Fullpower Technologies MotionX-GPS
Some decent GPS functionality, but this app falls short of its potential.
- Compass, can geotag photos taken within app, Google Maps with multi-touch
- Doesn't employ full potential of aGPS, interface could be better
For a fraction of the price of a dedicated device, MotionX-GPS provides GPS functionality for outdoor activities.
Price$ 3.99 (AUD)
There is no shortage of attempts by third-party developers to harness the iPhone 3G's GPS capabilities. Whereas CLO Software's Traffic Australia attempted to remedy the lack of traffic updates, MotionX-GPS attempts to transform the iPhone into a handheld off-road GPS device. This pits it against dedicated devices like Magellan's Triton 400 and Garmin's Oregon 300, while costing a fraction of the price.
The MotionX-GPS interface even resembles those found on Magellan and Garmin devices. There's no way to flick between screens as you would the iPhone home menu — the app relies on small buttons in the bottom navigation bar instead.
The different screens offer detailed location information, a stopwatch, compass, map, track screen, waypoints list, and a logbook. Camera functionality is integrated into the stopwatch screen, automatically tagging any picture taken in the MotionX-GPS app with geographical data and adding it to the current waypoint.
Functions like the compass and geolocation data screen are the most helpful, providing you with bearing, detailed latitudinal/longitudinal data and even a speed gauge. Unfortunately, the speed gauge fails to register speeds below 5km/h.
The app is largely successful in replicating a dedicated handheld GPS device. However, it doesn't take full advantage of the iPhone 3G's capabilities. Instead of using the iPhone 3G's assisted GPS technology, satellite signal acquisition in MotionX-GPS relies mainly on the phone's integrated GPS receiver. When a full satellite signal cannot be achieved, then the app will use network triangulation, employing carrier towers to approximate your location. The signal is imprecise but it is the best that the app can provide in many circumstances — we couldn't manage a full signal in a car or train.
The latest version of MotionX-GPS is the first to include a map screen and any form of basemap. The gives the app an advantage against its main competitor, Garafa's GPS Kit. Based on Google Maps, the app provides three different views — basic map, topographical and satellite photography — and can be zoomed in and out using multi-touch. Unfortunately, there is no way to cache or download maps, making the app reliant on a continuous data connection, and thus rendering the map screen useless in a remote location. Though we can understand this, we would have preferred a simple basemap to serve as a placeholder in these situations.
MotionX-GPS has some decent functionality, but it is only likely to replace low-end handheld GPS devices like Garmin's GPSMAP 76.
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