GPS advice required

Submitted: Monday, May 12, 2003 at 15:13
ThreadID: 4862 Views:1772 Replies:7 FollowUps:5
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I wish to purchase a GPS but am unsure of the best way to start. I am confused by all the available units. Should I spend big dollars straight up or get something basic until I get the hang of them. My use of a GPS will initially be for recalling locations of good camping areas found in my travels. Obviously they can do more than that but as a complete novice I seek advice.
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Reply By: Member - Sam (NSW) - Monday, May 12, 2003 at 15:18

Monday, May 12, 2003 at 15:18

There is a myriad of handheld GPS units out there on the market these days. As is the case with most things, each have their weaknesses and strengths. Some people prefer the Magellan units, others the Garmins or even some of the other brands. I have a Garmin eMap and am very happy with it. The built in Australian Map is fantastic. Best thing to do would be to go to a camping store (somewhere like Paddy Pallins) and test drive different brands to see what you like (ie ease of use, screen clarity, data storage ability etc etc). You don't have to purchase from a place like this, but they at least allow easy access to test drive the units.

AnswerID: 19750

Reply By: Member - Rohan K - Monday, May 12, 2003 at 15:41

Monday, May 12, 2003 at 15:41
Dave, be careful about "under-buying". I fell for that trap by buying "old" technology second-hand, to "get a feel for it" but got the "feel" for it so quickly (did nothing else but fiddle with GPS for about 2 weeks) that I ended up upgrading within weeks. Then I purchased software, digital maps etc.

Its a bit like anything else computer/technology based - if you are inclined, even a little, to be an early adopter of technology, or someone who fiddles a lot with whatever new piece of technology they acquire, you'll quickly want more than the basic equipment you purchased can provide.

On the other hand, you can spend many unnecessary $$$ on GPS, getting functionality and gadgets/gimmics, you'll never want or use (just like VCRs, DVDs, PCs, home theatre, etc). There are still features on my 4 yr old VCR, I don't use and never will.

Like all such purchases, the critical step is to be honest about what you need from the equipment, as distinct from to what you want. To get an idea of this, visit the Garmin and Magellan web-sites and check out all the features available on different models. Make a list of the features you must have and the ones you'd like to have. List the units that provide all the functions you must have and then compare those units on the "nice to have" features and price.

My guess is that you'll end up with a mid-priced unit ($500-$700) that does most things most people need/want. These units also have a better re-sale value (important if you give it all up) as they are more popular/sought after as second-hand units than the units at either end of the price scale. If you are interested in a second hand unit (and you can get some pretty good/recent ones), have a look here under "trader" or have a look at

Good luck.Be good, or be quick.
Rohan (Sydney)
AnswerID: 19754

Follow Up By: Member - Willem- Monday, May 12, 2003 at 16:56

Monday, May 12, 2003 at 16:56
Yep, I agree with Rohan entirely. I bought a Magellan 330 new and paid around $850 for it including a dash holder. Being an older model of human kind my grasp for the new technology is a bit slow but I have younger friends with quicker brains who have helped me a lot. I have all the toys and gadjets but use the GPS in an old fashioned way by pinpointing locations on a digital map with Oziexplorer software and then find the location with the GPS. I cannot use a moving map on account my old truck sucks in dust like a vacuum cleaner. Having used maps over many years and going on many offroad experiences I am capable of reading maps reasonably accurately. I enjoy a lot of the features that the GPS gives me including speed and height variations but there is so much technology crammed into this little device that it will probably take ages to learn it all. Anyway it works for me and I am happy with my set-up.Cheers, Willem
Never a dull moment
FollowupID: 12558

Reply By: Member - Peter (WA) - Monday, May 12, 2003 at 17:15

Monday, May 12, 2003 at 17:15
If in the future you intend to set up a laptop in the 4wd dont over buy with map features as programs like Oziexplorer have all the moving maps features you will ever want ,I have a very simple GPS Garmin12 it will up and down load waypionts and routes to my laptop with ease ( now that I have finally figured it all out )it cost approx $400 and will store 500 waypoints plus heaps more features ,this is just my personal point of view . As a friend of mine found out talk to people with a GPS and use it in real life not just the sales people.Born to drive a 4x4 , not a keyboard
Peter York 4x4
AnswerID: 19768

Follow Up By: Member - Rohan K - Monday, May 12, 2003 at 17:33

Monday, May 12, 2003 at 17:33
This is a good point Peter. I ended up with a similar set up, using a basic Garmin eTrex, relying on Ozi and the PC for all my map display needs. It work a treat. This can save you heaps on a (small screen) GPS, if you intend going the PC/software route anyway.Be good, or be quick.
Rohan (Sydney)
FollowupID: 12561

Follow Up By: Steve L - Tuesday, May 13, 2003 at 08:40

Tuesday, May 13, 2003 at 08:40
I agree totally with Peter and Rohan. I specifically bought a Magellan 315, which has all the features I could ever need (except mapping), as I intend using the moving map features on a laptop.

