SmartPhones are not suitable platforms for Motorcycle Navigation - Fact

  • Great News that you are working on v1.1 MRA Route Planner.
    It's so important that the application will allow more seamless integration with Garmin devices.

    I tried so hard to ditch Garmin devices in favour of SmartPhones but at present it simply is not possible in the motorcycle environment. This is because:

    • Motorcycles vibrate. You may not feel it, but your devices do and unless they are case-hardened during manufacture they fail. Cameraphones are vulnerable, particularly the delicate AF mechanism. Nobody can risk destroying a £1000 device.

    • SmartPhones overheat. Thermal shutdown is common.

    • Cheap Chinese cases are not waterproof and the screen often compromises touch gestures

    • Phones are too vulnerable to theft.

    • Phone battery life is compromised

    In my view, MRA is vastly superior as a planning tool compared to the Garmin BaseCamp product. However, it is important to share a little knowledge and some best practice on Garmin. This hard-won experience is mainly due to efforts of colleagues of mine - RB & PP.

    1.1. A Garmin route can have multiple destinations.
    For example, a comfort break in a lay-by, designated en-route as a flagged waypoint is a destination.
    Similarly, a fuel stop designated en-route as a flagged waypoint is a destination
    1.2. A Garmin route can have multiple via or shaping points.
    For example, to arrive at any one of the multiple destinations in a route, the route can be shaped to avoid fewer desirable roads, such as lower speed limits, housing estates etc

    • On the Garmin device off route calculation should be set to off. If you go off route you should either turn around and get back on route or pull over somewhere safe, and use the skip function if necessary, otherwise you will likely have no voice prompts for the remainder of the route, even if you get back on the purple line. Recalculation should never be used as it will recalculate the remainder of the route to the next Waypoint, ignoring any shaping points and wasting all the route planning, or try to take you back to a missed point and do it’s own thing with the rest of the route, again wasting the route planning.

    • If you don’t have the skip function on your Garmin, you should edit out the missed waypoint or stop the route, then re-start it and select the next Waypoint on the route as the first destination (confer with others if you need to find this, it will show on their Garmins). The Detour option will not work.

    • If the route is a “loop” use separate waypoints for start and finish points, spaced as far apart as is practical and with meaningful names.

    • Place a waypoint 1⁄4 to 1⁄2 mile from the start of the route, this gets everyone going in the same direction at the start. It also helps to avoid people choosing the finish point as the next destination when loading the route, as the Zumo would ignore all the shaping points and navigate to the next Waypoint, wasting all the route planning.

    • There should be a minimum of 3 waypoints in any route. The start point, the end destination and the point just after the start. Other stopping places (fuel stops/comfort breaks) should also be Waypoints. Only Waypoints should alert, all other points should be shaping (via) points (without alerts). Within reason, you cannot have too many shaping points (limit is 120 between Waypoints). Don’t put any points on junctions, place them about 100 metres before or after the junction. By convention Waypoint symbols are flags or represent the location, (petrol Station etc). Shaping points are dots. Older Garmin units don’t recognise shaping points and treat them as Waypoints.

  • @David-Jerome Do not agree with you completely, I purchased a 'cheap' DooGee phone from AliExpress, a rugged IP68 version and I have it in use now for over a year. I have experienced absolutely no problems with (internal) damage due to vibrations as I have it mounted in a RAM X-Grip holder. It definitely IS 100% waterproof (IP68) as I have used it through many a downpour.
    For the money, it is definitely a lot more economical than a regular GPS unit, whether Garmin or TomTom due to the superior customer friendliness you talk about for the MRA system.

  • @Albert-Renting I think the truth is somewhere in the middle. I will most likely try a rugged tablet with MRA once my tomtom dies

  • I can agree with Albert Renting. My wife and I both use an outdoor smartphone (Ulefone X5 and Oukitel WP5) with RamMount X Grip. We have never had a problem with vibration or rain either.
    The perfect solution for us. The combination with MRA and MRA navigation is perfect and very easy. We had both TomTom and Garmin in use for a number of years. Very expensive and a lot of bugs! For the money that a navigation system costs, I can buy three outdoor smartphones.

  • Disagree, I will shortly be using the android auto on my Africa twin, phone will be in my pocket and all controlled via the TFT screen. Better than any stand alone sat nav.

  • @Mr-Mark-Melbourne If only they got MRA functional on either Android or Apple CarPlay! Then we would have an ideal system!
    Sofar all I heard was that they now have the required permission to develop MRA for CarPlay.

