Author Topic: Using a phone instead of a GPS device  (Read 5861 times)

Re: Using a phone instead of a GPS device
« Reply #50 on: June 04, 2020, 10:54:55 pm »
Any suggestions for an Android app that will record a plain basic GPX track?
Strava is misbehaving on my phone - zigs & zags to odd points miles away from actual location at 200mph, and I want to check it with a different app.
I don't need maps, I don't need routing, I don't need fancy features, but it would be nice if I could easily transfer recorded tracks to a Windows desktop.

fuaran

  • rothair gasta
Re: Using a phone instead of a GPS device
« Reply #51 on: June 04, 2020, 11:07:55 pm »
Any suggestions for an Android app that will record a plain basic GPX track?
Strava is misbehaving on my phone - zigs & zags to odd points miles away from actual location at 200mph, and I want to check it with a different app.
I don't need maps, I don't need routing, I don't need fancy features, but it would be nice if I could easily transfer recorded tracks to a Windows desktop.
GPS Logger for Android, does just that. https://gpslogger.app/
Plenty of options to adjust the recording frequency etc. Worth turning off the option to use network locations, that can be inaccurate.
Can set it to automatically upload to Dropbox or Google Drive etc, I think that's the easiest way of transferring to desktop.

Kim

  • Timelord
Re: Using a phone instead of a GPS device
« Reply #52 on: June 04, 2020, 11:42:48 pm »
Worth turning off the option to use network locations, that can be inaccurate.

That certainly sounds like a likely cause of 200mph zigzags.
Careful, Kim. Your sarcasm's showing...

Re: Using a phone instead of a GPS device
« Reply #53 on: June 05, 2020, 01:08:27 pm »
Any suggestions for an Android app that will record a plain basic GPX track?
Strava is misbehaving on my phone - zigs & zags to odd points miles away from actual location at 200mph, and I want to check it with a different app.
I don't need maps, I don't need routing, I don't need fancy features, but it would be nice if I could easily transfer recorded tracks to a Windows desktop.

Lots of apps will do that, including the free versions of cyclemeter, bikecomputer, ridewithgps and osmand.
All of those 4 are pretty user friendly, maybe rwgps or cyclemeter is the simplest


Tim Hall

  • I want to eat the fleeting shade of your lashes
Re: Using a phone instead of a GPS device
« Reply #54 on: June 08, 2020, 08:38:01 pm »
Any suggestions for an Android app that will record a plain basic GPX track?
Strava is misbehaving on my phone - zigs & zags to odd points miles away from actual location at 200mph, and I want to check it with a different app.
I don't need maps, I don't need routing, I don't need fancy features, but it would be nice if I could easily transfer recorded tracks to a Windows desktop.

Lots of apps will do that, including the free versions of cyclemeter, bikecomputer, ridewithgps and osmand.
All of those 4 are pretty user friendly, maybe rwgps or cyclemeter is the simplest
I didn't know osmand could do logging. I do now. Having tweaked the battery optimisation on my phone, I've got it to work. Thanks for the pointer Frank.
There are two ways you can get exercise out of a bicycle: you can
"overhaul" it, or you can ride it.  (Jerome K Jerome)

Re: Using a phone instead of a GPS device
« Reply #55 on: June 08, 2020, 10:14:59 pm »
Worth turning off the option to use network locations, that can be inaccurate.

That certainly sounds like a likely cause of 200mph zigzags.

Indeed, but in Android 9 the option to decide which location services (network / gps / both) are used, has been amputated.
It's now just Location "on" or Location "off"

Re: Using a phone instead of a GPS device
« Reply #56 on: June 08, 2020, 11:59:27 pm »
The trick for saving power with OLED displays is to have as much black (and dark colours generally) on the screen as possible, as only the pixels that are actually lit up consume power.  So it might make sense to use a 'night' or 'high contrast' theme, with the brightness turned up high.
Thanks Kim, that's a top tip! I tried it out yesterday using Oruxmaps set to night mode on my OLED display phone with the screen brightness set to 50% and auto adjust set to off. With the map display permanently on, battery consumption was around 8% per hour without any power saving adjustments.  This is as good as using the 7" lcd tablet in "dim wake lock" and aeroplane mode with the added benefit of a much easier to read display :thumbsup:
Most of the stuff I say is true because I saw it in a dream and I don't have the presence of mind to make up lies when I'm asleep.   Bryan Andreas

