Help me get back on track..
May 13, 2008 10:38 PM   Subscribe

So I just realized I've lost the GPS I bought thanks to a previous AskMe. Presuming I don't miraculously find it, what should I replace it with?

I've taken to leaving the GPS clipped to a bag on my bike while I ride. It apparently fell off on the way back home today. Once I realized it (at 11PM) I went back out and did a targeted search using a flashlight and my phone scanning for BT devices. The search wasn't fruitful, sadly.

I'm going to check again in the morning, but given that it's rained since then, even if I do find it, it won't likely be operational. So presuming that I don't find the old GPS, should I just buy another GPS 10x or is another unit better at walking/riding speed? The 10x tracks seem to wander to some degree when you're walking slowly and a couple of times it's decided I suddenly moved a few hundred yards at 60mph, although that may be unavoidable with any GPS, since I do end up going under trees and bridges and whatnot at times.

Also, navigation software recommendations would be handy, as the version of the Garmin Mobile software that came with my GPS will only work with a Garmin GPS. Garmin Mobile was fine, but I'm not at all wedded to it. It was slower than I would have liked. Whatever it is, it has to work with my E62 (The OS is S60 v3)
posted by wierdo to Technology (5 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I don't know if this is allowed, but I have a follow on question: If there isn't a "global GPS" with international service and maps, then which company should I watch for the first one?
posted by ewkpates at 6:00 AM on May 14, 2008

Response by poster: I was quite fortunate. I went out this morning and looked for it again, and sure enough there it was right where the end of the track log said it would be, just far enough down in the grass that it wasn't visible at night, even with a flashlight.

Even better, it still works, despite being wet all over when I found it. The innards were dry, so I decided to fire it up, expecting it not to work. Props to Garmin for making a GPS receiver that can get rained on without failing.

I'd still like an answer if anybody has thoughts on whether other GPS units would be better for the purpose. I've considered buying one for my SO so she can also benefit from the motivational power of having your exercise (or lack thereof) staring you in the face on a website. If an MTK chipset or a different SiRF-based unit, or any other chipset for that matter, would be better suited to the relatively low speeds and worse sky view on most of the trails we ride on, it would be handy to know.

Specific models are good, too. ;)
posted by wierdo at 6:06 AM on May 14, 2008

Response by poster: ewkpates: I don't care if tptb don't. ;)

Most of the big software packages have maps for most of the world, but you usually only get one region with the initial purchase. If you want, say, North America and Europe both, you have to buy the software for one (perhaps with a receiver) and then buy a map set for the other region as a separate purchase, and they're generally not cheap.

Of course, if you have a smartphone (or dumb phone, as long as it can run Java and has least I think the Java version also works for this) with unlimited data and don't mind only having maps when you can get a cell signal, there's always Google Maps for Mobile, which will work with a bluetooth GPS receiver.

If you want an actual handheld or car mounted unit, most of those have the ability to take updated maps also, so you just need to find one with enough memory to hold all the maps you want to load at any given time.
posted by wierdo at 6:12 AM on May 14, 2008

The 10x tracks seem to wander to some degree when you're walking slowly and a couple of times it's decided I suddenly moved a few hundred yards at 60mph, although that may be unavoidable with any GPS, since I do end up going under trees and bridges and whatnot at times.

GPS is always going to wander a bit. If you have a SiRF III chipset you have pretty much the best bluetooth gps receiver out there. MTK Is good but improvements seem to be mostly to battery life, time to first fix is longer and accuracy is about the same.

That said, your device is probably configured for car use above anything else. It sounds like you might have track smoothing turned on in the device. This means it will ignore slow movement.
Depending on your device you may be able to turn this off. Try SirfDemo software following These instructions. This isn't possible on all devices and unfortunately I don't know if yours will work.

The other alternative is to get a phone with A-GPS, this gives you much faster time to first fix and better accuracy in bad reception conditions. On the N95 this advantage is lessened due to an unfortunate aerial placement, the N82 is better though. On the other hand you probably don't want to clip your phone to your bag while riding.

Out of interest, are you using Sportstracker, or some other service?
posted by Olli at 11:55 AM on May 16, 2008

While visiting Chicago last weekend, I stopped in the Garmin store and took a peek at their cycling specific GPS units with heart rate monitor. They look very cool & do cadence like a regular cycle computer.

Also , the wrist mount units might be nice (also with HRM). The new one is pretty sleek - not a lot bigger than other HRM/sports watches that don't have GPS. The rep said one enhancement is that it connects wirelessly to your PC to upload your workout data.

I'm gonna buy the older, bulkier 305 from a buddy who's upgrading to the new one (405). My reasoning is the same motivational one. I'm back into the swing of cycling but I think this might be a fun way to stoke the fires of competition with myself to get faster.

I think the wrist units have bike mount accessories available, or you could just rig something up on your handlebars.
posted by altcountryman at 9:16 AM on June 10, 2008

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