GPS questions

Discussion in 'UK and Europe' started by Tumbleweed, Sep 2, 2004.

  1. Tumbleweed

    Tumbleweed Guest

    Looking at getting a GPS. I can either go for a basic model (which will let
    me work out where on a map I am if I get lost), or one where you can
    actually store routes and see which way to turn at each junction (I'll be on
    road, not off).
    However, from what I can see most of the mapping units only contain major
    roads, rather than all the little country lanes etc I'll be trying to use.
    Is this correct, so that I should only be looking at a basic unit, or are
    there downloadable maps that contain all the little lanes and bridlepaths,
    etc?

    Also, any other considerations for a GPS on a bike?
    --
    Tumbleweed

    email replies not necessary but to contact use;
    tumbleweednews at hotmail dot com
     
    Tags:


  2. Tony W

    Tony W Guest

    "Tumbleweed" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]
    > Looking at getting a GPS. I can either go for a basic model (which will

    let
    > me work out where on a map I am if I get lost), or one where you can
    > actually store routes and see which way to turn at each junction (I'll be

    on
    > road, not off).
    > However, from what I can see most of the mapping units only contain major
    > roads, rather than all the little country lanes etc I'll be trying to in

    use.
    > Is this correct, so that I should only be looking at a basic unit, or are
    > there downloadable maps that contain all the little lanes and bridlepaths,
    > etc?
    >
    > Also, any other considerations for a GPS on a bike?


    Basic units (such as the plain vanilla e-trex) allow you to store routes
    which will show you where and which way to turn etc. What they will not do
    is provide a map overlay on this data so you either need to take it on faith
    that your programming was right or check on a paper map. (I navigated for
    six weeks round India using exactly that method).

    Sophisticated units with map overlays show you a bit of the map on screen.
    Whether local roads are shown depends what level of map overlay you have.
    In principle you can put any level of overlay in from 'Motorways of Europe'
    down to 'My Back Garden full scae'.

    It seems you may have a misconception of what a GPS does. It shows you
    where you are, it allows you to set target points and follow a heading
    towards them and, if you link these target points up it allows you to follow
    a track. While you need a map (or better, mapping software as this speeds
    up the whole operation) to set the location of these target points are
    simply locations in the GPS memory that are compared with where you are
    (based on the location of satellites in the sky).

    For on bike use you need (IMHO)

    * A small, hand-held unit with a handle bar clamp.

    * A clear display.

    * Simple software to programme in your planned routes (GPS Trackmaker
    is shareware that works. You will need to scan in an OS or equivalent map)


    T
     
  3. Tumbleweed

    Tumbleweed Guest

    "Tony W" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]
    >
    > "Tumbleweed" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    > news:[email protected]
    > > Looking at getting a GPS. I can either go for a basic model (which will

    > let
    > > me work out where on a map I am if I get lost), or one where you can
    > > actually store routes and see which way to turn at each junction (I'll

    be
    > on
    > > road, not off).
    > > However, from what I can see most of the mapping units only contain

    major
    > > roads, rather than all the little country lanes etc I'll be trying to in

    > use.
    > > Is this correct, so that I should only be looking at a basic unit, or

    are
    > > there downloadable maps that contain all the little lanes and

    bridlepaths,
    > > etc?
    > >
    > > Also, any other considerations for a GPS on a bike?

    >
    > Basic units (such as the plain vanilla e-trex) allow you to store routes
    > which will show you where and which way to turn etc. What they will not

    do
    > is provide a map overlay on this data so you either need to take it on

    faith
    > that your programming was right or check on a paper map. (I navigated for
    > six weeks round India using exactly that method).
    >
    > Sophisticated units with map overlays show you a bit of the map on screen.
    > Whether local roads are shown depends what level of map overlay you have.
    > In principle you can put any level of overlay in from 'Motorways of

    Europe'
    > down to 'My Back Garden full scae'.
    >
    > It seems you may have a misconception of what a GPS does. It shows you
    > where you are, it allows you to set target points and follow a heading
    > towards them and, if you link these target points up it allows you to

    follow
    > a track. While you need a map (or better, mapping software as this speeds
    > up the whole operation) to set the location of these target points are
    > simply locations in the GPS memory that are compared with where you are
    > (based on the location of satellites in the sky).


