Sat Nav

Cycle-touring, Expeditions, Adventures, Major cycle routes NOT LeJoG (see other special board)
Brian Offord
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Joined: 5 Jan 2007, 5:57pm
Location: Middlesex

Sat Nav

Postby Brian Offord » 21 Jul 2012, 11:39am

I have been looking at garmin sat nav's for touring,I just need some info are they worth outlay £200ish I have to admit they do look good but are they better than maps?I then looked at my tom-tom IQ that i use in the car and that has car/walking/cycling mode has someone tried it out I imagine battery life might be a problem would it be possible to charge it from a son hub?thanks for any info.

Ron
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Joined: 5 Jan 2007, 9:07pm

Re: Sat Nav

Postby Ron » 21 Jul 2012, 5:57pm

I have never felt a need for satnav on a bike tour, maps and signposts satisfy my needs for the main routes but I took a gps this year and found it very handy for getting back to my campsite/hostel/hotel after a day or evening sightseeing in some strange city or area of the country. It was also handy when exploring off the main route of the tour and I wanted to get back on track after the diversion. The Garmin Etrex slips easily into a pocket and is available for less than £100, batteries lasted for several days as it is only in use for short periods.

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horizon
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Location: Cornwall

Re: Sat Nav

Postby horizon » 21 Jul 2012, 6:42pm

Brian Offord wrote:I have been looking at garmin sat nav's for touring,I just need some info are they worth outlay £200ish I have to admit they do look good but are they better than maps?I then looked at my tom-tom IQ that i use in the car and that has car/walking/cycling mode has someone tried it out I imagine battery life might be a problem would it be possible to charge it from a son hub?thanks for any info.


Brian: I don't know if yours is a philosophical question but I would say that GPS/satnav is like a mobile phone. Those who have one find it indispensable, those who don't cannot understand why anyone needs one or wants the hassle. I fall into the latter category. I haven't heard anyone say they regretted getting GPS/satnav but maps do still work.
Let's just get Brexit done so that we can get on with the important job of re-joining the EU!

Reigncloud
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Re: Sat Nav

Postby Reigncloud » 24 Jul 2012, 2:18pm

My standard GPS response!

My personal setup is linked below. Nokia 6120 with bluetooth GPS unit and TomTom software installed. Whole setup should cost you less than £50 (assuming a 2nd hand phone and cheap BT receiver off ebay). I pre-plan everything on google maps/bikeroutetoaster to optimise for scenery/traffic/hills/attractions/campsites and then upload waypoints to TomTom on the phone. Then on the day I just select my route and go. Lots of benefits over a full car-sized satnav (weight, bulk, value to thieves etc) and much cheaper and easier to manage. No problems with autorouting as long as its all planned properly first.

viewtopic.php?f=16&t=46919 (page 4)

and here:

viewtopic.php?f=16&t=52283&p=441479#p441479

Tasker
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Location: North Staffs.

Re: Sat Nav

Postby Tasker » 25 Jul 2012, 12:05am

I brought a Sat Nav - Garmin Etrex Hsc1 or whatever on the recommendations of others. I sold the thing on Ebay. In (my) opinion these gadgets were made for the walker in the wilds - no roads, just meant for the serious walker. They then tacked on rubbish, overrpriced road maps.

If. as I suspect, you're asking is, 'is there a device that I can mark out a route , like a Tom-Tom and it will guide me to my destination?' Yeah, it's possible to do it on a Garmin but be prepared for the shock I got with the learning curve. These devices, excellent as they are for their original purpose fall down badly when it comes to the cyclist who just wants to plot with no hassle. If I pay out for summat I want it to do the job - punch my starting point and destination in, just like you can do with a cheepo carSat Nav can do - not tell me I have to faff learning about bending to it's whims. It's going to come: the Tom-Tom device that will do the job when on a bike. Save your money.

NOT meant to wind anyone up. If you have a smart phone you've got it already - just refer to it if you think you might have gone off course. it's miles better

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Cunobelin
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Re: Sat Nav

Postby Cunobelin » 25 Jul 2012, 6:50pm

They are fine for basic navigation, but have difficulties if yo want to see the bigger picture

I have the 800 and it is brilliant, but always carry maps as well.

