American Hunter - June 2013 - 30

knowhow

Can a Cell Phone Replace
Cost Comparison

You can buy a good  for  to .
Once you've bought it, you're set to navigate. With cell phones, you have to buy
one and then pay an ongoing subscription
fee, but then you likely pay that anyway.
For land navigation and mapping on your
cell phone all you'll need to buy is software
or an app. I use Trimble  Hunt Pro, an
app that costs .. Another good one is
iHunt Journal, which costs .. Other
apps not specifically designed for hunters,
such as ViewRanger Outdoors, are free.
There are also good navigation apps from
well-known  companies like Navigon,
TomTom and Magellan-apps that look
and function much like a  unit. In this
category, I'd say the fight between phone
and gps is now even.

Dependability

By Frank Miniter, Field Editor

Photos: Forest MacCormack

B

ack in  I knew the world
was forever changed when I
saw a fisherman tossed off
a boat. His offense: using a
hand-held  to mark a
fishing-charter captain's hotspots. Still,
I didn't suspect that just over a decade
later "smart phones" would be competing with hand-held '. But these days
I mark the locations of scrapes, rubs and
stand sites with my iPhone's touch screen
before using cloud computing to install
them on interactive aerial photos on my
iPad. Meanwhile, alongside the waypoints,
I place photos of terrain I snap with my
phone. My favorite app also lets me use
an icon of a trail camera where I can place
trail-cam photos of the bucks in the places
they were photographed. So does this
mean we can retire our  units?

The first problem with using a cell phone
for navigation is that a cell phone communicates with cell towers, so if you're
going to a remote or mountainous area you
might lose service. One partial solution to
this is to load maps into the phone via
software or an app, such as ToposGo-if
you've downloaded the right maps you can
at least see the topography. Also, though
triangulation from towers allows cell
phones to transmit a person's location to a
Public Safety Answering Point () after
 has been dialed, that's actually all a lot of
current cell phones can do with their .
In comparison, a  unit picks up
signals from satellites so you don't have to
worry about cell towers. This is why they
don't work indoors and can have trouble
when used under a dense canopy. Some
phones do have complete  receivers
or can connect to one only via a Bluetooth connection. To use any of these
features, you need a -enabled phone
or a compatible  receiver and a calling
plan that supports transmission of maps
and  data.
Another issue is that when you're
using navigation functions on a cell phone
the battery often runs down fast. Most
 units take  batteries that can be
  ❘

changed in the field. This makes the 
the clear winner for dependability.

Ease of Use

The large touch screens on new  units,
such as on Garmin's Oregon t, are
easy to read and use. The screens on cell
phones can be just as large as those found
on  units. The software on either can
be complex or simple. There are a lot of
choices out there. Cell phones and 
units are basically tied in this category.

Up-to-Date Info

The mapping information cell phones tap
into is always the most current version
supplied by the map provider. With 
units you have to buy map updates and
install them. These tend to be expensive-
Maptech sells its updates for  per state.
Cell phones clearly win this category and
are widening their lead. For example, in

 ❘ .


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American Hunter - June 2013

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