My Quest for Tablet Navigation

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Bert Fox

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Contributor I

30
NV, USA
Update on my quest for tablet navigation with Android OS.

My assumption that any android tablet could be used is wrong. My niece had purchased a brand new Amazon Fire HD tab for her daughter. For some reason, it didn't fit the bill for her daughter's needs. I thought it would work for me. It had a 64gb memory and a 256gb micro sd card slot for holding all of my offline maps. I have already written about gps capabilities. The Fire does not have a gps chip. It determines location via your wifi router. I solved that by adding the dual gps receiver puck that connected with gps satellites and bluetoothing that to my tablet. However, in an effort to download the two most popular offroad navigation apps to my tablet, neither Gaia or Backcountry Navigator would recognize the Amazon Fire HD tablets. I inquired of their tech support and was told that their system would not recognize them. They recommended I use a Samsung tablet. The Samsung is widely accepted because they use the most accurate gps chip and because they always use a micro sd card slot. When I asked if they have a decent gps chip, why did I want to still use the dual gps receiver puck? The answer was that the gps chip in the Samsung tablet consumes a lot of power. If I receive the signal through my puck and bluetooth it to the tablet it is a much stronger and accurate signal and saves my tab battery.

Now I am trying to find the right Samsung tablet and I have decided that if I use it in my truck and my SxS, that a 10" screen seems pretty big. BTW, I did buy a Samsung Tab S and awaiting its arrival so I can commence the downloading the nav software.
So, it's a work in progress. My mounts are here and I have offers on ebay for a tablet.
My current question is as of 2019, which android app is best for way out there off the grid and no cell signal navigation? Which has the most current maps. I primarily need NV, UT, and ID maps. I am operating a UTV and need to see my routes while driving.
I have read many reports that recommend this tablet or that tablet. Nexus 7 comes to mind. They seem to only be effective in city driving. I really need the sd card slot to hold all my maps. I appreciate any input.
 

toxicity_27

US MidWest Region Member Rep
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Minnesota
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0656

I have a 10" Samsung tablet that I use, and I wouldn't want one any smaller. I use BCN and have no experience with Gaia. BCN is nice, but if you don't subscribe for certain maps, some of the maps are pretty old..
 
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Stickbow

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Contributor III

335
Georgia, USA
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14596

Interested in what you end up with - my 8 year old Android tablet has so little RAM I've been trying to use my phone for nav - that isn't working with my 56 year old eyes, unless I'm not the one driving :)
 

Bert Fox

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Contributor I

30
NV, USA
Interested in what you end up with - my 8 year old Android tablet has so little RAM I've been trying to use my phone for nav - that isn't working with my 56 year old eyes, unless I'm not the one driving :)
I have 65 year old eyes with multiple laser surgeries and cataracts, so yes, I know what you mean. My old Garmin 76CS X is way too small to see. All I can do is download the tracks and look on my laptop after the trip. Because I am driving a SxS, I think I will be able to see with an 8.4" tablet. I have everything to put it all together once I get the tablet I just purchased on ebay. My tab has 16gb memory and a 256gb micro sd card for holding my offline maps. I'll let you know!
 
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TreXTerra

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Advocate II

2,779
Salt Lake City, Utah
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I picked up a Lenovo Tab 4Plus 8" last fall and still need to get my RAM mount for it. It's 4G capable with GPS and an SD card slot for around $200, I plan to run Backcountry Navigator Pro on it.
 
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Bert Fox

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Contributor I

30
NV, USA
I picked up a Lenovo Tab 4Plus 8" last fall and still need to get my RAM mount for it. It's 4G capable with GPS and an SD card slot for around $200, I plan to run Backcountry Navigator Pro on it.
In researching my options between BCN Pro and Gaia, what helps you decide on BCN Pro?
 

Fozzy325

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Influencer I

2,279
Calgary, AB, Canada
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15226

@Lifestyle Overland has a youtube vlog about GAIA and he uses the same Samsung Galaxy S2 Tablet. its a 9.7 inch. he has a post in the forums about it.
things to know about the Samsung Galaxy S2 tablet
1. Is not new but you can get it for around $90,
2. Normal vehicle micro charging doesn't work you will need a 3.0 quick charger in the vehicle to keep it at 100% while using the GAIA app or any map app,
3. Home charging is again a specific requirement. make sure all chargers are Samsung quick chargers or chargers that will charge at least 3.4amps at 15W. if it is a multi port make sure it is greater than 3amps per port
4. protect the micro connector. I have ripped off so many connectors
5. Not all micro USB cables can charge more then 1amp or 2.4 amp
6. micro SD cards fit the machine. get an extended card to hold the maps each download of the map has a maximum of 1000k tiles per download.

