Author Topic: The IPad2 solution...What Do You Think?  (Read 6194 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline Stevenp

The IPad2 solution...What Do You Think?
« on: March 26, 2011, 01:12:48 pm »
I just fell in love with the Ipad2. I have been looking at different gadgets to take with me across the country including a handheld gps, an ereader and computer.

Well, the biggest question about the Ipad2 is whether I can transform it into a gps device for me to cross the country with.
I have found these apps that are available in this link: http://www.geekersmagazine.com/2010/07/ipad-gps-apps/

I also know I can get a solar recharger for about 100 bucks to keep recharging, plus I imagine I will be coming across electricity quite often.

I am excited thinking the Ipad2 might be the answer to my gadget questions.

What's your take on it?

Offline Fred Hiltz

Re: The IPad2 solution...What Do You Think?
« Reply #1 on: March 26, 2011, 03:04:25 pm »
The many comments about smart phone GPS vs. the stand-alone units would apply to the iPad, it seems. Find the details by browsing this group, but here's my quick summary. Compared to the Garmin, DeLorme, etc. units that most of us use, the phone devices:

Are not waterproof,
Are not shock resistant,
Require a cell phone data service and be connected to work,
Are hard to read in bright sunlight, and
Cannot be loaded with waypoints and routes from external sources like Adventure Cycling.

Still, these might work when stopped for an occasional position check or to find points of interest where you have cell service. They are not good as full-time navigators on your handlebars.

Specific units may have overcome some of the limitations I noted. If anyone knows, please pass the word.

There's a lot here about solar chargers, too. Compare them with a $15 mains charger for weight, cost, and reliability.

Fred

Offline valygrl

Re: The IPad2 solution...What Do You Think?
« Reply #2 on: March 26, 2011, 08:04:40 pm »
I think you don't need any of that stuff.  If you want to buy an iPad, go for it, but paper maps, paperback books and an occasional stop at a library if you need to check your email is just fine.

Less is more on the bike.  Really.  I'm not a luddite, I like the electronic toys too.  But on a bike tour, too much of that stuff starts to own you, and instead of talking to people, riding your bike, eating, drinking, sleeping... you are charging, updating your journal, riding around looking for a wireless hotspot....

Your choice, but my $0.02, FWIW, YMMV, etc etc.

Offline Susan

Re: The IPad2 solution...What Do You Think?
« Reply #3 on: March 27, 2011, 02:14:17 am »
Before assuming that your solar charger can load an Ipad, check the voltage.  I have a 5 V solar charger that charges AA/AAA batteries for my Garmin GPS and headlight, camera-specific batteries and smartphone.  My netbook accu has 7,3 V that can't be charged with this.  There are outdoor solar chargers with larger capacity, but I personally wouldn't be willing to carry anything that bulky.  As Valygirl said, you quickly become a slave to your gadgets and this really detracts from touring pleasure.

Offline Fred Hiltz

Re: The IPad2 solution...What Do You Think?
« Reply #4 on: March 27, 2011, 06:43:57 am »
... As Valygirl said, you quickly become a slave to your gadgets and this really detracts from touring pleasure.

+1. Good points, ladies. It took this geek about a season to get over being a slave and put the hardware in its proper place.

Aside from its occasional utility as a navigator, the GPS saw some duty as an entertainment device on those long, long roads in the Midwest. I recall dreaming up a "civilization index" = 1000 / (number of miles to the nearest Wal-Mart).

The low-tech civilization index was (number of art galleries) - (number of farm equipment dealers) observed each day.

Fred

Offline Tourista829

Re: The IPad2 solution...What Do You Think?
« Reply #5 on: March 27, 2011, 12:27:32 pm »
I agree with Valygrl, when it comes to navigation, I like the maps too. There is a sense of accomplishment using maps and finding your way. When Flying, I like to use a sectional map and use the first method I learn to navigate. Like cycling, there something to be said about taking your time and enjoying the view. Like Fred mentioned, I am not sure you can see it in the bright sun, if it rains damage it, and mounting it may be a challenge. If you do, a front hub generator and the Dahon Reecharge Battery which works with the I Phone will help power it. (or an e-werk from Busch Muller:) Susan makes a very valid point, check the voltage, the e-werke allows you to adjust the voltage so you won't fry your I Pad.

