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  #1  
Old 1 Apr 2008
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Using a GPS

Does everyone use GPS now? I have always been a fan of the Silva and a map, but then again I have never done a RTW (only 8 months left till start line though.)

I have never used a GPS, or even considered one, should I?

They seem quite expensive, and what do they really offer over the map that costs pennies, the compass that was 'borrowed' from her Maj, and the local knowledge that every second person wants to pass on for free?

Thanks,

Happy Riding,

Joel.

PS, Please excuse my ignorance, I am a complete technophobe, even this computer hates me.
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  #2  
Old 1 Apr 2008
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Every one is different .. some people love them ...others don't use them.

With 8 months to go you don't have much learning time for a new toy. Go without .. that is what you had planed .. so do that. Been done for years, still do able. A GPS can be a blessing .. but you need maps to go with it and the knowledge of how to use them ... on a world trip it is a lot of work getting every thing together .. some things yuo can do on the road, like clothing, food .. but the GPS requires a computer to find, calibrate (adjust), add things to .. the things that are stored inside the GPS .. ... too much in 8 months I'd say. Concentrate on the other stuff .. there will be enough of it to do.

Good Luck.
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  #3  
Old 1 Apr 2008
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Quote:
GPS can be a blessing .. but you need maps to go with it and the knowledge of how to use them
I did not know that! I thought they were map replacements, not just a handy extra.

Quote:

... on a world trip it is a lot of work getting every thing together .. some things yuo can do on the road, like clothing, food .. but the GPS requires a computer to find, calibrate (adjust), add things to .. the things that are stored inside the GPS .. ... too much in 8 months I'd say. Concentrate on the other stuff .. there will be enough of it to do.
I'm pretty much set to go, with the exclusion of Visas, I am low maintenance, travelling light, and keeping it simple. I also didn't know you needed a computer to continually calibrate the little box of tricks. As I am not taking a laptop with me, the GPS unit would be an expensive paperweight!

Joel
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  #4  
Old 1 Apr 2008
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Hi Joel,
Learning how to get the best from one is worth while, it is a bit like digital camera. You can take photos on auto and get good pictures, but if you what to get the best from today’s digital camera you need to learn how to do that.

I use a GPS and I like them, defiantly enhanced my travels. Brilliant in towns and cities, fantastic for crossing countries on back road and by ways. Easy to share routes, info and tracks. They certainly don't take away you free choice.

GPS came along right on queue as my eyes started to become poor for reading, it became hard to focus / read a map in the tank bag at 50mph. They should be called OGPS, Old Gits Positioning System

I still use paper maps but also I have the maps for my next trip loaded in the GPS, all of the Americas with routes across Canada and along the Continental Divide (2500 miles) in the USA, if I meet other travelers who have a GPS they can give me waypoints for camp sites, hotels, bike shops and all sorts of stuff and visa versa. Re finding your hotel in any city is easy. I don't take a lap top and if the gps fails it will be a inconvenience but not the end of the world. Indispensable in a desert or wilderness

Think about getting a used or old model Garmin and see what you think.

Steve
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  #5  
Old 1 Apr 2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Birdy View Post
I also didn't know you needed a computer to continually calibrate the little box of tricks.
Not continually .. but at least at the start to load maps. And you'll need a lot of time to get the better GPS maps. Noit a calibration, just data transfere. The computer interface can be better tahn teh GPS interface.. and the larger screen size is much better for planing.

You'll find the GPS maps are not as good as the paper maps you can buy along the way (though those usually don't have lat/long marks on them) and the paper maps are better for planing the next day or twos riding.

The GPS is what I use when riding .. well when it has the detail need - then it saves a lot of time. When it does not have teh detail it can be used to place me on the paper map with more precission than using just the odometer. It saves some time then.
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  #6  
Old 2 Apr 2008
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Hope I can barge in here, but I just logged in to post a very similar question about the need for GPS. I've not started travelling yet - I'm hoping UK/St Petersburg/Mongolia/Vladivostok by Lada, then ferry to Japan later this year.

Not having worked for Maj, I got my compass from Amazon and an excellent book about how to use it. Still need practise though - and being on a desperate budget, the hundred pounds saved would get me another thousand miles. Tempting to get a cheap second-hand one from ebay - one that just tells me where I am - in case I wander off somewhere.
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  #7  
Old 2 Apr 2008
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I have had a Garmin 2610 for some time which completely baffled me until Tim Cullis gave his 'talk' about them at the Horizons 2007 meet and enlightened me! There are many features that I still don't understand, and it still tries to 'divert' me to weird places near where I live, and insists that my 'home' location is Taiwan!
However it is very useful, but I would never do a 'distance' trip without the good old tried and tested paper maps.
Hopefully at this years HU meet Tim will once again give a talk and teach me a bit more about it.
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  #8  
Old 2 Apr 2008
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gps

