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  #1  
Old 31 Oct 2006
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How to work with GPS

Hi

I got no idea on the GPS, but after getting some info regarding the benefit of it if i carry it along with my RTW motorbike i think it will be a very useful tool. So hope you guys may give me some advise:

1. Any good recomendation of a good GPS gadget? clear at day time and sharp at night view.
2. Is that the GPS real time with our current position not matter where we are? even in the desert?
3. Is that we need to pre-load the related area map so that the GPS gadget can show where we are? if it is, how can it do that since it seems like we cut it in the middle way and want it point out where is the way we should go....
4. Will the map shows up even in the undeveloped area such as Myanmar? or as long we got the softcopy of map, it will works? if like that how could we get all the map because no body will go and develop the non-profit area
5. Will we need to pay for the use of satelite for positioning?


Hope kindness from you to answer my doubts

ahkeong
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  #2  
Old 31 Oct 2006
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Smile

It will work anywhere where the signal is not disturbed by buildings or overhead cover (ie: it does not work inside a building or where tree cover is too dense) In most units you need at least visibility/connection to 3 Satelites to get a fix. You only pay once for the unit, no subscriptions. The units whether Garmin or Magellan or any other will tell you where you are real time and to an accuracy of a few meters.
On the map issue , that gets a little more complex. Some units have the capability of downloading Maps other don't. You do not get Maps of all the countries/areas you want. But you can use third party software to down load waypoints etc on your unit. Best is to use a Paper map in conjunction with your GPS in countries where dedicated software maps are not available. Hope this helps. Try this site for some basic tutorials. Have fun!
http://www.trimble.com/gps/index.shtml
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  #3  
Old 31 Oct 2006
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Smile Need to read some on this

Unfortunately, this is a slightly complex topic, and unless you read up a bit, you'll stay in the dark.

Lots of informative pages if you google for it. There are a lot of factors involved in choosing you GPS, and you have to know what is important to you - and what you can do without.

Quite a lot of great info on this site too, including some good links.

Last edited by a1arn; 1 Nov 2006 at 05:26.
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  #4  
Old 2 Nov 2006
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Desert Rat
It will work anywhere where the signal is not disturbed by buildings or overhead cover (ie: it does not work inside a building or where tree cover is too dense) In most units you need at least visibility/connection to 3 Satelites to get a fix. You only pay once for the unit, no subscriptions. The units whether Garmin or Magellan or any other will tell you where you are real time and to an accuracy of a few meters.
On the map issue , that gets a little more complex. Some units have the capability of downloading Maps other don't. You do not get Maps of all the countries/areas you want. But you can use third party software to down load waypoints etc on your unit. Best is to use a Paper map in conjunction with your GPS in countries where dedicated software maps are not available. Hope this helps. Try this site for some basic tutorials. Have fun!
http://www.trimble.com/gps/index.shtml
Desert Rat

Thanks for your answer.

So if i really cant get the map even through thrid party software, will it show up anything? i mean where am i, how far to nearest city, stay connected with others by telling my actual position?

And as i know, some Garmen GPS gadget does support satelite radio, is it also free? can the radio used as local radio receiver?

thanks
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  #5  
Old 2 Nov 2006
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Quote:
Originally Posted by a1arn
Unfortunately, this is a slightly complex topic, and unless you read up a bit, you'll stay in the dark.

Lots of informative pages if you google for it. There are a lot of factors involved in choosing you GPS, and you have to know what is important to you - and what you can do without.

Quite a lot of great info on this site too, including some good links.

a1arn

Thanks for your suggestion, will look through Desert Rat recommend website.

What GPS system that you are using now? can share some experience?
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  #6  
Old 2 Nov 2006
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If you want maps then you have to look at what areas of the world you want to cover. Garmin coverage looks to be better world wide.. but Magellan has better maps in some places .. there are more Gramin 'free' maps available for different places around the world.. if all depends on where you want to go

For my Africa/Europe/Asia trip I have a Garmin 60Cx .. the 'x' means it takes flash memory cards .. on one card I have Africa, 2 cards to do east and west Europe, and another card for Asia.. the number of cards reflects the quantity of data avalible.

"How far from a place" yes - they will do that .. but as the crow fly’s and only to places on their internal map.. I was 3 km out in 90 km from where I snapped a swing arm pivot pin to the next 'town' .. that 'town' was a mining operation .. it closed 2 weeks prior to my arrival .. only a caretaker there.. 3 year previous it was a booming operation looking at opening another site some km away... things change ..maps (of any description) are always out of date.
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  #7  
Old 2 Nov 2006
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They are neat gadgets, but what will it do for you...really?

Just to have one, OK...

They can supplement basic navigation very well, if that's what you're seeking.
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  #8  
Old 2 Nov 2006
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- A smallish GPS like the 60C will mount well on a RAM mount on a bike. The backlight changes for day and night so the visibility is good. They are also relatively easy to connect to the bike's power supply.
- The GPS will give you your time wherever you are. Most are adjustable, but who uses a GPS for telling the time anyway?
- If you are in places that don't have good commercial GPS maps available (just about everywhere interesting) there are several options: You can use (for instance) Garmin's world map which is rough but useful (it should come free with the Garmin unit). It will show the main population centres, highways etc.; You can also create tracks by plotting your course on Google Earth and downloading to your GPS; You can use a PDA-based program (like OZiExplorer) where you scan and calibrate pictures of paper maps into a PDA which you then connect to a GPS.
Basically, if you don't want to spend months working out everything about remote-use GPS then go the first option and pair it with a paper map. Works for me.

