Mobile data usage

Boyd

Administrator
Site Administrator
Jul 31, 2004
8,521
2,060
Ben's Branch, Stephen Creek
After not using it for a long time, I activated a new data plan on my iPad and have been using it in the car with my app for the past few days. This is not very scientific, but after about four hours the app used 430MB of data. Perhaps 67% of the usage was slow driving on unpaved roads with maybe 20% at 50mph on paved roads.

So that suggests around 100MB/hour data usage, but there are some important caveats. First, I was using 3d maps almost all of the time. I believe these maps use twice as much data because you are loading a regular map along with a map of the terrain. Also, this is a tablet with a larger screen than a phone, so I'd expect it to use more data to fill the larger area. A car is going to use more data than hiking on foot, since you cover more area and more tiles need to be downloaded to update the map. Fast driving will use more data, but the zoom level of the map also figures into this. If you zoom way in, a lot more tiles need to be loaded.

So, you might use considerably less data while hiking with a phone and using a regular (not 3d) map, maybe something like 30MB/hour? Would be interested to hear experiences from other mobile users!
 

stiltzkin

Explorer
Feb 8, 2022
116
167
Medford
I don't have any data for you on mobile usage - I am fortunate enough to have unlimited data so I haven't really paid attention to it.

However, this could be another use case for a future offline maps feature, like we were discussing in a different thread. I was originally thinking it'd be useful for places with no service, but it could also be very useful for users on limited data plans. Preloading would allow you to use zero mobile data in the field.
 

Boyd

Administrator
Site Administrator
Jul 31, 2004
8,521
2,060
Ben's Branch, Stephen Creek
The advantages of local map storage are pretty obvious and it's something I've always planned to do, so there's no need to "make a case" for it. :) But it would be very limited when you consider the size of these maps - especially at high zoom levels. Downloading one map of an area you plan to explore is a possibility, just like 20 years ago when Garmin GPS'es only had 4kb memory. Anyway, the app "is what it is". It's free with no ads, 250 maps and lots of advanced features. Each person can decide whether it meets their needs.

BTW, dont assume that everyone who uses the app is from the Pines. Over the past 7 days, only 53% of visitors were from New Jersey. 45% of users were on phones.
 

stiltzkin

Explorer
Feb 8, 2022
116
167
Medford
"Use case" in this sense:


Not in the sense of "make a case" for something :)

Phones have pretty huge amounts of storage these days. My current one has 256GB. Top end phones have 512GB or 1TB now. You could fit an enormous amount of map data.

At any rate - I digress. I certainly don't want to derail your thread.
 

Boyd

Administrator
Site Administrator
Jul 31, 2004
8,521
2,060
Ben's Branch, Stephen Creek
My phone has 512gb. It's not like this is news to me, in the past I offered downloadable maps for use in third party apps but that no longer interests me. Like I said, the app "is what it is", limited offline storage might be introduced someday but not anytime soon. You might be happier with a different app for your needs.
 

stiltzkin

Explorer
Feb 8, 2022
116
167
Medford
You might be happier with a different app for your needs.

I think you're misunderstanding me - I love your app! It's one of the best things I've discovered this year. Mobile data usage is not a factor for me, as I mentioned - since I have unlimited usage. None of this is a complaint or gripe about any aspect of how the current app works. Just some friendly thoughts on what you could do in the future with an already great project - nothing more than that. I'm sure you have already thought about these things. Just conveying that your users are thinking about them as well!
 
  • Love
Reactions: Boyd

Boyd

Administrator
Site Administrator
Jul 31, 2004
8,521
2,060
Ben's Branch, Stephen Creek
Getting back on topic.... ;) Today I reset the mobile data statistics on my iPhone 12 Pro Max and did another test. Drove a total of 21 miles in 56 minutes with 22 minutes on county routes at 50mph and the balance on unpaved roads around 15 mph. I used the bw lidar map (2d version) at zoom level 17 the whole time (17 is the native zoom level for that map).

Wow, what a difference, only used 4.2MB of data, and 385KB of that was "System Services". That is actually more like what I would have expected for data usage, those other numbers seemed really high. Will do some further testing - the type of imagery, zoom level and screen size can make a big difference in these numbers.

