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iPod 4th gen with GPS hiking app

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iPod 4th gen with GPS hiking app

Postby brucemc777 » Mon Dec 31, 2012 5:39 am

Hey folks...

I got this neat little ipod (4th gen) thing from my daughter. I think she wanted to make me eat my "I will NEVER endorse an Apple product" words. Anyway, I have a GPS module coming for it, and an extended battery pack.

I see a whole mess of gps related apps. I would REALLY not like to try them all one by one - I can't afford it by means of both money and as I ain't young, probably time. All I want to do is take my girls for short day hikes at Garden of the Gods, local reservoir paths, then maybe progress. I guess I need an app that I can download a decent trail or topo or whatever you call it map for the area we will be exploring when at home (Since the iPod does not have "anywhere" internet capabilities, just hot spots), then somehow load it and tie it in to the gps functionality once at location (to where I will arrive via my Garmin...).

As you can easily see by my construct, I have a little less than a clue of what I am doing here, as I am used to the auto gps systems.

Can someone please steer me to a good, solid, inexpensive app that might fit my hopes?

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Re: iPod 4th gen with GPS hiking app

Postby Alpinist » Mon Dec 31, 2012 1:53 pm

I think you have an iPad, not an iPod. You can download maps to an iPad but I don't know of any way to connect an iPad to a Garmin. Without a hotspot, the map on your iPad is no different than a paper map. You can read the map but without an Internet connection it won't tell you where you are.

If you have a Garmin GPS, why do you need the iPad? You can load maps onto your Garmin from a PC. Some Garmin GPSs even have preloaded topo maps. It seems to me you should focus your time on learning how to use the Garmin and forget about the iPad...
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Re: iPod 4th gen with GPS hiking app

Postby Steve Pratt » Mon Dec 31, 2012 11:35 pm

The GPS apps are primarily intended for use on an iPhone, using the built in GPS chip. The iPod touch calculates your approximate position relative to known Wi-fi networks but does not have a GPS chip. The various apps might load topo maps for you (and I can't even promise that) but they would not tell you where on the map you are. To use your device as a GPS (a good idea for someone who cant justify the cost of a stand-alone GPS) you will need a smartphone running iOS or Android (or blackberry, but from personal experience I wouldnt recommend it) rather than an iPod.

If you do decide to buy a smartphone: In my opinion, which app you choose would depend on where you are going. Some are expensive apps with cheap/free downloadable maps (good if you go to many different places), while others have a cheap app but get you on charges for downloading maps (better of you rarely use it or only go to a few favored locations). Once you decide how you want to spend your money, then I would read the reviews and try the demo versions. (demos are valuable here because GPS apps are notorious for not working well across platforms, and many people for whatever reason have difficulty getting them to work at all).

Good luck!
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Re: iPod 4th gen with GPS hiking app

Postby brucemc777 » Tue Jan 01, 2013 6:22 am

Thank-you folks!

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Re: iPod 4th gen with GPS hiking app

Postby Jukka Ahonen » Thu Jan 03, 2013 8:59 am

My two cents on the subject:

iPod is not perhaps the best platform for any tracking system due to limitations describer by Steve Pratt above.

In this situation you may be considering buying another device. I would advice against buying a smartphone for this. The reasons being:

1) Smartphones use too much battery power if you are constantly tracking your progress with GPS. If you also use it as an electronic map (thus use the display extensively) this will eat up your battery quite fast (realistically, I would say 2-6 hours depending on the phone).

2) If you run out of juice, and you have had "all of your eggs in one basket", you have no emergency communication available, no GPS, no map. Then you are screwed.

For this reason, I would either get a separate, hand-held GPS device for the tracking & map reading, or just use a normal map. I would recommend at least trying to do a hike with you daughter and attempt to record your path as closely as possible to a map, all without technical assistance. This can actually become an interesting aspect of hiking, and transform it to something besides just a physical exercise. (After all, tracking your location closely requires you to pay attention to your environment in a different way).

If you do wish to use a smartphone or iPod (or iPad), then I suggest you get mobile chargers that enable you to re-charge your device while on the trail.

As for the app, I must say that I have tried close to a dozen different apps, and none of them seem good for tracking. They are more geared towards running, or other relatively fast movement. As a result, they use too much battery for anything longer than short trails.
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Re: iPod 4th gen with GPS hiking app

Postby pvnisher » Thu Jan 03, 2013 10:18 am

Although the iPod Touch 4 does not have a built-in GPS receiver and chip, there are ways to add this functionality. It appears the OP has ordered a GPS add-on kit and extended battery kit, so many of the previous posts are pointless.

I have an iPod Touch 4, as well, and here is what I have found with regard to using it as an outdoor device:
-most of the GPS hardware add-ons are more suited for vehicular use than trail. That is, they hang off like a tumor, or are connected via a cable, but aren't really a great all-in-one trail-ready package
-It is quite possible to use GPS apps and download maps before going out, so you don't need wifi. In fact, when you go out be sure to turn the wifi radio off or it will eat more battery.
--I haven't found a map and app combo that I really love, but I also haven't tried them all. Seems like Steve Pratt's advice about trial versions is right on

If you (and I) had an iPod Touch 3, then I would purchase the Magellan Toughcase. It is a waterproof case with a GPS chip and extra battery built in that still lets you use the touchscreen. In fact, I've been waiting for them to come out with a version compatible with the 4 for quite a while, but I don't think they will. I've looked for a cheap iPod 3 that would be my outdoors device (mated with a Toughcase), but haven't found a good enough price to make me bite.

More information and useful links on navigating with a iTouch
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Re: iPod 4th gen with GPS hiking app

Postby brucemc777 » Thu Jan 03, 2013 4:16 pm

Yup. I was thankful that many offered help, but it appeared that somehow I missed making the point that I bought a GPS chip and extended battery pack for it. And yes, it does hang off like a tumor, but after writing Magellan a couple times about the prospect of a toughcase for the 4th gen, I got the feeling they chose not to bother.

After reading the cross referenced article on modifying the system files to enable Google Maps Streetview, as much as I enjoy this device I am given yet another reason to despise Apple marketing - looks like they are in bed with Verizon.

Will just have to keep hunting for a simple app that I can store a map of where I am going to walk around and provide location information via attached GPS. If I recall, some folks called GPSTuner did something like that for an old pda I once had; will have to revisit them.

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