In my last article I wrote about using GPS in the Backcountry and what devise I should consider when hiking alone, or just letting others experience my hike. In this second part article, I’ll talk some of the devices I would recommend?
We’ve have already established that there a differences when it comes to GPS signals and how they are used. We have GPS, Cell Towers, SMS Technology (which use both) and Beacons, (or Tracking).
Saftey, Navagation, and Tracking are my criteria for looking for a backcountry GPS device.
One big feature that kept coming to me time and time again are. Geotagging my photo’s. This falls into my “navigation, and tracking” category. It’s a cool feature to have when you can take a picture with your device and “geotag” where you took it. It saves time from doing it in Flickr or using 3rd party applications to do it after you’ve taken the pic. If this is an important feature for you also, my recommendation would be:
Magellan Triton 2000: Large color touch screen, 2 MP camera, voice recorder, LED flashlight, and SD-card expandability enable you to take pictures and capture sounds, to record your adventure as you navigate and store the information to share with others or reference yourself later. 3-axis electronic compass, built-in barometer and more The built in camera lets Geotag your photos. Camera and GPS with digital voice recorder.
What about being able to contact someone for help, or just to say “hey, I’m lonely out here”. This is another feature I was looking for. This means Cell Phone. A few recommendations here:
Garmin’s nuviphone: This one may be the right phone for you. This new handset will be primarily GPS… but a phone also. For the on the go, traveling mobile device user, this phone may be a blessing since GPS is the primary feature. The Garmin nuviphone also features quad-band GSM and tri-band HSDPA. Not to mention all the goodies users have come to expect like Bluetooth capabilities, a 3 megapixel camera, and an amazing 3.5 inch touchscreen. With such a nice big screen, users will be sure to capture amazing pictures and picture quality. Keep in mind this product has not come out yet, and you will still need a cell phone carrier. But WOW!
Some other Cell Phones that are awesome GPS units are the Nokia N series, specifically the N95. Why? Java and Symbian. They make GPS tracking software that uploads right to your phone. There is software right now with phones that run on Symbian that will track you LIVE. However, Nokia is really expensive.
Remember, any phone that you can text from (SMS technology) and has GPS you can let people know where you are. This leads to my device that I’m using and why?
For me right now, I’m using Apples iPhone. Why? The amount of Apps you can download and use. Combining Applications, I can Twitter my GPS cordinates to loved ones and it will display a link where you can view in Google Maps. By downloading Twittelator Pro, you can send a “text” to a friend or family member and let them know how you are doing. You do NOT need direct Cell Phone coverage. If you are roaming this will work.
Another great app for the iPhone is EveryTrail. EveryTrail is a new app and one to consider if you want to track, and geotag your photos. Since the iPhone has a camera, you can track your hike and then upload it to thier web site. You can see a demo here from this app.
The one thing I found out to be true is that Cell Phones with GPS and the ability to download 3rd party apps is the way to go. One more consideration is a battery backup. Check out Solio. This is a cool gadget that lets you recharge your cell phone with solar energy. Yea, no batteries. This helps when thier is no outlet.
See you on the trail.