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Anyone ever use motionx GPS on the iPhone for tracking what trails they go on?

post #1 of 19
Thread Starter 
How did it work? How do u really know what trail you are on?
post #2 of 19

MotionX GPS should be accurate enough for skiing - I use it while mountain biking and it works pretty well. The main problem is accurate/resolution when on twisty trails that double back on themselves - the sampling rate is not high enough to distinguish all the details, but that should be less of an issue while skiing. I also find that the accuracy is much better when using a handlebar mount (which itself has some problems) over having the phone in a pocket or camelback.

 

For skiing, I have used a Garmin GPS (60Cx) in a pocket on my jacket - this works VERY well - overlaying the tracks on Google Earth gives a complete picture of a whole day of skiing. You should be able to get similar results with MotionX GPS.

post #3 of 19

Yes, I have used it.  The free version is pretty sweet and I think it is accurate.  The speed, altitude/elevation, tracking etc..is great.   You can then send an email of your track and view it on google maps etc..follow your path, lift chairs/trails and such.

 

Of course, it will fry your battery in no time.  But I put it in my front jacket pocket on my chest facing forward.  It would worked fine many times as long as you have a GPS signal of course.  I usually only use it a handful of times while on the mountain unless you have an extra battery pack to bring along to keep it charged.

 

As far as knowing what trail you are on...you can look at a trail map and figure that out yourself.  Most resorts I go to I know them backwards/forwards...so the map is pretty obvious to see where you were.

 

Pretty amazing to see your top speed was 45mph or something on some runs!!

post #4 of 19

The new Vail Resorts Epic pass will do it for you.

post #5 of 19

To those who have used this before.. How do you turn it off on the lifts? The iphone sucks cuz u have to take your gloves off and all that jazz to pause it on the lifts.  Iwant to save some batteries. Any ideas?

 

post #6 of 19

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by shoal007 View Post

To those who have used this before.. How do you turn it off on the lifts? The iphone sucks cuz u have to take your gloves off and all that jazz to pause it on the lifts.  Iwant to save some batteries. Any ideas?

 

 

That's definitely gonna be a problem.  The only idea I can come up with is to make your gloves capacitive touchscreen friendly (something like this: http://www.instructables.com/id/Making-A-Glove-Work-With-A-Touch-Screen/) but I can't think of how you'd do that w/o compromising the waterproof lining.  If your gloves aren't gore-tex, then go for it.

post #7 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kneale Brownson View Post

The new Vail Resorts Epic pass will do it for you.


I think all that will do is tell you which lift lines you went through.  It won't tell you which run you came down or map your progress across the mountain.

 

post #8 of 19

This technology is not new there is a company in Europe who first started GPS ski appshave an app called Satski which does just that , live positioning on trails , live stats speed , verticles, time spent on lifts , time skied and even navigation from one point on the slopes to another and shows you which lifts to take to get there , it even allows you to avoid runs you dont like ! And it comes on all platforms. Sadly iphones arent great with GPS as they use GPS assist but a mate of mine has their Android app and Ive seen it work its awesome- this can also be tired into free analytics - the problem is geo plotting on an artists impression which is a trail map , Satski uses trail maps easier to navigate with as we all used to them. So yes it's possible that this works but Id rather go for tried and tested! John

post #9 of 19

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by John8 View Post

Sadly iphones arent great with GPS as they use GPS assist


Assisted GPS means that the phone is given additional information at startup or when the GPS is turned on to help it lock in on the satellites quickly.  With phones this is normally done by having GPS receivers on the cell towers (that have a constant strong signal from the satellite) and sending that data to the phone, to basically jump start the process of location finding.  This is why an old school GPS without A-GPS can sometimes take a couple of minutes to determine your location after you turn it on, but a phone can usually do it in seconds.  That's A-GPS, and it's not bad, it's good.

 

The iphone does have A-GPS, and also uses wifi and cell triangulation when it can't get a GPS signal (indoors for example).  This all boils down to a phone with GPS that works quite well.  I'd bet that *all* the recent generation of phones use A-GPS because it's much better for something like a phone.

post #10 of 19

I partly agree with your explanation about AGPS. Your points are valid until you get in the mountains with an iPhone ( I have one I know) ! Many or most of the Android and Windows Mobile and Black Berry Phones have a stand alone GPS system , which means even if they have no service provider resception in the mountains ( which is often the case) They still work .The iphones will not work at all and thus renders any ski app usless !! However with the other phones you can switch off data roaming, even have little or no reception and still be able to track and save data and get real time positioning. This is not possible with iPhone , no service reception or poor reception renders you app and GPS positioning useless on the iPhone.

