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Navigation - Maps, Compass, GPS How to find your way - traditional map, compass and road signs, or GPS and more
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  #1  
Old 4 May 2007
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How useful is a GPS?

I am debating whether to get a GPS. Can anyone tell me how helpful they really are (say for a USA to Argentia trip)? I have done Mexico and Costa Rica with paper maps with no problem. And I'm getting fed up with the whole digitial age too -- do i really need to take a digicam, cell phone, MP3 player, and GPS. I am travelling to see the world, not a small LCD screen. And I won't venture too far from paved roads. So would the GPS just be another gadget, or a practical tool for navigation?
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  #2  
Old 4 May 2007
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Paper maps are fine but how many paper maps can you carry ?
The garmin 60cx and 76cx both can hold all of the US and Canada road maps (down to street level) on a 2GB card.
I think you can get maps for CA and SA and keep them on another card.
Example of Evergreen.
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How useful is a GPS?-evergreen2.jpg  


Last edited by John Ferris; 4 May 2007 at 22:57.
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  #3  
Old 5 May 2007
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Hi
Argentina maps from “Proyecto Mapear” are 65MB include all auto-routing data.
Bob’s Wanderlust Worldmap for all the rest of the Americas are +/- 230MB
So you even can hold all in one 2 GB card


How useful is a GPS?-example-of-ushuaia.jpg
Example of Ushuaia from Mapear Maps

Saludos.

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  #4  
Old 5 May 2007
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I'm now convinced.
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  #5  
Old 6 Jul 2007
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Cool You're only lost if you have a destination..

We've just completed 3 years through North, Central & South America with paper maps & a bar mounted compass.
Admittedly you can't have anorak discussions about how big you're RAM or LCD is but you also don't worry too much about losing your $5 map!

I think the main times where one would have paid off are trying to get through major cities or on unmarked dirt trails in salt flats or deserts.

If you want to 'loose plan' a trip mainly on tarmac roads through rural areas then it aint really a problem, there's usually only one road in your direction anyway.

If you're trying to break some Guiness Book record or want to disappear into the Atacama desert then getting lost may be relevant, you are always somewhere & the unexpected ends to the day's travel can be the most memorable.
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  #6  
Old 26 Aug 2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lew&Anita View Post
you are always somewhere & the unexpected ends to the day's travel can be the most memorable.

I second that motion!
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  #7  
Old 26 Aug 2008
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I have a Garmin Zumo but I also love maps.
I use the map for the main navigation but then rely on the GPS for the final few miles of my journey, mainly in cities.
There is a place for both of them in navigation but I would tend to trust my map and my own instinct more than I would trust any satnav.
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  #8  
Old 26 Aug 2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lew&Anita View Post
...........getting lost may be relevant, you are always somewhere & the unexpected ends to the day's travel can be the most memorable.
You can have both worlds.

Just turn off your GPS and get lost.

Then if it turns out to be, not so memorable after all, turn it on and get out of there. ;o))
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  #9  
Old 26 Aug 2008
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Originally Posted by pbekkerh View Post
You can have both worlds.

Just turn off your GPS and get lost.

Then if it turns out to be, not so memorable after all, turn it on and get out of there. ;o))
Too right. The Sun Compass may add to the adventure, but I still like the safety net of having Mr. Garmin on the bars. It's also the fast way to get through places (city suburbs etc.) where the only adventures will be the sort you don't really want to have.

Andy
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  #10  
Old 27 Aug 2008
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Even if you don't have maps for a particular small town, you could use the trackback feature to get back to the hotel. You'd get the general direction in which you are travelling, which can be a help even if your map is not too accurate.

Just because you have a GPS, does not mean that you have to peer at it day and night and do as it says. The trip computer is handy, too.
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  #11  
Old 27 Aug 2008
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I'm just using google maps on my mobile phone, works a treat. Only problem is that it isn't waterproof...
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  #12  
Old 27 Aug 2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lew&Anita View Post
I think the main times where one would have paid off are trying to get through major cities or on unmarked dirt trails in salt flats or deserts.
An especially good reason to use GPS - if you're only going to follow paved roads. There's almost no detail maps for cities - ones that show the entire city instead of just the detail for "central".

Using GPS to find your way through any city does make it worth it. In much of CA and SA, there's not a lot of road signs, the streets are never straight - they wind around and its easy to loose track of your north/south orientation - and the main roads have a habit of "disappearing" into neighborhoods. Just zoom out so you can keep an eye on the highway you want to exit on, keep following the bigger city streets that take you in the direction of the highway out the other side of town and - "no problema"!
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  #13  
Old 27 Aug 2008
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A GPS is very usefull in big cities but is is also safer on the open road because you don't have to look away from the road at the map in your tank bag. (A member of our GoldWing club had a fatal accident because he did not saw the traffic jam while he was looking at the map and ran into the stopped car at the end of the traffic jam)
I have my Tomtom on my handlebar, next to my left mirror so I can see it while not looking to far away from the road before me.

I never do detailed route planing. I just choose some cities and go from one to the other, telling the Tomtom to avoid freeways/take the shortest route
That almost always brings me on nice secondary roads that I like.
If it is time to fill the tank, I let the Tomtom show me the nearest gas station. The same with banks and hotels.
I did travel in the US, in South Africa and all over Europe without a GPS with no probelms but now I have one, I would not like to be without it. (But I always carry some paper maps too, as a backup)
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  #14  
Old 28 Aug 2008
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I think its all down to personal preference rather than usefulness. I enjoy planning routes that will best suit me and using navigation skills to follow them, and getting as far away from cities and "safety nets" as possible is the main reason I travel, so for me its maps every time.

Just think how much fuel, food, etc. a few hundred quids-worth of gagdet can buy!
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  #15  
Old 28 Aug 2008
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Ever the frugal one ( cheapskate if you like) I concur with Lew &Anita.
How much dough is really involved in getting these electronic on-board video games to work ? First you have to buy the basic gizmos to carry along, then no doubt it starts to pile up with the investments required in all the various regional map programs, the computers needed to reprogram all this stuff for your particular tastes in routes etc. etc. the newest upgrades. And then the computer skills you need to run all this stuff of which I have zilch and no desire to get into either, - more time and $$ better spent actually on a trip.
Then the question of who programmed all the stuff no doubt including their particular bias as to where the gas stations, services etc. are that they favor or get sponsorship from .
Unless one is really exploring into unpopulated roadless dangerous tracts , or on a paid commercial night run where speed and acuracy are important I rweally can't see much purpose in gettting such electronics.
There is entertainment in just wandering and exploring , budget plenty of time to enjoy it with a basic or detailed paper map
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