GPS Idiot

Discussion in 'Mapping & Navigation' started by Signal 13, Oct 25, 2018.

  1. Signal 13

    Signal 13 Been here awhile

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    I'm a GPS idiot. The first step is identifying the problem, so now that that's been taken care of...

    At one point, I wanted a GPS that would map out my ride as I completed it, so I could then download it for saving (in case I wanted to ride it again), or for sharing it with others.

    Then I realized I should probably start slow and just get a GPS that will allow me to put in the tracks of others and then follow those tracks so I'm not always reliant on others to navigate when I got to adv moto meets.

    So, I checked out Walmart in my itty bitty town and they have 3 GPS units:

    Garmin Drive 5 - $119
    Garmin Drive 6 - $149
    Garmin Drive 7 - $229

    My question is, will these 3 GPS units allow me to upload tracks onto them and then follow those tracks? If every GPS can do that, then I apologize from the dumb question, but please refer to the title of the thread.

    Another question is can I get by with the Garmin Drive 5? Reason I ask is because that's the most attractive due to it being the lowest price.
    #1
  2. 71tr

    71tr Been here awhile

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    Those GPS units look more like they are designed for the family sedan which generally do not offer the track upload/download capability that you seek. Let me offer an alternative to the typical Garmin GPS unit. A ruggedized, waterproof smartphone. Modern smartphones are equipped with accurate GPS antenna and do not require cell service to function. Buy a used smartphone on ebay, do not sign up for any phone service, download an offline maps/navigation app such as Osmand+ or Locus Pro and enjoy. Unlimited worldwide maps are included with your $10 app purchase whereas Garmin will charge you the proverbial arm & leg for map updates. The software interface is superior to Garmin (imo), full functionality for the moto enthusiast and easily bluetooth or wifi track files via email to your friends or download from the interweb. I abandoned Garmin years ago and have traveled all over the world using this system as have many others on ADV. In fact for a quarter of the price of a Garmin unit I purchased two hardened smartphones on ebay and loaded maps/routes etc.. Identical setup, one unit pulls duty on the handlebars during a ride the other is in the tankbag being recharged, battery life is all day. If I lose a unit or it is stolen, no big deal. Search this forum for "Setup your Andrioid...." thread, lots of smart folk on there discussing this topic. Leave those automobile Garmin units at Walmart for the appropriate customer.
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  3. sieg

    sieg Wearing out tires......2 at a time, day after day. Supporter

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    Garmin's website will tell you if they will take tracks. You want tracks not routes. A lot of car GPSs won't take tracks. And car GPSs generally aren't waterproof and generally don't have a good mounting system. A motorcycle GPS will serve you best, but some hiking GPSs are ok. I use an Oregon on my dirt bike. Those types are at least waterproof and somewhat robust. The Zumo series is what I use on my GS. In most cases the cheapest of any series will do what you need. But I recommend one with lifetime free map updates.
    Ram makes good mounts btw.
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  4. Ledwardio

    Ledwardio Been here awhile

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    Look for a Zumo that has the Trip Log feature then you will have the tools to map your ride that you initially wanted, though it only logs for a certain distance so if you are doing a big journey you may need to regularly save the trip log.
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  5. advNZer?

    advNZer? Long timer

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    if you plug almost any garmin gps into a computer they will have an archive folder that automatically archive your tracks.I have two nuvis a 2350 and 2797 and they both have an archive folder with a big history of tracks in them.At some point the old ones get discarded .
    I cannot confirm if every nuvi automatically archives tracks or if you need to have "trip logs" enabled.I would imagine that every zumo does this too.
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  6. lkraus

    lkraus Been here awhile

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    I do not think any current Zumo models have this limitation. My zumo 590 automatically creates logs of all my travels, if I select that option. Just back from a 20 day, 6700 mile trip, all recorded with no action on my part. The length of each log does vary, but mine seem to stop when 'I've stopped for an extended period, rather than being distance limited. One of my daily tracks was over 600 miles. Individual logs (tracks) can be combined and edited as desired using Basecamp or other software.
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  7. wbbnm

    wbbnm Long timer

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    I have used Garmin handheld GPS units for nearly 20 years and like them. I have been using a Garmin Montana for about 6 years.

    But the Garmin's are an expensive way to go especially for somebody new who might not really be into GPS navigation.

    The advice above about using a smart phone might be a good way to get started this. If you already have a smart phone, you can download GPS navigation software like
    Locus and/or Osmond and give it a try.

    There is a steep frustrating learning curve for both the hardware and software no matter which route you take.
    There seems to be no end of things that can go wrong when actually trying to use a GPS device on a motorcycle ride, especially offroad.

    Check out the Kyocera, Locus, and Osmand threads in the Which GPS for me subforum here.
    I bought a new but older Kyocera on Amazon last year for about $70 and installed and learned how to use Locus and Osmond.

