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I'm on the edge of either buying a GPS or sticking with paper maps. How does adding a GPS improve your overall travelling experience?
 

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Maps don't tell you where you are, but they are far better for seeing the big picture. The GPS frees me up from paying attention to the planned route. It's also invaluable for finding nearby attractions, services, whatever you might be looking for.
 

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The paper maps I would have to take to equal the details on my GPS would fill my luggage ;)

In seconds I can tell (with a bit of scrolling/zooming) what a given road connects to or where it goes. I am also positive that it is the road that I think it is, as my little arrow tells me that I am on it. And this is ANYWHERE in the US I may be, any side road is up for exploration or inclusion into my route.

With a GPS I now explore far more areas and travel on more minor roads than I ever did during my paper map days.

That said don't get rid of the paper, I always have an overview map in my tank bag too. As tmcgee said, they show the big picture better than the GPS and are a must for back up.

Also, when a forest road gets particularly tough, really knowing how much of it I have left has kept me from turning back (or convinced me I need too) , this is priceless info.
 

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I'm on the edge of either buying a GPS or sticking with paper maps. How does adding a GPS improve your overall travelling experience?
I find it is almost like taking a picture - tracks can be displayed in Google Earth, zoomed in, and you can later see why the road wound around like it did (or why Peninsula Road got it's name - even though you didn't see the water because of the trees while riding it). The feeling of going up and down can be seen in the elevation profiles of the GPS track. The trip can be re-lived by the flyovers in Google Earth - it allows you to follow the track with an airplane like view. I also find I don't worry about going off the planned route, or I can easily see if I'm turning the wrong way at a Tee intersection. Sort of like dropping bread crumbs, it makes it difficult to get lost - just back track following the lines. I use an inexpensive Garmin Etrex Legend (paid <$135 CDN) on a RAM mount, and am (literally) lost without it!
 

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To me a GPS is indispensible, however I do carry paper maps as well. A GPS is great for seeing detail all around you. They are also great to show you the best way to get from Point A to Point B and back again (a couple of button clicks and a route to get me home from anywhere in North America is displayed). The are great for record keeping. I record "Tracks" that will capture a point about every 10 seconds or so. When I get home I can review every point along the route. If I want to go back to a particular point in the future I've got a record of it. Also, as shown in the post above, I can get a profile of my trip that shows all of the altitude changes.

I have two. One is battery powered (Garmin ETrex Legend-C) and is a backup. The other (Garmin Street Pilot 2820) is not and is the one I use most of the time. It also has a built-in MP3 player and I've found that music makes a big difference on longer trips. It also has voice cues and will tell me to "in 3 tenths of a mile turn left on Davidson Drive, then turn right" so when it's navigating I don't have to look at it, only listen. It does speak the road names as well and doesn't just say "Turn Left" or "Turn Right". That is a big plus in crowded city areas because sometimes it's hard to tell exactly what road to turn on.

But .... a GPS won't change the way you ride, it won't do everything for you, nor will it put gas in your tank. They are great to have around, but for route planning I still prefer either software on my computer or a plain old paper map. They are great tools, and I won't go far without one, but they are just another tool. How much you get out of them depends on how well you learn to use them and then put them to use.
 

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Everything here +1, and when traveling the backroads its really nice to know what connects where, and when you may be coming up on roads. Its very difficult to miss a turn, when your getting advance warnings about it for a mile. Its also nice to instantly know where gas/food is. Just ask for the nearest gas station and away you go.
 

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Its also nice to instantly know where gas/food is. Just ask for the nearest gas station and away you go.
There are lots of points of interest (POI) files out there now and it's a great way to customize the places you might need to know about (Suzuki motorcycle dealers, fer instance). Or high output coffee vendors. These files can be uploaded to your Garmin (dunno about other brands, but prolly them too).

In my case, I repair church organs for a living and I've got a POI file with all my customers in it.

Most of us do very well getting from point A (home) to point B (wherever you usually want to go, but we don't usually know the best way to get from point C to point D. GPS fixes that problem especially well if you're on the road a lot.
 

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Cost of paper map: $5.95
Cost of GPS: $599.99
Cost of shutting up the wife when she thinks you're lost - again: Priceless.

:mrgreen:
 

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On the Friday of the Strom gathering, a couple of us had ridden the dragon and wanted to head over the Tellico Plains and take the Cherahola back to Robbinsville. I set the GPS on 'short route' and followed the directions. It led us on a network of beautiful winding back roads that I would have never been able to find, much less follow, on any map..
 

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POI's fantastic!

I agree with everyone here, plus, I love the Points of Interest menue. I can find a Starbucks anywhere now! Not to mention atm's, gas stations, everything. That in itself is invaluable. Oh, & knowing where you are, & where you are going is good too.
 

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Most will allow you to search for the nearest gas station.

They won't tell you if they're open at 11pm on a Sunday night, though....
 

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USefulness of GPS

+1 for all the previous reasons but I particularly like when it warns of a turn ahead which may or may not be marked, or worse, hidden by trees etc.

I still however carry a map and handheld compass at all times - (having learned how to use them well I refuse to lose the knowledge through disuse). Besides - a big map let's you plan what to enter in the GS for route planning.

It's also great for marking all the fishing spots!

Safe riding,

Bob
 

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I was out with my Garmin 2730 for the first time last Saturday. I had a limited amount of time to ride so I appreciated that it could tell me how much time to my next destination. Helped me in planning.

Funny story: Was using it on Sunday in the car. We ended up following a neighbor who had her own preferred local routes around town to get us home. Her routes didn't match Jill's (the American English voice in the Garmin). Jill got tired of recalculating and finally told me in a somewhat impatient tone to "Follow the highlighted route." Even computers have their limits.
 
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