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Discussion Forum - Gear ! - Tablet gps ?

Author: Matthew Hand
Posted: Sun 15th Feb 2015, 10:36
Joined: 2001
Local Group: Mid Wales
Slightly off subject, but if your problem is needing specs to map read (as is mine, I can't see a thing without them), I now have a monocle hung around my neck, brilliant alternative to specs, very quick and easy to use whilst on the move. My optician suggested it as he uses one.
Author: Tony Cartwright
Posted: Fri 13th Feb 2015, 20:00
Joined: 1978
Local Group: Surrey

I guess the mapping you use is a personal choice. If I was starting again I think I would go for ViewRanger.
Apple give operating range 0 to 35, non-operating -20 to 45. I guess it would be similar for most tablets. I've used it in snow and heat 33 ish with no problems but would never leave it exposed to hot sun - as for any electronic device.
Drop it - I guess no different to a GPS - the padded Overboard case helps. I've dropped it a couple of times. It's been ok but wouldn't want to make a habit of it.
IPad mini 312g 4400MAh (non-retina display)
Anker Astro 5600MAh battery 134g
7.5w panel 310g (5w panel which I use in summer 150g)
Overboard w/p case 76g
All cables 87g

Total approx 900g

cf: OS map without cover 80g
Map case 56g (no longer needed)
Camera 220g - can possibly now do without although iPad pics not as good
For a longish backpack you might easily need 7 or 8 maps giving similar total weight

The Overboard case:
I replaced their heavy shoulder strap with a dyneema adjustable one (very light) and wear it across my shoulder/chest and slipped into a line across my rucksack waistband. Stops it swinging and catching the wind.

Sorry not doing the White Rose (given up hundreds) but if you want email me I could send you some pics and answer any more questions you might have.
Author: Iain Connell
Posted: Fri 13th Feb 2015, 17:11
Joined: 2010
Local Group: East Lancashire
That sounds exactly like the solution I was asking about - and as you say, the GPS doesn't need to be on all day, just to check position and other essentials when needed. And the use of a small solar panel (on top of rucksack ? better going N than S ?) seems to get round the battery problem(s) reported with GPS devices.

Considerations might be Anquet vs MemoryMap (as used by John Jocys), susceptibility to weather extremes, robustness if dropped (weight compared to larger hand-held GPS ? handles or straps on the carrier ?), recharge or top-up time.

I'd love to see it in use - let me know if you're doing the Red Rose. I should think TGO or Trail would be interested in a feature.

Author: Tony Cartwright
Posted: Fri 13th Feb 2015, 15:11
Joined: 1978
Local Group: Surrey
I too suffer from failing eyesight and the frustration of not now being able to see a map without glasses. I looked at other alternatives. A conventional satnav has to small a screen for me but a tablet offers a good balance. I have now used an iPad mini with Anquet mapping over the last 3 years. I carry it in an Overboard case which has kept out all weather. The zoom makes reading easy and in dull light (or even darkness) the backlight is perfect and panning means I never have to turn maps over or need to get another out of my sac.

I use it like a paper map - referring to it only when I need to. I tap the GPS on only when I need to check my location. Under these conditions a single charge lasts me 3-4 days (tested on a Dartmoor trip). On longer backpacking trips - several weeks - Cape Wrath Trail, GR5, Alpine Pass Route, I carry a small (7.5W) solar panel on my pack which charges a 5600MAh battery (which in turn charges the iPad 1.25 times). This combination sustains me for weeks without a mains charge.

So yes a tablet is a practical proposition but it does depend on how you use it. If you have the GPS on and follow a track all day with the screen on then you will be lucky to get a day (its the screen that takes the energy). If you use it as a 'paper' substitute referring to the GPS only when necessary and keep the screen off when not required then, with a small solar panel, battery life is in effect indefinite. Added avanatages are writing up my daily log and having the ability to view timetables and book trains etc when traveling. At night in the tent with the screen on minimum I can read ebooks.

