CityCyclingEdinburgh Forum » Computers, GPS, 'Smart' 'Phones

Best touring GPS?

(29 posts)

No tags yet.


  1. Smudge
    Member

    Ok I'll out myself, I'm a gadget freak lol.

    I have been looking at GPS units for the bike, (I already have/use a foretrex but I would like to dispense with dragging paper maps around for some of the less adventurous routes).

    The bike specific Edge is out, firstly because it uses rechargeable internal batteries with apparently a ten hour life, no use for more than a day or two's camping.
    Also I already have a bike computer so all the cadence/hr/speed etc is superfluous.

    I am considering the Garmin GMap 60 CSx but apparently it wont use OSGB mapping which is a worry as some commentators have said that the Garmin terrain map available has limited coverage.(though someone mentioned using memorymap with it?)

    Thoughts from those in the know? For openers, I want AA type replaceable batteries, useability off the bike (car etc as well is useful), waterproof, robust, OS mapping ideally, handlebar mount nice but not critical. (don't want much do I lol)

    Posted 11 years ago #
  2. Arellcat
    Moderator

    I'm using a GPSmap 60CSx, Smudge. I find it keep a very good signal lock, even indoors, and seems to be plenty weatherproof. I run mine on 2700mAh AAs and get a solid 15-20 hours' runtime - the screen is excellent in daylight needing no backlight at all, and even 10% illumination is often sufficient.

    It's a total pain to enter information into it though, having to navigate the onscreen A-Z keyboard using the rocker. A touchscreen GPS would surely be hugely more effective in that respect.

    Mine has the Garmin City Navigator street map on microSD card, and there's no shortage of names and POI. Still not as beautifully efficient as a tomtom for saying "I'm here, find me a x in city y, and tell me the route." so I tend to use it more for telling me where I am and where I went, and for pre-planned routes.

    Posted 11 years ago #
  3. Smudge
    Member

    @Arrelcat, interesting thanks, can the city navigator can be used in the manner of a conventional tom tom/nuvi but less the sound? I assume you would have to input a destination via grid or similar?
    Also have you tried their topographical map?

    Posted 11 years ago #
  4. kaputnik
    Moderator

    I don't have a GPS, but have the Garmin Mapsource software and the topo map of the UK. It's about 2 years old but I certainly hope they've improved the installation process for it, which was nigh-on impossible. You can use OS National Grid references and the topo data is supplied by OS (you get contours, major roads and a bit of terrain data, but not much, it's not like looking at an OS map). You can switch to lat / long also, but can only use one at a time, have to go into a menu and change units around.

    The mapsource interface is also a pain in the unmentionables, I found it easiest to plot a route using a web mapping tool, export to a GPX file then load it into the Garmin that way. It was for one of the more modern etrex summit hillwaking GPSs. It's a great piece of kit for the hills, but as Arrelcat says the button functionality and silly little toggle switch leave a lot to be desired when it's aimed at activities where gloves are generally requisite!

    Posted 11 years ago #
  5. Arellcat
    Moderator

    The 60CSx (and the eTrex Vista HCx and the like) have auto-routing, and the slightly clunky A-Z grid to enter characters. There's some intelligence in that it remembers recent destinations, waypoints and so on, and some semblance of predictive text for addresses. I've used it for the occasional car journey and it worked great, though the recalculation process took a while when we strayed from the suggested route.

    Instead of voice instructions you have a first warning for an upcoming turn and a second warning for the turn, programmable by distance and by tone.

    I haven't used the topo maps at all. My convoluted workflow is to use BikeRouteToaster to set up my route as a GPX file, then load it into Garmin's (bloody awful, for Mac only; Mapsource is the Windows equivalent) RoadTrip software to simplify the number of trackpoints, add waypoints or other POI, and to load it into the GPS. If I'm recording where I went, afterwards the raw track data goes into RoadTrip, cleaned up and exported as a GPX file to analyse and save in Ascent or perhaps RideWithGPS.

    Garmin has a useful device comparison webpage. My 60CSx does pretty much everything I need it to do, but otherwise I would probably be considering the Dakota 20 or Oregon 450 models. A touchscreen really does make things easier for numb fingers that can't feel buttons; but then buttons can have dedicated one-press functions.

    Posted 11 years ago #
  6. Smudge
    Member

    Hmmm yet more interesting information, thanks guys. I've noticed their GPSMAP 62s which does pretty much the same as the 60CSx but will accept custom maps (and is available with full UK 1:25k or 1:50k for anyone feeling flush enough(!)

    To be honest for more than basic route-plotting I think the best answer for me will be to map it on a pc then download so the touchscreen is nice to have but not *too* critical. I try not to set/reset gps/computers without stopping first so gloved operation is also not too critical.

    Hmm much to think about...

    Posted 11 years ago #
  7. amir
    Member

    I've got a Garmin Legend HCx. Does the turn-by-turn with City Navigator which works fine - at least if you are on a road rather than a cycle path (it gets a bit confused). You can also load Open source maps (free), based on Open Street map, even with contours.

    New Garmins can get OS maps - but these are less good (I suppose) for road navigation.

    Posted 11 years ago #
  8. druidh
    Member

    FWIW, a PowerMonkey with the Solar Panel add-on will easily recharge something like an Edge 705 on a daily basis, and still have something left over to boost your phone battery.

    Posted 11 years ago #
  9. TwoWheels
    Member

    I have an elderly eTrex that make's Becky's device look like an overclocked droid. The interface is even more clunky than hers and the built-in maps are terrible.

    But, the big benefit is that it is insanely reliable. Like Becky, I create .gpx files using one of several web-based tools, then transfer them to the eTrex. It has given me unerring turn-by-turn instructions for several centuries and a couple of brevets. It even tracked a friend and I through triple-digit (fahrenheit, of course) heat across the state of New York. And when batteries get low, I can just stop at a convenience store and re-up my supply.

