Your thoughts on GPS in Spain/Europe

Old Aug 29th, 2008, 12:33 PM
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Your thoughts on GPS in Spain/Europe

We're off to Spain in less than a week. I just purchased a Garmin GPS for use in the US. Should we take it to Spain with us? Will it spoil the fun of getting lost? Believe it our not, now that we know getting lost in Europe is a given, we actually have found some exciting places. Should I bring it and only use it when needed? We use the old hotel on 3 x 5 cards to show people and have followed taxis to our hotels in little tiny towns in the past. What is your thoughts on GPS in Europe?
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Old Aug 29th, 2008, 12:37 PM
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We personally never use a GPS anywhere but we are adventurous (we are the type to take the tiny gravel roads to see where they end up) and love getting lost (usually). Europe can definitely be done without a GPS (we've done it often).
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Old Aug 29th, 2008, 01:11 PM
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They're handy when you're trying to find your hotel. In Tours. At midnight. In the rain.
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Old Aug 29th, 2008, 01:19 PM
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easygoer,

Take it with you. You can always not program your destination and get lost and then have an exact map of how badly you got lost.

I think I found my Garmin most useful getting off the train in Gare du Nord. I knew how far our hotel was and in what direction and when it seemed our driver was taking us on a scenic route, it was odd how direct our travels got once he realised that his Tom Tom (in French) and my Garmin (in English) were agreeing with each other on what route he should be taking.

Take it and ignore it if you want to.

HTH
K
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Old Aug 29th, 2008, 02:38 PM
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Knickerbocker, as in the beer? I like the idea to use it after we've gotten our butts totally lost. I agree with Robespierre about trying to find hotels. Once we were in staying in Granda, Spain in the old section where you need a code to raise the road blocker. We couldn't even get that close. Everyone we asked including the national guard said you can't get there. What? Turns out the Tour de Spain bike race was going through town. We ended up parking at the Alhambra parking lot and dragged our luggage to the taxi stand and the taxi was able to get to the hotel. It was crazy! Thanks for the advice.
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Old Aug 29th, 2008, 03:46 PM
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Old Credit's the beer, knickerbocker's just an old New York Central train (to Cincinnati IIRC) whose name kind of caught my fancy.

In my case, the only time that the GPS steered me wrong (the only time I relied absolutely on it without knowing where we were intending to go) was our first evening in gay Paris. We were jet-lagged and wandered up to a little hole-in-the-wall restaurant near Place de la République called Le Toucan. Quite acceptable as hole-in-the-wall restaurants go.

So,

Mistake #1: Relying completely on the electronic device without having a good mental picture of how to get back to the hotel.

Mistake #2: Not realising that tallish buildings will interfere with GPS reception

Mistake #3: Compounding Mistake #1 with jet lag.

Mistake #4: Compounding Mistake #3 with a litre or so of wine.

Mistake #4: Mrs. K deciding that Mistake #3 had affected her intestines more than she expected but insisting that no place but the hotel would do to attend to same.

Aside from that, Paris was lovely.
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Old Aug 29th, 2008, 05:53 PM
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#1: A GPS should obviate the requirement for a "good mental picture" of where you are. That's what it's supposed to provide.

#2: The new technologies have no problem with the "city canyon" effect because they have very good multipath discriminator software.

Garmin may not have this completely figured out yet.

I have a Freedom 2000 GPS that will track my position in a downtown subterranean garage.
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Old Aug 30th, 2008, 07:44 PM
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Thanks for the suggestions. I do have my Michelin Map #571 Galicia, #572 Asturias Cantabria and #575 Castilla y Leon Madrid. I would not leave home without them. They are so fun to map out in-between places. We’ll have the car for 16 days. Yippy! I usually print out directions from www.viamichelin and/or www.mappie. My hubby drives and I am the navigator (not as good as Bob the Nav). This should be fun having my-garmin with us. I believe I need to name him or her.

Here’s to getting lost and then finding our way back. Thanks all.
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Old Aug 31st, 2008, 02:46 AM
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There is a problem using GPS.
Here is the Google map for Monforte de Lemos. I use this as an example because I know you are going this way and I know the area.
Google maps uses the same technology as the GPS systems.

http://tinyurl.com/6z2r54

Here the map is overlaid with the satellite photo. As you can see there are many roads missing on the map that are shown on the photo. You may think that the missing roads are only side (country) roads and are not so important. But how do you get from Monforte to the Cañón do Sil? By this the long way around!

Have a great trip.
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Old Aug 31st, 2008, 03:44 AM
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GPS is great for getting from A to B.

