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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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Old 26 Feb 2005
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Location: newcastle,england
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to gps or not to gps?

Hello everyone
Planning rtw leaving England April 2005.Already bought a ball floating compass but wondering if this is sufficient? Does the benifit of a gps outweigh the huge cost? I have been looking at bmw's navigator 3 at over £1000


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Old 26 Feb 2005
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Location: Idaho, USA
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My advice is to take a gps if at all possible. A gps can do one thing a map and compass can't do - tell you exactly where you are, and there are times this is invaluable. I've used one extensively in exploring the backcountry of the western US and Baja, and despite highly detailed maps, the gps has bailed me out many times.

1000 pounds seems very expensive - isn't that over $2000 USD (or am I converting backwards?). A basic gps such as one of the Garmin Etrex models, adequate for our uses, can be had here in the states for $100 - 300 at a discount source such as www.tvnav.com.

Hope this helps. When I first read your other post detailing your planned route I thought perhaps our paths would cross in Russia (I'm going in the opposite direction), but you're going earlier in the year and will no doubt be past Russia by July - August.

Good luck and have a great trip.

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Old 27 Feb 2005
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The bmw navigator i think is the same as the garmin gps3deluxe?

The gps to get (imo) is the 276c costs £500 and is a far better gps, biger screen for one thing...

Touratech do very nice brackets but unless your takeing it off road a RAM mount will do more than a good enough job for half the money.

I use a gps3+ from e-bay for about £120, now its a brilliant unit but unfortuneately it would need the maps changeing on it reguarly (as it has only a small memory) it will still give you your location as will even the cheepest (latitude/longditude) and thats the main thing with them

The gpsV is the same with a blue screen and more memory, more expensive though...

I'd suggest one with a colour screen if you can afford it because mono is a right pain in the ass to read in the rain at night.

Good luck with the tour

[This message has been edited by zero (edited 26 February 2005).]
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Old 27 Feb 2005
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Location: Toronto, Canada
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A GPS is a stress reliever. It doesn't take the place of a map, instead, it compliments the map. You use the map to determine where you want to go, and you use the GPS to tell you where you are on your progress towards the destination.

I have used a variety of them - StreetPilot III, GPS 276 and 296, SP 2650 - they all work well. If you are planning a round the world trip, and don't plan to carry a computer, then get one of the SP 26xx series GPS units. They have a much bigger storage capacity for maps than the SP III or the GPS 276. This will allow you to load up all your maps before you leave, then you won't have to fool around with that issue when you are on the road.

Functionally, the SP 26xx series and the GPS 276 are quite similar. There are some differences, but for your level of experience, they are not significant. The SP 2610 is the 'non BMW branded' equivilent of the BMW Navigator II.

Keep in mind that the cost of the maps can be quite significant for a RTW. The GPS unit will come with maps for one continent (e.g. Europe), you then have to pay to buy maps for other continents (e.g. North America, Middle East, South Africa, Asia, Antipodes). For motorcycle purposes, the "City Select" maps are just as good as the City Navigator ones - exactly the same visual content - and quite a bit less expensive.
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Old 2 Mar 2005
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Many thankyou's to PanEuropean,Zero & Liketoride2 !

The information you guys supplied was just what I was looking for to help me make a more informed decision on whether to buy a GPS or not.Looks like I'll go for the SP2610, bigger memory and less buttons are important to me. Thanks again for your time in replying.


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Old 4 Mar 2005
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If you are planning on a RTW - you are not going to be able to download maps for the whole route, and you should have paper maps as a bac up too....
So I would buy a cheaper GPS with no mapping and buy/sell/swop paper maps on route or from other overlanders - save your money for other things, like or a good compass.
Also if it packs up you will have an idea where you are and dare I say it -actually learn the practical skill of navigation -instead of letting a piece of electronic equipment which could fail (mine did)- take you there.

Ex RAF Regt, Ex Dragoman, LRE Instructor,
LR 90 300 Tdi Overlander
Suzuki DR650 Overlander
..and Bloody Nice Bloke!

'09 Suzuki DR650
'00 Discovery Series 2 V8
'95 Defender 90 300 Tdi Overlander
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Old 5 Mar 2005
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try www.aspid.pt. Much cheaper and you can also avoid VAT if you have a company or know someone who will buy it for you. Worked for me, very fast couriered and free delivery as well.
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