GPS advice?

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BillyG
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Re: GPS advice?

Post by BillyG » Sun Nov 30, 2014 12:40 am

I use multiple GPS's and IMU's in my work daily. A iPhone puts most of them to shame. Stand alone GPS's are boat anchor's except in some specific applications. For general automotive guidance...don't waste your money on a stand alone. Get a good SmartPhone (they use GPS signals...not cell towers for nav. data) and if the basic Nav. App that comes on it doesn't get it for you...there are dozens, if not hundreds of Apps available. One will fill your need. As fast as technology is moving, stand alone GPS's are obsolete in short order. SmartPhone's stay on the cutting edge and have multiple uses. Updating is simpler, usually free (after initial App purchase) and much easier to do (no computer/cord/data card/etc. needed). Christ, you can get a iPhone 4S for free...maybe .99 these days from the major carriers. Even a phone that old is way better than the newest Garmin Nuvi or other flavor. You'll be upgrading the phone every 2-4 years anyway (just like the GPS). Bite the bullet...get with the 21st century :P
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Re: GPS advice?

Post by tx2sturgis » Sun Nov 30, 2014 10:10 am

BillyG wrote: A iPhone puts most of them to shame. Stand alone GPS's are boat anchor's except in some specific applications. For general automotive guidance...don't waste your money on a stand alone.

I disagree.

Smartphones require map data and then when you need directions the most, is exactly when they fail to get a signal and/or lockup.

They will also require a cord for charging just like a standalone GPS, unless its a short trip. Most smart phones are not waterproof, or rugged, and using a separate GPS allows the phone to be used independently as a phone, music player, web browser, backup gps, etc.

Professional truck drivers, pilots, taxi drivers, bus drivers, etc, all use a dedicated GPS unit.
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Re: GPS advice?

Post by stagewex » Sun Nov 30, 2014 11:58 am

Smart phone and those mini tablets are the way to go. Garmin now supports navigational programs on iPad for boating which has made most of the equipment obsolete on my boat.

Has anyone noticed how very inexpensive stand-alone GPS's are nowadays. There's a reason for that as the smart phone takes on more and more of other technologies traditional stomping grounds.

Why (unless you are talking extreme high-end) giving a digital camera as a gift is like giving a pair of socks.
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Re: GPS advice?

Post by planeflyer21 » Sun Nov 30, 2014 8:02 pm

Having just returned from a trip to Farmington, PA, via Pittsburgh, my opinion of Google Maps my buddy was using to navigate with his Android tablet is substantially lower than before the trip.

"Turn on 60 in 1/4 mile", only to pass three different exits, none of which were labelled with the identifier on the G-maps.

My understanding is each app for GPS navigation has different copyrightable tweaks, and no two are alike.
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Re: GPS advice?

Post by stagewex » Sun Nov 30, 2014 8:38 pm

Try Waze. Real-time traffic. I use it every day in one of the worst commutes in the USA. Let's me know where the speed traps are as well in real time as well.
I believe Google recently bought Waze. But it's still free as of now.
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Re: GPS advice?

Post by BillyG » Sun Nov 30, 2014 9:16 pm

You can disagree...but you are wrong.

All navigational GPS's require a data base if used as a map/guidance. A GPS is only as accurate (for nav.) as is the data base.

My iPhone and iPad has never let me down, I can not say that for many of the Garmin products I have used professionally and privately.

The case for my iPad is waterproof to 3m and tougher than any standard GPS stand alone. While I am flying, my iPhone is BlueToothed to my headset playing music, receiving phone calls, iMessages, e-mail, recording ATC transmissions, recording my flight path/altitude/speed on a flight program...all the while be used as a guidance instrument for flight lines while performing aerial surveys using an App (connected to WiFi in the airplane) designed by the camera operator.

My iPad display and Apps puts my state-of-the-art Garmin glass cockpit to shame. It is BlueToothed to a stand alone AHRS (with battery back-up) so the next time the $100k worth of Garmin avionics goes t#ts up I don't miss a beat. Other than being coupled to the auto-pilot, I never really look at the Garmin stuff that much. Only reason it is in the plane is that it is certified for IFR which the iPad isn't...yet. But the IFR capability of the iPad Apps blows the certified crap out of the water.
Like Stagewex said, phone and pad technology has made the certified equipment obsolete. Hell, most of it is obsolete before it is installed.

