Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
Followers 7
Moun10Bike

Can a Smartphone Replace a Dedicated GPS?

Recommended Posts

I'd say that its more of a function of how involved a person is with geocaching than anything. I can see a smartphone working very well for casual users, and for urban use. But on the other end of the spectrum, I can't see it replacing a dedicated unit for people who cache a lot (for long periods at a time or for long hikes, for example), and in more remote areas.

 

Look at it this way: a lot of families I know have two cars. One is the "good" car, used for going to church or social functions, and so on. The other is the "work" car, used for hauling trash and doing other things that might have a negative impact on the "good" car. Both cars can do the job perfectly well, but if they are going caching out in the woods, its almost invariably the "work" car that does the job.

 

I depend on my phone for a lot more than just caching. When I'm going caching (except for maybe light, urban caching), my phone almost always rides shotgun to my dedicated unit for that reason alone.

Share this post


Link to post

I'd say that its more of a function of how involved a person is with geocaching than anything. I can see a smartphone working very well for casual users, and for urban use. But on the other end of the spectrum, I can't see it replacing a dedicated unit for people who cache a lot (for long periods at a time or for long hikes, for example), and in more remote areas.

Once again, as repeatedly testified in these cookie-cutter smartphone/gpsr threads: mid to high-end smartphones are used by veteran cachers in such environments. In my case - desert, thick forest cover, long rural and wilderness hikes, over water, etc.

No, "smartphones" are not just for 'urban cachers', though their features certainly make urban caching easier. They are undeniably sufficient for caching in most any environment you can think of, as they contain the basic requirements for caching: accurate GPS reception.

Whether you decide to use it in such 'extreme' environments is entirely up to you, just as is how well you take care of the device. And everyone should. To whatever degree you feel comfortable with its safety.

Edited by thebruce0

Share this post


Link to post

I exclusively and successfully find and hide caches with my Android and have sold my Oregon 550. Nuff said.

 

All that tells us is that your Android phone meets your geocaching needs. It doesn't say anything about how viable is might be for anyone else.

Share this post


Link to post

I exclusively and successfully find and hide caches with my Android and have sold my Oregon 550. Nuff said.

 

All that tells us is that your Android phone meets your geocaching needs. It doesn't say anything about how viable is might be for anyone else.

 

How can any of us claim to know what works for someone else? All we can do is share our experiences using smartphones or GPS.

Share this post


Link to post

i placed all my caches using my Samsung s2 using the official geocache app

 

i added way points to an existing nearby cache by pressing use current location then walk away from the new cache and return a few times to see if i can reproduce the spot i was originally standing if not i do it again.

 

i usually have it spot on after 2-3 attempts

 

all the way points will be saved on the app for when you get home

 

as for the no cell coverage i save the caches i want to find to the offline list and use the compass to find the caches with no trouble

Share this post


Link to post

How can any of us claim to know what works for someone else? All we can do is share our experiences using smartphones or GPS.

And well, there's a difference between offering your own experiences into the conversation, and presuming your experiences speak for the subject in general. That's why "smartphone vs gps "debates get so much action - people want to claim that one is better than the other just based on their own experience. On the contrary, what we should learn from the discussions is that it all depends on what you're looking for and how you intend to, and end up, using your device(s).

 

That's the beauty of the device landscape. Lots of choice. And as long as the devices meet some arbitrary 'standard' (here, being able to find geocaches wherever one tends to search, and if one starts hiding, being able to place with acceptably accurate coordinates), then debates shouldn't be about which device is "better", but analyzing their strengths and weaknesses so people can feel better informed about which they feel is a better fit for them.

 

Though that minimal capability standard is somewhat subjective, above and beyond that - everyone's experiences may be completely different with whatever their device is, so generalization is a PITA.

Share this post


Link to post

The iPhone may haves a mediocre GPS chipset and maybe even poor firmware. How about other cell phones?

I cache with A Garmin eTrex 30 and a Galaxy S3. My wife carries an iPhone 5. The newer phones are perfectly good locators for caching. Older phones will have less - capable electronics and will not be as accurate.

Share this post


Link to post

My answer is yes they can. Once you get down to a few meters difference in accuracy, most of the time it's the skill of the geocacher and/or difficulty the owner makes the cache more then location. I believe even if geocaches were accurate to the centimeter, you would still get DNF's logged.

 

Smartphone's have an advantage that you don't need to download gpx files and pocket queries. Just carry the unit and go. Of course there are disadvantages, shorter battery life, probably not as rugged, data usage etc......

Share this post


Link to post

My answer is yes they can. Once you get down to a few meters difference in accuracy, most of the time it's the skill of the geocacher and/or difficulty the owner makes the cache more then location. I believe even if geocaches were accurate to the centimeter, you would still get DNF's logged.

 

Smartphone's have an advantage that you don't need to download gpx files and pocket queries. Just carry the unit and go. Of course there are disadvantages, shorter battery life, probably not as rugged, data usage etc......

