Installing GPS into your side by side is actually a very simple task. There are, however, a number of things to consider, such as mounting location, brand, features, and if a mobile device, which apps will you use? Further, each of those considerations has it’s own things to consider. Let’s just take mounting location for example, you’ll need to think about things like heat, vibration, moisture, visibility, ease-of-interaction, etc… This post will try to address most of these concerns and provide some different solutions for you to choose from.
For the sake of this article, we’re going to make a couple assumptions. The first one being that you are not racing the Baja 1000, so a top of the line Lowrance GPS for the co-driver isn’t necessary. The most common solution we see are either handheld GPS units, automotive GPS units, or cell phone/tablets with GPS apps. Let’s dive into the different device types and make a few comparisons.
Now this table is not all conclusive. There are different models of GPS and smart mobile devices and their individual feature-sets vary. Ultimately, in our experience, the tablet or smartphone is a great choice. Handheld and automotive GPS have their place, but they have plenty of large drawbacks for offroad use that are overcome by the mobile devices.
Q: I have an iPad (or iPad mini) that is WiFi only, (no cellular) can I use UTV Trails or any other GPS app?
A: Yes and No.. No, the WiFi only iPad models don’t even come with the GPS on-board. Period. There is no GPS receiver to pull data from. All is not lost! These two products below give you either a hard-wired GPS receiver, or a bluetooth GPS receiver on your WiFi only iPad/iPad mini!
So now that we’ve settled on a tablet or smartphone for our GPS, let’s look at some different mounting options. First things first, we run an iPad mini in our RZR build. We have nothing against Android tablets We just happened to have an iPad handy. While parts of the mounting solutions below are universal, much of it is geared towards the iPad mini. You should be able to easily find a variety of cases to fit your other devices, but since we don’t have any hands on experience with them, we wont weigh in on that part.
For our mounting solution, we got our hands on a Glazzkraft fiberglass dash. This opened up the entire center of the dash for, you guessed it, our iPad mini. To mount the iPad mini, we used our Lifeproof case, along with their cradle. This makes it possible for us to remove the iPad at any time. We like this case because it is waterproof, and has a full screen protector to keep the dust off the glass. Alternatively, A company called Mob Armor makes a mount as shown below that is specific to the Glazzkraft dash. They also make one for the center of the dash, but we haven’t found anywhere that has them in stock lately.
If you don’t want to go all fancy-pants, like we have with the Glazzkraft dash, the case and cradle we mentioned above are still an option. The cradle linked above uses an AMPs pattern for the screws on the back of it. RAM Mounts makes a ball that will fit perfectly. If you are going to mount it to a flat surface, two of them will be needed, however if you need to mount to a rollcage, you will need one of each of the following. Either way, you will need an adjustable socket, in your choice of length, such as this one.
That really is it. Simply put the roll cage clamp on(or screw your AMPs ball to your mounting surface,) add your AMPs ball to the back of the cradle, connect the two with the adjustable socket, pop the iPad in, and we’re off to the trails!
The final step is to install the UTV Trails app onto your mobile device. Even without a subscription, you will be able to download maps to your device for use without cellular service. With a subscription, you will be able to download both maps and trail data for offline use. Our Version 2 of the app is slotted to be released in summer 2017. This will bring UTV Trails to Android devices, and pack a bunch of new features into the app you already know and love!
As we progress our build, and the app we will be sure to update this article with more detail. We have pictures coming soon! Stay tuned!