Re: Using a phone instead of a GPS device
« Reply #57 on: June 16, 2020, 12:03:36 am »
The trick for saving power with OLED displays is to have as much black (and dark colours generally) on the screen as possible, as only the pixels that are actually lit up consume power.  So it might make sense to use a 'night' or 'high contrast' theme, with the brightness turned up high.
Thanks Kim, that's a top tip! I tried it out yesterday using Oruxmaps set to night mode on my OLED display phone with the screen brightness set to 50% and auto adjust set to off. With the map display permanently on, battery consumption was around 8% per hour without any power saving adjustments.  This is as good as using the 7" lcd tablet in "dim wake lock" and aeroplane mode with the added benefit of a much easier to read display :thumbsup:
So taking this a step further, I took an old Samsung A3 smartphone and carried out a factory reset followed by an install of "Oruxmaps" with offline UK mapping, together with Brouter and "GPS Status" apps.  Using the phone in flight mode and location set to "GPS only" the battery usage with the map display permanently on and high resolution tracking enabled was a consistent 5% per hour measured over a 300km 20 hour ride. 
Most of the stuff I say is true because I saw it in a dream and I don't have the presence of mind to make up lies when I'm asleep.   Bryan Andreas

Re: Using a phone instead of a GPS device
« Reply #58 on: June 16, 2020, 01:27:01 pm »
That's really good battery life.  FWIW I'm getting about 6 hours from my setup.  That is using about 70% brightness (I vary it manually according to conditions).  But on a sunny day, I am needing to bump it up to 100%.  Duller day 50% is more than enough - so 6 hours seems a good average.

It is borderline as to whether it is good enough.  I'll need to do more testing on longer rides to see how long I get from different sized battery packs. 

Upgrading to an OLED phone is not an option as there are no waterproof 4" models.

mdp

Re: Using a phone instead of a GPS device
« Reply #59 on: June 19, 2020, 11:43:03 pm »
Not sure whether you have seen Blackview's BVXXXX series rugged phones - https://www.blackview.hk/smartphone/. I have the BV6000 which I use when bikepacking/hiking. It's pretty much bomb proof and the battery lasts for days as opposed to hours. It's a decent spec (Octa-core 2.0 GHz, 3GB Memory, 4.7" screen) but not amazing. The screen isn't fantastic and the camera is nowhere near as good as they like to make out, but it does the job for navigation. There's also a newer BV6800 with a bigger screen, bigger battery and a bit more memory. Only thing is they seem to have gone up in price lately. When I got mine 2 years ago it was around £140 on Amazon and it seems to be now selling for over £190 and the BV6800 is just over £200, which is still not bad I suppose compared to a lot of phones. They also have a much higher spec BV9900 which is more than double the price but then it does apparently have a thermal imaging camera :o

Re: Using a phone instead of a GPS device
« Reply #60 on: June 22, 2020, 01:37:24 pm »
Not sure whether you have seen Blackview's BVXXXX series rugged phones - https://www.blackview.hk/smartphone/. I have the BV6000 which I use when bikepacking/hiking. It's pretty much bomb proof and the battery lasts for days as opposed to hours. It's a decent spec (Octa-core 2.0 GHz, 3GB Memory, 4.7" screen) but not amazing. The screen isn't fantastic and the camera is nowhere near as good as they like to make out, but it does the job for navigation. There's also a newer BV6800 with a bigger screen, bigger battery and a bit more memory. Only thing is they seem to have gone up in price lately. When I got mine 2 years ago it was around £140 on Amazon and it seems to be now selling for over £190 and the BV6800 is just over £200, which is still not bad I suppose compared to a lot of phones. They also have a much higher spec BV9900 which is more than double the price but then it does apparently have a thermal imaging camera :o

Thanks - interesting.  I had come across Blackview but ruled them out as I only saw large screen models.  I had been considering risking a second-hand Samsung A3, having discovered the 2017 models are waterproof (Thanks Bolt ^^), but this looks like another good option.  A few quick searches show the BV6000 available for <£100.

