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View Full Version : Hey Jester - I know you were talking GPS for your CDT hike earlier



SGT Rock
2012-03-23, 12:35
I've been looking for a while for a good solution for using my Android as an emergency GPS while out hiking when I wasn't carrying a real GPS. I recently found what might be the solution: http://www.backcountrynavigator.com/

Why this one over some others:

#1 reason is you do not need to have signal for an internet connection to make it work, and you do not need to download gigs of map data. You can select the map sections you want to have cache on the phone with an easy interface, and the phone does the work. How do I know what maps I need? That leads to #2...

#2. You can use standard GPX or KML files for trail tracks and waypoint files that people create and share. GPX is pretty much the defacto universal standard and KML is the file for Google Earth, so any cool track or waypoint you can find for Google Earth you can input there. So while you are sitting at home you can immigrate over the trail track you want, lets say CDT for your. Once you have that uploaded, you can start at one end and highlight the maps you think you might need. You may need to use some bypass due to fire, well if you know this ahead of time while you are in some town you can download the maps before getting back out on the trail. This way you should be able to avoid ever not having the right maps.

#3. Easy import of other files and combining them. If you find a trail track for the CDT, and then a waypoint file for water sources, when you import them into Backcountry Navigator they can all be imported into one "file" for the trail. No messing around with having to add and load different layers. And the import function is so easy, in fact easier than I expected so I ended up messing it up the first couple of times I tried because I was over thinking it. This also means if you get a track for one of these alternate trails for the CDT you can import it directly into your main trail track instead of having to create a whole 'nother file or layer.

#4 multiple map types. I have only uploaded USA topo maps for mine, but it does have options for like aerial photos which could be helpful when trying to match up what you see around you vs what is on the map. It looks like you will probably have options for other map types in the future. I would love to see a way to store Google Terrain maps in this software as it gives a good 3d feel and would probably be better for terrain association.

So the limitations are pretty much you will have a cell phone type battery time. I don't think you would want to do an always on sort of track like I normally do when mapping trail. This would supplement your map and compass skills in that you can pull this out and wait a few seconds for it to acquire your position so you could see if you were where you thought you were, or how you need to get back to where you need to be. Then stow it away off for a check later, or leave it on for a few seconds to make sure you are going in the right direction before turning it back off. I suppose you could leave it on longer if you were to have a way to charge it on the trail such as a good solar system or a battery converter where you could pack extra Li AA batteries that could be swapped out.

Based on what Mags has suggested about not needing a GPS, but wanting the comfort of having extra maps for bypasses and emergencies, I think something like this is probably a good compromise as long as you already have a smart phone and were planning to take it. I haven't done much more with it than futz around the house and between here and work with it, so I cannot give you a real trail use over time perspective. I'm going to play with it next month on the AT though.

Now if only my android could take really good pictures!

chumpchange
2012-03-23, 18:35
does 'airplane mode' stop the phone from searching for a network when you're out of reach? that's a drainer.

Cuffs
2012-03-23, 18:46
yes it does. but if you have an iphone, theres a hack that you can put it in airplane mode, but still keep the gps portion running.

SGT Rock
2012-03-23, 19:30
I just played with it, and I could track satellites in airplane mode. I didn't think that it would work. I don't know if there is a hack built into the software or what.

Jester
2012-03-26, 01:23
Unfortunately I have a very stupid phone.

SGT Rock
2012-03-26, 02:25
Send it back to school.

Hog On Ice
2012-03-26, 02:49
give it a good talking to

SGT Rock
2012-03-26, 03:13
It is nice having a smart device when you get to town. Saves trying to cue up for a computer as long as you can get wi-fi somewhere. Most hotels have it, and surprisingly a lot of fast food joints do as well.

I remember about 10 years ago I wondered why doesn't some cell phone manufacturer come up with a single device that is an e-mail machine, mp3 player, phone, camera, gps, and can use standard batteries like AA and or solar charging. It looks like we are finally getting there, except for the battery and solar part. But there are solutions for that like AA chargers and solar systems that can attach to phones like the iPhone and Androids.