They aren't so good for pointing out that half a mile off your route there is one of the most glorious winery / house / gardens / museum that you will ever see in your life and that'll curse every day for missing it
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Old Aug 31st, 2008, 04:57 AM
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Here's a story about getting lost in Spain.
My husband and I had spent a Saturday afternoon in Toledo and liked it and lingered longer than we should have. We had no accomodation booked that night and every place we went to was full so we hit the road for points south since we were on our way to Granada. We were following some signs, ended up on some gravel road which then led to another well paved highway so we got on that and drove along but I was wondering why there was no other traffic on that road. Well, turns out it wasn't yet open and was still under construction. I don't remember where we ended up but it was in the middle of nowhere. At one point we stopped and it was perfectly quiet and since there were no lights anywhere around when we looked up there was the Milky Way in all its glory. It was a special magical travel moment for us that makes being adventurous so worthwhile. We ended up pulling into Cordoba at 2AM and stayed at the nicest place in town which was in full swing with a wedding. We got a fantastic rate on the room too.
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Old Aug 31st, 2008, 06:16 AM
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I have a hand help GPS, a Garmin Vertex, that I got for geocaching. So, I don't know much about these as far as navigating in your car. My question - are some maps better than others? And, do you download them from the internet? I guess you would, how else would you get them... If some are better then others, what is a reliable source of good maps? Or are you restricted to what comes or is provided with your unit?

Sorry to be so clueless, but this has intrigued me for a while!!
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Old Aug 31st, 2008, 07:46 AM
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Google maps uses the same technology as the GPS systems.

There is only one GPS system. There are several kinds of receivers, and dozens or hundreds of map bases. Depending on the quality of the implementation of the receiver technology and resolution of the map, the variation in the usefulness of the resultant pathfinding tool is immense.

I have used both of these setups in every imaginable situation with excellent results:

Freedom GPS 2000 connected via Bluetooth to a PPC (mine is a WING) running Google Mobile Maps.

http://www.freedominput.com/site/ind...111&Itemid=105

Pharos iGPS-500 feeding Microsoft Autoroute via USB.

http://www.pharosgps.com/news/press/20060309.htm

I also have a DeLorme LT-40 that ain't worth spit IMEO.
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Old Aug 31st, 2008, 08:00 AM
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I went crazy and purchased a Garmin card that has a European Travel Guide on it. We'll see if it's as smart as my pre-planning with my 4 books of Spain. Also, I don't want to haul all of my books with my. Time to start photo copying points of interest. The other piece of the puzzle is we generally get great help mapping out day trips from the hotels we've stayed in.

PS - how do you post in two places? I have a tread in Spain and one in General on the same subject. Just curious.
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Old Aug 31st, 2008, 08:09 AM
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Hold the Ctrl key as you select forums to post on.

Instead of carrying around books or photocopies, all my documentation is on a micro SD chip in my PC.

And rather than hoping that a GPS will work as maps and technology improves, I buy new versions of Microsoft mapping software as they come out. Maps are updated in real time.
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Old Aug 31st, 2008, 08:38 AM
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During a March trip from Barcelona, Spain, to Perpignan, France, we used a Garmin with the European chip added (we're from the US). In many ways it was helpful, the problem came in getting from the outskirts of Perpigan to our hotel. No idea why but almost every time it said turn in 500 feet, as an example, we'd turn and then get the "RECALCULATING" message. We were also trying to read the street names, which were on the sides of buildings and not very large, sometimes obscured by trees or other signs. We went around the same area several times and finally found our hotel, and for the rest of the trip the Garmin worked very well. Just be sure the settings are what you'd prefer, like no toll roads, no highways, etc. Also, beware of road work, detours can cause a good bit of confusion and going way out of your way. I don't mind muddling around some, have found some great places that way, but at the end of a long drive, night closing in, we three women were glad to have the help.
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Old Aug 31st, 2008, 08:45 AM
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Author: Momliz
Date: 08/31/2008, 09:16 am

My question - are some maps better than others?
Definitely - but they're mostly proprietary, meaning specific to a certain make (and possibly model). Meaning: you're basically stuck with whatever you bought.

And, do you download them from the internet?
Usually, but some mfgrs. sell you discs or chips.

If some are better then others, what is a reliable source of good maps?
User forums will tell you.

Or are you restricted to what comes or is provided with your unit?
Some dedicated GPS units are upgradeable, others aren't. On the other hand, if you use a PC for your navigation, you have a choice of many navigation programs and map vendors. My current favorite is Microsoft Streets & Trips (N. America) and Autoroute (Europe).
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Old Aug 31st, 2008, 08:55 AM
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Robespierre, it looks like you prefer MS mapping software? Why is that, if I may ask?
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Old Aug 31st, 2008, 09:27 AM
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never used GPS, never will....over the past five decades have driven every country in mainland Europe (except Russia which I've visited twice and there will be a third time this October), three in SA, one in Africa (Morocco), two in Asia ( Asian ...use the best maps, local maps and do a helluva lot of pre-trip planning at my private libraries (widely known as Borders,Barnes and Noble)and on the Internet.

IMO, a GPS takes away part of the travel adventure..yes, of course we've been lost several times...but
each time ended up seeing and experiencing something we ordinarily wouldn't have. AND, I've got a marvelous co-pilot... even the mutual yelling has dissipated somewhat over the years.

GPS, bah humbug.

Stu T.
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