Floating_Medic

Smartphone Mapping/GPS apps

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Hi folks, I’m wondering if anyone can recommend an iPhone mapping and GPS app? It doesn’t have to be a free one, I’d just like it to have all the relevant information I can use till I can afford to buy a decent one to hard mount in my boat. I currently have a fishfinder but its not fancy enough to have mapping on it. 

 

Cheers in adance,

Alan. 

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Hi Alan. I have used the Navionics apps before, they go okay. Search Navionics in the App Store. 

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I use Navionics on my iPad in a Waterproof case as far out as Browns Mnt (continental shelf). 
Map detail with sonar charts is excellent. Pls search my past posts as I have highlighted the details. 
 

cheers Zoran 

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Yup Navionics.  I bought it for 9 bucks last year.  Its since gone up to 34 bucks I believe. but you dont have to keep buying subscription each year if you dont want to.  you just dont get the updated maps.  you still get to keep all your marks.

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On 10/5/2019 at 3:42 PM, zmk1962 said:

I use Navionics on my iPad in a Waterproof case as far out as Browns Mnt (continental shelf). 
Map detail with sonar charts is excellent. Pls search my past posts as I have highlighted the details. 
 

cheers Zoran 

Zoran do you have an iPad with a SIM card and pay for a data connection or do you just download the maps on WiFi and use it that way?

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The iPad I use is sim card capable (from memory they are the ONLY models that have a proper GPS receiver in them).However, you do not need a sim card or data connection for the GPS / Navigation to work. So I do not have a sim card installed. I upload all my maps and do all the upgrades at home on wifi.

If I do want to get a data connection to the iPad while on the water, I just hotspot it to my iPhone and use the iPhone's sim data plan. So I always have that option.

Cheers Zoran

PS - please note: The non-sim iPad models use wifi to approximate GPS location, so they work indoors, and sometimes even outdoors walking around the city as they ping off wifi towers - without actually needing a full wifi log-in connection - but take these models offshore and the navigation just freezes.... trust me - it took me 3 ipads to figure that I needed the SIM model. Once I knew that, all the specification write ups for the different models made sense.

 

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I have thought about using an iPad so I don't have to use my sounder as a combo and I can take the marks elsewhere.

I believe you can get something to plug into the wifi iPad to add gps. 

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On 10/15/2019 at 6:07 PM, zmk1962 said:

The iPad I use is sim card capable (from memory they are the ONLY models that have a proper GPS receiver in them).However, you do not need a sim card or data connection for the GPS / Navigation to work. So I do not have a sim card installed. I upload all my maps and do all the upgrades at home on wifi.

If I do want to get a data connection to the iPad while on the water, I just hotspot it to my iPhone and use the iPhone's sim data plan. So I always have that option.

Cheers Zoran

PS - please note: The non-sim iPad models use wifi to approximate GPS location, so they work indoors, and sometimes even outdoors walking around the city as they ping off wifi towers - without actually needing a full wifi log-in connection - but take these models offshore and the navigation just freezes.... trust me - it took me 3 ipads to figure that I needed the SIM model. Once I knew that, all the specification write ups for the different models made sense.

 

Ah right thats good to know.  Yeah I knew you needed a SIM one but wasnt sure if you needed an activated SIM card for the GPS to work properly.

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On 10/15/2019 at 5:27 PM, Fishop said:

Yup Navionics.  I bought it for 9 bucks last year.  Its since gone up to 34 bucks I believe. but you dont have to keep buying subscription each year if you dont want to.  you just dont get the updated maps.  you still get to keep all your marks.

Well I guess my account hadnt expired when i made this post.  ive since come back from holidays and all the maps were gone.  My marks are still there so I had to update my subscription ($34).  I did notice that the new maps for my area have a bit more detail now and there are also some new fishing marks that other users have added that now show up on my maps.

 

I am still not sold on the gps in my phone being very accurate.  Aparently within phone service it can triangulate off mobile towers but once you get offshore and our of phone service it jumps around a bit and isnt very accurate.  Similar to my 8 year old raymarine fishfinder/gps combo.  Cant win them all I suppose.

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6 hours ago, Fishop said:

I am still not sold on the gps in my phone being very accurate.  Aparently within phone service it can triangulate off mobile towers but once you get offshore and our of phone service it jumps around a bit and isnt very accurate. 

Hey @Fishop When you say "apparently" is that your experience or or what you've heard? 

All GPS systems run of signals coming from satellites that participate in the GPS network. Some of the older GPS units only tracked 6 or 8 satellites, some of the newer ones track 12 to 16. The GPS unit then triangulate off the signals.  The bigger the spread of the tracked satellites across the full visible sky, the more accurately the GPS can calculate your location. If all the satellites currently in the southern visible sky are clumped low on the horizon then you will have a poor location calculation. etc.  This would explain why the raymarine was also having trouble.

Anyway, as you say you have to be comfortable with what you have, so why don't you do some tests. I did. I have an Eagle SeaCharter (now LEI) combo. I navigated with it side by side with the iPad and iPhone for a few trips. I did not see a perceived difference in plotting the location or the accuracy of speed etc up to 40km offshore. Way out of range of cell towers and without a SIM in the iPad.once comfortable, the Eagle is dedicated as a sounder and the iPad is the navigation.

You can also test in your car. I have an iPhone and switched it to flight mode - so all wifi, bluetooth and mobile network (cell tower) communication was switched off. I then used TomTom on the iPhone and it correctly located my vehicle and speed compared against the vehicle odometer and the in-car GPS system.  I also tested the Boating app (first download the map and  switch on the satellite overlay - that will give you a view of the roads), then switch on flight mode and go for a drive. In my case it picked up the correct speed and location etc.  That was enough to convince me the GPS was good enough for my purposes.