    Don't be afraid to ask simple questions here once you settle on something.

    I don't know anything about the Garmin devices you mentioned. I suspect they are limited capability units meant for automobile navigation.
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  8. Signal 13

    Signal 13 Been here awhile

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    Thanks for the help everyone. I looked up various GPS units, and man, them suckers are pricey! I've got an iPhone, so I could put Locus and/or Osmand on there and try them out with that, but honestly I'd prefer a more typical GPS unit.

    At least I've been pointed in the right direction, and I appreciate that!
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  9. scfrank

    scfrank Old farts riding club. Supporter

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    Locus and Osmand are more suited for Android phones.

    On your iPhone try Pocket Earth or Pocket Earth Pro ($5) . The Pro doesn't bother you with inApp purchases. If you're going to be away from cell coverage you want offline maps. PE Pro will work away from cell coverage but needs offline maps in that case. I use it and like it. As with anything concerned with GPS there will be a learning curve. Recording tracks and sharing them is much different than the typical A to B routing someone in a car would want. Google Pocket Earth Pro for a lot of information.

    Pocket Earth uses tracks as opposed to routes. Understand the difference. Routes (turn by turn) are much more involved and prone to problems. But, there are phone apps that do both.
    There are many options. The things to consider are, on line maps (meaning you have to have cell coverage to get maps as you travel) or off line maps (meaning they are loaded into your phone.) All GPS software should work outside of cell coverage.

    At least try this route. It's a lot cheaper than a dedicated GPS. You'll want to turn off the screen saver so it doesn't turn the phone off after 5 minutes. You'll probably want to figure out to mount your phone, many options with Ram Mount, and power it. Of course you will need to do the same with a GPS.

    There are many many threads and comments here about all the options. They all work and they all have limitations and different 'skills'. GPS is a broad topic and there are many aspects to it's use. Finding what works for you will take some time.
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  10. Signal 13

    Signal 13 Been here awhile

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    Good to know...I'll try out PE and see how that goes.

    I'm trying to find a RAM mount, but those things are tough to nail down...never seen one in a store...the disadvantage of living in the sticks. Going to Indy Tuesday and think I know where I can find one, so will pick that up while there. I mean, I can order off the internet, but sometime I like to see it in person before I make the purchase...guess I'm just old school.
    #10
  11. scfrank

    scfrank Old farts riding club. Supporter

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    There are lots of options for Ram Mount. I also tether my phone with a small cord. If it falls out of the mount, it doesn't hit the road.
    #11
  12. wbbnm

    wbbnm Long timer

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    GPSCity has a big selection of mounts. Their stuff is reasonably priced and they ship fast.
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  13. Signal 13

    Signal 13 Been here awhile

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    Man...my bank account is cussing you out right about now. :lol3 So many nice GPS units there and with great mounts available too. I'm really contemplating a Zumo 396 LMT-S. I like the features (tracks, lifetime maps, etc) and it comes with quite a bit (bike charger, RAM mount, etc).
    #13
  14. Addapost

    Addapost Been here awhile

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    Gaia on the iPhone. $20 version. Done
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  15. Signal 13

    Signal 13 Been here awhile

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    Regarding the microSD cards for Garmin units...what the advantage of using one larger than 8GB?
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  16. sieg

    sieg Wearing out tires......2 at a time, day after day. Supporter

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    The newer GPSs have enough memory without a card........ At least mine does.
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  17. Woody2627

    Woody2627 Grey Wobbler

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    The SD card is for storing music etc. For mapping the GPS memory is sufficient.
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  18. Signal 13

    Signal 13 Been here awhile

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    For those who may be curious, I ended up buying a Garmin Zumo 396 LMT-S. It's got lifetime maps, as someone suggested, and comes with a RAM mount, as someone else suggested. It will arrive this week and I'm looking forward to messing around with it and learning. Thanks for all the great suggestions everyone provided!
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  19. Addapost

    Addapost Been here awhile

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    Congratulations! New gear of any kind is always fun. You can still upload a gps app to your smartphone as a backup/alternative. Good luck have fun


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
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  20. Patch

    Patch Long timer

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    Nice! Since you went Garmin ... you'll likely be now learning BaseCamp - Garmins pc/mac software. Its not as hard as many make it out to be, but its also not as intuitive as any program should be either.

    1st, get familiar with your GPS. Then set some time and review the 'learn basecamp' posted in the 1st post of the BaseCamp Tutorial thread.
    https://advrider.com/f/threads/basecamp-tutorial.1054359/

    You'll likely have questions, post them there for best visibility. Subtle differences between pc and mac versions, so if you need help, specify your operating system.
    Good luck!
    #20
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