GPS recommendations

Discussion in 'GPS Use, Tracks & Maps Discussion' started by tonykiwi, Aug 30, 2008.

  1. tonykiwi

    tonykiwi Ol'Timer

    Hi folks

    I only have experience with GPS when blue water sailing so wonder if someone can advise me of the best type of GPS to buy for Northern Thailand riding. The style I have used just gives map coordinates rather than a visual map so I am used to setting way points etc. I think that the Tom Tom style in which I can see the road layout would be preferred.

    Are these available for hire in Thailand?

    If not, can you advise me the model to buy here in New Zealand and advise on the process for importing the mapping information?

    Thanks heaps

    T
     
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  3. Pikey

    Pikey Ol'Timer

    Hi Tony,

    I was in a similar predicament, being a complete newbie to the world of GPS but after talking to several of the local users here in CNX and looking at numerous web reviews, I settled on the Garmin 60CSx. The reason being that a lot of the others here use that model (so I have a handy source of tips & info), it seems robust - it's been "muppet-tested" and Garmin maps are easily available here (not so with Tom Tom I think).

    I have not yet received my unit (hurry up and get over here Marcus!) but when I do I believe the map options are either the official ESRI map, the Rottweiler version or blag one for free off a torrent type site. You'd need someone a lot more up on GPS than me to confirm this though.

    Cheers,

    Pikey.
     
  4. Auke

    Auke Ol'Timer

    Hi Toni,

    Yes, I would go for a Garmin GPS as well as there are no Tom-Tom maps for Thailand at present.

    The 60CSx is a good choice but in your case, if you want to use it on water as well, the 76 CSx may be a better choice as that model floats (at least according to Garmin) while the 60 CSx does not float. Both models are watertight up to a certain depth. Other options are the Etrex HCx (disadvantage is the small screen), the Zumo (specifically for motorcycle riding but has certain disadvantages) or the Nuvi models (for use in cars and the lower range models have also disadvantages and in addition they are not watertight). There are also the garmin Colorado and the Oregon models which look like the 60 CSx models but can display topo maps - no idea how good they are for Thailand

    With regard to maps there are a few options - the ESRI map at a cost of about 7000 Baht or buy the official Thailand map directly from Garmin at a price of 120 USD - see http://www8.garmin.com/cartography/mapS ... .jsp#price This version is basically only for the US market but this map appears to be available in Thailand as well.

    Garmin in the US is also selling the SE Asia map (Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, Hongkokg and Macao) but strangely the Thailand map in this compilation is less good than when you buy the Thailand map as a stand-alone version.

    The advantage of buying directly from garmin is that the map comes on a Micro-SD card and the map is locked to the SD card. This implies that you do not have problems with unlocking the map. Garmin normally sells the map with an unlock code for 1 GPS only so you can use the map only with this particular GPS. In case the map is locked to the SD card, you can swop the card to another Garmin GPS which accepts SD cards so you are more flexible with regard to the GPS you are using. The Rotweiler map is similar to the ESRI map. In addition, as Pikey mentioned, there are various are various hacked versions including the ESRI and the Garmin US map for Thailand which, with some computer skills, are also an option.

    By the way, all these maps are good when you stick to the paved roads but all lack data for off road riding. David FL (the owner of the GT Rider site) has a very good Garmin compatible map for the North of Thailand which includes most of the dirt roads.

    In case you need more info just contact me directly.
     
  5. johngooding

    johngooding Ol'Timer

    I also bought the Garmin 60CS complete with maps.
    I bought from the website below, a Bangkok shop. Excellent service, next day delivery. Maybe you can check current prices and see how it compares with what you can buy before you come back.
    The site has an excellent range of GPS recievers and the RAM mounts which are very strong and better for motorcycling than the Garmin products.

    http://www.gadgetrend.com/
     
  6. beddhist

    beddhist Ol'Timer

    I'm curious as to what they are. Can you enlighten me? I like the big screen of the Zumo, but it was just too expensive for me, so I bought the CSx without maps.

    You can get an excellent map of N Thailand free from mapcenter2.cgpsmapper.com.
     