 

x2

 

Rugged = Otter Box case

Battery Life = This was an issue. Of course if I had the charger cord in the car, then no problem.

Data usage = I was worried about that. But there was no big significant data usage on 11 finds. (couple hours).

Share this post


Link to post

In our days when I'm asked about whether someone needs to buy a handheld GPSr or may use only smartphone to try geocaching I used to answer: "Try your smartphone first and after a while you'll know better". Many people already have GPS devices in their pockets.

Share this post


Link to post

I'd say that its more of a function of how involved a person is with geocaching than anything. I can see a smartphone working very well for casual users, and for urban use. But on the other end of the spectrum, I can't see it replacing a dedicated unit for people who cache a lot (for long periods at a time or for long hikes, for example), and in more remote areas.

Once again, as repeatedly testified in these cookie-cutter smartphone/gpsr threads: mid to high-end smartphones are used by veteran cachers in such environments. In my case - desert, thick forest cover, long rural and wilderness hikes, over water, etc.

No, "smartphones" are not just for 'urban cachers', though their features certainly make urban caching easier. They are undeniably sufficient for caching in most any environment you can think of, as they contain the basic requirements for caching: accurate GPS reception.

Whether you decide to use it in such 'extreme' environments is entirely up to you, just as is how well you take care of the device. And everyone should. To whatever degree you feel comfortable with its safety.

 

Didn't say it can't be done, and didn't say nobody does it.

 

I did say that there are issues with using a smartphone in non-urban environments that can be detrimental. As pointed out by more than one post, battery life and ruggedness are prime issues. I would guess that, the further you venture from your car for sustained periods of time (thus no access to charging), and the further you go into environments that are hostile to unprotected electronics, the less you'll see smartphones as the first choice for people who cache often in those environments. I could be wrong, of course. Often am...

 

Just the way I see it. The average smartphone, no matter how good it is or ever gets, is not designed for outdoor use the way a GPS unit is. And I don't think I'll ever see the wisdom in going on a long hike into the wilderness while leaving the phone exposed to potential dangers when it might be exactly what you need in an emergency.

Share this post


Link to post

My answer is yes they can. Once you get down to a few meters difference in accuracy, most of the time it's the skill of the geocacher and/or difficulty the owner makes the cache more then location. I believe even if geocaches were accurate to the centimeter, you would still get DNF's logged.

 

Smartphone's have an advantage that you don't need to download gpx files and pocket queries. Just carry the unit and go. Of course there are disadvantages, shorter battery life, probably not as rugged, data usage etc......

 

x2

 

Rugged = Otter Box case

Battery Life = This was an issue. Of course if I had the charger cord in the car, then no problem.

Data usage = I was worried about that. But there was no big significant data usage on 11 finds. (couple hours).

 

I've got an Otter Box case for my smartphone. This will protect it against drops, as long as it doesn't drop on its screen. There's no difference between that and my Oregon 550 because if I'd dropped that on its screen, the screen would have been damaged just the same.

 

The ONLY advantage my Oregon 550 had was if you drop it in a creek or go out in the pouring rain, it will be OK, whereas my smartphone would not. Having said that, all you really need to remedy the situation is a suitable protective cover. When I took my smartphone out in a torrential downpour, I simply put it inside a ziploc bag which protected it perfectly. Presumably there will be some product come out that will make smartphones just as waterproof as a GPS, then there will really be no reason to use a GPS, provided you've got a smartphone with good battery life (mine lasts 6-8 hours) and good GPS reception (my Samsung picks up more satellites than my Oregon ever did).

Share this post


Link to post

Someone always brings this up...

 

You don't NEED cell coverage - or for the UK, a mobile signal - to cache with a smartphone.

 

GPS is independent of those signals. You store caches at home for offline use, and away you go.

 

For those who can't justify the expense of a dedicated GPSr or don't wish to, you can do perfectly well without one.

 

(n.b. Yes a smartphone can be expensive, but you already have one, or you wouldn't be caching with it. See above re. data usage/costs. If you should want to see if there is a cache nearby, off the cuff, then yes, you'll need a signal and will use data downloading those details. Then you store it, and off you go.

Again, for seeking caches, yes. Phones are great, and you don't have to have a data signal to use a smartphone to geocache, so long as you have saved caches and maps for offline use.

 

 

Which essentially negates the primary advantage of using a smart phone.

Edited by briansnat

Share this post


Link to post

... (thus no access to charging), ...

 

That is why I have always spare batteries with me on my galaxy s4. And recharge them back home both in my phone and in separate chargers.

Share this post


Link to post

 

Again, for seeking caches, yes. Phones are great, and you don't have to have a data signal to use a smartphone to geocache, so long as you have saved caches and maps for offline use.

 

 

Which essentially negates the primary advantage of using a smart phone.

 

Not really - not for me anyway.

 

The primary advantage of using a smartphone, when I do, is that I don't have to spend extra money on another GPS device. I simply use it as one - one that my wife already owns.

