What do people use for GPS backup on tours

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pwa
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Re: What do people use for GPS backup on tours

Postby pwa » 5 May 2017, 10:51am

mjr wrote:If you want to look at where that path on the left goes, just pinch and drag to zoom out and look around the map. Not sure why it's more of a problem than unfolding/refolding a paper map?

Lance Dopestrong wrote:In SAR we spend a lot of time retrieving people who rely solely on GPS or, even worse, phone based GPS apps.

Presumably not often from tarmac highways, though!

The most lost I ever got was relying on a paper map, up some hills in the Lake District, when the fog came down and hid any landmarks I could use to orientate myself. I'm also 90ish% confident the map contained some sort of error - possibly out of date due to water washing a path away, but that map was still on sale in a local shop and you'd hope they'd withdraw it if they knew it was dangerous. In the end the phone GPS app (on Symbian, which hints at how long ago it was) got enough of a fix for me to combine it with the phone compass and retrace my steps back to the tarmac.


The things is, if you want to look at where that path on the left goes, and how it fits in with other paths, you will see that best if you are looking at 10cm x 10cm or something like that, getting an overview without losing detail. That is where the paper map is strongest. Any device with a screen that big is going to be a burden to carry and a drain on batteries. And a pain to try to read in sunlight.

The ideal combination for walking is GPS, paper map and (for remote locations) compass. On a bike the ideal combination might depend on whether you are cycling alone. When I tour with my wife one of us will have the map on the bars, the other will have the GPS, in a bag or on the bars. And most importantly, of course, you need a brain that will sort out the mess if the paper map and the GPS map are both wrong, as sometimes happens. Adds to the fun.

ukdodger
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Re: What do people use for GPS backup on tours

Postby ukdodger » 5 May 2017, 11:57am

Lance Dopestrong wrote:I'm a Search and Rescue volunteer, so don't use anything other than OS explorer. The batteries never run out, it doesn't need a view of the sky, it works in conditions that might make a satellite lock difficult, and it costs a fraction of the price.

In SAR we spend a lot of time retrieving people who rely solely on GPS or, even worse, phone based GPS apps.


That's a special case and understandable. I rarely cycle up mountains in bad weather. In fact never.

ukdodger
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Re: What do people use for GPS backup on tours

Postby ukdodger » 5 May 2017, 11:59am

mark a. wrote:This thread is refreshing. This forum has a tendency towards the traditional, since if people have been touring successfully with the CTC for a hundred years then any newfangled tech that isn't steel frame, downtube shifters and rim brakes must be viewed with suspicion.

And yet in this thread the conversation almost borders on incredulity that it's possible to tour without a GPS.

Great!


It is. What thread are you reading?

durhambiker
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Re: What do people use for GPS backup on tours

Postby durhambiker » 9 May 2017, 1:17pm

30 years ago I crossed the Atlantic in a 35ft yacht.Gps was just for the military.. no remote controls..spot of dead reckoning.stars..map..quite remote!!.....but made it to Barbados fine!.

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Gattonero
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Re: What do people use for GPS backup on tours

Postby Gattonero » 13 May 2017, 11:51am

meic wrote:
foxyrider wrote:I can't believe that this is even being discussed! Next it'll be spare stoves, wheels, why not take a spare tent - just in case?

Get a grip folks, learn to properly read a map, have a route list (towns you want to pass through) and get on with the riding!


Which map is that?
As pointed out, maps for a tour could weigh about a kilogram and cost about £50 for each tour.
A spare GPS weighs 160g and can have mapping for the whole world downloaded for free, not that one is needed they are much more resilient things than paper maps.

I doubt that anybody is avoiding maps because of an inability to use them, more a pragmatic decision that they are an inferior option for keeping you on track during a ride. Writing and storing a list of towns to pass through would be a tedious chore and of little use on my tours which have most of their junctions outside of towns and hundreds or thousands of them.


I use mainly digital maps.
Gamin Edge 500 with the track preloaded, and a Viewranger as map on the phone.
The Edge500 is small and has a basic display and basic functions, battery life is good. The phone is waterproof and by removing the "Sync" and all the connections like wi-fi/internet/BT, the battery will last long; and will last even longer if switching off the phone GPS function and finding your location by reading the map
It is by riding a bicycle that you learn the contours of a country best,
since you have to sweat up the hills and coast down them.
Thus you remember them as they actually are...

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Gattonero
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Re: What do people use for GPS backup on tours

Postby Gattonero » 13 May 2017, 11:56am

meic wrote:
Either on its own is lacking.


Which is true for those who need everything. It appears there are plenty of us who only really want the benefits that one system provides and dont long after the benefits of the other system.


One may like to take it easy?
Riding a bicycle involves a certain speed, it is easy to miss a turn. And unless you have a good memory you want to have the map in front of you, now there's good handlebar bags that will allow you to keep a map on the top, but you have to keep track of your position when no particular landmarks are on sight
It is by riding a bicycle that you learn the contours of a country best,
since you have to sweat up the hills and coast down them.
Thus you remember them as they actually are...

