Author Topic: GPS abroad  (Read 1415 times)


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GPS abroad
« on: 14:21:59, 15/04/17 »
I'm going through planning for some walking in the USA this summer.   I'm not a believer in GPS systems although I have an ancient (by today's standards) Garmin that is great in that it is customisable to just about any map datum in the world.    It tells me where I am and where, relative to where I am, the direction I need to go in.   In other words it's great to get me out of trouble since I still prefer to use a map and compass.

However I have no such prejudices when it comes to driving since using a map and compass on a busy highway probably contributes very little to safe driving practice.    I have driven in the USA before, but usually with someone who can map read for me (sorry ladies but often with some accuracy defects).    I therefore decided that since I'd need to drive to get to a decent walking spot, an in-car GPS is the answer.

The first thing to note is that the hire companies in US appear to charge a ridiculous sum to rent a GPS (8 per day), so I've crossed that off the list of options.

I don't need one of the handheld 'walking' systems since not only are they expensive (and in general I don't feel the need for one), but the map options which I'd probably need for the US are more than the cost of many GPS systems in the first place.

This leaves a dedicated GPS (or SatNav) or Google Maps.

It is possible to get dedicated systems on fleabay for a relatively low cost, but I've been wondering if I really need that since I have occasionally used Google Maps on my phone in the UK, with satisfactory results.

So, does anyone have experience of using Google Maps in the USA or would you recommend getting a dedicated GPS device?    My thought is that if you're using the mobile phone's GPS receiver, it doesn't actually matter if the rest of the phone's functions don't work.   I have looked at areas of the US on Google Maps, so the mapping is clearly there, however is there a need for Internet access to load the map as you travel?   It's quite easy to drive 100 miles in the USA without seeing much more than a few cactus plants, so I'd hate to simply lose the map altogether.

Anyone had any experience?    I'd like to avoid getting there and finding I should have bought a dedicated device in the first place.

Thanks, S.


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Re: GPS abroad
« Reply #1 on: 22:25:05, 20/07/17 »
Google maps works fine for in-car nav in USA.  I've used it myself recently.

However, i have regularly rented a dedicated sat nav for about 30 for a fortnight from
The reason being that data roaming costs for your mobile can be horribly expensive. Unless you want to spend ages caching your googlemap tiles it is just much easier and lots cheaper to get a sat nav.



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Re: GPS abroad
« Reply #2 on: 12:40:25, 21/07/17 »
I only hike in the UK and Europe and I just use my phone, as long as I'm charged up and have downloaded the maps I need I've never had a serious problem.


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Re: GPS abroad
« Reply #3 on: 13:45:04, 21/07/17 »
We always use nav-mii in US, though turn your data off if you're using it on your phone.

...beware of the bull!