Yep. A lot of professional businesses use dedicated GPS in their vehicles. There are many reasons for this, legal and otherwise. But I'll guarantee the person behind the controls is using their Smartphone as their primary source of info.
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Re: GPS advice?

Post by RichardM » Sun Nov 30, 2014 10:03 pm

Another fan of the Garmin 60CSx here. I've been using it for years on the bike and off. I have RAM mounts on both bikes power from the bikes, I've used it in rental cars, on bicycle trips and while walking. It just works. Plus AA batteries are easy to find when needed and you don't have to worry about it getting wet.

Smartphones are too fragile and generally not very weatherproof. The 60CSx will run over 20 hours on 2xAA batteries and the smartphone only about a couple of hours with a gps app running in foreground. This is on both iOS and Android.
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Re: GPS advice?

Post by tx2sturgis » Sun Nov 30, 2014 10:05 pm

BillyG wrote:You can disagree...but you are wrong.
Nope, what I stated is correct. I am not wrong.

I disagree because we are talking about a GPS mounted and used on a motorcycle, not an airplane. That is the topic, if you're unclear about the OP's original question, please read it again.

All navigational GPS's require a data base if used as a map/guidance. A GPS is only as accurate (for nav.) as is the data base.
True, but again, most ground-based GPS apps for smartphones either require live data pulled as needed, (from a cell tower thats within about 5-10 miles or so) OR, a huge map database preloaded when wifi is available. I have used both in the past and I found both solutions to have negative issues...including data limitations as you begin to roam on other providers towers...or no access to towers when in the 'boonies'. Full map downloads (ahead of need) usually require a yearly subscription, sometimes hours to download, and take up large amounts of storage on a phone...around 2 gig..unless you restrict your area to a few states. Topographic maps take up even MORE precious phone storage.

Your ipad may be your preferred guidance device in a cockpit, but that does make what I said wrong. I dont see the practicality of a medium or large tablet strapped to the handlebars of a motorcycle. If you choose to do this, that still does not make me 'wrong'.

A lot of professional businesses use dedicated GPS in their vehicles. There are many reasons for this, legal and otherwise. But I'll guarantee the person behind the controls is using their Smartphone as their primary source of info.
I use dedicated Garmin devices in the commercial truck (as do millions of commercial drivers) and on the bike after many attempts at using a smartphone as a full time GPS.

Your preferences are your own, but you are not wrong...neither am I. I simply disagree with full time use of a user's primary smartphone as a motorcycle navigation device. If you want to use a second one as a nav aid on the bike, I have no problem with that either.

I think a nice rugged standalone GPS on a bike is the best solution. It is independent of the cell towers, maybe waterproof, and rugged, and can be had for under $200 if you shop carefully, and under $100 if you're willing to forego the waterproof attributes. (of course, you can spend over $500 for new, do-it-all units) Plus, the motorcycle (and outdoor activity) specific units have sunlight legible displays, which is important if you have tried to read a smartphone display in full sunlight while riding down a busy interstate approaching a major intersection with no idea what the thing is trying to show you. And yes, a bluetooth earpiece can help with audible turn-by-turns, but now you have something ELSE to charge and keep up with. Plus, audible directions can be confusing and distracting, and sometimes simply dont match the image on the screen...so now what?

I'm staying with my opinion. Standalone GPS is better, at least on a bike.


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Last edited by tx2sturgis on Sun Nov 30, 2014 10:52 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: GPS advice?

Post by torque » Sun Nov 30, 2014 10:44 pm

RichardM wrote:Another fan of the Garmin 60CSx here. I've been using it for years on the bike and off. I have RAM mounts on both bikes power from the bikes, I've used it in rental cars, on bicycle trips and while walking. It just works. Plus AA batteries are easy to find when needed and you don't have to worry about it getting wet.

