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Old 10 Mar 2008
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Location: Surrey, England
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GPS for 4x4 for Eastern Europe, Russia, The Stans, China, South East Asia and Oz

Know the answer is probably in here somewhere but not found it so far. Leaving in May on the above-route and had been recommended to get a Garmin 276c. Not sure why as it seems quite old and I'm driving not sailing. And was perhaps a bit naive asking the spotty kid in Dixons the other day. Been in touch with Bob Morley @ Wanderlust maps and he recommended Garmin. Basically want a unit for my car that -
  • Has a good size memory
  • Clear to read and easy to use
  • Has a compass, barometer and can provide a grid reference
  • Can readily remove it
  • Can put an antenna on it if need be
  • Can store the best maps for the route I'm doing (and what would these maps be)
Have previously used Tom Tom on a PDA but no little more about this world. Can someone please put my out my misery

Cheers for any help people

Graham Naismith
Drive to Oz - From Croydon to Cairns
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Old 10 Mar 2008
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Location: Southampton
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Hi Graham,

I am very happy with our solution, which again took a couple of attempts to find. We use a PDA which means you can use several diffrent types of software. For our trip, which as you know is quite a similar route to yours, we will be using Ozi-explorer and I-GO. I-Go has street level mapping all the way to Russia which seems pretty unusual. Then Oziexplorer you have to buy/scann in the maps yourself. But saying that I've already bought a couple and couple help you out with them In fact I have to buy a couple more, so we could get togther for that too.

As for the PDA I LOVE our Fujitsu Siemens Pocket Loox N560. I think you can pick these up for about £250 from e-bay now. I can't remember where your based, but if you wanted to pop buy and have a look one day we might be able to work something out, but I'm not around during the week.

The PDA has built in GPS (and wifi/bluetooth/infrared etc) and does not give us any problems with reception. But you can (I think) stick another antenna on it too). Check out our review section for more details of where we went wrong the first time.

Jenny and Ollie's Big Trip

Also see this thread:


The only down side is the PDA is not rugged, but you can spend £50+ on a rugged case if that is a worry for you. Otterbox make nice cases and I use mine on my mountainbike.

Also, if you are taking a laptop you can use that as backup, by buying a cheapish GPS mouse and using some of the freely available software.

PM/email me if you want to know more


Land's End to Sydney 2009
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Old 12 Mar 2008
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Originally Posted by savagefox View Post
[*]Has a compass, barometer and can provide a grid reference
A cheap compass can be had for less than they charge for adding it to a GPS.

Barometers need constant adjustment for weather changes - unless you're tracking the weather - then changes for alitude are required. A GPS with out a barometer will give you an aproximate height above sea level ... so I'd not bother with it.

Most (all?) have settings for dataum and projections .. should have every thing you'd ever want from BNG to ADG ...

If you get a Garmin .. then bob's wanderlust map might be the best way to go - particularly for Russia. For OZ then Tracks 4 Australia - do a search ... I've posted it before.

I've a Ipac PDA thingy as well as a 60Cx .. the screen on the PDA is not that good in bright sunlight .. the GPS is much better.
Regards Frank Warner
motorcycles BMW R80 G/S 1981, BMW K11LT 1993, BMW K75 G/S
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Old 12 Mar 2008
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On our PDA the sunlight is not a problem. especially as you, like us, will be sat in a car with volunteers to be reading the details. We also have a Garmin V, which although is good in sunlight, is impossible to navigate by (if you have got yourself used to modern varieties of GPS), anothjer PDA which did suffer from the sunlight issue, and a laptop, which was just inconvenient and hot on one's laps! We had to use this as our backup when PDA nr 1 went kerput. It worked and was great backup, but definitely don't use it as you main navigation.

Personally, and you may see this from what I'm writing, I think if you are in a 4x4 you are much better suited to a descent PDA as this can be used as so much more, and also so many different ways as a GPS. For instance I have the WHOLE of the UK on OS maps, 1->25k, which is brilliant for walking, cycling, greenlaning, canoing etc. But on top of this I have UK -> Russia street level mapping. Then after Russia you can use ozi explorer to scan in or buy more maps. I think you may even be able to use the wanderlust maps too. If not you certainly can have them on your back up laptop.

On top of all that the PDA can be used for surfing, spreadsheets, viewing photos, in fact any thing you can think of that a PC does, to a certain extent.

The only down side that I can think of, is that they may be less robust. But I'm not sure that is goign to be a real issue either.

I am biased now that I have found one I love though


Land's End to Sydney 2009
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Old 12 Mar 2008
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The problem with standard GPS systems (Garmin, TomTom etc.) is that they work well with vector maps. But these maps are only available for mainly Western Europe, North America and a few specials like South Africa, i.e. where sales are high enough to make the production effort worthwhile. They are fit for auto-routing.

For all other regions/countries the only possibility is to get digitalised maps or scan them yourself. These are then normally in bitmap or jpeg format, which consumes lots of memory space. This format cannot be used for auto-routing.

IMHO PDAs or so-called tablet PCs are the best option for the second type of maps, as Jenny has explained very nicely. Besides that, they can be used like a normal GPS system with the suitable software and above mentioned vector maps. Additionally they offer usage of text programmes, spreadsheet programmes and the like.

Of course these PDAs aren't as robust as e.g. some of Garmin's systems, as Frank has pointed out. But some companies offer to rework the PDA to make sure it is waterproof and rugged enough to take some bashing. See here. Übersetzte Version von http://www.andres-industries.de/rugged_pda/
Next to that, the base plate could be mounted on rubber dampers to reduce the vibrations.

Altogether the PDA option isn't cheap. To equip the system with the necessary software like "Pathaway" and "Navigon", additional software is needed for the PC to rework maps etc. using something like "Touratech QV". This probably amounts to around 1,000 Euros. Now you're on the same price level as top systems like Garmin's 278-series.


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