Garmin Sight N Go feature in a phone app?

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Buckeye

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Garmin GPS units have a nice feature (called "Sight N Go") to sight in a bearing line, and then you can navigate yourself along that line. The Garmin will tell you how much you deviate from that line so you can correct yourself. This is very handy if you see the rocket land in a vast sea of soybeans (ask me how I know), but the distance is unknown, and there are no other landmarks. At least you can walk on this infinite line and eventually stumble upon the rocket.

My old Garmin died. I can probably buy a used one on Ebay, but I was hoping to find a compass/GPS phone app with this same feature. Anybody know of one? I scoured the Google Play Store to no avail.
 

Brent

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It helps to have a son in law that is a retired Marine. He has done this with the compass on his I phone somehow. Had range and everything. I had a tracker in it but he was extremely accurate somehow.
 

neil_w

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This sounds like an incredibly useful feature and I would love to have it on my iPhone. A quick search turned up nothing.... I will keep looking (if it's on iOS it's probably on Android as well... just gotta figure out how to find it).
 

Buckeye

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It helps to have a son in law that is a retired Marine. He has done this with the compass on his I phone somehow. Had range and everything. I had a tracker in it but he was extremely accurate somehow.
I gave myself a crash course in orienteering (via YouTube, LOL), and I deemed it impossible to stay on a straight line for very long with just a compass without performing these steps:

1. Making intentional bearing deviations to get around obstacles and measuring the distance of each (via paces or time traveled)
2. Incrementally moving from physical point to physical point (rocks, trees, etc.)

#1 is more work than I want to put forth, and #2 is nearly impossible when in a huge field of crops where there are few distinguishing landmarks.

I am not gonna doubt a Marine, but I suspect he may be doing those additional steps in some fashion.
 
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UhClem

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I love Sight N Go and have used it many times. My Garmin Vista still works but the display on the Summit flaked out. The Summit was the least useful as it had a bug. If you cycled power it would remember it was navigating but the starting point would come unpinned. So you were always on line.

You could tell I was getting ready to use it if you saw me doing the slow 720 degree rotate required to calibrate the compass.

An equivalent android app would be nice to have when the Vista dies.
 

Reinhard

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I have my doubts about compass accuracy in smartphones. On occasion, I've seen wildly inaccurate results but I admittedly never put any effort into calibrating the sensor.

My closest workaround would be using an app like "GPS Status & Toolbox". I've used it in the past to adjust the azimuth of a launch pad.
For emulating Sight N Go, I would do something like this:
1. Start with adding your current location as a way-point.
2. Move some distance (the more the better, for improved accuracy) towards your target. This may need a second reference point or the help of a second person who has seen the landing. It can help to adjust your starting point before step 1) to bring a suitable reference point in line with the landing point.
3. Check the app and remember the bearing to your starting point.
4. Keep that bearing constant while walking towards your rocket.

It's less comfortable than an integrated function like Sight N Go, but it can be performed with any smartphone and avoids the inaccuracies of smartphone compasses by only relying on GPS.

Reinhard
 

Buckeye

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I have my doubts about compass accuracy in smartphones. On occasion, I've seen wildly inaccurate results but I admittedly never put any effort into calibrating the sensor.

My closest workaround would be using an app like "GPS Status & Toolbox". I've used it in the past to adjust the azimuth of a launch pad.
For emulating Sight N Go, I would do something like this:
1. Start with adding your current location as a way-point.
2. Move some distance (the more the better, for improved accuracy) towards your target. This may need a second reference point or the help of a second person who has seen the landing. It can help to adjust your starting point before step 1) to bring a suitable reference point in line with the landing point.
3. Check the app and remember the bearing to your starting point.
4. Keep that bearing constant while walking towards your rocket.

It's less comfortable than an integrated function like Sight N Go, but it can be performed with any smartphone and avoids the inaccuracies of smartphone compasses by only relying on GPS.

