Can the iPad really be used as an out-of-signal range, off-road GPS device?

whitenoise

Adventurer
I'm actually banking on that happening (Google snapping up Gaia) because after using all of these apps my ultimate fallback is still Google. It's an all in one solution - trip planning in My Maps, offline map storage and overlay of custom route or POI inside GMaps, onroad navigation, and finally archiving of my Inreach tracked route within My Maps.

The only things needed are better offline access to satellite imagery and custom maps (it kinda works if you leave maps running in the background when you leave cell range). After satellite internet and 5g become more prevalent I doubt many areas of the world will be left without cell coverage, so needing offline access is also a short-term problem...

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shade

Well-known member
I'm actually banking on that happening (Google snapping up Gaia) because after using all of these apps my ultimate fallback is still Google. It's an all in one solution - trip planning in My Maps, offline map storage and overlay of custom route or POI inside GMaps, onroad navigation, and finally archiving of my Inreach tracked route within My Maps.

The only things needed are better offline access to satellite imagery and custom maps (it kinda works if you leave maps running in the background when you leave cell range). After satellite internet and 5g become more prevalent I doubt many areas of the world will be left without cell coverage, so needing offline access is also a short-term problem...

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I believe that's the kind of seamless experience most people want, and I don't think it's far off.

I'll be surprised if terrestrial signal coverage becomes reliable enough in some areas to be relied on for navigation, but it is improving.
 

shade

Well-known member
Not sure Google snapping up Gaia and probably mangling into the next step in the Google Earth Pro product lifecycle would be much good.
Maybe, maybe not. Can the buyer allow the company to continue doing what made it great, or will heavy handed management ruin what could have been? That seems to be the crux of many buyouts.

I think we'll see something good happen before long, though. The technological pieces are available to whatever company is the first to put them all together in a slick package, and I think a lot of people are past ready to buy into such a system.
 

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As I have said in the past until some company developers stable enough hardware with large enough memory to allow us to wander ( I too wander it’s on the side of my Jeep and my screen name on many a site) the software will be limited. Gaia I hear works great on apple but less so on android so not sure google will go that way. The gps in my Jeep is pretty darn good. I found a road on it that was really little more than a rock crawl up a stream bed But the gps doesn’t have topo. No for me the holy grail is the entire west with 7.5 minute usgs topo at my finger tips. Does google maps have topo?
 

Oilbrnr

Active member
I really hope that Gaia remains independent. I would however like to see tighter integration with their web version to plan and push/pull the necessary map layer quadrants to devices.

In their last newsletter they said that they were hiring, specifically droid devs.
 

shade

Well-known member
I really hope that Gaia remains independent. I would however like to see tighter integration with their web version to plan and push/pull the necessary map layer quadrants to devices.

In their last newsletter they said that they were hiring, specifically droid devs.
I linked their job list earlier; several open positions.

Ideally, Gaia would continue improving and become a one stop shop for navigation. I've been a subscriber for a few years, and I'd like to see them succeed. Unfortunately, they're tiny compared to other players in the market, and I can see them getting shoved aside. There's a race to see what company can offer what we want first, and I wouldn't be surprised to learn that one of the big companies buying up Gaia to leverage their tech & customer base to take the lead.
 

whitenoise

Adventurer
What I'm hoping for is some consolidation in this market that's really fragmented right now- this causes frustration for people like me that want an easy all-in-one solution, and refuse/don't have money to spend on a dedicated high end device like a Lowrance or i276cx or that new Garmin tablet. Not saying that I'm too lazy to research an area beforehand but to me its part of the adventure not knowing where I'll be staying each night or my exact route for the following day, and figuring it out on the fly.

There's literally dozens of mapping apps that each do one or two things well, and some are single purpose like avenza. With outdoor exploration seeing a big boom in recent years I would not be surprised if one of the mainstream companies offered up something that does it all. Google maps/my maps/Earth pro combo is pretty close to achieving that right now....

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shade

Well-known member
Those two statements seem logically incompatible. If they were a market mover either due to disruptive tech or large number of customers they wouldn't get shoved aside. I'm far, far, from an expert but I didn't like Gaia enough to subscribe, since that's a software model I detest.
Plenty of companies have bought another for whatever they found valuable in a competitor, or to enter a new market. Garmin bought DeLorme to acquire their inReach technology and assimilate it into their own products, didn't they? Doing so killed off a competitor, and allowed Garmin to enter the 2-way communicator market.

