To GPS or not to GPS?





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  1. #1
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    Default To GPS or not to GPS?

    8 years ago, there was a GPS stuck to every second windscreen. No I dont see GPSs anymore. Is it because vehicles have navigation as std features, GPSs has lost its 'coolness', or has the smartphone taken over? Or is it just me?

    I have learnt the hard way that no piece of technology can replace a proper paper map.

    But is it still worth buying a GPS? I dont even know what they cost anymore, but I can imagine its not cheap. Do you still have to pay for map upgrades? This was a major dealbreaker I recon.

    If you were a GPS salesman, what you tell me to convince me to buy a GPS?

    For overland pruposes, cant you just get the tracks4africa maps on your iPad?
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  2. #2
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    Default Re: To GPS or not to GPS?

    Google Maps and smartphones have taken over for city driving.

    Overlanding I'd still use a Garmin and T4A. I can't see an iPad or Tablet surviving on a dashboard mount @ 40 deg C.
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    Default Re: To GPS or not to GPS?

    Jip, a cell phone 'die' when in direct sun for a while, hardware not made for that. But yes GPS manufacturers feel the composition and expand their applications.
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    Default Re: To GPS or not to GPS?

    I drive with my GPSr whether I drive to the local shop or on a holiday trip - it's become my trip logger and speedometer. The entry level Nuvis and other makes are cheap enough, and built to be on the hot dash in sunlight, unlike your phone.

    It's true that cell phones are taking over - apps like Google Maps are excellent in town, have up to date maps and give excellent traffic reports, a big bonus if you want the quickest route through traffic.

    I wonder though how many accidents cell phones have caused - one does not see many which are properly mounted in a cradle, but sees many in driver's hands. Luckily swambo is with me most of the time when I have to use my cell phone for navigation so she holds it in her hands - not ideal


  5. #5
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    Default Re: To GPS or not to GPS?

    Quote Originally Posted by mikeml View Post
    I drive with my GPSr whether I drive to the local shop or on a holiday trip - it's become my trip logger and speedometer. The entry level Nuvis and other makes are cheap enough, and built to be on the hot dash in sunlight, unlike your phone.

    It's true that cell phones are taking over - apps like Google Maps are excellent in town, have up to date maps and give excellent traffic reports, a big bonus if you want the quickest route through traffic.

    I wonder though how many accidents cell phones have caused - one does not see many which are properly mounted in a cradle, but sees many in driver's hands. Luckily swambo is with me most of the time when I have to use my cell phone for navigation so she holds it in her hands - not ideal
    Fully agree with this^^^

  6. #6
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    Default Re: To GPS or not to GPS?

    I still use a Garmin GPS for trip planning, and google maps for town navigation.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: To GPS or not to GPS?

    Quote Originally Posted by jelo View Post
    Google Maps and smartphones have taken over for city driving.

    Overlanding I'd still use a Garmin and T4A. I can't see an iPad or Tablet surviving on a dashboard mount @ 40 deg C.
    Not sure if other cars are designed this way, but the VW Up has a great design for its phone cradle. The aircon has a vent that blows directly on the phone keeping it cool

  8. #8
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    Default Re: To GPS or not to GPS?

    I just ordered the Tracks4africa southern africa travel atlas. Actually swambo got it for me birthday yesterday. Think this will satisfy my needs for now. Will eventually get a new GPS as I am still on a nuvi 710, and get the maps for that. Just for the travel time calculations and POI, as the atlas apparently has very few POI printed in it, as space is limited.

    What is considered a decent entry level GPS nowadays? Do they still have those k# plastic touch screens? Must be able to load T4A and be easy to zoom and scroll the screen.
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  9. #9
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    Default Re: To GPS or not to GPS?

    Quote Originally Posted by JLK View Post
    Jip, a cell phone 'die' when in direct sun for a while, hardware not made for that. But yes GPS manufacturers feel the composition and expand their applications.
    Yes, although they are made to protect themselves when it gets too hot, a cell phone or ipad doesn't like being in direct sunlight. My iPad Mini would shut itself down when it got too hot and only switch back on when it had cooled down sufficiently. But, there are also ways to mitigate the risk, I have seen some home made covers that shield the device which should make it better.

    In saying that, I like having a physical map and basically use the GPS as a backup. So by the time I drive a route, I already have a very good idea of where I'm going and what route to take. And for that purpose, my iPad Mini (and now iPhone XS Max) has served me very well - with a RAM mount, navigating with a device that is not properly mounted is not very smart IMO.

    Some of the advantages of using a phone or tablet are the following;

    1. It's not a dedicated device, I have bird guides, tree guides, star maps, loads of music and podcasts on the same device.
    2. I also have different Apps for navigation, giving me some redundancy in case of issues with an App or device. And the apps I use allow you to download all the maps you will need for the trip.
    3. The UI is vastly superior to any GPS I have used - the Garmin UI and screen irritated the hell out of me with my old Montana.
    4. For day-to-day usage in town, all of the Apps (Waze, Google Maps, Maps.me, Sygic, Navmii) I have used are vastly superior to T4A.
    5. You generally pay once for lifetime subscription, or it's free (maps.me).
    6. The maps are updated MUCH more regularly.
    Last edited by JohanRoux; 2019/11/25 at 10:13 AM.

  10. #10
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    Default Re: To GPS or not to GPS?