  7. tonykiwi

    tonykiwi Ol'Timer

    Thanks for that. The similar product here in New Zealand seems to be available around $580 which today equates to about 14,000 Thb.

    The mount looks a great idea, I guess you attach it to the front of the tank or somewhere like that. From what I read in this thread, the Garmin usuable map would be available for all roads in Thailand, but more scenic or diverse routes would also be available from Davids map.

    I will be doing this journey alone and whilst I like some adventure, I also am fairly safety concious so I really do like to know where I am going (generally) and want to be aware that I am lost if that is the case.

    Cheers

    T
     
  8. tonykiwi

    tonykiwi Ol'Timer

    Sorry to be a thicko here. Are you saying that I could use it in a second GPS or cound not use it in a second GPS.

    My reasoning was just that if i buy the card and use it in my trip, I am only there for a month until the next trip so would be happy to lend it out in my absence in case anyone there wanted to make us of it.

    Thanks

    T
     
  9. Auke

    Auke Ol'Timer

    Yes, the map on the SD card can be used in any Garmin GPS which uses SD cards

     
  10. Auke

    Auke Ol'Timer

    I'm curious as to what they are. Can you enlighten me? I like the big screen of the Zumo, but it was just too expensive for me, so I bought the CSx without maps.

    You can get an excellent map of N Thailand free from mapcenter2.cgpsmapper.com.
    Much depends on what you are using the Zumo for and for most people these drawbacks do not matter. For me the drawback of the Zumo is the short battery life as I use the GPS also for hiking to waterfalls, caves, etc. (4 hours max but in practice considerable less). In addition the Zumo has limitations to save tracks (max 20 archived files of each max 1 MB in the form of .gpx files).

    Yes, the free North Thailand map from Mapcenter is good but it lacks details for the Maehongson area
     
  11. SilverhawkUSA

    SilverhawkUSA Ol'Timer

    I'm curious as to what they are. Can you enlighten me? I like the big screen of the Zumo, but it was just too expensive for me, so I bought the CSx without maps.

    You can get an excellent map of N Thailand free from mapcenter2.cgpsmapper.com.
    Much depends on what you are using the Zumo for and for most people these drawbacks do not matter. For me the drawback of the Zumo is the short battery life as I use the GPS also for hiking to waterfalls, caves, etc. (4 hours max but in practice considerable less). In addition the Zumo has limitations to save tracks (max 20 archived files of each max 1 MB in the form of .gpx files).

    Yes, the free North Thailand map from Mapcenter is good but it lacks details for the Maehongson area
    I agree with Auke. The Zumo is also not very customizable to user preferences. It does not allow you to choose the fields you wish to use or display. Each screen view is preset and cannot be changed, whereas the 76 and 60 allow you to choose the type of fields, number of fields and size you want. One cannot start and stop a "track" which is quite necessary for mapping applications. It also does not have an altimeter. For a person who just wants a GPS that is basically "automatic" and gets them from point A to B with little user input it may be OK. I actually use mine in my truck more than on the motorcycle. I have the Zumo 450 which was less expensive than the Zumo 550. The 550 comes with "bells and whistles" that are of little use in Thailand. I am using the Garmin SD Card Thai Map and it is really quite detailed and would suit most uses, great in the cities. It lacks the back trails and small mountain roads but otherwise is quite good.

    I also have a Garmin 76CS which is the workhouse and has worked without fail for about 4 years. It is larger in size than the 60Csx but is able to do most anything one needs. The newer 76csX accepts SD cards.

    The guys I know using the 60csx seem quite happy with it and it is much more compact. Very similar in function to the 76 series. I guess it all depends on what you want to do with it.

    I would also suggest that if it is at all possible for you, buy one from the U.S. There are some really good deals and discounts if you shop around. Don't order direct from Garmin (except for the SD card) as they are by far the most expensive.
     
  12. Pikey

    Pikey Ol'Timer

    Tony,

    14,000 THB is a great price. I got mine from the US for 13k as here they run to approx 25K (but with the maps).

    Most guys mount the unit on the L/H handlebar via a RAM mount. I guess you could use a suction mount on the tank but it would be out of your line of sight and probably not so secure.

