GPS... wow!

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picnic42

Train Attendant
Joined
Mar 23, 2011
Messages
37
As you know, I just found this forum... and enjoy reading all the posts on here. (I am gonna have to get used to all the abbreviations)

When I read somewhere that a person used a scanner and a GPS... the light bulb turned on! I know about scanners and have used them on trains scanning all freqs set for railroads. BUT... never thought of a GPS! What a great idea!!!! ( do they find the satellites while inside the train?)

Does anyone use the new one from UNIDEN... the "Home Patrol"?


That thing would pick up everything... and in conjunction with a GPS, you would always have local activity as well.

I can't find the post I had read it in... but... THANKS for the idea!

Ralph
 

Tumbleweed

OBS Chief
Joined
Feb 2, 2010
Messages
929
From WPB-WAS-CHI-OMA I had continuous coverage with my garmin....just mounted it on the window...it's neat to monitor your speed and position.... :cool:
 

Alice

OBS Chief
Joined
Mar 6, 2007
Messages
965
I've also used a Garmin all over the country, just set by the window. Often I have to hold it up to get the initial signal but then it keeps it pretty well. It even works downstairs in Superliners.
 

the_traveler

Conductor
Joined
Nov 14, 2007
Messages
26,008
I don't have that one, but the first time I carried on on a trip, it was the one from my car. It followed the tracks, but if it was near enough to a road, it reverted to the road. It was humorous to see us doing 79 MPH on "County Dirt Road #37"!


I now have a GPS installed in my iPhone and also my netbook. With the exception of it taking maybe a few minutes to "locate" the satellites, I have no problem using inside the train from either side.
 

picnic42

Train Attendant
Joined
Mar 23, 2011
Messages
37
Great to hear the GPS does so well... Thanks folks!

I was a little vague on the last statement... The UNIDEN "Home Patrol" is a scanner... not a GPS. But would have to use it with a GPS in order to get all the local activities... both analog and digital.

Has anyone used the Home Patrol on a train?

Thanks

Ralph
 

BobWeaver

Lead Service Attendant
Joined
Jan 20, 2007
Messages
485
I had full coverage on my $99 Garmin on all of my routes earlier this month (LYH-NWK, NYP-CHI, and WAS-LYH). I simply mounted it on the window via suction cup mount that I typically use on my car windshield. It worked very well for measuring speed, but it did try and hop over to the nearest road if we came close enough to one.

Edit: I've never used Home Patrol.
 
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rrdude

Conductor
AU Supporter
Joined
Aug 10, 2009
Messages
3,691
Used Delorme's Street Atlas and Topo GPS, linked to my BIG SCREEN laptop. (oh so bulky, but oh so nice to see everything on a 17" screen, in 3D if you wish)

Works like a champ. Can "size" the window how you wish, (I usually size it so I can see the speed in about one inch numbers), then I can work on other stuff, Excel, G-mail, AU forum, etc.,
 

picnic42

Train Attendant
Joined
Mar 23, 2011
Messages
37
Used Delorme's Street Atlas and Topo GPS, linked to my BIG SCREEN laptop. (oh so bulky, but oh so nice to see everything on a 17" screen, in 3D if you wish)

Works like a champ. Can "size" the window how you wish, (I usually size it so I can see the speed in about one inch numbers), then I can work on other stuff, Excel, G-mail, AU forum, etc.,
Very COOL...

I have that program!!!! Great idea! Thanks for mentioning it!

Ralph
 

Devil's Advocate

Conductor
Joined
May 24, 2010
Messages
11,442
Does anyone know of any full featured GPS software for Android that can be easily set to NOT attempt to jump to the nearest road? That gets a little annoying after a while and it caused me problems back when I was on the iPhone as well.
 

the_traveler

Conductor
Joined
Nov 14, 2007
Messages
26,008
Does anyone know of any full featured GPS software for Android that can be easily set to NOT attempt to jump to the nearest road? That gets a little annoying after a while and it caused me problems back when I was on the iPhone as well.
I don't know if it's available for Android, but on my iPhone, I have "MotionX GPS". It measures everything - speed, average speed, distance, location (in latitude and longitude), direction (in degrees), elevation, and even grade plus so much more!
 

