Your views on digital maps & devices for offroad riding in Europe

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mchillingworth
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Your views on digital maps & devices for offroad riding in Europe

Postby mchillingworth » 14 Nov 2019, 7:33pm

Hi all,
I have been considering either a Garmin eTrex or Oregon for riding off road in Europe, what experiences do you have?

mattheus
Posts: 1542
Joined: 29 Dec 2008, 12:57pm
Location: Western Europe

Re: Your views on digital maps & devices for offroad riding in Europe

Postby mattheus » 18 Nov 2019, 12:38pm

I've done two border crossing on unpaved roads*. (totalling less than 20km!)

Using my eTrex, pre-loaded routes which I setup on RWGPS. I consider myself an utter novice with GPS (bought mine in 2016). I prefer riding to messing with tech.
So pretty limited experience, but it's an honest "data point"! I am expecting to do more in the future so I hope this thread is productive.

(I suspect it's all about the maps loaded, rather than the device you use. My eTrex came with good coverage of anywhere in Europe that I can envisage riding, but stuff does change so I will need to get to grips with new maps at some point ... )


*Col de Tende (alps) and Port de Cabús (Pyrenees). I hope this makes me sound ever-so well travelled, like a cycling Bear Ghrylls (-:

HobbesOnTour
Posts: 423
Joined: 20 Feb 2017, 5:12pm

Re: Your views on digital maps & devices for offroad riding in Europe

Postby HobbesOnTour » 18 Nov 2019, 6:41pm

Each GPS device works differently and has different features, so I'd always advise someone to have a good think about what they want, then to look at what is on offer.
Features include detailed maps, recording abilities, navigation on the fly (online & off), battery type & life, coloured screens etc.

There's two aspects to GPS navigation on a bike - the first is the planning, the second is the following.

Some online planners will not work as well on off-road routes; simply put, if the route isn't on the map you can't plot there (however most have workarounds).

As regards the following of the route something to bear in mind is off route navigation - will the device try to get you back on course? That may turn into a very long trip if the maps on the device don't recognise the track/route you are on.

It also depends on what you mean by off-road. Most cycling paths in NL, for example are "off road", but not off road in the rough & mucky sense.

One thing I will say though, because I've noticed an increase in the past few years is that many bikepackers are now following well established hiking trails designed for walkers. If this trend continues I can see trouble ahead between hikers & bikers.

Perhaps if you give a bit more information about how you intend to use your device, and where, you'll get better answers.

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Sweep
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Joined: 20 Oct 2011, 4:57pm
Location: London

Re: Your views on digital maps & devices for offroad riding in Europe

Postby Sweep » 21 Nov 2019, 11:56am

mattheus wrote:I've done two border crossing on unpaved roads*. (totalling less than 20km!)

Using my eTrex, pre-loaded routes which I setup on RWGPS. I consider myself an utter novice with GPS (bought mine in 2016). I prefer riding to messing with tech.
So pretty limited experience, but it's an honest "data point"! I am expecting to do more in the future so I hope this thread is productive.

(I suspect it's all about the maps loaded, rather than the device you use. My eTrex came with good coverage of anywhere in Europe that I can envisage riding, but stuff does change so I will need to get to grips with new maps at some point ... )


*Col de Tende (alps) and Port de Cabús (Pyrenees). I hope this makes me sound ever-so well travelled, like a cycling Bear Ghrylls (-:


Re your offroad border crossings, can't help but ask if these were somewhat furtive unchecked crossings - just interested - not accusing you of terrible misdeeds and if they were not strictly authorised don't expect you to post them on here.

Re your installed maps and you thinking they might need renewing - are these the Garmin maps? If so, you can almost certainly do better and for free. I find the Garmin maps inferior except perhaps, and only perhaps, in towns where the postcode search can be handy.

For anything else I would recommend a flavour of OSM.
I have used these for many years,

http://www.openfietsmap.nl/

including on offroad/back tracks.

For any serious offroad route I would very definitely recommend pre-planning or you could end up on some very tough and frustrating trips, even dangerous, thanks to the mysteries of the map's interaction with the garmin routeing.
Sweep