Moving into the 21st Century with a GPS

Submitted: Wednesday, Apr 20, 2005 at 21:33
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Hi all,

Heaps of threads on here about what GPS has what features. My question is more along the lines of what I should be looking for in a GPS / mapping solution.

Normally we just load up the ute with all the 1:250,000 maps we need from RACQ to show us where we are heading. This has done us great so far, until last weekend where I felt like doing some exploring down a disused track. After about 2hours chugging along in the thick bush I was wary that if I took too many more turns I wouldnt remember my way out. So I thought OK, time to look at a entry level GPS to log waypoints so I can find myself back without having to remember the left at the big gum tree kind of stuff.

So what I think I want to buy is:

GPS that can log where we have been and how to get back out when I realise ive gone into the depths of the jungle far enough. Think that is a standard feature.

Be able to download where we have been to software like Ozi Explorer when we get home. So we can use it like a history of where we went and when. Dont think ill bother taking laptop in the car.

Not sure how well they go mounting on the dashboard. I was thinking maybe an external antenna mounted on the snorkel. That way I can leave it in the centre console until I need it. It can just keep logging away.

Cant see ill ever load maps or waypoints into the GPS as using the paper maps works well.

So is there something I havent thought of it which I should look for? I dont think my requirements are that hi-tech, its more an insurance against getting really lost!

Cheers,

Glenno.
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Reply By: udm - Wednesday, Apr 20, 2005 at 22:13

Wednesday, Apr 20, 2005 at 22:13
Hi, with one of these little things, you will actually know where you are, direction of travel, speed, distance, elevation, etc, even if you do know where you are, the gps will still be recording the trip for you. If you do get lost, all you have to do is follow back the just recorded track.

How many times has it happened that you are part of a convoy without knowing where the hell you are? (you have never been there before, and all you are doing is following a stream of cars in the bush that are in front), with the gps recording the data, you can use that information in the future to explore the same place by youself. These are some of the basic things you can use a gps for.

At the moment, for a general overview of the area I use maps at 1:250000, and for a detailed veiw, I´m using maps at a scale of 1:25 000, meaning you can see on the screen every single land feature, roads/tracks (and there names), gates, water features, buildings, camping spots, etc.

Cheers
Ulises
AnswerID: 107607

Reply By: Member - Brian (Gold Coast) - Friday, Apr 22, 2005 at 07:11

Friday, Apr 22, 2005 at 07:11
Hi Glenno...

about 6 months ago I bought my first GPS and after much deliberation picked the Meridian Gold Travellers Pack. I found it NOT easy to understand at first and in fact was quite confused by it all. But after playing for a few days it became clearer... I could still get lost, but at least I knew WHERE we were lost!!!!

We have a done a few blacktop runs with it where I have loaded a route in from the DiscoverAus software and the GPS "beeps" us to our destination.... very handy! But I am still having drama out in the hinterland, on property's or state forests etc... one instance we were solo doing a trip "recce" to a previously loaded route and got lost. I thought the GPS was telling me to go 130 metres to the right to pick up the track..... but I didn't trust that I was reading it correctly... the next day, with someone who knew the track.... we made our way across to that point 130 metres (or so) from where we were... LOL...

Mine mounts to the dashboard with the suction cup bracket and as unreliable as that seems, it actually works quite well, although no protection from the light-fingered brigade. Mine doesn't seem to have external aerial connectivity either which is a bummer! I load waypoints in either before we leave, or as we go... it's easy when driving, just one button... you can edit the info later. I have a habit of chattering away when driving or singing along witht the car stereo and missing turns etc... so to have an audible reminder is a plus! When not on a "trip" it just hums along on the dashboard as a very accurate speedo!

There are some places around that hire them out.... why not hire a few different ones to get a feel of what you want in a GPS... the one I went to buy was very different to the one I came home with!

Hope all this typing helps you out Glenno.... keep us posted with what you end up with!

AnswerID: 107770

Reply By: Keith_A (Qld) - Friday, Apr 22, 2005 at 09:27

Friday, Apr 22, 2005 at 09:27
Hi Glen - there are two basic options :
1. Buy a GPS which has full mapping on it - needs a lot of memory, and a large display to be useful - expensive for a good one (around $1500).
2. Buy a basic GPS that connects to your Laptop, and run mapping programs on the Laptop - big colour display, and multiple maps.

We bought a Garmin 72 (a basic unit). It does all the usual GPS functions like drops a breadcrumb trail everywhere you go; waypoints; routes; trackpoints; elevation etc.
On the Laptop, you need 2 programs -
One to interface with the GPS - the most popular is OZIEXPLORER,
And then the maps - in digital form. We use NATMAP 1: 250k plus Hema Great Desert Treks. Ozi can switch between them on the fly, so you can see the same point/area/track/waterhole on different maps with a click of the mouse.
Oziexplorer is around $130 and the maps around $100 each.
For this option, you need to ensure the GPS can talk to the Laptop, and preferably plug into the car 12V (cig lighter).
Ours works a treat... I think a TAFE cource would be very desireable for any GPS. Would save a lot of time with self discovery, and raise confidence levels.
regards.............................Keith
AnswerID: 107785

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