You don't want to spend too much time on this issue...it becomes an obsession!

cheers
Brett
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  #9  
Old 2 Nov 2006
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ahkeong_m
a1arn

Thanks for your suggestion, will look through Desert Rat recommend website.

What GPS system that you are using now? can share some experience?
I have a Garmin legend C.

I needed something small (usable for trekking as well) with a reasonable colour display, and battery life was very important. It has auto routing as well, which I have not used, as there are no routable maps for India.

It is not a substitute for a paper map, but I have used it to navigate to places where I have already been using waypoints and the trackback feature. It also makes a very handy trip computer for the bike (avg speeds, compass etc).

Even though there is no autorouting, you can transfer co ordinates from something like wikimapia to it and make waypoints - which can be subsequently be used for ROUGH navigation - you'll reach within a 200m radius, using the bearing.

All in all, I've found it pretty useful, - at least one can backtrack and extricate oneself from wherever (urban or rural) if lost.
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  #10  
Old 3 Nov 2006
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Before asking further question, i have to confess myself have zero in GPS so that you will not wonder how can i ask this easy/stupid question.


Brett

- 'You can also create tracks by plotting your course on Google Earth and downloading to your GPS; You can use a PDA-based program (like OZiExplorer) where you scan and calibrate pictures of paper maps into a PDA which you then connect to a GPS. ' ---- If we use the Googel Earth, how the GPS know our current location match with the map provided by Googel Earth or even the paper maps that we upload into it?

Frank warner
- is that the 'card' bought separately or we can save it into hard disk then use a common memory card (I dont know which type of memory card that Garmin devise use). It will save a lot of cost, and we may share with others with the latest map, not using the outdated map which may probable lead us to wrong way.

alarn
-could you further explain what is 'autorouting' about
- can the GPS system direct link with labtop or PDA device which shows track/path that we have gone through? If can help us in tracing back the route




if any break down of the GPS device, what could we do/ any support we can obtain?

Any recommendation which model/brand of GPS gadget that i should buy? I hope to get a memory expandable, real time tracing, linkage with labtop to trace back the past route, water/weather proof


thanks for the answering

Last edited by ahkeong_m; 3 Nov 2006 at 01:26.
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  #11  
Old 3 Nov 2006
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Auto routable units with compatible maps will chart out a route for you from your start to end point (which you enter), along existing roads so long as those points/addresses are there on the map. Depending on the unit you may get audio prompts as to where to turn, or it may be explained on the screen. A unit without this will give you a bearing to your destination as the crow flies, not along roads, so you will not be prompted as to which road to take.

Most GPS units can be linked to a computer, though you can use the screen on the unit for tracking back as well.

You can also get some basic info on "howstuffworks.com"

There are no "stupid" questions, we all have to start somewhere, but you'd make it a lot easier for yourself if you read up a bit. A lot of things may not be there on this site, and you will definitely not be aware of them until you start to browse a good GPS related site.

It will also help you to choose which unit would be the best for you - for your specific requirements and circumstances.

Manufacturers do have some support for their units - but you have to pay for the shipping in most cases. I had my original defective unit replaced by Garmin but am totally unimpressed by their tech support.

Last edited by a1arn; 3 Nov 2006 at 20:07.
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  #12  
Old 4 Nov 2006
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after check through Garmin website,the gadget's price is reasonable but i wonder how can the map being so expensive, it easily cost more USD100. is that any alternative? or any channel that we can buy 'second hand' map from other travellers?
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  #13  
Old 5 Nov 2006
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Memory card vary form unit to unit - some are garmin only and very expensive. I think all the 'x' ones use SD micro cards .. but could be wrong.

The price of the maps reflects the amount of data on the map .. they certainly contain a LOT more information than one paper map.. 'Shareing' copywrite stuff is not leagal. Some maps are 'locked' and not usable by more than 2 GPSers that you get codes for .. so shareing in not all that possible ... You can get some free maps off the web http://mapcenter.cgpsmapper.com/catalogue.php.. like all free stuff .. some is good .. a little is less than good .. but anythoing is better than nothing.

I have bough Garmin 'World Map' - good for long range planning .. but no detail ... you can use some of the above free maps to get detail in various places .. and there are some excellent maps in Oz and Africa provided you don't want city detail.
If you want city type stuff then you probably want 'autorouting' too and that costs ... lots. But it does save getting lost in teh city .. and in europe there are lots of them and they are confusing for people with no idea of the layouts.
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  #14  
Old 6 Nov 2006
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Frank

But we still can get from others who dont want the map anymore (since they had finished their tour). this may save us a lot of money rather than we buy the city map with few hundred dollar
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  #15  
Old 7 Nov 2006
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It depends on teh map product ... some are not 'locked' and can be used without problems ..
Others are 'locked' .. that means in order to use them you need a code from Garmin.. and to get that code you need to supply Garmin with the product serial number and teh GPS serial number and then they work out a code .. you can get two codes .. so you can use it with two GPSes.. but after that you cannot get any more codes from Garmin ... so buying a used 'locked' product is not a good idea.

You need to go and talk to a Garmin dealer .. they should have displays units to play with .. including a pc with teh maps to look at .. you'll get a lot more understanding from them and the feel of things in your hands.
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