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Discussion Starter #1
How thoroughly do you folks plan and maintain navigation on your adventures? Often we do not have cell coverage for real time mapping, however maps can be preloaded for cells. Usually I carry but do not rely on cell. What do you folks like?

For a new area I personally try to assemble whatever maps I have and review them in advance making 8x11 2 color copies of Forest Service / USGS,TOPO, highway,whatever maps of intended route , one for wife at home for emergencies and one stored ahead of speedo and behind number plate. I'm an old guy, like paper. Seems to stay put and is readily available.Usually carry mapping gps too but screen is too small to make it my go-to navigation reference, rely more on memory refreshed by glances at map occasionally.
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My best tool seems to be Google Earth viewed from home, can zoom from big picture to fine detail and give me a better interpretation of what I see on the maps laid out before me that I shall also carry. Overkill? Sure. Redundant? OK. Anal? Perhaps. Just don't like getting lost while exploring. And after all being able to complete a new loop is more rewarding than back-tracking . With an image of possible alternate routes and lay of the land in my mind I can better adapt to surprises. Who hasn't encountered a road/trail closure we thought we needed to get home? Swollen river, deep snow, road closure,accident, pic your poison detours happen and this is when best laid plans can go astray. And gas tanks go empty...

Besides scouting GoogleEarth has revealed some neat destinations and routes to get there not printed on common maps nor identified by any signs on ground. State maps tend to not show alot of available secondary and primitive roads perfect for us but a little risky for average 95th percentile driver.

Thoughts? Wisdom of the ages? Emerging technologies (Spot)? Family Radio, Helmet to helmet coms for groups? All thoughts appreciated. Boy Scouts wanted me to be preparred.
 

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I usually comb through Google maps and lay out the route on there. After I figure out exactly where I want to go and how I want to get there I plan the same route in Garmin Basecamp, and from there it gets loaded on the Garmin 78. I can email it to myself and use it on the phone for a backup as well. Only maps I carry with me are Butler maps, but that's mainly just to scout good paved riding in unknown places. Of course I'm fairly young at 24, so I've grown up relying on technology :D
 

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On the road i use my iphone on both my TW and my Ducati. I have a waterproof mount on both bikes that allows me to see it and its also hooked up for charging. I have a comm system in my helmet so i can also ear the turn by turn. I have the Tom Tom app that i use instead of the included app. It does not rely on any cell service as all the maps are loaded on the device. This setup has worked very well for me on the road. The key is having the phone plugged in so im not limited by battery.

I have not used the comm system in my helmet off roar but i do have a couple road riding buddies that have the same or a compatible system and its fantastic on the road. My girlfriend has it in her helmet too and its really nice when we are two up on my Ducati.

Off road i have another app i use called Gaia GPS. It has a ton of features for hiking and preloaded trail maps for all kinds of places. I generally done use it in that way tho. What i do is set a waypoint for where i begin my adventure and i also have it create a route as i travel so i have a breadcrumb trail of waypoints to get back to where i started. I generally dirt ride close to home and the vast majority of the places are places i know pretty well. On places that i'm not familiar with this app has worked very well for me. This is another app that does not require any data service to work. I have thought about a hand held outdoor GPS as well on the TW, i figure a ram mount on the bars would work pretty good. I have an old Garmin GPSIII+ that could work but its so old it might be time for a new one.
 

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I use a cycoactive barpack mapcase and I use the satelite map on my phone to make a map and some directions. If its a long ride I usually make a few maps just incase my phone quits working. That being said I will be using locus or dualsportmaps if it comes back up this year. Its nice to be able to download sections of map so you always have them whether you have cell coverage or not it doesnt matter.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
This old dog may have learned some new tricks tonight,thanks.
 

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I use a micro sd card from HuntingGpS Maps in my GPS that shows property ownership, (private, state, BLM, NFS, reservation). I like to know whose land I'm on. It also shows lots of trails that are not on Garmins Mapsource software which I use. But Mapsource has a few that are not on HuntingMaps so I switch.

I also use DeLorme USA Topo for looking at the terrain sometimes.

And I spend a lot of time on Google Earth. I find a lot of trails on GE, create tracks, save, download, convert, and then download to my hand held. Then go find them on the ground.

The stuff that is available now makes it so easy.

In the past I used to scan maps into overlapping 8.5x11's, reassemble with Panavue, import into OziExplorer, digitize and calibrate, then make tracks to download into the hand held unit. Very laborious and time consuming. Now it's all done for me.

Then the great thing is to download where you've been to view on various mapping software on the computer plus seeing where I've been on GE.