I've also used it on Challenge Events with a downloaded route description. At night the backlight is excellent and I can easily flick between RD and map as needed.
Author: Raymond Wilkes
Posted: Tue 25th Nov 2014, 20:47
Joined: 2013
Local Group: West Yorkshire
You say your phone battery life is on par with a Satmap Active 10. I get 8 hours from my Active 10, do you get that much from your phone?
Author: Nigel John Pearce
Posted: Tue 25th Nov 2014, 11:25
Joined: 2013
Local Group: South Wales
i use nexus or my samsung phone with anquet mapping and a back up charger if my battery runs low
Author: John Jocys
Posted: Sun 10th Aug 2014, 13:35
Joined: 2003
Local Group: East Lancashire
I don't have a Tablet GPS but I do have a Samsung Galaxy S3 Mini smartphone with Viewranger (a free download from t'interweb) installed. I've spent about £12 on OS mapping: NW England and all National Parks @ 1:50k.

The display is very clear - MUCH clearer than on both my SatMap and Garmin Etrex20. General performance is very good indeed.

Consider that this phone cost me £150, the SatMap (all UK mapping included but a seriously poor performer) cost me £350, and the Etrex20 cost me around £175 with full UK1:50k mapping.

The ony drawback with using the phone is that the battery life is poor when used as a GPS - about on a par with the SatMap GPS.

I wonder how long it will be before GPS manufacturers wake up to this price differential.
Author: Iain Connell
Posted: Sun 10th Aug 2014, 11:46
Joined: 2010
Local Group: East Lancashire
The lack of responses to this query vs. number of views suggests that for the present tablet gps is not available or not practical. However, a comment by 'Sir Hugh' posted in JJ's (John Jocys) blog - see the Gear ! - Satmap - Missing Map Tiles thread - the second of three under John J's reported problems with SatMap - describes a workable solution which is available now.

Hugh uses a combination of MemoryMap and iPad or iPhone, which seem to do the job bar some problems with weight (iPad) and battery length (iPhone but not iPad). A MemoryMap app (free) on the mobiles plus £100 on the computer (PC?) is reported to cover the whole country (presumably GB mainland), the PC software license covering up to five devices. Hugh says that englargement is 'way beyond what you see on the paper map', though I think he means magnification rather than additional detail.

After than the initial cost outlay, this seems to be good short-term solution.

Comments ?
Author: Iain Connell
Posted: Wed 28th May 2014, 21:52
Joined: 2010
Local Group: East Lancashire
I'm long-sighted and can still, mostly, use a 25,000 paper map without recourse to my reading specs. I'm interested in using a gps or satnav tracker device, but, initially at least, as a backup to the traditional map, most usefully when off-route and need to get back to last known location or leapfrog to one further on.

There are two problems. First, screen size on tracker devices is still pretty small, providing only a small window onto a larger terrain. Great for following a marked route, poor for seeing where you are in relation to a wider context, particularly for walking off or just changing route in response to weather or other unforseeables. Second, trackers need to be put down or in a pocket when both hands are needed, and may be more liable to being dropped or damaged than a paper map in a good map case (I place mine on A-stile tops and step round it, or, failing that, lodge it between dry-stone wall risers).

So, how far are we from gps on larger tablet devices onto which OS maps can be downloaded ? Not just static maps which can be scrolled and enlarged, but interactive tracking devices in the form of lightweight, flat 'pages' which might be protected by a shock- and water- resistant 'case' In other words, serving the same function as tablets, that is, a midway between hand-held and laptop device, but more robust than most tablets (you wouldn't chuck it over a fence, but you will put it down or in your map pocket without its cover).

Is a map tablet a feasible idea ? Could it work in practice, under extremes of cold, heat or wet, not to mention being shatter-proof ? Are any 4G tablet devices yet capable of serving the same function as gps or satnav hand-helds ? Comments please.


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