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csd
2011-02-07 21:04:27
"Screenshot of Motion-X with the OpenStreetMap "Terrain" map." from csd Contract pics
Picture: Screenshot of Motion-X with the OpenStreetMap "Terrain" map. (Contract pics)

Using an iPhone as a GPS
My trusty Garmin eTrex finally bit the dust after falling off a rather loose handlebar mount on my bike once too many. Given the straitened times we're in, I decided to look for a cheap alternative rather than splashing out on a new eTrex. Seeing as I'd recently treated myself to an iPhone 4 (ok, maybe times aren't THAT straitened!), I had a look to see what apps might do the trick. The GPS chipset on the iPhone 4 is significantly improved over that in the 3G and 3GS, so I was curious to see if it would be a suitable eTrex replacement.

After searching the App store for a bit, I decided to download Motion-X GPS. This costs €3.99, not free but a lot cheaper than a new Garmin. The big feature that impressed me with Motion-X is the ability to download OpenStreetMap maps (both road and terrain) for use while offline. In other words, you don't need a data signal to use the maps, which is very handy in the remoter parts of the country where phone signal isn't the best. The OpenStreetMap Terrain maps are very similar to pazapas's Emerald Isle maps, showing shaded contours, roads, and other amenities. Motion-X makes great use of the iPhone 4's gorgeous display, and you can get moisture-proof cases to keep your expensive smart phone out of the wet. You can search for and navigate to all the tops listed in MV.

On the downside, there's no support for entering co-ordinates in Irish Grid format (although there is UTM support), but it's possible that this might be added in a future version. The other thing to watch for is battery life. Using an iPhone with the GPS on really drains your battery, so if getting lost would be a problem then make sure you have a paper backup! You can export waypoints as GPX files, but only via email, which isn't handy if you want to dump a whole bunch of them.

I still haven't made up my mind as to whether and iPhone 4 and Motion-X GPS are a true replacement for a Garmin. The lack of Irish Grid support is quite a handicap, and the battery life is a worry because if it runs out you've not only lost your GPS but your phone as well. I probably will buy a second-hand eTrex, but having the iPhone and Motion-X means I don't need to rush out and buy one straight away. Worth a look!


RECENT CONTRIBUTIONS 1 2 3 .. 23 Next page >>
Forum: General
THE POWER OF WORDS
Pepe a day ago.
There I was scratching around on Slieve Binnian. Up top, I bumped into a couple out hillwalking for the day. Pleasantries were exchanged – which way did you come up, fabulous views, the weather – ...

  
Summit Comment
Slieve Binnian: Mind how you go on a route Not Recommended
Pepe a day ago.
Climbed this yesterday on the route leading from Brackenagh Bridge. Chose this route because I wanted to do Moolieve and the Wee Binnian on the way up. On a plus note a local farmer kindly let me ...

  
Track
Buckaun - Binnaw circuit.
simon3 a day ago.
Hydro scheme at Lough Nadirkmore.The walk starts from a point high in an east facing coum of Maumtrasna. This road goes walk, Len: 5.8km, Climb: 368m, Area: Partry/Joyce Country (Ireland)

Summit Comment
An Bhinn Bhuí: A spectacular landscape
Damian120 a day ago.
It's a seldom-visited area of County Mayo yet it boasts some of the most impressive coastal architecture in the entire country. After spending five years covering and exploring the landscape of th...

  
Track
Croghan Kinsella
jgfitz a day ago.
This is a variation on track #3938, so I will avoid repeating the comments made there, with which I fully agree. This... walk, Len: 11.4km, Climb: 412m, Area: Croghan Kinsella, Dublin/Wicklow (Irelan

  
Track
Knocknalougha South Top
Onzy a day ago.
Route to Knocknalougha South Top from Crow Hill carpark ... as outlined by melohara on the Hill Page... walk, Len: 11.7km, Climb: 430m, Area: Knocknalougha South Top, Knockmealdown Mo...

Summit Comment
Big Collin: Permission required?
StephenMullin a week ago.
Hi thereCan anybody tell me if permission is required to walk up Big Collin? If so, how does one go about obtaining this?Many thanks!

  
Track
12 (Listed) Bens - Revisited
GSheehy 4 days ago.
I was drawn back by the lure of completing the 2002 - 12 Bens Challenge route. I got the details from John J. Cotter w... walk, Len: 29.1km, Climb: 2598m, Area: Benglenisky, Twelve Bens (Ireland) Ben

  
Summit Summary
Anglesey Mountain: Great Carlingford views from a so-so top
Collaborative entry Last edit by: Colin Murphy a week ago.
There is enough space to park one car at 100 167, just on the edge of a wood around a sharp u-bend. Proceed north for 100m before turning NE up a gentle slope, although the terrain is treacherous ...

Forum: General
Re: Sligo, Leitrim, Roscommon
Peter Walker 3 days ago.
Hi daithi07The 'what's left to do in Ireland' article currently lives largely in my head rather than anywhere more tangible. It will see the light of day at some point in the next few months. I am...

  
Track
Greece, Pelion Peninsula: Paou to Chorto return
Onzy a week ago.
walk, Len: 8.3km, Climb: 237m, Area: Greece, Thessaly ()

  
Summit Summary
Pigeon Rock Mountain South Top: Nondescript summit for baggers only
Collaborative entry Last edit by: Colin Murphy a week ago.
Usually done in conjunction with Pigeon Rock itself, but can be done in isolation if you want. Car park can be found at 234 278 A. Take the track directly across the road that follows the Rocky Ri...


RECENT CONTRIBUTIONS 1 2 3 .. 23 Next page >>