Reinhard
I have not tried it yet, but #4 seems to be the problem. I think it will be hard to blindly walk on that bearing, staring at the compass, for very long, and it is easy to drift or be forced off course by some obstacle. You will need to plod along very slowly and frequent stops, checks, and corrections with #1 will be needed.
 
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mtnmanak

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Any of the Garmin GPS's with a compass have Sight N Go, even their "low end" Etrex 30 or 32 line. I looked on ebay and it is fairly easy to find an older Etrex 30 for about $100. The newer Etrex 32 can be had online for about $250.

If you want to try your hand at orienteering, I would recommend a Silva compass. The Ranger 2.0 is an excellent choice:


I spent 25 years as an Army Ranger and Army Special Forces (Green Beret) Soldier and never used anything else. The Army lensatic compasses are horrible. The Silvas just work, all the time. I always carried two with me in the field and in combat. They never let me down. The nice thing about the Silvas (besides their accuracy) is that they are easy to line up an azimuth and then watch the compass while you are moving. The bezel markers make it easy to see if you are getting off course. With a little practice, it is not difficult to learn how to literally run on a dead azimuth with a Silva and be spot on every time.

When you start out on a dead reckoning, pick a fixed point beyond your target, then look behind you for a fixed point on the opposite azimuth. That way you can re-align yourself while you are walking if you get off azimuth.

As far as compasses go, they aren't exactly cheap, but the orienteering can be fun and, for $40, you get to learn a new and very useful skill :)
 

Buckeye

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Ok, sounds like if I want to do this the orienteering way, I need a real and accurate compass, not a phone compass app.

I'll keep my eyes open for a used Garmin.
 

manixFan

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I also tried to find a way to do sight-n-go using an iPhone app. I finally figured out a way to do it with the Gaia app. I ended up speaking with their support people and while they thought it was a cool feature, they said it was very unlikely they would add it as a direct setting.

The technique isn’t hard but it is bit fiddly. Basically you point the phone so it matches the heading where you sighted your rocket and drop a waypoint some reasonable distance along that heading and then navigate to that heading. At that point it works pretty similar to sight-n-go. The downside is the on screen compass is not very granular so getting the right heading is a bit of a challenge. Using an orienteering compass along side the phone can help.

And of course you can enter a Lat/Lon from a tracker and use it to plan a route to recover a rocket if necessary. You can also easily download maps for offline use.

BTW, I’ve compared my iPhone compass to my Silva when I’m out in the open are and the iPhone has been very accurate.

Tony
 
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Buckeye

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I also tried to find a way to do sight-n-go using an iPhone app. I finally figured out a way to do it with the Gaia app. I ended up speaking with their support people and while they thought it was a cool feature, they said it was very unlikely they would add it as a direct setting.

The technique isn’t hard but it is bit fiddly. Basically you point the phone so it matches the heading where you sighted your rocket and drop a waypoint some reasonable distance along that heading and then navigate to that heading. At that point it works pretty similar to sight-n-go. The downside is the on screen compass is not very granular so getting the right heading is a bit of a challenge. Using an orienteering compass along side the phone can help.

And of course you can enter a Lat/Lon from a tracker and use it to plan a route to recover a rocket if necessary. You can also easily download maps for offline use.

BTW, I’ve compared my iPhone compass to my Silva when I’m out in the open are and the iPhone has been very accurate.

Tony
Yeah, I get the part about projecting a waypoint into the distance. IIRC, this is exactly what the Sight N Go does. It puts a waypoint like 50 miles distant along the bearing line. However, how do you accurately stay on that line for a quarter or half mile? The Sight N Go in real time tells you how many feet left or right you are deviating from the line and points you back to it. Maybe it is not as hard as I think, but it seems very easy to drift off that line while manually watching a compass that's bobbling about. Now, you are screwed. Military guys can do it after much practice. I am a mere civilian!

I am talking about a rocket that land in huge crop fields where fixed reference points are few and far between. Rockets easily settle all the way to the ground (chutes, chords, and all) in soybeans, and you can be standing 3 feet away from it and still not see it. So, any slight deviation from your original bearing line will likely result in failure.

