Author Topic: Tracking with an Iphone?  (Read 6042 times)

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Offline Fred_Harmon_TX

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Tracking with an Iphone?
« on: October 26, 2011, 06:38:15 pm »
Some of you may remember last year when I posted some links to my Spot Tracker site so folks could follow me when I traveled. ( http://spotwalla.com/tripViewer.php?id=5854 )

When Spot wanted over $200 for me to renew the service this year, I gave it the heave-ho as I decided that was just too much money for something I only use a few times a year.

Now I see that there are some apps that can be run on an Iphone to do some of the same stuff. Though it uses cell towers instead of satellites for transmission, but honestly there were many times when I was in the mountains where my Spot couldn't communicate with the satellites, so I figure it's about a wash in terms of transmission reliability.

So I'm just wondering, with all the folks out there with Iphones, has anyone ever tried an app for tracking an Iphone's location on a ride and given the link to a spouse or friends so they can follow you?

Here is one I found that looks interesting...

http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/device-locator/id380395093?mt=8

If I could determine that this really works, it might be enough to convince me to get an iPhone. It seems like what we really need is a Motorcycle Rider to develop some apps specific to riders needs, and this would be a good example of one.

« Last Edit: October 26, 2011, 06:42:47 pm by Fred_Harmon_TX »
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Offline Larry

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Re: Tracking with an Iphone?
« Reply #1 on: October 26, 2011, 06:51:37 pm »
Fred, interesting idea....I would be interested in this information as well.  However, with me being a Blackberry guy at the moment, I found something similar for the BB at the URL below.....

http://software.crackberry.com/product.asp?id=644324&n=FollowMee-GPS-Tracker-%28Deluxe%29-%3A-Locate-and-Track-Your-People%2C-Cars%2C-or-Phones
www.followmee.com

Wondering if any Blackberry users out there have used this or something like it?
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Offline Fred_Harmon_TX

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Re: Tracking with an Iphone?
« Reply #2 on: October 26, 2011, 07:11:15 pm »
MCN has something called Ride Logger,( http://www.motorcyclenews.com/MCN/iphone-app/ ) but I can't tell if it does real time tracking, or just lets you save the data afterwards and relive the ride. What I want is for a spouse/SO to be able to pull up a web site and track my current location when I travel alone.

There is also a Pirelli app ( http://www.ultimatemotorcycling.com/2011/pirelli-diablo-super-biker-iphone-app ) that does some tracking, but again, I don't know if this relays real-time data or not.

I guess I'm looking for someone who has experience doing real time tracking with an iphone.
« Last Edit: October 26, 2011, 07:15:37 pm by Fred_Harmon_TX »
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Offline Fred_Harmon_TX

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Re: Tracking with an Iphone?
« Reply #3 on: October 26, 2011, 07:17:12 pm »
Here is another one I just found...

http://www.instamapper.com/overview.html
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Offline S Smith

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Re: Tracking with an Iphone?
« Reply #4 on: October 26, 2011, 07:18:34 pm »
(does this topic really belong under C14 Accessories?)

With iOS 5 and iCloud the Find My iPhone seems to work fairly well, but this is mainly for the phone owner to locate, lock, or wipe their own device.

Damn... Fred beat me to the punch....   I agree, Instamapper looks promising.


here are 2 others

http://trails.lamouroux.de/

http://locimobile.com/
« Last Edit: October 26, 2011, 07:20:33 pm by S Smith »
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Offline Fred_Harmon_TX

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Re: Tracking with an Iphone?
« Reply #5 on: October 26, 2011, 07:22:50 pm »
(does this topic really belong under C14 Accessories?)

Probably not, but I'm not sure where else to better locate it.  On another MC Forum I'm on, we have a section for all Electronic Gadget things, like GPS, Intercom, etc. Maybe we need a section like that here.

My two main goals for a tracking device would be this.

1. It needs to have an easy to use web interface that my wife can hit from any computer and instantly see the last time my cell phone pinged the server.

2. It needs to be able to show historical data of the entire ride, so my route can be seen and shared.

It also would be nice if I could save and keep previous routes on it, like SpotWalla does, so I can go back and look at past rides.
« Last Edit: October 26, 2011, 07:27:15 pm by Fred_Harmon_TX »
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Offline S Smith

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Re: Tracking with an Iphone?
« Reply #6 on: October 26, 2011, 07:27:58 pm »
(does this topic really belong under C14 Accessories?)

Probably not, but I'm not sure where else to better locate it.  On another MC Forum I'm on, we have a section for all Electronic Gadget things, like GPS, Intercom, etc. Maybe we need a section like that here.

Agreed... something for the mods/admins to discuss.

I took a quick look at Instamapper's GPS Tracker app.  gotta love this disclaimer...