So much fun. So little time.

Edit: I also sometimes print an 8.5x11 of the area and tracs I plan to ride. It helps sometimes getting myself oriented to where I am on the trail because of the small screen on the GPS. I can of course zoom out but so much detail is lost that the printed out picture really helps sometimes in a new area.
 

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I often plan my trips in winter, and Iowa has long winters. Because of having time to plan, I often have a pretty good idea what route I will take. I frequently use Google Earth so I can get a feel for the terrain and distance. I have recently started using a GPS charged by apowered mount on my handlebars. I don't use the GPS to its fullest since I am not the best with technology. With my wife's help though I am able to get a route installed ahead of time.

As much as I like my GPS, I will never go on a big solo trip without paper maps and a compass. I am a big fan of the detailed DeLorme state maps that show pretty much every road.

I have an OsmAnd GPS app on my phone that I can download maps to. With the downloaded maps I do not need cell service to know where I am at. I don't use this much since I use the GPS on my bike but I believe in being prepared and having options.

Because I have a family and mainly travel solo in areas without cell service, I purchased a Spot tracker. The Spot is mainly to give my wife some peace of mind for the times I cannot reach her by phone. I haven't used it yet but I like the idea of pushing a button to let her know I am ok. The SOS feature is a plus in case I get stranded or get in an accident in remote areas.
 

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fred, I like the way you plan, that's what I try to do, but I aways start but never finish my map/to gps over lays. it seens some of the best days in the woods with the bike or buggy are with no plan or direction (lost)
but now with two small girls at home I cant stay out till dawn so I just got a trail tech voyager for the tw. it looks cool but I will let you all know how it works this spring!
if anyone use used a voyager let me know what you think
 

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The stuff that is available now makes it so easy.
I like easy too, I just hope that I don't get too lazy in the process:sleepy3:. There is history showing us that yes, we have lost some things along the way:dejection::indecisiveness:. Those crystal skulls we can't figure out how they were made:dontknow: (no machining marks), the pyramids too:icon_farao:(sheer size of the stones), or the ruins of Tiahuanaco:book1: (exacting cuts of block and size of the stones too).

Using stars for night navigation and quad maps with a compass is pure and art at the same time. I won't be carrying a sextant anytime soon but I'd love to know how.

I frequently use Google Earth so I can get a feel for the terrain and distance.

As much as I like my GPS, I will never go on a big solo trip without paper maps and a compass.

Because I have a family and mainly travel solo in areas without cell service, I purchased a Spot tracker. The Spot is mainly to give my wife some peace of mind for the times I cannot reach her by phone. I haven't used it yet but I like the idea of pushing a button to let her know I am ok. The SOS feature is a plus in case I get stranded or get in an accident in remote areas.
Yep, Google earth is an awesome "scouting" tool. I sometimes throw caution to the wind taking solo trips (by not mapping anything out or taking a gps), for sake of "adventure". I'd never thought of a spot type "tracker" but since you've mentioned one, it'll have to be on my "wish-list" so the wife can have peace-of-mind when I'm out and about.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Fantastics responses folks. Modern tech is amazing. That clever Jeeper CJ7's comment about Tiahuanaco Bolivia got me thinking about ancient technology too so I am about to hijack my own thread briefly. Still like to hear more r.e. navigation and communication,etc. Hmmm, I am digressing from my digression, just a rambling fool...back to ancient technologies:
Tiahuanaco, Puma Punko and other sites in Bolivia have awesome stonework that modern man cannot duplicate, astounding stuff. More astounding and hard to wrap mind around is apparent ages predating accepted "birth of civilization" by an arguable 10,000 years. I am no crazy alien hugging goofball but these sites defy the conventional wisdom taught in my engineering, geologic and amateur archaeologic background. I just can't accept that simple people recently like Inca (800 years ago) could carve, cut, abrade, percussion chip, solar melt, heat or however create the shapes and sizes visible today. I was always told that older societies were all simpler than us , but maybe not..
Anyways I encourage anyone looking for excuse to put off adjusting their carb to check out these places on web on ancient civilizations. You just might become a fan of "outlaw archeology" where credence is given to recent archaeologic finds that belie the conventional taught history. I got started when carbon 14 dating of shoe found in a cave'sdisturbed midden from a pot hunter here in the Black Rock Dessert came back over 14,000 years BC but was dismissed since it came from disturbed site. This date significant since pre-dates accepted Clovis First , Bearing Land bridge theories of first humans here about 12,500 b.c. This is also the oldest known shoe, I was told. We still have not explained everything.
So on my bucket list is a trip to Puma Punko and the ancient port city of tiahuanaco ( formerly on shore of Lake Titicaca, now 800" below and 12 miles away) to run my hand over the perfectly formed inside corners of incised bedrock and 80ton Leggo stones. Maybe I can rent a TW in Cusco? Could I get a Cyclerack and adventure ride there from here? Lace up an 18" rim in rear like Trailscout, run two identical tires and rotate tires halfway @ Darien Gap, Panama? Gotta go before kicking bucket. That would be adventure and a half.
Rambling over. Now back to high tech electronic navigation....
 