Offline Patco

Re: The IPad2 solution...What Do You Think?
« Reply #6 on: March 27, 2011, 02:13:11 pm »
I agree with the comments regarding the use of maps. GPS while backpacking may be useful (I don't know - I still use maps), but GPS use while on paved roads seems overkill. While I find that tablets and computers are more weight and bulk then I wish to carry (and like Valygrl, I do not wish to be a slave to electronic devices), I am using the small tablets, such as the Galaxy Tab, for Google maps and Earth. What I find is that even good state road maps do not always have all roads noted, and I like the ability to see the condition of the road when planning my route. As an example, we are biking through Southern Idaho this summer enroute to the Southeast and without the use of Google maps, I would have thought the only choice for some sections was I-84. A look at Google maps indicated old U.S. 30 and other such roads, along with county roads, were available to bypass using the Interstate. Since the tablet is turned off unless I need to check something, the battery lasts several days of use before recharging is necessary. USB adaptor and a wall outlet is all that is needed. Just another tool to make the journey an enjoyable one.

Offline Stevenp

Re: The IPad2 solution...What Do You Think?
« Reply #7 on: March 27, 2011, 11:26:57 pm »
Lots of great comments and I agree with the tech slave idea too. I am leaning towards purchasing the iPad mainly because it is so cool and will be useful for every gadget I may want during the trip and after too. I like the idea of asking directions and involving myself with people along the way rather than having my tech headquarters on the bike.

It seems that I could study the route for the day, first thing in the morning, writing down notes for the day and having those notes in front of me. I mean, we are only dealing with 50-70 miles a day. It doesn't seem like much of a hassle to follow some basic instructions every morning after figuring out that day's route, does it?
Mind you, this is coming from someone who has never done any kind of a tour before, so I may be completely wrong. :)

Offline chrisch

Re: The IPad2 solution...What Do You Think?
« Reply #8 on: March 28, 2011, 02:02:18 am »
I haven't toured with the iPad, but many times with the iPhone which shares many characteristics.  It gets most of its use when I tour alone and after I've setup camp for the night.  What I like is that it does so much in such a small package.  Namely, it's an mp3 player, e-book reader, gps, connection to the world (internet radio, e-mail, www, news, phone, Skype), gives weather forecasts, and has a cheap camera.  I don't necessarily use it for all of these things, but it does give you an idea of what's possible.

There are many people who tour with a netbook to write and post their travelogue.  The iPad or iPhone can also be used for this, although you probably wouldn't want to type at length with the onscreen keyboard.

For micro blogging it's perfect.  I've written a bike touring app called TrackMyTour, which was recently updated to support the iPad.  It was reviewed on the ACA website just over a year ago: http://blog.adventurecycling.org/2010/02/tourist-20-trackmytour-iphone-app.html.  It's a micro blogging app, which focuses on your location so friends and family can follow your progress on a map.  As cool as this is, I'm not certain I would still bring the iPad when I already have the iPhone with me.
« Last Edit: March 28, 2011, 02:09:48 am by chrisch »

Offline bogiesan

Re: The IPad2 solution...What Do You Think?
« Reply #9 on: March 28, 2011, 08:51:08 am »
The iPad is an amazing device, far more than I thought possible and I've used Macintosh for more than 20 years--I like Apple stuff.
And it is the first electronic device I seriously considered hauling on my trips this summer because it will play go with me. But not any longer.

The cure for me has been carrying it around as part of my everyday kit. Keeping it safe, dry, charged, and protected from bumps and dings has been instructive. I enjoy having it along most of the day but it's way too much hassle when I put it in my seat bag or pannier for leisure or training rides. Way too much.

Might fit into your routine.

The iPad2 does not have a GPS receiver like theiPhone, does it? A G3 unit relies on cell towers for positioning and a wifi unit would be almost worthless out ot town.

David Boise id
I play go. I use Macintosh. Of course I ride a recumbent

Offline geegee

Re: The IPad2 solution...What Do You Think?
« Reply #10 on: March 29, 2011, 02:18:38 pm »
I used to enjoy relying solely on paper maps, but I have to say that having a GPS is much more liberating and takes a lot of doubt off of navigation. It has also lead me down alternate routes that I would not have known of since many paper maps are limited in information while the resolution of GPS units are scaleable. Not having to constantly glance down at a map lets me concentrate more an the road and the sights, all I need to do is listen for the audible signal to turn. As a result, I've given up the bike computer and the recording of daily distances, speed, altitude, etc since the GPS records all this automatically, and my journals have become a lot more poetic and interesting without the tedious details.