Quote
"Because of limitations imposed on third-party application by Apple, GPS Tracker must run in the foreground to transmit position data.  Expect about 5 hours of continuous tracking on one battery charge."

To me, the 5 hour limitation is unacceptable.  I may play with this app, but will continue to look for other free alternatives.

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Offline Fred_Harmon_TX

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Re: Tracking with an Iphone?
« Reply #7 on: October 26, 2011, 07:30:03 pm »
I think I found the iPhone solution.

Google Lattitude can be run on the iPhone, and SpotWalla supports any device that can run Google Lattitude.

http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/google-latitude/id306586497?mt=8

Here is the link to SpotWallas explanation of what devices they support. Looks like you can use the Iphone with them. This is great news.

http://spotwalla.com/help/devices.php#supported
« Last Edit: October 26, 2011, 07:31:53 pm by Fred_Harmon_TX »
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Offline Bobby M.

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Re: Tracking with an Iphone?
« Reply #8 on: October 26, 2011, 07:36:53 pm »
What about pluging the phone into a charge cable plugged into the bike. (unlimited use)
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Offline Fred_Harmon_TX

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Re: Tracking with an Iphone?
« Reply #9 on: October 26, 2011, 07:39:06 pm »
I think it's a given that to run any of these apps continuously on a long ride cross-country, you will need to provide power to the phone to keep it charged. I don't think you'd want to rely on the battery to hold up on a 700 mile day crossing multiple states.

Maybe we need to check in with some of the Iron Butt riders and see what solutions they have come up with.
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Offline Yankee270

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Re: Tracking with an Iphone?
« Reply #10 on: October 26, 2011, 11:41:53 pm »
Here is another one I just found...

http://www.instamapper.com/overview.html


I've used this one for a long time.  I like it.  Give coordinates and speed.  Sometimes that's not a good thing when my wife is tracking me.  Lol.  But when I go on long trips I give all my friends my password so they can follow me.  Kind of cool
« Last Edit: October 27, 2011, 03:42:52 pm by Yankee270 »

Offline Gary

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Re: Tracking with an Iphone?
« Reply #11 on: October 27, 2011, 12:50:20 am »

Here is the link to SpotWallas explanation of what devices they support. Looks like you can use the Iphone with them. This is great news.

http://spotwalla.com/help/devices.php#supported


My brother and me have used Google Lattitude/Spotwalla, on a couple Droids and a Blackberry.  He did a 5000 mile trip last spring with 10 hour days on some legs, no battery issues.  I have also let it run for days at a time and no extraordinary battery drain.  It does occasionally place you off route, sometimes significantly, but eventually catches up, and can be spot on accurate as well.  Straightline routing sometimes looks odd overlayed on map, but it communicates the essential placement overall.

Offline Stewart

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Re: Tracking with an Iphone?
« Reply #12 on: October 28, 2011, 05:38:31 am »
I use http://gpsed.com/ on my Blackberry when I hike, ride and various other things. There is a free and charged version.

Check it out.
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Offline Fred_Harmon_TX

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Re: Tracking with an Iphone?
« Reply #13 on: October 29, 2011, 12:30:09 pm »
I use http://gpsed.com/ on my Blackberry when I hike, ride and various other things. There is a free and charged version.

Check it out.


Thanks Stewart, that's good info.
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Offline Larry

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Re: Tracking with an Iphone?
« Reply #14 on: October 29, 2011, 01:51:50 pm »
Just tried this this morning with my blackberry 9650 and it works well. Although I was in my truck due to the snow falling in nj.  The jury is still out on how it will affect the battery life of my device but it is very easy. Thanks.
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Offline Stewart

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Re: Tracking with an Iphone?
« Reply #15 on: October 29, 2011, 03:49:22 pm »
I find battery life is ok. I have another app for skiing, used to be called BerrySki. Ran it all day and it seemed fine.
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Offline Necron99

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Re: Tracking with an Iphone?
« Reply #16 on: October 29, 2011, 04:05:16 pm »
I'm keen to try this, I'm getting my 4s on Monday.

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Re: Tracking with an Iphone?
« Reply #17 on: October 30, 2011, 04:28:24 pm »
Not to but in with my first post but good info here..    Besides a radar detector the iPhone is the only device I've been using for navigation, etc for the past 3 years, and had been looking at Spot (to make my wife feel better about trips), but didn't want an additional device or the added cost.  The latitude/spotwalla solution looks to be best for me because Latitude appears to be the only one mentioned that will run in the background on the iPhone.  I've found battery drain is an issue at least from navigation apps; so the iPhone is left powered from the bike.


