GPS on Smartphones - caution

To: <>
Subject: GPS on Smartphones - caution
From: <>
Date: Mon, 7 Oct 2013 05:23:31 +0000
Gidday Peter, 

In all my years of GPSing I've never had a straight GPS crash. This has 
included severe cooking incidents in cars on Cape York in summer sun, long 
drops onto sandstone, proper drenching, and sweat .... so much sweat! I haven't 
relied on memory cards ever. It means the GPS can store less, but it's useful 
enough for me with inbuilt maps, which I generally turn off anyway. 

I have had two occasions when the GPS signal has clearly been scrambled when my 
direction of travel changed suddenly on the GPS but not in actual fact, and 
sudden loss of accuracy (up to 200m error). I suspect the time stamps received 
by the GPS must have been diluted (not sure of correct terminology), but these 
inaccuracies are otherwise inexplicable to me.

The GPS function on my smartphone, including with Bad Elf (which I think 
someone mentioned earlier) is not yet in my "trusted equipment" list because of 
battery drain, aforementioned crash, and general failure of some associated 
applications to work with sufficient reliability. 



-----Original Message-----
From: Peter Shute  
Sent: Monday, 7 October 2013 2:40 PM
To: Vanderduys, Eric (CES, TownsvilleATSIP)
Cc: ; 
Subject: GPS on Smartphones - caution

Good point. Do dedicated GPSs ever crash and become inaccessible? I would have 
thought they'd be less likely too, being simpler, but memory cards can become 
corrupt in any device.

Apart from a data loss like yours, one has to consider what happens if you're 
relying on it to navigate at the time.

