GPS systems

GPS systems

Post by Ron Wallenfan » Fri, 28 Mar 2008 12:02:03


I've been wondering if I should get a GPS system for use on my more or
less annual long rides.  I'm mostly interested in finding motels,
restaurants and other facilities and Catholic Churches.  Directions
are less of an issue.  What kind does anybody use and what are the
pros and cons of them as you see it.
 
 
 

GPS systems

Post by Ted » Fri, 28 Mar 2008 12:35:05


Quote:
> I've been wondering if I should get a GPS system for use on my more or
> less annual long rides.  I'm mostly interested in finding motels,
> restaurants and other facilities and Catholic Churches.  Directions
> are less of an issue.  What kind does anybody use and what are the
> pros and cons of them as you see it.

I have a Garmin Etrex vista CX with City Navigator NT North America
and a 2 GB SD card.
I love it.  It has a handlebar clip that is secure and easy to take
the unit on and off.  It knows every street, hotel, restaurant, etc.
including phone number in the US.  It will give turn by turn
instructions how to get there, with consideration of types of roads
(cycling, driving, walking, etc.)
     What I like best with mine is that a cycling log is simple:  I
ride with it, (while it tells more than my cycling computer), and when
I return home I plug it into my computer and it will draw a map of
where I have been and it has recorded my route, distance, speed,
elevation gain, max speed, time moving and stopped, etc.  (I also use
Sport tracks from zonefivesoftware.com, free).  It uses AA NIMH
batteries that will last all day without difficulty.
     Beside the price the only drawback is if you make a route to
follow it cannot have more than 100 reference points.  Mine did begin
to spontaneously turn off after about 10 months and when I called
Garmin they said to send it back and in no time they mailed me a new
unit.
     It works great in my car.  I even downloaded a free map of Aruba
and used it there.  It even acts as an alarm clock and calculator.
     This sounds like an adverti***t, but I really love it.

Ted.

 
 
 

GPS systems

Post by pete » Fri, 28 Mar 2008 12:43:03

Quote:

> I've been wondering if I should get a GPS system for use on my more or
> less annual long rides.

I've been using a Garmin eMap for almost 10 years now on both day
rides (in lieu of a cyclometer) and tours.  It's been discontinued for
quite a few years now, but there are plenty of good units available.
When touring it's been very useful in locating grocery stores,
libraries (good for finding local information), and motels.  The maps
have been much less useful for campgrounds (the public, NFS-type that
I favor are usually not listed, and instead many unsuitable places are
listed - sports 'camps', bible-study 'camps', etc.).  The Garmin maps
include phone numbers, so if you carry a cellphone you can call ahead
to motels/etc. and verify availability and confirm that they're open.
Of course the map and business data does get dated sometimes, but I
haven't found it to be much of a problem, especially in the smaller
towns frequently visited while bike touring.

Main drawback compared to a regular cyclometer is battery life. Mine
runs on AA cells and when touring I can usually get 2-3 days of use
per pair of rechargeable NiMH cells.  So for touring I carry enough to
last a week and beyond that carry a small charger to use in motels or
even while eating a meal in a restaurant (get a fairly fast charger to
make this feasible).

 
 
 

GPS systems

Post by Kristian M Zoerhof » Fri, 28 Mar 2008 12:44:25


Quote:

>> I've been wondering if I should get a GPS system for use on my more or
>> less annual long rides.  I'm mostly interested in finding motels,
>> restaurants and other facilities and Catholic Churches.  Directions
>> are less of an issue.  What kind does anybody use and what are the
>> pros and cons of them as you see it.

> I have a Garmin Etrex vista CX with City Navigator NT North America
> and a 2 GB SD card.

Ditto here, except that I have the Legend Cx. I also use a 2 GB card with
City Navigator NA (not the NT version), though my CN version is getting a
bit long in the tooth now (2006 vintage). I just used two weekends ago to
play tourist while walking around Springfield, IL, and had no problems
finding museums, historical sites, and my hotel again.

The only cons are batteries, but as Ted points out, it takes AAs (NiMH or
alkaline). Getting at least a 2 GB SD card will let you dump *all* of North
America (or Europe) onto the unit at once, so you don't have to swap maps
every time you travel (the way I do with my StreetPilot in the car, as it has
only 128 MB of CompactFlash right now). Oh, and the maps cost $$$ of course,
especially when you upgrade.

It's a fun toy to have, though, and comes in handy on vacation when you're
in an unfamiliar place.

--

Kristian Zoerhoff

 
 
 

GPS systems

Post by Skip » Fri, 28 Mar 2008 23:19:41


Quote:
> I've been using a Garmin eMap for almost 10 years now on both day
> rides (in lieu of a cyclometer) and tours.

Me also.  The handlebar mount for the eMap is reported to be flimsy (mine
hasn't been a problem, although the attachment***needs to be tightened
periodically).
People recommend that you attach another tether in case the mount fails.   I
haven't done this yet, but plan to.

As for functionality, I love the eMap.  Particuarly since it uses the same
map data as my (auto dashboard) original StreetPilot (no model number -- the
original).

  - Skip

 
 
 

GPS systems

Post by Patrick Lam » Sat, 29 Mar 2008 10:15:48

On Wed, 26 Mar 2008 20:02:03 -0700 (PDT), Ron Wallenfang

Quote:

>I've been wondering if I should get a GPS system for use on my more or
>less annual long rides.  I'm mostly interested in finding motels,
>restaurants and other facilities and Catholic Churches.  Directions
>are less of an issue.  What kind does anybody use and what are the
>pros and cons of them as you see it.

