With the introduction of "Off Road GPS" or off road global positioning system. Navigating off road has become real easy over the past decade
Many people with cars use an automotive
navigation system over maps as they are so affordable, more and more people
will rely on global positioning system as time goes on.
4WD gps devices can still be expensive but they are getting cheaper and there
are less costly choices.
At the more expensive end are HEMA and VMS; however the price includes maps licensing which will allow access to most Australian maps nationwide. The map licenses are the main cause for the higher price.
These units are 3 in one; street navigation, off road navigation using oziexplorer and memory map/Topo maps for off road use. HEMA and VMS units have a screen that's 5 inches in size, not big but sufficient.
These maps which are included can be used on the PC or MAC at home for plotting
trips and way points which can be transferred to the off road GPS unit via
memory card. This makes it very easy; the transfer also works in reverse which
means previous done trips and way points added while 4 wheel driving can be
uploaded to the home computer. If traveling with a laptop it gets very useful.
At the lower end of the price scale are very cheap to moderate priced Off Road Navigation units, these are easy found online shopping or at the local electronics store. These are mainly only for off road use as there is not street navigating inter graded and some will only use Topo maps but some will have the oziexplorer system as well. Although these 4x4 gps devices are cheaper many come with a large screen 7-9inch in size and even bigger.
The cheaper units will still allow the options of uploading way points and transferring from computer the system.
There are many units out there and the cheaper they are the less they can do,
be sure to read all features (especially map licensing as this will add more
cost if only limited maps are included) and compare before spending the cash.
For some smart phones they will use a GPS without the need for phone reception but not all. Do extensive checks before buying apps or software for a smart phone that doesn’t work without phone coverage.
This type of GPS is really not very useful or smart once out of phone
reception. No reception means no map or no tracking on the map. If remote
traveling with this system the only use the "smart phone" will have
is a dim light or a camera.
Because of technology most people cannot read or navigate by using paper maps and a lot of people don't know where north, south, east and west is (more people than you think). It's a bit like using a calculator. Everything is easy to work out even a real though number cruncher, the same goes for Off Road GPS.
As long as it works one should not get lost in the bush. What if one day it fails (flat battery with no charger, software/hardware malfunction, breaks or anything else)? This does happen and has happen to myself on a trip in deep karri forest, luck I could read paper maps, actually had a paper map aboard and had a good understanding of where we were.
KNOW how to read a paper map or have at least one person in the traveling group/convoy who knows how to.
In my opinion one cannot learn entirely how to read maps unless practiced in a real environment; theory will only go so far.
Always prepare a trip by using a paper map and bring that paper map along on the journey.
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