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Old 07-06-2012, 20:30   #1
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smart phones used as stand alone GPS

....I read in a few posts here on CF about the ability of smart phones, especially android platforms, to be used as GPS's, off line while cruizing 10 to 30 miles off coast.....that is great I said to myself....I needed to upgrade my anciet phone and my older model GPS that is acting up .....I decided to go and buy one but the only problem was that the sale reps in sprint and verizon stores looked at me like I was crazy.....my question is does anybody uses smart phones as GPS's while cruizing, away from any internet signals?....at least as a back up to a chart plotter?.......and if so what kind of make/models?.....I know about chart plotters being the obvious solution but in my situation it looks like I can kill 3 birds with one stone, if that makes any sense......thank you
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Old 07-06-2012, 20:40   #2
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Re: smart phones used as stand alone GPS

I use an iPhone and iPad and I am happy with them as back up to my chart plotter. Both have waterproof cases for use in the cockpit and Ram mounts when not in cases.
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Old 07-06-2012, 21:35   #3
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Yup. iPhone and iPad. Luv them. I have a great garmin chart plotter , but it is so handy to have the iPad in the vbirth or in the salon. Not to mention you can take them with you on other peoples boat. I worry about failures more on other peoples boat , than my own. Never know how old or well taken care if somebody else's stuff is. And lost us lost no matter who's boat you are on.
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Old 07-06-2012, 21:37   #4
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Re: smart phones used as stand alone GPS

I have 2 handheld mapping gps's and been on other boats with chartplotters. My Iphone has always been my favorite. The only trouble is keeping it charged and dry, and those are pretty easily worked-around.
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Old 07-06-2012, 21:59   #5
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Re: smart phones used as stand alone GPS

I have an Android phone with Navionics Mobile. I use it as a back up to my back up chartplotter. Not only is Navionics lacking many important features my GPS has, the equipment (smart phones and tablets) is not designed to withstand water immersion to any capacity. Marine chartplotters are given a rating of either IPX 7 or IPX 8, which determines how much water the unit can withstand. A splash of salt water can destroy your phone or tablet. I can dunk my marine chartplotter in salt water for 30 minutes before any damage begins to occur. Just something to think about...
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Old 07-06-2012, 22:00   #6
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Re: smart phones used as stand alone GPS

I have an Android. The GPS toys are interesting, but they are not marine navigation tools.

Perhaps it useful as a back up to my back ups to my back ups.
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Old 07-06-2012, 22:43   #7
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Charts, compass and eyeballs are primary.

IPhone and iPad with Navionics are secondary. The IoS with Navionics is great.

If you can afford a dedicated plotter, it is a great tool to have on board. If you already have a phone or gps enabled iPad, navionics is a no brainer.
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Old 08-06-2012, 01:46   #8
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Re: smart phones used as stand alone GPS

Quote:
Originally Posted by Astral Blue View Post
A splash of salt water can destroy your phone or tablet.


Some smartphones are actually surprisingly water resistant.
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Old 08-06-2012, 01:51   #9
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Waterproof or not. The smartphone nab device does not need to be in the cockpit
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Old 08-06-2012, 06:28   #10
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Re: smart phones used as stand alone GPS

MX Mariner is a great Android navigation app. There's a thread on that here:
Android Development Underway

Your phone's GPS function is independent of the internet, so you just need a mapping app that stores the charts on your phone/tablet, and doesn't need to constantly download them.

Fujitsu makes a waterproof Android tablet, and I suspect more will appear in the coming year. Also, there are a lot of good waterproof cases for phones and tabs. . . .
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Old 08-06-2012, 07:20   #11
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Re: smart phones used as stand alone GPS

Do these phone GPS apps work when you're out of cell phone range?
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Old 08-06-2012, 07:39   #12
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Re: smart phones used as stand alone GPS

They do.They work off satelites for position but on some APPS you have to download the charts for the area you are going to be cruising to while u are in phone range.

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Old 08-06-2012, 08:06   #13
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Re: smart phones used as stand alone GPS

Here is a better use of an iPad than as a chartplotter:

iPad everywhere! - YouTube
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Old 08-06-2012, 08:19   #14
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We've used Navionics on our iPads in the Caribbean, Mexico and California with great results it has built in gps so no phone or wifi link required. That being said when in range of phone/wifi it's nice to track your position on a google earth overlay - we do that through a product called MotionX which I also used on business travel - it has walking, car and public transport modes for route planning.
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Old 08-06-2012, 08:50   #15
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Re: smart phones used as stand alone GPS

Smartphones and tablets use aGPS (assisted GPS) to calculate location. When available, they will use the network to help establish location. That could take the form of location information from WIFI and Cell Towers, or even off loading part of the calculations. It generally leads to faster first fix. But, the network is not required and they work perfectly well without it. I noticed that on some early smartphones, the first fix could be very long with no network access. The aGPS has caused many to believe the assist is necessary. It is not necessary, only nice to have.

BTW, when a GPS turns on and locates the satellites, the calculation to establish location is quite complex. That is why time to lock can be long. Especially if the GPS is a long way from where it was when it last had a lock. The wiki article on GPS is great for the technical geeks.
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