Offline Fred_Harmon_TX

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Re: Tracking with an Iphone?
« Reply #18 on: April 16, 2012, 12:28:10 pm »
I took a trip this past weekend to the Texas Hill Country and installed Google Lattitude on my Verizon Iphone and set up my SpotWalla account to receive info from it. I rode the "Three Sisters" and over to Medina and around the area and then came back home up 385 and into Mason.

Here is the track from the trip. As you'll see, it didn't drop any breadcrumbs on the Three Sisters or many on the way back home either, due to poor/no cell phone coverage in the Hill Country. While this service doesn't cost anything, it appears to be of limited value since it relies totally on cell phone coverage to work, and many of the areas I typically ride in don't have good coverage. Many of the track points also aren't even close to where I actually was. Several of them are off by as much as 10 miles and the speed component on some of them is pretty unbelievable too ( 156mph on a GoldWing? )

http://spotwalla.com/tripViewer.php?id=44f44f87929046868&hoursPast=120
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Offline S Smith

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Re: Tracking with an Iphone?
« Reply #19 on: April 16, 2012, 12:41:34 pm »
Thanks for the report Fred. I was wondering what would happen wil poor cell coverage.  Sure would have been nice if Lattitude was able to buffer data until it could be sent. 

Would you say that the Spot device may be the best solution if you want to post semi-live track info via Internet? For non-live tracking, a GPS unit that has track log would be best.

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Offline Fred_Harmon_TX

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Re: Tracking with an Iphone?
« Reply #20 on: April 16, 2012, 12:59:59 pm »
I'm still looking for a decent low cost solution that works well. Google Lattitude works, but I'm very dissapointed in the accuracy of the track point locations. Some of them aren't even close.

I used the Spot Tracker in the past and it also had a hard time communicating with the sattelite when in the mountains, but I had the older version. I'm told the newer model works better. But my big problem with the Spot Tracker is the cost. When I went to renew my subscription they wanted around $200 a year. That's when I cancelled.

Here are some past trips I've used the Spot Tracker on if you want to see where it drops out points. I don't think it got out a single point on the entire Lolo pass in Idaho, so even the satellite solution isn't perfect. It also dropped out in the Serria Mountains in California and again in the Rockies in Colorado several times. But it was still far superior to what I got using the Iphone. At least when it did report, the location information was correct.

http://spotwalla.com/tripViewer.php?id=5854

http://spotwalla.com/tripViewer.php?id=1fbb4c8e6200ba8db

http://spotwalla.com/tripViewer.php?id=1b2f4c484b3cb817c

InstaMapper looks like it might work, but they have warning on it saying you need an unlimited data plan to use it or else you'll get extra charges on your phone.

GPSed  http://gpsed.com/ also looks interesting, but I need to learn a bit more about it.

So I guess I'm still searching....
« Last Edit: April 16, 2012, 01:09:40 pm by Fred_Harmon_TX »
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Offline CIG4R

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Re: Tracking with an Iphone?
« Reply #21 on: April 16, 2012, 05:58:00 pm »
I run MotionX Drive for highway and MotionX GPS for everything.  If you care to dig into the offerings they offer posting to a map, post location to facebook (you can chose who see it), or with the MotionX GPS you can select a custom channel if you and who ever you have shared the channel with can now see each others location on a map on your phone.
Again, if your interested you can explore the capabilities to see when it runs off satellites or when it uses cellular. 

http://drive.motionx.com/iphone/overview/
http://gps.motionx.com/iphone/overview/

By the way if you turn off the unused app's you will get a lot longer battery run time.

Now if you want just down right scary http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/find-my-friends/id466122094?mt=8

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Re: Tracking with an Iphone?
« Reply #22 on: April 16, 2012, 08:13:16 pm »
I've used instamapper. Now I mostly use Latitude on my IPhone. Anytime you are using a GPS app it will eat the battery. I have a lifeproof case and I just keep it plugged in and charging. I installed a Tapp USB port up on he handlebar and got a short cable off ebay. Latitude is a bit slow to update at times. Haven't used instamapper in a while but it was more accurate it seemed like.

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Re: Tracking with an Iphone?
« Reply #23 on: April 16, 2012, 08:16:27 pm »
I also used the Garmin GPS app so I don't mount my GPS anymore. I use my phone for itunes and the GPS direction come through my earbuds with the music. I can still hear phone calls and stop to call back if needed as I am on call 24/7...

Offline Gypsy JR

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Re: Tracking with an Iphone?
« Reply #24 on: April 16, 2012, 11:30:25 pm »
I think it's a given that to run any of these apps continuously on a long ride cross-country, you will need to provide power to the phone to keep it charged. I don't think you'd want to rely on the battery to hold up on a 700 mile day crossing multiple states.

Maybe we need to check in with some of the Iron Butt riders and see what solutions they have come up with.

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