    If you want a riding partner for a day or two and it fits in with my work rota, I'd be happy to spend a few KM with you. Also, when you get here, buy the applicable hardcopy GT-Rider maps that David makes so as you get a wider view of the area than with GPS alone.

    Cheers,

    Pikey.
     
  13. SilverhawkUSA

    SilverhawkUSA Ol'Timer

    Tonikiwi-

    Check this website also NZ Maps . I downloaded their free routeable map of NZ and used it on my Garmin 76cs and on my notebook while on vacation in NZ. It worked great.
     
  14. tonykiwi

    tonykiwi Ol'Timer

    Dave

    Thanks for that, I will be getting a GPS soon and will follow your advice re the download. Would be good to get used to it at home before the trip to Thailand. I sure hope you enjoyed your New Zealand experience.

    Pikey

    as above, Ill go ahead and get one. Sure I will looking to catch up and if you are able to take a day out for a ride I would appreciate the company and local knowledge. When I say I travel alone, it is more a case of not travelling with family or friends in an organised way. I prefer to see where my intuition (and GPS now) take me and meet people along the way. Looking forward to it. I am sure I'll have more questions on the GPS thing soon

    T
     
  15. Marco

    Marco Ol'Timer

    I'm curious as to what they are. Can you enlighten me? I like the big screen of the Zumo, but it was just too expensive for me, so I bought the CSx without maps.

    You can get an excellent map of N Thailand free from mapcenter2.cgpsmapper.com.
    Much depends on what you are using the Zumo for and for most people these drawbacks do not matter. For me the drawback of the Zumo is the short battery life as I use the GPS also for hiking to waterfalls, caves, etc. (4 hours max but in practice considerable less). In addition the Zumo has limitations to save tracks (max 20 archived files of each max 1 MB in the form of .gpx files).

    Yes, the free North Thailand map from Mapcenter is good but it lacks details for the Maehongson area
    I agree with Auke. The Zumo is also not very customizable to user preferences. It does not allow you to choose the fields you wish to use or display. Each screen view is preset and cannot be changed, whereas the 76 and 60 allow you to choose the type of fields, number of fields and size you want. One cannot start and stop a "track" which is quite necessary for mapping applications. It also does not have an altimeter. For a person who just wants a GPS that is basically "automatic" and gets them from point A to B with little user input it may be OK. I actually use mine in my truck more than on the motorcycle. I have the Zumo 450 which was less expensive than the Zumo 550. The 550 comes with "bells and whistles" that are of little use in Thailand. I am using the Garmin SD Card Thai Map and it is really quite detailed and would suit most uses, great in the cities. It lacks the back trails and small mountain roads but otherwise is quite good.

    I also have a Garmin 76CS which is the workhouse and has worked without fail for about 4 years. It is larger in size than the 60Csx but is able to do most anything one needs. The newer 76csX accepts SD cards.

    The guys I know using the 60csx seem quite happy with it and it is much more compact. Very similar in function to the 76 series. I guess it all depends on what you want to do with it.

    I would also suggest that if it is at all possible for you, buy one from the U.S. There are some really good deals and discounts if you shop around. Don't order direct from Garmin (except for the SD card) as they are by far the most expensive.
    Hi Guys

    im currently running with nuvi 310 and very happy about it, but i wondering few things from Zumo 550 as Johns mentioned www.gadgettrend.com is selling it for Thai, they mentioned that custom routes can be made in the PC?
    but looking for Zumo owner’s manual in the net, in there, this kind of informationfunction is not mentioned(Clearly), so any one with experience of Zumo can comment about this function?

    As im looking for it for Bike where I actually can make my "Own" routes in advance (if decided so) and then garmin just keep me on the "track"

    Also i would like if this function is possible then save those in the Printablesaved JPG picture map what could easily shared over the net i.e. attached to route report with comments on it.

    If Zumo not supporting this, is there anything in the market what does?

    Thnx guys.
     
  16. beddhist

    beddhist Ol'Timer

    MapSource will let you do that, even on my old GPS V.

    Create the route in MS, upload to the GPS, select the route and choose Navigate.
     
