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Apoclapedia

Rank II
Member
Adventure

Contributor III

289
Moha, British Columbia, Canada
First Name
Matt
Last Name
Smith
Member #

29683

I grew up on a 70’ schooner so navigation was just part of life from a young age. I can navigate oceans and continents with map, chart and compass. Using mainly long and lat for marine navigation and UTM grids for overlanding. I constantly have my nose buried in an BRMB.

As much as i love the little rituals of analogue navigation. It can be time consuming when youre both the navigator and the driver. Not being able to do both at the same time.

Ive avoided gps in the past out of a being ignorant to its fine points of use. The fact that i dont like handing important jobs to gadgets i can fix. And from what i cant tell they seem loaded with gimmicky features i dont need.

That said. I want a GPS. I want to learn the ins and out of their use and get something that fits my needs.

What i would like is something that lets me view satellite images and topo. Something that tracks my routes and allows me to mark points i use as camps and chaches. I prefer UTM grids over gps coordinates so being able so see those to would be nice. Lat and long are just better for marine applications then terrestrial nav.

So im wondering what you guys are running, your experiences with different brands and their pros and cons. And systems that require cell service are out of the question for me because im in British Columbia and cell service isnt a thing here.

Things i dont need are campsite info, points of interest, paddle routes and all that other data i never use.

So, where should i start?
 
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Downs

Rank V
Member

Influencer I

2,357
Hunt County Texas
First Name
Joshua
Last Name
Downs
Member #

20468

Ham Callsign
KK6RBI / WQYH678
I clung to my purpose built GPS receivers for a long time. I finally made the move to the phone and tablet based navigation (that don't require cell service to work) and never looked back. IMO this is the direction you should look. Multiuse items are far better to me than single use items.
 

ptgarcia

Rank II

Enthusiast II

336
Alta Loma, CA
First Name
Paul
Last Name
Garcia
I have several GPS that I use; a chart plotting GPS (Lowrance Baja 540c), a handheld (Garmin GPSMAP 60Cx), and various cell phone apps (Locus Pro, OsmAnd+, Gaia) and I like and use them all. However, the more I play with it the more I like to use Gaia on my iPad. It will do everything on your want list and more. And if you have the hardware the software is cheap when compared to the stand alone units.
 

Alanymarce

Rank III

Enthusiast III

792
Colombia
My first GPS was a a Garmin unit (1999) - used for capturing GPS points in the Sahara - basically to know where I was and download later to have waypoints for future travel. Still have it, somewhere... and since then have stuck with Garmin because they work, at least for our needs.

We've had a couple of units in the last decade.. We had a Colorado 300 (and still use it while we're at home, since it has the local (national) map loaded, and we use the other one for travel in other countries so don't need to switch maps when we return home). Our second unit is a GPSmap64st; we had T4A loaded for Africa and then Garmin's Australia map for (guess where) - Australia.

They're compact, run on 12V DC in the vehicle, however have batteries if we want to walk a bit and track our route, and give us what we want, which is to know where we are with reference to our surroundings, to be able to download the GPX files (Garmin Connect and BaseCamp) for reference and to share with others. We don't use them for "turn-by-turn" directions - not of interest to us.

They show terrain but for satellite view you need something else. We can (and do) track routes, and can mark waypoints.

I hope this helps.
 
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M Rose

US Northwest Region Director
Benefactor
Member

Explorer I

5,171
La Grande, Oregon, USA
First Name
Michael
Last Name
Rose
Member #

20990

Ham Callsign
KJ7MFV
I grew up on a 70’ schooner so navigation was just part of life from a young age. I can navigate oceans and continents with map, chart and compass. Using mainly long and lat for marine navigation and UTM grids for overlanding. I constantly have my nose buried in an BRMB.

As much as i love the little rituals of analogue navigation. It can be time consuming when youre both the navigator and the driver. Not being able to do both at the same time.

Ive avoided gps in the past out of a being ignorant to its fine points of use. The fact that i dont like handing important jobs to gadgets i can fix. And from what i cant tell they seem loaded with gimmicky features i dont need.

That said. I want a GPS. I want to learn the ins and out of their use and get something that fits my needs.

What i would like is something that lets me view satellite images and topo. Something that tracks my routes and allows me to mark points i use as camps and chaches. I prefer UTM grids over gps coordinates so being able so see those to would be nice. Lat and long are just better for marine applications then terrestrial nav.

So im wondering what you guys are running, your experiences with different brands and their pros and cons. And systems that require cell service are out of the question for me because im in British Columbia and cell service isnt a thing here.

Things i dont need are campsite info, points of interest, paddle routes and all that other data i never use.

So, where should i start?
Hold out about a month and OB1 will have exactly what you are looking for.
 