Share this post


Link to post

Not for hiding caches. Somehow this gets forgotten...even already in this very thread... :ph34r:

 

No longer true at all. The better apps average coordinates and are very accurate. When I first got my Samsung GS3, I did quite a few comparisons while finding and placing caches. Never got more than .001 difference between the GS3 and my eTrex30, taking many samples with both. The GS3 even supports GLONASS. Yes, the older phones were less accurate, but I don't think that's really the problem.

 

What I strongly suspect is that placement accuracy problems are more often caused by inexperienced users using entry-level apps like the Groundspeak app that does not support averaging, which is a pretty big deal. They really need to fix that. But the more sophisticated 3rd party apps average and give accurate placement coordinates.

Share this post


Link to post
Again, for seeking caches, yes. Phones are great, and you don't have to have a data signal to use a smartphone to geocache, so long as you have saved caches and maps for offline use.
Which essentially negates the primary advantage of using a smart phone.
I suppose that depends on what you think the primary advantage of using a smartphone is. I find it a lot easier to load cache data into my phone (anywhere with an internet connection, I just download a PQ, or scroll the map to the location I'm interested in and download full listings via the API) than to download cache data onto a GPS receiver (which starts with taking my GPS home and connecting it to a computer). And uploading saved field notes from my phone is just as simple (anywhere with an internet connection).

Share this post


Link to post

We went out this morning and two new caches didn't make my PQ. I grabbed my 5S and was reminded yet again....I can't stand iPhone caching. Its almost impossible to see and follow the map ( even touch screen GPS units are horrible for one hand operation ) At GZ I was about 40 feet off and just wandered until I found it.

 

Question about the map in the GC.COM app......can you lock it to North up so it isn't spinning around.....thought I was going to throw up.

 

I was REALLY glad to get back to my 62S.

Share this post


Link to post

Someone always brings this up...

 

You don't NEED cell coverage - or for the UK, a mobile signal - to cache with a smartphone.

 

GPS is independent of those signals. You store caches at home for offline use, and away you go.

 

For those who can't justify the expense of a dedicated GPSr or don't wish to, you can do perfectly well without one.

 

(n.b. Yes a smartphone can be expensive, but you already have one, or you wouldn't be caching with it. See above re. data usage/costs. If you should want to see if there is a cache nearby, off the cuff, then yes, you'll need a signal and will use data downloading those details. Then you store it, and off you go.

Again, for seeking caches, yes. Phones are great, and you don't have to have a data signal to use a smartphone to geocache, so long as you have saved caches and maps for offline use.

 

 

Which essentially negates the primary advantage of using a smart phone.

 

Not for me. I rarely use my live map on my phone, although if I traveled more this would be infinitely useful. Both my maps and geocaches are saved offline. For me, the primary advantages are: 1) big beautiful screen which has higher resolution and is easy to read in sunlight 2) ability to check my email/log my finds from the field or connect to the cache page to read more logs/check hint photos 3) longer battery life 4) other apps on the phone

Share this post


Link to post

One advantage my Garmin has over smartphones - at least in the NW - is the ability to use NW Trails. This free map of trails in the NW is invaluable to my caching.

Edited by The Jester

Share this post


Link to post

Not for hiding caches. Somehow this gets forgotten...even already in this very thread... :ph34r:

 

No longer true at all. The better apps average coordinates and are very accurate. When I first got my Samsung GS3, I did quite a few comparisons while finding and placing caches. Never got more than .001 difference between the GS3 and my eTrex30, taking many samples with both. The GS3 even supports GLONASS. Yes, the older phones were less accurate, but I don't think that's really the problem.

 

What I strongly suspect is that placement accuracy problems are more often caused by inexperienced users using entry-level apps like the Groundspeak app that does not support averaging, which is a pretty big deal. They really need to fix that. But the more sophisticated 3rd party apps average and give accurate placement coordinates.

 

First I'll mention there are some good posts in favor of smartphones. They can definitely do the job for Geocaching for a lot of people.

 

As far as what I'm quoting, the only two prolific smartphone hiders we've ever had in my area (over 50 hides apiece) were/are definitely known for atrocious coordinates. :P However, it could be said they were rather clueless newbies when they hid the bulk of them, so I agree with that. And the one guy to this day doesn't have a heck of a lot of experience FINDING caches, he has like 55 hides and 120 finds.

Share this post


Link to post

One advantage my Garmin has over smartphones - at least in the NW - is the ability to use NW Trails. This free map of trails in the NW is invaluable to my caching.

Which is the ONLY reason I have a real Gps. If NWTrails could be on my iPhone then I'd sell both my garmins to eBay

Share this post


Link to post

Any device specifically made for one function is always going to be optimized to outperform a devices made for multiple functions. But that isn't the question that was asked. What was asked was "Can a Smartphone Replace a Dedicated GPS?" and my answer is it already has.

