GPS- basic or with maps?

Submitted: Tuesday, Jul 29, 2003 at 00:40
ThreadID: 6236 Views:2094 Replies:8 FollowUps:2
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I am concidering buying my first gps. I am planing a trip around oz next year and would like opinions as to go basic or not. I already have raster 250k maps on cds, but I find it easier to read paper maps as you get a bigger (wider) picture of were you are. I havent had experance with ozi explorer, but the maps e.g., on magellon platenum are only hiways not tracks?
Are the usa purchases still ok?Around Oz 06/2004
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Reply By: BurnieM - Tuesday, Jul 29, 2003 at 08:16

Tuesday, Jul 29, 2003 at 08:16
The mapping GPSRs have a basemap which is generally main highways and coastline.

For Magellans you can purchase the DiscoverAus CD ($249) and a data card and load detailed city and rural road mapping.

For Garmins you can purchase Metroguide Australia CD ($235) and load similar road mapping.

US purchases are generally cheaper but you may have delays with warranty issues.
There is a downloadable Australian basemap for Magellan Meridans.
It is not possible to overwrite the Garmin Americas basemap.
The basemaps do not matter if you plan to buy the more detailed mapping on CD (above).
AnswerID: 26225

Follow Up By: stevesub - Tuesday, Jul 29, 2003 at 09:42

Tuesday, Jul 29, 2003 at 09:42
Get one with the maps, even the basic basemap is better than nothing when lost. You do get a idea od where the nearest main road is or where you actually are.
FollowupID: 17842

Reply By: Member - Bob - Tuesday, Jul 29, 2003 at 10:44

Tuesday, Jul 29, 2003 at 10:44
Rox, quite a lot has been said about this (search under GPS). If you already have the CDs the other expense would be an old laptop, or old computer with 15" TFT display($550) running off inverter ($200). A base model GPS would be all you would need (eg Magellan 315). So what you save on the GPS you will more than spend on the other gear but you end up with a vastly more usable system. Maps viewed on the 15" TFT display are as clear as paper maps and less cumbersome.
AnswerID: 26235

Follow Up By: Brian - Wednesday, Jul 30, 2003 at 20:39

Wednesday, Jul 30, 2003 at 20:39
When you say an old laptop... how old are we talking here??.. I guess obviously it would have to be able to run cd's right????
FollowupID: 17992

Reply By: Eric from Cape York Connections - Tuesday, Jul 29, 2003 at 16:30

Tuesday, Jul 29, 2003 at 16:30
Rox just finnised another trip to the cape and had a young guy with me he had a gps and I tried to use it to get around and found it mutch easier to use a good map.
In my opinion you would be better off getting a hand full of good maps and learn how to read them . As someone else said get a cheap gps and it will give you your way points I think thats what they are called.
All the best
Eric 02 42 943496
Pete 07 4094 1745
Cape York Connections
AnswerID: 26257

Reply By: Voxson (Adelaide) - Tuesday, Jul 29, 2003 at 20:31

Tuesday, Jul 29, 2003 at 20:31
Yep.. A cheap GPS is the go......... On my trip to the cape just gone there was a few times where i wasnt quite sure whether i had taken the right track or not because of the way they are laid out and i had a lot of the "waypoints",, musgrave, coen, archer etc etc... or whatever programmed in the gps... So when i needed a little bit of a security blanket i just punched in a waypoint and it helped my with a bit of security to know i was at least going in the right direction and it was about the right klms away from me...
With GPS and maps you cant go wrong...and a good car of course..._____________________________________________

AnswerID: 26284

Reply By: Member - Jo (NSW) - Wednesday, Jul 30, 2003 at 08:27

Wednesday, Jul 30, 2003 at 08:27
You should only consider a GPS as a supplement to paper maps. I just bought a Geko 201from Johnny Appleseed, and the thing is great! Tiny, smaller than my Nokia 3330, probably about the size of a 8250. Gives me what I need to know, and doesnt have to be lugged around if you want to hike as well.

A viking in a desert :-)
AnswerID: 26317

Reply By: rastas000 - Wednesday, Jul 30, 2003 at 18:54

Wednesday, Jul 30, 2003 at 18:54

I am a convert to GPS use, however, it cannot be stressed enough that it is only an adjunct to your existing navigation skills. If you dont have a map, compass, and the know-how to use them, then a GPS is probably not for you. All a GPS will do is tell you where you are, and that is if you have set the right datum and coordinate system for the reference material you are using.

I own a Garmin E-Map complete with the Mapsource data and am very happy with what it does for me. I also have an E-Trex for when I am out of the car and in "hostile" (wet/muddy) environments.

In conjunction with the Mapsource, I use the E-Map as a pseudo street guide device to get me through areas I dont know, but in the bush, that aint really useful. The tracks feature helps a lot in the boonies.

I have used Magellans, Garmins, Suunto and Silva GPS units. I have chosen to remain with Garmin, and that is a very personal choice. Each have pro's and cons based on what you want out of them.

Unfortunately, you wont know what you REALLY want out of a GPS until you have used one for a bit.

I would stronly suggest that you go for a GPS that has data cable access, as this will save heaps of time when you want to enter a big batch of stuff. And I must concur with the cheap laptop suggestion earlier.

As far as mapping software, I use a professional version of Mapinfo (as I use it with work) but have had heaps of joy with Ozexplorer (a GREAT Aussie package) and played with Fugawi as well. All take a bit of learning but will be functional.

I digress a lot tho.... I suggest that you borrow/rent a GPS and play... they can be fun, and if you have kids I would recommend as a place to go to get some "fun" out of your GPS.



AnswerID: 26369

Reply By: Member - Des - Thursday, Jul 31, 2003 at 15:11

Thursday, Jul 31, 2003 at 15:11
The other thing to remember is that, whether a mapping or non-mapping unit, you need a GPS that works well in the vehicle and under tree cover. Some cheapies work fine in the desert, but not under trees or inside the car with a partially-obscured view of the sky. You'll find comments on various models in the archives.

I have the basic Magellan SporTrak and it works very well in the vehicle and under tree cover. Magellan says that all the Meridian and SporTrak models have the same antenna, so you could expect the same performance in each. A mounting bracket that positions the unit close to the windscreen should help.

Some GPS units have provision for an external antenna, which should also improve reception in the car. More expensive units generally have this. If your GPS doesn't take an external antenna, you can get a re-radiating antenna (about $150) that magnifies the signals in the vehicle and thereby improves reception. Do a search for "re-radiating" and "GPS" and you will find info about them.

AnswerID: 26435

Reply By: Groove - Thursday, Jul 31, 2003 at 15:17

Thursday, Jul 31, 2003 at 15:17
If you want to look at maps then the bigger the better (just my opinion) so I prefer the laptop approach. It has the advantage of allowing me to store my digital picks. Stores heaps of maps and from time to time I can hire and watch a DVD (this feature saved my sanity when I was stuck in Kunnanura for a week waiting for a set of springs to come from Perth)

However you should never rely on any technology and at least basic paper maps should also be caried. Another eally good feature to look for when buying a GPS is a back track feature (different brands call it different things) but essentially it dispalys a on screen a very basic track of where you have been, this feature does not require a computer nor a gps with built in maps, and as such gives a bit of redundancy. This feature is also useful to determin if you are driving in circles (thats another story)

If in really remote areas or when exploring unmaped trails remeber to create waypoints on your back track so you know how far you have travelled from certain landmarks.

I use Ozi Eplorer and think its great.
AnswerID: 26436

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