GPS or Maps for Europe Tour?

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GPS or Maps for Europe Tour?

Postby Daneli » Wed Jun 29, 2011 7:53 pm

The next question in preparing for our tour is to use a GPS or maps?

We are planning on 3 weeks in Europe this time next year and also have a couple of local QLD 3-5 day tours planned to help prepare. In every case we will need either a GPS or a map as the routes planned involve alot of back roads. We also hope to go to NZ at some stage in the next 2 years.

Do you recommend a GPS or the old fashion maps. What GPS is recommended. I prefer to stick to Garmin brand. Maybe Edge 800 ?

Thanks
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by BNA » Wed Jun 29, 2011 8:01 pm

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Re: GPS or Maps for Europe Tour?

Postby sogood » Wed Jun 29, 2011 8:01 pm

Unless you have a big screen like an iPad, route planning can be an absolute pain on a handheld GPS. If going with GPS, just make sure you have more than enough batteries.
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GPS or Maps for Europe Tour?

Postby RonK » Sat Jul 02, 2011 4:35 pm

Shane, I had a bad experience with an Edge 305 and would never buy another Garmin product. Others have had a better experience, but really in A/NZ there are few roads and navigation is generally not very difficult. In Europe however a GPS may be far more useful, but bear in mind there are also excellent bicycle route maps, such as Eurovelo maps.
I have a sat nav app on my iPhone which helps me navigate through unfamiliar urban areas, but even the default iPhone map app is good enough for that.
If you do take a GPS then you probably should also take a netbook computer for planning routes for to uploading to the GPS.
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Re: GPS or Maps for Europe Tour?

Postby Daneli » Sun Jul 03, 2011 7:42 pm

Thanks the feedback.

I have been using Bike Route Toaster to plan a few of our rides and I understand you can download a preplaned route to a Garmin GPS. I quite like BRT it seems very detailed. If it was a simple excersize to download these maps to a Garmin and follow, I think it would be fantastic. I guess this is what attracted to me to it.

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Re: GPS or Maps for Europe Tour?

Postby ilikeiceream » Thu Jul 07, 2011 4:37 pm

Daneli wrote: I have been using Bike Route Toaster to plan a few of our rides and I understand you can download a preplaned route to a Garmin GPS. I quite like BRT it seems very detailed. If it was a simple excersize to download these maps to a Garmin and follow, I think it would be fantastic. I guess this is what attracted to me to it.


This is what we plan on doing! Our garmin GPSMAP 60csx is in the mail, i'll let you know how it goes uploading/following routes. We ended up deciding on the GPSMAP 60 because they just brought out the 62, meaning we could get it for half price :D
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Re: GPS or Maps for Europe Tour?

Postby tallywhacker » Fri Jul 08, 2011 10:29 am

we're off to france and italy next month and originally I planned to use copilot on my phone but as sogood said, handhelds are not easy for route planning. Have settled on Microsoft autoroute on a netbook with an ebay usb gps for the route planning and then either the netbook (8 hour battery) or the phone on the road. If you go the MS Autoroute option they have a 60 day trial so if you install before you leave its basically free (or you can torrent it but that's illegal)
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Re: GPS or Maps for Europe Tour?

Postby Daneli » Sun Jul 24, 2011 6:44 am

Thanks ilikeicecream, let me know how you go. There seeems to be so many options on the market.
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Re: GPS or Maps for Europe Tour?

Postby Aushiker » Sun Jul 24, 2011 8:31 pm

Hi

My tendency now days is to use my Garmin Edge 800 on the bike or my Garmin 60CSX in the car (just cause I have them). I used the GPSr on our last trip around NZ and it worked fine. Didn't bother with maps at all.

Here in WA I planned out my last tour route with http://ridewithgps.com for the road part and then downloaded it to the GPSr. However on one day I changed my mind about an intermin destination. I simply plugged it into the Garmin Edge 800 and it recalculated the route and off I went.

I did carry maps for the off-road section as I like to know where I am and where I am heading etc. Just adds to the ride, however, I quickly realised that even at 1:60 maps are just no longer up there with my GPS and I regretted not loading the trail on to my Edge. That said I would still carry the maps on off-track rides as they are good for providing an overview of outs if needed; they would just not be me my main navigation tool.

