Sat nav or Map?

Cycle-touring, Expeditions, Adventures, Major cycle routes NOT LeJoG (see other special board)
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al_yrpal
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Re: Sat nav or Map?

Postby al_yrpal » 13 Feb 2011, 4:27pm

Mattie wrote:
al_yrpal wrote:Whatever anyone says in two years time I'll bet everyone will carry just a smartphone. They do it all now, but it just takes time for everyone to realise that and take it onboard. Hopefully bike chargers and phone batteries will get better.
Al


You could be right - I notice in today's Sunday Times that there is a "App List" supplement which lists 250 of the best apps available (next week another 250).

On page 17:
Google Earth Navigation - "This could spell the end of the traditional sat-nav."......"Google Maps Navigation is one of the best reasons to own an Android phone."

Interesting.


I read that too. It was wrong because it said there is not automatic rerouting, there is! The other thing that struck me, apart from many errors and glaring omissions was how poor the leading iPhone apps are. If that is all iPhone has got I am very glad I went for Android. It's obviously a case of never mind the quality - feel the width. Tihey have obviously not looked thoroughly at the Android ones. I did install the Google translator though, jolly useful on tour.

Al
Touring on a bicycle is a great way to explore and appreciate the countryside and towns you pass through. What do you do to make a difference?

Will
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Re: Sat nav or Map?

Postby Will » 13 Feb 2011, 4:43pm

The game changing technology as far as GPS for cyclists is concerned is electrowetting displays.

Electrowetting displays use reflective light, rather than a backlight to display the image. The display becomes even more readable in bright sunshine, and uses less power than current LCD displays. Power consumption can be reduced even further by using low refresh rates (you wouldn't need a high refresh rate to display a map for instance). You will be able to power a device with an electrowetting display far longer on a single charge. This makes it an ideal technology for GPS displays.

This technology has been developed by a dutch company called Liquavista (which was a research offshoot of Phillips). Last month they were taken over by Samsung (the world's largest display manufacturer). You can expect to see this type of display in a e-reader first, and it then begin to be available on Smart phones etc. after that.

You can see a demo of the performance of this type of display outdoors on You tube:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D6tzaIgZ ... re=related

Researchers at the University of Cincinnati have been working on using paper as the substrate for an electrowetting display. This will lead to flexible paper based displays (probably be similar to a piece of laminated paper). Maybe one day we will have an GPS with an external electrowetting display the size of a folded map on top of our bar bag.

Will

jmrees
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Re: Sat nav or Map?

Postby jmrees » 14 Feb 2011, 5:24pm

I'm interested to hear about this talk of netbooks as I have recently been thinking of getting one. A few questions: do they really give the battery life they claim to, is there a lot you could do on a normal laptop which you can't do on a netbook, can anyone recommend some of the best they've found so far. They look ideal for touring, but I'd like to think it would be useful at home as well and I wonder if that will be the case.

stewartpratt
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Re: Sat nav or Map?

Postby stewartpratt » 14 Feb 2011, 5:35pm

I use my netbook more than my desktop by a huge margin. The only things I use the desktop for since getting a netbook are graphic design and photo processing. Netbook have neither the processor nor the screen to cope with these. That said, the smartphone has now claimed a lot of the casual surfing duties.

Battery life varies depending on how you use it, same with any device. Take the manufacturer's figure as the upper end, then search for a test of the same model. Most testers test the battery by turning the screen up full and playing a looping video. Take this figure as a lower limit. In reality you'll fall between the two depending on what you do, how bright you have the screen etc. I can get fairly close to the quoted figures for text editing.

Spec wise they're mostly much of a muchness. Try them out in a shop and find one whose keyboard and trackpad suit you - the ergonomics are where they differ.

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al_yrpal
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Re: Sat nav or Map?

Postby al_yrpal » 14 Feb 2011, 5:37pm

jmrees wrote:I'm interested to hear about this talk of netbooks as I have recently been thinking of getting one. A few questions: do they really give the battery life they claim to, is there a lot you could do on a normal laptop which you can't do on a netbook, can anyone recommend some of the best they've found so far. They look ideal for touring, but I'd like to think it would be useful at home as well and I wonder if that will be the case.


Before you buy a netbook gio to PC world and pick up all the netbooks they have running. Feel underneath, some are really hot because they waste battery, the ones where the battery will last are much cooler

Al
Touring on a bicycle is a great way to explore and appreciate the countryside and towns you pass through. What do you do to make a difference?

stewartpratt
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Re: Sat nav or Map?

Postby stewartpratt » 15 Feb 2011, 1:14pm

jmrees wrote:can anyone recommend some of the best they've found so far


I forgot to respond to that before, but I've just ordered a new one and the best for me turned out to be the Samsung N220 at £240 on Amazon. The keyboard and trackpad are both excellent, it has a matte screen (easier viewing in awkward light) and - not sure if this is important to you but it is to me - there is evidence on the web of people installing Ubuntu with full functionality for minimal effort (some have quirks or require effort to get working).

