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Thread: Question about GPS

  1. #1

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    Question Question about GPS

    Ok, I have a question and I am hoping this is the right place to ask.
    I recently bought one of these: SpyTrack Nano to keep an eye on my car and my family (if needed). It is really high-tech stuff and as I mentioned in another post my flight training will be completed soon.
    My question is; will this thing work in the air or do I need a more complicated one of those handheld famous brands like Garmin. I don't wanna spend more money than I already have if it is at all possible.
    If you don't think it would work in the air, what would you suggest I buy? I only need the route history and regular location updates.

  2. #2
    Dana's Avatar
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    Are you trying to track a plane when you're not it it?

    If you're just looking to record your own flight, all smartphones already have a gps and there are many free apps that will record tracks.

  3. #3
    PaulDow's Avatar
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    It says it uses GSM SMS (text messages) mobile phone signals to send out data. Mobile phone antennas aren't pointed up, so you would probably get a connection a couple thousand feet up, but it may not be too reliable much higher.

    There used to be a FCC rule prohibiting using cell phones in the air. I think that was back in analog days, so it may not apply any longer.

  4. #4

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    You're asking two questions at once, and not realizing it!

    If you're looking for flight recording, CloudAhoy on a good tablet with true GPS will do that, but the info is after the fact.

    If you're looking for flight information, including location, speed, etc., there is a cornucopia of apps that can do that with a tablet that has true GPS. If you own a smart phone, it will probably work - but the screens are awfully small for that.

    One can get most of the info that a 1000 USD Garmin will provide for around a hundred bucks, if one cares to do the research into tablets. But on this note, be cautious - a lot of tablets that say they have GPS don't have true GPS receivers - they use networks and cell towers for location, which is useless in the air.
    The opinions and statements of this poster are largely based on facts and portray a possible version of the actual events.

  5. #5
    Cary's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Arrius View Post
    Ok, I have a question and I am hoping this is the right place to ask.
    I recently bought one of these: SpyTrack Nano to keep an eye on my car and my family (if needed). It is really high-tech stuff and as I mentioned in another post my flight training will be completed soon.
    My question is; will this thing work in the air or do I need a more complicated one of those handheld famous brands like Garmin. I don't wanna spend more money than I already have if it is at all possible.
    If you don't think it would work in the air, what would you suggest I buy? I only need the route history and regular location updates.
    Why do you want this? Are you wanting to track where you fly? Or what? The tracker you've linked to is for tracking where it is, so that you'd attach it to your wife's car, or in your kids' backpacks, or to your dog's collar, so you'd know where they are. So I'm not understanding how this thing would have any applicability to flying.

    Cary
    "I have slipped the surly bonds of earth...,
    put out my hand and touched the face of God." J.G. Magee

  6. #6

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    I am new to flying and tracking business so I will try to be more clear. I heard that smartphone APPs are not reliable at higher altitudes so won't they be just as useless as a GPS tracking device? I am only looking for a reliable way to record my, flights to be honest. And as I said I don't wanna pay big bucks so the tracker I linked was only for comparison. So to summarize; reliable flight data, no 1000$ Garmin which is not guaranteed to work in the air. I will keep them, all of the data probably along with videos. Flying is my passion, even when I was a little boy, all my relatives called me Pilot. The device needs to have short update intervals too, don't really care about the battery as long as it lasts through the flight.

  7. #7

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    Interesting thread - Arrius, what specific data are you trying to collect in flight and record? It almost sounds like you're asking about a general aviation flight data recorder? If one exists I'll have to assume it would be VERY-VERY expensive.

    if you only want to maintain a log of your travels by air? a simple smart phone 'diary' would let you do that?

  8. #8

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    Okay, lemme tell you my setup:

    I have an old Samsung 7" tablet that has a native, true GPS receiver built in that I use for flight data (rates of climb, airspeed, ground speed, etc) using the CloudAhoy app. I use it just for that, as the LCD screen is toast but there is enough to see the start icon and the start and stop buttons for recording. About 100 bucks.

    For navigation, I just replaced my second Samsung, which I completely destroyed in the flip over, with a Nexus 7 Second Generation 7" tablet. It has true GPS reception, so no worries about the ability to locate. I bought it on Amazon, refurbished, for around 100 bucks. While there are a lot of apps - some free - for putting a little plane on a moving sectional and a magenta line, I like the iFly app.

    The big thing about tablets is finding out which ones have true GPS receivers. Avoid anything with AGPS or a-GPS, as it, like the cake, is a lie. It's using networks and cell towers for location.

    Heck, your smart phone (if you have one) might have a true GPS receiver in it.
    The opinions and statements of this poster are largely based on facts and portray a possible version of the actual events.

  9. #9
    FlyingRon's Avatar
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    SMS doesn't typically work at any appreciable altitude, though it works better than trying to make voice calls or regular data (be it GPRS or something more modern). I know this because if I don't shut off my phone I usually hear a bunch of texts coming in on approach. I wouldn't rely on it being able to send data at altitude.

  10. #10
    Dana's Avatar
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    OK. If all you want to do is record your flight track for later use, you have a lot of options. Nearly any handheld GPS will record a "breadcrumb" track, it doesn't have to be an aviation GPS. I used to use a couple of different hiking model receivers, first a Garmin Geko 301 and then a 60Csx. Both of these have a pressure sensor so they were more accurate for altitude.

    Then I moved to an android smartphone and Avare software (free), which not only records tracks but gives you a realtime moving map display with aeronautical charts. Note that the altitude issue with smartphones is mainly for making calls, as long as it has a real GPS receiver (and not just using cell tower triangulation, which some do) it should work at any altitude. Most recently, I'm using Avare on an 8" android tablet with a remote (bluetooth) GPS receiver for a better signal than the tablet's internal GPS.

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