In case anyone is interested in this, or contemplating switiching to a phone setup, now that I have had good bit of experience with the phone, I'm weighing up how best to configure my setup.  As it is, it is great for anything up to, say 600km / 2 days, but I can see that the battery burn rate could be an issue above that - and it is the longest ride that defines the requirement.

There are two main alternative approaches I am considering, and which will dictate what I might buy next:
1) to carry on down the route of looking for the best smaller phone to use as an upgrade to my Cubot and then carry a main phone as well, for back-up navigation and everything else - this is the vision that I started out with.
2) to use my main phone for navigation and use another device as backup.  This could be my Cubot or one of my old Garmins, or anything really.  When I'm using my phone to do other stuff (find music to listen to, book hotels, etc) I would turn the backup device on purely to show me the route, but this would only be for short periods, so little power requirement.  This model has two benefits: I would only have one phone to keep charged, so it might work out more economical (esp if I upgrade to an OLED screen) and I would have a bigger screen for navigation.

I'm realising that one challenge of taking the phone app approach is that there is a constant temptation to upgrade and fine-tune! And that is not necessarily what I want to spend my time doing.

Re: Using a phone instead of a GPS device
« Reply #61 on: June 22, 2020, 04:27:42 pm »
Using the Samsung A3 as previously described the battery consumption is actually less than my main phone (S7) carried in my back pocket with the screen off, even though the S7 has a bigger battery.
Most of the stuff I say is true because I saw it in a dream and I don't have the presence of mind to make up lies when I'm asleep.   Bryan Andreas

Re: Using a phone instead of a GPS device
« Reply #62 on: June 22, 2020, 05:28:27 pm »
The battery life you are getting with your oled screens is fantastic. I think when my GPS die at some future point I’ll seriously consider a modern phone for the purpose.

Re: Using a phone instead of a GPS device
« Reply #63 on: July 02, 2020, 05:22:49 pm »
Well this has been an interesting project and has given me a pretty good device, but I have decided to try another Garmin - I've just bought a 1030.

The reason is that I have discovered that it can display more than two data fields on the map screen, which was the reason I had ruled it out.  But, by downloading a third party app called MapDashboard, I can get either 4 or 6 data fields. 

My phone / GPS is pretty good, but it has three areas where it wasn't up to the same standard as a Garmin - all to do with the screen: battery life, visibility in bright sun and usability in the wet.  I'll keep it as my back-up device, maybe keep it on my commuting bike.

Re: Using a phone instead of a GPS device
« Reply #64 on: July 20, 2020, 11:08:03 am »
I've just found out that I can connect my Amazfit Bip watch to Oruxmaps and display heart rate on the dashboard. All that's required is to make the watch temporarily discoverable using a 3rd party app such as "Notify and Fitness" and then select the watch in Oruxmaps Global Settings>Sensors>Heart Monitor and then add the required HRM measures to the dashboard display.
Most of the stuff I say is true because I saw it in a dream and I don't have the presence of mind to make up lies when I'm asleep.   Bryan Andreas

Re: Using a phone instead of a GPS device
« Reply #65 on: July 21, 2020, 01:05:39 am »
I've just found out that I can connect my Amazfit Bip watch to Oruxmaps and display heart rate on the dashboard. All that's required is to make the watch temporarily discoverable using a 3rd party app such as "Notify and Fitness" and then select the watch in Oruxmaps Global Settings>Sensors>Heart Monitor and then add the required HRM measures to the dashboard display.

I've used Notify & Fitness and found it was over complicated and so many nested levels of settings. Life is too short to be getting wound up by complicated apps.

