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Old 03-19-2012, 09:26 PM   #1
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Default Using an iPad for a GPS in a 2007 and Later Sprinter

I had a spare leather protective case for an iPad that I received from TD Ameritrade, my online broker, as some kind of appreciation gift that I found to be perfect for mounting to the dash of our Great West Van Sprinter Legend Class B RV. My original Apple brand case for the iPad 1 would work too but I plan to give my old iPad with the Apple case to our daughter and use the New iPad for a GPS in the spare case. The cases are sleeve cases with a flip over screen covers. That is a popular design and there could be other brands that would work just as well.

First, I bent the screen cover so it would lip over and form fit on the dash. Then I applied a couple of pieces of industrial strength velcro like so.


The dash has a tray above the radio. On the back side of the tray I applied the corresponding velcro strips which are invisible to view when inside the cab.


The iPad slips in from the top, rest flat with the dash and covers the radio. This shows the Tom Tom GPS app in the 2D view.


This is the more traditional 3D view one would normally use while driving.


You can lift the case to access the radio controls.


On the Sprinter dash there is an identical tray shape in front of the passenger over the glove box. I added velcro strips directly in front of the passenger seat so the iPad could be used in that position as well. All in all about a $5 investment in velcro was all I needed. The new iPad is thinner than the original iPad so slips in and out of the case with ease.

PS. To use an iPad as a GPS you need a cellular enabled version with the assisted GPS. A wifi only iPad will not work. In the case of the Tom Tom GPS I referenced you can use it without a cellular service. It has its own pre-loaded data and maps just like a typical standalone Tom Tom GPS. However, you do need the assisted GPS which only comes with cellular iPads.
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Old 03-19-2012, 10:32 PM   #2
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Default Re: Using an iPad for a GPS in a 2007 and Later Sprinter

<<""you do need the assisted GPS which only comes with cellular iPads."'>>>

I'm a novice about iPads. So, is that #2 or the new 3?
We currently use an 'Old" iBook & take it with when traveling. But it's pretty outdated & slow.
Been thinking about a new or newer Apple product, but don't know what.
I like your system. Wish our TDAmeritrade acct. would send us something cool like that...
Ric.
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Old 03-19-2012, 11:18 PM   #3
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Default Re: Using an iPad for a GPS in a 2007 and Later Sprinter

All three generations of iPads came with assisted GPS if you bought a model with 3G cellular connectivity capability. If you bought a wifi only you have no GPS capability in a vehicle. My original iPad was wifi only so I could not use it this way. If you are wondering, there is no Android tablet with non-cellular GPS capability as I have with the Tom Tom GPS app.
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Old 03-20-2012, 12:35 AM   #4
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Default Re: Using an iPad for a GPS in a 2007 and Later Sprinter

Thanks Davyd, sounds like we need an iPad to replace our old Garmin GPS & the iBook both.
Would be good for our planned trip to Yukon & SE Alaska this Summer.
Ric.
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Old 03-20-2012, 08:21 PM   #5
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Default Re: Using an iPad for a GPS in a 2007 and Later Sprinter

Quote:
Originally Posted by Davydd
.....PS. To use an iPad as a GPS you need a cellular enabled version with the assisted GPS. A wifi only iPad will not work.......
Many folks purchased iPads with no cellular service, and many locations have no cellular service.

For that equipment and those locations, there is this: http://bad-elf.com/products/gps/

Here are the FAQ's for this equip: http://bad-elf.com/support/gps-faq/

No cellular service contract necessary.

You may have to download maps (via wifi or USB to computer) before traveling, depending on the mapping software you choose.
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Old 03-21-2012, 12:55 AM   #6
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Default Re: Using an iPad for a GPS in a 2007 and Later Sprinter

Thanks Davvyd and Photog. This is just the info I was looking for.
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Old 03-21-2012, 04:16 AM   #7
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Default Re: Using an iPad for a GPS in a 2007 and Later Sprinter

Photog,

I don't use or need the cellular service on my iPad to use the Tom Tom GPS app I bought. That Bad-Elf GPS unit cost $100 vs. the premium of $130 I paid to get the LTE version that has the GPS built in. The wifi only iPads as you know do not have the GPS. If you already have the wifi only GPS then you have an option with that Bad Elf GPS. So, I paid a $30 premium but also only have to worry about keeping track of one device. Also, I got the Verizon version to complement my AT&T iPhone. If I run into no coverage for other things like email and web browsing it will be because their is no cellular coverage period. I may hotspot (allowed with Verizon) my iPad to run my laptop, second iPad and two cell phones. The Verizon plan is also no contract so you only pay for the months you use it.

