GPS advice

Submitted: Thursday, Jun 01, 2006 at 15:53
ThreadID: 34507 Views:2344 Replies:9 FollowUps:4
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Hi all

I am looking to purchase a new GPS and would like maps to be part of it. From a quick web search this limits me to magellan. I have found magellan a pain to use in the past and have always been a Garmin man. However the mapping options are hard to resist!

I have been quoted $1340 for an explorist traveller pack which includes and XL unit, 512MB card, Vehicle mount, power cables and Discover Aust software. Is this reasonable?

Would it suit working around remote parts of the country and what sort of detail would I get on these maps? I know I need to go in for a look but I like to be prepared first.

Any other options out there? What about a PDA with Oziexplorer loaded onto it with a bluetooth GPS receiver? Would that work? Is it robust enough?

Any advice or pointers appreciated. i haven't looked at GPS for 5 years plus and the advancement is amazing.

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Reply By: Member - Matt M (ACT) - Thursday, Jun 01, 2006 at 16:35

Thursday, Jun 01, 2006 at 16:35

Not an expert by any means, butI use a PDA with Oziexplorer and the flexibility of the Oziexplorer program is hard to beat. Pretty much any graphic file can be loaded as a map. Limited screen size of the PDA is an issue and you really need to have a laptop as well unless you have all your maps loaded on a card before you go. I use a CF GPS which works fine for my purposes, bluetooth will knock down the number of cables you need though.

As an example, my wife and I were geographically confused in Abercrombie NP once. We found a NPWS map on a sign, took a photo of it, loaded into Oziexplorer, pinned it down with a couple of intersections that I knew the Lat and Lon for, and were happily navigating of it on the PDA a few minutes later.

As I said, very flexible but I have only really used GPS at sea in the past so not quite up on the functionality of other systems.


AnswerID: 176147

Follow Up By: Pajman Pete (SA) - Thursday, Jun 01, 2006 at 17:07

Thursday, Jun 01, 2006 at 17:07
"We found a NPWS map on a sign, took a photo of it, loaded into Oziexplorer, pinned it down with a couple of intersections that I knew the Lat and Lon for, and were happily navigating of it on the PDA a few minutes later. "

Now that is a neat solution with a certain amount of elegance to it.

I like your style.


FollowupID: 432191

Reply By: Richard W (NSW) - Thursday, Jun 01, 2006 at 17:00

Thursday, Jun 01, 2006 at 17:00
I'm running a Dell Axim X50V with a 1gb SD and 4gb CF card. GPS reciever is a Globalsat BT338. Software is Oziexplorer and Tom Tom. Also have on board my old Magellan 315. I've done the Simpson twice with with a PDA but I expect Cape York will be the big test.
AnswerID: 176154

Follow Up By: Member - JohnR (Vic)&Moses - Thursday, Jun 01, 2006 at 17:23

Thursday, Jun 01, 2006 at 17:23
I have a Dell X50v too Richard and have a Bluetooth GPS but am having another rethink after all the data was erased from the volatile memory last week when it ran the battery down. I had bought a second Bluetooth GPS with the faster chipset but the wireless portion of that crashed not to restart after a couple of uses. Hope to get the replacement soon.

It does look like you will need a bigger screen to avoid that bog hole next time assuming you got the spot marked.
FollowupID: 432194

Follow Up By: Richard W (NSW) - Thursday, Jun 01, 2006 at 17:59

Thursday, Jun 01, 2006 at 17:59

As I understand it there are three levels of memory in the Dell Axim.
Built In
SD and CF Slot.

I load additional programs to built in memory and data to the cards.
When there is a crash I do a soft boot rather than a hard boot unless I'm rebuilding the operating system.

There is no bypass and it was dry last time I went through :-).
FollowupID: 432201

Reply By: Pajman Pete (SA) - Thursday, Jun 01, 2006 at 17:25

Thursday, Jun 01, 2006 at 17:25
We use a second hand IBM laptop from ebay running OziExplorer with the Natmap DVD and plugged into an Etrex GPS. Total cost $900 and the laptop has other uses (download our photos to clear the camera, DVD watching from the sleeping bag on cold, wet nights in camp)

The lappy sits on a custom table between the front seats and the big screen is great when travelling. We have stopped of at a number of interesting paces when we have been out and about simply because we have seen them going past on the screen. We have tried using an IPAC PDA but got sick of the little screen (then it got stolen from a motel room).

If we want to wander away from the vehicle (eg Geocaching) we just transfer any suitable waypoints to the GPS, unplug it and stroll off.