Speaking of complicated it's reassuring to know others have difficulties with gps devices/apps. I use Locus Maps and while it does have a learning curve it's a visually beautifully app to use with lots of features and cheap maps.

I too had a Bip but it annoyed me that I couldn't run countdown timers and switch to the main screen to see the time, basically your locked in due to it's non multi-tasking OS. Which is daft since all electronic devices count time. I've now got a Huawei GT2 which is a very fine watch but once you go into a workout mode you are locked in and have limited access to other modes. The other annoying thing about it is while it's battery life is amazing the gps track info cannot be exported  :facepalm:

I've had a few gps nightmares mainly thanks to Garmin. But nowadays when I'm out in the great outdoors in the middle of no-where I try not to get over-stressed with these electronic devices when they try and wind me up. Because they rarely work seamlessly and you end up spending more time looking at the damn screen that at what's around you.


frankly frankie

  • I kid you not
    • Fuchsiaphile
Re: Using a phone instead of a GPS device
« Reply #66 on: July 21, 2020, 08:46:45 am »
I think you're confusing 'electronic devices' with 'children'.
It's not dark yet but it's getting there.

Re: Using a phone instead of a GPS device
« Reply #67 on: July 21, 2020, 02:33:26 pm »
I think you're confusing 'electronic devices' with 'children'.

lol, you could always lose them, I won't tell  O:-)

Re: Using a phone instead of a GPS device
« Reply #68 on: August 02, 2020, 08:32:52 am »
I'm now back to using my phone.  I tried the Garmin 1030 out on a few rides over several weeks and it isn't quite what I had hoped for. 

Firstly, the data fields on the map screen isn't quite what I had hoped. It doesn't give me a full choice of fields and it occasionally resets, requiring re-setup.  There is another workaround for this, which would be to buy a garmin remote control.  I could put that on my brake hood, so that I could then scroll between data and map with minimal effort.  But still not quite as good as the phone app, and an extra gadget to buy.

The main issue, though, is the Garmin screen.  It really is vastly inferior to that on a (cheap) phone.  There are two main problems: visibility and refresh speed.  It can be hard to pick out the pink line, especially in urban areas at night.  As a result, I need to have it scrolled in much more than the phone.  On descents, this combines with the slow refresh speed to make it very easy to miss turns.

I've not sent the Garmin back yet but I might look into buying a better phone, possibly a Samsung A3, and seeing how that goes for battery life.

Re: Using a phone instead of a GPS device
« Reply #69 on: August 02, 2020, 11:48:44 am »
Quote
It really is vastly inferior to that on a (cheap) phone.

One of the reasons I've stayed away from Garmin is back when I did use their devices I always felt for what they charge they always seemed to shortchange the customer. They clearly don't innovate to lead just to stay in the game and make as much money as possible and unfortunately this doesn't seem to have changed.

Quote
On descents, this combines with the slow refresh speed to make it very easy to miss turns.

If you find a phone can do a better job and it would be interesting to put them side by side on the handlebar, then that is really unforgivable from a device whose main task is to guide!  :facepalm:

I was wondering why you picked the A3 but see that it's waterproof and a quick search on Ebay sees them selling for on average £100 new!

Re: Using a phone instead of a GPS device
« Reply #70 on: August 03, 2020, 05:55:18 am »
The Garmin screen has its strengths, which I expect it has been engineered for: 
- At least double the battery life. 
- Far better visibility in bright sunlight
- Much better touchscreen performance when wearing gloves or in rain, when, with the phone, it would be a case of not being able to adjust anything requiring the touchscreen, such as screen brightness. 

Its weaknesses in visibility and refresh are probably inevitable compromises of these.  However, I do suspect that the night visibility issue could be fixed by using a different colour for the line.  On my Garmin 705, this is not an issue with its bright, pink line.  Neither is screen update speed, for that matter.  The more I see of the 1030, my belief that the 705 was the Windows XP of Garmins is affirmed!

The Samsung A3 is what Bolt, above, is getting great battery life on.