I know currently of only two GPS navigation apps with 2D/3D, turn by turn, voice, etc. for vehicle navigation that utilize the full iPad screen and not just a blow up by 2X of the iPhone formatting. Those two are Tom Tom and CoPilot. I don't think Garmin, Navigon and Magellan have iPad HD versions. There are literally hundreds of GPS apps that work great in metro areas where you have cellular coverage like MotionX GPS to name one. They are useless in the national forests and parks and many rural back road areas I like to travel. One other problem with cellular based GPSes that download maps on the fly is they eat data and most cellular plans are now limited or throttle down after a limit. I don't want to waste my data on GPS navigation.
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Old 03-21-2012, 04:32 AM   #8
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Default Re: Using an iPad for a GPS in a 2007 and Later Sprinter

I should mention too, this is an RV solution for non-cellular areas, intermittent cellular service and long distance travel. If you are looking for solutions for home use and driving around metro areas, those apps that need a cellular connection work fine and you can find free GPS apps or very inexpensive less than $5 GPS apps that work great. I know people say you can download maps ahead but those apps don't store the maps. Once you leave the app, turn off the device, or stop intermittently then you have to reacquire the maps. So, put that in perspective. When you leave Jackson Hole and drive into Yellowstone NP you might have maps you acquired in a cellular area. Stop and camp overnight at Old Faithful or Fishing Bridge, wake up in the morning and head out. Voila! You have no maps. That's the point I am trying to make about this.

A word about Android in case someone asks or is curious. I think CoPilot is the only app that works with built in maps and only on a smartphone. They say tablet as well but I don't think it formats for the larger screen size available. Tom Tom, Garmin and Magellan don't have apps for Android smartphones. They've been saying they are going to come out with them but have been lagging in that commitment for almost two years now.
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Old 03-28-2012, 05:28 PM   #9
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Default Re: Using an iPad for a GPS in a 2007 and Later Sprinter

I gave the iPad Tom Tom GPS a complete test driving from Minneapolis to La Crosse, WI and back this past weekend without cellular enabled and it worked flawlessly over 350 miles of driving. You can drive all day without using any cellular data against your limits and plugged in to 12V it will stay charged. The Tom Tom GPS app turned out to be much more versatile on the 10" screen than the typical 3.5"-5" standalones. The same data was intact for finding POIs such as restaurants. There are options for Garmin, Magellan and CoPilot apps if in time I get frustrated and want to try something else. So, if you already own an iPad this is a less expensive way to go over a standalone unit even if you have to buy a GPS like the Bad-Elf for a wifi only iPad.

I'm mostly familiar with Garmin but I think I like Tom Tom better. If you don't like the route Tom Tom lays out for you, you can alter your criteria. It will also give you alternate routes with the same criteria. While driving you can switch between 2D and 3D views. 2D can be set so direction is always up on the screen or can be set to true north. You can see your whole route in a map view and zoom in for detail. You can also bring up a turn by turn direction list. The 10" screen just gives you a lot of information and it is easily readable at a glance.

I like Tom Tom's maps. There is one difference from Garmin. Garmin often, not always, included private roads and parking lots in campgrounds and parks. I noticed Tom Tom in the places I have tried so far does not show roads in parks. I don't know if this is universal everywhere or not. I noticed this in a lower tier priority county park. One technique we use is to set our longitude and latitude location at a campsite if we are going out and coming back in the dark. I can do long. and lat. with Tom Tom but wonder if it will be able to direct back if no roads.

If you are a long stretch of road and know you'll have no directions to encounter or a need to look at your GPS your passenger can use the iPad for other things such as reading the news, a book, videos, music, looking up stuff, etc., or other iPad things you can do. Why? Because the GPS app continues to run in the background. The GPS voice will interrupt what you are doing if you didn't pay attention to an upcoming turn.
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Old 03-28-2012, 10:04 PM   #10
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Default Re: Using an iPad for a GPS in a 2007 and Later Sprinter

When approaching a highway that is part of the route, does the Tom Tom app tell you whether the ramp you are approaching is on the left or right side of the road you are currently on?
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