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  #1  
Old 18 Sep 2010
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GPS vs paper maps of central America?

Most people seem to be navigating with paper maps of CA and SA. Does anyone know if it`s possible to get good, accurate GPS maps of those areas and is it worth it, or would it be better to use the old fashioned method?

Thanks
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  #2  
Old 18 Sep 2010
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Mapears is Awesome!

I can't say for Central America but the free Routable Garmin Map named Mapears is great for Argentina, Uruguay, and Chile. I tried it out last week and was amazed, every dirt road was on it and the routing worked grat!
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  #3  
Old 19 Sep 2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr Steam Turbine View Post
I can't say for Central America but the free Routable Garmin Map named Mapears is great for Argentina, Uruguay, and Chile. I tried it out last week and was amazed, every dirt road was on it and the routing worked grat!
Good find. Didn't know about these. In case somebody else wants to download the maps: They are at Proyecto Mapear . Instructions in English at http://www.proyectomapear.com.ar/eng_tutorial/index.htm

IMHO it is always worth to have a paper map. Easier for planning and nice to have the treeware backup. GPS maps can be wrong and GPS units can die.

Cheers
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  #4  
Old 19 Sep 2010
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Garmin makes a mapset for Central America. I have it, though i have never tried it for accuracy
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  #5  
Old 20 Sep 2010
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Mapear was invaluable for me, but useless for Bolivia. Paper maps were also invaluable for route planning, and also as confirmation of GPS and vice-versa.

We went over 24,000km with only one significant misdirection (i.e. more than 100km) and that was in Bolivia where virtually every road was under construction and the "desvio" was king.
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  #6  
Old 20 Sep 2010
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There is no Mapear for Bolivia. I use ConoSur for Bolivia. For Brasil, i use TracSource.
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  #7  
Old 26 Sep 2010
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I got a tip from another forum about a map called Smellybiker's wonderlust worldmap.

Smellybiker's Wanderlust Worldmap • Index page

Unfortunately, it looks like the test/demo option has been disabled. Has anyone else heard about this?

I'm also on my way south from NA, through CA, and to SA in a norwegian Nissan Patrol. Info on unurban

And thanks for the tip about Mapear!

E
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  #8  
Old 26 Sep 2010
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The mapset i use for north/central/south america is the following:
Canada/USA- Garmin City Navigator North America
Mexico - BiciMapas Mexico MEXICO GPS ATLAS GARMIN
CentralAm - BiciMapas Latino GPS Atlas Latin America GPS Atlas
Colombia - Colrut Colrut | Mapas ruteables
Venezuela - VenRut gpsyv.net Hogar del VENRUT, el Mapa GPS Ruteable de Venezuela para Equipos Garmin Nuvi, GPSMap, Nokia y HTC
Brasil - TrackSource Tracksource - Mapas Gratuitos para GPS
Uruguay, Argentina, Chile, Paraguay - Mapear Proyecto Mapear
Peru - Perut perut.org - Introduccion
Bolivia - ViajerosMapas ViajerosMapas - Mapas gratis para GPS
Ecuador - Proyecto Ecuador Ruteable Mapas Ecuador GPS :: Indice
Suriname - Garmin Suriname Map Online Map Of Suriname
Fr.Guyana, Guyana - Garmin World Map


While these GPS mapset i am using is the best available, it is not perfect by any means. Outside of cities, midsized towns, and major roads, the mapset is vastly inferior to good local paper maps.

Last edited by gunt86; 2 Oct 2010 at 19:18.
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  #9  
Old 2 Oct 2010
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Hi Guys,

Call me stupid, but I'm pretty frustrated at this point. I'm meeting my bike in Chile on Wednesday and been gleaning over all this GPS stuff and am totally confused. I think my brain just can't process this stuff anymore.

My GPS is a Garmin 755T. I bought it because of the SD card and the ability to play music. I found out how to unlock it and somehow have been able to load a Peru map on it. But I am taking a Macbook with me and I thought I could learn and load maps en-route.

Yesterday, I read on Garmin that I need to install "Mapconverter" and convert maps from a PC to Mac to be able to download maps from my Macbook to the GPS.. Is this true? Then I find out that when you download maps onto the SD cards, it deletes any other info that on the card. It appears to me that finding and installing maps is a complicated process.