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Re: What do people use for GPS backup on tours

Postby pq » 20 May 2017, 12:27am

I haven't read any of this thread, but here's what I'd do.

Plot a route for your trip and upload it to your GPS.

If your GPS breaks, go to a shop and buy a map.

Don't take a spare GPS.
One link to your website is enough. G

robert32asp
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Re: What do people use for GPS backup on tours

Postby robert32asp » 24 May 2017, 9:08pm

ukdodger wrote:Just wondering what others do when touring for backup for their GPS if it fails. Another GPS or maps? I carry two identical GPS's and software to download tracks from Gpsies if needed. But that's all extra weight and still liable to fail. Maps dont fail but enough for a long tour would be cumbersome. Do you just take just the one and chance it? A GPS failure in the middle of nowhere would be a serious problem.


My 2 cents! Last year on the Camino Francis in Spain, I had a dedicated Garmin GPS, a cell phone (with 2 Camino apps) and a small compact guide book with maps that I tore the pages out of and left in garbage, as I worked my down toward Santiago.

Most of the time I used the Garmin for navigating or figuring out how many more miles (hours) to get to the next town. I got lost several times especially entering and leaving major cities as the Camino walking route markings are sometimes not easily visible from the road. The ability to stop, figure out where I was, figure out if there was a short cut to get me back on the official track was valuable.

I always had a fully charged backup battery power station with a USB cord that would run the Garmin even if its internal battery were discharged.

The cell phone had GPS and map capability, but I preferred the Garmin.

The Guide book was used to familiarize myself with the route, general progress during the day and to identify alternate accommodations if the place I came to at the end of the day was full. Alternately, on occasion I would ask the lodging proprietor if they could recommend someplace else.

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Re: What do people use for GPS backup on tours

Postby rualexander » 24 May 2017, 9:27pm

ukdodger wrote:
Holland, Denmark, Germany & France. About 1800m. I'd need a big map and I dont speak any foreign language.


Buy a road atlas and tear out the relevant pages for your intended route.
Keep them in a waterproof case of some sort.

I've done tours that way that many times in the past.

Michelin road atlases are good.
http://travel.michelin.co.uk/europe-150-c.asp

PJ520
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Re: What do people use for GPS backup on tours

Postby PJ520 » 15 Jun 2017, 4:07am

I was in a celestial navigation class, a skill considered by many sailors in these days of GPS to be obsolete, the instructor held up a book of sight reduction tables and pointed out "These work when they're wet". For similar reasons you can't beat paper maps for touring at least as backup. Batteries die as do electronics; I have sat next to a competitor in the Great Divide Mountain Bike Race in a cafe in Eureka MT while he erased all the data in his GPS without meaning to. He was desperately trying to find a PC that he could reload it from when I left.
You only live once, which is enough if you do it right. - Mae West


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meic
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Re: What do people use for GPS backup on tours

Postby meic » 15 Jun 2017, 8:33am

Nothing, nothing is needed.
It would be like carrying two of every map in case the first one got wet, was blown away, burnt, covered in tea or accidentally the wrong one was packed.
Yma o Hyd

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al_yrpal
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Re: What do people use for GPS backup on tours

Postby al_yrpal » 15 Jun 2017, 8:53am

Recently returned from Canada. The last week there we hired a car for our various trips around Vancouver, Victoria and the various islands. I could get no data at all on my smartphone, so no Google Maps unless connected via WiFi in our Airbnb in Victoria. Fortunately I had taken the precaution of downloading Open Street Maps of British Columbia before we went. This proved to be an excellent decision because it enabled us to use Osmand+'s excellent voice and screen directed satnav without having any connection to a mobile network and thus no mobile costs whatsoever. The long battery life of my Moto E dealt with long days of guidance. One surprise was that Three our network provider doesn't offer 'feel at home' rates in Canada, no mobile data either. We came back with no hefty mobile bill having relied on only a handful of texts and WhatsApp via WiFi to keep in touch with loved ones.

Al
Last edited by al_yrpal on 15 Jun 2017, 2:53pm, edited 2 times in total.
Touring on a bicycle is a great way to explore and appreciate the countryside and towns you pass through. What do you do to make a difference?

Psamathe
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Re: What do people use for GPS backup on tours

Postby Psamathe » 15 Jun 2017, 10:50am

PJ520 wrote:I was in a celestial navigation class, a skill considered by many sailors in these days of GPS to be obsolete, the instructor held up a book of sight reduction tables and pointed out "These work when they're wet". For similar reasons you can't beat paper maps for touring at least as backup.....

Although all the sight reduction tables I've ever used have been on normal paper so would have "suffered when wet" (probably more than a modern smartphone). But it is a valid point.

A always think about risks vs consequences; what is a sensible level of backup for the risk. Out in mid-atlantic the risks are significant so backup becomes crucial. Cycling around France, I suspect if you GPS/smartphone ran out of power mid ride you would still find a good restaurant that evening, still find a good bed for the night.

Also, risks of failure can be impacted by how it's used. I've never used one but maybe having your smartphone fixed to your handlebars with a £2 "seems to work" mount is a different level of risk to keeping it in your bar bag or around your neck, etc.

Ian