Others I nearly plumped for: Samsung NF210 (has a dual-core processor for more efficient multitasking, a wee bit thinner than the N220, but I can't justify the extra £40 right now), Lenovo S10 3S (currently only £200 on Amazon; the big feather in its cap is the higher-resolution screen but the battery life is not on a par with the Samsungs, the trackpad is reportedly awful, and I'm not sure about Ubuntu compatibility), Toshiba NB305 (very similar specs to the N220 but £30 or so more costly and has a gloss screen; quite a distinctive aesthetic though and allows charging of phones/iPods etc via USB without starting the machine up). I'd have loved a Samsung N510 or NC20 or Asus Eee 1101HA (all high-res screens) but sadly they're all discontinued and nigh-on impossible to find.

Personally I think if you look at Samsungs and Toshibas (with an eye on the battery life - some models in both ranges are markedly shorter) and find something you like then you won't go wrong. IMO they have the best keyboards and that's probably the biggest factor when choosing.

Mattie
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Re: Sat nav or Map?

Postby Mattie » 15 Feb 2011, 1:44pm

The very very best netbooks : MacBook Air - starting around £850 ? in the UK


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ersakus
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Re: Sat nav or Map?

Postby ersakus » 19 Feb 2011, 10:01am

Maps do get wet and disintegrate. Laminating might be a solution but not easy if you bought the map on the go. They weigh a lot for what they do. Taking them in and out from the bag is a torture requiring lots of stops on a possibly busy road. One still gets lost with paper maps. A good waterproof gps with voice navigation is what I use now. I can either program at home or let it take me to the destination on the day of cycling without much of planning in advance. I know exactly how many hours left to the destination. It does play mp3s as well.
Never looked back really. I don't have power problems as it is easily topped up by the hub dynamo. I have a backup, my mobile phone has map+Gps as well! If both fail I can buy paper maps on the go but that is the last resort really.

Reigncloud
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Re: Sat nav or Map?

Postby Reigncloud » 2 Mar 2011, 4:24pm

I like to think I've found nirvana in this respect. I use my Nokia 6120 'smartphone' with TomTom navigator software. It has all maps stored on the SD card and uses about 3/4 of a battery per day riding when in offline mode i.e. not connected to the mobile network. I do need to use a bluetooth GPS however as there is no internal GPS in this phone. I take about 10 spare batteries, which are small and light and cheap on ebay. I plan the whole tour using google maps and bikeroutetoaster.com so as to optimise for back roads, terrain and scenery. I strap the phone to my stem with a zip tie and we're away. Here's what it looks like:

DSC03717 (Small).JPG

This system has huge benefits and as a result of using it we've enjoyed many tours to places we previously wouldn't consider. Using google maps to find the back roads works really well, though you just have to beware of the possible unsealed road that looks sealed on the map or aerial photo! And as noted above, you need to plan well so the autorouting doesn't send you off on a wild goose chase somewhere. This isn't too hard at all - indeed the TomTom software limits you to 28 waypoints, which is usually plenty to ensure you don't go off course over a 120km ride.

I don't disagree with the more 'ad hoc' method of touring where you decide your route each morning, but we're more the type who like to pack more in over some big distances (80-90 miles/day), so pre-planning works a treat. We do also usually fly in and out of different aiports too.

For the record I do print out and take good detail Google map sheets as backups in case the phone is lost, stolen or damaged. I've not had reason to use them so far though. I also print out a terrain profile from bikeroutetoaster.com which is invaluable on days riding over the alps and the like.

melon
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Re: Sat nav or Map?

Postby melon » 2 Mar 2011, 5:19pm

are the spare batteries all specific ones for the phone, or are they some kind of add on?

Reigncloud
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Re: Sat nav or Map?

Postby Reigncloud » 2 Mar 2011, 5:42pm

The batteries are specific to the phone, like below. I take about 10 along, but usually have some still fully charged at the end of a two week tour as I charge them as I go whenever I can.
nokia_BL-5B.jpg
nokia_BL-5B.jpg (4.47 KiB) Viewed 785 times

I also take a spare GPS battery as well (same style of battery), but I've not had to use it yet as the battery in the GPS lasts forever. Again this is ludicrously light and cheap.

Barrenfluffit
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Re: Sat nav or Map?

Postby Barrenfluffit » 2 Mar 2011, 7:39pm

Asda are doing a promotion on 220ml clip lid food containers (sort of tupperware). These have a similar footprint to satnavs; I'm using one to make an all weather mount for a car satnav*. But would also work well as a rigid protective case of about the right size. 113mm * 85mm * 29mm

Only available in store I think but at £1 rather reasonable. Been looking a while for the right size.

Packed out with the sponge from two sponge scourers.