Apps for Sailors. Reviewed: MotionX-GPS

MotionX-GPS ($1.99 iPhone) or MotionX-GPS HD ($1.99 iPad) from MotionX hosts a rich set of GPS and map features to provide a customizable map display, an interactive navigation interface and a digital compass on your iPhone or iPad.
Author:
Updated:
Original:

MotionX-GPS ($1.99 iPhone) or MotionX-GPS HD ($1.99 iPad) from MotionX (gps.motionx.com) hosts a rich set of GPS and map features to provide a customizable map display, an interactive navigation interface and a digital compass on your iPhone or iPad. What sets this app apart from other navigation apps is the “Live Update” feature, which broadcasts your track and position to popular social media sites and via email. This is a great way for coastal cruisers or weekend racers to record and publish their tracks, which can be useful in both racing and social debriefings.

app1_0

The user interface is simple and easy to use. The screen shows your position, current track, speed and heading updated real-time on the selected map display. The rotating globe indicates your GPS signal and triangulation mode.

MotionX-GPS supports maps from 14 different sources, including road, terrain, satellite and NOAA marine charts (U.S. Coastal). You will need a cellular network or WiFi connection to download map tiles as you navigate, scroll or zoom, which will then be cached for use when you are outside of network coverage. Additionally, specific map regions or NOAA charts can be stored for use on the water or when outside cellular range.

Waypoints are easy to create—simply tap the position on the map or import it through iTunes or email. Select “Go To” and your waypoints can now be used to navigate. While navigating to a waypoint, the map display will show the track, distance and compass heading. Options include editing waypoints, managing folders and attaching photos.

While underway, “Track Recorder” records and saves your track. Tracks can be assigned a predefined activity mode, including sailing, power boating, hiking and biking. While recording, the app displays statistics such as speed, distance and time. Once complete, tracks can be shared via Facebook, Twitter and email. There are several features to manage tracks, store in folders, search and even provide voice notifications while underway. The “Auto Share” option allows you to automatically post to social media when your track is complete.

Live tracking is one of the best features of this app. Automatic position updates, set between 5 and 60 minutes, can be posted to Facebook, Twitter, sent via email or published to a public station on the MotionX website. By setting a “channel,” a group of friends each using MotionX-GPS can share their positions. Broadcasting your position works like the popular Spot PLBs without the annual subscription cost. It’s great for coastal cruising.

Other interesting features include a compass display with speed, direction, bearing and distance, and time and ETA to waypoint. “My Position” summarizes your current position longitude and latitude, allows you to share your position and track, and opens the camera for geotagging images. The app also integrates iPod music controls and a handy flashlight.

app2_0

Like most GPS apps, battery life is an issue. Luckily, MotionX-GPS addresses this with settings that configure multitasking and background GPS use. The “Optimized” setting keeps the GPS receiver on when the Track Recorder or Auto Live Updates are running or when navigating. The “Always On” or “Always Off” option allows you to control the GPS receiver to conserve battery. Disabling WiFi and Bluetooth and dimming the screen will also conserve battery life.

MotionX-GPX is a very nice map and GPS application that crosses into the space held by popular navigation programs. I’m excited to use the Live Update feature to automatically post our position so friends and family can keep track of our travels or for post-race debriefings. I give this app 5 stars for ease of use, completeness and overall usability.

Name: MotionX-GPS (gps.motionx.com)

Available on: Apple iOS

Price: $1.99

Score: 5 stars

Related

GMR19_F53_0539

Boat Review: Beneteau First Yacht 53

Luxury performance-cruising isn’t entirely new. You can go fast and still be comfortable. You can even race if you make the right tradeoffs—or so says Groupe Beneteau, which recently launched its First Yacht 53, in the process also reinventing the company’s “First” brand. ...read more

BirdonBoard

Cruising: Birds of a Feather

One of the neatest things about sailing offshore is the other lifeforms we encounter. We smile when we see flying fish skimming over the surface of the sea. We cheer when dolphins leap and dance in our bow waves. We are duly reverent when mighty whales sound and spout, and ...read more

pirate-marlin-logo

Pirate’s Cove Billfish Tournament

This Spring has felt a bit like a slow day of fishing but it’s almost time to time to Bait…and Switch. The Pirate’s Cove Billfish Tournaments offer something for every member of your crew. Exceptional fishing, fun times with family, old friends and new. Our run is short, our ...read more

Tusk.00_00_16_21.Still001

Tusk by Spyderco

Spyderco's Tusk knife combines a blade and marlinspike to create a multitool perfect for marine use. Made with corrosion resistant materials like titanium and LC200N steel, a nitrogen alloyed steel, and Spyderco-exclusive locking mechanisms, this knife is one of the toughest ...read more

IY11.98_fTaccola©DJI_0200

Italia 11.98 Performance-cruiser

This past winter, SAIL principal editor, Adam Cort, check out the new Italia Yachts’ new 11.98 performance-cruiser at the boot Dusseldorf show in German, and says he can attest to the fact it’s a boat more than worthy of the attention of North American sailors. Available in ...read more

01-LEAD-2017_IDALEWIS_0219

Racing: Doublehanded

I was born in 1955, and although I was a tad young to actually follow the first Observer Single-Handed Transatlantic Race, I grew up in the age of the pioneers of solo offshore sailing—Francis Chichester, Robin Knox-Johnson, Alec Rose, all Knighted for their singlehanded ...read more

newport-400c-updated

Spectra Watermakers

The world's quietest and most energy-efficient watermakers. Our product line ranges from hand operated desalinators that can make 6 gallons a day to our largest system that produces 20,000 gallons of fresh, potable water per day. Spectra Watermakers has the complete package: ...read more

CAPE-COD---Under-sails

Boat Review: Cape Cod

The concept of “daysailer” has grown ever broader over the years. These days the label can be pasted on a boat as small and simple as a Sunfish, as fancy as a 40-footer with a nice big cockpit and plenty of brightwork, or any number of concoctions in between. This Cape Cod ...read more