Smart phone as a GPS - Stromtrooper Forum : Suzuki V-Strom Motorcycle Forums
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post #1 of 170 Old 04-17-2016, 10:15 PM Thread Starter
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Smart phone as a GPS

I just wanted to share my experience with what I believe is a very good alternative to a Garmin or Tom Tom GPS. I bought a very good condition LG Volt smart phone for $20 on Amazon, and I bought a 16 GIG SD card to load all of my routes on. I have a RAM mount holder for my phone "it works amazing" and this particular phone has stellar battery time. I bought this phone for GPS only, it will never be activated or used for anything else. The GPS receivers in most phones now rival what the best GPS stand alone units have, and a used smart phone is much cheaper as well. There are so many great "off line" GPS apps, I have TomTom and OSMAnd loaded, as well as the very cool Ulysses speedometer. My LG Volt has a great rep as a phone for navigation, and a waterproof unit like a Samsung Galaxy series would be even better "they are still pricey". If I am in rain I will simply put a small ziploc bag over my phone, and I have a stylus to use for when I need to make a change on screen "can also get conductive tips for my gloves". Anyways..........I just wanted to share what I believe is a great option other than the very expensive motorcycle specific GPS units, and we all know that Garmin has the market and are always dangling a carrot in front of our faces to keep on spending more.

My equipment and apps:

Phone: LG Volt

Mount: https://www.rammount.com/part/RAM-HOL-PD3

Apps: TomTom for mobile, OSMAnd, Ulysses speedometer. I will likely download Back Country Navigator.

BRIAN "GO Buckeyes, GO Wildcats"!

2015 DL650 XT "Hector"

1997 Honda Valkyrie 1500 custom “Dolores”




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post #2 of 170 Old 04-17-2016, 11:09 PM
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Hi Brian....I've been wrestling with this same issue, and I'm curious as to how you were able to load the OsmAnd app on the phone, without the phone being active. Did you just use the wifi connection to download the app?

"No matter where you go, there you are."
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post #3 of 170 Old 04-17-2016, 11:47 PM
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Yay another convert to common sense.

You do need a network connection to load maps and apps but do not need a phone plan.....any McDonalds will do it.
One caveat ....some phones require a sim inside to work even if it's a non active one

After that - you are network free if you choose even turn by turn. ( TomTom for free, CoPilot for pay )

One advantage with an iPhone is durability and TomTom only has Winding Roads on their iPhone version last time I checked. Worth the entry fee of $50 for lifetime maps for your general region ( North America ).

There are lots of 4s iPhones around $50-$100 that will give years of service.
We carry one as a spare in case our later models die....have not needed it yet.

It's a big race to see who has the best nav app and with Furkot knitting the bits together getting better and better.


Ontario Canada rider staying in Cairns Australian Feb to May & Aug-Oct each year
Canada 2018 CB500x >2009 CBF1000 sold • 10 Wee ABS sold • 09 Burgman Exec sold • 10 NT700v sold
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post #4 of 170 Old 04-18-2016, 12:18 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Big B View Post
I just wanted to share my experience with what I believe is a very good alternative to a Garmin or Tom Tom GPS.
Totally agree. The phone is a very handy tool for riding.
I also have a iRadar detector that is run by the phone.(IOS and Android apps) It blue-tooths warnings and known speed traps and active enforcement areas into the helmet. These units have the same range / sensitivity as the high price brands. It also has a speedometer and voltage meter built in. Cobra Electronics Corporation | Cobra iRadar

Lots of useful applications like sopttify and best biker roads (downloadable routes).

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Current Rides: '14 DL1000 ADV, '06 SV650N, '93 900CBRR, '74 Ducati 750GT ['02 BMW K1200rs SOLD Aug '17]
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post #5 of 170 Old 04-18-2016, 12:43 AM
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Skip the Iphone and find a Galaxy Note 2 or 3. Google maps is 100x better than Iphone, and the Galaxy Note 2 screen is huge. Bluetooth matches up to my headset perfect for directions and the buttons on the side are three times the siize of an Iphone. Much better when wearing gloves. We use them for reading pdf and gps in our HVAC vans. no need for sims for wifi and downloading apps. GPS works amazing, full directional voice straigh from google. no other software needed. best yet, I get 12 hours on a battery.

It isn't "Whoever dies with the most toys wins''
Its "Whoever played with his toys the most wins!!!! "

Last edited by Mr. Kym; 04-18-2016 at 12:46 AM. Reason: more info
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post #6 of 170 Old 04-18-2016, 03:25 AM
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You cannot use Googlemaps out side of cell range......it's effectlvely useless.
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Ontario Canada rider staying in Cairns Australian Feb to May & Aug-Oct each year
Canada 2018 CB500x >2009 CBF1000 sold • 10 Wee ABS sold • 09 Burgman Exec sold • 10 NT700v sold
Australia> 04 KLR650 • 93 ST1100 sold •
Travel photos> https://500px.com/macdoc/galleries Oz riding >https://tinyurl.com/y4c7lm87
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post #7 of 170 Old 04-18-2016, 03:27 AM
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Oruxmaps free app. Download whatever maps you want for offline/out of cell range use. I have installed it on two phones and a tablet. Great GPS/map reader app.
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post #8 of 170 Old 04-18-2016, 06:27 AM
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For Aussies, try the MetroView app. It's $16 and includes regular free updates.

It's available for iPhone or Android. I use it on my iPhone (I have mobile data turned off).

Ron B. VK2OTC
2007 Yamaha XJR1300

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post #9 of 170 Old 04-18-2016, 07:29 AM
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I use a 2012 nexus 7 and loaded Here on it. I like the bigger screen and use richlandricks dashboard ram mount. It can be tough to get below the windscreen and the nexus 7 costs about $100.

2002 V Star 650 - Traded
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post #10 of 170 Old 04-18-2016, 08:26 AM
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The same question arises here as arises in every other "replace your GPS with a cell phone" thread: can you import a custom .gpx route into your phone (like the kind you'd create on software like Tyre), and then have your phone follow that route, give turn by turn directions, ETA, etc? For most of my rides, the shortest route isn't the one that I take. On the Google Maps app on my phone, it only allows you to input a starting point and end point. If you input a custom map you create on your computer, you can see the map, but the GPS won't follow it, and you don't get turn by turn directions.

So far, the only app I've seen that does what I need it to do appears to be OsmAnd, and the free version has its limitations. You only get seven free map downloads, you have to download each state separately (which I think means one download per state), and they take up memory space on your phone. From the reviews I've read, OsmAnd has a less than intuitive user interface and can be clunky to use. I did get a Google Play card so I could download the paid version and experiment with it, but just haven't done it yet.

I know that Macdoc has the impression that some of us are Luddites because we still use a GPS. Maybe so. However, I can create the most meandering route I can think of on my computer using Tyre, with 1000 different waypoints, plug the Garmin into my computer, press the "send to Garmin" button on Tyre, and the route is loaded onto my GPS. My GPS will then follow that route, calling out turn by turn directions, ETA, remaining miles, etc. So far, I haven't read about a single phone GPS app that will do all that, and do it that simply.

If I only ever wanted to go from Point A to Point B by the shortest possible way, I wouldn't bother with a GPS and I'd just use a phone. That's rarely the way I go. If there's a phone app out there that can do it as simply as the "push one button, send map to phone" process I use now, then I'm sold.

Note to Brian: Thanks for that speedometer app. When I have to use my tankbag, I need to extend my phone mount to the point that it blocks the speedometer display. This solves that problem.

"No matter where you go, there you are."
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