In reality if you have tried tracking with AGPS with a application that records it makes your tracked data very jerky as the AGPS is continually trying to improve your position. You will find with most GPS applications on Android and WIndows Mobile GPS phones which have AGPS the apps normally switch this added extra off, to get clean lines and smooth tracking. Further to iPhone you will find that because of general poor reception in the mountains that if you go over certain speeds and if you do big verticals in short distance it loses you and your altitude readings are all over the place.I had a bet with some mates last year and we had a App -iPhone against all comers face off ,  my iPhone lost out horribly. John8

post #11 of 19

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by John8 View Post

I partly agree with your explanation about AGPS. Your points are valid until you get in the mountains with an iPhone ( I have one I know) ! Many or most of the Android and Windows Mobile and Black Berry Phones have a stand alone GPS system , which means even if they have no service provider resception in the mountains ( which is often the case) They still work .The iphones will not work at all and thus renders any ski app usless !! However with the other phones you can switch off data roaming, even have little or no reception and still be able to track and save data and get real time positioning. This is not possible with iPhone , no service reception or poor reception renders you app and GPS positioning useless on the iPhone.

In reality if you have tried tracking with AGPS with a application that records it makes your tracked data very jerky as the AGPS is continually trying to improve your position. You will find with most GPS applications on Android and WIndows Mobile GPS phones which have AGPS the apps normally switch this added extra off, to get clean lines and smooth tracking. Further to iPhone you will find that because of general poor reception in the mountains that if you go over certain speeds and if you do big verticals in short distance it loses you and your altitude readings are all over the place.I had a bet with some mates last year and we had a App -iPhone against all comers face off ,  my iPhone lost out horribly. John8

 

So I have a couple of comments, not everything you have in there is correct.

 

1. The iPhone GPS definitely does work without cell service.  However almost all apps that use the GPS also display your location on a map, etc.  and that's not possible unless the phone has a data connection to download the map data.  If you have an app that either does nothing but display the output from the GPS chip, or has the maps downloaded onto your phone, it will work just fine.  So your app may be useless, but that's not the fault of the GPS, or the fact that it has A-GPS, it's because there's no data connection and the way the app works.  So, blame the app.

 

2. The A-GPS does not continually try to improve your position, possibly the wifi/cell triangulation features do, but that shouldn't be an impact in the mountains with no service.  The A-GPS is only used for improving location finding on startup.  So if you were finding your tracking to be poor, it could still be the fault of the phone, or the app, but it's not the fault of the A-GPS chipset.

 

3. Your statement that most Android phones don't have A-GPS is false.  At least from some quick googling, these all do:

Moto Droid 2, Moto Droid X, HTC Touch, HTC Droid Incredible, HTC EVO, Blackberry Bold, Curve & Storm, Samsung Galaxy (Both the newer S and the older ones), Palm Pre, etc.

I could keep going, but the point is, pretty much all phones in the last year or two with GPS, regardless of their OS, have A-GPS.

 

 

So... if you were experiencing poor performance with your iPhone, something else was the culprit.  I don't have a theory as to what it was, just wanting to explain that I'm pretty sure that A-GPS has nothing to do with the problems you saw.

post #12 of 19

I recently started using My Tracks on my HTC Evo Android phone (thanks to someone on this forum for the pointer to My Tracks, I believe).  It works well while walking and driving; less well in an airplane due to shielding by the fuselage (I assume).  I plan to use it while skiing this season, and have ordered an extra pair of batteries and an external charger just to keep this beast supplied with juice while the tracker is on full-time.