Overland Rambler


 
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Bert Fox

Rank 0

Contributor I

30
NV, USA
@Lifestyle Overland has a youtube vlog about GAIA and he uses the same Samsung Galaxy S2 Tablet. its a 9.7 inch. he has a post in the forums about it.
things to know about the Samsung Galaxy S2 tablet
1. Is not new but you can get it for around $90,
2. Normal vehicle micro charging doesn't work you will need a 3.0 quick charger in the vehicle to keep it at 100% while using the GAIA app or any map app,
3. Home charging is again a specific requirement. make sure all chargers are Samsung quick chargers or chargers that will charge at least 3.4amps at 15W. if it is a multi port make sure it is greater than 3amps per port
4. protect the micro connector. I have ripped off so many connectors
5. Not all micro USB cables can charge more then 1amp or 2.4 amp
6. micro SD cards fit the machine. get an extended card to hold the maps each download of the map has a maximum of 1000k tiles per download.

Overland Rambler


Thanks. Lots of info!
 

Retinens803

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Advocate II

824
South Carolina, USA
Ham Callsign
KN4BMJ
I pulled my Nexus 7 out of a box once i got my new truck and realized why I had it stored away. The darn thing moves like molasses in the Rockies during the winter. You go to push the open button and go get a cup of coffee and it is still loading.

The GPS dongle thingy you speak of. What on earth does it look like?
 
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Gary Stevens

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1,836
Reseda California
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I am going to add to this my solution for sound. Tablets do not have enough volume for me, you can connect them to your vechile audio, but often as wtih me you then cannot connect your cell phone. You only get one device. I finally solved this with a $29.00 easy to use and connect hands free car kit speaker. Visor mounted, chargable easy volume adjust.
upload_2019-1-16_19-24-37.png
 

Wanderer

Rank 0

Traveler II

Using a lenovo a2 10 inch tablet i tried downloading large areas zoom level 15 whic ended up about 250,000 tiles iread that gaia doesnt handle file sizes over 100,000 tiles i have been trying ti get bcn topo usa and now alpine quest to run effectively on that tablet what i experience is loss of zoom detail on larger file sizes. So for example an area i download at zoom level 15 will show up at level 11. So my questions are is it the tablet ( i hsve a second storage with 128 gig memory) and its ram or the programs ? How many tiles are you guys down loading at a timre? How large an area does it cover? A typical down load for me would be the inyos from lone pine to bigpine and all of deathvalley.
Any ideas on this ?
 
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Bert Fox

Rank 0

Contributor I

30
NV, USA
Using a lenovo a2 10 inch tablet i tried downloading large areas zoom level 15 whic ended up about 250,000 tiles iread that gaia doesnt handle file sizes over 100,000 tiles i have been trying ti get bcn topo usa and now alpine quest to run effectively on that tablet what i experience is loss of zoom detail on larger file sizes. So for example an area i download at zoom level 15 will show up at level 11. So my questions are is it the tablet ( i hsve a second storage with 128 gig memory) and its ram or the programs ? How many tiles are you guys down loading at a timre? How large an area does it cover? A typical down load for me would be the inyos from lone pine to bigpine and all of deathvalley.
Any ideas on this ?
watching with interest!
 

Fozzy325

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Influencer I

2,279
Calgary, AB, Canada
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15226

Using a lenovo a2 10 inch tablet i tried downloading large areas zoom level 15 whic ended up about 250,000 tiles iread that gaia doesnt handle file sizes over 100,000
I break my downloads to the 100,000 tiles which is about 2gb. When I make a route I could be doing 3 or 4 downloads at the same time.
I also started to turn off all layers except the base layer which gives more square footage for 100,000 tiles.
Then add the layers again and down load specific areas that I need 1:10,000 scale. This saves on space
 

CR-Venturer

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Chilliwack, BC, Canada
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I've been trying out the free version of Gaia GPS and so far I'm extremely underwhelmed. The program is so buggy and broken in very fundamental ways that there's no possible way I'd be willing to spend money on it. It's a shame, because the program would be outstanding if it actually worked worth a damn.

I'm intrigued by this backcountry navigator that's been mentioned. I'll check that out next.

So far I plan out routes on Gaia on my PC, and then navigate with it in car with my phone, Motorola moto Z play. It has a pretty huge screen for a phone, so it works fine for the time being. I may look into a tablet if I can find a nav program that works reliably, unlike Gaia.
 
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