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  #1  
Old 6 Jan 2011
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To GPS or not to GPS.....

I have a feeling that some people prefer not to use them as much as others. I think there might be a little more, should i say, "romance" to the trip without one, however, i could be wrong. Although great technology, i feel that there may be some virtue to not knowing exactly, to almost a pinpoint, where you are. From my limited experience traveling by bike, It seems i always stumble across the things i need, which always seems to come in the form of other people's skills and assets, compassion, interest, humanity, etc... However, i'm sure they can be VERY VERY Useful. Indeed, they efficiently and effectively connect you to people and businesses and give you direction to these places. However.....?

Wifi, laptops, GPS, Cellphones, etc...., it makes me sometimes feel like a Cyborg reliant on technological externals - in this way it makes me feel less secure in just myself. Like i have to have all this technology to go on a trip. I think, when do we stop integrating technology into our lives? Always knowing exactly where you are and always able to be contacted or contact in the modern human epoch seems to actually fragment us from our immediate surroundings and context. Doesn't this "excessive" connection some how take away from the connection we have with the people we meet along the way and ourselves? No longer do we happen upon things, but rather we are fully aware, and in control of what's to come - or so we think. Although gaining "security" doesn't this somehow take away from the Journey /travels/adventure we have, by making us more reliant on some service or product outside ourselves to help us through the journey /trip/adventure. However, Maybe this technological, trans-human "advantage" adds depth and more meaning to the trip in the modern era? Maybe it just doesn't matter and i'm a total tripper!!? lol. However, i think it would be cool to have an open discussion on this. Dunno, Maybe it's old discourse?

Personally, I've never used one. They haven't become common in my part of Canada yet. I don't even know how much one would cost and whether or not it would work on a Journey through central and south america. I don't even know whether or not there are service charges.....but of course there are. And of course i wonder if i need one, but really, i ask myself, why do i feel i NEED one? Cause i do feel i need one. And, i think to myself, the only reason i feel i need one is because it would make my trip feel safer, and make life easier. Indeed, there is always an emotion or feeling that inspires consumers to buy things. I imagine myself with a GPS, driving through the unknown, and it makes me feel, simply...Safer and smarter....simply more responsible. Why? Because it makes the great unknown not so unknown. Hmmmmm? Adventure i ask myself? Maybe The security and convieniece i feel it would give me is simply an illusion/delusion and the money spent is a waste of resource, yet i could be wrong. Maybe a general direction, a bike, and myself is all i need?

Any ideas, experiences, philosophies, on this would be interesting to me. Feel free to pontificate and argue. Please, Feel free to criticize if desired. Feel free to call me a nut job if wanted - it wouldn't be the first time. :0) I would like to hear all opinions and thoughts. I'm actually hoping to open a can of worms here, because i feel it is a fundamental difference in approach to travel.

I know you can't change the times, but you can make a choice. To GPS or not to GPS? That is the question. Any answers? :0)

Regards,
Wrong way, aka Troy
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  #2  
Old 6 Jan 2011
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Technology

Hi Troy. I have travelled a lot in the past using "old" technology - sextant and tables (must admit to using calculator) to navigate at sea, then progressed to chart plotters and GPS. In 4x4 found GPS invaluable, as could not carry all the maps I needed, to find old unmarked tracks. I do a lot of fossicking for gemstones and gold, and add my own calibrated maps to GPS with moving map display - makes finding own abandoned mines and interesting geological areas/spots relatively easy. Now that I am on my bike, having similar issues to you, even though I only travel in Australia at present.

Due to my age and health issues, I have succumbed to hand brakes (partner) suggestion of using SPOT tracker, as I often travel alone, so that at regular intervals she knows that I am OK and where I am, and, that if I do need assistance, I can get it. My 4x4 GPS (Hema 4.3 mapper) is not waterproof or shock proofed enough to use on bike, so back to paper maps. On last trip down Oodnadatta track, paper maps were fine, and appreciated SPOT tracker after a minor off broke 3 ribs.

So I'll be continuing to use the SPOT as my safety link.