Anyway, if you have the app on your phone it's simple enough to try. Just make sure your iPhone or iPad has a reasonable clear view of the sky, you are relying on exposing its GPS receiver to as many overhead satellites as possible. 

Cheers Zoran

BTW, In the past, the US DoD used to insert a random error in the satellite signals that would vary accuracy from the 5-10m range out to 150-200m to prevent mis-use of the GPS network (think missile guidance). The GPS unit manufacturers figured out how to perform additional correction by triangulating off all sorts of signals, on land, off other shipping, off planes etc  So triangulating off other sources is not new, and navigation without them is also not new. Various vendors have different names for this like AGPS -  Assisted GPS etc.

 

Edited by zmk1962

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@zmk1962I stand corrected.  I am not sure where I picked that up from.  If I find it again I will let you know.   But according to a bunch of googling you are correct, it should only run off GPS.

Both my navionics on my phone and on my raymarine jump around a bit when out deep at sea.  One minute I am 10m NW of my mark and next minute I am 10m SE.  The raymarine is 8 years old and the phone 3 (although i just upgraded to a samsung s10) and the raymarine seems to be more accurate.  There are times I would have both running and the navionics on my phone was showing me in the middle of an island while the raymarine had me in the correct location on the edge.

Interesting in that you say the phone needs to have a clear view of the sky.  I might have to try that next time.

 

 

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When I run Navionics on my iPhone 7, it tracks pretty much the same as my Humminbird 798cxi. The only delay I experienced the other day was when I opened the app, it took a little while to find the satellites but the same thing happens with the Humminbird - it’s just that the Bird was on earlier.

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3 hours ago, Fishop said:

I stand corrected.

Hey @Fishop apologies.... didn't mean to sound harsh. Just wanted to establish if it was a specific problem you were experiencing or general chat. I can't speak to the samsung gps receiver as all my experience has been with apple iphone/ipads which have been spot on with the Eagle GPS in terms of location tracking offshore.   

If you are near mobile cell tower range I'd expect the phone to be more accurate as it has additional data points to use in its triangulation. When I'm driving through the city CBD, the buildings shroud a lot of the sky. My iPhone (using Waze) is always more accurate than my inbuilt car GPS as in addition to the satellites its triangulating of mobile cell towers.

On the boat, the Eagle GPS has no wifi connection so its purely using the satellites and some onshore transmitters that project the correction signal - obviously not as prevalent as the mobile cell towers.  So closer to shore, or in an estuary/river the iPad outperforms the Eagle, off shore they have been the same.

3 hours ago, Fishop said:

Interesting in that you say the phone needs to have a clear view of the sky.

My Haines has an alloy hardtop and plate glass screen, the ipad running navionics  sits on the dash under the sloping glass alongside the Eagle GPS and has no trouble finding satellite GPS signals. I have no external GPS aerials.

The iPad on the boat sits in a vertical position in a holder.  This gives the best reception for the GPS receiver.

How are you supporting your samsung? If its lying flat on a metal hull then you could be severely impeding the efficiency of its GPS receiver.

Cheers Zoran

PS - I purchase my Eagle Seacharter GPS in about 1999 .. so its way older than your raymarine  !!!! 

Edited by zmk1962

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On 10/25/2019 at 8:53 PM, zmk1962 said:

Hey @Fishop apologies.... didn't mean to sound harsh. Just wanted to establish if it was a specific problem you were experiencing or general chat. I can't speak to the samsung gps receiver as all my experience has been with apple iphone/ipads which have been spot on with the Eagle GPS in terms of location tracking offshore.   

If you are near mobile cell tower range I'd expect the phone to be more accurate as it has additional data points to use in its triangulation. When I'm driving through the city CBD, the buildings shroud a lot of the sky. My iPhone (using Waze) is always more accurate than my inbuilt car GPS as in addition to the satellites its triangulating of mobile cell towers.

On the boat, the Eagle GPS has no wifi connection so its purely using the satellites and some onshore transmitters that project the correction signal - obviously not as prevalent as the mobile cell towers.  So closer to shore, or in an estuary/river the iPad outperforms the Eagle, off shore they have been the same.

My Haines has an alloy hardtop and plate glass screen, the ipad running navionics  sits on the dash under the sloping glass alongside the Eagle GPS and has no trouble finding satellite GPS signals. I have no external GPS aerials.

The iPad on the boat sits in a vertical position in a holder.  This gives the best reception for the GPS receiver.

How are you supporting your samsung? If its lying flat on a metal hull then you could be severely impeding the efficiency of its GPS receiver.

Cheers Zoran

PS - I purchase my Eagle Seacharter GPS in about 1999 .. so its way older than your raymarine  !!!! 

No all good I didnt take any offence!  😎   Samsung just sits in a phone holder so its facing up.  Might try out the new phone see if its any better.  

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my pixel 3 , huawei, ibm tablet and a very old ipad all work well, although I only use navionics on my android devices. If you use multiple devices and they use the same app store, then you don't have to buy maps for each, just log in to the app store and update!

The Ipad is mostly used just for logging on/off with marine rescue. 

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i use Navionics on a Samsung tablet no sim, works just fine in and around Morton Bay. I haven't replaced it with anything as it does such a decent job. I just taped it under the front windscreen.

it does have a free try before you buy period if your unsure.  I liked it as Its a well supported app thats been around a while and is a proven product, you can find it on some pretty high end gear.

cheers

Edited by Dan0

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