GPS on Smartphones - caution

To: Peter Shute <>
Subject: GPS on Smartphones - caution
From: Peter and Toni <>
Date: Wed, 09 Oct 2013 07:51:36 +1100
I had my Garmin 12 GPS crash several times. I was told I had to send it back to the factory to fix it. A bit of an internet search found a hidden hard reset that involved toggling a few buttons during power up. Any device can crash and have to be restarted, or fail completely. If my phone crashes I can just unplug the battery and it resets without losing data, while igadgets tend to have inbuilt batteries I think thank make it hard to remove without tools and technical skills.

My phone writes all data to a microsd card. Even if the phone won't restart the microsd card can be put in the computer and the files easily read. The waypoint file could be emailed from the phone as a backup if needed, or the phone plugged into a computer and it appears as a hard drive.

On 07-Oct-13 4:13 PM, Peter Shute wrote:
Good point. Do dedicated GPSs ever crash and become inaccessible? I would have 
thought they'd be less likely to, 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.



-----Original Message-----
 On Behalf Of Peter and Toni
Sent: Tuesday, 1 October 2013 2:40 PM
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.

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...

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

It seems that the need for a dedicated GPS for simply recording
point locations is well gone.


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

Peter Shute

From: <mailto:
> [
>] On Behalf Of Roger McNeill
[ <>]
Sent: Tuesday, 1 October 2013 7:52 AM
Subject: [Birding-Aus] GPS for vocalisation recording


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.



Roger McNeill
Samford Valley, SEQ

To unsubscribe from this mailing list, send the message:
(in the body of the message, with no Subject line)

To unsubscribe from this mailing list,
send the message:
(in the body of the message, with no Subject line)

To unsubscribe from this mailing list,
send the message:
(in the body of the message, with no Subject line)


To unsubscribe from this mailing list,
send the message:
(in the body of the message, with no Subject line)

<Prev in Thread] Current Thread [Next in Thread>

The University of NSW School of Computer and Engineering takes no responsibility for the contents of this archive. It is purely a compilation of material sent by many people to the birding-aus mailing list. It has not been checked for accuracy nor its content verified in any way. If you wish to get material removed from the archive or have other queries about the archive e-mail Andrew Taylor at this address: andrewt@cse.unsw.EDU.AU