Usually I use a GPS tracker, but sometimes they are too big, too heavy, or not suited for my LPR and MPR.
 

Buckeye

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You can also easily download maps for offline use.
OK, maybe you are on to something with an offline map.

I can drop the projected waypoint on the map and somehow draw a straight line between me and waypoint. Then, I monitor my movements via GPS relative to the line drawn.
 

UhClem

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The best feature of Sight N Go for me was that I didn't have to stay on the line of sight. I could get in my car and drive to a location closer to where the rocket landed and get back on the line of sight. Add the downloaded USGS maps in the VIsta and you really have something.

The Garmin Summit had a software bug. If you cycled power it would remember that it was navigating but the starting point came unpinned. With the result that you were always on the line of sight.
 

Art Upton

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Those small trackers that track kids , car keys are small for MPR and work for the last mile...err.. I mean last 30 feet for finding in Alfalfa , Beans etc
 

_kestrel_

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I had never heard of this feature before. I looked it up and realized that it is included in my watch, a Garmin Fenix 6. Might be something to consider as a replacement for a handheld GPS.

I'll give it a try at the next launch.
 

MJW

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If this isn't available in an existing Android app, the functionality wouldn't take more than a day to implement using the Android SDK. It's just a simple ray anchored to a set of coordinates overlayed on a map.

I haven't done Android app programming since grad school so won't be rushing out to do the work. But there are plenty of online tutorials so anyone with basic programming experience should be able to do it in a day.

YouTube link for maps api usage:

YouTube link for compass functionality (for ray direction):

Android development first app tutorial: https://developer.android.com/training/basics/firstapp
 
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manixFan

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The best feature of Sight N Go for me was that I didn't have to stay on the line of sight. I could get in my car and drive to a location closer to where the rocket landed and get back on the line of sight. Add the downloaded USGS maps in the VIsta and you really have something.

The Garmin Summit had a software bug. If you cycled power it would remember that it was navigating but the starting point came unpinned. With the result that you were always on the line of sight.
When using the Gaia software it works pretty much the same, although the sight line is overlaid on whatever kind of map you want, including high quality topographical versions. But you need to lay out several waypoints in a row to keep an on map visual reference. It just takes a tap to add a point so it’s very quick and easy. You can overlay a distance grid to make it easier. Plus of course it tracks your route on the map and you can of course save the track to recall it later.

Not perfect but considering the other stuff the app does a reasonable substitute.

Tony
 

Buckeye

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When using the Gaia software it works pretty much the same, although the sight line is overlaid on whatever kind of map you want, including high quality topographical versions. But you need to lay out several waypoints in a row to keep an on map visual reference. It just takes a tap to add a point so it’s very quick and easy. You can overlay a distance grid to make it easier. Plus of course it tracks your route on the map and you can of course save the track to recall it later.

Not perfect but considering the other stuff the app does a reasonable substitute.

Tony
I use Backcountry Navigator app (I purchased 8 years ago for $9.99. The only app I ever bought.) and managed to project a waypoint, connect two waypoints with a line, and save it as a route. The point selection process is not very precise, just tapping on the locations on the map with your finger (not picking the exact waypoint coordinates.) Meh. This might do in a pinch.

I also downloaded Gaia. The features you mention must be in the paid version, because I don't see them. I am not shelling out $39.99 PER YEAR. For $40 I might find a Garmin Etrex on Ebay, which is where this thread started! Or at least a nice Silva compass for proper sighting.
 

UhClem

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Backup plan is to take a picture as the rocket lands. At least you can refresh your memory later.

Next level is to have two people decently far apart and both take a bearing. Did this once using a paper USGS map to locate a contest rocket that refused to be found otherwise.
 

