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Question iPhone vs GPS

Discussion in 'Backcountry' started by Greybeard, Oct 15, 2018.

  1. Greybeard

    Greybeard Addicted

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    There seems to be some advantages in using an iPhone (or similar) instead of a GPS. However, I'm a bit dubious about usage in bad weather and with gloves. Can anyone provide feedback on their experiences using an iPhone (for ski navigation) in these conditions?
     
  2. Gimped

    Gimped One of Us Ski Pass: Silver

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    Not skiing, but I have for years used smart phones for Tassie trekking compared to stand alone GPS.
    The screens are far more detailed (pixel resolution) and the number of apps are amazing.
    I use a simple "Glad" sandwich bag to protect the phone. Gloves won't work unless you get the special tactile gloves, but full on ski gloves won't work very well with gps either.
     
  3. skifree

    skifree grey Moderator Ski Pass: Gold

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    I can’t see the screen on the phone most of time outside. So for me it’s a gps watch & real maps.
     
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  4. Untele-whippet

    Untele-whippet beard stroker Ski Pass: Gold

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    GPS battery is soooo much better than a phone.
     
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  5. Alfred14

    Alfred14 Addicted Ski Pass: Silver

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    Most of the latest smart phones have access to more than just GPS which increases accuracy especcially in not so favourable conditions.
    For example the Samsung galaxy note 9 has access to GPS, GLONASS, BDS and GALILEO

    I'm sure some newer standalone GPS or should i say GNSS receivers also have access to some of these other technologies.
     
  6. CarveMan

    CarveMan Pool Room Ski Pass: Gold

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    Yep GPS watch + a real map are essentials for me, I'm also considering a handheld GPS, a couple of my mates have them and they were great getting back over from the Sentinel in a whiteout.

    The things that concern me about smartphones as a primary GPS is a rogue app draining your battery, and the fact that you can't use touchscreens when the weather has really gone to shite, your gloves need to stay on.

    Of course I use smartphone apps extensively in the BC but never as my last line of defence.
     
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  7. Astro66

    Astro66 Still looking for a park in Thredbo Ski Pass: Gold

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    When I go boating, I always use a proper chartplotter. Right equipment for the right job. Phones are a backup.
     
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  8. Ziggy

    Ziggy A Local Ski Pass: Gold

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    IMO starting with the hardware question is the wrong end.
    Start with which mapset gives you the scale and information you need and then ask what will run it.
    For ski nav you want the best 25K or 50K topos. That narrows down the field a lot.
     
  9. jonathanc

    jonathanc One of Us Ski Pass: Silver

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    There's recent a post in the BC chatter thread that's relevant to this question.
     
  10. oreo

    oreo One of Us Ski Pass: Gold

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    I’d wager I spend more time in the backcountry skiing than ‘most’. I use my iPhone and GaiaGPS app (there are many other options). Works well, carry a small external battery for emergencies (flat battery) and your phone is pretty multifunctionally useful (and you already own it) and really you should only need to look at the gps a couple of times on a normal day. 3 days of tracking on a full battery charge. That’s 6 days of tracking with the external battery...
     
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  11. Seth

    Seth Pool Room Ski Pass: Gold

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    Shout out if you ever want to borrow my eTrex 20.
     
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  12. Greybeard

    Greybeard Addicted

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    Thanks for all the replies. They seem to confirm my suspicions - iPhone type thingy is great in OK weather, but crap in crap weather (when I actually need an electronic navigation device).
     
  13. slotele

    slotele Hard Yards

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    When I saw this thread I thought my garmin watch was much better than a phone, so I pulled out the gpx tracks of a comparison I did earlier this year. Both suck a little in the jungle, garmin much more accurate with clear sky. The test was done in mixed rubber/primary jungle, very little overhead clearance so actually happy with both devices. I was looking at how old iphones would work with geotaging photos. Top pic the iphone4 bottom one garmin 310xt.
     
  14. skifree

    skifree grey Moderator Ski Pass: Gold

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    That is a pretty sucky result, I would have expected better match than that.
     
  15. DidSurfNowSki

    DidSurfNowSki One of them Ski Pass: Gold

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    Too much electronics that can fail, I take a sextant :p
     
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  16. Greybeard

    Greybeard Addicted

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    In a whiteout??
     
  17. DidSurfNowSki

    DidSurfNowSki One of them Ski Pass: Gold

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    In a boat ???!!! :eek:
     
  18. chicski

    chicski A Local Ski Pass: Gold

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    Have been. Fog.
     
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  19. Seth

    Seth Pool Room Ski Pass: Gold

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    310xt is ooooooolllllllllllldddddddd.

    Just gps. No glonass.
     
  20. slotele

    slotele Hard Yards

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    yep, pretty old, so is the iphone4.

    The idea is to take a few with you and give them to the guides. In Malaysia the Batek earn $50 ringgit ( $17 AUD ) a day guiding, if they are lucky and can get a party to guide. So these guys are not going to be buying even reconditioned phones or GPS. If they have a phone with a GPS and can take a geotaged photo of things they see, like wildlife snares, illegal forest clearing etc. then they can also get a reward for reporting it.

    Both those old GSP receivers while not great perform much better in the open. But getting a grid reference down to 20-30 metres is good enough to be able to go back and find something in the Jungle. Biggest problem is lack of overhead clearance - often the canopy is 40-60 metres above the ground and it's difficult for the signals to penetrate. This picture was a relatively open area.