Touring, Using Map Software and a GPS

Touring, Using Map Software and a GPS

Post by J. Smart » Wed, 12 Jan 2000 04:00:00

For the past couple of years I've used a handlebar-mounted GPS for extended
touring.  With various PC map programs, I'd plan a trip and manually input
the waypoints.  Recently I've used a couple of programs that can directly
download the route to the GPS.  I prefer a simple GPS that doesn't include
pre-programmed maps, because the majority of roads that I select aren't
major enough to be included in the pre-programming. ( I carry printouts of
the maps with me and use the GPS for reference) Each program that I've used
(Street Plus, Select Street, and Topo USA) have their respective
shortcomings in detail, accuracy, or flexible GPS support.

Has anyone used software that they're happy with?


Touring, Using Map Software and a GPS

Post by alex wetmor » Thu, 13 Jan 2000 04:00:00

> Has anyone used software that they're happy with?

I haven't found very good street mapping software for bicycle touring.  Most
of the street mapping software that I've used only has "zoom" buttons, but
no "detail" controls.  This means that when you are zoomed out in rural
areas that you miss all of the small service and forest service roads (fun
for touring on) and end up seeing nothing or just major highways.
Additionally the route highlighters generally don't follow the roads, so
highlighting a long map is a lot of work.  Finally, the software that I've
used most often (Microsoft Streets 98 and 2000) doesn't allow you to save
partial maps of the country onto a computers harddisk.  This would be a very
useful feature if you tour with a laptop, because you could copy the maps
for the region of the country that you are interested in onto the laptop.
I'm currently trying to find a cheap copy of Delorme Streets 6.0 (the
previous version) because it does allow you to copy down individual maps,
and I'd like to play with the other features.  If I'm happy with it then I'd
probably spring the $50 for the full version.

For the only tour that I've really used maps on I photocopied the appopriate
pages stuff out of a Delorme state map atlas.  This took up minimal space
and gave me the detail that I needed.  It is a good solution for tours that
are in a few states, but wouldn't work for touring cross country.

How do you deal with power issues for your GPS system?  I generally don't
bring electronics on tour primarily because I use them enough for work, but
also because I don't want to become a slave to batteries or finding places
where I can recharge things.

You also mentioned the Topo USA products.  I haven't used these for cycling,
but bought the Cascades version for hiking.  I find it to be a mostly
useless product.  They didn't buy the rights to maps with marked trails, so
they only show you the lay of the land.  I think that a much more useful
product would be similar, but would use the Green Trails (or similar) maps
for areas where those are available.  I've lent the Topo USA! product to
MTBing and hiking friends and they've generally come to the same conclusion.