Rocketclar

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I, too, regularly use my Garmin Etrex 30x at rocket launches (with or without an Eggfinder). I use Sight N Go plus I turn on my track. That way it shows the projected course and then my progress as I navigate around things. Also, by using the recording track feature, you can see where you've been so if you need to systematically search an area, you won't repeat your steps. One time my HPR kicked out a friction fitted reload during motor eject backup. I walked the line to the rocket in a soybean field and walking the line back, I found the motor casing as it happened to fall out near the line. I don't think I would have found it if not for the projected line. And if the rocket has an Eggfinder that looses lock, it gives you a last coordinate, the Garmin can navigate you to that.
 

manixFan

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I use Backcountry Navigator app (I purchased 8 years ago for $9.99. The only app I ever bought.) and managed to project a waypoint, connect two waypoints with a line, and save it as a route. The point selection process is not very precise, just tapping on the locations on the map with your finger (not picking the exact waypoint coordinates.) Meh. This might do in a pinch.

I also downloaded Gaia. The features you mention must be in the paid version, because I don't see them. I am not shelling out $39.99 PER YEAR. For $40 I might find a Garmin Etrex on Ebay, which is where this thread started! Or at least a nice Silva compass for proper sighting.
I don’t have the paid version. Everything I mentioned is in the free version, other than maps that require the subscription. But the base topo map is free. And in your original post you did ask for similar features in a phone app which is what I tried to answer.

I have two Garmins with the sight-n-go feature and setting a waypoint with those is less than precise. Just pushing the button to set the waypoint seems to cause some variation. Based on my experience the app yields about the same results.


Tony
 
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Buckeye

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I don’t have the paid version. Everything I mentioned is in the free version, other than maps that require the subscription. But the base topo map is free. And in your original post you did ask for similar features in a phone app which is what I tried to answer.

Tony
Ok, maybe I am not looking hard enough for these features, or the Android version does not have them. I always thought Gaia was oriented towards Apple users.

Anyway, your Gaia method and my Backcountry Navigator method sound the same. Not really Sight N Go, but workarounds to get close to that capability. Thanks.
 

Reinhard

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Just played around Locus Maps Pro, my currently preferred app for searching rockets. It works reasonably well for emulating Sight N Go. I'll also mostly retract my previous criticism regarding compass accuracy. Outdoors, it works reasonably well (not perfect though). My experience was mostly inside vehicles etc. which introduce various error sources.

In Locus Maps, the workflow is as follows
1. Enable "Heading Line" in the "Maps objects" settings. This projects an infinite line onto your map, based on the magnetometer.
2. (optional) point your phone towards a landmark to check for accuracy
3. Go to route planer. Set mode to "Manual" (otherwise the route gets planned alongside existing trails and roads)
4. Set Start point on your location.
5. Point your phone towards the landing spot and set the endpoint somewhere in the distance, based on the heading line. The waypoints can be edited afterwards, if exact coordinates are desired.
6. (optional) Set POIs (e.g. launch pad, prepping area, last telemetry fix, etc.)
7. (optional) Start a GPS track. This helps especially when you need to criss-cross otherwise featureless landscapes in search of your rocket.
8. (optional) Check map to plan your route (e.g. locate bridges over waterways)
9. Start driving/walking
10. (optional) Set POIs based on every piece of rocket debris that you find during your search. (been there, done that...)

My workflow so far was only based on steps 6. to 10. but I will try out Sight N Go emulation on the next launch.
Playing around with the app, it looks like it should be possible to connect it to an Eggfinder via Bluetooth and plot the rocket course in real time. Recording telemetry data, converting it into a GPX file and importing it afterwards should work too.
There are further features that allow for coordinated search parties. But those seem to require a subscription and internet connection.

Note: The app has recently changed their business model, with an attempt to sell subscriptions. The previous pro version (pay once for features and no ads), is now called Locus Maps Classic. So far this one works fine for me.