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Apoclapedia

Rank II
Member
Adventure

Contributor III

289
Moha, British Columbia, Canada
First Name
Matt
Last Name
Smith
Member #

29683

Im leaning towards a samsung Tab 10 and Back Road Map Books mini sd for British Columbia. Anyone running a Tab 10? I like the idea of a larger screen so i can see it easily while driving. All the GPS units ive looked at have really small screens. Is there a GPS unit with an 8 or 10 inch screen on the market?
 

BCNP4runner

Rank V
Member

Off-Road Ranger I

1,853
Los Alamos, New Mexico, USA
First Name
Jeff
Last Name
K
Member #

20371

Ham Callsign
KI5FGO / WRFH471
I grew up on a 70’ schooner so navigation was just part of life from a young age. I can navigate oceans and continents with map, chart and compass. Using mainly long and lat for marine navigation and UTM grids for overlanding. I constantly have my nose buried in an BRMB.

As much as i love the little rituals of analogue navigation. It can be time consuming when youre both the navigator and the driver. Not being able to do both at the same time.

Ive avoided gps in the past out of a being ignorant to its fine points of use. The fact that i dont like handing important jobs to gadgets i can fix. And from what i cant tell they seem loaded with gimmicky features i dont need.

That said. I want a GPS. I want to learn the ins and out of their use and get something that fits my needs.

What i would like is something that lets me view satellite images and topo. Something that tracks my routes and allows me to mark points i use as camps and chaches. I prefer UTM grids over gps coordinates so being able so see those to would be nice. Lat and long are just better for marine applications then terrestrial nav.

So im wondering what you guys are running, your experiences with different brands and their pros and cons. And systems that require cell service are out of the question for me because im in British Columbia and cell service isnt a thing here.

Things i dont need are campsite info, points of interest, paddle routes and all that other data i never use.

So, where should i start?
So far, I like the GaiaGPS app on our phones/tablets. All your maps/routes/waypoints are backed up to the cloud and available on all of the devices attached to the could account. You can pre-sync the routes etc and pre-download route maps for when you're our of cell phone range. My only complaint is that our older devices were GPS only with no GLONASS, but that was easy enough to fix with a DualGPS 160 GPS/GLONASS antenna that can link via bluetooth to all of the phones/tablets. While paper maps have their advantages over gadgets, the gadgets have some strengths too (they don't suck in the wind). The two technologies (paper map & compass vs gps gadgets) complement each other well.
 
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TroutRunner

Rank II
Member

Contributor III

451
Durango, Colorado
First Name
David
Last Name
@
Member #

19806

Ham Callsign
KY0TEQ
Matt as others have posted Gaia and a iPad or other tablet work real well together. If you do go this route make sure your device has a built- in gps receiver in it. iPads that have cellular capability have gps built -in. I have used gps’ in the past with search and rescue. By far the best is Garmin that I’ve used. We used topos and gps’ and used UTM as our coordinate system. Worked really well. I still use land-based navigation for my current job to give coordinates for wildfires and helo landings. We use lat/long. I am finding that more and more I just use my iPhone with Gaia to get coordinates for wildfires. Gaia has a free version you could try out. To get the more detail maps and features you will have to subscribe to a plan. Give it a try.
 
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BCNP4runner

Rank V
Member

Off-Road Ranger I

1,853
Los Alamos, New Mexico, USA
First Name
Jeff
Last Name
K
Member #

20371

Ham Callsign
KI5FGO / WRFH471
Matt as others have posted Gaia and a iPad or other tablet work real well together. If you do go this route make sure your device has a built- in gps receiver in it. iPads that have cellular capability have gps built -in. I have used gps’ in the past with search and rescue. By far the best is Garmin that I’ve used. We used topos and gps’ and used UTM as our coordinate system. Worked really well. I still use land-based navigation for my current job to give coordinates for wildfires and helo landings. We use lat/long. I am finding that more and more I just use my iPhone with Gaia to get coordinates for wildfires. Gaia has a free version you could try out. To get the more detail maps and features you will have to subscribe to a plan. Give it a try.
If your iPad doesn't have built-in GPS, there is a solution: The Dual XGPS160 SkyPro GPS Receiver. It's a GPS/GLONASS antenna that can connect to as many as 5 devices (phones, tablets, etc) via BlueTooth and I've found that it produces much more stable/accurate position information than the internal GPS devices in phones/tablets, particularly in rough terrain (esp canyons). It's small enough to just park on my dash under the windshield. (There's also a less expensive version that that connects to only one device at a time, as well as other competitors, though I haven't tried any of the others.)
 