    Posted 11 years ago #
  10. Dave
    Member

    I've had good experience with OpenStreetMap on my Edge. I've even used it munro bagging!

    Get something that takes AA's though.

    Posted 11 years ago #
  11. Arellcat
    Moderator

    TwoWheels makes a good point about the maps. The Garmin basemap that came supplied with my 60CSx and comes as standard with RoadTrip (I presume MapSource is similar) is execrable. Even the main roads are only approximately positioned. For turn-by-turn navigating on motorways and A roads it might be sufficient.

    Andy Gates has done some very nice work, I understand, at taking OSM and crunching it into Garmin-sized pieces.

    I bought my GPS from Handtec.

    Posted 11 years ago #
  12. Min
    Member

    I love my Satmap. It has OS maps, mounts on the bike and you can fit AA batteries if you are unable to recharge it. It seems to last a pretty long time though. You can also plan routes on their website and upload them to it. Expensive though. It is usable in a car but you need someone to navigate as it doesn't have a voice.

    Posted 11 years ago #
  13. Dave
    Member

    "execrable" - does that mean you can't even... hmm...

    Posted 11 years ago #
  14. ruggtomcat
    Member

    Ive been pondering this, I think Im just going to acquire maps. long battery life, not bad weight, bulk is no object on my rig. more eco too :)

    Any recommendations? also for Holland and Germany.

    Posted 11 years ago #
  15. Dave
    Member

    Maps are fine until they fall apart, like most of my OS ones are doing :(

    Posted 11 years ago #
  16. DaveC
    Member

    Satmap looks nice, Is it water resistant? Having only used the interface of a TomTom in the car, whats the interface like? Intuative? or menus menus menus...

    Cheers

    Posted 11 years ago #
  17. Smudge
    Member

    Satmap looks interesting, navigation in car is actually quite do-able without a voice, swmbo hates the constant alert noises round town (if you're not speeding why do you need a tone to warn you you're near a speed camera?!?) so mostly drives (safely) without sound on ours.
    If you're half awake* the satnav just becomes another glance like the mirror checks.

    I'm sure at (my) pushbike speeds turn by turn navigation without sound would be fine :)

    *ok, ok I know, that rules out about half of Edinburgh drivers and 90% of council ones :-/

    I think any GPS with useable OS maps will not be cheap, only looking at Garmin really because I'm used to them. Will have to have a look at satmap.

    Posted 11 years ago #
  18. kaputnik
    Moderator

    Maps are fine until they fall apart, like most of my OS ones are doing

    You can buy (for about twice the cost of a "regular" map) OS maps on plasticised, waterproof, tearproof fabric. I prefer the ortleib map case. I also like that I can trace a pencil route on it and (carefully) rub it off when I'm finished. I also like that it's easy to photocopy a section to carry if you don't want the full thing. General I just navigate by the sun and the moon and the stars and the direction that the geese are flying!

    Posted 11 years ago #
  19. Min
    Member

    Satmap-Yes it is waterproof although water goes under the screen (which is replaceable if you scratch it) and sloshes about in an alarming way.

    The interface is fine really, I don't remember having any trouble with it. The only real menuy bit is the settings screen but that is accessable through highlighting the button labelled "settings".

    The other screens you can just scroll through by pressing a button and you get a compass, statistics, satellites, "planning" (where you can look at places you are not in) and map (where you can look at the place you are in.)

    Posted 11 years ago #
  20. chdot
    Admin

  21. Arellcat
    Moderator

    You can buy OS maps on plasticised, waterproof, tearproof fabric.

    Are these the "extreme" maps that OS makes or something different? My ones are OS Explorer and are laminated (presumably just paper inside), and end up about twice the thickness of the original maps.

    GPS is all very well but sometimes you can't beat spending an evening in a hostel common room, planning the next day's ride and counting the contour lines.

    Posted 11 years ago #
  22. ruggtomcat
    Member

    glamorpuss

    Posted 11 years ago #
  23. Smudge
    Member

    I much prefer paper maps, they are far superior for planning, however when I'm planning 460 mile linear trip they get too bulky/expensive! I know the LHT will carry a lot of gear but there are limits ;-)

    Posted 11 years ago #
  24. kaputnik
    Moderator

    Dedicated OS Map pannier?

    Posted 11 years ago #
  25. ruggtomcat
    Member

    trailer-library?

    Posted 11 years ago #
  26. Smudge
    Member

    @Kaputnik, but then where would I store my evening dress?
    @Ruggtomcat, and leave behind the trailer-cocktail cabinet? not likely ;-))

    Posted 11 years ago #
  27. kaputnik
    Moderator

    @smudge, you could nearly roll your "dress" and cable-tie it under the top tube? :P

    Posted 11 years ago #
  28. Smudge
    Member

    Tsk, that's no good! My jacket would get crumpled and my george boots scuffed... and Lor' knows where I could find some suitable staff to sort them out whilst touring.
    No, it's no good, I shall have to sacrifice paper maps in the name of sartorial elegance!

    Posted 11 years ago #
  29. chdot
    Admin

    This is being mentioned favourably on a web group I am a member of -

    http://www.viewranger.com

    "I'm a big fan of viewranger. It's the least buggy software I have found for my android phone. I used it on my nokia previously. It could do with a means of easily uploading recorded tracks to a web site. The android version seems to have lost the feature to automatically download maps as you ride."

    It seems that an internet/data connection isn't required in use - though you would have to put maps on your device before you set off.

    It uses existing 'web maps' but also offers "Premium Maps".

    Posted 11 years ago #

RSS feed for this topic

Reply

You must log in to post.


Video embedded using Easy Video Embed plugin