GPS Software & Touch screens a waste of time?!

Submitted: Thursday, Apr 15, 2004 at 12:29
ThreadID: 12072 Views:1906 Replies:15 FollowUps:17
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Here's a question for you all...

Is really all worth it?????? - I've found over the years after messing with different GPS tracking software - scanning maps - referencing them... - uploading and downloading waypoints and tracks............. its soooooo time consuming and expensive! At the end of the day - where's it all getting us?

We get to see where we are and where we've been on a digital map - but at what cost? I can think of millions of other things I'd prefer to be doing on my holiday. My GPS is just there to help me figure out where I am when I get lost so I can reference a paper map (not that that ever happens of course!). Occasionally I'll mark a waypoint so I can find the good spots again - but really - whats with all this mounting laptops and touch screens in the car?? - More to go wrong - more to get stolen - more to break on rough roads - and these setups are expensive toys!

Infact I would go as far as saying that overuse of GPS's and tracking software can be a dangerous pastime. When the batteries go flat - or the screen cracks - are we all going to remember how to use the good old map and compass - indeed - do we even all still carry such things?

Each to his own - but I'd rather be knocking back a beer next to my trusty paper map and compass - than configuring my laptop so I can see where I am and have been. -Unless of course I'm trying to play a DVD on it - thats different!

I'm sure this is already a well discussed topic, however obviously people think it still worth the time and money, as more and more posts on how to mount laptops and screens in cars keep appearing! I'd like to hear from these people and their reasoning.

Food for thought.

- Myfourby
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Reply By: Truckster (Vic) - Thursday, Apr 15, 2004 at 12:46

Thursday, Apr 15, 2004 at 12:46
Shaddap and get back to work ... :P
AnswerID: 54361

Reply By: SUNSEEKER - Thursday, Apr 15, 2004 at 12:57

Thursday, Apr 15, 2004 at 12:57
Myfourby,
Couldn,t agree with you more as I have done a fair amount of bush travel being a retired surveyor as well as having done many trips up North and Ithink a reliable hand held G.P.S. is all you should ever need and I ALWAYS carry my Suunto compass with me.
Safe travel,
Sunseeker
AnswerID: 54363

Reply By: Moose - Thursday, Apr 15, 2004 at 13:11

Thursday, Apr 15, 2004 at 13:11
Mate I agree with your sentiments. Some people just have to have the latest gadgets and technology. We wouldn't go on trips without paper maps and a compass. Hand held GPS is handy.
AnswerID: 54364

Reply By: Leroy - Thursday, Apr 15, 2004 at 13:21

Thursday, Apr 15, 2004 at 13:21
Most people carry a laptop for other purposes (downloading pics from digi cam etc) so why not use it for other things like mapping?

Leroy
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Follow Up By: myfourby - Thursday, Apr 15, 2004 at 15:23

Thursday, Apr 15, 2004 at 15:23
Because it uses up precious holiday time?

-Myfourby
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Follow Up By: Leroy - Friday, Apr 16, 2004 at 10:27

Friday, Apr 16, 2004 at 10:27
but you set it up before you go on holiday.

Leroy
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Reply By: Mad Dog (Victoria) - Thursday, Apr 15, 2004 at 13:26

Thursday, Apr 15, 2004 at 13:26
Here's a question for you all...

Is really all worth it??????

For me yes because I enjoy it...no other reason needed
AnswerID: 54367

Follow Up By: myfourby - Thursday, Apr 15, 2004 at 15:20

Thursday, Apr 15, 2004 at 15:20
Sounds like a good reason to me!
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Reply By: Rosscoe - Thursday, Apr 15, 2004 at 13:27

Thursday, Apr 15, 2004 at 13:27
Like many things associated with 4wding "needs vs wants" can get blurred. In general terms I think you're correct. Even the Oziexplorer programmer suggests that you do your planning in software and a print a hard copy.
However, some of us like our toys and even though "moving map" can be considered just that, I have found it usefull a) to confirm that I'm on the track I think I am and b) if I come to an intersection I can take a fair stab at which fork to take. Granted, a compass probably does the same.
I've also found it usefull when I am on a track that is not on the map.