One more point is that you can use the track recorded to keep a record of the tour and to geotag your photos.

vjosullivan
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Re: Sat Nav

Postby vjosullivan » 25 Jul 2012, 8:34pm

Cunobelin wrote:I have the 800 and it is brilliant...

Agreed (if you can afford it). Loaded with the complete 1:50,000 OS maps of the UK you can't go wrong. Paper maps are pretty useless when you get to an unexpected and unsignposted junction in the middle of the countryside and you're not sure if you missed an earlier turning or not. A GPS will show you clearly,within a few metres, if you've taken a wrong turning - and without without any need to stop, dig out and unfurl the blessed thing.
E25

Barrenfluffit
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Re: Sat Nav

Postby Barrenfluffit » 25 Jul 2012, 10:53pm

My experience of sat nav's and maps have both been thoroughly mixed. In some situations the sat nav has been excellent (getting out of cities on to the right road ) and in others shockingly poor. If your also looking for nice cycling en route then it seems easier to get an overview with a map and use way points to get satnav to guide you on the desired route. Personally I feel you need to be able to change course so solutions which require access to a PC or internet access aren't really flexible enough. Sometimes the routing logic for a satnav produces bad solutions; something using a map could avoid by retaining a view of the bigger picture. Otoh for getting you to a specific address in theory they are great. But a couple of times we found major streets came back as unknown on the GPS.

Maps are constant hard work and make life harder when you get tired. Scale is a constant issue when passing through towns and cities. Maps are currently significantly cheaper than satnavs ( the whole of france for e17 vs e300+ for electronic maps ). Its very easy to get lost in towns because the map scale usually doesn't provide enough detail. And the satnav telling you the direction and distance of the nearest shops is helpful (ish).

hexhome
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Location: Hexham, Northumberland

Re: Sat Nav

Postby hexhome » 25 Jul 2012, 11:09pm

Many Garmin users seem to have problems getting their GPS's behaving like the TomTom in the car. This is not at all difficult or expensive to achieve. The first issue is what maps are you going to use? If you want cycle specific routing, then you will need to install cycle specific maps onto your Garmin. I use and recommend http://www.velomap.org/ which are free (they ask for a donation). With these maps installed on a compatible GPS (I use an Etrex 20 which cost £140) you simply enter the city, waypoint or address and the GPS will plot a suitable route for cycling. I have mine set to offer a route based on either distance or time.

Things get a little more complicated if you wish to plan the route on a PC and then upload it to the GPS. The safest way to ensure that the GPS doesn't assert it's own routing is to upload the route as a track. The GPS will then follow the track exactly. Loops can also cause problems simply because a loop is illogical to a device set to autoroute. Autorouting can be turned off which also solves the above issues.

Garmin have free software which you can use on your PC to plan routes and upload to the GP, Basecamp and Mapsource. Basecamp is an excellent planning tool but at present will not allow maps to be uploaded to the Garmin, Mapsource is the correct tool for this job. This of course is where the investment in time and effort arrives, but I find planning routes at home particularly enjoyable.

A GPS is not just useful for mapping purposes, it is also excellent at recording routes and performance. This information can be shared on sites such as http://ridewithgps.com/ as well as uploading others routes. You can also use such sites as route planners in their own right and upload direct to your GPS, avoiding the hassle involved in the above paragraph.

I find that the batteries on my Etrex 20 last for around 12 hours of riding using mapping and autorouting. In practice this amounts to well over a week in use. When I have trie similar tasks with my smart phone, I've found that the batteries last a couple of hours at best and then I'm phoneless.

You mentioned using a TomTom. In my experience, the cycle routing is fairly good though it may favour main roads slightly more. The problems apart from battery duration, are; the map display is not particularly detailed, the information display has to be on at the same time as the map limiting the amount of detail at any time, and it is much more difficult to upload pre-planned routes and download tracks. Against all this, the display is much easier to see compare to handheld GPS's.