Jester
2012-03-26, 10:26
I'm one of those weird people who purposely disconnects from everything when I go on a long distance hike. I don't really need a computer for anything while I'm on the trail, so it hasn't really been an issue for me. I think I was on a computer 5 or 6 times while I was on the PCT, but for the most part I call my mom & my best friend Jim and they keep anyone who cares where I am informed (Jim ran a Facebook page for my hike last time around -- I posted on it once).

chumpchange
2012-03-26, 14:32
i remember wondering about 15 yrs ago how cool it would be to be able to listen to the same radio station(s) no matter where you were.

now if i could just sit thru the car wash without being cut off from 'man on the silver mountain' we'd be there.


this weekend i noticed on my droid that if you power it off to save the battery, you'd better check to make sure it stays off. it looks like for one, that you don't put in your security code before you power down that it won't stay down.
and also make sure that nothing is rubbing against the power button. i had to turn mine off 3 different times...

i'm thinking of buying an extra battery so i can use the back country nav.

Nearly Normal
2012-03-26, 15:56
Fuck a telephone.......it is the spawn of the devils black limb....unless you really need it.
Most don't.... they just walk around talking to nobody about nothing.

john pickett
2012-03-26, 17:30
"they just walk around talking to nobody about nothing. "
Hey, that sounds like a great idea for a TV show!
Gee, anybody know Jerry Sienfelds phone number?

SGT Rock
2012-03-26, 19:47
I'm one of those weird people who purposely disconnects from everything when I go on a long distance hike. I don't really need a computer for anything while I'm on the trail, so it hasn't really been an issue for me. I think I was on a computer 5 or 6 times while I was on the PCT, but for the most part I call my mom & my best friend Jim and they keep anyone who cares where I am informed (Jim ran a Facebook page for my hike last time around -- I posted on it once).

I can relate. When I was doing my attempt I think maybe a couple of times did I ever get on line and I usually regretted it. The stone of WB was always around my neck.

saimyoji
2012-03-26, 20:20
I can relate. When I was doing my attempt I think maybe a couple of times did I ever get on line and I usually regretted it. The stone of WB was always around my neck.

Atlas......shrugged.

SGT Rock
2012-03-26, 20:40
I know. It was a self inflicted wound. I've wised up since then.

Hog On Ice
2012-03-26, 20:53
dang Rock - you need to post more - I have a higher post count than you do - 6680 vs 6637

SGT Rock
2012-03-26, 20:57
Damn, I didn't notice that. What is Wolf's count?

Hog On Ice
2012-03-26, 20:59
3,631 I think but didn't he delete a lot of his posts?

Skidsteer
2012-03-26, 21:05
Damn, I didn't notice that. What is Wolf's count?

3631.

He's the undisputed fucking King of WB though.

We just don't say enough stupid shit around here to inspire him.

SGT Rock
2012-03-26, 21:05
Probably.

sheepdog
2012-03-26, 21:09
3631.

He's the undisputed fucking King of WB though.

We just don't say enough stupid shit around here to inspire him.

http://youtu.be/gOCNY9pJ850
gOCNY9pJ850

Hog On Ice
2012-03-26, 21:09
3631.

He's the undisputed fucking King of WB though.

We just don't say enough stupid shit around here to inspire him.

he can have WB - I'll never go back there

Lugnut
2012-03-26, 21:11
Why not?

sheepdog
2012-03-26, 21:13
Why not?

He's banned for life??? :albertein

Hog On Ice
2012-03-26, 21:18
I came to the realization that contributing in any form whatsoever to a forum owned by a man with no honor reflected poorly on my own honor so I hid my posts under a newby username and vanilla profile, changed my password to something I could never remember, and left shaking the dust off of my shoes as I left - what is left is of no interest to me

Nearly Normal
2012-03-27, 02:54
I came to the realization that contributing in any form whatsoever to a forum owned by a man with no honor reflected poorly on my own honor so I hid my posts under a newby username and vanilla profile, changed my password to something I could never remember, and left shaking the dust off of my shoes as I left - what is left is of no interest to me

....and you can't say shit or fuck....

chumpchange
2012-03-27, 09:08
fuck that shit.

figurative, of course...

sheepdog
2012-03-27, 21:08
....and you can't say shit or fuck....

well........ only once

SGT Rock
2012-03-30, 11:07
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XVtOMuTlVs4&feature=context&context=G2a1477eFAAAAAAAAAAAI saw this today and for some reason I thought of Jester