    Thanks, no i understand that, I was really asking (obviously not very well
    :) if there are downloadable maps for mapping capable GPS units that
    contain *all* the UK roads, not just the majors. But it sounds like I might
    as well go for a cheaper unit, scan in my own maps (and set the coordinates
    appropriately I presume), and then set the way points myself. 'thinking
    aloud' that would also let me define my exact route rather than fight with
    whatever algorithm is used to determine a route in the device.

    So as you suggest later (snipped) I could scan maps in, (or go for a
    purchased map system), and then plot my own routes and then upload. Sounds
    like the way to go.

    SWMBO will also be pleased, as that will be cheaper , £150 or less for the
    unit, rather than £250+ :)

    --
    Tumbleweed

    email replies not necessary but to contact use;
    tumbleweednews at hotmail dot com
     
  4. Tony W

    Tony W Guest

    "Tumbleweed" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]
    >
    > Thanks, no i understand that, I was really asking (obviously not very well
    > :) if there are downloadable maps for mapping capable GPS units that
    > contain *all* the UK roads, not just the majors. But it sounds like I

    might
    > as well go for a cheaper unit, scan in my own maps (and set the

    coordinates
    > appropriately I presume), and then set the way points myself. 'thinking
    > aloud' that would also let me define my exact route rather than fight with
    > whatever algorithm is used to determine a route in the device.
    >
    > So as you suggest later (snipped) I could scan maps in, (or go for a
    > purchased map system), and then plot my own routes and then upload. Sounds
    > like the way to go.
    >
    > SWMBO will also be pleased, as that will be cheaper , £150 or less for the
    > unit, rather than £250+ :)


    To some extent it depends what you are looking for from your GPS. I have
    used mine principally for route finding in places I don't know or targeting
    specific places (e.g. if I am driving to see a client).

    For the former I use Trackmaker -- though there are better systems with
    proper software maps available that will generate tracks (Memory map for
    one). I don't know if 'route finding' software can also produce GPS
    tracks -- my guess would be that it can but this is less interesting for me
    when cycling ('cos I don't want to use the M25!!)

    For the latter I tend to use www.streetmap.co.uk, feed in a postcode, read
    off and manually enter the location coordinates. This is great because I
    just turn the GPS on once I'm within, say, 5 miles and follow my nose to the
    door.

    I've found the basic e-trex perfect for just about everything I've wanted to
    do with it (including downloading some white knuckle MTB routes in Spain;
    finding WTF I am when lost in deepest Hertfordshire; planning and following
    a route for six weeks in India and planning and leading a CTC ride; carrying
    in the car to find clients, friends and others; carrying in strange places
    (e.g. Tokyo and Delhi) so I could find my way back to my hotel -- though NY
    skyscrapers bugger the signal there :~( -- etc. One time it would have
    been useful but I didn't have it was to relocate my car in the car park of
    the Mall of America (claimed to be the biggest shopping Mall in the world --
    definitely the Work of Stan) in Minneapolis. An out by one error on the
    exit doors there lost me over an hour and nearly cost me my flight back to
    Blighty -- panic? Me, Yes!!

    SWMBO will be delighted -- the savings will buy a nice ***** (fill in gaps
    to suit your SWMBO)

    T

    T
     
  5. RG

    RG Guest

    "Tony W" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]
    >
    > "Tumbleweed" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    > news:[email protected]
    > >
    > > Thanks, no i understand that, I was really asking (obviously not very

    well
    > > :) if there are downloadable maps for mapping capable GPS units that
    > > contain *all* the UK roads, not just the majors. But it sounds like I

    > might
    > > as well go for a cheaper unit, scan in my own maps (and set the

    > coordinates
    > > appropriately I presume), and then set the way points myself. 'thinking
    > > aloud' that would also let me define my exact route rather than fight

    with
    > > whatever algorithm is used to determine a route in the device.
    > >
    > > So as you suggest later (snipped) I could scan maps in, (or go for a
    > > purchased map system), and then plot my own routes and then upload.

