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GPS for long distance touring?

Old 03-11-18, 08:06 AM
  #51  
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Originally Posted by Dahon.Steve View Post
+1
. You're not dependent on carrying an extra external battery but the real disadvantage of the 1000 is having to wait for it to recharge its internal battery. If my AA rechargeable batteries run out, I can buy new disposables and I'm up and running in 2 minutes.

Steve,
You can charge/power an Edge 1000 off an external battery and still use the unit. With the cheap rechargeable stick batteries that last a few days, kind of a wash as to whether to use AA or a USB stick. If anything I like stick batteries as opposed to AA as they don’t require an external charging pack for the batteries.

Good points otherwise on your post.

Last edited by Steve B.; 03-11-18 at 09:06 AM.
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Old 03-13-18, 07:07 PM
  #52  
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Originally Posted by Steve B. View Post
You can charge/power an Edge 1000 off an external battery and still use the unit. With the cheap rechargeable stick batteries that last a few days, kind of a wash as to whether to use AA or a USB stick. If anything I like stick batteries as opposed to AA as they don’t require an external charging pack for the batteries.

Good points otherwise on your post.
I just run mine off a dynamo hub until fully charged.
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Old 03-14-18, 07:15 AM
  #53  
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Originally Posted by NoControl View Post
Still, I've been shopping for GPS units and Bicycle-specific GPS models, and they are unreasonably expensive in my honest opinion.
I agree, especially since you can get a small tablet for under $100 and run one of the many great bike apps out there. I prefer Urban Biker but there are many others available. You can also use the tablet for Weather Radar, other mapping tools and in split screen mode with an MP3 player if you like. There are plenty of decent mounting brackets for such tablets that you can get for under $20. You could do the same with a smartphone, but I find the screen is too small, and I prefer to save my phone's battery in case I need it to make an emergency call. The battery in my LG G-Pad is good for about 9-10 hours of continuous use, though on all day rides, I'll sometimes top it off while I'm having lunch if the opportunity presents itself.

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Old 03-14-18, 10:20 AM
  #54  
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Originally Posted by fietsbob View Post
Used widely at Sea.. Marine GPS is Garmin's big market..

In land I use paper maps, but young folks like technology , instead.. Never learned map reading .


I have a big box of maps from my tours..





...
I've always been a mapper as well, but this simply shows our age. Still, I've been shopping for GPS units and Bicycle-specific GPS models, and they are unreasonably expensive in my honest opinion. I'll spend that money on a bike component, but $600+ is a lot to spend. I'll probably wind up with the Garmin GPSMAP 64st and call it done.
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Old 03-14-18, 10:27 AM
  #55  
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I liked talking to the locals .. my self.. getting directions .. not all say 'cant get there, from here'
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Old 03-14-18, 02:37 PM
  #56  
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Originally Posted by fietsbob View Post
I liked talking to the locals .. my self.. getting directions .. not all say 'cant get there, from here'
They only say that in Maine, lol.
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Old 03-20-18, 10:06 PM
  #57  
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Originally Posted by spinnaker View Post
Have you considered a tablet PC? I have been using that lately to augment my GPS. The only thing I wish is that someone would add bike paths to the map. Google has it but you need to be connected online.
Google has an Offline Maps feature you might want to check out, if that's your constraint: https://support.google.com/maps/answer/6291838
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Old 03-23-18, 05:10 PM
  #58  
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Originally Posted by SHBR View Post
I'd use my phone.

Offline maps, and satellite view with internet.

Caveat: touchscreens are unusable when wet.
https://ridewithgps.com/trips/3260309 , PG to Jasper. https://ridewithgps.com/trips/3295074 , Jasper to PG. https://ridewithgps.com/trips/3267536 Jasper. I too only use my phone with RideWithGPS... up to 2 weeks of info... Without killing the phones battery.

EDIT; and it all worked without any phone signal, 99% of the time, I just put the phone into airplane mode and the battery lasted for 2 to 3 days...

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Old 03-24-18, 02:37 AM
  #59  
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Navigation bliss with a tablet or phone

I used to faff with Garmin GPS units. I now have several gathering dust.

I now use a Samsung 8 inch tablet in my cockpit (on top of handlebar bag, held in place with fine shockcord) . It's less expensive that most dedicated GPS units. The GPS receiver works well. I use the ridewithGPS app that keeps a record online of where I've been. It can also show my intended route if I've put one in. Routes can be created on a computer using the rwGPS website. Can do it from the tablet too, but it's a little fiddly.
rwGPS will download maps (choose what you want but I like opencyclemap) for a given route.

