time, I began to use the Oregon less and less -- now it is primarily a kayaking device since I can strap it on the cockpit's console and map where we are going or track where we have been. Both devices will get you where you need to go for the purposes of this game. Whatever positives you have with either a gpsr or phone may make it the right device for you.

 

Yeah, one of the things that drives me nuts about the phone apps is a very small functionality thing that probably only matters to me, but really really matters and prevents me from even using my phone for occasional caching on the fly. But I get why someone looking for other functionality would prefer a phone over a handheld GPS.

 

what functionality do you miss? which app ?

 

It's not anything missing, it's just a quirk that is present in my iPhone and my Galaxy. I am quite certain that in some fashion they have the same general functionality as my Oregon, they're just not comfortable for me to use.

 

Hmm, well I'm curious by nature. Just wondered what it was, now even more interested since the quirk is cross platform.

 

I'm not buying a $60 US burner phone from a YouTube video to fix it, so don't worry about the particulars. Just a personal preference about navigating to caches a certain way, because I'm old. :santa:

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I'm not buying a $60 US burner phone from a YouTube video to fix it, so don't worry about the particulars. Just a personal preference about navigating to caches a certain way, because I'm old. :santa:

 

I'm completely lost as to what you're saying, or not saying. sorry.

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I use my iPhone 5s and cachly, backed up with my Garmin etrex. I only break out the Garmin if I'm having trouble while using the phone.

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I am coming in at different angle, my smart phone is an emergency phone and is pre-paid. Looked at putting it on a plan and considered it too expensive, particularly for data usage and the lack of service where I live. Weighed up the costs and the GPS was the cheapest option. Even ran a comparison run on the pre-paid and the GPS paid for itself within three weeks of caching and worked out to around 5 metres more accurate than the Samsung 5. But my circumstance is different than yours and I respect your view!

Cheers, happy caching!

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Indeed, there is an ongoing cost to using a smartphone, if you intend to use it for more than pure GPS. So that is a cost factor to weigh in. However keep in mind that the cost for data provide far more than mere geocaching capability :)

That said, a smartphone investment is really only worthwhile if you do make use of it for more than geocaching. But for strict bottom line, buying a GPSr will generally be cheaper than buying a good smartphone outright. (but it's really not a 1 to 1 comparison)

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I still think it is not as accurate. Hard to zoom in on the map to see where the exact location is. Bouncing especially in big cities, and I recently had a cacher said on one of my caches the coordinates were way off. But no one else has complained, I use my Garmin 62 (95% of the time) and the map shows it is right where I put it.

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I still think it is not as accurate. Hard to zoom in on the map to see where the exact location is. Bouncing especially in big cities, and I recently had a cacher said on one of my caches the coordinates were way off. But no one else has complained, I use my Garmin 62 (95% of the time) and the map shows it is right where I put it.

It may be that the user needs to learn how the device works. Especially with a phone, it's often busy doing many things other than Geocaching, so the user must wait for the compass to catch up. It is reasonably "accurate", but as with any such device, the user must be patient and understand what it's doing.

 

If in the Official App you can't zoom right into a satellite map and see where the icon is placed, that must be fixed. That's a useful feature!

 

But I also switch to my compass Apps, and view the map in the web browser, before I declare cache coords to be off. More sources of info are better. OK, yeah, and I mainly use my handheld GPSr. It's not sharing its processor with phone Apps. :anibad:

Edited by kunarion

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GPS reception where the signal itself is uncertain has nothing to do with the device. It's entirely how the person uses the device, as kunarion said. Doesn't matter what device you use - if the signal is bouncing around buildings before it reaches you, no device will display the proper results. Now, a device may have other 'tricks' to better estimate coordinates; it may depend on howmany satellites, or if a person happened to be a spot where multiple satellites are in clear view (a few meters either way may have a big impact), and here cell tower triangulation could provide a bit of a boost as well... but no one in a high urban core should ever simply look at their device and take the GPS reading.

IMO smartphones have a bit of an advantage (or any device with the ability) by having the benefit of satellite imagery to gauge how accurate the device's current location guess is by visually comparing to surroundings.

 

But GPS coordinates alone? Never trust them, especially immediately, on any device, when surrounded by tall buildings. They may or may not be accurate, but they could be off for any number of physical/environmental reasons, and not specifically because of the device.

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