GPS Kit and MotionX for iPhone (Kelso)

The iPhone GPS war up’d the anti with the 4.0 release of MotionX for the iPhone (above). They claim over 2 million users now and are the top ranked naviation app on the iTunes app store now. New in this version:

  • All new user interface maintaining the same structure that you are used to
    while improving all the graphics and sounds
  • MotionX Open Road Maps
  • MotionX Open Terrain Maps

It seems to have caught up to GPS Kit 3.0 (below) for features and ease of use, though I still prefer GPS Kit’s interface which is a little more refined and iPhone-like and less like a computer arcade game (the developer specializes in those types of games).

Most notable in the GPS Kit 3.0 update is the huge battery saver features of turning off the screen but maintaining track recording while in the pocket just like the screen turns off when the phone is held to the ear during a phone call.

All the GPS apps need to get serious about cacheing maps BEFORE heading out to a trail. Cell phone service, let alone 3g, is spotty out in the mountains. Also allowing user specified tile source, not just Google or OpenMap. Maybe via the ability to setup “trips” (ala Tracks and Waypoints) based on the current visible map extent and then having the app pre-download map tiles down to the lowest zoom-level within a user configureable, say, 50 meg cache limit.

All apps are less than $10 from the iTunes store. MotionX is having a sale at $2.99 right now.

  • If you want Google maps (including terrain) and care more about advanced features and a more sane interface, get GPS Kit.
  • If you want Open Street Map base maps and pretty good advanced features but weird interface, get MotionX.
  • If you are just a casual exerciser get an app like Trails (read New York Times review), RunKeeper, or rubiTrack that function mostly as a data capture and then interfaces with a desktop or web application to catalog your routes and graph progress.

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5 Responses to “GPS Kit and MotionX for iPhone (Kelso)”

  1. Dave says:

    I am an avid outdoor sports enthusiast (biking, running, hiking), and I have all three of these apps. MotionX-GPS is my favorite. It’s by far the most accurate (speed jumps around a lot on the other two), and I love the user interface and layout. Contrary to the author’s opinion, I think the MotionX-GPS UI is much more “iPhone-like” and intuitive than the others.

    Trails and MotionX-GPS at one point supported Google Maps, but they both changed over to OpenStreetMap at about the same time. I’m guessing it’s no coincidence. GPS Kit’s days with Google may be numbered. Keep that in mind if you are spending $9.99 instead of $2.99.

  2. nathaniel says:

    @ Dave: Yeah, my guess is Google wanted a cut since so many app users were hitting there tile server and the app developer wouldn’t payup. I prefer the Google Maps tiles and GPS Kit has those for now. It really is personal taste between the GUI of MotionX and GPS Kit I have to disagree on MotionX looking more iPhone like. They totally use their own button and menu interface!? Funky! Personally, I don’t care about speed so that is not a deal breaker for me. And it’s also a setting issue, are you using Average speed or intantanious speed in GPS Kit?

  3. James says:

    Garmin sells an excellent devices regarding the hard and firmware. They have a better quality products and more user friendly.

  4. Jon says:

    We just made a huge update to GPS Kit. Our version 4 has screaming fast maps and some great new features. Our average star rating has been 3 but with the new update everyone is going nuts with fives. More to come, too!

  5. Fred says:

    James, obviously you have not tried the GPS Kit with the new Iphone 4. I have a Garman GPS that I use for Mountain snowmobiling in Northern BC Canada and I have to tell you the GPS Kit on the Iphone 4 is hands down better than most $500+ GPS units.