 

What it comes down to is is the device's performance acceptable for what you want it to do. While a highly accurate device is desirable for geocaching it isn't a necessity. If accuracy was an absolute necessity we'd all have surveyor model GPSrs. Smartphones have reached the point where their accuracy is acceptable for finding geocaches. Apps like paperless geocaching apps and map apps satisfactorily mimic other popular functions of GPSrs.

 

Let's take this question a step further. Will Smartphones make dedicated GPSrs obsolete? I don't believe so. Just like there will always be people who would rather buy a really good knife instead of buying a multitool or Swiss army knife there will always be those who just prefer the simplicity of a dedicated GPSr over a Smartphone.

Share this post


Link to post

Someone always brings this up...

 

You don't NEED cell coverage - or for the UK, a mobile signal - to cache with a smartphone.

 

GPS is independent of those signals. You store caches at home for offline use, and away you go.

 

For those who can't justify the expense of a dedicated GPSr or don't wish to, you can do perfectly well without one.

 

(n.b. Yes a smartphone can be expensive, but you already have one, or you wouldn't be caching with it. See above re. data usage/costs. If you should want to see if there is a cache nearby, off the cuff, then yes, you'll need a signal and will use data downloading those details. Then you store it, and off you go.

Again, for seeking caches, yes. Phones are great, and you don't have to have a data signal to use a smartphone to geocache, so long as you have saved caches and maps for offline use.

 

 

Which essentially negates the primary advantage of using a smart phone.

 

Not if you don't have a GPS and don't wanna spend the extra mulah.

Share this post


Link to post

Any device specifically made for one function is always going to be optimized to outperform a devices made for multiple functions.

 

This is not true.

Share this post


Link to post

My answer is yes they can. Once you get down to a few meters difference in accuracy, most of the time it's the skill of the geocacher and/or difficulty the owner makes the cache more then location. I believe even if geocaches were accurate to the centimeter, you would still get DNF's logged.

 

Smartphone's have an advantage that you don't need to download gpx files and pocket queries. Just carry the unit and go. Of course there are disadvantages, shorter battery life, probably not as rugged, data usage etc......

 

Why is battery life a problem more for smartphones than for a dedicated GPS? Both devices use spare batteries.

Share this post


Link to post
Why is battery life a problem more for smartphones than for a dedicated GPS? Both devices use spare batteries.
My handheld GPS receivers have used standard AA batteries, available anywhere, and one set of batteries will last more than 12 hours.

 

My smartphones have used special batteries that aren't compatible with anything else (even other smartphones), and a fully charged battery lasts only a couple hours when the GPS antenna is in use.

Share this post


Link to post
Why is battery life a problem more for smartphones than for a dedicated GPS? Both devices use spare batteries.
My handheld GPS receivers have used standard AA batteries, available anywhere, and one set of batteries will last more than 12 hours.

 

My smartphones have used special batteries that aren't compatible with anything else (even other smartphones), and a fully charged battery lasts only a couple hours when the GPS antenna is in use.

 

You talk about YOUR smartphone and YOUR gps and then you think that this applies to EVERY smartphone and EVERY gps?

Share this post


Link to post
Why is battery life a problem more for smartphones than for a dedicated GPS? Both devices use spare batteries.
My handheld GPS receivers have used standard AA batteries, available anywhere, and one set of batteries will last more than 12 hours.

 

My smartphones have used special batteries that aren't compatible with anything else (even other smartphones), and a fully charged battery lasts only a couple hours when the GPS antenna is in use.

 

You talk about YOUR smartphone and YOUR gps and then you think that this applies to EVERY smartphone and EVERY gps?

 

I don't think I've ever seen a smartphone that uses AA or AAA batteries. If you've got one that doesn't it's an exception, not the norm. The same goes for a handheld GPS. A hand held GPS that doesn't use AA batteries and has a battery life longer than a smartphone is an exception.

Share this post


Link to post

I don't think I've ever seen a smartphone that uses AA or AAA batteries. If you've got one that doesn't it's an exception, not the norm. The same goes for a handheld GPS. A hand held GPS that doesn't use AA batteries and has a battery life longer than a smartphone is an exception.

Really? In every thread about smartphones/gps's complaining about battery life I've commented about AA battery packs for smartphones, and downspoke single-use phone-specific batteries you need a plug to recharge - not optimal for geocaching, really only for emergency short-term backup.

 

You can get a AA pack as cheap as under $20, and use whatever batteries you have, typically getting a full phone charge off 4 AA's. They now exist for most any major mobile device (Apple, Android, BB, Windows)

 

Battery life for a smartphone is not an issue, if you're prepared.

(If you have a handheld, you carry a handful of full AA's; if you have a smartphone, you carry a battery pack and... a handful of AA's).

 

ETA: Now if you're stating about the hardware basics - then yes, of course, the GSPr that natively uses AA's is 'better' for battery on extended use than any smartphone which uses a proprietary battery.

