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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 30 Oct 2004
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Join Date: Apr 2003
Location: MaeSot, Thailand
Posts: 96
Why should I take a GPS?

Hi all,
We are riding from Oz to the UK in a couple of weeks and I am toying with the idea of taking a GPS. What does it offer me that a map doesn't? Why should I take one?

Many thanks
Andrew and Wendy

See u soon!!
“… all that is required for evil to triumph is for good men (and women) to do nothing ...”.
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Old 31 Oct 2004
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Join Date: Apr 2003
Location: Gloucester, England
Posts: 431
Originally posted by llanelli:
Hi all,
What does it offer me that a map doesn't?
Additional expense? Spend the money on petrol. As long as the sun's on your backs at breakfast time you can't really miss Europe.

If you're planning to return to the land of your fathers (good guess?) drop me a line when you're passing.


[This message has been edited by Squidbrain (edited 01 November 2004).]
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Old 10 Nov 2004
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Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: avon
Posts: 90
I have little experience with navigation off the beaten track so you may want to ignore this:

A small cheap gps will give you a grid reference so that if in doubt you can tell where you are on the map.

Also people often give locations of camp sites or places of interest by gps co-ordinates and these things are often not marked on the map. The gps will give you accuracy to within a few meters.

And, thirdly if you wander off somewhere as long as you had a gps read out at the starting point you can always get back there.

You can always turn it off.
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Old 10 Nov 2004
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All I used my GPS for was to record the co-ordinates of each nights camp. It's a nice gadget to have along but not essential.
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Old 10 Nov 2004
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Location: Gloucester, England
Posts: 431
Originally posted by Tonyabc:
The gps will give you accuracy to within a few meters.
Gas or electric?

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Old 10 Nov 2004
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Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: Brisbane, QLD, Australia
Posts: 138
Hi there fellow Brisbane HU member,

I recently purchased a Magellan GPS (meridian, moving map type) and used it for fisrt time during a 3 day trip to the HU meeting at Ulmarra. 3 days from Bris to Ulmarra?? Yep, went via big loop on dirt back roads on New England Tableland - fantastic ride. The GPS worked a treat, no more deciding which of these un-signposted roads/tracks is right way, or where the hell you really are, how far will i keep going before turning back, will I have enough fuel if this is wrong way etc etc. I wont go on another trip in Oz without it.

But, I have the detailed Aus software so I can see down to track scale. Now travelling overland is another story. You would not have the detailed GPS maps for all coutries you will visit, they dont make them for most anyway. You can get a world basemap software for most brands, but detail is basic. Also some brands/models dont have a big memory, so you have to load just the areas you need and may have to reload (using a PC) other regions when they are needed. Bit of a PITA.

There is a lot to learn about GPS, I did a lot of research to decide on brand/model/software that was best for me, and I have only scratched the surface of understanding this technology. Fair bit of info on this site and other GPS specific sites though.

Hope you have a great trip, make sure you post your story here, look forward to reading it.

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Old 10 Nov 2004
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Join Date: May 2001
Location: Central Portugal
Posts: 321
I have a Garmin 3+ permanently attached to the bike and use it whenever I use the bike for travel/touring. It tells me where I am without referring constantly to the map. It certainly doesn't replace maps but, used in conjuction with a map is a useful tool.
\"Bon Chance\"
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Old 14 Nov 2004
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Location: san francisco
Posts: 155
We have an eTrex Vista. It's small, it has plenty of memory but it is expensive. The model we bought in the US has the maps from North and South America, so we also got the WorldMap CD to load the maps from Africa and Asia (you can easily fit half of Africa into the GPS).

In many places in Africa road signs are inexistant so the GPS was extremely useful there - a very valuable complement to the map. In South-America, it wasn't really necessary - just nice to have - except for the two points below...

One of the uses we liked was to be able to tell if we would be able to make it to destination before or after nightfall. In fact, many times, we relied on it to get as much sunset light as we could for photo shoots before arriving in town at night.

The second use that was really invaluable to us was to find our way back in cities: mark your hotel, go out in town with your bike and when it's time to ride back home, put the GPS in traceback mode and just follow the line that you left. Very very nice - especially at night.

For the rest, it was as I wrote a nice complement to the map. Even though the WorldMaps don't give any detail within cities, seeing our trace on the screen made it much simpler, for instance, to find the hotel that we had spotted in the guidebook.

We almost never got lost during the trip. Whether or not it is a good thing, it's your call. For a true sense of adventure, getting lost is something that some people might be looking for (and running out of gas, even more!)

Don't forget to buy a 12v adapter. These things use the small AA batteries like crazy. For the GPS mount, I recommend the RAM from CycoActive. It is much cheaper than the Touratech model, it doesn't obstruct the buttons as much, and the additional height and better orientation makes the GPS easier to read:

Pierre (& Merritt too)

[This message has been edited by pierresas (edited 14 November 2004).]
Pierre Saslawsky
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