The iPad is a bit of a strange gadget though, as I cannot see it replacing a GPS unit (far too large and vulnerable to have on a handlebar) and the fact that it does not allow hooking up of external devices (with the exception of cameras) such as a GPS unit to effectively transfer data. While I have been a huge Mac fan for decades, I got a cheap $200 netbook to travel with. I usually put Garmin topo maps on my GPS, while the netbook contains maps with the City Navigator data as well, allowing me to locate motels, restaurants and points of interest without needing an internet hotspot.

Depending on how you view "less is more", a netbook or an iPad can actually save you some weight and bulk, as you can buy PDF or eBook versions of most guide books, and any other book you might consider taking along.

Lucky13

  • Guest
Re: The IPad2 solution...What Do You Think?
« Reply #11 on: March 31, 2011, 07:45:15 am »
The iPad2 does not have a GPS receiver like the iPhone, does it?

The hardware is built-in, but it's known as "assisted GPS" in that the data will be acquired much faster with an active 3G connection. Without it, you might have to wait a few minutes or longer. The Wi-Fi only models have no GPS hardware at all.

Here's a link to a very good FAQ on the iPad2...

http://www.macintouch.com/reviews/ipad2/faq.html

Lucky13

  • Guest
Re: The IPad2 solution...What Do You Think?
« Reply #12 on: March 31, 2011, 08:49:45 am »
I’ve had an iPad for a while now and it is working out just fine. I don’t consider it any more of a burden than, say, a digital camera or a cellphone. It’s a very slim device and travels well in a pannier. The iPad seems a pretty sturdy gadget as well. In fairness, I haven’t brought it on any long tours yet.

What I don’t care for – are all of those electronics that folks strap to their handlebars. GPS receivers, bicycle computers, smart phones, MP3 players, etc. Those are the devices which would detract from my enjoyment of the ride. They would be nothing but a distraction and even an irritation. The iPad, or a netbook/laptop, is more for off-bike use. I would make a point not to be obsessed with it.

I’ve posted an article over at CrazyGuy – a primer on the iPad for the bicycle tourist…

http://www.crazyguyonabike.com/doc/ipad

Offline drongobird

Re: The IPad2 solution...What Do You Think?
« Reply #13 on: August 23, 2011, 12:46:41 am »
This is an old thread, but it contains a badly inaccurate comment that ought to be corrected.
Fred wrote:
"smart phone GPS... Require a cell phone data service and be connected to work...
Cannot be loaded with waypoints and routes from external sources like Adventure Cycling.
Specific units may have overcome some of the limitations I noted. If anyone knows, please pass the word."

So, I'm passing the word.  I have done extensive testing of the iPhone as GPS for multi-day backpacking outings, and I recently used the iPhone as my gps/map device on a six week hike.  It does not require data service.  The good apps (and there are several) let you download gigabytes of maps via WIFI (or cell service) prior to your trip.  And many apps do import gpx and kml files.  The iPad WIFI-only version does not have GPS, but the iPad 3G does have GPS and in that respect behaves like an iPhone.  The iTouch does not have GPS.

We wrote up what we learned, and we're continuing to update the info and maintain the list of iPhone map/gps apps.  This article is geared toward backpackers, but much of the info is useful for cycling as well.  I'm not advocating iPhone over Garmin or GPS-less mode, just trying to put accurate info in people's hands so they can make their own decisions.
http://adventurealan.com/iphone4gps.htm

If anybody has info on apps that we missed, please add a comment to the article so we can incorporate it.

Amy
amyl.smugmug.com/Bike-Trips

Offline Fred Hiltz

Re: The IPad2 solution...What Do You Think?
« Reply #14 on: August 23, 2011, 06:06:34 am »
Wow, thank you, Amy. The iPad is a lot more than a phone, and it is nice to see the developers have worked out that limitation since last March.

It would seem to be useful for spot checks in good weather, then, and that big screen is a plus. Power drain should not be a problem, as it would not be continuously on, having to ride in a pannier rather on than the handlebar.

How is its visibility in bright sunlight?

My other question is about the available maps. The article mentions several, which appear to be raster maps. How well do these handle zooming? If you load one to show enough detail for small roads, does it blur into uselessness when you zoom out to view a county, or does it drop detail like the vector maps that are made for purpose-made GPSRs?

Fred