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Thread: gps systems

  1. #1
    skewbie earthe5ive's Avatar
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    gps systems

    does anyone have advise for gps assited touring?
    i tried searching this forum, but i couldn't find anything, which surprized me. maybe shallow archives?
    my girlfriend and i are riding from dc to chicago this summer, and maybe the rest of the way across if all goes well. i suggested buying a gps, plugging in the place we were headed to, and kind of nosing towards the gps points. of course she thinks maps are the safe way.
    the last tour we did we borrowed a friends gps an printed out a cue sheet from the internet. his gps unfortunatly was preloaded with egypt... ha
    i'm looking at a gps with basic us maps loaded, and then kind of feel around for the country roads. cue sheeting the whole way seems kind of nutty to me, and a big waste of paper.
    thanks!

  2. #2
    You need a new bike supcom's Avatar
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    Delorme has a new handheld GPS that could be useful for touring. One of the problems with GPS on long tours is the limited memory for detailed street maps. The basemap that comes with a GPS isn't very useful for bike navigation as it has only major roads. And loading new maps on most GPSs requires a computer and map software. However, Delorme claims to have internet accessible maps available for registered owners that could, presumably, be downloaded from public computers. This would allow you to modify your detailed maps as you go and could be an interesting feature.

    I haven't used the Delorme unit, so don't know what the limitations are, but it might be worth looking at.

    Paper maps are always good to have as backup. Sometimes it's easier to plan a route when you can see a lot of area at once. A little GPS screen makes that difficult.

  3. #3
    Walmart bike rider gpsblake's Avatar
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    I use a GPS when touring. If you get a unit with SD card capacity and the mapping software, you can pretty much upload as many maps and Points of Interest as needed. GPS units can only use mapping software from the company that makes the unit. So if you buy a Garmin, you can only upload Garmin maps.

    I use a Garmin Cx and it is great for touring. But like the other poster said, the basemap is really basic and you'll need to buy the mapping software to really make worthwhile for touring. The basemap is interstates, US highways, and some major state routes.

    I used the basemap on my tour from SC to TX 2 years ago. It did it's job but because I had only the basemap, I missed out on routes that were much less traffic.

    But a GPS unit is not a complete replacement for paper maps. One advantage of paper maps is you can see a much larger area much easier for pre-planning.

  4. #4
    -=Barry=- The Human Car's Avatar
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    If you have a cue sheet, putting it the GPS as a series of routes makes it a lot easer to follow and does not waste paper. A route is simply a collection of points where you need to turn and look something like this: http://www.bikely.com/maps/bike-path...ve-Furnace-AYH . Since the lines do not snap to the roads having an underlying map is reassuring that the road you are on is going to eventually bend to meet the next point.

    My old GPS had limited map storage so I would only upload the critical areas and just go by the route info in between (I had paper maps just in case but I never used them.) Currently I am using a Garmin eTrex Vista and I am very pleased with it.
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  5. #5
    __________ seeker333's Avatar
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    Adventure Cycling Assoc has gps data for each of its routes. I haven't personally used it though, so can't comment on its utility.

    https://www.adventurecycling.org/routes/gps.cfm

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by gpsblake
    I use a Garmin Cx and it is great for touring. But like the other poster said, the basemap is really basic and you'll need to buy the mapping software to really make worthwhile for touring. The basemap is interstates, US highways, and some major state routes.

    I used the basemap on my tour from SC to TX 2 years ago. It did it's job but because I had only the basemap, I missed out on routes that were much less traffic.

    But a GPS unit is not a complete replacement for paper maps. One advantage of paper maps is you can see a much larger area much easier for pre-planning.
    I have the maps but never needed to install them regardless. I have the Legend CX and hardly every use the maps because my routes are made at home and not on the road. It's simple but time consuming to make a route but well worth the effort.

    Once I'm on the road, I just have the "Arrow" lead me to the next turn. I don't have to look at the map ever because the route is already saved into the unit and all I have to do is ride. No map needed.

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