GPS

Submitted: Thursday, Jan 27, 2005 at 21:48
ThreadID: 19840 Views:1848 Replies:3 FollowUps:1
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We are looking to buy our first GPS, we are new to this technology and would appreciate some tips on what units are better than others, we have seen the Garmin Street pilot, we know nothing about loading to the unit and are looking for a user friendly unit, can anyone help?
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Reply By: Bonz (Vic) - Thursday, Jan 27, 2005 at 22:07

Thursday, Jan 27, 2005 at 22:07
OH my how long is a piece of string...lots of questions, what do you want to do with it? How much do you want to spend. do a search here and read a little bit, theres a good book called GPS navigation in Vehicles, get a copy from the EO shop and have a read so you can work out what you want a GPS to do for you and what you want to do with one.

I have a Garmin GPS 76, probly should have got a 76Map or something with a mapping base, but I can live with it.

Go and have a read, theres lots of tips in that book as well as in the search on here.

Good luck
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Follow Up By: The Young Ones - Saturday, Jan 29, 2005 at 07:20

Saturday, Jan 29, 2005 at 07:20
Thanks for the book reference, I have ordered the book.
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Reply By: Andrew from TrekTable - Thursday, Jan 27, 2005 at 22:24

Thursday, Jan 27, 2005 at 22:24
Margaret,

GPS is a very big topic with GPS devices ranging from a basic unit which will tell you where you are in lattitude & longitude which you can lookup on a paper map to figure out where you are, thru to advanced units which include detailed colour maps which show you graphically where you are (eg Garmin Street Pilot).

You can also get small handheld computers (PDA) which can interface to a GPS and then load your own maps using some software like OziExplorer.

I've used many types of GPS over the years in boats and cars and the recent advances with inbuilt maps and mapping software have really made them an asset. I have now converted to a GPS with inbuilt maps and I find it invaluable. It is fantastic to be able to turn down a track or road you have never been on before and know it will actually take you to where you want. On a recent trip to Cape York, I used my GPS to confirm I was actually on the right track. A GPS without maps will tell you where you are (lat/long), where you have been (snail trail) and what direction you are heading (compass, which only works when you are moving). But a GPS with maps like the one you are considering are superb.

Once you have decided to spend the extra and purchase a unit that supports inbuilt mapping, the trick is to find a unit which has the most detailed maps for where you are travelling. I personally have a Garmin 176c which allows me to store land maps (roads, tracks, etc) on one cartridge, and sea charts (for fishing) on another. I then swap my GPS between my car and boat, and simply change cartridge. Garmin have very extensive maps (MapSource) which provide alot of detail. I have a single cartridge which includes all roads in Australia and I'm surprised by the level of detail. It even included many of the tracks in remote places like Somerset at the very tip of Cape York.

I've not used the Street Pilot but I would pay close attention to the maps. Think of a remote place that you know well and then see how much detail the maps include of that area as an indication to whether you would find it helpful.

I also look for 'ease of use' when purchasing those types of devices. Basically try to see if you can drive the unit entirely on your own with very minimal instruction from the sales person. My thinking is that if I can figure out how to use the device on my own in only a few minutes, then I won't need the detailed instruction manual when I'm in the middle of nowhere and trying to work out how a particular feature works.

If your husband is into fishing or has a boat, consider a unit which you can swap from the car to the boat. I would strongly recommend colour if you can afford it.

Well, that's enough from me. Like most things in life, you may need to try one first before you know exactly what you want but I hope my opinions have helped.

Andrew

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Reply By: Pluto - Friday, Jan 28, 2005 at 07:55

Friday, Jan 28, 2005 at 07:55
Margaret,

Have a look at this web site gpsinformation.net.

Along with the references you have been given, it will help you answer the questions that have been asked.
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