picnic42

Train Attendant
Joined
Mar 23, 2011
Messages
37
Does anyone know of any full featured GPS software for Android that can be easily set to NOT attempt to jump to the nearest road? That gets a little annoying after a while and it caused me problems back when I was on the iPhone as well.
I don't know if it's available for Android, but on my iPhone, I have "MotionX GPS". It measures everything - speed, average speed, distance, location (in latitude and longitude), direction (in degrees), elevation, and even grade plus so much more!
That sounds awesome!

Have you used the MotionX GPS in your iPhone on a train yet?
 

me_little_me

Conductor
Joined
Jul 16, 2010
Messages
3,180
3 or 4 years ago (my mind is gone), I used my Garmin iQue on a Silver train to Florida. I told it not to follow the road so it kept us on the track (thank goodness). I was in the lounge car and mentioned to the conductor that my Garmin showed our speed as 80. He said "Shh! The engineer is supposed to do no more than 79".

I used an external antenna so I didn't have to hold it up to the windows.
 

the_traveler

Conductor
Joined
Nov 14, 2007
Messages
26,008
Does anyone know of any full featured GPS software for Android that can be easily set to NOT attempt to jump to the nearest road? That gets a little annoying after a while and it caused me problems back when I was on the iPhone as well.
I don't know if it's available for Android, but on my iPhone, I have "MotionX GPS". It measures everything - speed, average speed, distance, location (in latitude and longitude), direction (in degrees), elevation, and even grade plus so much more!
That sounds awesome!

Have you used the MotionX GPS in your iPhone on a train yet?
Yes I have, and it works GREAT!

One more feature that I didn't mention it had is it keeps track of your route on a map (including stopover points), that you can save! Maybe I'll include a map in a future trip report!
 

Pat Harper

Lead Service Attendant
Joined
Feb 8, 2011
Messages
272
If you set your Garmin to off-road use, it won't jump to the nearest road. I plan to take mine to Chicago and use it on the trip up. I didn't know about the "off-road" the last time we went on the train, and I didn't have my suction cup to mount it on the window so I used it in the SSL and it worked fine there.
 

Ryan

Conductor
Joined
Apr 14, 2008
Messages
17,025
Does anyone know of any full featured GPS software for Android that can be easily set to NOT attempt to jump to the nearest road? That gets a little annoying after a while and it caused me problems back when I was on the iPhone as well.
I don't know if it's available for Android, but on my iPhone, I have "MotionX GPS". It measures everything - speed, average speed, distance, location (in latitude and longitude), direction (in degrees), elevation, and even grade plus so much more!
That sounds awesome!

Have you used the MotionX GPS in your iPhone on a train yet?
Why yes! Yes I have! Can you guess where I was?

 

picnic42

Train Attendant
Joined
Mar 23, 2011
Messages
37
Does anyone know of any full featured GPS software for Android that can be easily set to NOT attempt to jump to the nearest road? That gets a little annoying after a while and it caused me problems back when I was on the iPhone as well.
I don't know if it's available for Android, but on my iPhone, I have "MotionX GPS". It measures everything - speed, average speed, distance, location (in latitude and longitude), direction (in degrees), elevation, and even grade plus so much more!
That sounds awesome!

Have you used the MotionX GPS in your iPhone on a train yet?
Why yes! Yes I have! Can you guess where I was?

GREAT GOOGLY MOOGLY.... gotta be on the Acela!
 

alang

Train Attendant
Joined
Jun 1, 2009
Messages
87
I have a Garmin and VZ Navigator on my cell phone. Never have activated VZ Navigator because I didn't think it was as good as a Garmin. Perhaps it would be effective on the train? Any experience from the membership. Your insight is always appreciated.
 

the_traveler

Conductor
Joined
Nov 14, 2007
Messages
26,008
Does anyone know of any full featured GPS software for Android that can be easily set to NOT attempt to jump to the nearest road? That gets a little annoying after a while and it caused me problems back when I was on the iPhone as well.
I don't know if it's available for Android, but on my iPhone, I have "MotionX GPS". It measures everything - speed, average speed, distance, location (in latitude and longitude), direction (in degrees), elevation, and even grade plus so much more!
That sounds awesome!