I find that with a paper map it's much easier to spread the whole thing out to get an overall view. On a normal notebook PC screen the zoom level required to achieve this means that you can't read the place names.
AnswerID: 54368

Reply By: Willem - Thursday, Apr 15, 2004 at 13:34

Thursday, Apr 15, 2004 at 13:34
I can only agree.....a total wate of time unless you are doing some mapping for a specific purpose. Have used my GPS twice in 18 months looking for a specific track. Other than that it is just a toy. The laptop does go along for other purposes but I rarely bring it out for Moving Map. When I do a trip I print out the maps on my intended route and use them instead. The less wires I have in the cabin the better.
AnswerID: 54369

Follow Up By: Mad Dog (Victoria) - Thursday, Apr 15, 2004 at 17:53

Thursday, Apr 15, 2004 at 17:53
By your own admission Willem you haven't been able to come to grips with the software, no wonder you don't use it.
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Follow Up By: Willem - Thursday, Apr 15, 2004 at 19:13

Thursday, Apr 15, 2004 at 19:13
You having a go at me young fella?

What I have come to grips with is that there is a hell of a lot of software that one just does not need. And therefor I shun it. I don't need to know where I have been. Most of the time I know where I am going. The GPS is very handy for seafarers and if you are offroad through the scrub. LIke I said, I have used the GPS twice in 18 months to pinpoint a position which I could not find. The rest of the time it is a good toy to see the altitude, speed, time etc. I do use moving map but only in remote areas where there are no signposts or where there are several tracks leading off in all directions. There is no point in using it on marked tracks.

I prefer to go bush and see what nature and ancient history has to offer without worrying about electronic gadgets.
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Follow Up By: Mad Dog (Victoria) - Thursday, Apr 15, 2004 at 19:29

Thursday, Apr 15, 2004 at 19:29
Thanks for the "young fella" crack Willem. I don't feel so old now.
Ok, I understand what you say but why did you buy the gear for in the first place? in your case it appears to be a complete waste of good loot.
Why not off load it.
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Follow Up By: Willem - Thursday, Apr 15, 2004 at 19:57

Thursday, Apr 15, 2004 at 19:57
Ray,

I bought the 'toys' to play with AND to use when travelling in remote parts of Australia such as the Western Deserts. My extras are only a GPS and the laptop. I write articles, stories etc and when out bush I like time to sit and write. My inverter helps the laptop along and I am going to buy a Kerio DC charger soon. I have all my maps on the laptop and i just love looking at them and planning my trips. So there is no waste of good loot and no I am not going to sell them to you......hahahaha
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Follow Up By: Mad Dog (Victoria) - Thursday, Apr 15, 2004 at 20:57

Thursday, Apr 15, 2004 at 20:57
ok, so you do or will be using your toys for mapping, not a complete waste of time then! I enjoyed reading your desert crossing story with the Suzuki I think it was and all done without a gps. What a great trip...well done. I'm sure you'll find the Kerio to be an excellent device. I got one thrown in when purchasing the laptop so that saves a lot of wear on the more expensive invertor which only gets used for charging batteries these days.
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Reply By: Member - Peter (York) - Thursday, Apr 15, 2004 at 14:02

Thursday, Apr 15, 2004 at 14:02
Hi Myfourby ,We all have differant toys and needs ,isnt the laptop /computer you are using at the moment really just an other toy ,we never had them years ago ,you talk about DVD ,another toy . I find I use my moving maps all the time as I record trips etc to share with others and I find it much esier to send a track or waypoints file than drawing a line on a map and posting it to someone , I can also add extra info in the file regarding campsites , dangerous areas ,places of interest etc , as I share these tracks with many others I would find it also costly and time consuming to do individual maps for each person ,sometimes up to 20 for one track .There are many times that I have driven in the bush on a track that is not even on the paper maps so with the moving maps I can instantly see my location and heading , I really hate geting out the 4x4 in the rain to spread out a map on the bonett to find my location . I never travel without the backup of the paper maps and 2 good compasses , I am not that dumb .Yes it is not cheap but nether is all the other extras we add to our 4xs . Do you have other interests ? I have seen people spend $$$$$$$$$ on model cars that just sit there and dont move or collect teady bears worth hundreds .. EACH TO HIS OWN
AnswerID: 54371

Follow Up By: myfourby - Thursday, Apr 15, 2004 at 15:42

Thursday, Apr 15, 2004 at 15:42
I can totally see the "hobby" point of view. If people enjoy spending their holidays in front of a computer playing with maps good luck to them!