I'm not sure the small screens on the handheld GPS would be all that user friendly and as you are looking for a vehicle solution you must follow "Roachies Law" - If you can fit it in, bolt it in, wire it in and go and look for the next modification! :o)

AnswerID: 176162

Reply By: Gu_Patrol - Thursday, Jun 01, 2006 at 18:23

Thursday, Jun 01, 2006 at 18:23
tdv, it all depends where your going. if you got 1:25,000 or 1:50,000 maps then having a PDA is good, they give good colour of the field but they are very old maps, plus try looking at a PDA in full sunlight, If you run your PDA flat you can lose all your data. Battery life is minimal compared to a GPS
Magellan have the best digital maps out, Garmin isn't far behind with there maps, I have great topo maps that I use with any of my Garmins plus I use auto routing.
Creating a route and tracking your log is far easier than in a PDA.
I could go on for hours on this subject, But i won't. :-)
AnswerID: 176171

Reply By: Member - Doug T (QLD) - Thursday, Jun 01, 2006 at 19:02

Thursday, Jun 01, 2006 at 19:02
I use one of these in the link and love it hey it records over 2200klm of track and you save that to your computer and go back to that track file anytime in the future and show that you crossed ie Adelaide River /date /year/ time /speed/alt/direction., anyhow check it out
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AnswerID: 176182

Reply By: Sand Man (SA) - Thursday, Jun 01, 2006 at 20:27

Thursday, Jun 01, 2006 at 20:27

I use a Magellan GPS and have downloaded DiscoverAus and Great Desert Tracks to it.

I would have to say that I am not all that keen on the detail displayed when travelling in remote areas. As you zoom in, more detail becomes visible and it does have its uses at times, but it is hard to get a distinctive view. DiscoverAus however, is handy to have if travelling though large towns or Cities, as you virtually have a street directory in the GPS.

OziExplorer with its moving map capability, is unsurpassed in its clarity and detail.
Obviously, this will depend on the maps used but OziExplorer coupled with Natmap Raster Premium and viewed on a reasonable sized display will give you the ability to know at any instant, exactly where you are lost.

I haven't tried the DiscoverAus topo maps which may give a little better detail, (and I won't because of the price) but I would be surprised if it is still as clear as Ozi when travelling through the Great Outdoors.


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AnswerID: 176195

Reply By: Sarg - Thursday, Jun 01, 2006 at 21:13

Thursday, Jun 01, 2006 at 21:13
I bought the same pack a few months ago & was amased at the detail available on the DAST SD card. I,ve been on tracks that you can hardly see on the ground, but are shown on DAST. If it all goes wrong , the backtrack will get you out of strife. I love the large screen as well. Some of the detail can be a bit too" detailed'', but you can customise it to suit yuor preferances.
The only improvements that I can see is if Magellan incorporated a recharge facility( like your phone) while connected to 12V DC & the low backlight setting is a bit too bright for night driving.
Im not into the PDA/ Carputer thing so can't comment on that , but it is a very solid ,well constructed unit, runs on 4 AA batteries or 12V DC, easy to use menu. Yeah , this is the first one that I've owned & totally rapped with it.
The price is the same as I paid for mine. About industry standard from my research before purchasing it.
AnswerID: 176210

Reply By: Member - Brian H (QLD) - Thursday, Jun 01, 2006 at 21:25

Thursday, Jun 01, 2006 at 21:25
Novice as well,

I have a garmin 72 which i have, been told it can be hooked up to a laptop which i can run Rapstar and Ozxplore and also have it so can talk back(whatever its called) if i put the waypoints in.

I am only after a lappie to do the above and download photos etc etc. I also was told i could have a touch screen on the dash.

I assume this is possible and have not been sold a dummy

Sorry if i have stolen your thread

AnswerID: 176214

Reply By: Noel W (Qld) - Friday, Jun 02, 2006 at 06:33

Friday, Jun 02, 2006 at 06:33
My main beef with the Explorist package is the price of the SD Topo Maps considering the prospect of SD card failure outside of the warranty period (12 months). The SD card is protected and cannot be backed up and will not be replaced if out of warranty.

The option of being able to view these maps on PC would also be great and as other members have stated in other threads, is long overdue. When contacted recently, 'next destination' sales said there would be a viewer available mid-2006, so we'll see.

Personally, I like the idea of running a laptop but with a remote touch screen. The laptop could be under a seat or elsewhere with less space taken in the cab, especially in smaller vehicles. I do not have this setup but is on my wish list.
AnswerID: 176265

Follow Up By: Noel W (Qld) - Friday, Jun 02, 2006 at 12:47

Friday, Jun 02, 2006 at 12:47
Update this morning from next nestination:-

"have just recieved a beta version for testing. The software is on
track for a July release at this stage."

Once again - we'll see.
FollowupID: 432342

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