I don't care for subscription based software, either.

I think there's room for a middleware company to clean up the process of desktop/portable navigation. I'll take a look at Natural Atlas. I use Gaia, but I'm still looking for something better.
 
So my old iphone 6s plus is fading into the elctrionic netherworld. and I am considering a new i phone 11s pro? I can't rememebr the deisgation I just know it is abit taller than my 6 s plus and I can 512 gig of memory. That seems like quite alot and what i would like to know is how much area that could cover and how much of the 512 do i need to leave empty for the system to run. Any one know ?
 
How much memory does it have? and how large areas of maps do you down load . My goal is to have the entire west on the memory 9 maybe just the wild areas of ca and o.
 

Howard70

Adventurer
How much memory does it have? and how large areas of maps do you down load . My goal is to have the entire west on the memory 9 maybe just the wild areas of ca and o.
I use an iPad Pro 12.9 3rd generation with a terrabyte of memory. After trying many versions of different applications on Android and fewer on IOS, I’ve settled on an Gaia GPS. I have the western US covered completely with the following layers and zoom levels. Note that on IOS Gaia has many resources available as vector maps requiring about 15 - 20% of the memory raster versions occupy. Most, possibly all of the vector maps download at zoom level maximum of 14 (but seem to display more detail than rasters at 14).

1. Public lands, zoom 14.

2. Gaia Topo zoom 14.

3. National Geographic Trails Illustrated zoom 16 (all of the NGTI available in the W US - not total coverage of the region).

4. Wilderness Areas zoom 11 (maximum available).

For the following I don’t have all of the western US yet, but I do have most, or all, of NM, AZ, CO, UT, CA, NV and lesser percentages of OR & WA:

5. US Forest Service 2016 Topos zoom 16 (one of the best maps I use if they cover the region where I’m traveling).

6. World Imagery satellite coverage zoom 16 (I prefer the WI satellite detail to the others available at GAIA plus there seems to be no limit on what you can download over time). This is limited to specific regions of interest like SE Utah, W New Mexico, particular mountain ranges of CA, AZ & NV.

7. USGS Topo zoom 16. this is the raster version of USGS Topo quads, the vector version, US Topo, requires less space and downloads quicker, but lacks much of detail for tracks, springs, trails, etc. found on the raster version.

For map types 5 through 7 I’m still downloading as time goes on so the required space is increasing. Currently GAIA occupies 160 GB on my iPad. I suspect that will reach 200 fairly quickly and likely get up towards 400 as the World Imagery and USGS Topo banks increase.

Thus I’d say the minimum memory you’d need to get the western US reasonably covered in layers that would support wandering about anywhere you might find yourself would be 200 gb. Better would be 400 gb if you want a lot of satellite imagery or any of the other raster type maps. My iPhone has less than my iPad (512 gb versus a terabyte) and it is holding the same maps as the pad quite well. I do photo and video editing on the pad that I don’t do on the phone so I’m happy with the greater memory there.

One thing to keep in mind is that GAIA seems to use an underlying database of points for all kinds of things - springs, peaks, towns, etc. that you may not see on the actual maps but that you can search for and then enter as waypoints. I don’t know how that data is downloaded or stored, but I suspect it might be associated with the GAIA Topo.

I think it is much faster and overall more satisfying to have the iPad as a cellular version with it’s own GPS and account on Verizon. In my experience I’m often downloading most of the maps on the iPad via cellular data versus WiFi simply because I’m out of reach of WiFi. I briefly tried using the phone as a hotspot for downloading to the tablet via WiFi, but found that very slow and frustrating.

A setup like this costs a fair amount of money in hardware and unlimited data plans on Verizon. If you are happy with the quality of data provided by Garmin then you would save money with one of their products and an included data package.

Howard Snell
 
YOU HAVE ANSWERD THE QUESTIONS I HAVE ASKED COUNTLESS TIMES ON ALL SORTS OF OVERLANDING FORUMS!!!! THANK YOU !

I have not been happy with much of anthing since I sold my lowrance chart plotter that was fix mounted into the dash of my chevy truck. I tired the magellan explorist got it in sale cheap. rolled the dice. The biggest probelm is screen visibility is poor in day light.

One further question how can you tell before downloanding the differnce between raster and vector?