Reinhard
 
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ghuber

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There used to be an Iphone app called Triangulex, since pulled from the app store (but which is on my old phone), that allowed you to use the camera on your iphone to take a sight bearing and then projected that line onto a live map. Additionally, you could take a second bearing from a different direction and identify a target point. It did not have the most useful feature to my mind, which would be to allow multiple people to take sight bearings and then text them to each other, so you could triangulate as a group. But, I found i very useful for finding things in Connecticut in tall grass (where screamers sound like the bugs and GPS isn't enough detail for small rockets). It appears there is an android version: https://appadvice.com/app/triangulex/650489205

What I liked best was that you could use your phone to record a launch using video and then at the end just switch to Triangulex holding the phone in the same orientation. It projected the camera view with a big target reticle and you just clicked a button to take a snapshot down that bearing.
 

Blast it Tom!

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Any of the Garmin GPS's with a compass have Sight N Go, even their "low end" Etrex 30 or 32 line. I looked on ebay and it is fairly easy to find an older Etrex 30 for about $100. The newer Etrex 32 can be had online for about $250.

If you want to try your hand at orienteering, I would recommend a Silva compass. The Ranger 2.0 is an excellent choice:


I spent 25 years as an Army Ranger and Army Special Forces (Green Beret) Soldier and never used anything else. The Army lensatic compasses are horrible. The Silvas just work, all the time. I always carried two with me in the field and in combat. They never let me down. The nice thing about the Silvas (besides their accuracy) is that they are easy to line up an azimuth and then watch the compass while you are moving. The bezel markers make it easy to see if you are getting off course. With a little practice, it is not difficult to learn how to literally run on a dead azimuth with a Silva and be spot on every time.

When you start out on a dead reckoning, pick a fixed point beyond your target, then look behind you for a fixed point on the opposite azimuth. That way you can re-align yourself while you are walking if you get off azimuth.

As far as compasses go, they aren't exactly cheap, but the orienteering can be fun and, for $40, you get to learn a new and very useful skill :)
Firstly, thank you for your service! I had one training exercise with the Green Berets that I remember fully to this day. If you can believe it, one of the fellows was a Sgt. Hawk. Quite an interesting group of men; there is little joking around; and NO joking around when it comes to safety.

As to that compass, I have a Silva from almost 50 years ago on which I learned orienteering as well. But it doesn't have the mirror. Is that for reverse bearing or...? I might just have to pick one of those bad boys up, if I know what to do with it!
 

mtnmanak

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Firstly, thank you for your service! I had one training exercise with the Green Berets that I remember fully to this day. If you can believe it, one of the fellows was a Sgt. Hawk. Quite an interesting group of men; there is little joking around; and NO joking around when it comes to safety.

As to that compass, I have a Silva from almost 50 years ago on which I learned orienteering as well. But it doesn't have the mirror. Is that for reverse bearing or...? I might just have to pick one of those bad boys up, if I know what to do with it!
The mirror allows you to sight your target and see the compass heading at the same time in the reflection.

In practice, what you do is flip the cover up at an angle so that when you hold the compass in front of you at eye level, you can see the reflection of the compass bearing in the mirror. The compass cover had a small notch in it that you use like iron sights on a rifle. You sight your target in the notch and read the heading in the mirror. This allows you to both sight and read the compass at the same time, which is difficult without the mirror.

Without the mirror, you either have to sight the target and then try to carefully lower the compass to see the heading (without moving it left or right), or you have to hold the compass low and try to guestimate the line to the target. Either way, mirror-target sighting in much more accurate.
 

Blast it Tom!

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The mirror allows you to sight your target and see the compass heading at the same time in the reflection.

In practice, what you do is flip the cover up at an angle so that when you hold the compass in front of you at eye level, you can see the reflection of the compass bearing in the mirror. The compass cover had a small notch in it that you use like iron sights on a rifle. You sight your target in the notch and read the heading in the mirror. This allows you to both sight and read the compass at the same time, which is difficult without the mirror.

Without the mirror, you either have to sight the target and then try to carefully lower the compass to see the heading (without moving it left or right), or you have to hold the compass low and try to guestimate the line to the target. Either way, mirror-target sighting in much more accurate.
Much thanks again! This sounds like a "go!"
 
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