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  1. #1
    Flashaholic* turbodog's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2003
    Southern USA

    Default GPS help needed

    As some of you know, I have a nice looooong mtn bike trip coming in a few weeks. The trip goes through the backcountry of the san juan mountain range. As such, I have been comtemplating buying a gps for this trip.

    I'm educating myself on these things. What I have found is that most come with varying levels of basemap which usually include highways and interstates. If you want other maps you have to buy and load them into the unit.

    Please correct me if I am wrong on these points.

    The question I have is in the maps. I have determined that since we a traveling through the mountain ranges we really need a topo map. These are supposed to show elevations, bodies of water, and other topo features.

    However, we will at least cross over some rural dirt roads every now and then. A few water crossings are planned also. Would the topo maps include these features?

    Also, I figure I'm right when I assume that you have to load specific areas into the gps memory. I don't think the unit will hold the entire USA.

    Question is, how much topo data will the unit hold? And how do I know how much data the map/route will take BEFORE I buy the gps and additional topo map?

    I figure I can return the gps hardware if I make an error, but the s/w is keyed and unreturnable.

    If someone here was willing to help me.... The trip planner has provided me with some HUGE paper maps of the route. There is enough detail in them that someone here could figure out which lat/long they encompass. This person could then tell me how big the maps are so I would know what gps I need to buy to hold them all.

    Basically I need to know if I need to spend $200 for a unit and map or $500, or whatever.
    This is your life, and it's ending one minute at a time.
    Be prepared for the truth.

  2. #2
    *Flashaholic* gadget_lover's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2003
    Near Silicon Valley (too near)

    Default Re: GPS help needed

    There is no one answer. Each GPS model may have different memory configurations. Each map maker may have different ways of encodeing the info.

    I can tell you the Garmin street pilot III with a 256K memory card holds all the roads in the 8 western states as well as many, many businesses. That includes ruting information too.

    I've not used topo maps, so I can't advise there. I'd assume that a read would be a feature within the map. YOu can find a link on the GARMIN website that lets you preview the maps they sell. See for a sample on the right side of the page. It does show roads with the topo info.

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  3. #3
    Flashaholic* Coop's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Tilburg, the Netherlands (perfectly reachable by USPS international services)

    Default Re: GPS help needed

    - Magellan Mapsend topo 3D USA $139 m.s.r.p.
    - Magellan Explorist 210/400/500/600/XL, Meridian Color/Platinum/Gold/Marine, SporTrak Pro/Color/Marine $130 and up...

    I've seen the Meridian units on clearance sale at a few online vendors at really good prices... just can't remember which vendors it were
    iirc handlebar mounts are available for most of these units.

    I prefer the Magellan units over Garmin as they keep their fix/accuracy better under leaf cover... But the Garmin units are generally easier to operate.
    ... Never underestimate the power of human stupidity ...

  4. #4
    Flashaholic* turbodog's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2003
    Southern USA

    Default Re: GPS help needed

    I took a look at the demo map on their web site. It looked pretty much like my paper map.

    Speaking of the paper map. I would bet money that it's a usgs map. So in theory, the garmin topo map should match up pretty close.
    This is your life, and it's ending one minute at a time.
    Be prepared for the truth.

  5. #5
    *Flashaholic* jtice's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2003
    West Virginia

    Default Re: GPS help needed

    I have both the topo and city streets loaded to my 60csX (EXCELLENT unit BTW)

    I have found that the topo is showing a surprising amount of old logging roads, and back woods trials that are not accessable by truck anymore.
    I ride ATVs, so that has been very very handy.
    It should show you a good bit of the small roads like that.
    But city Select will show you ALL the roads, back allies, city streets, etc.

    Only drawback is, you can NOT display both on the unit at the same time.
    You have to tell it not to display the City Select (which overwrites topo) so that the topo shows up.
    Think of it as having a street map laying over a topo map, you have to look under the street map to see the topo.

    For mainly biking in the woods, the topo might be enough for you.
    But if you want to do any other traveling, or use hte auto routing (very cool) you will need city select.

    How much you can store depends on the unit.
    Mine has a micro SD card, so I can expand the memory.
    Right now, it has a 56MB card in it, and I have all of WV on it, topo and city select.
    That pretty much fills it up.


  6. #6

    Default Re: GPS help needed

    Where I ride their are NO GPS maps aval...So in built map not an option...

    I take topo's & use the GPS to confirm where I am on the map...I also dump my whole planned trip (in track log) into my Bike ready, Garmin Fortrex 101 (its tiny w a bike computer inside)...that way I can follow where I am going as I go along...the NEW garmin bike GPS is even better...3D onboard mapping of elevation...

    With a little trick, you can dump a whole city map (in track log) in to a NON mapping garmin GPS...

    I would not gamble my life on electronic data...REAL paper maps are for me...

    Enjoy the trip


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