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TroutRunner

Rank II
Member

Contributor III

451
Durango, Colorado
First Name
David
Last Name
@
Member #

19806

Ham Callsign
KY0TEQ
If your iPad doesn't have built-in GPS, there is a solution: The Dual XGPS160 SkyPro GPS Receiver. It's a GPS/GLONASS antenna that can connect to as many as 5 devices (phones, tablets, etc) via BlueTooth and I've found that it produces much more stable/accurate position information than the internal GPS devices in phones/tablets, particularly in rough terrain (esp canyons). It's small enough to just park on my dash under the windshield. (There's also a less expensive version that that connects to only one device at a time, as well as other competitors, though I haven't tried any of the others.)
Garmin makes one as well called the GLO2.
 

1Louder

Rank VI
Member

Steward I

3,974
AZ
First Name
Chris
Last Name
K
Member #

1437

Ham Callsign
K1LDR
I grew up on a 70’ schooner so navigation was just part of life from a young age. I can navigate oceans and continents with map, chart and compass. Using mainly long and lat for marine navigation and UTM grids for overlanding. I constantly have my nose buried in an BRMB.


So, where should i start?
Your smartphone, if you own one. Then use an app like Gaia GPS or BackCountry Navigator, or the OB App, or any other mapping app. You don't need to buy a dinosaur dedicated device. Hit YouTube for more details.
 

Apoclapedia

Rank II
Member
Adventure

Contributor III

289
Moha, British Columbia, Canada
First Name
Matt
Last Name
Smith
Member #

29683

So im in BC and my go to has always been Backroad Map Books. They started in the early 90s producing map books and have been the standby around here for a long time. So i gave them a call to see if they had digital maps. They do but only micro sd for garmin gps. While i do love garmin. I dont want one for overlanding. Because they dont make one with an adult size screen for off road use. So i opted for the BRMP app. You just download the sections you want for offline use and a subscription is $3.50 a month.
 
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wigsajumper

Rank II
Member

Contributor III

327
Maine, USA
First Name
Aaron
Last Name
Wiggin
Member #

21594

So im in BC and my go to has always been Backroad Map Books. They started in the early 90s producing map books and have been the standby around here for a long time. So i gave them a call to see if they had digital maps. They do but only micro sd for garmin gps. While i do love garmin. I dont want one for overlanding. Because they dont make one with an adult size screen for off road use. So i opted for the BRMP app. You just download the sections you want for offline use and a subscription is $3.50 a month.
GAIA GPS has the Canada BRMP as an overlay available also.
 
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LoCo_Ex

Rank IV
Member

Enthusiast I

941
San Anselmo, CA
First Name
Ben
Last Name
Easley
Member #

18957

Sounds like you need Gaia GPS with the Backroad Mapbooks layer for Canada, or, Backroad Mapbooks has their own app with offline capability. In all honesty, you might want to get both!

the drawback off the BRMB layer in Gaia, is that it doesn't have all of the POIs and other info that you get in the BRMB app (similar to their mapbooks).
 

WizardOfRoz

Rank 0

Traveler I

I use Avenza maps and purchased the BRMB's digitally on there. The navigation on Avenza is sometimes something to be desired but otherwise it's the books on your phone/device. Shows your location and you have a few different features with it. You can also get local forestry maps that are all georeferenced as well.

I've used a lot of GPS' in my life and you can't go wrong with a Garmin or the Dual unit if you end up that route. Bad Elf also used to be a thing but I'm not sure if they're around anymore.
 
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KonzaLander

Rank V
Member

Influencer I

2,894
Junction City, Kansas, USA
Member #

15814

Ham Callsign
KE0EBF
I use my mobile phone with an App. My preferred app is Backcountry Navigator XE. I also have a Gaia premium subscription but never use the dang app since I hate how trip data is stored and organized. I used (and occasionally still use) the original Backcountry Navigator Pro app for more than a decade. XE brings BCN into the future and has a slick web portal that syncs with the app.

Even though I rely on my mobile phone/app for navigation, I always have paper maps and an old obsolete Garmin device along for the ride...

Wait, what? Garmin? Garmin has always sold a rock solid GPS unit. New units are very expensive so I gravitate towards old units. Garmin GPS units are so rock solid that a 20 year old device will still work as it did when new. While Garmin may have abandoned updating the device and it's maps years ago, you can easily update the maps with current OSM maps. There is even a thread somewhere here on OB outlining the steps to do so. The screen may be small and lacking that rich color that your phone/tablet app displays, but you can be assured the Garmin will power up and show you exactly where you are even when your smart device has shut down due to excessive heat... Today my favorite obsolete Garmin device is a GPSmap 60CSx. It is small, sturdy and waterproof.
 
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wilderness4wd

Rank 0

Contributor I

60
Tennessee, USA
First Name
Wilderness
Last Name
4WD
The Garmin GPSMAP 64 is a fantastic handheld. You can purchase 1:25,000 scale maps from Garmin's website. I think it's $75-$100 per region (e.g. Northeast, West Coast, etc.)