I also did another test yesterday with the iPad (6th Generation), 60 minute drive that was almost the same as today's. However I used the NJ2007 aerials at zoom level 18 the whole time. That surprised me in the opposite direction - 161MB! But the aerials are more complex images than my bw LIDAR and will be larger files. Level 18 is 4x the amount of data as level 17 and the iPad screen has 2x more pixels so I guess it all adds up. But the iPad is pretty cool in the car. :)

IMG_8287.jpg
 
Last edited:
  • Like
Reactions: Teegate

bicycle tim

Scout
Jun 9, 2018
56
55
tabernacle, nj
Getting back on topic.... ;) Today I reset the mobile data statistics on my iPhone 12 Pro Max and did another test. Drove a total of 21 miles in 56 minutes with 22 minutes on county routes at 50mph and the balance on unpaved roads around 15 mph. I used the bw lidar map (2d version) at zoom level 17 the whole time (17 is the native zoom level for that map).

Wow, what a difference, only used 4.2MB of data, and 385KB of that was "System Services". That is actually more like what I would have expected for data usage, those other numbers seemed really high. Will do some further testing - the type of imagery, zoom level and screen size can make a big difference in these numbers.

I also did another test yesterday with the iPad (6th Generation), 60 minute drive that was almost the same as today's. However I used the NJ2007 aerials at zoom level 18 the whole time. That surprised me in the opposite direction - 161MB! But the aerials are more complex images than my bw LIDAR and will be larger files. Level 18 is 4x the amount of data as level 17 and the iPad screen has 2x more pixels so I guess it all adds up. But the iPad is pretty cool in the car. :)

View attachment 16932
Mind if I ask what you’re using to hold the iPad to the dash?
 

Boyd

Administrator
Site Administrator
Jul 31, 2004
8,521
2,060
Ben's Branch, Stephen Creek
It's funny, I have built custom mounts for a variety of GPS devices and tablets over the years and figured I'd need to do that for the iPad. But, as it turned out, it was a no-brainer. I already had a Zagg Rugged Book case for the iPad. The iPad itself goes in a rugged case and that attaches to the keyboard hinge with some powerful magnets. You can also flip the iPad around, so the screen is facing out when the book is closed. So, I simply put it in that configuration and opened the case, with the keyboard face-down laying in the center "tray" on the dashboard.

The only thing I had to add was a pair of paperclips (you can see in the picture if you look carefully) that are stuck into the crack around the radio. That keeps the screen above the menus and volume controls on the radio. Works perfectly, the rubberized case keeps it from moving around as I drive.
 

Boyd

Administrator
Site Administrator
Jul 31, 2004
8,521
2,060
Ben's Branch, Stephen Creek
did another test yesterday with the iPad (6th Generation), 60 minute drive that was almost the same as today's. However I used the NJ2007 aerials at zoom level 18 the whole time. That surprised me in the opposite direction - 161MB!

Repeated the exact same test but used my phone today instead of the iPad. Drove the same course with the 2007 aerials at zoom level 18 and that used 149MB of data - not so different from the data usage on the iPad. So, aerial imagery definitely uses a lot more data and zooming to level 18 is also a big factor (4x more data than level 17).

My explanation of how I mounted the iPad was probably a bit confusing. Here is how the iPad is attached to the keyboard

ipad1.jpg


I just flip that over so the keyboard is face down and the screen is facing forward. Not very elegant but it was easy and fine for occasional use. If I wanted to use it a lot, I'd make one of my own custom mounts for the iPad without the keyboard.

ipad2.jpg
 

Boyd

Administrator
Site Administrator
Jul 31, 2004
8,521
2,060
Ben's Branch, Stephen Creek
I reset the mobile data statistics on my iPhone 12 Pro Max and did another test. Drove a total of 21 miles in 56 minutes with 22 minutes on county routes at 50mph and the balance on unpaved roads around 15 mph. [...] only used 4.2MB of data

Repeated this same test today, same route, same BW LIDAR map, but used the iPad instead. It only used 8.1MB of data, again - not so different from the phone. So the choice of map and zoom level can make a substantial difference. OTOH, streaming an hour of HD video is going to be around 1 GB of data.
 

martink

New Member
Apr 5, 2009
22
29
55
Hammonton NJ
I recently added it to the home screen of my iPhone. I didn't realize before that that's the way to keep the settings. Now I just drive around all over, most often with the 1890 UJ USGS Topo map as it's got a nice mix of roads and trails.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Boyd
Top