    Sounds
    > > like the way to go.
    > >
    > > SWMBO will also be pleased, as that will be cheaper , £150 or less for

    the
    > > unit, rather than £250+ :)

    >
    > To some extent it depends what you are looking for from your GPS. I have
    > used mine principally for route finding in places I don't know or

    targeting
    > specific places (e.g. if I am driving to see a client).
    >
    > For the former I use Trackmaker -- though there are better systems with
    > proper software maps available that will generate tracks (Memory map for
    > one). I don't know if 'route finding' software can also produce GPS
    > tracks -- my guess would be that it can but this is less interesting for

    me
    > when cycling ('cos I don't want to use the M25!!)
    >
    > For the latter I tend to use www.streetmap.co.uk, feed in a postcode, read
    > off and manually enter the location coordinates. This is great because I
    > just turn the GPS on once I'm within, say, 5 miles and follow my nose to

    the
    > door.
    >
    > I've found the basic e-trex perfect for just about everything I've wanted

    to
    > do with it (including downloading some white knuckle MTB routes in Spain;
    > finding WTF I am when lost in deepest Hertfordshire; planning and

    following
    > a route for six weeks in India and planning and leading a CTC ride;

    carrying
    > in the car to find clients, friends and others; carrying in strange places
    > (e.g. Tokyo and Delhi) so I could find my way back to my hotel -- though

    NY
    > skyscrapers bugger the signal there :~( -- etc. One time it would have
    > been useful but I didn't have it was to relocate my car in the car park of
    > the Mall of America (claimed to be the biggest shopping Mall in the

    world --
    > definitely the Work of Stan) in Minneapolis. An out by one error on the
    > exit doors there lost me over an hour and nearly cost me my flight back to
    > Blighty -- panic? Me, Yes!!
    >
    > SWMBO will be delighted -- the savings will buy a nice ***** (fill in gaps
    > to suit your SWMBO)
    >
    > T
    >
    > T


    Is that you Joe ? From the name and message content it sounds like it!

    FYI - I have just bought the Memory Map OS CDs for the South half of the
    UK - partly for "the trip" (assuming I'm talking to Joe! - I've e-mailed
    direct anyway)

    Rob

    >
     
  6. Tony W

    Tony W Guest

  7. RG

    RG Guest

  8. Tumbleweed wrote:
    > Looking at getting a GPS. I can either go for a basic model (which
    > will let me work out where on a map I am if I get lost), or one where
    > you can actually store routes and see which way to turn at each
    > junction (I'll be on road, not off).
    > However, from what I can see most of the mapping units only contain
    > major roads, rather than all the little country lanes etc I'll be
    > trying to use. Is this correct, so that I should only be looking at a
    > basic unit, or are there downloadable maps that contain all the
    > little lanes and bridlepaths, etc?
    >
    > Also, any other considerations for a GPS on a bike?


    Have you considered a PocketPC/GPS? Running software such as Memory-Map
    (www.memory-map.co.uk) 1:25000 or 1:50000 OS maps.

    --
    Darren Griffin
    PocketGPSWorld - www.pocketgpsworld.com
    The Premier GPS Resource for News, Reviews and Forums
     
  9. moet

    moet New Member

    Joined:
    May 21, 2004
    Messages:
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    I have a Garmin 12 and a Garmin emap; the 12 only shows you a position reference, whilst the emap has a built in map that can be augmented with downloadable maps that are contained on a CD. However, you are right in thinking that the downloadable maps aren't always very detailed - in some of the more remote parts of Britain (such as areas of Shropshire) the downloaded maps aren't very good, often missing smaller roads, and sometimes being less detailed than the maps already built into the unit. The Garmin 12 does seem to react to movement more accurately than the emap, but I do like the moving map facility - even if the unit doesn't show your actual road you can still get a good idea of where you actually are, and this can be checked against a map. The 12 does of course allow you to enter waypoints before a trip, and I used to use a piece of free software (sorry, can't remember the name), that allowed you to scan a map into your computer, plot a route, and upload the route to your GPS. This is a hell of a nuisance though and I would certainly go for a built in map; I once input an airfield that I wanted to fly to and got the coordinates wrong - fortunately I noticed before flying but it could have been a problem. Incidentally the Garmin emap has an adaptor that will clip it onto handlebars, and I have found this to be perfectly safe.
    You can also use the emap in the car if you want, and this is really quite useful for longer distance navigation.
     