Nonetheless, practical use? Still a non-issue once you include owner preparedness for the concern of battery life. And actually on that basis, the smartphone is better:

* the GPSr doesn't work until you use AA's.

* the smartphone uses its own battery until you plop in some AA's.

:P

Edited by thebruce0

Share this post


Link to post

I don't think I've ever seen a smartphone that uses AA or AAA batteries. If you've got one that doesn't it's an exception, not the norm. The same goes for a handheld GPS. A hand held GPS that doesn't use AA batteries and has a battery life longer than a smartphone is an exception.

Really? In every thread about smartphones/gps's complaining about battery life I've commented about AA battery packs for smartphones, and downspoke single-use phone-specific batteries you need a plug to recharge - not optimal for geocaching, really only for emergency short-term backup.

 

You can get a AA pack as cheap as under $20, and use whatever batteries you have, typically getting a full phone charge off 4 AA's. They now exist for most any major mobile device (Apple, Android, BB, Windows)

 

Battery life for a smartphone is not an issue, if you're prepared.

(If you have a handheld, you carry a handful of full AA's; if you have a smartphone, you carry a battery pack and... a handful of AA's).

 

ETA: Now if you're stating about the hardware basics - then yes, of course, the GSPr that natively uses AA's is 'better' for battery on extended use than any smartphone which uses a proprietary battery.

Nonetheless, practical use? Still a non-issue once you include owner preparedness for the concern of battery life. And actually on that basis, the smartphone is better:

* the GPSr doesn't work until you use AA's.

* the smartphone uses its own battery until you plop in some AA's.

:P

 

I'm aware of external rechargers for smart phones. In the context of what Twentse Mug is claiming (that a smart phone and a handheld GPS both use AA batteries) and the topic of this thread I think that the hardware basics have to be considered.

 

The study is comparing a smart phone with a dedicated GPS. The thread has drifted a comparison of a dedicated GPS to a smartphone with an additional protective case (a good one isn't cheap, and additional battery back to improve battery life, pre-loading the smartphone with pocket queries and map tiles (requires a premium membership) when used in areas without cellular data (or when data roaming charges are exorbitant). Seems like that there are a lot of caveats.

 

 

Share this post


Link to post

The study is comparing a smart phone with a dedicated GPS.

 

No, it started with two Garmin GPSmap60CSx and two types of iPhones. My red Ferrari is faster than my neighbours black Subaru. So red cars are faster than black cars.

 

The thread has drifted a comparison of a dedicated GPS to a smartphone with an additional protective case

 

I recommend you google on ip67 certified devices. And you will find that a variety of smartphones are more shockproof and waterproof than a list of handheld gps devices.

 

and additional battery back to improve battery life,

 

On my Galayx S4 I just take spare batteries with me. And agreed, they are not AA but not every GPS device has standard AA either (though most have).

 

pre-loading the smartphone with pocket queries and map tiles (requires a premium membership)

 

My Galaxy S4 has an option for external sd cards so I can take unlimited geocaches and map tiles with me. Besides, I have a list of solved mystery caches with me as an gpx from GSAK.

 

(or when data roaming charges are exorbitant).

 

New rules are soon to be implemented in Europe about that. Otherwise it is buying a prepaid sim-card and there you go.

Share this post


Link to post

Any device specifically made for one function is always going to be optimized to outperform a devices made for multiple functions.

 

This is not true.

 

Got any examples of a smartphone outperforming a handheld GPSr? I don't.

Don't go comparing last years technology to this years technology or saying that anecdotically your smartphone got you closer to a cache than your friend's GPSr. In multifunction devices there is always going to be a compromise made to support the other functions of the device.

Share this post


Link to post

Yesterday I took a six mike hike through a redwood forest on a trail that cut across hills and deep streams. There was no cell service. I had both a dedicated gpsr (Oregon 600 with GLONASS) and the iphone 5.

 

Both devices were regularly within a few feet of each other. I cannot say which was more accurate because many of the caches were reported to be 50-75 feet from the readings of previous finders. For my purposes, then, it did not matter what device I was using once I got to the area. Each took me to the same general location.

 

Both units jumped here and there as I was centering on the given coordinates. I did not feel one was more stable than another. Both performed as I expected in this type of environment from having used devices ranging from the old Meridian to the Montana or 62s.

 

The trail maps on the iphone were better the trails on the garmin 24k maps I had. So if I needed to confirm where I needed to go, I looked at the phone. The caching app I used linked directly to the offline maps and I use so with both units i could see where I was in relation to the cache.

 

Power was not a problem with either. I had spare batteries for the gpsr but did not need them. I had a charging case for the phone but did not need to bring it out of the pack. The gpsr went into battery saver mode between caches and I sometimes turned off the phone (or its GPS) in those same spots, so perhaps that helped with power use. Both units picked up signals quickly when I wanted to check my position as we hiked along the trail, so neither battery saving technique posed a problem.

