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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 30 May 2005
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Is this wise?

Hello,

My friend and I are preparing a trip from Belgium to Congo on two motorbikes next year.

Since a while I'm searching info for a good GPS that could help us leading the way.
After several nights of searching the internet (and this board really helped me alot) I came to the following;

A GPS is a really nice thing when you ride along good ways in countries that have good software of the roads you ride on.

For Africa, where it isn't obvious to have detailed roaddescription, it is maybe more wise to do it 'oldschool' with a good map, a compass, the sun and the stars.
And having a nice GPS with a worldmap as a backup to tell you where you are on this globe if you lost the road.

Is this correct? Offcourse there're going to be people who disagree, but my question is; is it wise to do it this way? Or is a GPS a must?

Thanks for you comment!
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  #2  
Old 30 May 2005
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ALWAYS remember that a GPS can fail - and then you HAVE to do it "old school" anyway.

A GPS merely makes most navigation easier and more convenient, but you still have to have a map etc.

Part of the fun of travelling is talking to locals - and trying to figure out where the next town is is a great way to start talking.

hth...

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  #3  
Old 31 May 2005
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You might consider buying a very basic GPS unit that will calculate your current position.With this info you could then use a UTM grid to find your position on the map.This info would be usefull for finding your way back to the correct road,or if you needed to give your location to someone else(medical emergency,fuel/water caches,ect.).
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  #4  
Old 31 May 2005
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But then you need a grid for each country... are they hard to find?
+ wich GPS unit has enough memory to store a garmin worldmap when I go for the first option?
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  #5  
Old 1 Jun 2005
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Better to forget UTM's they are generally on military mapping and nowhere else...and use what is most commonly used - good old Lat and Long, combined with as new, accurate paper maps as you can find (use the correct Datum) - GPS maps can be innacurate and never show enough detail in the places you need, ie anywhere interesting !!! - and as Grant says a GPS can fail at any time - I have had a GPS unit fail before - a pain but not a problem as I was using a good vehicle compass and dead reckoning at the same time.
If you are really off the beaten track carry 2 units backed up with a good compass and make regular notes of your location.
As for a good GPS - theres lots about - check out the threads, but Garmin do good quality units and they have good customer support.
Cheers
Grif

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  #6  
Old 1 Jun 2005
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A GPS unit will show both UTM and Lat./Long. coordinates(selectable in the menu options).Either way you'll need to select a geographic coordinate system that you can use in the field with accuracy.If you're more comfortable with Lat./Long.,then you'll still need a scaled ruler set to find your location on a paper map.Most likely you will end up with a collection of maps using several different scales.If you have any interest,take a look at www.maptools.com
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  #7  
Old 1 Jul 2005
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To rely on GPS alone is a bad idea. GPS is to confirm what you have already established from map, ground and (maybe) compass. It is easy to be too reliant on GPS and get badly caught out.
good map, good compass and good GPS=happy days
any of those missing, start to ask questions
always treat a GPS with suspicion and trust your instinct
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  #8  
Old 1 Jul 2005
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ps if you are using gps to paper maps remember to set the gps to the right map datum. it is a common mistake and can lead to quite big inaccuracies. the datum used should be marked on the map. Michelin maps don't have lat and long any more. I have transposed it accross to mine fom an atlas and ign, which showed the inaccuracies of the maps, massive differences in the location of even quite big towns. proved that the best way is lots of information from different sources and the follow your instinct.
I have found Garmins world map to be quite inaccurate (see posts else where) with sometimes over 1km discrepancy in my actual position to where Garmins map tells me. The GPS is accurate to a few metres, it's the built in map that isn't.
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  #9  
Old 19 Aug 2005
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Quote:
Originally posted by jelvis:
For Africa, where it isn't obvious to have detailed roaddescription, it is maybe more wise to do it 'oldschool' with a good map, a compass, the sun and the stars.
[/B]
I (a Belgian too) do not agree that GPS cannot be used in countries without roads. last year we visited Marocco (plateau du Reckham and all the Atlasses) with 2 2CV-Citroƫns (ugly ducklins), using GPS coƶrdinates found on 4x4-sites. These communities have allready crossed every desert and mountain and their sites contain valuable tracking points. Big advantage of these tracking point maps is that you can follow them with the cheapest GPS device you can find : just follow the arrow.

And, of course, do NOT FORGET the old school method ! You'll need it !
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  #10  
Old 4 Sep 2005
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Consider where GPS was first used, and is far more commonly used now, in the oceans. The beauty of GPS is that you can establish where you are in the world at any time. How you use the information is where the errors are made.
I rely on paper maps most of the time however, IMHO a GPS is good for confirming that you are where you thought you were, and for paper trail back tracking if you are totally lost. For anyone that can afford it, I would suggest that you buy the most simple GPS reciever, Garmin Etrex is ideal, use and understand that, and then buy the one for you. I my opinion most GPS units designed for the car are not much good in Africa, etc. you are better off with a reciever and a laptop and your own choice of map.
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