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  #3  
Old 6 Jan 2011
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Buy a GPS at this stage of your trip and you'll spend all your time deeply irritated by the learning curve. Unless, that is, you're merely posturing about your own ignorance. You want to make your trip more complicated than it already is? Look at how frustrating mechanical stuff on a simple, old-technology motorbike can get.

In the end, it doesn't matter. Take maps, take GPS, take nothing and leach off your fellow riders. But: if you really crave information and the sharing of perspectives, consider doing a search on this site. You are far from the first to start such a thread.

If "can of worms" is your objective, count me out.

enjoy,

Mark
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  #4  
Old 6 Jan 2011
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No GPS for me... paper maps and asking directions especially asking directions which brings me into contact with the locals. Does the gps help you learn the language also?

In my sailboat I like looking at charts, holding a compass and binoculars. keeps my mind sharp looking for landmarks.
Now having said that they are kind of neat!
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  #5  
Old 6 Jan 2011
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thanx

Ozhank, you have increased my understanding of the practical uses of gps. they are more than just a map with your spot on it. It's a tool to be used for various activities that make you more effective and efficient. what you do for hobby, profession or both sounds quite interesting and it is not something I've ever personal experienced. and in this case GPS seems invaluable, however, it doesn't seem that your objective in your activities is adventure. however i'm sure it is quite adventurous.

I suppose i was directing my thoughts at "adventure riding". And examining, in response to my desire for a GPS, the premise that GPS might take the adventure out of the ride. Indeed, if adventure is basically going into the unknown and GPS makes the unknown known, than GPS might take some of the adventure out of adventure riding.

I think this is a valid premise and argument. however, what i think Markhauf is eloquently suggesting to me is where does this argument stop. You could say this about all navigational technology that you use when "adventure touring": maps, compasses, phones, laptops, etc. Shit, if i want real adventure, i could try and close my eyes and see how long i can navigate my trip.

However, i can't help but feel that GPS is excessive. Adversely, maybe GPS allows you to "control" your adventure better....but this again sounds paradoxical.

Ozhank, In regards to personal security i feel they must be invaluable in the ways you suggested. And of course since the technology is there than it's almost expected one uses it - especially for the peace of mind of loved ones. This seems important in the modern era. As it goes, since loved ones can know where and how you are, than they should be able to.

Markhauf, again puts things in a broader perspective. I will do a search....and learn to do one.???? I must admit that i used "opening a can or worms" phase lightly. It is a silly thing to do purposely. I guess i was questioning my own motives for getting phylosophical about technology and it's effect on what i feel adventure constitutes. I take that back.

i Guess this is just my way of making a decision on whether or not to GPS. for now, for me, my conclusion is all i need is lots of maps....since i'm not GPS savy.

Good points calvin.

Regardless, i feel it is an interesting subject and the input given has already helped me make my decision.

thanx for the enlightened imput.


Wrong way Troy

Last edited by Wrong Way; 6 Jan 2011 at 06:08. Reason: didn't make sense
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  #6  
Old 6 Jan 2011
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buy or borrow

"Personally, I've never used one......" I think that quote answers your GPS question. If you had used one then you'd know the answer.

Buy one or borrow one, that is one of the questions out there that you need to answer yourself!
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'Security is a product of one's own imagination, it does not exist in nature as a rule, life is either a daring adventure or nothing.'
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  #7  
Old 6 Jan 2011
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good quote

geoffshing

good quote.

'Security is a product of one's own imagination, it does not exist in nature as a rule, life is either a daring adventure or nothing.'

enough said. Indeed, that quote, very true quote, helped me make a decision on incorporating that technology into the trip i'm on now. For my reasons i feel a GPS will work against my objectives. A day ago i was going to buy a gps for the reason of feeling more secure in my travels.

The imagination is a powerful thing as your chosen quote suggests, indeed, one can extrapolate and make decisions without practical experience.

Thanx
Wrong way Troy
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  #8  
Old 6 Jan 2011
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I can see both sides.

I have a SatNav and, in towns / unfamiliar centres, it's a Godsend! However, I'm coming more round to the idea that a map and getting lost is more adventurous and opens you up far more to more interesting experiences.

Have fun on your rides . . .
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Old 6 Jan 2011
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To take a GPS or not was a question I pondered for a long time.