Re: Using a phone instead of a GPS device
« Reply #71 on: August 03, 2020, 06:53:04 am »
There may well be a simple case of economics for Garmin vs Samsung.  Samsung make and sell literally millions of phones annually so can surely manufacture to an economy of scale that Garmin or other manufacturers of similar equipment simply cannot.

I remember having a conversation with a friend and eager in the eay naughties about the prospect of a device which could replace our Nokia dumbpbones, pda's, basic digital pocket cameras and clunky Garmin and Magellan handheld GPS units.  And yet a smartphone can do so much more with bigger, clearer screens, better battery life, and are far easier to use in most cases.  Wearables are catching up too.  Navigating using a Garmin watch is surprisingly easy.

fboab

  • It's a fecking serious business, riding a bike
Re: Using a phone instead of a GPS device
« Reply #72 on: August 03, 2020, 10:10:14 am »
I recently bought a 530 - my Garmin history being Edge 530 - Edge 520+ - Edge 520 - Edge 500 - Etrex Vista - Etrex Legend. It sounds like a lot, but only the 500 doesn't work (charge port died) and the first 3 were 2nd hand. I've certainly had more mobiles in the same period. The smaller screen is fine for me, for maps, I think missing turns is as much to do with how you use it- do you have TBT routing with a distance countdown? Do you have the map set to auto zoom? My problem with the small screen is now that I'm quite old when the garmin tells me I've got a message- I can't read it; but hey, I can't read it on my phone either  ::-)


Just as an aside- I had an A3 as my work 'phone and it was by far and away the worst 'phone I've ever owned. It crashed, would randomly become unresponsive in some apps, had a shockingly bad refresh rate and had a great battery life- as I couldn't use it for anything! As a work 'phone, all I ever wanted was emails calendar and calls, and it struggled with that.
TSS is not Total Sex Score, Chris!

Kim

  • Timelord
Re: Using a phone instead of a GPS device
« Reply #73 on: August 03, 2020, 11:41:24 am »
My problem with the small screen is now that I'm quite old when the garmin tells me I've got a message- I can't read it; but hey, I can't read it on my phone either  ::-)

I'm getting that.  Not helped on the tourer by the only sensible place to mount the thing being on the derailleur post.  I arse around with TBT routing because it makes the display clearer, but I'm struggling with road names.


Quote
Just as an aside- I had an A3 as my work 'phone and it was by far and away the worst 'phone I've ever owned. It crashed, would randomly become unresponsive in some apps, had a shockingly bad refresh rate and had a great battery life- as I couldn't use it for anything! As a work 'phone, all I ever wanted was emails calendar and calls, and it struggled with that.

I hadn't thought of the crashiness thing.  Android things crash (or get silently killed by the OS) all the time, especially if there's Bluetooth involved.  IME eTrexen only usually crash if you try to auto-route an impossible path (usually a glitch in the map - it always used to happen to me when I rode up the A5127 to Erdington, but whatever caused that problem seems to have been fixed in OSM) or the SD card falls out (the card holder on the newer models is stupid, and easily knocked open while swapping batteries).  And the former failure mode tends to involve a lot of beeping before it gives up, so you tend to notice.

As a general rule, I feel reasonably confident that my eTrex will have recorded a track at the end of the ride, where I'm never quite sure when I use the Strava app or similar.
Careful, Kim. Your sarcasm's showing...

Re: Using a phone instead of a GPS device
« Reply #74 on: August 03, 2020, 01:28:19 pm »
The Garmin screen has its strengths, which I expect it has been engineered for: 
- At least double the battery life. 
- Far better visibility in bright sunlight
- Much better touchscreen performance when wearing gloves or in rain, when, with the phone, it would be a case of not being able to adjust anything requiring the touchscreen, such as screen brightness. 

I set my phone to only turn on the display when a turn is coming up.
Agreed as regards sunlight but sometimes angling the phone's screen is enough so it's never really been a problem.
Okay heavy rain will render the phone almost unusable as regards touch but again as long as I know where I'm going and the phone keeps me informed I'm happy.