  10. Simon Proven

    Simon Proven Guest

    Tumbleweed wrote:

    > Looking at getting a GPS. I can either go for a basic model (which will let
    > me work out where on a map I am if I get lost), or one where you can
    > actually store routes and see which way to turn at each junction (I'll be on
    > road, not off).
    > However, from what I can see most of the mapping units only contain major
    > roads, rather than all the little country lanes etc I'll be trying to use.
    > Is this correct, so that I should only be looking at a basic unit, or are
    > there downloadable maps that contain all the little lanes and bridlepaths,
    > etc?
    >
    > Also, any other considerations for a GPS on a bike?


    Garmin's MapSource software seems to contain most UK roads. It also
    appears to contain NCN routes, and it even had a muddy track across
    a field that I had in one of my routes! Most minor roads are there.

    I use MapSource for having maps on the GPS unit, but I plan the
    routes using TrackLogs (OS maps on the PC). There are other suppliers
    of similar sw, such as Anquet. The OS maps obviously do contain every
    road in the country, and also have the NCN routes (though they're not
    all 100% accurate as often the route hasn't been finalised when the
    maps are done).

    I find that having the map on the unit is useful because it adds context
    you don't get from the track alone.

    Simon
     
  11. > Looking at getting a GPS. I can either go for a basic model (which will let
    > me work out where on a map I am if I get lost), or one where you can
    > actually store routes and see which way to turn at each junction (I'll be on
    > road, not off).
    > However, from what I can see most of the mapping units only contain major
    > roads, rather than all the little country lanes etc I'll be trying to use.
    > Is this correct, so that I should only be looking at a basic unit, or are
    > there downloadable maps that contain all the little lanes and bridlepaths,
    > etc?


    Some of the latest GPS's have downloadable maps that are very detailed
    (though not always 100% accurate). These units can do full navigation
    (they automatically calculate a route along roads between two points
    and give turn-by-turn directions with automatic recalculation if you
    miss a turn).

    The downloadable US street map I have (I live in California) includes
    a database of shops, restaurants, filling stations, etc. I don't know
    if the same is true of the equivalent European maps.

    I have a Garmin GPSMAP 60CS with all of the above features. ISTR that
    Garmin just brought out a cheaper model (less memory, probably a
    smaller display) that does the same. The bad news is that the
    downloadable maps are quite pricey.

    The GPSMAP 60CS also includes a compass and barometric (i.e. accurate)
    altimeter.

    Take a look at these links:

    http://www.garmin.com/products/gpsmap60cs/
    http://www.garmin.com/cartography/mapSource/cityselectEuro.jsp

    There is a live demo on the 2nd link - you can see exactly what the
    coverage is like where you live.


    --
    Peter Headland
     
  12. Arnaud

    Arnaud Guest

    On 02/09/2004 08:34, Tumbleweed wrote:

    > Looking at getting a GPS. I can either go for a basic model (which will let
    > me work out where on a map I am if I get lost), or one where you can
    > actually store routes and see which way to turn at each junction (I'll be on
    > road, not off).
    > However, from what I can see most of the mapping units only contain major
    > roads, rather than all the little country lanes etc I'll be trying to use.
    > Is this correct, so that I should only be looking at a basic unit, or are
    > there downloadable maps that contain all the little lanes and bridlepaths,
    > etc?
    >
    > Also, any other considerations for a GPS on a bike?


    I can comment on the Garmin 60C which I use for cycle touring in the UK and
    France. It can display maps and does auto-routing (which can tell you when
    to turn, etc...)
    I find it great for touring, but you have to buy the European map (City
    Select Europe) if you want to see anything else than the major motorways
    (the garmin basemap). Unfortunately this costs almost 200 quid and it is the
    only UK product that allows auto-routing on the 60C.

    So the 60C+maps will cost you about £550 (expensive I know!). If you go for
    a simple non-mapping product, prices start at £100.

    A PDA+GPS would be cheaper that 550 quid but they are not waterproof and
    battery life isn't as good (I get about 20h).

    As for the UK maps in City Select, all the roads are shown even the minor
    ones. Only footpaths and small unpaved roads are not shown. The maps are
    therefore not very useful if you do a lot of mountain biking, but on the
    road this is perfect. It also allows you to cycle through unfamiliar cities
    without being lost at every crossroads...

    Hope this helps,
    Arnaud.
     
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