But I often prefer to use a separate mapping app. Atlogis do apps for various countries, but all seem to include worldwide access to opencyclemap and some others. For example the New Zealand map gives you government topo maps for NZ, and opencyclemap and others for the whole world. You can download areas (on wifi or mobile data) to whatever level of detail you want. And swap between available maps at any time.

Then there's google maps. Good when you want help with navigation. Worst feature is that it does not show you where you have been. Bike navigation features vary between countries. But there on your tablet/phone. Offline maps are available.

In particular countries, there is often a local app that is worth using. I've done that in Scandinavia. Sitytrail France is excellent for France. 1:25000 scale topo maps for whereever you're going.

While riding I often change between maps for particular purposes. Opencyclemap for street names etc, Topo maps for looking at big climbs, google maps when I just want the shortest route.

The downside of a tablet can be battery life. The tablet when new was good for a days riding with the screen on most of the time. Now I carry a chunky battery pack to be sure of having power. But the tablet would be good if you only consult it occasionally during the day. If you were doing a trip with significant periods away from mains electricity, you'd need to think more carefully.

And backup. If your device gets broken or lost. These apps normally work also on your phone, just with a smaller screen. So if you also carry a phone you have a backup plan.

For wet weather you need to protect a tablet (although tough versions exist at a price). If it's seriously wet, I usually put it away, or let it covered by the handlebar bag rain cover.

I find it incredibly useful having a range of good maps available on a decent sized screen in front of me while I ride.
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Old 03-24-18, 04:43 PM
  #60  
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I use a Garmin Edge 1000 Touring and generally charge it from the dynamo hub via a battery buffer (the Plug III and Cinq 5 smart power pack). However, I have also just bought a 50,000 mAh backup battery from WalMart for $15! It might not last LOTS longer than 5 happy meals, but initial tests indicate that it does have some fairly high capacity right now. I figure that this $15 backup ought to solve my concerns about running out of juice. The main reason I bought it, however, was to be able to run my Garmin Varia radar rear view light for many, many hours. That light, which integrates with the Garmin Edge series, is one of my three top safety features for touring (along with mirrors and an Airzound horn). For my money, the ability to use the Varia along with the Garmin Edge is what makes the Garmin GPS' the #1 choice for me ... but of course, others may have different views on safety.
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Old 03-25-18, 11:27 PM
  #61  
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I used the Garmin 62s when I did my 2016 tour and a Garmin Etrex Legend all the way back in 2005. You really can't go wrong with the 64 (modernized version of the 62). Just pop in 2 AA's and you're good for the day, no need to worry about recharging the unit via USB etc. Maps are free via OpenstreetMap which will do the job. If you want a slightly larger screen along with a touch screen, the Garmin Oregon 600's are reasonably priced now.
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Old 03-26-18, 06:40 PM
  #62  
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Originally Posted by RobSN View Post
I use a Garmin Edge 1000 Touring and generally charge it from the dynamo hub via a battery buffer (the Plug III and Cinq 5 smart power pack). However, I have also just bought a 50,000 mAh backup battery from WalMart for $15! It might not last LOTS longer than 5 happy meals, but initial tests indicate that it does have some fairly high capacity right now. I figure that this $15 backup ought to solve my concerns about running out of juice. The main reason I bought it, however, was to be able to run my Garmin Varia radar rear view light for many, many hours. That light, which integrates with the Garmin Edge series, is one of my three top safety features for touring (along with mirrors and an Airzound horn). For my money, the ability to use the Varia along with the Garmin Edge is what makes the Garmin GPS' the #1 choice for me ... but of course, others may have different views on safety.
I couldn't agree more. I'm not very flexible so looking behind constantly not only tiring but dangerous. ... the radar has greatly improved my rides. I still do head checks, but mostly when the radar shows them coming. Also, I believe the light pattern changing as they approach gets their attention better.
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Old 03-30-18, 09:13 AM
  #63  
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Originally Posted by RobSN View Post
I use a Garmin Edge 1000 Touring and generally charge it from the dynamo hub via a battery buffer (the Plug III and Cinq 5 smart power pack). However, I have also just bought a 50,000 mAh backup battery from WalMart for $15! It might not last LOTS longer than 5 happy meals, but initial tests indicate that it does have some fairly high capacity right now. I figure that this $15 backup ought to solve my concerns about running out of juice. The main reason I bought it, however, was to be able to run my Garmin Varia radar rear view light for many, many hours. That light, which integrates with the Garmin Edge series, is one of my three top safety features for touring (along with mirrors and an Airzound horn). For my money, the ability to use the Varia along with the Garmin Edge is what makes the Garmin GPS' the #1 choice for me ... but of course, others may have different views on safety.
I use my smartphone and RideWithGPS. I like the fact that I can bring any Garmin file and retrace/edit it and then I have voice instructions (in 50 m turn left,... TURN LEFT NOW!!...).

