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  #1  
Old 18 Mar 2006
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SAT NAV

Can anyone advise me, there seem to be so many on the market, So which Satellite Navigator is best for Sahara, Morocco, Western Sahara,Mauritania and Mali, please let meknow your thoughts,
Dave

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  #2  
Old 18 Mar 2006
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They all seem to do much the same and there's little chance of downloadable maps for where you're going so I'd say just go cheap. IMHO e-trex are a great little GPS for the money. (just bear in mind that any electronic device can break down as has happened me, so have a spare or be prepared to navigate the good old fashioned way, map and compass.
Mal
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  #3  
Old 18 Mar 2006
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Quote:
<font face="" size="2">...So which Satellite Navigator is best for Sahara, Morocco, Western Sahara,Mauritania and Mali, please let meknow your thoughts[/B]</font>
Im in the same boat as regards the confusing array of options.
After lots of reading and asking questions I think that the TomTom & PDA units are not meant for anything other than navigating roads in "civilised" countries in cars.

So, outside of the US, Europe and Scandiavia they aint much good.
Which leaves the Garmin type units. These have a world map,(thats not brill), but you can also create your own maps for areas.

Downside seems to be price... I'm going for the Garmin 276C.


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  #4  
Old 19 Mar 2006
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Well thanks for answers, gives me more insight,

Im glad its not just me,anyway your answers
are most helpful, any more suggestions?
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  #5  
Old 19 Mar 2006
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For travelling in a car the best bet in the areas that you are going to is a laptop.
There are several software packages available and 1:200,000 maps are available.
I use a Garmin etrex, (currently £99) as the receiver, the cable with both cig lighter for power and serial for laptop is about £15 and then you'll need a serial to USB port £10-£15.
Then you have to find the laptop.
Fugawi software (£115) is what I use on the laptop although I think they maps will run on memory map, not sure about the datum compatability.
I have an inverter fitted to run the laptop.
Maps are available from www.Daerr.at, it used to be 'de' for Germany but has just changed for some reason. The site is in German but you can find your way around with a bit of guess work. The maps are a mix of old French and Russian ones, geo-referenced quite accurately I must say.
There are a couple of examples on my web site at www.4x4-travel.co.uk
Go to the maps page and click on the maps.
There are areas where you are going that have no information whatsoever on the map but you will still be able to see where you are, where you are going and ultimately, where you have been.
I've never seen or used a copy of worldmap, however the above maps worked for me in the desert in Tunisia, even if they did only confirm that I had gone the wrong way.
If you need more info please ask.
Kevin

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  #6  
Old 20 Mar 2006
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Quote:
Originally posted by surfarirtw:
They all seem to do much the same and there's little chance of downloadable maps for where you're going so I'd say just go cheap.
Dear Mal,

Not an informed statement (which is an euphemism to bu11$it) :-)

First, it's not what they do because all navigation software does the same thing - navigation. It's about how they do it. And how they do it is related to platform, data format, coverage and availability, data compatibility and exchangeability, interfacing, reliability, etc .... you name it.

Out of a few dozen offers in the market Fugawii, Ozi Explorer and TTQV seem to be fairly similar in some respects. Other packages either call themselves "nagvigation tools" but are deisgned only for holiday makers on a trip to France or are inspred attemps at something more useful.

I have more experience with TTQV and would endorse it as a sufficiently stable platform to entrust your data to. The function allowing TTQV v4 to exchange data with Google Earth is most useful for the initial planning stages as Google sat maps are probably the best sat maps available in public domain.

In the field, you either use a ruggedized PC or PDA. The former tend to be expensive when new but a S/H Panasonic Toughbook can be picked up on ebay at a bargain price. It doesn't have to be an all-singing-all-dancing latest model because all it will do is load the OS and just one or two software packages.

An ever better option is a tablet PC with a pen or touch sensitive screen, like a Walkabout HH3 (or newer models if you can afford it).

A PDA like Toughbook CF-P1 running Pathaway software (which interfaces directly to the TTQV package) is also a great navigation tool but the small PDA screen is a bit of a liability. It's OK, though, for following on screen a route pre-planned on a PC.

Most of the 1: 250000 IGN and Russian maps of North and West Africa are available. Paper maps are about £10 pr sheet, so it makes better sense to buy a CDROMs with all the maps on it for about £75 from TTQ, Daerr, or any other supplier (ISTR some of them have advertised on this list in the past). All these maps on paper would cost many hundreds of pounds and occupy a small suitcase. Not exactly going cheap.

While I agree about the need always to have a backup, I'd rather have a spare hard disk or a bargain basement PC than try navigating with a compass and Michelin 741 paper map.



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  #7  
Old 21 Mar 2006
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well.its getting interesting! keep it coming guys,

Dave
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  #8  
Old 21 Mar 2006
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Quote:
Originally posted by surfarirtw:
They all seem to do much the same and there's little chance of downloadable maps for where you're going so I'd say just go cheap.
I think that Mal's comment is actually a pretty accurate and concise answer to the question for 98% of GPS users. The needs of the other 2% can be met by following the recommendations of Roman, above.

I ride about 30,000 km a year as a beta tester for Garmin GPSRs (my specialty being motorcycle use in Europe). When I'm not riding, I'm employed as an aircraft pilot, and spend the majority of my time flying in rural Africa.

There really is squat available in the form of vector cartography for lesser developed countries - and that phrase encompasses all the land you will find between Gibraltar and Johannesburg. No GPSR manufacturer carries detailed vector cartography for Africa, with the exception of Nairobi City and urban areas of South Africa.