 

post #13 of 19

Hi,

 A correction or two  again:

 

(10 

The point that I was making was that iPhone's are not accurate and I gave the reasons for this which are clear and cannot be disputed ( I wish it were different) Fact is this and please dont try to argue this point . All GPS apps rely on the information the phone / hardware provides  -( where the apps differ is how they interpret the simple results and what you can do with the data, its an accepted fact and even by those in the know at Apple that the GPS positioning of iPHone is not great at the best of times, And in comparison with the other phones out there it cannot compare in accuracy in terms of Geo positioning or in battery life. Its GPS and AGPS is simply left wanting - I know, I love my iPhone but when it comes to GPS apps I cant take the results and positioning very seareously when I replay at the end of the ski day or run, they just dont perform as well as Android, BB ,or Win MOb smart phones.

 

Ive tested the iphone on many GPS related apps and its always left wanting. My son has his second Android ( Desire ) and the GPS data it collects when we run or cycle or Ski together is way better than mine.

( And dont say its my iPhone, Ive had my iPhone changed 4 times because of the issues I was having with the GPS apps.)

 

(2)

 

I never said that most HTC Android phones don't have AGPS , They DO ! What I said or meant to say was that if you use those phones for tracking and have both GPS tools working ( GPS and AGPS) then because  AGPS in most phones relies often largly on triangulation and also signal service provider streangth , the tracking data then becomes jerky as you go in and out of good 

and bad service provider signal in the mountains as you ski.

 

(3)

 

I think you missed my point , AGPS is not the fault of the iPhone , its standard hardware related , at fault ,is its tiny poor GPS antenna and the AGPS does not help it much in the outback or in the mountains. In cities no problem. I was hoping the iPhone 4 would be better but it is not and the battery life is only marginally better. I wish I could blame the apps but its hardware related its the iPhone!

 

Sorry , and I hate to say this but iPhone/Mac /Apple have some way to go still to improve harware and geo positioning.

 

The one thing which has not been mentioned is how maps on the phone are presented , if they IGN or flat Topo maps accuracy should be better but ive found that many iPhone ski apps simply try to locate you on a trail map without allowing for deviation at all ( many trail maps are bent by the artist to fit more in) so geo positioning on these is impossible unless they have been sleeved and devation has been geo calculated.

regards John8

post #14 of 19
Quote:

Originally Posted by John8 View Post

 

AGPS in most phones relies often largly on triangulation

 


No, it doesn't.  I'm not going to argue anymore.  Have a good one.

post #15 of 19

Hmmm John's first post extolls the virtues of Satski, perhaps he's posting only to promote that product.

post #16 of 19

I can't say anything about the iPhone (well I can but I won't) smile.gif

 

I have a Google Nexus One running Android 2.2 and use the app My Tracks to record my adventures.

 

I have found the GPS to more accurate than I thought it would be, however I always leave the option to use wi-fi / cell towers to assist OFF

Maybe they help on start-up, but like someone mentions it tends to affect (badly) the recording from then on. Turn it off and my tracks are good 99% of the time.

 

I am not going to promote any ski-specific apps because I have not found one I like - and I am hoping to make my own one day smile.gif

 

Lastly, I would like to promote a 3D trailmap for Whistler Blackcomb that I have made - check it out here

 

http://whistlerblackcombsnowreport.com/trailmap/

post #17 of 19

Now thats a punt ! mate - Actually  I was not promoting Satski per say , I used it as an example as its the best ski app we could find and it's been aroud a while and its one of the few that cover most resorts in the world. But happy to try anything new when someone can do better.

post #18 of 19

While checking out the Whistler Google Earth Map you might also want to check out the Fernie BC map which works on the iphone and other smart-phones.  This map has reviews of all the trails & offers pictures as well.  It's really quite a good piece of work.  You can look at the map on your computer @ http://www.redtree.com/far#googlemap and can go to this link if you want to put it on your phone: http://www.redtree.com/far?content=phonetrails 

post #19 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by shoal007 View Post

To those who have used this before.. How do you turn it off on the lifts? The iphone sucks cuz u have to take your gloves off and all that jazz to pause it on the lifts.  Iwant to save some batteries. Any ideas?

 


You just pull your glove off and turn it off, or check it out on the lift...sure you hands get a little cold, but it is why they have hand warmers!  Warm right back up.

 

Like I mentioned, I only use it maybe 4-6 times while out during the day.  Otherwise, if you want it on all the time, you need a battery pack to attach to the phone, just leave it on all the time and see what happens.  I don't know how long it can capture data though...never tried to leave it on for more than 20-30mins at a time personally.

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