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Thread: iPhone as GPS

  1. #1
    Registered User granged's Avatar
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    Jun 2004
    Waterdown, Ontario, Canada

    iPhone as GPS

    Anyone using a new iPhone for GPS navigation? Mounting? Power link? Preferred Apps? Weather protection?

  2. #2
    Unfunded content provider tommcgee's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Braintree, MA
    Buy a real GPS. You'll be happier.
    Salty Fog Rally 2007, 2009, 2011, 2012, 2014 And DRAT! Missed the last one in 2015!

    -Tom (KA1TOX)

  3. #3
    Registered User mneblett's Avatar
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    Nov 2005
    Fairfax, VA
    Quote Originally Posted by granged View Post
    Anyone using a new iPhone for GPS navigation? Mounting? Power link? Preferred Apps? Weather protection?
    Not fast enough to be practical; difficult to read; too basic in functions. I have a 3GS iPhone, and a Zumo 660 for real-world navigation.

    The iPhone GPS is certainly servicable, but primarily for "where am I?, "where's the nearest gas/*$$/food from 'here'?" and "show me the Google street view" than anything else.

  4. #4
    Rally Rat PAULBACH's Avatar
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    Dec 2005
    Ballston Spa, NY; South of the Adirondacks, North of the Catskills and West of The Berkshires and Green Mountains
    The new zumo 665 is out! Be sure to take a look at that!

  5. #5
    Registered User rhyeks's Avatar
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    Sep 2008
    Charleston, SC
    I have a GPS and iPhone(Motorola Droid). The Droid actually has more mapping features and color than my older GPS does, but I am comfortable with it so I still use the GPS for mapping, plus the buttons are easier to push with gloves on.

    I have both the GPS and Droid mounted on separate Ram Mounts. I used a ram mount aqua box for the Droid and filed a small square opening in the bottom for the power cable. With the hole on the bottom of the aqua box, I have had no problems with water and the rubber aqua box lining also helps seal the hole. I have a powerlet cable that connects to an accessory plug for power.

    I found a great iPhone app (iMap weather) that provides weather radar and automatically updates every 5 minutes and will follow my position on the map. No need to push any buttons or screens which is great. So, I have the GPS for mapping and a weather radar on my iPhone right beside of it. They make a good combination and each has its strengths.

  6. #6
    I use my iphone loaded with a GPS app for reference when I'm stopped but not for a full time GPS, mostly the GPS I have on the bikes for on the go nav. though I often ignore them . The iphone is slow but has traffic info when I get back toward town and I don't pay extra for it. I sometimes use the iphone to take a snap and reference it in the GPS function when out shooting so I have a record of where the shot(s) were, but I often forget to do that too.

    If you want a GPS get a dedicated weather proof one, rigging the iphone will be more effort than worth it and once out of cell phone range, it won't work, even the gps function (that uses the gps antenna built in) doesn't seem to work other than record a location point but without a map display not much use.


  7. #7


    I use my iphone with an additional GPS app (G-map for about $50) and it worked OK but the app is a bit buggy. It is a stand alone program (over 2 GB in size) so it does not need a phone signal to work. It works like a "normal" GPS, which is a real plus.

    I'm using a RAM mount on top of the brake reservoir with a live 12V socket located at the same spot. The iphone screen is much easier read in sunlight than my old GPS was. I also like the ability to listen to itunes and have the directions mute the music as needed.

    One thing to keep in mind is that most likely, you will be unable to control the touch screen on the GPS with a gloved hand. Some gloves will work but you need to test yours out to be sure.

    RAM also makes a water proof box if you are worried about EXTREME weather but its a bit bulky so I did not use it on my RT. When it started raining I just slipped it in my pocket. Putting it in a ziploc bag before clamping it to the mount would most likely have worked as well. I'll try that next year.

    I sure like the idea of one device but I could have chosen a better GPS app...

  8. #8
    Registered User mistercindy's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    N. Dallas 'burb
    I have an iPhone 3GS, and the free "Maps" app that comes with the phone is a decent "GPS" in that you can see your location and roads,etc..., on a Google-type map. But its not waterproof, and is difficult to read without really looking at it to the exclusion of looking at the road. That, and the "Maps" app sucks power quickly. Its more useful in a car where you can keep it plugged in. But even then its not designed to glance at while driving. The only way I use it on my bike is to get off the road, take the phone out of my pocket, and check things out. I've done that a few times and, when used like that, its quite helpful.

    BTW, I haven't purchased any of the GPS apps available for the iPhone. I've read good reviews of the TomTom and Magellan apps, but each cost more than $50 and the free "Maps" app suits my needs sufficiently that I've decided not to spend the money.
    '05 R1200GS
    Former owner of an '03 R1150R
    BMWMOA #113847

  9. #9
    I have a Garmin nuvi 550. List price is $299, which is way lower than the Zumo 550 at $899.99. It is waterproof, and the Garmin specs include "Motorcycle Friendly", just like the Zumo models. It does not have all the features of the Zumo. No Bluetooth audio, Bluetooth cell phone interface, XM Radio, MP3 player, or "glove friendly" touch screen. It does, however, have an 8 hour battery capacity compared with 4 hours on the Zumo. It also has a boating mode, which the Zumo does not.

    I bought a RAM mount for about $40 and a Garmin hardwire kit for about $30, both on ebay. I got my nuvi 550 from a web vendor for about $250, shipping included, no sales tax. So my total is about $320 which is a big savings compared to a Zumo. If you want the Bluetooth and XM Radio features, the Zumo is what you want. In my case, I wouldn't use those features if I had them, so I was glad to get a current Garmin model with just the features I do want at a big savings.

    Amazon's price of a Zumo 550 is $656.73 Saving is $336.73. The nuvi is less than half the street price of the Zumo. Also, the nuvi 550 has the US, Canada, and Alaska built in. You can get a nuvi 500 which is identical but only has street maps of the continental US, but has topo maps included. You can add topo maps to the 550 using an SD card. If you get Garmin topo maps, they cost; however, I have seen free topo maps available in Garmin format. I added a 2GB card for about $10. List price is the same for the 500.

    Amazon is selling the nuvi 550 $238.45 Here is the link on Garmin's site
    2003 F650GS Dakar

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