My guess is that most folks doing overland travel across the rest of Africa just want a GPSR that will tell them more or less where they are, not a GPSR that they will rely on for primary navigation guidance. Mal recognized that, and spoke to that need.

If a person wants to go seriously off piste - a la Paris-Dakar - then Roman's recommendations are appropriate. I doubt, however, that Dave or very many other folks want to do that.

Michael

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Old 21 Mar 2006
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Thanks Mike. It does appear all to sadly that apart from lap tops etc,allthough cant think i want to use that in desert, all there is is a gps and a good map, I want to know where to get good maps in the UK? at least the map wont break down and hopefully the GPS (or two)will give me my position, Thanks
Dave
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Old 21 Mar 2006
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Quote:
Originally posted by PanEuropean:
<BLOCKQUOTE>
My guess is that most folks doing overland travel across the rest of Africa just want a GPSR that will tell them more or less where they are, not a GPSR that they will rely on for primary navigation guidance.
Michael,

Like you, I do appreciate that in its simplest form that kind of navigation is what most people understand and may ever need. But Dave's question was specifically about navigating in the Sahara and Sahel.

You seem to appreciate too that in places like Africa there's a lot to be gained from knowing EXACTLT where you are and how far you are from your destination. Quite often "more or less" is just not good enough.

OK, except for the remote parts of the Sahara, getting lost is rarely a life and death situation, but when you are short of fuel taking the wrong turn may cost you a lot of inconvenience.

Using a large scale paper map will give you a very bleak idea of your location. Even relying on locals informants may be pretty ambiguous as the Africans' notion of time and space is not quite like ours.

Small scale maps are OK if you travel in a limited area. For may recent trip covering Morocco, RIM, Mali & Senegal the area covered required over 250 maps at the scale of 1:250000. That was a mere 1.3GB of disk space, or one large SD memory card the size of a post stamp. Now, will anybody tell me what's wrong with that approach?



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  #11  
Old 21 Mar 2006
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Dave,
All Depends on how much money you want to spend...and what you want to experience on your trip.
Having done the Michelin paper maps and Etrex (Summit) method - As Malcolm has done, it was cheap - and I saw more of the Countries we travelled (same route as you are taking + BF and Ghana) and spent quite a bit of time talking to locals - asking directions and using local guides, which for me was a better way of doing it - after all I personally went there to meet people and see the Scenery - not to look at a laptop.

Yes a few times we took the wrong route - but not for long and in a 4x4 you will generally have lots of range compared to a bike - if heading out off the beaten track you will have to carry extra water/fuel anyway.

IMHO Your Navigation will Improve much more using a paper map and GPS - you are much more involved in the process lifting and reading coords from the map and vice versa.
You will spend quite a bit of your time on metalled roads and good (but corrogated) pistes these days in West Africa anyway.

Im hoping to ship the 90 to South America for a 10 month trip - this time I will use 2 GPS units (etrex and 60cs) which is a good idea - as yes they can fail (always backed up by a Suunto dash mounted and a hand bearing compass) - and I have a nice set of paper maps - Im sure we will take a few wrong turns here and there but my I think thats all part of the fun and my Spanish and Portugese will sure improve !

Cheers
Grif
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  #12  
Old 21 Mar 2006
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Quote:
Originally posted by Roman:


Using a large scale paper map will give you a very bleak idea of your location...
[/B]
That's "... small scale paper map". Right?

Quote:
Even relying on locals informants may be pretty ambiguous as the Africans' notion of time and space is not quite like ours.
[/B]
Yep, that's right, although it seems they don't mind to jump in your car, show you the way, have a and walk two hours back.

Quote:

Small scale maps are OK if you travel in a limited area.... [/B]
And here it's large scale. No? Small scale, that's like the Michelin, while large scale is something like 1/50 000. Just FYI.

And, there's dozens of people crossing africa with an e-trex or similar, a michelin map and a hand full of waypoints found on the internet. Really works. Some even do it without GPS.

I guess it all depends on what you like. Some like fiddling with all the tech stuff, others don't. As long as you're not into plotting routes where no one has gone before, a cheap GPS, a handfull of way points, and the michelin is pretty good set up. Add some detailed maps of those areas where you want to do some more exploration and you're all set.

enjoy
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  #13  
Old 22 Mar 2006
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Gipper, how have you found the suunto dash compass, would you recommend it? Did it need calibrating? or anything fiddly like that?
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  #14  
Old 22 Mar 2006
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Richard,
This is the one I have:

http://www.aerostich.com/product.php...cat=341&page=1

Theres lots of different ways it will mount - either flat or on the small raised plastic platform supplied (how I have it)- as its easy to level then - I also use it as a 'spirit level' to make sure the rover is fairly level for the roof tent.
The fact that it has a backlight and compensators was good and its not so large it takes over the whole dash.

To set it up I just lined the vehicle up with the cardinal points - from outside, using a hand bearing compass (standing a good 10 metres behind) then adjust the compensators till I get the most accurate reading at ALL points of the compass - it does take a while and you get some strange looks from the neighbors !!!
It is just a couple of degrees out at a few points around the compass - its been on the dash in sunlight in some very hot temperatures in Mali no problem - its oil filled and well damped and not too expensive.
- if you want I can email a photo no problem.
Cheers
Grif
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  #15  
Old 22 Mar 2006
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Quote:
Originally posted by Robbert:
As long as you're not into plotting routes where no one has gone before
Isn't this what we all dream about? ;-) I think it's great to have the tools around to do such thing when the opportunity (or need?) arises.

But you're right, one should ask himself what he actually expects and then decide what to take along.


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