who is using a real gps vs a tablet

#46
I have just been perusing the gps selections and i am sdaly dissapointed at how few decent gps units are out there. Take garmin for starters. looking at their auto section they have mostly street stuff and I could not tell form their website wether you can upload topo maps maps on to their unit and if the topo maps are the garmin ones. Thes maps seem to me to be very poorly drawn with many angular lines instead the smooth flowing likes like on a typical usgs paper map. per hap i am wrong if so please point me to it. The handhelds are all so small I think it owuld be a PIA to try and naviagate with such a small screen.

Then there is Magellan the explorist. It looks pretty nice but the reviews say" it just an adroid device with free maps loaded on " I don't about the veractiy of that or not but idoens't bode well for that product.

Lowrance is stillmaking GPS units but they are called chart plotters and there still several sizes available but hey are pricey rugged and i suppose you get what you pay for type of thing.


I don't knowanything about TOM TOM and form what I hear if you are using a tablet they can get hot and shut down.

VERY DISSAPOINTING!
So Garmin or Magellan or Lowrance step up to the plate buld
You can upload Garmin topo on the street GPS. But the details will be different
Better to buy a Garmin hiking gps for automotive use
Like oregon 750

I don't think the sharp angle lines are a problem

In fact it won't affects you navigation ability. The gps doesn't have to be very accurate to the meters at all

When travelling I always carry a electronic gps and paper map


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#47
Garmin oregon is touch screen. So does Garmin Montana

Try the Garmin topo map. It is very good in my area. All the relics sites, hiking trails, biking trails, fire trails everything's are there.

Often I find it much better than some off-road navigators like hema etc..

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#48
Our reasoning on using Google Maps over the typical GPS/Topo setup is that we really don't need to know the topo and we're drawn towards how the Gmaps is setup. In other words we're not thrilled about how most of the Garmin's or even the Rand Mcnally are set up.. these on screen maps with the topo's are very confusing. Just give us the 2D (looking down) view and nothing more.

I did a bit more exploring on the Samsung Tab A 8.0 today and down loaded my first map. But it's odd having Google say that if the map isn't updated it will expire.. so not sure what that mean. Plus How does one know what maps one needs until one actually needs them & by then it's too late cause you've lost your wifi connection..

Also as a follow up to the brightness adjustment, The Samsung does have a brightness adjustment & an auto brighter setup or system. Which when enabled.. the brightness is turned up or down based on the current light around you. Dare I say it, it's very annoying when the screen fades claiming that with the brightness turned up, can cause eye strain.. I'm sure there is some truth to that, but we would rather have the brightness up as much as possible (but staying out of the red zone)

What we really need is a gps/mapping system like Google maps, that can be installed. I know that Garmin and others have SD maps cards or have seen them. Let's suppose that we wanted to explore NC, then we would plug in a SD reader or chip with all the mapping done for us. But used like google maps which we'e grown accustomed to.
 
#49
If you don't need the topo info or even find them confusing, then we are not talking about the same thing here......

You can use whatever, or just read the street sighs, right?

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#50
@martnH

You're right, My bad. There is a difference between a real GPS system and a Tablet that use a mapping system. So my bad. Plus in our case there's always the good ole paper map.
 
#51
Any advice on using a Windows based tablet for navigation? I'm especially interested in something that will allow you to use tracks and routes from a Garmin GPS system on a Windows platform.
 

e60ral

2016 4Runner Trail w/KDSS
#53
Our reasoning on using Google Maps over the typical GPS/Topo setup is that we really don't need to know the topo and we're drawn towards how the Gmaps is setup. In other words we're not thrilled about how most of the Garmin's or even the Rand Mcnally are set up.. these on screen maps with the topo's are very confusing. Just give us the 2D (looking down) view and nothing more.

I did a bit more exploring on the Samsung Tab A 8.0 today and down loaded my first map. But it's odd having Google say that if the map isn't updated it will expire.. so not sure what that mean. Plus How does one know what maps one needs until one actually needs them & by then it's too late cause you've lost your wifi connection..