In the end I decided to take one for Geocaching, Geotagging photos, and so at some point I can use the waypoints and overlay my track on a map so I have something to look back on in the future.
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  #10  
Old 6 Jan 2011
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I took a GPS and a cut-out from a world map that went from the UK to Mongolia (my route).

I never used th GPS once, it just stayed in my panniers. The map lived in my pocket and caused a lot of amusement for the locals everytime I stopped for directions an dgot it out.

I think that if I had been travelling with others not getting lost might have been more important but as it was everytime I got seriously lost it just added to the fun!
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  #11  
Old 6 Jan 2011
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Hmmm

Yes it is an oft asked subject and there are many threads on this site about this very same subject. Having said that it is an entertaining one and worth repeating every now and then! My own sense of direction is so bad it is legendary and those who have ridden alongside me know I will get lost at some point

The thing about being lost is that even with a map if you dont know where you are and the map does not have a big X on it saying "you are here" then what is the point of having one? I also find that trying to read read them at anything over 30 MPH tends to cause them to blow everywhere, especially those big Michelin buggers

I wont leave home with out my GPS and a mobile phone to call for help should I need it, but that is just me. If you can get by without the expense of them then go for it and use maps, they have worked for centuries for the likes of Magellan, Drake etc.
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  #12  
Old 6 Jan 2011
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IMHO how some people interface with GPS is odd. I like them. I now own one that talks. My wife thinks the GPS is some sort of electronic overmistress to be obeyed at the risk of falling off the end of the world. We have an intercom and I need to switch the GPS to a different accent as the conversation goes:

Female voice "Take the next turn on the left"
Me "No, this road is fun"
Female voice "Where possible make a U-turn"
Me "I told you..."
Female voice "Did she say to turn left?"
Female voice "where possible make a U-turn"
Me "**** off"
Female voice "Did you just tell me to **** off?"



Seriously, just because the GPS says to turn, if the road ahead looks fun ride that way. Treat it like the tool it is, it'll sort itself out. I'm sure map users have just ridden until they ran out of time, then used the map to find out where the heck they are? If you want to talk to people ask about the road ahead, no need to be lost.

Maybe it's the voices that make people think GPS changes anything? It's just an automated map, use it how you like. If you feel the need to obey electronic voices, maybe you should avoid them . Maybe I need a GPS voice recording that says "buy the bloke on the outfit more in two minutes"... "now buy the "

Andy
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Old 6 Jan 2011
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funny guys

Maybe getting lost is the Point. People are always telling me to get lost. If i bought a GPS i wouldn't be honoring there advice.

I didn't know that GPS bitched, nagged, and scolded. I'm sure it's got a button to turn that off.................Wouldn't that be nice?

People who have a tendency to get lost probably are just driving from one shiny object to the next. oooo shiny.....ooooo shiny , etc... Or destracted by thoughts of whether or not to get a GPS. Hmmmmm? Sounds like me.
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  #14  
Old 6 Jan 2011
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Ipod touch!!!

I realized that i just need to buy something new.

With an ipod touch i can have tunes and maps. You can download maps of google maps and use them as you go....... offline. And they are fricken small and shiny.
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  #15  
Old 6 Jan 2011
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Markaf makes a very valid point.
I bought one last year and returned it.. In a way I was a casualty of advertising. In my simple way I thought all I had to do was type in the name of where I wanted to go and it could guide me there avoiding the peages. Sadly of the first four places I tried to go, I could not convince the machine that three of them existed. I had over estimated its and my capabilities. In a 3500 mile trip I took two wrong turnings and spent an hour trying to find the right road out of Merano. Once (in Gorltz) I had to ask where there was a guest house and was kindly guided there by a local.
They can be useful but might not always have the answer you want. The find a local garage/guest house etc, feature should work as it will be guiding you to somewhere it knows. It does seem to know most large cities which is where i need help the most and which I tend to avoid. Only twice was i in need of help, Merano and Gorlitz.
I do tend to navigate now by following road signs, I used to use road numbers but they change so often it is now unreliable.
As soon as I find one with 2011 maps preloaded I will buy another if I can get one with a headphone jack. I will have a much smaller expectation of its capabilities so it will work for me.
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