Overlanding beginner looking for GPS information

Michael B

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Aug 1, 2012
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Huntsville Al
I'm starting to outfit my rig for overlanding and am looking for a good GPS unit. Recommendations and why would be greatly appreciated.
 
Joined
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Palo Alto, California & Squamish, British Columbia
As a beginner, I would stick with and use regular Google Maps on your phone for on-road maps, and one of (Gaia GPS, Avenza, US Topo apps) for off-road maps. If you need a bigger screen, get a bigger phone or an inexpensive Android tablet. After some use, you'll get to know what you really need on and off road. In my case, I find my phone works great and I don't need anything else.
 
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hj 60

JT1W0HJ6000960839
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Netherlands Hengevelde
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I use one screen for zoom out, just to know what direction I am driving, and one for actual directions, and even more if a passenger wants to find a place, we search for abandoned military stuff and I really like google maps satellite view and also waze online and sygic offline.
navigate to two spots and end up in the middle:

file.php
 
Joined
Jun 12, 2011
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Location
Kansas
I'm starting to outfit my rig for overlanding and am looking for a good GPS unit. Recommendations and why would be greatly appreciated.

Had a member of our group guide us down the Kokopellis trail earlier this year with nothing but his cell phone, Hema explorer, and a windshield mount. Couldn't believe we never got lost once.
 

LC4LIFE

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Jul 30, 2007
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Monument, CO
I like to keep it simple so I run a Nexus7 and Gaiagps. Routes are easy to find online and a 7 or 8" screen is big enough to see while driving but small enough its not intrusive. I have used it quite a bit and really like it.
cent console.jpg
 
Joined
Jul 20, 2006
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AL, USA
Yeah I'm kind of a novice with some of this stuff....as I've gotten older and need glasses to read, options with bigger screens are a must. I've wanted something along the lines of a 10inch screen (likely android) device, but I would like to have map data (offroad) on SD card media. Was wondering if any of the current tablets support sd cards. For pavement I just use the larger garmin GPS 2797. Or potentially a dedicated larger screen gps that support sd card media. At one point or maybe even now...I think garmin sold offroad topo map data by state on sd card media...but the point of frustration was ...what device could use this. I understand you can load data on to the device's hard drive... but I would like the utility of accessing the data in some manner without (having a cell connection, or having to load it on the device itself)...it that makes sense. (sd cards, external HD of some type). Obviously cell reception is limited. Or seems like with the current trend of memory shrinking in physical size...would be great if you could purchase a device with topo data fully loaded (but as I recall that's some serious data size).

For example would be nice to go off road, take my samsung android tablet, use one of the GPS apps, and had the map data sitting on a sd card (prepacked...not where I have to layout beforehand a trip or regional area I plan to be), yes I want it simple.
 
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Joined
Nov 15, 2016
Messages
578
Location
Palo Alto, California & Squamish, British Columbia
Yeah I'm kind of a novice with some of this stuff....as I've gotten older and need glasses to read, options with bigger screens are a must. I've wanted something along the lines of a 10inch screen (likely android) device, but I would like to have map data (offroad) on SD card media. Was wondering if any of the current tablets support sd cards. For pavement I just use the larger garmin GPS 2797. Or potentially a dedicated larger screen gps that support sd card media. At one point or maybe even now...I think garmin sold offroad topo map data by state on sd card media...but the point of frustration was ...what device could use this. I understand you can load data on to the device's hard drive... but I would like the utility of accessing the data in some manner without (having a cell connection, or having to load it on the device itself)...it that makes sense. (sd cards, external HD of some type). Obviously cell reception is limited. Or seems like with the current trend of memory shrinking in physical size...would be great if you could purchase a device with topo data fully loaded (but as I recall that's some serious data size).

For example would be nice to go off road, take my samsung android tablet, use one of the GPS apps, and had the map data sitting on a sd card (prepacked...not where I have to layout beforehand a trip or regional area I plan to be), yes I want it simple.

You'll find that with a 32GB tablet, you can store alot of maps w/o an SD card. I have quite a few maps on Avenza and GaiaGPS and those apps use 2 GB. I have downloaded national forest visitors maps, and topos for areas that are the size of the smaller states (connecticut). With minimal planning I find that it's pretty easy to just have the maps I need, including random diversions. For example, my phone held all map off-road maps (that I needed) for three states, NV, CO, and CA without any troubles. It also held my music collection.

AFAIK you can only download maps on the tablet (using WiFi), even if you have an SD card to expand your tablet. There is no way to access those maps on your desktop or laptop that I know of. At least for the apps I use.
 
Joined
Feb 27, 2018
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Alaska
Another thing to consider. Will you be traveling places that don’t have cell service? Up here in AK things are getting better but there are even still many miles of “highway” without cell coverage and when you get off the road system there is none. I got a Garmin InReach explorer+ last year, it has built in satalite messaging capability and online trip tracking. It links via Bluetooth to a smartphone or tablet so I can see the maps on a larger device.

It is pretty amazing. The kids and I can message my wife when we leave the road (in the cruiser, biking, hiking, hunting,...)then again let her know when we get back or check in via Satalite. She can even check our position from home if homer don’t check in.
 
Joined
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Palo Alto, California & Squamish, British Columbia
I love my Inreach. And the as-needed monthly plans.

You don't need to go to AK to find places without cell coverage, plenty in utah, Colorado and even California.
 
Joined
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Palo Alto, California & Squamish, British Columbia
Same here, got the InReach recently, and connected to iPad, great maps too. And never out of range
Actually their maps kinda of suck. But the messaging is great.
 
Joined
Feb 27, 2018
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Alaska
I agree the downloadable ones are very good if viewed on another device via Bluetooth. For hiking and biking the screen/maps of the device are adequate and work well.
 

izzyandsue

Izzy
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The good thing, is once you download them into an ipad, you dont need to be connected. The ipad gps antenna keeps it located. But is one thing to do at home, big downloads.
 
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Palo Alto, California & Squamish, British Columbia
The Earthmate downloaded maps are "OK". I find they aren't detailed enough especially with respect to POIs. and use GaiaGPS and Avenza with current forest service and BLM maps to supplement.
 
Joined
Oct 25, 2021
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WA/OR
I like to keep it simple so I run a Nexus7 and Gaiagps. Routes are easy to find online and a 7 or 8" screen is big enough to see while driving but small enough its not intrusive. I have used it quite a bit and really like it.View attachment 1591722
REALLY late to this but...which mounting bracket do you use? How did you anchor it?
 

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