I went though an excercise with an android lenovo tablet a couple of years back and thought I had it figured out . In that case I was using topo usa . I procedded to download some areas then checked the results they were good then I went and started downloading large areas like 300,000 tiles at zoom 15, My diesired level of detail. I soon, although to late discovered that I could not get the detail I thought I downloaded in many cases it would only go to about a zoom of 11. Then I saw that gaia limits the downloads at one tme to 100,000 tiles. I figured that this must be true for other nav apps like BCN Topo usa etc. Since then I have been dismayed at using much of any nav system. DO youknow if gaia still limits the down load size to 100,000 tiles? If so how did you deal with that ? numerous smaller downloads or another method? I am about to buy a new iphone with 512gig of memeory and perhaps an insane audio untit for my JLUR. I understnad that the insane audio unit has an sd cart slot that can handle 512 gig sd cards. The head unit is essentially a smart phone in radio form with alot of other apps available directly form google. some on line some off line.

MY thoughts are usingthe card slot I can download topo i want and store it on different cards eg so cal. North cal, Ore, Wash would be 4 cards? etc. Here is alink to the head unit.

https://insaneaudio.com/products/jl3001

I have also thought of going to a stand alone ipad with 512 or large memory. No sure what to do now. Thanks for you help on this.
 

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Howard70

Adventurer
One further question how can you tell before downloanding the differnce between raster and vector?


DO youknow if gaia still limits the down load size to 100,000 tiles? If so how did you deal with that ? numerous smaller downloads or another method?

I am about to buy a new iphone with 512gig of memeory and perhaps an insane audio untit for my JLUR. I understnad that the insane audio unit has an sd cart slot that can handle 512 gig sd cards. The head unit is essentially a smart phone in radio form with alot of other apps available directly form google. some on line some off line.

MY thoughts are usingthe card slot I can download topo i want and store it on different cards eg so cal. North cal, Ore, Wash would be 4 cards? etc. Here is alink to the head unit.

https://insaneaudio.com/products/jl3001

I have also thought of going to a stand alone ipad with 512 or large memory.
Hello Jeep or Tacoma:

I think that the download limits depend upon the source of the maps you might download from Gaia - some sources place smaller limits than others. One source, I can't remember which, places an overall limit on the number of tiles you can download - I don't use any of those maps. In practice I don't find the limits on the maps I prefer to use too onerous - when determining the area to download Gaia tells you when you are over the limit so you can back down the area to just reach the limit and start the download. As one set of tiles is downloading, you can continue selecting another set. I think two or three sets can be downloading simultaneously and others can be stacked up. My home WiFi is so slow that I've stopped downloading via WiFi and now do all the downloads over cell. That is an additional advantage to having your tablet or iPad with it's own cellular plan - you can download directly to it while on the road with coverage. Occasionally we've been pretty remote but with good cell coverage. In those cases the download speeds have often been 10x faster than in more urban areas with equal coverage. I think the number of simultaneous cell connections is a major determinate of download speed - fewer connections faster downloads. Thus late at night or extremely early in the morning can also be good times for downloading.

Gaia technical support will tell paid members which maps are vector. I think there may be a list somewhere, but I don't recall where.

I have a Premium Gaia membership to get access to some of the better layers and to have the ability to overlay maps for simultaneous display.

Sounds like an iPhone 11 Pro or Promax. We have the 11 Pros and we really like them. I have between 160 and 200 gb of Gaia maps on mine. No problem at all. I don't know if we've discussed how Gaia synchronized among devices yet? Basically, that is one of the features I really like. I use the iPad's larger screen to determine areas for various maps and download them there. Gaia then automatically synchronizes those maps to my phone - I don't have to select maps separately on each device. You can disable that if you don't want everything on the phone.

If the audio system's ability to handle a mapping application is a major concern, I wouldn't assume anything about sd card support - especially for downloaded maps. I think the support of cards can be very application dependent so one application on the audio might work with downloading data to the card and another might not. As far as I know, Gaia does not support android car systems. It might support Apple car systems (I understand it works with Apple watches), but checking with tech support will clarify all that.

One path you might try is getting the iPhone, signing up for Gaia premium membership (they will refund your payment if you don't like the application), use it on the phone for a while with lots of downloads. If it satisfies, then buy the iPad and load Gaia there as well. Your membership will work on multiple devices without additional cost and you won't have to re-select the mapping areas.

Howard
 
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