In conclusion, GPS has added a whole new dimension to my cycling and given me second wind :D

hexhome
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Re: Sat Nav

Postby hexhome » 25 Jul 2012, 11:19pm

Reigncloud wrote: No problems with autorouting as long as its all planned properly first.


I'm curious, my phone will autoroute using a suitable app but I am unaware of a method of uploading a gpx track. I would love to be able to do this as the autorouting is often unsuitable for cycling. It does have the benefit of voice commands so that I can keep the phone in my pocket. This would be very useful to me on occasion.

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al_yrpal
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Re: Sat Nav

Postby al_yrpal » 26 Jul 2012, 12:07am

Personally I prefer to use a map and just confirm any uncertain position with a sat nav, and to me that means my android smartphone. Now that you can download Google map sections you can avoid data charges and phone dead spots. Just open Google Maps go to the menu and select "make available offline" and a selection box will appear, now zoom out to cover the area you need and click on 'done' and the map section you chose is downloaded onto your phone. Then, when you are out and about you can shut off the internet but Google maps sat nav has a map to work with. I am not a fan of Google maps because of the lack of detail but they will enable you to confirm your position accurately out on the road. The thought of having a ride or a touring route on a tiny device like a Garmin doesn't appeal to me. It's just another expensive bit of unecesesary kit to have to worry about.

Al
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?

Reigncloud
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Re: Sat Nav

Postby Reigncloud » 26 Jul 2012, 7:22am

hexhome wrote:
Reigncloud wrote: No problems with autorouting as long as its all planned properly first.


I'm curious, my phone will autoroute using a suitable app but I am unaware of a method of uploading a gpx track. I would love to be able to do this as the autorouting is often unsuitable for cycling. It does have the benefit of voice commands so that I can keep the phone in my pocket. This would be very useful to me on occasion.


Sorry I should have qualified this. I meant that the auto routing was fine when on the roads. I don't use it when going off road. In that case I usually use a combination of maps and GPS (I don't have a Garmin 800 or similar).

Barrenfluffit
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Re: Sat Nav

Postby Barrenfluffit » 26 Jul 2012, 10:34am

One of the issues seemed to be that a routing algorithm for cars used very different priorities than for me touring. Actually I don't mind going a mile or two out of the way if it gets me on to an obscure road which follows a railway / river up a valley and on to the plateau. Typically satnavs are used for getting to places in a minimium time subject to constraints. For touring we want to get there in time by the best/nicest route. The difference is hard to mimic; entering constraints helps but its still trying to get it to do something at odds with its normal purpose. In addition the more flexibility it has the more idiosyncratic the route it produced. Yes these turnings saves 100m but its not really worth the candle.

Reigncloud
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Re: Sat Nav

Postby Reigncloud » 26 Jul 2012, 12:10pm

Barrenfluffit wrote:One of the issues seemed to be that a routing algorithm for cars used very different priorities than for me touring. Actually I don't mind going a mile or two out of the way if it gets me on to an obscure road which follows a railway / river up a valley and on to the plateau. Typically satnavs are used for getting to places in a minimium time subject to constraints. For touring we want to get there in time by the best/nicest route. The difference is hard to mimic; entering constraints helps but its still trying to get it to do something at odds with its normal purpose. In addition the more flexibility it has the more idiosyncratic the route it produced. Yes these turnings saves 100m but its not really worth the candle.


This is a good point. The way I deal with it si threefold 1) plan the route quite precisely to avoid these sorts of situations in the first place. I'm a bit anal about route planning, though I know this is not the same for everyone 2) use 'Bicylce route' in the TomTom planning options. Basically just avoids motorways I think and 3) Use common sense when on the road. If there's a clear alternative cycle route or shortcut for cycles then I would most defintely take that instead of the pre-planned route!

Brian Offord
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Joined: 5 Jan 2007, 5:57pm
Location: Middlesex

Re: Sat Nav

Postby Brian Offord » 26 Jul 2012, 12:26pm

Thanks all for your impute interesting reading.