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  1. #1
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    GPS module in iPhone

    I've been trying to convience my wife that I need a GPS for my bike but she hasn't really taken the bait yet. With the new iPhone coming out with a GPS module, I wonder what capabilities will be available for it in terms of using it on the trail. Does anybody know what the current phones with gps is capable of?

    Thanks!

  2. #2
    Hack Racer
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    current iphones on the market do not have GPS built in.

    Even when the new Iphone comes out with the GPS chip inside it, it will not be a standalone GPS device. Meaning to get maps it will need to pull data from a web server somewhere across the 3G cell wireless network. If the maps are anywhere like the blackberry gps phones then it will be poor for anything but simple navigation on the road. Unless someone out there is going to write a program on the new 3G capable iphones that allows it to dispaly topographic data don't expect to be able to use your iphone on the trail. Plus the iphone is a bit delicate for use on the trail. I'm curious to know what chip the new 3G iphone GPS is. I wonder if it is the SIRF III

  3. #3
    Masher
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    SiRF III is not the only great GPS receiver chipset out there...
    I'd recommend not dismissing a device just because it doesn't have 'SiRF Inside'...

  4. #4
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    I don't know how new iPhone will be, but I doubt it will be of much use, but I'm not going into this now
    Current phones? I have no idea what's available on USA market, but Nokia N95 has built in GPS, and considering it's running same OS as my Nokia E51 (but since E51 doesn't have build-in gps, I need bluetooth antenna), I guess it's capable of similar things. One option is build in Nokia maps, which is pretty much useless. All maps needs to be downloaded, which is fast with 3G, but not really cheap. Other option is one of third party programs. Tomtom for example has Symbian version of their navigation software. It works fine, but it's more for road navigation (turn by turn). For off road navigation (just position on map, plus tracks etc.) I prefer Smartcom GPS. You can load your own map there and it gives you very similar data then Garmin gps are giving you. But it doesn't have turn by turn navigation, which is not really useful for off road anyway.
    So if you don't need gps mounted straight on handlebar, I would say phone is better option. You have phone and gps all in same pack, so you don't need to carry extra device with you.

  5. #5
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    With nokias symbian devices you can use Sports tracker.
    http://research.nokia.com/research/p...ker/index.html
    http://sportstracker.nokia.com/

    Here is a recording of my last ride for example:
    http://sportstracker.nokia.com/nts/w...x.do?id=254431

    and best of all its free!

  6. #6
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    But can you load map into this? I tried it once, and it's cool, but I didn't find way to load map (preferably map from Ozi explorer) into it. If this could be done, this would be my first choice for off road riding/running.

  7. #7
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    Sports tracker doesn't _yet_ show map, it is still in beta development phase. Map display will eventually come after it is ready. Tracker is just used to save all gps data along the route. For actuall navigation help you can use Nokia Maps 2.0 into which you can download all maps via a computer (no 3G needed). The software needed is called surprisingly Nokia Map Loader. There are several gigabytes of maps from all over the world and they are all free to use. The only think that actually costs money is if you wan't to have audio based navigation on Maps2.0, then you need a licence. But it is optional.

    And you can use sports tracker and Maps2.0 simultaneously so it is not a problem.

  8. #8
    Waypointer
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cheers!
    Even when the new Iphone comes out with the GPS chip inside it, it will not be a standalone GPS device. ...
    Have you heard concrete information about the iphone GPS capabilities? I've seen two different scenarios, but haven't seen what's true.

    The first is a full-fledged multichannel GPS receiver. Position is determined solely from GPS constellation.

    The second is a simpler GPS receiver (maybe 1 channel) that refines cell tower triangulation.

  9. #9
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    I was actually just thinking about this...
    Wouldn't be too hard to write an app for the iphone (the sdk is quite good) to get your location/altitude from the gps unit, and place it on a map. Also shouldn't be too hard to show a route stored in .kml...

    Oh and you could even show the topo in 3D since it supports OpenGL!!! Something like the Garmin Colorado does. Man that would be cool. (puts on his coding hat).

    In all seriousness though I'm sure Garmin and others will come out for mapping/directions apps for the iphone. Not sure any will be biking/hiking geared though.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by SatelliteBiker
    Have you heard concrete information about the iphone GPS capabilities? I've seen two different scenarios, but haven't seen what's true.

    The first is a full-fledged multichannel GPS receiver. Position is determined solely from GPS constellation.

    The second is a simpler GPS receiver (maybe 1 channel) that refines cell tower triangulation.
    The best I can tell by looking at the iphone programmer's API is its a bit of both. The navigation program you have running on your iphone can request a certain accuracy, and I'm willing to bet if the accuracy is wide enough (or you are on an older iphone) it will only triangulate through the cell tower.

    The iphone API says something to the effect of "higher accuracy will require more power" which I take to mean it will switch on the GPS when higher accuracy is needed.

  11. #11
    Waypointer
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    That's good. Only burn the juice when it's actually needed.

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