I'd prefer to spend that time enjoying the bush instead thats all - after all - thats why I'm there.

I still can't justify the time it takes to get it all working well to make it worth while.

Each to his own.

- Myfourby
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Follow Up By: Mad Dog (Victoria) - Thursday, Apr 15, 2004 at 16:39

Thursday, Apr 15, 2004 at 16:39
Myfourby, I don't understand this time factor you talk about...what time
All my maps are loaded on the laptop, routes are planned and marked before the trip or if playing it day to day like I did over Easter 20 min at camp at night to mark the next days route. During the day I spend no time at all on it, just follow the route never having to get out of the vehicle to look at paper maps. Where does the time you talk about come from.
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Follow Up By: myfourby - Thursday, Apr 15, 2004 at 17:09

Thursday, Apr 15, 2004 at 17:09
Mad Dog,
It's the time it takes to load the maps - the time it takes to plan the routes - upload the routes - work out why it sometimes doenst work for whatever reason. I see your point - if your PC is prepared well before you leave it should pretty much look after itself - but preparing the machine also takes time.

Don't get me wrong - I think its a great hobby for those who enjoy it - just isn't my hobby.

Each to his own - again :)

-Myfourby
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Follow Up By: Mad Dog (Victoria) - Thursday, Apr 15, 2004 at 17:31

Thursday, Apr 15, 2004 at 17:31
I'm still lost but I assume you've tried it with maybe inferior equipment and with little the knowledge that beginners have got yourself into one big pickle and dismissed the whole idea as being too hard.
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Follow Up By: IT Doctor - Friday, Apr 16, 2004 at 01:35

Friday, Apr 16, 2004 at 01:35
I'm with Mad Dog on this one.

Preperation is not a problem if your equipment is set up correctly the first time. I have my laptop which I use for work anyway it is loaded will all of the Natmaps 250k and South West WA 50k maps. I switch it on and select moving map and head of on my way. If I get really lost I turn around and follow the route out again. I can search for a name place instead of looking all over a map that is blowing around in the wind. I can switch from 1:250k to 1:50k with a click of the mouse. I think GPS and electronic mapping is like Golf if you now how it is much more enjoyable.

And yes I do carry the paper maps just in case the technology fails.
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Reply By: Member - TonyG (NSW) - Thursday, Apr 15, 2004 at 14:11

Thursday, Apr 15, 2004 at 14:11
Hi MyFourby,

You have sure opened up a can of worms here with his topic.

I can only say that if I wanted a gps only, them hand held in conjuntion with a paper map is more than adequate.

In my case, I wanted to achieve the following for the cheapest price:

1 - Gps system on a screen big enough that I could see
2 - Colour map on screen as it is easier to define.
3 - DVD player for kids whilst driving and of an evening at the campsite.
4 - Downlaod photo's from digital camera.

So as a result I setup the following system.

1 - Mobile Desk mounted in vehicle
2 - Second Hand laptop
3 - GPS Mouse
4 - Ozi Explorer software
5 - Stateview maps of NSW & Natmap of Australia
6 - DVD player software

You are 100% correct in saying that I am one of these people that have gone over the top with my setup. See my previous post relating to my MobileDesk setup.

But when it is all said and done, I prefer the benefits that the digital age has to offer, and for me it is just as much of a hobby, as it is a functional tool.

I am of the opinion that it has opened up another facet of enjoyment whilst 4wd-ing or camping.

But then again, to each his own.