I use a 12000mAh storage battery I got as an emergency starter, when the phone battery runs out.

This little thing has jumpstarted my 5.0 liter Mustang GT and my wife's BMW 328i! And yes, it gave me the extra juice last year in Holland when I ran out of juice after 6 hrs of riding, with the screen on.

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Old 03-31-18, 10:38 PM
  #64  
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Just curious. What's the advantage of a dedicated GPS unit over a phone with offline maps and voice nav? Serious question.

I've thought about buying a GPS device but envision spending hundreds so I can see a line with an arrow on it 98% of the time.
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Old 03-31-18, 10:52 PM
  #65  
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Just curious. What's the advantage of a dedicated GPS unit over a phone with offline maps and voice nav? Serious question.

I've thought about buying a GPS device but envision spending hundreds so I can see a line with an arrow on it 98% of the time.
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Old 04-01-18, 09:20 AM
  #66  
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Originally Posted by CreakingCrank View Post
Just curious. What's the advantage of a dedicated GPS unit over a phone with offline maps and voice nav? Serious question.

I've thought about buying a GPS device but envision spending hundreds so I can see a line with an arrow on it 98% of the time.
Some of the advantages of dedicated GPS

1) You’re not risking a $600 smartphone on a $20 mount on the h-bar
2) Unit dependent, the GPS unit screens tend to be easier to read in sunlight and in general.
3) GPS unit’s are generally waterproof, vs. having to get an $100 Otterbox or pay for a waterproof phone. That’s related to the Android/Apple debate as well.
4) Battery life is generally much better on a GPS vs. a phone. That can be alleviated with the use of a battery pack.
5) GPS unit’s don’t rely on cell service and have the maps built in. On a phone and if riding in areas with no cell service, have to use a mapping app that has maps reside on the phone. Doable but just another thing to consider.

Many people just find GPS unit’s easier to setup and use, others have done very clever tricks to use a phone, and have demonstrated that it can work as well as a GPS, you just have to read up on all the tricks and apply them
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Old 04-02-18, 02:59 PM
  #67  
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Originally Posted by Steve B. View Post
Some of the advantages of dedicated GPS

1) You’re not risking a $600 smartphone on a $20 mount on the h-bar
My LG cost slightly more than $200 and the $15 butterfly mount is quite secure
2) Unit dependent, the GPS unit screens tend to be easier to read in sunlight and in general.
Correct, phone screens are more difficult but not impossible
3) GPS unit’s are generally waterproof, vs. having to get an $100 Otterbox or pay for a waterproof phone. That’s related to the Android/Apple debate as well.
A $10 plastic envelop sold for taking your smartphone on a river ride worked very well when needed
4) Battery life is generally much better on a GPS vs. a phone. That can be alleviated with the use of a battery pack.
A 12000 mAh backup battery was needed once in last year's Amsterdam to Bruges tour.
5) GPS unit’s don’t rely on cell service and have the maps built in. On a phone and if riding in areas with no cell service, have to use a mapping app that has maps reside on the phone. Doable but just another thing to consider.
RideWithGPS uses downloaded maps based on the most recent Google maps. You design your route on your computer and save the result offline. You pass the file to the smartphone and you have it. I am looking at a map-segment of our Holland trip and my phone is in airplane mode with WiFi off.
Many people just find GPS unit’s easier to setup and use, others have done very clever tricks to use a phone, and have demonstrated that it can work as well as a GPS, you just have to read up on all the tricks and apply them
Pick any Garmin unit and read the reviews. You'll find a number of people who couldn't make it work and even Garmin gave up. That was the clincher last year, as I was looking for a backup to the very basic GPS unit provided by the booking company. In the end I concluded using RideWithGPS and a cheap smartphone
a) Do you know of a bicycle computer which provides voice instructions? (In fifty meters, turn left,... TURN LEFT NOW)

b) The scale and detail of Google maps is astounding. You can tell which side of the road you are in. It came very handy when the bike mounted GPS said make a right at the fork. But the fork had 3 tines! The bike GPS had only 2... And yes, it ignored the right 'tine', so we actually had to take the middle tine of the fork, if you can picture this.

