Hndheld GPS devices for navigation

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Hndheld GPS devices for navigation

Postby ilikeiceream » Thu May 12, 2011 12:11 pm

I was wondering if anyone has had any experience using handheld GPS devices for navigation, specifically through Europe?


I really like the idea of being able to mount all my maps on my handlebars :P

I'm looking specifically at the Garmin GPSMAP 62 as well as the Magellan eXplorist 510. Both are sold as camping/hiking devices, though i don't see why they couldn't be used on a bike.

Any opinion/argument/experience would be great!
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by BNA » Thu May 12, 2011 12:40 pm

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Re: Hndheld GPS devices for navigation

Postby sogood » Thu May 12, 2011 12:40 pm

As for car navigation, large magnified map and voice prompt is needed. Otherwise the distraction of map reading on a small screen, and one that's vibrating on the handlebar will sure land you in the next pothole. Much safer to stop and read and then ride on. Otherwise I have used Garmin eTrex series and iPhones for the purpose. It works.
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Re: Hndheld GPS devices for navigation

Postby simonn » Thu May 12, 2011 12:46 pm

I've got a Garmin etrex hcx which I use for audax rides.

It has a proper bike mount, but...

1) Use a weak threadlock when you on the thread of the screw you use to attach the adapter to the battery cover to attach to the mount. If you do not it will rattle loose causing the gps to fall off onto the road.

2) You need to put electrical tape on the mount in the bit which the adapter slides into so that the gps does not rattle around when mounted. The battery connection inside the unit is kind-of free floating and rattling around too much can switch it off.

You can use open street maps maps on it. The routing is no good for bikes as it will happily send you down all sorts of roads you probably do not want to be on riding a bike. Tracks are the better option, but you can only have a limited number of them and they are limited to 500 points each.
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Re: Hndheld GPS devices for navigation

Postby il padrone » Thu May 12, 2011 10:47 pm

+1 for the Garmin eTrex Vista hcx. Been using it for 2 years now and very handy to know where I'm going and what is coming up. I really just use it as a map replacement and haven't explred half of what it can do. No problems with the mount or the battery connections.Great thing is it uses normal AA batteries and the lifespan with Lithium batteries is >25 hours. Translates to about 4-5 days of ridng on tour for me. After that I can buy replacement batteries on the road from local stores or roadhouses. The mount does rattle a little but no concerns there.

My only problem is that when I save tracks and try to upload them to bikely, for some reason the tracks are not recognised as being there on my computer or the Garmin.

For maps, after trying one free map (shonkymaps) I found it to be unsuitable and bit the bullet to buy the Garmin 1:100,000 Australian topographical map. It's great.
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Re: Hndheld GPS devices for navigation

Postby ilikeiceream » Fri May 13, 2011 11:18 am

Thanks for the feedback! Still looking and looking, sometimes the market is way too saturated with variety, it's really difficult to find what you actually need. I guess it's better than a market with only one or two products, anywho, i've stumbled upon the GPSMAP 60csx, an outdated model, used to retail for ~$599 (!) but has since been superseded, looks like i'll be able to get one for about $200-250, it seems to do most of what we need it to.

Also, i've stumbled upon [url]bikeroutetoaster.com[/url] which provides exportable tracks, on cycle friendly routes, the site also includes elevation and estimated time data (graph and summary), it's got some quite nifty features, and free dollars is just about the right price!
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Re: Hndheld GPS devices for navigation

Postby simonn » Fri May 13, 2011 11:46 am

il padrone wrote:My only problem is that when I save tracks and try to upload them to bikely, for some reason the tracks are not recognised as being there on my computer or the Garmin.


Have you tried gpsbabel?

You can manipulate the data that comes out of your gps (or gps, tcx files, whatever) with it. Not overly user friendly but very powerful. It also has "simplify" functionality which is pretty effective at simplifying tracks down to the 500 points max that the eTrex has.

For maps, after trying one free map (shonkymaps) I found it to be unsuitable and bit the bullet to buy the Garmin 1:100,000 Australian topographical map. It's great.


Check out http://garmin.openstreetmap.nl/ . World wide maps for free. They work for me on both the eTrex (copying the gmapsupp.img to a memory card method) and also imported into Road Trip on Mac - for Sydney, Central Coast, Newcastle and Nelson Bay, the Gold Coast and Oahu anyway :).

Oh, and I'm surprised you haven't tried powering it from a dynamo :). Much conversation on this on the brevet last sunday.
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Re: Hndheld GPS devices for navigation

Postby sogood » Fri May 13, 2011 12:04 pm

I had luck with this set of contour maps for Australia. Successfully installed on my eTrex Vista Cx 2-3 years ago.
http://www.gpsaustralia.net/forums/show ... ge=1&pp=15

And now v3 goes down to 5m.
http://www.gpsaustralia.net/forums/show ... hp?t=12698

But the maker no longer provide the files for free download due to cost and is not selling it on DVD (virtually at cost).
http://www.octapc.com.au/prod200.htm
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