All I want is a map set of Central and South America, similar to the North America map.. Is there a simple way or simple procedure to install the maps needed or would it be simpler to just buy a new GPS in South America? And If I did that, would it have a map set like that of North America?

Any help would be greatly appreciated.

Yes, you are allowed to laugh a my stupidity.... so long as you help.

Mark
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  #10  
Old 2 Oct 2010
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Have you tried Garmin Worldmap (can get it off Bittorrents)? Might be what you have on your base map anyway if your GPS is from the other side of the pond. That's all I used (in conjunction with paper maps) and as all you really need is to check you're heading for the correct next town and be able to save the odd waypoint etc, I found it perfectly adequate.
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  #11  
Old 2 Oct 2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mjredl View Post
Yesterday, I read on Garmin that I need to install "Mapconverter" and convert maps from a PC to Mac to be able to download maps from my Macbook to the GPS.. Is this true? Then I find out that when you download maps onto the SD cards, it deletes any other info that on the card. It appears to me that finding and installing maps is a complicated process.
Sorry man, but your problem is that you have a Mac. The best advice i can give to you is for you to make your Mac into a dual-boot machine which can run Windows XP. When you have Windows running, then you can do amazing things with GPS mapsets. There are some excellent forums about how to find, unlock, load, modify, configure mapsets...i suggest you check out noeman.org
It takes a bit of tech skills to mess around with all these mapsets, but all the instructions are on that website. By the way, you can combine maps into one mapset and then load it onto the Garmin. The device + SD Card can hold four separate mapsets if they are all named correctly. Read the forum for all the details. Too complicated to explain to you in a post here.

I reread your post, and it seems like you have a Windows machine at home, but are taking a Mac on the trip. If you do have access to a Windows machine and you have Mapsource installed, then you are pretty much there. I assume you have Garmin City Navigator NorthAm on the GPS factory install. Before opening Mapsource, download and install all the maps in my list to your Windows machine. Then open Mapsource, connect your GPS unit, select each map with the yellow mapselect tool, then SEND TO Device (select SD Card). This will combine all the SouthAM map sets into one mapset and put it on your SD Card. If you have another mapset on the SD Card, it will be erased unless you rename it before you do the instructions i gave you. have fun!

Last edited by gunt86; 2 Oct 2010 at 19:48.
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  #12  
Old 4 Oct 2010
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Hi guys,

Thanks for the replies. You basically told me what I suspected. Yes, I do have XP on my MAC at home, but even installing from XP seems to be a huge learning curve for me. Do I take the time while on my adventure to sit in front of the computer when I could be out socializing and ? Beer sounds like a lot more fun.... I have maps and can buy more. As mentioned by numerous riders, maps invite interaction with people.

Just wondering now if buying a similar unit in South America would come with a map set of the continent, like North America? It could save me a bunch of time and as the old saying goes "Time is money"...

Thanks again

Mark
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  #13  
Old 5 Oct 2010
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Maps: OpenStreetMap
You might need "img2gps" software (free) to upload img files.

Mac: Get Parallels Desktop or something similar. Works a treat for me.
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  #14  
Old 5 Oct 2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bjorn View Post
Maps: OpenStreetMap
You might need "img2gps" software (free) to upload img files.

Mac: Get Parallels Desktop or something similar. Works a treat for me.
OpenStreetMap Garmin maps can be had here: Worldwide routable Garmin maps from OpenStreetMap Mac compatible. You may have to download a free program from Garmin to manage the maps.

It is my understanding from what I have read in passing in other forums that MapSource (Garmin's Windows application) doesn't run in emulators. It needs Garmin Windows USB drivers, you see...

Smellybiker.com: contact Bob (owner) via PM on the site to find out if/when the map will be released.
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  #15  
Old 10 Oct 2010
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GPS vs paper maps

I've done central America three times (I live in Panama) and pretty much all of South America. IMHO, you need all three: GPS, paper maps, and lots of info from locals. No one of these is always accurate. Some of the available GPS maps are great (Mapear and ConoSur for Chile and Argentina), but others, like for Bolivia, are way off. Even the paper maps are often missing roads or have roads on them that don't exist. My advice: use both types of maps, and then ask at least three locals about where you want to go. If you receive the same answer twice you can figure you have a 60% chance that it's right.

In other words: try everything, but be flexible. And remember, getting lost is just an excuse for going somewhere that you didn't know existed ! Have fun.
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