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GPS through smartphone?

Discussion in 'Electronics' started by kevinnugent, Jan 3, 2014.

  1. I think I'm going to refuse to pay over $500 for a basic GPS unit from Tomtom or Garmin. They seem to have a duopoly and are making the most of it.

    Does anyone use Google Maps through their smartphone as a spoken GPS guide? I've tried it in the car, and it works pretty well. Especially if you have a 12v charging cable.

  2. Yes I do, link it up with a bluetooth headset thingamajig and you're good to go.
    • Agree Agree x 1
  3. I was thinking, even with a wired earphone setup I could answer calls etc as well. And listen to music. Hmmmm. And save $500. ;)
  4. #4 Ned, Jan 3, 2014
    Last edited: Jan 3, 2014
    Prices are outrageous for bike Satnav, why? Waterproof? Vibration resistant? Rip-off. Yep, I use it (Google Maps GPS) in the SUV and it's great! Spoken street names, distance to go before turn, reminders, etc. Will pair it up with my headset when I get a chance.

    Headset answers calls on the go too, very handy(y)
  5. yup, sure do. charges under the pillion seat and sends vocal instruction to the bluetooth headset on the helmet. Works great.
  6. Yes, and it works like a charm when riding solo.

    I use bluetooth communicators on my helmets, and when riding with a pillion, the system falls down because the smartphone is not identified as a GPS, and is therefore lower "priority" than the intercom.

    If you don't ride with a pillion, using a bluetooth intercom, then it would work fine.
  7. I tried a little experiment tonight. Took my son to the gym, and used earphones with my Galaxy Note 3 and Google Maps. Just relied on spoken guides. Not a bad experience, and it gives good notice of upcoming street turns. As an added bonus, the earphones have a volume up/down and phone answer button just near your chin. With my open faced helmet I'll be able to answer calls as well.

    I won't have to worry about pillions. No one I know wants to double up. ;)
  8. I may have to re-think my choice in earphones though. The ones I have are great quality, and have noise suppression built in. I can't hear anything else when I'm wearing them. For safety sake it may be better to be able to hear outside noises as well.
    • Agree Agree x 1
  9. Stick one earphone in, leave the other one free.
  10. lifeproof case = waterproof phone = wet weather nav
  11. I have a couple of waterproof pockets in my Dririder jacket. That should do the trick.
  12. I can tell you're an ideas man. Good thinking. :)
  13. I use my Samsung Galaxy S2 for nav, and music. Running Navfree software which has impressed me immensely since I got it a week ago. Before that I was using Google Maps, but no good when I have no mobile service.

    The Galaxy is mounted in an Ultimate Addons bar mount which is water proof, and includes a switch-able charger. All for around $70 delivered. (Ebay) Great bit of kit.
    And it's paired to a cheap chinese bluetooth headset which set me back $30. (Again... Ebay)

    Dodgy screengrab from a recent ride to demonstrate...


    Don't know how TomTom/Navman/Garmin are still in business when your run of the mill smart phone does it all and more these days.
  14. I still think MetroView is the best smartphone nav I've used and it doesn't need mobile coverage to work as it uses satellites
    • Like Like x 3
  15. +1 for Metroview. Cheap and effective. Though Whereis is free and has Billy Birmingham doing the turn-by-turn instructions as the 12th Man commentary team. Funny stuff. As Ritchie: "Take the second exit. That's exit number chew, number chew..."
    • Like Like x 1
  16. I've used Whereis to navigate the out skirts of Sydney and ride across the middle of Brisbane City without problems. There are far worse voices to have in your head than Jennifer Hawkins.
  17. Sygic. Love it!
    Can even get a Homer Simpson voice (never tried it). Plus real time traffic subscription for a little extra.
  18. #19 CrazyCam, Jan 6, 2014
    Last edited: Jan 6, 2014
    I don't imagine that my old Nokia C5 even counts as a "smart phone" nowadays, but, in need, it works for me.

    The mapping is down loaded thru my PC, so I don't need network services for it to work.

    This worked just fine, even when I was on holiday in Greece.

    I generally carry the phone with me, and have it reasonably charged up with electricity, anyway.

    Over the years, I have accumulated so many sets of earbug thingies, on bits of copper wire that I can afford to have a pair in each of my riding jackets, and in the tank bags and in the "boot" of the scooter, so it is always available.

    So, I don't have to make a special decision to use the GPS business, any time, and it will work for me.

    The only thing is that, having been married for over 37 years, I can hear a woman's voice in my ear, telling me what to do next, and, as the case may be, choose to pay attention, or ignore it. ;)

    I've never really found a satisfactory way of being able to see an LCD screen at all angles of the screen and the sun, so I don't need to see the damned phone, it can stay in my pocket.

    Added bonus....no wires to have to disconnect when I get off the bike!

    As for answering phone calls..... stuff 'em.... if it's that important, they'll call back later.

    To me that's part of the point of riding a motorcycle!
  19. Bump!

    I was going to start a new thread but then found this one. I have just started using my Samsung Galaxy S4 for sat nav, but the issue I found was I can't swipe with a glove on. If for example I am travelling some where a good distance away and I don't need my sat nav until I am 3/4 of the way there (to save battery as well) I can wake up my screen but can't swipe to open the phone. I considered briefly cutting the tip off one finger but not keen to do that, so after some googling I found this, https://www.microwear.com.au/eureka/products/ss-yarn
    The idea is that smart phones screens work through capacitive glass, when you touch the glass with your finger (which is conductive) that completes a circuit which "makes the magic happen". Gloves of course are insulators, and are therefore unable to complete the circuit, so you can't swipe with a glove.
    So to make gloves usable with smart phone screen you can either buy commercially made "smart phone gloves", a little more expensive and not protective on a bike, glue or sew stylus nibs into the tips of your gloves (a bit dicky and probably annoying) or simply sew some of this conductive yarn into the pad of your glove's finger tips and off you go. There is a video on the site for the link I have provided that shows how to do it. Thoughts? I have ordered some and will report in on how well (and if) it works.
    • Like Like x 1