Peter Shute

Sent from my iPad

> On 7 Oct 2013, at 3:40 pm, "" 
> <> wrote:
> Hi All,
> Peter, I second your comments regarding the usefulness of GPS functions and 
> various apps on smart phones. 
> One caution: if your phone is an iPhone and crashes, it is a complete black 
> box. Last year I commenced collecting certain types of field data on an 
> iPhone 4s. After turning the phone off at end of field trip, and then turning 
> it back on it asked to be reset. This, allegedly, wipes all data. The good 
> news is I sent it to a forensic data recovery expert in Sydney who cracked it 
> (his first successful 4s crack) and recovered all data for $250. Much cheaper 
> than redoing the data collection (estimate $4-6k).
> Lesson: even if you get back to camp at midnight, back up immediately to a 
> computer, or cloud if in range. 
> Cheers,
> Eric
> -----Original Message-----
> From:  
>  On Behalf Of Peter 
> and Toni
> Sent: Tuesday, 1 October 2013 2:40 PM
> To: 
> Subject: Re: [Birding-Aus] GPS for vocalisation recording
> I use several different Android smartphones and tablets for detailed GPS 
> mapping.  The modern smart phones are brilliant in heavy forest.  Mine is 
> capable of tracking more than 20 satellites, including the russian ones.  
> Older GPS could only track 8 so quickly lost signal under cover.  
> In heavy rainforest the phone kept a fix at all times when previous surveys 
> had seen older GPS lose all signal.  Every year the phones get more 
> sensitive.  For instance they will easily get a fix from inside a house, as 
> long as there is a window in the room.  Accuracy and repeatability are far 
> improved from older dedicated GPS I have owned, although I am sure newer 
> dedicated GPSs have also improved.  I use Oziexplorer to manage maps and 
> waypoints.  It can download the waypoints to excel for easy manipulation.  
> There are similar programs available for Apple. Battery life can be a bit 
> short, but I also carry a small battery pack that can recharge the phone if 
> out all day.  Having your birding app, GPS and phone in one instrument makes 
> juggling hardware a lot less of a problem.  As long as you don't lose it or 
> drop it.
> cheers
> Peter
>> On 01-Oct-13 12:41 PM, Merrilyn Serong wrote:
>> Garmin handheld GPS units are very good.
>> Here is a link so you can compare the different models.
>> They are not cheap, but if you want a good one...
>> Cheers,
>> Merrilyn
>>> On 1/10/2013 11:59 AM, David Richardson wrote:
>>> One of the points mentioned in the original post was that the GPS be 
>>> capable of deep forest satellite acquisition.I don't know much about 
>>> iphone or camera GPS functions but I doubt they would operate 
>>> accurately in situations other than clear sky satellite 
>>> acquisition.That is why a dedicated GPS unit,and a very good one at 
>>> that,would be of more use.
>>> perhaps someone on list who has knowledge of this could post a relpy 
>>> addressing that point?
>>>> On Tue, Oct 1, 2013 at 10:27 AM, Peter Shute <> wrote:
>>>> I suspect that the main difference between a phone GPS and a 
>>>> dedicated one, apart from not using up the battery of your precious 
>>>> communication device, is accuracy. I'm told I shouldn't expect 
>>>> better than 30m accuracy from an iphone.
>>>> I suspect Google Earth coordinates can be off by that much too, if 
>>>> the difference between the images of roads and the corresponding 
>>>> linework is anything to go by.
>>>> Peter Shute
>>>> Sent from my iPad
>>>> On 1 Oct 2013, at 9:06 am, "Martin Butterfield" 
>>>> < <>> wrote:
>>>> If you don't have a mobile phone, my camera (Panasonic TZ40) has a 
>>>> GPS function which - if activated -  includes geocoordinates with 
>>>> images.  I suspect many other mid-range cameras now have this 
>>>> functionality.
>>>> It seems that the need for a dedicated GPS for simply recording 
>>>> point locations is well gone.
>>>> Martin
>>>> On 1 October 2013 08:30, Peter Shute <<mailto:
>>>> >> wrote:
>>>> If you mean you want to save and name a way point so that you can 
>>>> just read out the way point name into the microphone, then I would 
>>>> have thought most would allow that. Some probably just 
>>>> automatically number the way points, but you could read out that number.
>>>> I just use my phone's GPS (have never tried a dedicated GPS), and I 
>>>> read out the coordinates directly at each new location. I could 
>>>> mark a way point and then later copy its coordinates into the 
>>>> metadata, but it seems just as quick to type it out while I listen 
>>>> to the coordinates I read out.
>>>> It gives
>>>> me two chances to get it wrong, but it also means the coordinates 
>>>> aren't as likely to get separated from the recording.
>>>> I'm hoping I can find a way to get the phone to read out the 
>>>> current coordinates so I can just hold it up to the mic. That 
>>>> should eliminate the first kind of error, but it's inspired more by 
>>>> laziness.
>>>> Peter Shute
>>>> ________________________________
>>>> From: <mailto:
>>>> > [
>>>> <mailto:
>>>> >] On Behalf Of Roger 
>>>> McNeill [ 
>>>> <>]
>>>> Sent: Tuesday, 1 October 2013 7:52 AM
>>>> To: 
>>>> <
>>>> au
>>>> Subject: [Birding-Aus] GPS for vocalisation recording
>>>> All,
>>>> I know this has been raised a few times over the years, so 
>>>> apologies for that, but the technology and brands keep changing and 
>>>> it is difficult to keep up.
>>>> I need a Handheld GPS to support my vocalisation recordings. The 
>>>> main requirements other than the obligatory battery life, 
>>>> ruggedness, light, international maps, deep forest satilite 
>>>> acquistion, etc, is the ability to input multiple way points and 
>>>> link them to a specific recording.
>>>> Most of the units I see on line seem to have a detailed  drill down 
>>>> menu but what I am looking for is a compact unit whereby I can 
>>>> quickly enter a location, note the 'location reference' in my 
>>>> recording and then weeks later when I am back home, download that 
>>>> way point into my computer when I am doing my Meta data?
>>>> Up until now I have been doing it after the fact off Google Earth 
>>>> and this is getting very old.
>>>> Also, the ability to pre-load waypoints is probably standard, but 
>>>> also required.  I am a hand held GPS novice, if that is not already 
>>>> evident by the questions, so any and all help is appreciated.
>>>> Cheers,
>>>> Roger
>>>> Roger McNeill
>>>> Samford Valley, SEQ
>>>> ===============================
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