Reply To: Old phone re-purpose as GPS?

Stephen Tarrant

Hi Allan,


So, the technical details so far:


-The old handset is a Galaxy S5 Active, which is a “ruggedized” “sport” model that is pretty tough (I’ve dropped it many times, has chunks out of the built-in armour, but never cracked the screen or broke open).

– It also supposedly has pretty good waterproofing, though I have never really tested it.

-I have downloaded a free Android app called “Polaris GPS Navigation”.    It lets me download maps (street, topos, marine…) that live in the phone and can be used offline.     **does anyone have any experience with this app?   Or suggestions for other GPS apps?**

-The plan is to use it without a data plan or sim card.    I can do all my app and map downloading over my house wireless.    The GPS function of the phone appears to work fine without a data plan.     I have read that it may even be usable as an “emergency” phone—apparently cell providers have to let you dial 9-1-1 over any network in range, even if you are not subscribed or have a sim card.   **can anyone verify if this “emergency” use is true?**

–I have ordered a bright armoured case designed for this model, and a waterproof floating phone bag with a lanyard ($20 for both on Amazon…)     The idea is to set up the GPS tracker app, put it in the bag, attach the thing to my PFD.   Then I can refer to  the map, note my speed, location, heading, etc as I paddle, and later download the logs of my track on the water.

–There are “extended batteries” setups available for many phones that come with a replacement back for the phone, that adds ½” or so to the phone thickness, and a bigger-than-original replacement battery.     Still looking for the one for my S5 “active” model.    Between a bigger battery and some “power saving” settings in the phone, I hope to get a long  battery life.