GPS Navigation has taken off in recent times and the further afield I travel the more inclined I am to have paper maps as a backup to my GPS navigator. I’ve concluded that there is NO single source of information I can trust in exclusion of all others. They can each contribute to the final solution on route choices. I’ll leave the pre-running exercise to the professional support/ride companies – they have to afford that. I have to decide where to go from my desktop – before I leave.
I have HEMA maps of each state and a couple of smaller areas e.g. Flinders Rangers as well as South Australia. I also have the HEMA Australian Road & 4WD Easy Read Atlas. The atlas would be impossible for me to take along on a ride – it’s too big and heavy. But these maps do a good job of indicating the extent of differing road surfaces.
My navigation software uses OpenStreetMaps as its source even though updates are only done about 3-4 times a year. But I can maintain a more up-to-date mapping environment in Basecamp with my own version of OSM maps.
I used to use a Garmin GPS device on the bike. It unfortunately proved unreliable (random re-boots) and my model did not support tracks and was not water proof. It only accepted routes. Typically, routes end up constantly re-calculating which is not what you want. A track is locked down and fixed. You are either on it or not which is what you want.
So I found 2 things which made using my already waterproof phone a sensible idea.
The choice of navigation software is a personal thing. We discover and invest time in a solution and get happy with it. We don’t have time to go through this process with every alternative on the market. But I can highly recommend Locus. There’s a lot of good features and it’s never let me down and there’s a lot of good support.
Locus Maps is all offline (it even uses BRouter offline router for re-routing), it can show track gradients, it syncs really easily with Basecamp via a dropbox account or similar, it records your tracks, and much more.
SP Connect has RAM mounts and I use a long arm to get the phone nice and high just under the top of the windscreen.
QuadLock (Australian Company) now also have RAM mounts – they didn’t when I chose SP Connect.
One day there will be a good and affordable heads-up display for our helmets but for now they’re pretty expensive and pretty clunky.
Refer also to Planning and Mapping Tools.