Also as a follow up to the brightness adjustment, The Samsung does have a brightness adjustment & an auto brighter setup or system. Which when enabled.. the brightness is turned up or down based on the current light around you. Dare I say it, it's very annoying when the screen fades claiming that with the brightness turned up, can cause eye strain.. I'm sure there is some truth to that, but we would rather have the brightness up as much as possible (but staying out of the red zone)

What we really need is a gps/mapping system like Google maps, that can be installed. I know that Garmin and others have SD maps cards or have seen them. Let's suppose that we wanted to explore NC, then we would plug in a SD reader or chip with all the mapping done for us. But used like google maps which we'e grown accustomed to.
Try GaiGPS and look at the OpenStreetMap layer
 
#54
Here are a Samsung S5 phone and S2 tablet, both Android, in the interior shade of my 4Runner. Both display the same gpx track file and waypoints using the app GPX Viewer, by Vectura Games. (It works well for viewing, following and recording tracks.) No need for a dedicated GPS unit, or for a more complex app that requires many hours to learn.

smartphone & tablet windshield (1 of 1).jpg

For moto folks who are concerned about sunlight readability, here are a Garmin Montana 600 (left), Samsung S5 and Apple iPhone 5 (right) ...

GPS phone test (1 of 1).JPG

For moto use, I will continue to use my rugged, limited-purpose Montana.

In the 4Runner, the tablet and a simple, easy-to-learn and easy-to-use app work best.

In shade, used, older phones and tablets -- even discontinued ones -- can be an inexpensive, effective and versatile alternative to an expensive dedicated GPS unit or late-model smartphone. (Also can serve as a backup phone and/or wi-fi device.) For adventure/dual-sport riding, I won't subject a pricey phone to the abuse the Montana can take.

All of this said, I wonder: Are we making backcountry navigation seem more complex than it is?
 
#55
I’ve got a 5 year old garmin 1490 with the Cal topo map installed. I use it in conjunction with a older Lenovo tablet. The tablet screen is much bigger for seeing where I am, and the battery life is better, but the garmin is easy and the maps are in it.


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#57
Sounds like a good setup, TrailBadger. Typically, all one does when following a track (as opposed to a "route") is glance at the device every 20 minutes or so, usually at junctions. Unlike urbanized areas, in wildland terrain there's typically only one real road to follow, and junctions are the only issue, as well as monitoring progress.

I've never thought a topo overlay was anything more than screen clutter and still more to take your eyes off the road and terrain.
 
#58
My issue with tablets, be they Apple or Android, is the operating systems keep growing and eventually slow the tablets to a crawl. In addition, the tablets don't get the latest operating systems after a couple years so then you end up buying a newer tablet to keep up. Even if you go with cheaper Android tablets, you are still in the $100-$300 range to get something relevant. Also, newer versions of the apps don't always work on the old operating systems, like Gaia GPS won't run on Android Lollypop 4.1.2

My Garmin Zumo purchased in 2007, which pulls double duty on the motorcycle and in the car, still functions, does routing on the fly, and I have lifetime map updates. It was in the $500-600 range when I purchased it 10 years ago.

I go back and forth with this issue after trying so many apps, eventually the Zumo will die and I will have to make a decision on how to replace it. Threads like these are helpful in sorting out a direction, thanks all for the info.
 
#59
My issue with tablets, be they Apple or Android, is the operating systems keep growing and eventually slow the tablets to a crawl. In addition, the tablets don't get the latest operating systems after a couple years so then you end up buying a newer tablet to keep up. Even if you go with cheaper Android tablets, you are still in the $100-$300 range to get something relevant. Also, newer versions of the apps don't always work on the old operating systems, like Gaia GPS won't run on Android Lollypop 4.1.2

My Garmin Zumo purchased in 2007, which pulls double duty on the motorcycle and in the car, still functions, does routing on the fly, and I have lifetime map updates. It was in the $500-600 range when I purchased it 10 years ago.