I haven't bought one, although I've thought about it a few times.
Aside from being too cheap to want to buy all those batteries, the
question I have is about maps and information.  How much of a fixed
cost do you have to update maps periodically?  Where would you get the
information on motels, etc.?  and how much does that cost, and how
often do you need to refresh that?  

Outfits like Adventure Cycling and Appalachian Trail Conference
usually publish annual updates; you'd hate to find out the only motel
in 60 miles closed up last year at dusk, if that's what you were
counting on.

Pat

Email address works as is.

 
 
 

GPS systems

Post by John Thompso » Mon, 31 Mar 2008 06:26:57


Quote:
> Aside from being too cheap to want to buy all those batteries, the
> question I have is about maps and information.  How much of a fixed
> cost do you have to update maps periodically?  Where would you get the
> information on motels, etc.?  and how much does that cost, and how
> often do you need to refresh that?

I use old batteries from my camera in my GPS. The camera complains that
they're weak, but the GPS can use them long after the camera rejects
them.

Maps are expensive, particularly European maps. In the US, the USGS data
are in the public domain, so the cost to the map producer is much lower
than where they need to purchase the data in addition to digitizing it
and adding text descritions and such. E.g., Garmin's North America road
map set is about US$150; the Europe set is about twice that. Topographic
maps are a little cheaper, probably becuase they don't need to add
hotels, restaurants, etc. but coverage ouside North America seems a bit
spotty.

There are free maps, but quality and coverage is variable. You can also
make your own maps from e.g. satellite data and gloss it yourself using
freely available software, but I didn't find the process very
straightforward.

And older versions of map software are often available on eBay.

How often you want to update your maps depends on the area you intend to
use and how you intend to use it. For city navigation and finding
restaurants, businesses, etc. an older map may be disappointing. But
rural areas seem to change more slowly.

--


 
 
 

GPS systems

Post by Chicago Paddling-Fishin » Mon, 31 Mar 2008 16:39:46


Quote:


>>> I've been wondering if I should get a GPS system for use on my more or
>>> less annual long rides.  I'm mostly interested in finding motels,
>>> restaurants and other facilities and Catholic Churches.  Directions
>>> are less of an issue.  What kind does anybody use and what are the
>>> pros and cons of them as you see it.

>> I have a Garmin Etrex vista CX with City Navigator NT North America
>> and a 2 GB SD card.
>Ditto here, except that I have the Legend Cx. I also use a 2 GB card with
>City Navigator NA (not the NT version), though my CN version is getting a
>bit long in the tooth now (2006 vintage). I just used two weekends ago to
>play tourist while walking around Springfield, IL, and had no problems
>finding museums, historical sites, and my hotel again.
>The only cons are batteries, but as Ted points out, it takes AAs (NiMH or
>alkaline). Getting at least a 2 GB SD card will let you dump *all* of North
>America (or Europe) onto the unit at once, so you don't have to swap maps
>every time you travel (the way I do with my StreetPilot in the car, as it has
>only 128 MB of CompactFlash right now). Oh, and the maps cost $$$ of course,
>especially when you upgrade.
>It's a fun toy to have, though, and comes in handy on vacation when you're
>in an unfamiliar place.

I have a few that I use... I have a Garmin Etrex Vista Cx with a region 10
topo sd card (preloaded with all topo maps for Illinois, Indiana, Michigan
and a few other states). I also have a Garmin Forerunner 305. I thought the
forerunner was better than the edge (made just for cycling) because as a watch
I can wear it for either, wereas, with an edge, I'd have to carry it walking.

The 305 has no maps, but saves your track and I can upload them into my pc
and view the map and other stats on garmins own software or sportracks.

I also have a pair of Magellian 200's that I bought because they were
inexpensive (these are what I let my kids use)

In the car I have a Garmin Nuvi (650 or 660 I think, the one with construction
updates but not the one that shows gas prices nearby; my son has the one that
tells you nearby gas prices and such). I like the ETA feature of it best...

--
John Nelson
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GPS systems

Post by pete » Tue, 01 Apr 2008 05:45:19


Quote:
> I haven't bought one, although I've thought about it a few times.
> Aside from being too cheap to want to buy all those batteries,

I probably wouldn't use my GPS much if it weren't for good
rechargeable NiMH AA cells.  They can be recharged at least 500 times
which is enough for a few years worth of usage even if I'm riding
every day.

Quote:
> the
> question I have is about maps and information.  How much of a fixed
> cost do you have to update maps periodically?  Where would you get the
> information on motels, etc.?  and how much does that cost, and how
> often do you need to refresh that?

My GPS is from Garmin and they update their maps (which come from
NavTeq) annually at a cost of about $70.  But I usually skip a few
updates since there generally aren't that many changes from one year
to the next. So figure about $2/year for batteries and about $20/year
for maps.

Quote:

> Outfits like Adventure Cycling and Appalachian Trail Conference
> usually publish annual updates; you'd hate to find out the only motel
> in 60 miles closed up last year at dusk, if that's what you were
> counting on.

The Garmin maps include telephone numbers for the business and other
locations in their map database.  So if I'm counting on a particular
motel being open I'd call ahead anyway to make a reservation.  If the
number's been disconnected I'll make alternate plans.  And although
businesses change hands fairly frequently, it's less common for them
to disappear completely.