advice greatly appreciated. GPS v Tablets

Submitted: Tuesday, Apr 24, 2012 at 20:33
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Hello All.
I am looking to get a new GPS device however I am unsure as to which direction I should be going. I am tossing up between window mounted GPS or in dash GPS and a Tablet running maps.

Just as a point I would be using it for city driving, off road as well as touring.

I would be interested in your thoughts.

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Reply By: Aussie Camper - Tuesday, Apr 24, 2012 at 21:22

Tuesday, Apr 24, 2012 at 21:22
I have a number of gps and now mainly use a tablet for my gps
The iPad 3G model has gps and I use metroview for street directions and mud-map for itopo maps, there are many other apps like tomtom app that you can use.
There is also android and windows tablets where you can choose the app of your choice.
Oziexplorer is available for the android platform and will be on other platforms in the future.

You can also purchase dash mounts for tablets but make sure you get a descent one as its holding a lot more weight.

The smaller gps for me are just to small and harder to see where you going but it's more portable and will fit in your pocket.
AnswerID: 484067

Reply By: mikehzz - Tuesday, Apr 24, 2012 at 21:24

Tuesday, Apr 24, 2012 at 21:24
No contest for me, a tablet with in built gps is what I use for just about everything now. Can't beat the screen size, the gps works well both turn by turn and topo, send and receive email, read forums and reply, surf the web, watch movies, play music, washes the dishes, cooks my dinner......sorry, it doesn't do the last 2 but it does all the others. :-)
AnswerID: 484069

Reply By: Cravenhaven - Tuesday, Apr 24, 2012 at 21:33

Tuesday, Apr 24, 2012 at 21:33
I use TomTom on my phone, but I also have OziExplorer on the same phone and on various laptops and an in car computer. I find that I use TomTom just about all the time and only use oziexplorer if I am in a very remote place where the roads have degraded to just tracks. Even then TomTom often has them marked. If you are planning on remote desert driving, eg the Simpson desert etc, then definitely get something like OziExplorer and a tablet pc or laptop, but otherwise I would get the largest screen car navigation system running TomTom or Garmin.
Another alternative is the Hema navigator. Its a bit expensive but comes with Onroad navigation (TomTom I think) and Oziexplorer and has a decent 5 inch screen.

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Reply By: Crackles - Tuesday, Apr 24, 2012 at 21:55

Tuesday, Apr 24, 2012 at 21:55
For simplicity of installation a VMS dash unit is hard to go past. For price the Chinese copies aren't too bad but may need to have programs & maps loaded.
For a more professional install the replacement double din 7" units have a big enough display to suit all your requirements.
Tablets are a bit more complicated to mount in some vehicles particually manuals with airbags & screen glare on many can be an issue. They are ideal for touring but not practical for city Nav as they are usually mounted down low or on the passenger side out of normal view plus awkward to fit & remove for security.
The other option is simply using one of the larger smart phones which can do almost everything. Their hi-res screens are easy to read, don't block half the windows & you probably own one anyway.
Ideal setup these days probably a phone & tablet for touring.
Cheers Craig...........
AnswerID: 484075

Reply By: vk1dx - Tuesday, Apr 24, 2012 at 22:03

Tuesday, Apr 24, 2012 at 22:03
We mounted a windowsCE based double din unit in the dash several years ago and it has never let us down. It has all the usual junk from blue tooth to DVD, USB and radio in it and runs city street navigation and Oziexplorer CE version applications. The screen, while not as big as a tablet or a laptop, is big enough for us and we have 8GB data cards with all the maps you would need for Oz 4WD from high country and desert tracks to touring the bitumen (shock horror).

I really like the fact that the indash units will not get in the way and, in the case of an accident, will not break off the mounts and smash my skull in. We prefer an uncluttered cabin.

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Reply By: Sand Man (SA) - Wednesday, Apr 25, 2012 at 07:57

Wednesday, Apr 25, 2012 at 07:57

One point to define for you is that a single unit will not allow you to have two applications running at once. You need to shut down one to run the other, unless you are using a PC running Franson GPSGate which enable port sharing of GPS input.

For this reason I use two devices.
A Tomtom for voice guided navigation.
A Hema Navigator for countrywide touring and trips, which has a moving map display and the ability to save tracks, etc.

As a little aside, over Easter we travelled to Milparinka (40k short of Tibooburra) in NW NSW.
Tomtom gave a very good display of the entire route to follow, so for at least main roads and tracks, it fits the solution.

