Many iOS devices have a built in GPS receiver, and will work very well with iHikeGPS even if you do not have a cellular data plan. The confusion comes about because the GPS receiver and the cellular radios are both included in the same package. If one buys an iOS device without the cellular radios, then he doesn't get the GPS receiver either. But the GPS receiver and the cellular radios can work independently. When the GPS receiver is first turned on by an App requesting to use it, if you have a cellular plan and a network connection, the GPS receiver will use information that it gets over the network connection to more quickly lock onto the GPS satellites. But if there is no cellular plan, the GPS receiver will get that necessary information directly from the GPS satellites, which can take a minute or two (just a like a separate GPS unit would). Once the GPS receiver is locked onto the satellites, it does not use the cellular plan at all, and its performance is identical whether you have a cellular plan or not.
Yes, iHikeGPS is a native iPad App, with full support for the Retina display in the newer iPads. Apple installs a GPS chip in the WiFi+Cellular versions of the iPad. Thus, all features of iHikeGPS work with these iPads. The WiFi-only versions do NOT have a GPS chip, but map download and viewing is still supported by iHikeGPS. To access all functions of our software with a WiFi-only iPad, add an Apple-approved external GPS receiver.
Yes, iHikeGPS works on the iPod touch. The iPod touch does NOT have a GPS chip, but map download and viewing is still supported by iHikeGPS. To access all functions of our software with an iPod touch, add an Apple-approved external GPS receiver.
Yes. There are some Apple-approved external GPS receivers available for iOS devices. These can offer improved GPS performance over the built-in GPS chip, or full functioning for those Wi-Fi only devices which do not have an internal GPS chip.
Almost all modern mapping programs accept GPS data in the GPX file format. Use iHikeGPS to email tracks, routes and waypoints to yourself or friends. The email has an attachment which can be imported into any application that will read GPX files. Or you can transfer the GPX waypoints, tracks and routes to your computer using iTunes File Sharing.
If you put the iPhone in your pocket or buried in your back pack while recording a track, your body or items in your pack may partially block GPS satellite signal reception. Sometimes that may not matter, but if you are already in an area with heavy tree cover, near the bottom of a narrow canyon, or in some other situation where GPS signal reception is more difficult, avoiding any further blocking of the GPS signal becomes important. A number of companies make arm-band holders for the iPhone which not only gets the iPhone out away from your body where it will have the best reception, but also gives you the hands-free ability to glance at the map on your iPhone screen whenever you want. Do a Google search for “iPhone armbands”.
You can change several settings to reduce the devices's drain on its battery. Adjust the following settings in Apple's “Settings” App:
Tap Wi-Fi, then Turn off Wi-Fi.
Tap Bluetooth, then turn Bluetooth off.
Tap “Brightness & Wallpaper”, then turn down the screen brightness to the lowest acceptable level.
Tap “iCloud”, then tap “Documents & Data”, turn off “Use Cellular”.
Tap “Mail, Contacts, Calendars”. Tap “Fetch New Data”. Turn off “Push” and tap “Manually”.
Tap “iTunes & App Store”, then turn off “Use Cellular Data”.
Plug the iOS device into a car charger on your way to the trailhead so that you start the hike with a completely charged battery.
On the Track Page, select Always. Put the iPhone to sleep when you are not looking at it. When you stop for lunch or to enjoy the views, on the Track Page select Off. (Don't forget to turn tracking back on before resuming your hike.)
Use the “Go To” Display on the My Location page only when needed for compass readings. Using the Normal Display turns off the compass, which reduces battery drain.
For the iPhone 3 only: In the Settings App, turn on the Proximity Sensor. Switch to the Track screen when you are not actually looking at the map, and then use the iPhone's proximity sensor to dim the screen. If you put the iPhone in your pocket, or put the upper left corner of the face of the iPhone against some object, the proximity sensor will turn off the battery-draining screen illumination, as it does when you hold the phone up to your ear during a phone call.
If you follow all the steps, you may be able to record tracks for about 10 hours (4 hours on the iPhone 3) of actual hiking. Use an external battery pack to extend this time.
Under normal operating conditions, the GPS chip in the iPhone or WiFi+cellular iPad receives signals from at least 4 GPS satellites to calculate the 4 parameters of latitude, longitude, elevation, and time. Sometimes, in a narrow canyon, thick vegetation, or an overhanging cliff, reception of 4 satellite signals may be impossible. When the GPS chip is receiving only 3 satellite signals, it assumes that the altitude stays constant, allowing it to still calculate the changing latitude, longitude, and time. During this period, the elevation profile graph will be flat. Once the GPS chip is receiving 4 or more satellite signals again, the altitude reading will re-register your current elevation. You can reduce the chances of not receiving enough satellite signals by keeping the iPhone or iPad in full view of a clear sky, unblocked by anything shielding it, such as your body or metal or water-filled items. The most recent iOS devices receive satellite signals from the Glonass satellites as well as the GPS satellites, greatly reducing the chances of this happening.
24K Quad Topo Maps are huge 34 to 65 megapixel images, which take a second to process given the speed of the iOS devices's processor. A spinning activity indicator will show in the upper right corner of the screen when the map cache is updating. This takes longer on the iPhone 3GS than it does on the speedier more recent models. Wait to give iHikeGPS further commands until the activity indicator is no longer visible.
With the introduction of iCloud, Apple requires iHikeGPS NZ and other offline mapping programs to store the maps in the cache folder. That way the maps, which use several megabytes of memory each, would not take up space in your limited iCloud storage allotment. With the introduction of iOS 5, Apple started purging files from the cache folder whenever the the iOS device's storage memory was too full. If your maps disappeared, that means that you are almost out of storage memory and would benefit from removing some old apps you never use, some old songs you never listen to anymore, etc., to free up some memory and prevent further problems.
If your maps have been erased, each time you start iHikeGPS NZ you will be given an opportunity to re-download your previously-downloaded maps. Be sure to do so before you download any new maps.
No. MacGPS Pro was created to take advantage of the computer's large screen, mouse, keyboard, menus, and huge data storage resources to augment an external GPS receiver.
iHikeGPS was freshly built from the ground up to work the way that people use their iPhones, iPads and iPods. However, our creation of iHikeGPS does benefit from our years of experience in producing great GPS software.
MacGPS Pro can import maps from a wide variety of sources. iHikeGPS works only with USA and southwest Canada topo maps downloaded from the iHikeGPS server.