What GPS to buy?

We will be travelling around Australia for at least 5 years in an old landcruiser troopie and a trailer. We want to buy the best GPS for off-roading and town use. Have been advised to buy either a Garmin or Hema. Would love to hear what others have to say in regard to this issue.
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Reply By: LoveEmptyRoads - Friday, May 14, 2010 at 21:45

Friday, May 14, 2010 at 21:45
Well I am bit of a GPS nut, but that si because I used to live in places where there were no maps (or maps which were bit useless).

My recommendation is to have two GPS units. One for car one for hiking or serious 4x4 off the beaten track driving.

I have TomTom Go920 in the car, which I find very good for normal city driving and town to town driving.

Now for 4x4 experience and the uncharted territory you should get a Garmin (I am not sure about Hema never used it, as it is Australian based unit). But I just got Garmin Oregon 550 (before that I had antohre two garmin units), it is a lovely unit, and what is the best is that you can import custom maps (images from GoogleEarth for example, or any other maps you might have JPG image of (but you need other software too – Universal Map downloader and MAPC2MPAC).
It is a bit complicated time consuming process and there are limitations, but to have a detailed and calibrated satellite image of Olgas, or the whole Katherin Gorge on your GPS is amazing.

The problem with Garmin is that the maps are expensive, you can get a road map of Australia and also topo map of Australia, you cannot used them both at the same time, but can swop memory cards as you need it. There is also a handy software that comes with Garmin, the Map Source and Base Camp, that helps you to plan your trips and hikes.

I have just scratched the surface of the topic, but definitely look up Garmin Oregon range if you are interested.

I use combination of Garmin maps, OziExplorer and GoogleEarth to plan my trips, you cannot go wrong with that.

I guess I might have confused you more than anything else, but it is complex topic if you go deep into it.
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Follow Up By: Member - Rod V (NT) - Monday, May 17, 2010 at 19:00

Monday, May 17, 2010 at 19:00
I bought a Hema Navigator5 and used it the Snowy, with Ozi, and MemoryMap I was able to find tracks very easy, I also used maps calibrated in Oziexplorer and down loaded then on to the Hema with great success, I used the Route66 when I was in towns just asked it to avoid toll gates and motorways and took me to where I asked, a great little unit
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Follow Up By: The Explorer - Wednesday, May 19, 2010 at 14:38

Wednesday, May 19, 2010 at 14:38
LoveEmptyRoads
See my post below on relatively simple way to make custom images for Garmin handhelds (and OziExplorer etc) from GE etc...though some issues

Cheers
Greg.
I sent one final shout after him to stick to the track, to which he replied “All right,” That was the last ever seen of Gibson - E Giles 23 April 1874

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Reply By: Member - res.q.guy (Vic.) - Friday, May 14, 2010 at 22:11

Friday, May 14, 2010 at 22:11
Hi
As per the post above, two units would be best, I have a Garmin 60Cx hand held for walking and boating, and a Garmin Nuvi in the 4x4.
On a slightly different track you could convert a generic Chinese gps, with a different menu system to allow you to use Garmin, Ozi Exp CE (as per the Hema), iGO and Tom Tom all in the one unit.
You get one of these, then change the menu system with this, you can get most of the info you need from the net.
There are a couple of us on this forum that have done it.
Cheers
Neil
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Follow Up By: LoveEmptyRoads - Saturday, May 15, 2010 at 00:25

Saturday, May 15, 2010 at 00:25
That sounds really good, have you actually done this? I think I will look into it, just out of curiosity, to have all in one sounds too good to let go, and I thought I knew a lot about GPS, I guess I was too narrow minded and focused on Garmin.
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Follow Up By: Member - res.q.guy (Vic.) - Saturday, May 15, 2010 at 07:40

Saturday, May 15, 2010 at 07:40
Hi
I must admit, that I do like my Garmin unity, for quality.
However, the ability to use raster maps with OziExpCE, as well as vector maps with Garmin XT, in one unit is very handy. Yes, I have a chinese unit, in the link above, and have downloaded the menu system. I have OziExp CE, Garmin XT and iGO all up and running. To finish off all I need to do is a little tweek on the menu system and load Tom Tom to the unit.
It is a very interesting project, and you certainly learn a lot about gps systems in the process. There is another member on this forum that has also done the same, with a different model of unit. We have been in touch with each other. There is also a forum for people that are converting them, which is here.
There is also a 7'' gps model available, that someone has rewritten the menu system for.
If you want more details you can email me: res.q.guy@westnet.com.au
Cheers
Neil
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Follow Up By: Isuzumu - Saturday, May 15, 2010 at 08:49

