GPS Options - Advice Appreciated

Submitted: Monday, Jan 26, 2004 at 11:08
ThreadID: 10016 Views:2132 Replies:4 FollowUps:5
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Hi All,

As a newby to 4wd-ing, I have been reading with interest about all the variations which are avalable for GPS systems.

I have never owned or used a GPS before, but intend on getting a GPS system as part of gearing up to enjoy the 4wd and camping experience.

I am trying to figure out which is the system to put together to be able to be used in the following situations:

1. Used in metropolitan Sydney
2. Used when 4wd, in NSW 4wd-ing and camping trips.
3. The gps would be fixed in the car, as I have no need to use it outside the vehicle.

From what I can understand, there are only 2 manufacturers worth considering, ie Magellan or Garmin.

I also understand that there are the following combinations to choose from:

1. Small hand held unit with either mono or colour screen.
2. Small hand held unit connected to laptop incar to give better graphics.
3. GPS add-on to PDA
4. Bigger fixed incar units

I would assume that the lager the screen size, the easier to use and navigate. I would also assume that it would be very handy to be able to program a trip into the gps unit prior to commencing on trip.

I am assuming I have to fork out up to $1,500 to get a GPS unit and additional maps which seem to be after market add ons.

All assistance would be appreciated in letting me know about the positive and negative's of each combo to help me understand which would be the best option.

Thanks in Advance
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Reply By: Member -Bob & Lex (Sydney) - Monday, Jan 26, 2004 at 13:13

Monday, Jan 26, 2004 at 13:13
If you want to have a look at my setup email me at I have a garmin 2+ hooked up to a pda. have you done an archive search as there is a lot of discussion on the forum of this subject. if you have a laptop or pda already this will reduce the cost as al you need is maps , gps & ozi explorer all of which can be purchased from this site.Regards Bob
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AnswerID: 44354

Follow Up By: Bonz (Vic) - Monday, Jan 26, 2004 at 16:22

Monday, Jan 26, 2004 at 16:22

I have my Garmin hooked up to my PDA. When you're not moving do you get a message saying that no info is coming from the GPS or am I doing something wrong?If you hold your heart and focus,
you will end up holding your dream
FollowupID: 306587

Follow Up By: Member -Bob & Lex (Sydney) - Monday, Jan 26, 2004 at 17:18

Monday, Jan 26, 2004 at 17:18
sometimes i do, it seems to turn the gps off, just press the lightning bolt symbol at the bottom of screen to turn it back on. should say on in top r/hand of screen.Regards Bob
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Reply By: Bonz (Vic) - Monday, Jan 26, 2004 at 16:35

Monday, Jan 26, 2004 at 16:35
TG (if I may call you that), theres a great book available online at this site called "GPS vehicle navigation in Australia" and it lists what you need to have for a basic setup and so on. I have Garmin GPS76 and a PDA but I would probably now get a GPS-V or GPS 76Map as both these have mapping built into the GPS, small screen tho. Both these are Garmin units but Magellan have good units too with mapping etc and Magellan have some arrangement with Hema I think for magellan based Hema maps, sounds schmick to me. The thing with a PDA is that the maps available are endless and I had one already, you can also get software that "talks" you thru the streets etc, even download the location of all fixed speed cameras in NSW, quite handy I believe.

The other thing would be a notebook PC instead of a PDA, should be able to score one good enough to run OziExplorer for $500 ish, bigger screen, harder to mount, bigger incentive to others to knock off, so pro's and con's for that too. Mad Dog has this setup and I have seen it used and its pretty good.

They still dont do away with maps for my liking, just make it easier to see exactly where you are on a road or track, so you can take the right turnoff

If you hold your heart and focus,
you will end up holding your dream
AnswerID: 44373

Follow Up By: Member -Bob & Lex (Sydney) - Monday, Jan 26, 2004 at 17:21

Monday, Jan 26, 2004 at 17:21
As Bonz i to cross reference to a paper map as you can see more map & also if gps or pda go belly up.Regards Bob
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FollowupID: 306593

Follow Up By: Member - KG (QLD) - Monday, Jan 26, 2004 at 19:42

Monday, Jan 26, 2004 at 19:42
i agree... i just bought this book and have found it EXTREMELY useful... it covers ozi explorer in good detail and most importantly it focusses on australian mapping cd's.... the website is also useful - it has a nice explanation of the differences between the natmap mosaic and the old style natmap pack.


FollowupID: 306596

Reply By: BurnieM - Monday, Jan 26, 2004 at 20:09

Monday, Jan 26, 2004 at 20:09
I am a strong believer in mapping within the GPSR as this is the most useable.

Many will tell you about the superior maps available for laptop and PDA use and this is correct. They will not tell you about the difficulty of mounting a laptop, the visibility of a PDA in sunlight or using either while underway.

Garmin has Mapsource Metroguide Australia mapping CD and Magellan has DiscoverAus CD. Both are about $240 and both have excellent metropolitain area mapping and good rural area mapping. Neither are perfect. Both are recommended.

Garmins Mapsource City Navigator Australia has 'turn by turn' auto-routing which may attract you. Unfortunately this mapset has very poor rural area coverage and I would not recommend it for 4WDing.

When considering a unit also consider how you will mount it and the mount cost.
Ideally you want the display near the top of the dash without blocking too much of the windscreen. Mounting below the top of the dash is less than useful.
Also consider than the best viewing position may not be the best satellite reception position. This tends to be a suck it and see exercise. Try it before purchasing a remote antenna (approx $90).
RAM mounts are available ($90-$110) for non-standard or difficult mounting problems.

Whichever unit you select; review the mapping (on the GPSR) in 2 or 3 rural areas that you regularly go to (to check rural coverage) and try the unit in your car (how will you mount it and will it be viewable in sunlight and also can the brightness be turned right down for night use)
AnswerID: 44389

Follow Up By: prado95 - Thursday, Jan 29, 2004 at 23:04

Thursday, Jan 29, 2004 at 23:04
This reflects my experience closely.

I have laptop & PDA. Both have their uses, BUT the navigator keeps me informed she does NOT like having a hot PC on her lap all day.

Additionally OziExplorer with the apprpriate local maps (250K & 50K/25K) work well on either a PDA (as in WindowsCE) or laptop.

A Pentium 200 or faster with 800*600 (min) is OK - you just need some disk space (+3GB)

BTW I have a Compaq Ipaq (ie PDA forthe uninformed) all setup with Oziexplorer looking for a new home.

prado_95 @
FollowupID: 306956

Reply By: TG065 - Wednesday, Jan 28, 2004 at 09:17

Wednesday, Jan 28, 2004 at 09:17
Hi All,

Thanks for the info and assistance.

I have placed an order for the gps guide book, and look forward to its arrival.

Thanks to all

AnswerID: 44589

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