 

The iphone app I used automatically loads cache page photos. If I wanted to look at a picture on the cache description, the phone was far more "paperless."

 

If I was to bring one unit, I would have taken the phone since I also use many of the photo apps. The caching app I use is easy, has better filtering than the garmin, and offers better paperless features so there really would be no trade off. Generally all I take is the phone. Still, it was nice to have both on a hike such as this.

Edited by geodarts

Share this post


Link to post

Any device specifically made for one function is always going to be optimized to outperform a devices made for multiple functions.

 

This is not true.

 

Got any examples of a smartphone outperforming a handheld GPSr? I don't.

Don't go comparing last years technology to this years technology or saying that anecdotically your smartphone got you closer to a cache than your friend's GPSr. In multifunction devices there is always going to be a compromise made to support the other functions of the device.

 

1. Do you have any results from a controlled study to prove your claim? I don't think so.

 

2. I'm pretty convinced that a high end smartphone today has better gps qualities than a handheld gps from 15 years ago.

Share this post


Link to post

The trail maps on the iphone were better the trails on the garmin 24k maps I had. So if I needed to confirm where I needed to go, I looked at the phone. The caching app I used linked directly to the offline maps and I use so with both units i could see where I was in relation to the cache.

 

 

Like you I am fortunate enough to have an iphone 5 and an Oregon 600. I'm interested in what app and map you use on the iPhone. The one thing which I like most about the Oregon is I can load custom maps (in my oase 1:25K Ordnance Survey maps - I'm in the UK). These are better at showing footpaths (and features like hedges) than any of the map options I can get using the official app on the iPhone. But maybe with a different app I can do the same on the iPhone?

 

On the point about images - I use a GSAK macro to send images to the Oregon.

Share this post


Link to post

Like you I am fortunate enough to have an iphone 5 and an Oregon 600. I'm interested in what app and map you use on the iPhone. The one thing which I like most about the Oregon is I can load custom maps (in my oase 1:25K Ordnance Survey maps - I'm in the UK). These are better at showing footpaths (and features like hedges) than any of the map options I can get using the official app on the iPhone. But maybe with a different app I can do the same on the iPhone?

 

On the point about images - I use a GSAK macro to send images to the Oregon.

 

I use Geosphere as my caching app. It displays caches beautifully, acts as a mini-GSAK to combine pocket queries, filter them, and export a new gpx that can be loaded on my handheld or to other apps. It also allows you to link individual caches to many offline maps. I started using Pocket Earth while traveling around Scotland. It uses OSM information but has some extras (such as identification of historic sites). It easily and quickly saves offline maps and the trail data for my area is excellent. I also use Gaia GPS to have a choice of a number of maps: terrain, topo, satellite, and road. Both support gpx files but I generally use Geosphere for the bigger picture and the offline maps once I have selected the cache. When driving, Geosphere links to Navigon for voice routing to a cache.

 

I just started using the Oregon 600. Yesterday was its first real test. I lost a 62s on a trail and your posts about liking the Oregon helped convince me to get it as a replacement. For whatever reason, when in Scotland, the iphone was very slow to pick up satellites when we were in remote areas (we did not use roaming when abroad) and the handheld was good to have. I have not had the same problem when out of my service areas here, but this Spring we will be in some remote areas of Utah and Arizona looking for dinosaur tracks, petroglyphs, and ruins. Having the handheld might be a good precaution. Besides, the Oregon is fun to use.

Edited by geodarts

Share this post


Link to post

Thanks Geodarts. Shame there isn't a free version of Geosphere to try.. I'm too cheap to buy it without trying it first.

Share this post


Link to post
I'm pretty convinced that a high end smartphone today has better gps qualities than a handheld gps from 15 years ago.
I've used a handheld GPS receiver from 15 years ago, and I agree. And my friend's Prius outperforms the VW bug he used to drive in college. And the CDs in my music library may be obsolete in this age of iTunes and MP3 downloads, but they still outperform the 8-track tapes I listened to as a kid.

Share this post


Link to post

Like you I am fortunate enough to have an iphone 5 and an Oregon 600. I'm interested in what app and map you use on the iPhone. The one thing which I like most about the Oregon is I can load custom maps (in my oase 1:25K Ordnance Survey maps - I'm in the UK). These are better at showing footpaths (and features like hedges) than any of the map options I can get using the official app on the iPhone. But maybe with a different app I can do the same on the iPhone?

Any reason to not simply use paper maps? I'll either have an old and tatty copy of the OSM with me or a print out and whatever scale I need from somewhere.

 

But I am awfully old fashioned and have a bit of a thing about paper maps I suppose :-)

Share this post


Link to post

Any device specifically made for one function is always going to be optimized to outperform a devices made for multiple functions.

 

This is not true.

 

Got any examples of a smartphone outperforming a handheld GPSr? I don't.

Don't go comparing last years technology to this years technology or saying that anecdotically your smartphone got you closer to a cache than your friend's GPSr. In multifunction devices there is always going to be a compromise made to support the other functions of the device.

