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Old 22 Aug 2008
Xander's Avatar
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GPS re-education please.

G'day all.

I have been using GPS's for years now, but for GIS data collection and remote sensing type stuff. I have used a tom tom thing once for navigation (and it got us lost).. This means i have no clue as to what makes a good GPS for navigation. I have always needed a GPS to be very accurate to <1m (in all 360 degs) and as i have always been on foot, so speed has never been that important (as they have always tended to be faster then me anyway). Signal acquisition in dense canopies has always been really important. But It seems to me that (except for the last) a navigation GPS needs other things...

So any GPS GODS out there? I don't really need or want a turn by turn Tom tom type thing. I usually navigate by paper maps (OS). Oh I really dont have a clue. what even to ask. Our Trip (hopefully) will centre around Africa and South america with a bit of Asia thrown in (so road map for the GPS may or may not exist anyway).
Basically i would like to be able to: 1) track where we have been, 2) trade way points/ routes with other travellers, 3) find out where the hell we are when we are really lost (the one thing maps are not real good at). Other then that i dont know what they can do other then data collections.

any suggestions?
2000 Africa Twin
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Old 22 Aug 2008
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Location: Mid Wales
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No basemaps

I've similarly used GPS for data aquisition but have also used my trusty old Garmin 12 for navigation with no base map which worked o.k. if I had the co-ordinates of my destination which is a bit hit and miss.
I once ended up 20 meters from my destination but the wrong side of a Canal. Doh.
I supposed I'm now in the same situation as you.
Sorry just realised this reply is no use at all.
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Old 23 Aug 2008
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Location: Whangarei, NZ
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Problem with GPS in third world countries is the lack of good maps. 2 solutions:

1. Get a decent Garmin GPS and the world map from smellybiker.com. Recommended models are the 60Cx or CSx. If you have lots of money to spend the Zumo is good with a much bigger touch screen. For some parts of the planet you may find other downloadable maps of varying quality.

2. Get a PDA with inbuilt GPS and software like TTQV or OziExplorer. A friend of mine uses that and photographs whatever paper maps he can find, enters a few reference points for the map and then loads them into the PDA. He then kind of "rides" on the map. However, most PDAs can't withstand getting wet, so you either pack it away in the rain or buy a box for it.

Europe to NZ 2006-10
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Old 24 Aug 2008
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Location: Sydney, NSW, Australia
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Originally Posted by Xander View Post
So any GPS GODS out there?
No god here. But you should have asked at the HU meeting... I had both GPS and PDA there ..

Some comments -
The PDA screen washes out in bright sunlight (ok in UK then ... but not so good in Africa.

The GPS maps lacks detail in remoter places. That is fine out of larger cities. But the cheif advantange of the GPS is the map detail in large cities.

On the PDA I use oziexplorer. Rater maps are avalible for Afica (free off the web) and India - both of these are old military maps .. so lack city details and the updates. Not a great worry for navigation between cities.

Oh accuracy - 20 metres is fine for navigation on the bike. Wrong side of the canal or not - you will be able to get there ... and the extra distance is not so bad on the bike compared to walking. Just to put teh accuracy in perspective - teh 'world maps' typically have accuracys of 1 or 2 km .. they are a guide ... like looing a a map of the UK while navigating London. )

For the GPS .. I use Garmin simply because that is teh one brand that had a 'world map' when I bought it. Since then I've learnt how to make my own maps for it .. so have a considerable investment in knowledge for it. There are now lots of resources open to me that maen i can make a Garmin GPS map for anywhere I can get a paper map of. And some places already have Garmin GPS maps ... you need to do some minor processing .. but they save a lot of work.

I find the GPS is a real blessing in cities .. guideing me to a place I want to get to. In the country side ... I don't mind doing some 'exploring' so being lost is not so much of a concern.
Regards Frank Warner
motorcycles BMW R80 G/S 1981, BMW K11LT 1993, BMW K75 G/S
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