Saturday, May 15, 2010 at 08:49
Thanks for that info Heil, I am keen to do the same. I already have a Magellan Meridian Gold a Nuvi 760 and Ozi on my laptop, but Iam thinking getting a 7" GPS that stick to the windscreen with a touch screen will be a lot easier to use.
Cheers Bruce
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Follow Up By: Member - res.q.guy (Vic.) - Saturday, May 15, 2010 at 09:27

Saturday, May 15, 2010 at 09:27
Hi Bruce
The details on the 7" unit are here.
The details on the modified menu are here.
Hope that helps
Cheers
Neil
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Follow Up By: Shawn - Saturday, May 15, 2010 at 10:23

Saturday, May 15, 2010 at 10:23
Have the generic 7" Chinese GPS which runs OziCE, I have also converted my Navman MY55T to run OziCE with MioPocket3.0 (also runs a few other programs, only limited by the size of the microSD card). Have a Magellan Triton 400 in case everything turns pear shaped. So far everything has worked well.
If the Chinese 7" GPS brakes down, it is less than $200 I have lost and not $1000 that is being asked for the Hema unit.
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Follow Up By: Sand Man (SA) - Saturday, May 15, 2010 at 16:51

Saturday, May 15, 2010 at 16:51
Neil,

Interesting comments mate.

I was of the impression that Tomtom is no longer available (in Australia) as a stand-alone program.

I use Tomtom as my preferred choice for navigation though major cities and built up areas of our Country and ExplorOz (running on a Hema Navigator) for countrywide travel.

The necessity of separate devices was required for uninterrupted use of Ozi as even if I could load a stand-alone program for Tomtom onto the Hema, you cannot "hot swap" between two applications.

I previously used a PDA running OziExplorer and CoPilot Live and which you could have both running simultaneously and flip between the two.
Unfortunately, CoPilot stopped their support for Australia and forced an alternative solution. CoPilot was a pretty good competitor to Tomtom until that point.


Bill.



Bill


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Follow Up By: Isuzumu - Saturday, May 15, 2010 at 19:15

Saturday, May 15, 2010 at 19:15
Thanks Neil and Shawn
Cheers Bruce
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Follow Up By: LoveEmptyRoads - Tuesday, May 18, 2010 at 17:54

Tuesday, May 18, 2010 at 17:54
I have just ordered the 7" unit, hopefully I get it before my 19/6 trip to NT, and will have time to play with it. I will contact you if I get in trouble Neil. Thanks for opening my eyes wider.
Cheers
David
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Follow Up By: Member - res.q.guy (Vic.) - Wednesday, May 19, 2010 at 07:37

Wednesday, May 19, 2010 at 07:37
Hi David
I am not an expert, but glad to help with what I can, and point you in the direction for all the sites and files you need etc.
Cheers
Neil
res.q.guy@westnet.com.au
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Reply By: Gnomey - Saturday, May 15, 2010 at 12:04

Saturday, May 15, 2010 at 12:04
G'day Maggie
I'm considering GPS for in car (4WD) and on foot use, with street navigation being a third order use. I'm also starting from scratch - no little netbooks, no digital maps or mapping software already purchased.

FWIW after a lot of research I am still tossing up between 2 systems - a) Garmin hand held and 5-7" Chinese units as mentioned here and b) Twonav Aventura which is a hybrid in car and hand held. (From my perspective the Hema unit doesn't represent value for money.)

Of course, there are +'s and -'s for each. eg Having 2 units for backup, having 1 unit for ease of setup and familiarity of use - no bleeping around with software etc. As always, there isn't a clear winner in all respects.

Interestingly, when I roughly costed the above two systems and a netbook system with remote touch screen, all up (hardware and software) all three came in between $1,000 and $1,200. At the price of 2 tanks of diesel, the cost difference is effectively zero.

For me it means carefully and *realistically* thinking through my needs, prioritising them and comparing with the system capabilities (and limitations). If I had to decide today I'd probably go with Garmin/Chinese and trust that with help I could bumble my way through the reprogramming stuff. Since I don't have to decide today I'm stalling to see what the experts can do with the TwoNav.

Cheers
Mark

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Reply By: Member - Doug T (NT) - Saturday, May 15, 2010 at 16:06

Saturday, May 15, 2010 at 16:06
Get a Garmin Nuvi 765, then purchase the Garmin Topo CD and you'll want no more for the car,

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Follow Up By: The Explorer - Saturday, May 15, 2010 at 20:17

Saturday, May 15, 2010 at 20:17
...unless of course you want to use raster maps/airphotos - then you'll want more :) Garmin Nuvis are a good plug and play option but keep in mind limited mapping options. Examples attached.