The blade on my Victorinox Swiss Army Knife has a better blade than most pocket knives. In fact the cork screw works better than most of the standalone corkscrews I have purchased.

 

It may be that sometimes compromises are made when functionality is included in a multifunction device, but this is far from being a given. A high end home entertainment system is likely to have better TV components than the best standalone television.

 

There have been a few instance in this thread where people have pointed out specific places where GPS in smartphones has made compromises: less efficient antenna, shorter battery life, less ruggedness, and even some differences in software functionality. What we have seen is that people are finding these compromises are not effecting their ability to use the smartphone GPS to geocache, or that they have found ways to overcome these compromises: external antennas, extra battery packs, waterproof/shockproof cases, downloading new apps, etc.

Share this post


Link to post
Got any examples of a smartphone outperforming a handheld GPSr? I don't.

The blade on my Victorinox Swiss Army Knife has a better blade than most pocket knives. In fact the cork screw works better than most of the standalone corkscrews I have purchased.

 

It may be that sometimes compromises are made when functionality is included in a multifunction device, but this is far from being a given. A high end home entertainment system is likely to have better TV components than the best standalone television.

butbut... you still haven't provided an actual demonstration of this situation being true. Therefore your argument is irrelevant.

/snark (sorry, I've been hit by that response before; regardless of how feasible or likely a set of events is - no specific example? No valid point made, apparently :blink:)

but anyway...

Edited by thebruce0

Share this post


Link to post
Got any examples of a smartphone outperforming a handheld GPSr? I don't.

The blade on my Victorinox Swiss Army Knife has a better blade than most pocket knives. In fact the cork screw works better than most of the standalone corkscrews I have purchased.

 

It may be that sometimes compromises are made when functionality is included in a multifunction device, but this is far from being a given. A high end home entertainment system is likely to have better TV components than the best standalone television.

butbut... you still haven't provided an actual demonstration of this situation being true. Therefore your argument is irrelevant.

/snark (sorry, I've been hit by that response before; regardless of how feasible or likely a set of events is - no specific example? No valid point made, apparently :blink:)

but anyway...

Au contraire mon ami, I haven't claimed any hypothetical situation.

 

A claim was made that

Any device specifically made for one function is always going to be optimized to outperform a devices made for multiple functions.

I provided specific counter examples.

 

Of course, when it comes to dedicated GPS vs Smartphone, we are in agreement that whatever compromises were made in the smartphone GPS have no effect on the ability to use the smartphone for geocaching (except maybe in some hypothetical situation ;))

Share this post


Link to post

Got any examples of a smartphone outperforming a handheld GPSr? I don't.

Don't go comparing last years technology to this years technology or saying that anecdotically your smartphone got you closer to a cache than your friend's GPSr. In multifunction devices there is always going to be a compromise made to support the other functions of the device.

 

1. Do you have any results from a controlled study to prove your claim? I don't think so.

 

2. I'm pretty convinced that a high end smartphone today has better gps qualities than a handheld gps from 15 years ago.

 

1. Please read the first post in this thread and follow the link.

 

2. I can't tell if you have problems with reading comprehension or you're just trying to troll.

 

Of course, when it comes to dedicated GPS vs Smartphone, we are in agreement that whatever compromises were made in the smartphone GPS have no effect on the ability to use the smartphone for geocaching (except maybe in some hypothetical situation ;))

 

This is exactly right. For geocaching it really doesn't matter. Smartphones are accurate enough.

Share this post


Link to post

Au contraire mon ami, I haven't claimed any hypothetical situation.

toz, I was in agreement with your comment; maybe sarcasm would have been a better word than snark :P

Share this post


Link to post

1. Do you have any results from a controlled study to prove your claim? I don't think so.

 

 

1. Please read the first post in this thread and follow the link.

 

See post #15

Share this post


Link to post

Just the way I see it. The average smartphone, no matter how good it is or ever gets, is not designed for outdoor use the way a GPS unit is. And I don't think I'll ever see the wisdom in going on a long hike into the wilderness while leaving the phone exposed to potential dangers when it might be exactly what you need in an emergency.

Eggs-Zactly. I'll not disparage smart phones. They are, quite simply, amazing tools. The ability to cache on the fly, if nothing else, makes them worthy additions to any cacher's arsenal. But, like any tool, they have their limitations. My Android GzOne is pretty rugged, as cell phones go. It'll handle light splashing, and drippy fingers from paddling. I doubt it would survive sliding off the roof of my truck, bouncing off the blacktop at 45 MPH... Twice. Which my Oregon already survived. Or even houncing off the blacktop at 35 MPH. Which my 60CSx already survived. Or, being affixed to the handlebar of my motorcycle during a crash. Which my 60CSx already survived. (the motorcycle wasn't as lucky) Or, being run over by my truck. Which my 60CSx already survived. Or, being sunk to the bottom of Mosquito Lagoon. Which both my Oregon and my 60CSx already survived.