I go back and forth with this issue after trying so many apps, eventually the Zumo will die and I will have to make a decision on how to replace it. Threads like these are helpful in sorting out a direction, thanks all for the info.
I found the typical 4 or 5 inch screen gps units to be too small to work for me off road. If I had a question about whether to go up this wash, or that wash I couldn't make the screen show me enough to make a proper decision. The tablet I'm using is already too old to upgrade the firmware, but it displays topo maps just fine, and it was under $150 when I bought it. Its got a 9 inch screen, so I can see enough detail and far enough ahead to make a decision. I've turned off auto updates, so until I decide I can't take it anymore this is what I have ( FWIW, this tablet is now old enough that I have a newer iPAD for my regular use, this one is essentially a dedicated GPS now)
 
#60
I hearya, dstock.

My Garmin Montana, a few years old now, works well on both the dual-sport bike, in my SUVs, cars, etc., and in my hand, with both tracks and routes. It has taken a beating. Even though smartphones and tablets work with tracks, I do not believe they are ready yet to replace a backcountry- and outdoors-capable unit like the Montana.

I am curious: Will your 2007 Zumo load and work with tracks (as opposed to "routes")? Every season I must respond to cries for help from folks who want to use their very highway-capable Zumos for backcountry travel.

As this is something I deal with often among clients who are new to GPS-guided backcountry travel, permit me to expound some, and even risk going off-topic some ...

For backcountry use, tracks are consistently the most reliable. Zumos, I believe, automatically convert "tracks" to "routes" upon loading. That is how they are able to reroute "on the fly." I believe older Zumos were oriented to using "routes," and not "tracks."

GPS units cannot reroute when using "tracks," and for backcountry use that is a good thing. That makes tracks the most reliable tool for wildland travel, even though tracks will not provide audible and visual alerts to upcoming turns and such. I always discourage the use of routes, which are dynamic and which the GPS unit can change; in favor of tracks, which are static and which the unit cannot change.

Of course, this assumes that the human who made the track -- either on a computer, or by recording it while traveling -- got it right.

In the wild, it is ill-advised to allow a GPS unit to reroute, unless one really, really knows what is going on and what the risks of doing so are. There are innumerable tales of unfortunate outcomes that occurred when a GPS unit was allowed to reroute a "route" line based on its internal Garmin map product. That is because Garmin's maps -- City Navigator, in particular -- are cartographically unreliable. Garmin is a tech hardware company, not a cartographic company.

In wildland settings, City Navigator (Garmin's primary mapping/routing supplement) is a good tool as long as one is attentive to its limitations. It includes roads that haven't existed in decades, roads that have been in wilderness areas for years and so are now off-limits, roads across posted and gated private land, and roads that fell into disuse decades ago and really don't exist anymore. I deal with these issues continually, every season across many states.

"Route" lines adhere (or not) to lines in the GPS unit's internal maps. To reroute, the unit will use the roads depicted on those internal maps ... even if those roads no longer exist or if the map's road lines have disconnected segments that force the unit to draw a route line in some crazy, non-sensical manner.

"Tracks," on the other hand, do not use the GPS unit's internal map. Tracks are just lines, like lines drawn on a blank sheet of paper. You don't even need an internal map to follow or record "tracks."

"Routes" assume the internal map is accurate, and may be changed by the GPS unit to follow roads that do not exist. "Tracks" stay put, either where the human drew the track at the outset or where the unit drew the track while recording the user's travels.

Again, the context here backcountry use, for which I always urge the use of a track-friendly GPS unit. Best to test before launch.

All of that said, apps for following and recording tracks on smartphones and tablets are so inexpensive -- free, or just a few dollars -- that there is nothing to lose by having one or more loaded. I have several apps on several devices, more to become literate in the topic than actual use. Yet that is the way things are going, and Garmin has to be very concerned.

I hope this is helpful to someone out there ...