Category Archives: mobile device

Powering An iPhone As A Backcountry GPS

I took advantage of two recent trips to test extending my iPhone 5 battery life to power the GPS function for all-day hikes.

One trip was a remote camping and hiking trip into Southeast Utah.  The other was a more civilized series of hikes in the Canadian Rockies.  Some hikes were longer than the ~3 hours my iPhone battery will last running the Motion X GPS software, even with wireless and data turned off to reduce the power drain of futile signal seeking in the backcountry. Continue reading

Testing the iPad GPS in Nevada

I headed to the Red Rock Canyon area outside of Las Vegas in 2011 to test a $3 GPS app (MotionX GPS HD) on my iPad2. This model iPad has true GPS circuitry that accesses the global positioning system of satellites. It is not dependent on WiFi or data connectivity to determine its location, although it uses them where available to complement the GPS data. Not all tablets and smartphones have this. Many use other geo-location techniques such as cell tower triangulation, but these should not be called ‘GPS’.

Here are the illustrated results of a hiking test and a driving test, followed by my bottom-line assessment. Continue reading