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I have a Garmin 660 from my GS and put another mount on the TW right after I got it. This is my 3rd Garmin so I'm pretty good with the mapping software (Mapsource) on my PC.

The reason I bought a TW is so I can ride where I did 40+ years ago when I was a kid. Most of my day rides will probably be less than 50 miles away from my house. I think the breadcrumb feature will be valuable to me out in the woods and on the fire roads. Zooming out and looking where I'm wanting to go If I'm disoriented another plus. And when I get home I can plug into PC and drop where I've been on a new page. Plus the feature of plotting a custom route on PC and dropping it to the GPS is easy to me now. I've done that a lot for road trips. Can't wait to get going! Is it April yet?
 

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Google Maps + roll chart. Actual routing notes from one of my roll charts:

"... Chispa Road
Pavement ends
56 miles
Pavement resumes
FM170 ..."

Oh, I do carry a compass and a map just in case, but never use either.
 

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I terrified myself a few years ago, heading out on my own in an area I'd spent a week in, following a pal on his ATV.
I was hopelessly lost within 10 minutes. I guess the different speed I was travelling upset my internal mapping software.
Normally I'm pretty good with navigation, I've driven professionally as a field service tech for 20+ years, and I've travelled from my one-time home in Nova Scotia to the tip of Baja, via the PNW, and virtually every state in the union, and provinces of Canada.
I bought a Garmin Oregon, based on what I'd read online, and "hacked" it full of maps, wishing to avoid Garmin's $100+ additional map cost, which really rubbed me the wrong way.
It worked, but I found it annoying to remove it from a pocket to look at it. At $500+ I wasn't going to clip it to my handlebars, and get it full of dirt, or worse. It's too small to see from any distance anyway.
After a bunch more research, I looked into Android stuff. I wound up with the new (at the time) Samsung tab3 in 7" size, and loaded a $10 app, (BackCountry Navigator) for a total of about 1/3 the Garmin's cost. It was a leap of faith, as I couldn't find any definitive off-road biker's review on line of that method of navigating.
I can't tell you how tickled I am with this setup.
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You can see it here in my tank bag, and I can see it flying down the road. If I'm leading, And I often am, I can see the turns I'm looking for well in advance, and the touch screen works fine through the tank bag window, glove removed.
Diane's TW can bee seen in the background for content...
 

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@manotickmike. I agree the hand held Garmin's or any brand that is similar in size, is hard to see sometimes. I have a regular old fashion cell phone, but cost wise, doesn't the cost of the phone, phone service end up being more expensive than a Garmin + map purchase? I understand the app isn't expensive, but I thought these new fangled super phones cost $XXX.xx per month, which in a few months be more expensive in the long run? I'm not knocking phone used as gps, but thought they might be more expensive over time than a regular gps.
 

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My tablet works with WIFI, but doesn't connect via a cell tower to data. It's totally "standalone" which is really handy way back in the bush, far from a cell tower. I think these tablets get cheaper every day.
I'm certainly no first adopter type, but since I bought this tablet, I dunno how I got along without it. I've loaded a free app for a GPS in my car, which I use when venturing into uncharted territory, as a map, not for navigating. I have free books loaded into it, which provide reading material when I'm unexpectedly waiting somewhere, the TW shop manual is loaded in there, bunches of music, it's a camera, I can access my Email and favourite sites (Like this one!) when I'm in a free WIFI spot, all in all, a lot of fun for ~$175, current prices.
 

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Ah, a tablet. Got it. I'll never catch up to the newest technology, but just last week I finally got rid of my sandstone tablet and chisel! Thanks for the information.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
The tablet witth BackCountry Nav or similar mounted similar to Manoticmike's tankbag has got my Oregon GPS and forest Service maps beat hands down. Both Oregon and cell small srceen size require me to stop for a safe view. Affordable price is nice since my TW has a proven appetite for consumer electronics , kills them with dust, vibration, moisture...thanks for sharing info and beautiful picture.
 

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