Dont own any gps , cant see myself getting any.Basically I m too frugal to spend so much money for something paper maps can do just as well.Besides that I know diddly about running computers.
The way I look at it the gps systems I see toted around on bikes are expensive video games ,status symbols and theft magnets as well as being a distraction to drivers/riders just like cell phones. Then there is the problem of electronics failing and all that time and money for installing new information. What are we to be - motorcycling travellers or computer programmers on the road?
As for planning purposes, personally I travel with very little planning, just a start and rough finish date but nothing hard and fast in between, none of this daily planner stuff with hour by hour and point to point schedules to stick to. Leaves me the option of slacking off or to divert when the weather does not cooperate. With such an attitude could gps be of much utility ? Granted if you are on a limited time and budget in which to complete a trip with intercontinental logistics plans need to be made. But that can be done on paper too. However whats the point of using gps to be like an airplane pilot and fly blind '' on instuments''. You could probably ride across country in a fog and at night with gps , but wheres the fun in that.
As an adventure motorcycle traveller its impossible for you to get lost.So what if you turned into a road you didnot know - you are not lost , you are exploring new territory.
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Old 2 Apr 2008
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I have an old Garmin Quest, not much bigger than a mobile phone and I have to admit not having much of a clue as to its many functions but used with a map, I found it incredibly useful and pretty much use it all the time.

For my trip, even though I just stuck the basic WorldMap on there, to know that you are where you are and at least heading in the right direction or can see when the turn off road you are looking for is up ahead etc is pretty handy, especially somewhere like Bolivia where even the paper maps you can buy had towns in the wrong locations! I hate routing functions though and only really used that in my work for finding addresses.


Having said all that, I couldn't agree with this more!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sjoerd Bakker View Post
As an adventure motorcycle traveller its impossible for you to get lost.So what if you turned into a road you didnot know - you are not lost , you are exploring new territory.
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Old 2 Apr 2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sjoerd Bakker View Post
You could probably ride across country in a fog and at night with gps , but wheres the fun in that.
Nup ... you are forgetting other things on the road .. like an unlit combine harvester... arrrrrrrrrr ... missed! ... think I'll put up the tent now.

Garmins world map v3 that I have looks to have inaccuracies of about a mile .. so the turn coulb be +/- 1 mile from where shown. Just so you know ... it is an aproximation.

If you do have accurate gps information it is really confidence inspiring. Running out of fuel? Nearest petrol is xx miles away in that direction..
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  #11  
Old 2 Apr 2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sjoerd Bakker View Post
...As an adventure motorcycle traveller its impossible for you to get lost. So what if you turned into a road you didnot know - you are not lost , you are exploring new territory.
Is this the start of a new saying? 'I'm not lost. I'm exploring!'. Or, 'GPS - turns a good adventure into a package tour'.

At the end of the day, it's what floats our boat. I'm going to improve my map reading and compass skills. More hands on.
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  #12  
Old 2 Apr 2008
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These posts explain the use of the GPS very adquately:

Basically you dont need a GPS system, B U T it does make life easier at times, especially in the highly populated countries of Europe with zillions of small roads, big cities...

Depending on where youre travelling, the GPS may be quite useful. It remembers the track you have travelled, meaning if you get lost (Sahara eg) you can always return to where you started (track-back).

In many countries youll hardly find roadsigns. The GPS shows you very soon, whether youre still travelling in the correct direction.


A computer isnt necessary either, but again, it makes life much easier, esp. when working out routes and transferring them onto the GPS.

Hans
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Old 2 Apr 2008
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How can I be lost?

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Originally Posted by teflon View Post
Is this the start of a new saying? 'I'm not lost. I'm exploring!'. Or, 'GPS - turns a good adventure into a package tour'.
Not really, there are a number of variations on that, going back hundreds of years via Vasco de Gama (or was it some other guy?) et al: all basically saying that "the true traveller is never lost".

On the utility of GPS, the explorers in various desert regions, even just a few years ago, would have given their grannies away to get their hands on a reliable location fixing system.
For a good read in an earlier era, I suggest "Longitude" by Davida Sobel (sp?). All at sea, but the principles are there!!
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  #14  
Old 2 Apr 2008
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I've logged over 3000miles in Europe, with another 6000 starting next week without GPS. I prefer mapping it out, and then giving myself hand written directions in my map sleeve. The only times I really wished for a GPS, was in the big cities. Madrid and Paris are near impossible to navigate when you don't know the area. I've lost hours in the big cities. Not that it's lost time, because I get to see some parts of these cities I wouldn't normally see, but it sure if frustrating.

However, I do have an emergency back-up that I had to use once. I have a GPS photo-tracker, little ball that sits in my bag and geo-tags my photos for me. When I got lost deep in the mountains outside of Salamanca, Spain I was able to tether it to my laptop to get a fixed point. Think I paid under 100USD for the little guy. Plus you need the software, but that's what I've been using to map out my trip.

GiSTEQ PhotoTrackr is the name of the little guy.
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Old 3 Apr 2008
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Originally Posted by wile e View Post
...I prefer mapping it out, and then giving myself hand written directions in my map sleeve....
Years ago, I used to fix a card to the dash board containing a list of all the towns I'll be travelling through, with the miles and road numbers in between. Looking back, it was a poor mans tomtom, but without the voice. It worked surprisingly well.
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