 

Sadly though, after all that abuse, it was a regular thunder storm which finally killed the Oregon. My power button wore off some time ago, exposing the switch circuitry. Then, it rubbed against a bolt on the back of my now resurrected KLR-650, putting a hole through the screen. It still lasted another year. After my last paddle in a downpour, water got between the screen and the face. This has happened before, and a few days in rice fixed it. Not this time. Judging from the beeps coming from it, it powers up, but nothing shows on the screen.

 

No complaints. It was a first generation Oregon 300.

I'd say I got my money's worth out of it.

 

Along with the increased delicacy of my smart phone comes a significant decrease in battery life. My 60CSx lasts for 12 hours before I need to pop in a new pair of batteries. As just a phone, my 'Droid lasts just about as long. But once I fire up the GPS, I'm lucky to get four hours out of it, with all the other apps shut off. That pretty much sucks. The other issue is one of precision. Even the newest, shiniest cell phone still uses a patch style antenna.

 

But the question is one of adequacy. Is a cell phone adequate for geocaching? In most cases, I'd say "Yes", without reservation. As the hobby has devolved into a P&G love fest, one could easily argue that a phone is more than adequate. Perhaps, even perfect. Mostly. A phone might not be the tool of choice for those going on long outings, or playing in hostile environments, though, even then, there are accessories which can reduce the hazards inherent in such journeys.

 

It's really a matter of preference and practicality. Because I am naturally clumsy, and not independently wealthy, a phone is probably not a practical choice, for me. For those who are more cautious in their wanderings, with sufficient budgets to cover the occasional phone replacement, they could well be a practical choice.

Share this post


Link to post

Put it this way: You use your device to the capability you recognize in it.

If you're used to a GPSr, then a smartphone is "fragile".

If you're used to a smartphone, then a GPSr is excessively durable.

That is to say, and I likely speak for most any smartphone user, we wouldn't put our bare device on the roof of our truck; or leave it on the roof of a vehicle traveling 35mph; or affix it to the handlebar of a motorcycle; or leave it somewhere to be run over by a truck; or carry it unprotected or unattached while adventuring in a lagoon; or or or... of course accidents can still happen; they can still happen to GPSrs too.

One may say that the GPSr has a default advantage in being able to do those things. Others may say that a couple of minor additions to preparedness and those things are perfectly within feasible capabilities of a smartphone as well.

 

Point being, there is zero reason to claim that one's own experiences speak for everyone, or an entire device class's usability.

 

Use the device you have, to the ability for which it's built, and if you want to do more with it, prepare for that level of use by getting whatever is necessary to do so. If you don't want to, then get a device that is better suited to what you want to do. Simple as that.

 

Smartphones, recent models especially, are completely capable of geocaching and placing caches -- when used and read properly -- as much as any GPSr.

And that said, most any top end GPSr would and should have faster and/or more accurate GPS capabilities (which wouldn't necessarily benefit it in the geocaching context compared to the above smartphone(s)) because they are dedicated to such technology.

 

But it will be inevitable when practically and technologically speaking, there will be no other reason than personal preference to favour a dedicated GPSr over a high-tech smartphone, once one considers whatever level of protection one desires for one's own use of their device of choice.

Edited by thebruce0

Share this post


Link to post

Have you ever tried using a Smartphone when it's tipping down with rain? I usually carry a Smartphone for looking up cache details and logging finds as I go but always use the eTrex for navigating in adverse weather conditions. If I happen to be somewhere without the eTrex and wonder if there's any geocaches in the area the Smartphone is usually fine.

I also find the Smartphone useful if looking for caches which have been set using a Smartphone as I've found coordinates often differ from those given by the eTrex by as much as 50'.

In short - it's horses for courses. If you only cache in favourable weather conditions a Smartphone is fine. If you are worried about getting your Smartphone wet then uses a proper GPS.

Share this post


Link to post

Have you ever tried using a Smartphone when it's tipping down with rain? I usually carry a Smartphone for looking up cache details and logging finds as I go but always use the eTrex for navigating in adverse weather conditions. If I happen to be somewhere without the eTrex and wonder if there's any geocaches in the area the Smartphone is usually fine.

I also find the Smartphone useful if looking for caches which have been set using a Smartphone as I've found coordinates often differ from those given by the eTrex by as much as 50'.

In short - it's horses for courses. If you only cache in favourable weather conditions a Smartphone is fine. If you are worried about getting your Smartphone wet then uses a proper GPS.

 

There are types of smartphones that are dustproof, shockproof and waterproof. Just google on ip67 certified smartphones. Some examples: the Motorola Defy can be kept 1 meter underwater for 30 minutes. And on youtube you will find videoclips shot underwater with an Xperia smartphone. These phones are resistant against rain.

Edited by Twentse Mug

Share this post


Link to post

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
Sign in to follow this  
Followers 7

×
×
  • Create New...