I am a bit skeptical about blowing $350-500 on a fancy bicycle computer and then find out that I can't do what was advertised, if I have an easy solution in my hands. Even if it doesn't deliver a feature that a bike computer has, it can still make phone calls
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Old 04-02-18, 04:00 PM
  #68  
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Originally Posted by GerryinHouston View Post
I am a bit skeptical about blowing $350-500 on a fancy bicycle computer and then find out that I can't do what was advertised, if I have an easy solution in my hands. Even if it doesn't deliver a feature that a bike computer has, it can still make phone calls
I like your way of thinking, Gerry. What you say makes sense. You make me want to get a simple Garmin Edge 520 to record the stats, and augment it with my iPhone.
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Old 04-02-18, 04:24 PM
  #69  
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Originally Posted by GerryinHouston View Post
b) The scale and detail of Google maps is astounding. You can tell which side of the road you are in. It came very handy when the bike mounted GPS said make a right at the fork. But the fork had 3 tines! The bike GPS had only 2... And yes, it ignored the right 'tine', so we actually had to take the middle tine of the fork, if you can picture this.
You are describing a map data problem. Google maps are very good but aren't perfect (no map is perfect).

I've used maps that had features that were missing on Google maps.
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Old 04-02-18, 04:38 PM
  #70  
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Originally Posted by njkayaker View Post
You are describing a map data problem. Google maps are very good but aren't perfect (no map is perfect).

I've used maps that had features that were missing on Google maps.
Undoubtedly! However, as far as I know, Google Maps are updated a lot more often than any other map service.

But I am also describing another problem, namely, that bike computer maps are 'lower resolution' as far as information goes.

Anyway, I thought that the post I quoted was a bit harsh on the capabilities of Smartphone based solutions and wanted to provide experience based testimony.

Overall, if you want to spend the money on bike computer and sensors, you can end up with a system which may be more capable than a smartphone. For my purposes, I don't want (or need) to spend the money.
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Old 04-02-18, 04:44 PM
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Originally Posted by GerryinHouston View Post
But I am also describing another problem, namely, that bike computer maps are 'lower resolution' as far as information goes.
No, the map data isn't "lower resolution". Most maps are vector based (which makes them resolution independent).

Phones typically have better screens to see detail.

Originally Posted by GerryinHouston View Post
Overall, if you want to spend the money on bike computer and sensors, you can end up with a system which may be more capable than a smartphone. For my purposes, I don't want (or need) to spend the money.
There isn't any reason a smartphone couldn't work well.

You also don't need to spend "$350-500" for a GPS unit (a $150 used/refurbished 800 works as well for navigation).

Last edited by njkayaker; 04-02-18 at 04:52 PM.
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Old 04-02-18, 06:20 PM
  #72  
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“Even if it doesn't deliver a feature that a bike computer has, it can still make phone calls”

And on a really long tour and since you are carrying a phone anyway, it makes a lot of sense to minimize all the stuff you have to bring along, especially stuff needing power. Lots to be said for just a smartphone. Would certainly give a lot of thought to this method, even though I already own a G1000
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Old 04-02-18, 07:01 PM
  #73  
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Originally Posted by Steve B. View Post
“Even if it doesn't deliver a feature that a bike computer has, it can still make phone calls”

And on a really long tour and since you are carrying a phone anyway, it makes a lot of sense to minimize all the stuff you have to bring along, especially stuff needing power. Lots to be said for just a smartphone. Would certainly give a lot of thought to this method, even though I already own a G1000
That is why I went with RideWithGPS and never a problem... Now, as someone mentioned, to use most features I do pay $50.00 a year for it... Which seems exorbitant, but well worth it IMO.

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Old 04-03-18, 01:45 PM
  #74  
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Originally Posted by njkayaker View Post
No, the map data isn't "lower resolution". Most maps are vector based (which makes them resolution independent).

Phones typically have better screens to see detail.


There isn't any reason a smartphone couldn't work well.

You also don't need to spend "$350-500" for a GPS unit (a $150 used/refurbished 800 works as well for navigation).
Ιf you read the quote you quoted (me) I said that the bike computer map data ARE lower resolution. What I mean is that they don't contain features like footpaths, or other paths. Has nothing to do with vector mapping. They just ignore the data. I got this many times in our trip, looking at purported straights that were forks or even intersections.

Also, Google Maps around Europe is a lot better updated than your bike computer purchased in the US.
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Old 04-03-18, 05:31 PM
  #75  
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Originally Posted by GerryinHouston View Post
Ιf you read the quote you quoted (me) I said that the bike computer map data ARE lower resolution. What I mean is that they don't contain features like footpaths, or other paths. Has nothing to do with vector mapping. They just ignore the data. I got this many times in our trip, looking at purported straights that were forks or even intersections.

Also, Google Maps around Europe is a lot better updated than your bike computer purchased in the US.
Would I use Google maps for course creating ?, Nope. Can RWGPS and Garmin Connect do this better than Google, oh hell yes. Connect as well shows assorted paths, thus you can route on these.

If I was touring I'd use Connect when I had WiFi on a tablet, create a set of courses, dup to the 1000 and be good to go. I've used RWGPS (I'm a premium user and track all my rides with this) but actually prefer creating courses in Connect.
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