What you'll see on a Garmin Nuvi running Garmin Topo..(note inaccurate contours)

Image Could Not Be Found

What you'll see on a unit capable of displaying raster images/airphotos (e.g.OziCe, TwoNav)

Image Could Not Be Found

Cheers
Greg
I sent one final shout after him to stick to the track, to which he replied “All right,” That was the last ever seen of Gibson - E Giles 23 April 1874

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Follow Up By: wicket - Wednesday, May 19, 2010 at 10:58

Wednesday, May 19, 2010 at 10:58
Greg

Garmin is now capable of displaying the lower image shown with this product

http://www.ja-gps.com.au/garmin-birdseye.aspx
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Follow Up By: The Explorer - Wednesday, May 19, 2010 at 11:19

Wednesday, May 19, 2010 at 11:19
Hi
I was referring to Garmin Nuvi's only - you have been able to view raster images on some Garmins handhelds (Colorado, Oregon, Dakota) for some time - nothing new there. The latest version of Basecamp now also allows the viewing of raster images (in right format).

At this stage you cant view custom made raster images on Garmin Nuvis...though this may of course change in future. Also the use of custom raster images on the Garmin handhelds is very limited (ie map size, number of maps etc) and based on my experience slow and clunky. They are blown out of the water by units running OziExplorer, TwoNav etc. If you have a serious need for airphotos/raster topo maps ....a Garmin handheld is not the right choice.

"Birdseye" is a newly released product from Garmin that simplifies the converison of air photos for compatable units, but costs money ($39/year/gps unit) - you are better off IMHO using one of the free programs that capture Google Earth, Nearmap images etc. (if your area is covered at the resolution required) and then convert to kmz for your Garmin unit/Basecamp.

Cheers
Greg
I sent one final shout after him to stick to the track, to which he replied “All right,” That was the last ever seen of Gibson - E Giles 23 April 1874

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Follow Up By: wicket - Wednesday, May 19, 2010 at 11:49

Wednesday, May 19, 2010 at 11:49
Greg

Thanks for that info, was wondering if you could let me know what those free google map capture programs are as i would like to give them a try, i assume they would work with oziexplorer as well?

cheers
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Follow Up By: The Explorer - Wednesday, May 19, 2010 at 12:41

Wednesday, May 19, 2010 at 12:41
Hi

I am current using this - it works perfectly with repect to making images directly compatable with OziExplorer (then convert to ozf for use with oziCe)

Mobile Atlas Creator

Quick "how to" here

Using Mobile Atlas Creator

My only suggestion is, once you have your image loaded in OziExplorer is to change the projection to UTM (from Mercator) using the check calibration function and resave calibration file.

I use Microsoft Virtual Earth for out of town areas as often get blocked using Google Earth option - images appear to be the same. NearMap provides best detail for more settled areas.

You can create kmz files for Garmins/Basecamp with this program but some dont appear to work..maybe restrictions on level of zoom or something - havent figured it out as yet.

Cheers
Greg

I sent one final shout after him to stick to the track, to which he replied “All right,” That was the last ever seen of Gibson - E Giles 23 April 1874

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Follow Up By: wicket - Wednesday, May 19, 2010 at 14:50

Wednesday, May 19, 2010 at 14:50
Thanks Greg will check it out, if i have some difficulties getting it sorted then i'll start a new topic for general discussion.

cheers
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Reply By: bgreeni - Saturday, May 15, 2010 at 22:17

Saturday, May 15, 2010 at 22:17
I run one unit to do my GPS and many other uses as well.

I have a Ipaq/HP 212 PDA which allows me to run OziCE for off road and country use and Igo8 for city use. Will also connect to the via wifi for browsing, email etc.

I use a bluetooth GPS unit to provide the GPS input. I can also use a laptop with the GPS if I need the functionality of the full OziE (not used very often for simple navigation but used sometimes for the work I do. - also use a GIS system on the laptop when I need that sort of functionality.; This will also connect with the bluetooth GPS) I am therefore not stuck with one system but can use whatever suits best for the situation. I have a large library of raster maps which I supplement with air photos or with "Maps" I prepare using SISGIS and various satellite data or mapping.

This all works well for me but does require some computer savy to set up and use.

The battery life of the Ipaq and GPS also give me all the "Away from vehicle" time I need for the uses I have.
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