On a longer tourer/driving tourer such as you are planning I would probably take a Mac Air with me with mapping, e.g., Google.

I still remember leading a bushwalk on a well known trail and getting told during the day that I was stupid for carrying maps ... you don't need them on a trail. Well the next morning those maps allowed me to determine a quick and easy walk out for the same guy who have become very ill over night ... lesson learnt.

So what would I do? Plan and load as much to the GPSr but take with me suitable maps (not map books) for the area (maybe overview maps with main routes etc).

I also still carry a compass too when in the bush ... just knowing the general direction to walk/ride to a major road is sometimes a handy way to get out of trouble.

Andrew
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Re: GPS or Maps for Europe Tour?

Postby sogood » Sun Jul 24, 2011 8:50 pm

Aushiker, when will you start your own show and give Bear Grylls some competitive curry? :wink:
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Re: GPS or Maps for Europe Tour?

Postby Aushiker » Sun Jul 24, 2011 9:00 pm

sogood wrote:Aushiker, when will you start your own show and give Bear Grylls some competitive curry? :wink:


Somehow I don't think I am in his league; heck there are others here who are probably up for the challenge :)

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Re: GPS or Maps for Europe Tour?

Postby Aushiker » Mon Jul 25, 2011 9:52 am

Hi

Sort of related but for those thinking of using an iPad, there is a brief posting on Ray's experience at Bike Touring Tips which maybe of interest.

Andrew
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Re: GPS or Maps for Europe Tour?

Postby jet-ski » Wed Aug 17, 2011 1:54 pm

After touring in Europe using maps I would go for the GPS... we got derailed when the Radweg map didn't have an alternative for the route that was closed, and in Germany there are a lot of roads that ban cyclists, we ended up finding a guy who was using a GPS and followed him! lol
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Re: GPS or Maps for Europe Tour?

Postby GregLR » Sat Sep 10, 2011 3:30 pm

I would say that you need hardcopy maps as a back up when using a bike GPS in Europe. The road systems tend to be dense, so it’s very helpful to have the context so you can see where you are going.

My partner Toni & I recently did an ‘end to end’ tour in Britain, ie, Land’s End to John O’Groats - see our route on the map in the last post of our blog http://www.gandte2e.blogspot.com . We used a Garmin Edge 800 and a 500 for navigation, via tcx files downloaded to the devices from the bikeroutetoaster (BRT) site. See this sample of one of our maps http://bikeroutetoaster.com/Course.aspx?course=219169 .

The Garmin Edge 800 “Trail Bundle” I purchased from Wiggle came with 'Garmin GB Discoverer 1:50K' mini SD card for loading into the device. This comprised 1:50,000 contour maps by Ordnance Survey (OS, the UK’s national mapping agency) for the whole of Britain and street maps for towns & cities. Since I had the 800 on my bike I was able to see the BRT course (if used) and our position on the screen. When we were using the BRT courses the devices would beep when a turn was approaching and flash up a text box showing which way to turn (or indicate that we had gone off course if we missed a turn).

We also carried hardcopy strip maps in a condensed form. When planning our tour we bought from the UK Book Depository site the AA 'Close-Up Britain Road Atlas' that has (largely) 1:100,000 scale maps on over 700 A4 size pages. We highlighted the planned route, cut up the binding of the atlas to separate the pages, then scanned in the 67 pages that covered our planned route. Next we printed these maps back to back in colour. The result was an A4 sized package that weighed only 200g - the same weight (& volume) as two hardcopy maps ! We did a similar thing for a tour in France a few years ago.

The strip maps were very useful to look at to see the context of where we were or where we were headed before or during a particular day's ride. They also came in very handy when we changed course significantly a few times. Sometimes the revised course went into areas not covered by the strip maps and we had to purchase hardcopy maps (usually OS 1:50,000 Landranger maps) so that we could get the context to plan our route that couldn’t be obtained sufficiently on the screen of the 800.

The other useful feature of the electronic map package for the UK (& also the hardcopy OS maps we bought en route) was that Sustrans ‘National Cycling Network’ (NCN) routes are marked on them. We followed NCN routes at various times and it was simple to follow the markings on the detailed map on the screen of the 800.

(sorry for the long first post !)

Greg
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