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  1. #1
    Senior Member Eliteoomph's Avatar
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    GPS trip tracking with the new Verizon HTC thunderbolt

    Not sure if this is the right spot to post this so please move if necessary...

    I wanted to talk a little bit about the new HTC Thunderbolt from Verizon and how wonderful it was to have on my last hike/trek/tramp in the sipsey wilderness (Bankhead National Forest, AL).

    Before I left for the Sipsey I installed some software on my new smartphone called Backcountry Navigator. BackCountry Navigator is software for your Android phone that turns it into a capable outdoor gps device. Using your Android gps, the app can show your location on topographical (topo) maps, that you can preload for offline use.

    So before I left I predownloaded topo maps of the sipsey and marked all the trails/trailheads/waterfalls and other points of interest that I wanted to have in case I happened to hike close to those areas.

    Once I arrived at the sipsey I turned on the GPS tracker and immediately noticed the great accuracy. The tracking keep me on trail and also the phone has a built in compass so the arrow actually turns with you to tell you the direction you are facing even while standing still.

    Once I reached the sipsey river I noticed the water was up pretty high and had the idea to try out my phones built in HD camcorder. You can check out the video here. http://m.youtube.com/index?desktop_u...?v=B929xcjDWM0

    The phone also has a built in 8MP camera.

    While hiking deep within the canyons under heavy tree coverage my GPS never lost coverage and performed much better then expected. I marked points of interest while I was hiking such as campsites and different landmarks. And that evening I used my phone to watch a few video's and listen to some music. The battery started to die close to bedtime which wasn't a problem because I had bought 4 extra batteries off of eBay for only around 20 bucks and they weigh practically nothing.

    I have an equal love of both nature and technology and while sometimes I prefer the rough it without the added luxuries of today's new toys at other times it is great to enjoy the advances in modern technology.

    I'm headed off the New Zealand next week and already have my maps downloaded for the trip... Can't wait to see how it goes and will share the pics when I get back!
    It's hard to have a bad day in a good hammock. - Jeremy Flatt

  2. #2
    Senior Member easyriver's Avatar
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    Yes Sir, technology is a wonderful thing. It keeps you:

    1. On Track
    2. Entertained
    3. and Safe.

    Have fun in NZ.

  3. #3
    Senior Member BillyBob58's Avatar
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    Great report! This may make a good replacement for my i-phone when the time comes!

    Well it is obvious you had GPS satellite signals. Does that mean you also had a working phone with adequate signal strength while deep in the Sipsey? I can't get any signal (ATT) while in the Sipsey.

    I followed that link for your video, but I am getting some sort of error. 4 videos show on a list, none of them about a Sipsey hike?
    For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us....that the creation itself also will be set free from its slavery to corruption into the freedom of the glory of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation groans and suffers the pains of childbirth together until now.
    Romans 8:18,21-22

  4. #4
    Senior Member
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    How did you handle powering that thing? The battery on these smartphones gets chewed up pretty fast with regular use.

  5. #5
    Senior Member oldsoldier's Avatar
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    I have an EVO, which is the same thing, and it drains power rather quickly. I got the high cap battery for it, and have used it several times for geocaching. The GPS is VERY accurate with these-it mirrors my Garmin 60x. I too use mine a LOT outdoors-I am going to check that app out, as I am going camping this weekend in a wilderness area, and want to play around a little.

  6. #6
    Alamosa's Avatar
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    I haven't tried a lot of the TOPO map apps yet, so I will have to look at Backcountry Navigator.

    I have found that geocaching, e-Reader, and audio books to be great uses of my Thunderbolt that I like to take advantage of while hiking/camping.
    We must, indeed, all hang together, or assuredly we shall all hang separately. - Ben Franklin
    (known as a win-win on this forum)

  7. #7
    Alamosa's Avatar
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    That was nice quality you were getting out of your video. I haven't messed with that much yet. I didn't think it was going to be high-enough quality for video editing. Going to have to spend some time with it.

    Was that just a normal holster you were using for the phone/camera, or is that something you rigged up? It makes it very nice for shooting action video. It would also be nice if there were a way to attach the phone to a tripod, stick-pic, etc.

    Has anyone tried videoing through those dry/protective bags - along the lines of these? Is the video quality decent through them or are those just for transport and you take the camera out to use.

    Edit: Based on the decription, this one looks like it is intended for taking pictures from within the bag.
    Last edited by Alamosa; 05-20-2011 at 10:34.
    We must, indeed, all hang together, or assuredly we shall all hang separately. - Ben Franklin
    (known as a win-win on this forum)

  8. #8
    Senior Member Eliteoomph's Avatar
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    No cell signal at least not after the first mile or so...
    Try this link for video

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?nomobile=1&v=B929xcjDWM0

    I bought 4 extra batteries for only 20 bux off eBay.

    I didn't have to replace the battery until that night before bed.
    It's hard to have a bad day in a good hammock. - Jeremy Flatt

  9. #9
    Senior Member sswens's Avatar
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    nice video! and have a great time in nz!

  10. #10
    Senior Member Eliteoomph's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Alamosa View Post
    That was nice quality you were getting out of your video. I haven't messed with that much yet. I didn't think it was going to be high-enough quality for video editing. Going to have to spend some time with it.

    Was that just a normal holster you were using for the phone/camera, or is that something you rigged up? It makes it very nice for shooting action video. It would also be nice if there were a way to attach the phone to a tripod, stick-pic, etc.

    Has anyone tried videoing through those dry/protective bags - along the lines of these? Is the video quality decent through them or are those just for transport and you take the camera out to use.

    Edit: Based on the decription, this one looks like it is intended for taking pictures from within the bag.
    Thanks and I actually believe I didn't even have the video on the HD setting. Although I noticed the HD setting seems to make the video a bit more shaky so it may have been best that I left it off.

    I had this case and holster
    http://www.techiewarehouse.com/Seidi...3760-l-410.htm

    I just turned the clip sideways and clipped in on my wastebelt... it works great for action shots while hiking and provides quick access for location checks or for a fast camera shot.

    I haven't tried it through a clear dry bag but I am sure you could find something to make that work. May have to turn off the videos auto focus though.

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