  17. Marco

    Marco Ol'Timer

    Hi Beddhist

    MapSource, where one can get this free or purchased?
    as this did not come together with my nuvi
     
  18. beddhist

    beddhist Ol'Timer

    Sorry, Marco, I wasn't aware of that. Did you not get any software with your Nuvi? What about nRoute?
     
  19. SilverhawkUSA

    SilverhawkUSA Ol'Timer

    All the Garmin GPS mentioned so far support this, including the Zumo. Try page 16 and 17 of the Zumo pdf manual.
     
  20. E3L0

    E3L0 Ol'Timer

    There's a GPS specialist in the Pantip Plaza in bkk. I showed them my smart phone and they sold me this

    [​IMG]

    and the Garmin software & Thai map (for my phone) for about 5000B.

    It's not a very elegant solution but I find it pretty good. I still have to fix the phone to the bike (it goes in the tankbag map pocket at the moment) and wire in a charger and I'll get a bluetooth headset for my helmet if I can find one.
     
  21. tonykiwi

    tonykiwi Ol'Timer

    Can the guys who regularly use GPS tell me the pros and cons and availability of power sources?

    I presume some will have power outlet on the bike and if that is so, I am sure that would be preferable. Do most/some bikes have external power sources?

    For the battery users, do you use standard batteries or rechargable ones. Do you have power saving techniques. Does it pay to leave them on all the time? I am wondering if the initial power surrge to fire the unit up would use more power than leaving the unit on all the time.

    Thanks

    T
     
  22. Marco

    Marco Ol'Timer

    Well im our beemer we have external 3 outlets,,LOL

    but you can make permanent connection from he line what is only live then your ignition key is turned on, so you would have power to your unit..
    this how ever means that you need buy extra power line for it and then destroy the 12v cigarrette lighter head...
     
  23. beddhist

    beddhist Ol'Timer

    Mounting on a bike this is a no-brainer: wire the unit's cable directly into the bike. On my DR650SE there is no permanent power and I didn't want to run a wire to the frame, so I've wired it into switched power, meaning it gets turned off when I turn the ignition off. I have regretted that lazy decision now, but it's not that important.

    What batteries you can use depends on your unit. Some units use proprietary batteries, so you don't have a choice as to what to use. My old GPS V and my new 60CSx both use standard AA batteries. However, I have found out the hard way that leaving batteries in the GPS V while riding is not a good idea: vibrations destroy the terminals and also cause random power outages.

    I have also made another interesting discovery: alkaline and rechargeable batteries are not the same physical size, although I thought that this was standardised. Rechargeables are slightly bigger, causing them to get stuck in my old unit. Getting the inside battery out is almost impossible and I have cracked the case in trying. On one set of NiMH batteries I bought in China I had to strip the outer plastic layer off, otherwise they wouldn't fit into the GPS at all. The 60CSx has a completely different battery compartment and doesn't seem to suffer any of the above problems.

    When you talk about power sources I suppose you mean sockets. Most bikes don't have them, but it's no problem fitting them. However, I guess that you don't have any experience in wiring, so I'd recommend letting a bike shop or auto electrician do it for you. Even if you hard-wire your GPS I strongly recommend for touring to carry a puncture repair kit and small compressor, so you don't get stuck on the side of the road. For this you need a socket and you need to know (or learn) how to fix a puncture on your bike.

    Cheers,
    Peter.
     
  24. TonyBKK

    TonyBKK Ol'Timer

    Hi All! Great info!

    Can you tell me if the Garmin Zumo is water proof, or at least water resistant?

    Anyone have any recommendations for a tough GPS that can be used during the rainy season? Sounds like the 60CSx might be the way to go.

    I've decided I definitely need a GPS, but I'd hate to kill it by riding in the rain. What do you do to protect your GPS from the elements?

    Thanks for your help!
     
  25. DavidFL

    DavidFL Administrator Staff Member

    I use the Garmin GPSmap 76S - a rugged marine GPS. No trouble with the rain; but I will be upgrading to the 76CSX.
     
  26. SilverhawkUSA

    SilverhawkUSA Ol'Timer

    The Zumo is designed as a motorcycle GPS so it is waterproof. Check the specs on the Garmin site.
     

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