    Quote Originally Posted by JohanRoux View Post
    4. For day-to-day usage in town, all of the Apps (Waze, Google Maps, Maps.me, Sygic, Navmii) I have used are vastly superior to T4A.
    because T4A was never designed for town or cities
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    Default Re: To GPS or not to GPS?

    Quote Originally Posted by JohanRoux View Post
    And for that purpose, my iPad Mini (and now iPhone XS Max) has served me very well - with a RAM mount, navigating with a device that is not properly mounted is not very smart IMO.
    @ Johan Roux - What has been your experience with the RAM mount? Is it worth it price wise above the cheap and nasty's you can pick up at the spares shop? On road they all seems OK, but off road, some mounts vibrate so much it looks like a scrambled MNet signal.
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  12. #12
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    Default Re: To GPS or not to GPS?

    Quote Originally Posted by OettingerTDi View Post
    @ Johan Roux - What has been your experience with the RAM mount? Is it worth it price wise above the cheap and nasty's you can pick up at the spares shop? On road they all seems OK, but off road, some mounts vibrate so much it looks like a scrambled MNet signal.
    In my experience, they are absolutely worth the money. I've been using them since about 2010/11 starting with a Garmin Montana 600. Since about 2014 with the iPad Mini and now the last year or so with an iPhone XS.

    It's also nice because you can change parts of the system without needing to buy the whole thing. So you can get different lengths for the arms, X-arm mounts for different devices, and still use them with the same suction cup, and so on. So you can just replace what you need to replace.

    And, if mounted properly, they will stay put no matter what.

  13. #13
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    Default Re: To GPS or not to GPS?

    Thanks @JohanRoux, much appreciated!
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    Default Re: To GPS or not to GPS?

    I use my GPS very often. As soon as I leave the city limits I have it mounted. They are terrible for looking for places, Google is much more efficient than this for around the city.

    Phones are great but they use data and are heavy on batteries while navigating so unless you can keep it on charge and have a huge mobile data plan while driving it just doesn't make sense to me. Then when someone calls, you need to fiddle with stuff which you don't want to be doing while driving.

    Good Nav systems in vehicles are few in between and again I prefer a standalone GPS.

    I would say that a good GPS still has a place in the market.
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    Default Re: To GPS or not to GPS?

    For some a cell phone is the whole office.

    For me its phone and that's it. Read emails there only if its urgent, thus I upgrade the cell phone only every 4 to 5 years or so when it become too sluggish as a phone. A five year old GPS still works excellent.
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  16. #16
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    Default Re: To GPS or not to GPS?

    Cellphone....for me the only way to go
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    Default Re: To GPS or not to GPS?

    Good map and gps, if you are getting cell signal you haven't gone far enough
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  18. #18
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    Default Re: To GPS or not to GPS?

    Quote Originally Posted by Pietsweis View Post
    I use my GPS very often. As soon as I leave the city limits I have it mounted. They are terrible for looking for places, Google is much more efficient than this for around the city.

    Phones are great but they use data and are heavy on batteries while navigating so unless you can keep it on charge and have a huge mobile data plan while driving it just doesn't make sense to me. Then when someone calls, you need to fiddle with stuff which you don't want to be doing while driving.

    Good Nav systems in vehicles are few in between and again I prefer a standalone GPS.

    I would say that a good GPS still has a place in the market.
    If you get the right Apps, you download all the maps you need before your journey. You can even do that on Google Maps now, although I don't think you can currently download ALL the maps for SA, Zim, Botswana, Zambia and so on. On Maps.me and Sygic, you can download all the maps for Southern Africa for example. And most people today have phones that can handle a GB or so that's dedicated to maps.

    The ONLY thing I really miss from my Montana is the breadcrumbs. I haven't found an App yet, that does that as nicely as the Garmin did.

  19. #19
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    Default Re: To GPS or not to GPS?

    Quote Originally Posted by JohanRoux View Post
    If you get the right Apps, you download all the maps you need before your journey. You can even do that on Google Maps now, although I don't think you can currently download ALL the maps for SA, Zim, Botswana, Zambia and so on. On Maps.me and Sygic, you can download all the maps for Southern Africa for example. And most people today have phones that can handle a GB or so that's dedicated to maps.

    The ONLY thing I really miss from my Montana is the breadcrumbs. I haven't found an App yet, that does that as nicely as the Garmin did.
    When you pre download maps, would one still have info like current location, elevation, speed functions? Or would it just function as a paper map on your phone?
    If Force is not the solution, not enough of it was applied....

  20. #20
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    Default Re: To GPS or not to GPS?

    Swambo is my GPS. She uses a combination of real paper maps, and various apps on the iPhone, which she holds in her hands.

    In our home town of Genk in Belgium there is a railway bridge with a road passing underneath. The bridge is not that high, so there are HUGE red/white warning signs with dangling thingys etc etc for about 100m before each side. And yet time and time again trucks drive under the bridge and get stuck. They put up even more warnings, and it keeps happening. They have now just the other week decided to close the road under the bridge, repairing it every time is not cheap. You must now take the long drive around. Bicycles can still pass under.

    Moral of the story, it is out of town drivers with no common sense blindly following their GPS's and ignoring the visual warnings along the road itself, and probably also not knowing the height of their vehicles.

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    Last edited by Naes-Landy; 2019/11/26 at 08:43 AM.
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