Map & hardware for off road, off grid, vehicle use.

#1
Okay. This seems to span the hardware/software boundary since not all map software is useful on all hardware.

I drive off road, off-grid, out of cell service, in the southwest where BLM, private and State Trust land are often checkerboarded. I need to know who owns what so I don't get busted. I had a garmin nuvi and OnXHunt maps. The nuvi does not have a screen large enough to be effective for exploring unknown areas, so I bought a garmin DriveSmart and got rid of the nuvi, which was a really Dumb idea. OnX no longer allows their maps to be installed on any device, but rather they live in an SD chip. However, the OnX chips are invisible to the garmin DriveSmart hardware. Since I got rid of my nuvi, I was reduced to using the tiny Oregon screen for back country navigation. And according to Garmin product support, the Garmin topo maps do not work in the DriveSmart device either since they are apparently OnX chip based.

I know of several potential solutions, none of which are inexpensive. What I have been doing recently is borrowing my ex's Garmin Astro dog tracker and using it in basestation mode to show my position realtime in basecamp on my MacAir which I have mounted in my vehicle. I could buy a (discontinued) garmin Rino for $350 or so, and return her Astro, since the Rino also can operate in basestation mode. I could buy another nuvi, but the screen was too small for a good overview, which started this whole mess.

Advice, please.

As an aside, it is pretty annoying that Garmin doesn't appear interested in supporting the off-road/expedition vehicle world, but appears to think that off grid means handheld (I have an Oregon), and that vehicle means highway. And that, based on conversations with product support, OnX thinks their users are too dim to figure out how to use Garmin MapInstall, or whatever. Or have I got this wrong? If I have it right, are we, the expedition vehicle world, big enough that Garmin or OnX, or somebody would listen to us?
 
#2
Get an androïde tablet. The prety much all have internal gps, much wider screens that any hand held gps, you can find nice casing for some of them, they are fairly cheap. My samsung tab8a was like 225,00$ can (so I guess 160,00us) and tons of apps for them, people fight to say that the spp they have is the best.

I am not an androïd fan, but my tablet became my dedicated gps tool. All the maps I find interesting get loaded on it, and it is nice to have when walking cities. For me, I was an incredible maps to walk the streets of NYC, and it would always tell me were I was compare to were I wanted to go.

I went with Osmand+, cause a guy in quebec mabe an encredible link to the quebec ministry of forest, for up-to date navigation tool. With all topo maps and street maps available for a big part of the wolrd. For a few bucks, it does the job for my area and more.
 
#3
I'm pretty happy with an android tablet (NVidia shield tablet - not sure that I would recommend this one but I can't hate on it either) and GaiaGPS. Built-in storage space is critical - microSD expansion cards are slow and unreliable.
 
#4
Not sure just exactly what you are looking for...but if you just want to see private land versus public, have you tried the free maps from gpsfiledepot.com? I have them loaded on my Montana and on my Nuvi and my Garmin RV760LMT. With the gpsfiledepot maps anything green is public land and yellow is private (when the GPS is in night mode, the private land is tan or brown).

Here's some screen shots of my RV760LMT (7" screen). That's a big ranch I'm heading for, and to the right are checkerboard private/public lands. It's zoomed way out so the dirt roads are not showing.


Zoom in, and the dirt roads appear:


Here's another area, yellow showing private land:


In night mode, this one shows me skirting the Seven Devils Ranch:


Driving through a checkerboard area:


I've found the detail provided by these maps better for my use than topo maps. And different zoom levels provide different information. I can compare GPS information with that on my map atlas to locate myself. But of course, can't load tracks on this type of GPS unit so I generally carry my Montana along also.

This unit takes a microSD card; I've loaded it with several different maps sets and often look at each one to see what information each shows about a particular area.
 
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#5
I'm pretty happy with an android tablet (NVidia shield tablet - not sure that I would recommend this one but I can't hate on it either) and GaiaGPS. Built-in storage space is critical - microSD expansion cards are slow and unreliable.

Is this true for the newer "high speed" SD cards?
 

BOHICA

Adventurer
#7
This was my setup in FJ Cruiser with floor mounted RAM mount. I now have an iPad mini in my 4Runner mounted to dash with magnet, using GAIA GPS for offline maps.

DSC00455.jpg
 
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dms1

Explorer
#9
I'm pretty happy with an android tablet (NVidia shield tablet - not sure that I would recommend this one but I can't hate on it either) and GaiaGPS. Built-in storage space is critical - microSD expansion cards are slow and unreliable.
I use to use a Samsung Galaxy S2 Tablet and Now use the S3 Tablet, both of these have the option to use an SD card and I have never had an issue downloading maps for GAIA and Back Country Navigator Pro to the SD card or having issues with those programs retrieving the maps while traveling. I can also download 80% of my music collection and a few MKV Movies to the SD card and I never had an issue with playback. I am currently using a 400GB Sandisk Card and have always used Sandisk cards and the only issue I have is they make bigger and faster cards so i upgrade ;- )
 
#10
I use to use a Samsung Galaxy S2 Tablet and Now use the S3 Tablet, both of these have the option to use an SD card and I have never had an issue downloading maps for GAIA and Back Country Navigator Pro to the SD card or having issues with those programs retrieving the maps while traveling. I can also download 80% of my music collection and a few MKV Movies to the SD card and I never had an issue with playback. I am currently using a 400GB Sandisk Card and have always used Sandisk cards and the only issue I have is they make bigger and faster cards so i upgrade ;- )
SD cards don't like heat very much - I had a mSD card in my tablet for very much the second purposes as you describe, and after six months of using it for navigation one or two weekends a month I started getting frustrated with how slowly it would load maps and such.

Six months after that it crapped out entirely in the middle of a trip. I had paper maps for backups, and I wasn't in an area that I was entirely up familiar with, and there weren't a lot of offshoot trails to get lost on, but if any of those weren't true that I would have been significantly hindered by that failure.

Such electronic failure is inevitable with time, but commodities like SD cards aren't manufactured to the same standards as the built-in memory that is soldered onto the motherboard.
 
#11
I use a combination: Lowrance, paper topo maps, and Atlas & Gazetteer. I also have my InReach which is paired to my phone so I can use it as well. Paper maps are always a good idea since they never break.