Friday, 13 December 2013

To GPS or not to GPS, that is the question

The ethos of the Great Southern Brevet is self-sufficiency. This applies to navigation (as well as food, water and bikes repairs!)

Last time round we jotted down some tips on navigation (Click here) and advice on GPS use. With the improvement and availability of the technology it remains a vexing question whether to use a GPS or not.

A compass and paper map remain the most reliable method of navigation but arguably life with a GPS is easier. When they work, they work well. They make for one less stress on your ride.

They can be had for as little as $NZ100 for the basic model. These are capable of a basic map (monochrome) and the course. They can show when you veer off course and how far you have to go.

Thank goodness the scenery is in colour!

The colour models with increased memory can sport full topographic maps and are generally easier to use, but come at a price.

Power is a big consideration with a GPS. No power = no route! You can use power saving modes to extend battery life, and/or use it sparingly (would you really need a GPS to follow the Lake Hawea track?). Units with replaceable batteries allow you to carry a backup set to get you out of a bind while rechargeable units tend to require good discipline managing power consumption.

A copy of the cue sheet and a 1:250,000 map are always good backup, but if you want to up-tech, then you better get it on your Christmas list as time is running out!

Not sure going this small works?

Now where are my glasses?

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