Dean wrote:I prefer roadsigns and to live in my surroundings. Following the landscape is more satisfying to me than following data on a screen.
But surely constantly looking at, and looking out for, roadsigns is the exact opposite of 'following the landscape'. And in fact, you don't even need to look at a GPS screen, as it will audibly tell when you need to turn. Hence I posit that the GPS method is actually more liberating than the traditional way.
And this is without even considering countries where you can't actually read the roadsigns. I've travelled in many of these type of places just fine using a satnav.
I've been off doing more interesting stuff, hence the late reply, but I pretty much fundamentally disagree.
GPS devices are useful tools. That's it. However, in my experience this translates to "the only tool required". I've been on (and organised) rides where riders with GPSes have diverted from the route just because that's what their device told them, when the road was straight on and straight on and straight on. Not to mention the motorists I've encountered who've left home with only their satnav to guide them, no map and no concept of where they were passing through.
You seem to have a pretty good handle on things, but when I was posting I was thinking of a specific example here in Nepal - I was trying to find the turn-off from Dumre to Besishahar, and as I came down the road I could see the road going north up the valley where the rivers crossed, I could see the change in landscape where the rivers merged and see locals walking up the way I wanted to go (there was a strike on, so no public transport). I also checked with the maps on my phone, as there were road signs in English, and once I made the turn the mileposts confirmed it.
It was only because I had the maps, and had paid attention to the meeting of the rivers and the relative altitudes and compass directions, that I knew where to go. I know not everyone does this sort of stuff (which I do without much thought), but I like to think that I could be blindfolded and dropped back in the area and still have a pretty good idea of where I was and where to go, once I'd been there.
I'd still consider getting a GPS as a mapping and recording device, and for pinpointing where exactly I stood, but it's not a patch on paying attention to your surroundings and knowing where you are by marking landmarks, the time and position of the sun etc, as that way you're independent and not relying on technology which requires external data and power.
As I say, it's a good tool, not the ultimate solution.