Many Thanks

TonyG
AnswerID: 54374

Follow Up By: Member -Bob & Lex (Sydney) - Thursday, Apr 15, 2004 at 17:43

Thursday, Apr 15, 2004 at 17:43
Tony how do you find the state maps compared to the natmaps?
Also where can I get them.
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Reply By: Goran - Thursday, Apr 15, 2004 at 14:31

Thursday, Apr 15, 2004 at 14:31
I like to see you trying to get out of the maze of seizmic tracks in Great Sandy Desert with compass and the paper map. Gets to be a bit difficult without any landmarks out there. I will stick to my GPS.
AnswerID: 54379

Follow Up By: myfourby - Thursday, Apr 15, 2004 at 16:03

Thursday, Apr 15, 2004 at 16:03
GPS's still have their place - I'm the proud owner of one. I'm also the proud owner of a compass and lots of maps.

You're scenario is a great example of where I'd be firing up my GPS and using it to "assist" navigation.

I don't have a problem with GPS's - just the total reliance on them - and the time and money it takes to configure and setup GPS computer software / laptop in-car systems.

-Myfourby
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Reply By: Davoe - Thursday, Apr 15, 2004 at 14:44

Thursday, Apr 15, 2004 at 14:44
I cant find my way round with either
AnswerID: 54380

Follow Up By: Leroy - Thursday, Apr 15, 2004 at 15:17

Thursday, Apr 15, 2004 at 15:17
lol.....hmmm shouldn't laugh really
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Reply By: Rosco - Bris. - Thursday, Apr 15, 2004 at 19:25

Thursday, Apr 15, 2004 at 19:25
I have a piece of loadstone attached to a string.

Wassail aluminium bodies.
AnswerID: 54411

Reply By: vuduguru - Thursday, Apr 15, 2004 at 20:07

Thursday, Apr 15, 2004 at 20:07
So guys, you've really got to ask yourself can you stand up, figure out where the sun is and figure out north is that way!... because your gps is broken, you've stepped on you're compass and used the map to start the camp fire?? It really is each there own and develop a balanced, well considered understanding. Some of us can use computers and gps's faster that maps and compasses. some of us do hte work before we go, some on the track. I s'pose Im trying to say "use what you prefer and have an understanding of an alternative!"

Regards
Shane
AnswerID: 54415

Reply By: Peter 2 - Friday, Apr 16, 2004 at 08:06

Friday, Apr 16, 2004 at 08:06
I started using Oziexplorer when it first came out (too long ago). I've used it in remote areas in the western deserts and it came in very handy especially when my son could call the corners coming up on the twisty bits of the Connie Sue. But for well signposted areas, well travelled areas and places you have been to before it does tend to be a bit of a waste of time.
I find that these days the time taken to get all the maps loaded, the laptop setup and running I tend to just get it out when I really need it (usually in places where I haven't been before and in forestry areas criss crossed with tracks).
On the other hand I do have a good sense of direction, can read a map and usually have a pretty good idea of exactly where I am.
The laptop still travels along for downloading pics to from the camera and also for perusing the workshop manual if the need arises. The workshop, parts, fault finding flow charts and wiring diagrams are on CD so the laptop is required to read them.
One thing I have found with the mobile mapping is that you can look off to the sides of your track on the topo map and pick up features like valleys and creeks which are good for camp and lunch stops.
On the whole I don't use the mobile mapping as much as I used to as the novelty has worn off.
Peter
1996 Oka Motorhome

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AnswerID: 54471

Reply By: Ginger - Friday, Apr 16, 2004 at 08:17

Friday, Apr 16, 2004 at 08:17
G'day myfourby
We bought our GPS and software originally to find our way around the bush, but have found that the moving map feature is equally as good when towing a caravan in the worst wildenesses of all, namely Melbourne Sydney etc.(not necessarily in that order Truckster). We found that a bit of pre planning of an intended route enabled us two headed Tasmanians to travel through strange cities with better warning of upcoming turnoffs, etc.
The GPS is great for navigating in the newer forestry areas in Tassie as the roads go in long before any maps become available, although hand held is all that is necessary in this case.

My two cents worth

Ginger

AnswerID: 54473

Follow Up By: Truckster (Vic) - Friday, Apr 16, 2004 at 12:39

Friday, Apr 16, 2004 at 12:39
HEY !! I rate a mention!!! WOOOHOOOOOOOOOoooooooooooooooo

NFI why I got a mention but I did!
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