Have you used the MotionX GPS in your iPhone on a train yet?
Why yes! Yes I have! Can you guess where I was?

GREAT GOOGLY MOOGLY.... gotta be on the Acela!
... Passing thru KIN on #2160 northbound!
(Do I win?
)
 

Alice

OBS Chief
Joined
Mar 6, 2007
Messages
965
Does anyone know of any full featured GPS software for Android that can be easily set to NOT attempt to jump to the nearest road? That gets a little annoying after a while and it caused me problems back when I was on the iPhone as well.
Somebody in another thread recommended My Tracks for Android and it works pretty well. It uses google maps so shows railroad tracks in great detail. It seems to be designed for runners or bicyclists to see later where they went on a map, and summary statistics about things like distance and average speed. The elevation gains and losses shown were pretty inaccurate, I kind of recall some grades over 4%! A downside, unlike with a dedicated GPS, you have to go to different screens to see speed and map. It is not designed to find places or navigate, just to keep track of a trip, then save it if you want.
 

Long Train Runnin'

Conductor
Joined
Jun 13, 2008
Messages
3,242
Does anyone know of any full featured GPS software for Android that can be easily set to NOT attempt to jump to the nearest road? That gets a little annoying after a while and it caused me problems back when I was on the iPhone as well.
When I have used Google Maps on my Android Phone (Motorola Droid 1) it always kept me on the tracks, although it doesn't display your speed. To watch my speed I have an app called GPS Status that shows the speed and heading that your moving.

On my laptop I use Microsoft Streets and Trips which has a package that includes a USB GPS receiver.
 
Joined
Mar 21, 2011
Messages
6
I used the GPS and Ovi Maps feature on my phone extensively on my recent SWC trip from Chicago to LA. It was very accurate and never had a problem picking up a signal. I enjoyed keeping track of where we were, what towns and stations were coming up, and our speed (peaked at 95 mph) pretty much the entire trip (I didn't sleep much).

Sometimes I would see a feature coming up on the GPS and go to the Internet feature on the phone to read up on it, and other times I would see something go by the window (a river, highway, mountains, etc) and the maps feature of the GPS would tell me what it was.

I'm the naturally curious type and without that source of info, I don't think I would have enjoyed those two days and nights quite as much.
 

rtabern

Conductor
Joined
Nov 15, 2006
Messages
1,587
I love brining my GPS on a long distance Amtrak trip!! I almost ALWAYS have it going in my room... and have programmed every Amtrak station into it... so that way I know exactly where we are at all times... and how far the next smoke/picture taking stop is... and the best thing is in the middle of the night or when I wake up... I know right where we are.

I also used the "track" feature on my Garmin to produce a blue line showing the route of the train.

See here:

http://rtabern.shutterfly.com/16642

(From my trip earlier this month on the Southwest Chief/City of New Orleans/Crescent)
 

George Harris

Conductor
Joined
Apr 6, 2006
Messages
5,027
I used the GPS and Ovi Maps feature on my phone extensively on my recent SWC trip from Chicago to LA. It was very accurate and never had a problem picking up a signal. I enjoyed keeping track of where we were, what towns and stations were coming up, and our speed (peaked at 95 mph) pretty much the entire trip (I didn't sleep much).
Don't believe too much in what you see as the top speed on your GPS. These days speed limits are rather strictly enforced. An engineer who does not keep it within the limit will not be running trains for very long. The maximum speed limit on the Southwest Chief route is 90 mph, but there is a lot of that between Albuquerque and Barstow.
 
N

NS VIA Fan

Guest
I’ve taken my GPS with me on all you trips since I first got it in 2003.....a Magellan Meridian Colour. It displays topographic features along with all rail lines.

And I use it on the plane too if a trip involves flying. Interesting to watch as it also displays altitude and speed.
 
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