For a really good moving map display that is the same as a printed map however, it is hard to beat OziExplorer, whatever it runs on.

I find the 5" Hema has a big enough display for general use while driving, although I cannot pick up the names of towns being approached, without leaning forward closer to the screen.
The big advantage of this unit is the size is compact enough to remove and stow aware from view.

A tablet is also a good option. I have recently obtained a Samsung Gallaxy Tab 10.1 (for other purposes) and have installed OziExplorer and the Natmap range of maps on it. These maps are identical to those running on the Hema.
I have not obtained a mounting bracket for it yet but will investigate mounting solutions for it in the future, mainly to evaluate its performance against the Hema.

If you are purely after a navigation device, the cost of a Hema Navigator is cheaper than a tablet plus the application software (a mere $20 for the android) and the digital maps. (about $120 or thereabouts)
The Hema comes which an additional range of Hema Maps besides the Natmap series, however I find the Natmap maps are all I need.
The Hema is an excellent solution and being portable, you can plug it into a laptop to upload Route planning data and download saved track and waypoint data.

Whatever way you decide to go, I would recommend you purchase a device with a built-in GPS. Linking an external GPS to a tablet or PC via bluetooth, or cable (PC only) gives an additional level of potential problems at times and you will need additional cables for power and perhaps GPS connection to contend with.

Good luck with your solution.


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AnswerID: 484109

Reply By: Member - Troll 81 (QLD) - Thursday, Apr 26, 2012 at 08:18

Thursday, Apr 26, 2012 at 08:18

I really like my Navman, it's small and compact and can be packed away and transferred easily between vehicles. I have it converted so that I can run oziexplorer on it and it works a treat. I have a iPad and Laptop but I find them to big and more of a distraction. If I want to use it for city driving then I simply reboot the device and select the option not to load the OS.
AnswerID: 484247

Reply By: HGMonaro - Thursday, Apr 26, 2012 at 13:26

Thursday, Apr 26, 2012 at 13:26
I recently bought a 5" Chinese GPS (from an Aussie eBay seller) running IGO8 software which has the ability to record your track whilst in Nav mode. Also runs OziCE. On my old 3.5" GPS (which stopped working after leaving it in the car on a hot day) I ran OziCE to record tracks but would have liked to use it as a Navigator on the odd occasion, this unit solves that issue. It records the track in it's own format but there's freebie software (RouteConvertor) available to convert to Ozi or other formats. I think I paid $89 and it includes lifetime map updates (not sure whether that means much... they mighten update them ever!) and an 8GB micro SD card.
AnswerID: 484267

Reply By: Member - John and Val - Thursday, Apr 26, 2012 at 20:10

Thursday, Apr 26, 2012 at 20:10

In recent years we've used an early 10" windows tablet running OziExplorer as our gps. Works well, but we recently purhased an Android tablet to take over the job and run Ozi.

Big mistake was to buy an Android tablet that did NOT have an inbuilt gps. Trying to connect a usb gps is full of problems anyone can do without. Provided you can find the real estate on your dashboard to mount a tablet, I reckon it's the way to go. An android tablet WITH gps should be excellent and offer advantages like web access, and capacity to run both (though not simultaneously) OziExplorer for remote travel and a turn-by-turn program for urban travel. A Windows based tablet will cost at least twice as much as an Android one, and, while the ipod is a very nice bit of gear, it is more expensive and doesn't have the broad support base that Andoid enjoys.

If you do go for a tablet strongly recommend looking for one with a bright non-reflective screen.


J and V
"Not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted."
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AnswerID: 484312

Reply By: Echucan Bob - Saturday, Apr 28, 2012 at 09:03

Saturday, Apr 28, 2012 at 09:03
I've tried almost everything over the last 20 yrs:
Magellan Meridian and Paper maps
Magellan Map 330 hand held
Magellan Sportrak Color
Lap tops with OziExplorer
Laptop with remote screen
Laptop with remote touch screen
Mac Mini with touch screen running OziExplorer in Parallels Desktop
Tom Tom
Chinese 5 and 7 inch GPSs with OziExplorer CE
iPad with Bitmap running all the Hema maps, and VMS
OziExplorer on Android tablet

Bitmap and VMS aren't as good as OziExplorer if you want extended nav functionality but are more than adequate remote outback travel. However, the iPad makes every other platform look very ordinary. I just wish Des would release OziExplorer for iPad.
AnswerID: 484428

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