I felt that the screens on the handheld GPS units were too small to make the best use of mapping, so saved considerable money by purchasing without the functionality.
FollowupID: 12608

Follow Up By: srowlandson - Wednesday, May 14, 2003 at 08:49

Wednesday, May 14, 2003 at 08:49
I purchased a Magellan Meridian 12 months ago, a CD of maps, Ozi Explorer and OziCE

I ran the mapping on an old Toshiba Laptop (new 30GB Hdd installed just the other day for maps) and a HP Jornada Handheld PC.

I found the laptop a bit of a pain, having to boot it up each time i wanted to use it etc, but for a 4wd trip, boot it up, whack it under the seat collecting data and only grab it when you need it. It works really well.

The Biggest move i made with in car mapping, was purchasing the SDCard and MapSend CD for Vic for my GPS. The Detail in the GPS Screen is amazing and coupled with the old paper map, navigation now easy. I have only used the Laptop Setup once now in the 8 months since i put the street level mapping into the GPS, and now ready to shell out to buy a Color Meridian (fully knowing that within a week of doing so Magellan will bring a Full size 4wd GPS with large screen which uses the same maps as the meridian. :(

(FYI i have Meridian Gold (cheap one), Vehicle mount, power cable, data cable, Combo power&data, Toshiba 430CDT, HP Jornada (with 64mg Flash card) and Magellan MapSend Vic CD on a 64 Mg SDCard
FollowupID: 12715

Reply By: Member - Glenn(VIC) - Monday, May 12, 2003 at 17:19

Monday, May 12, 2003 at 17:19

Also have a look at the GPS feature under the On the Road/Navigation in the above menus. ExplorOz have written on what they suggest as being minimul requirements when purchasing a GPS.Just Do It!

AnswerID: 19769

Reply By: diamond(bendigo) - Monday, May 12, 2003 at 18:26

Monday, May 12, 2003 at 18:26
gday dave
i asked the same question alittle while ago and got heaps of info
post 3504
i ended up bying a magellin 310(basic) from ebay for $200
it dosnt do all the fandangle things the new ones do.but it does the basics which is all i needed it for (camping spots ect).
i used it quite a lot at easter(we got lost) and it at least showed us on maps where we were and where we should be.
also if you do decide to buy a good one there is a place where you can get them from the states about half price compared to here.
have a look at post 3794.
hope this helpseaster fun at jamison
AnswerID: 19780

Follow Up By: Member -BJ (Sydney) - Monday, May 12, 2003 at 18:41

Monday, May 12, 2003 at 18:41
Iv'e been told you can have warranty truobles buying strait from the States.Wish i was still here / Gulf in July
FollowupID: 12572

Reply By: David from A-trek Camper & Camping Hire - Tuesday, May 13, 2003 at 22:51

Tuesday, May 13, 2003 at 22:51
Dave, my advice would be to go for the best you can afford, as mentioned in an earlier thread, you will in most cases get a better re-sale on the better units if you ever want to sell or trade up.
We are agents for Magellan & we have some pretty good specials at the moment, also if you do happen to find a better price anywhere in Oz, we will try and beat it, you can check us out at most items are delivered within 48 to 72 hours, regards, David.
AnswerID: 19950

Reply By: Niko - Saturday, May 24, 2003 at 06:28

Saturday, May 24, 2003 at 06:28
The issue about buying from USA and warranty is not really an issue, if you buy a Garmin. Not sure about Magellan though. If you purchase a Garmin from the USA (and have proof of purchase of brand new unit) and it fails here in Australia you can take it to GME Electrophone for warranty repacement. If it has passed 12 months then you can get an exchange unit for about half the price of a new one. The unit that you receive is a refurbished unit from Garmin in Asia (where the factory is) basically looks brand new!! If you buy from an auction site like ebay or a second hand unit then you will most unlikely be able to exchange for a new one as you won't have the original date of purchase from the original owner. From my experience working for GME they check the serial number with the date that it was shipped from Garasia (Garmin Asia) and guestimate the warranty. Basically you will be looking at an exchange unit instead even if you have only had it in your hot little hands for a day. Magellan I suspect would work on the same principle. If not let Thales know your dilema (They own Magellan). The Magellan in Perth is a private company just like GME, so, good luck.
AnswerID: 20910

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