The perfect phone for a birder?

To: Peter Shute <>
Subject: The perfect phone for a birder?
From: Chris <>
Date: Sun, 27 Dec 2009 04:32:37 -0800 (PST)
First I need to ask, what are you using the gps for? Is it for navigating? By 
car or on foot? Is it for recording coordinates of sightings?

If for navigating by car, great. You can use motion x which is cheap. A 
navigation version is coming out which will cost more and act more like a car 
nav system. There are others already out there like that too, but as someone 
said, costing about $100. Still, that's one less gadget to buy and carry. Get a 
car cradle. 

If it's for navigating on foot then for anything more than an hour on a marked 
trail you're using the wrong device. The battery life is not practical for a 
bushwalker's gps. 

If it's for marking coords of sightings, then you can simply take a photo with 
the camera and as long ad you have the setting enabled, the photo will contain 
a timestamp and coordinates. 

Regarding the limitation on 3rd party apps not running in the background, i 
don't see that being a real issue. Motion x will continue tracking when it gets 
focus again and fill in the break with a dotted line. 

The settings menu lets you choose between cache sizes ranging from 10mb to 
250mb. I've cached my trip to work and to a couple other places - perhaps an 
hour's linear drive time through suburbia, and have used 11mb of the cache. The 
maps themselves are comparable to a street directory. They're not 
topographical. You have to choose the right setting for map caching. For 
example, if you tell it to use google's maps, it won't cache because google's 
license on the usage of those maps doesn't permit the software to cache. 

In order to cache you simply browse the area you want to cache, at the zoom 
level you plan to use. You can do this while on your home network if you want 
to use that connection, or via the 3G mobile network. The phone automatically 
detects when you are within range of a network for which you have previously 
authenticated, and automatically uses the network. If you go out of range of 
the network, it automatically uses 3G - no manual changing of settings, unlike 
my old nokia. 

By the way, if you fill the map cache, the system automatically wipes out the 
oldest maps in the cache, just like with Peter's blackberry, and keeps caching. 

Peter said it best when he said a mobile phone gps is a dangerous thing to rely 
on. Any gps can be a good tool if you already know how to read maps. A mobile 
phone gps can be convenient if you have battery and a connection to the net, or 
cached maps, but would never replace a dedicated gps if life and death depended 
on it (and even a dedicated gps should not replace maps and a compass).


On 27/12/2009, at 5:04 PM, Peter Shute <> wrote:

I've played with map caching on my Blackberry before visiting a low reception 
area. On my phone at least, it seems like a dangerous thing to rely on, as the 
maps will be gone when I need them if I need to reboot the phone, or if I leave 
it tracking my progress on the way there and it wipes out the cache with 
different data.

Peter Shute

Sent using BlackBerry

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