  • @David-Jerome
    Well I happen to think you are wrong on most counts (ok all counts) regarding the use of a smartphone as a gps.
    My hardened Chinese phone for $354 that I bought well over a year ago has seen nearly 15,000 miles mounted on a 1200cc Yamaha Super Tenere. That's a large twin - It vibrates. Most of my miles have been in the southern US state of Georgia and if you should know anything about this place, it is that it is as hot as hell. I've had ZERO thermal shutdowns even in 100 degree F heat. The phone has lasted through several massive downpours and many other rain showers. Again - no damage. Theft - I still have mine. Takes but a moment to remove it from the bike. If it's that hard to get your phone off your bike you might want to think about a new style of mount. Battery life? Start with a fully charged battery and I can run the screen bright enough to see in the sun for 9 hours, GPS providing navigation and stream music via bluetooth and still have 50% battery capacity at the end of the day. It has a massive battery! A year on and I have not noticed any decrease in battery performance.

    You're right about one thing - Basecamp is garbage.

  • @Travis-Simmons
    Well at least you agree with me on one thing!
    However, let's be realistic shall we, on Smartphones; the world market is dominated by Android and iOS that is Samsung and Apple. Every product release has more functionality with price points often approaching 4 digits. These phones have multiple lens cameras with image stabilisation and are not case hardened. Fact. I am just pointing out that most people, in my opinion, are not willing to buy an additional sacrificial phone exclusively for motorcycle use. I want MRA to grow and prosper. That's why they have a published roadmap for Garmin integration. That's a good thing surely? Folk can continue to use Smartphones or TomTom/Garmin and MRA grows its customer base.

  • Hello ,
    I'm not so sure whether the use of smartphones for navigation is not increasing. If the points of the roadmap are implemented as announced, TomTom and Garmin will face very strong competition. In comparison, MRA already has the better, more intuitive and easier-to-use route planner. The connector also makes it easier to transfer the routes. When using a smartphone instead of a navigation system, I don't even need to mention this point, open the app, load the route once with an internet connection and that's it. Fast and stable and can be used offline afterwards.

    I swapped my TomTom 410 and my wife's Zumo 365 for a Ulefone and an Oukitel. Both are Chinese outdoor phones. Costs around 120 euros each and both worked perfectly all season. The display and the battery power are important to me, I can do without a camera and other things because I only use it as a navigation system. Mounting on the motorcycle with a RamMount X-Grip. Installation does not take much longer than with the navigation systems and can also be removed again quickly.

    Certainly not all bikers will switch to navigation with a smartphone immediately. But when someone is faced with the decision to buy a new one, I think that many will choose this solution because it is much cheaper, easier to use and also much less error-prone.

    Personally, I got on well with TomTom, but the 410 kept causing problems. The Zumo was a bit more reliable, but here I couldn't get along with Basecamp at all.

    I started route planning with Tyre and then switched to MRA. I always tested something else in between. For me personally, MRA is simply the best route planner and, in conjunction with MRA navigation on the smartphone, the perfect solution.

    If the points announced in the roadmap are implemented well, there will be no planning / navigation software other than MRA for me in the future.

    Sorry, has become a bit long. And no, I don't work at MRA and I don't get anything for advertising.😉

  • So here’s the thing. MRA should perhaps aim to partner with and publish recommended mobile devices perhaps aided by recommendations from this community. This is an onerous task with no proven business benefit. I cannot see that project even worthy of consideration of inclusion on any future roadmap.

    I tried for 18 months to ditch my Zumo and believe me, I only bought a Garmin (with the greatest reluctance) because of the reasons stated on my original post. Only last week a friend reported his BMW XR damaged an iPhone and understandably Apple would not approve a warranty claim.

    Vibration damage is a well known phenomenon. A Chinese phone on a Harley Davidson? Really? Some mount manufacturers supply silicone damped products in order to address this problem. It doesn’t.

    It’s perhaps naive to believe Smartphones do it all. If that’s the case GoPro would be out of business. Nikon / Canon wouldn’t have market share in digital photography.

    Thus far, my original post has elicited a fair, polite and measured response. This is most welcome. However, mercifully I won’t post again on this subject. But as a gold member, I will continue to use endorse and support MRA.

  • I disagree.... I have used my iPhone X exclusively as my navigation tool, without flaw or failure! I use a RAM mount in conjunction with the Quadlock ball and phone case... I works great, with no issues whatsoever. My phone has not overheated and I use my phone for music playback as well. When plugged into my bikes USB port I get full use of the bikes infotainment system and it also charges my phone. I will never buy another stand alone GPS ever again.... I have seen where the prices are dropping... I would imagine this because more and more riders are ditching them for phones.

  • @David-Jerome said in SmartPhones are not suitable platforms for Motorcycle Navigation - Fact:

    So here’s the thing. MRA should perhaps aim to partner with and publish recommended mobile devices perhaps aided by recommendations from this community.

    User recommendations are easy to orgnasie, we just open a post on the forum and everybody can post his/her experience

  • I have turn by turn navigation available on the 7 inch TFT of my Tiger 900 Rally Pro.
    You have to use the Triumph App though which is sadly bloody awful for plotting anything other than A to B routes. If triumph gave their App the ability to import GPX files it may be useable for some.
    I’ll stick with the Tom Tom 550 for now.

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