Smartphones are too fragile and generally not very weatherproof. The 60CSx will run over 20 hours on 2xAA batteries and the smartphone only about a couple of hours with a gps app running in foreground. This is on both iOS and Android.
Being a complete "newbie" to these things: How is the Garmin 60Csx different from the 52Lm that my boy has? Does it do "turn by turn" directions? Does it show lane layouts as you approach them?
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Re: GPS advice?

Post by 4Paws » Wed Dec 03, 2014 10:35 am

Just put the 52lm Garmin on my wife's bike Monday afternoon, decent unit with a large display at a good price. I use the Zumo 550 that I've had for quite a few years on my bikes, after updating the software it began showing lane info a while back, same with another garmin in the truck. I'm gonna go out on a limb and guess that with the software updates current the gamins show lane info. I think the truck has a model # somewhere in the 400's range, we take it with us when we travel and rent vehicles in other areas and it shows lane info as well as posted speed limits accurately. I've disabled voice prompts on all of the units but the still display turn by turn directions and count down distance to the next turn. In heavy traffic I've screwed up on the turns with and without the gps.

Still think the best use of a gps unit is the scrolling map display. I ride a lot in the mountains of VA and WVA where gps navigation is really an adventure. Lots of roads the gps tells me to turn on don't exist. Several areas have actual road signs warning of gps navigation errors. Adds to the excitement. Had a compass mounted on the Ural for the fun of it but electrics caused it to be unusable while engine running.

I just wasn't willing to spend more than $100 on a stand alone gps, lots of other devices will do the same job plus more but I don't want to risk losing a smart phone or small tablet. For a $100 you get a functional unit of the same utility as a Ural. I swear by the Delorme atlas collection that I carry in the trunk. Frequently stop to ponder, plan, and pee.
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Re: GPS advice?

Post by OHScot » Wed Dec 03, 2014 6:04 pm

I use a 60Csx and Zumo 550. both obsolete now. The 60 is a little hard to use for a map just too small but works on foot, bicycle and rig. Use the smart phone to find it and then plug in the address. Off you go. :lol:
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Re: GPS advice?

Post by rivers » Thu Dec 04, 2014 9:34 pm

Torque, if you're still considering an on the cheap starter to play with and you're up for hunting/building an interface cable(unit to PC) I can offer up a low hours/miles unfactory supported Garmin GPS V unit. Other than small memory capacity and slow satellite acquisition time back in the day was a very good unit. Other than the cable it has all the software, maps, manuals that came in the box. Even with no cable but with fresh batteries and the paper manual(included) it'll give you current info and some insight on navigating GPS buttons/pages/functions.
Yours for the cost of a $12.65 USPS Flat Rate box. Oh and if you're drunk and it's 3AM where you live "If you order in the next three minutes" I toss in a lame Garmin Nuvi 260 with whatever came in the box at no additional shipping charges. It's Garmin's PlaySkool version of a GPS. If ya don't use the 260 tape it to you kids tricycle...he'll look cool.Prolly
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Re: GPS advice?

Post by RichardM » Tue Dec 09, 2014 6:59 pm

torque wrote:
RichardM wrote:Another fan of the Garmin 60CSx here. I've been using it for years on the bike and off. I have RAM mounts on both bikes power from the bikes, I've used it in rental cars, on bicycle trips and while walking. It just works. Plus AA batteries are easy to find when needed and you don't have to worry about it getting wet.

Smartphones are too fragile and generally not very weatherproof. The 60CSx will run over 20 hours on 2xAA batteries and the smartphone only about a couple of hours with a gps app running in foreground. This is on both iOS and Android.
Being a complete "newbie" to these things: How is the Garmin 60Csx different from the 52Lm that my boy has? Does it do "turn by turn" directions? Does it show lane layouts as you approach them?
Yes to the turn by turn but no audio besides a beep to let you know the screen changed. It does show lane layouts. All of this requires you to purchase the street maps (expensive!) as they are not included.

No similarity to an automotive unit, no touch screen but buttons are readily useable with gloves. Screen is smaller but adequate. I usually have a good idea of the route and only rely on the gps for reminders.
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Re: GPS advice?

Post by rudolf35 » Sun Dec 21, 2014 10:34 am

If you can find one, a Garmin 276C is the way to go. Large screen, water resistant and very dependable. I have used mine for the last 7 years from cross country trips to TAT blasts.

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