Planning a road-trip? Are you about to head off on an extended travel holiday? Or do you just love hopping in your car and seeing the country side?
We are all too familiar these days with the range of GPS navigation systems on the market. Most modern cars have simple units built in, but most people are using stand-alone units mounted on their dash, from simple units for a few hundred dollars to sophisticated and powerful multi-terrain navigation systems that connect to mapping software on a PC. A dash mounted GPS unit has become the “norm” for almost everyone.
We have met a lot of people out on the road that rely solely on their GPS units as their ONLY resource for navigation and direction. I am a big believer of diversifying navigation aids and love the old-school method of paper maps and road atlas’s. Don’t get me wrong- I’m a tech-head too and love nothing more than using my Hema HN6 GPS to plan our next adventure.
Ask yourself this- if your GPS was to fail, what would you have available to use to help find your way? It maybe ok if you are on a major road, but what if you find yourself a little off the beaten track. A good old fashioned road atlas may come in handy right about now!
GPS navigation systems and more recently smartphone mapping “Apps” are so feature packed these days and so affordable for most people and of course very convenient. They allow simple and mostly accurate navigation to street addresses, businesses and give the user useful information about distances to the next town. An off-road model of GPS is great too for those who love locking in the hubs and hitting the tracks. GPS units with digital Topographical maps with track info and camping spot locations make valuable gadgets for keen explorers. But they shouldn’t be relied on as your only source of navigation. The maps on some GPS units have been known to be wrong or the software can become corrupted, leaving these units nothing more than an expensive paper-weight. (I won’t mention Apples attempt of the GPS mapping “app” on their iPhones- oops I just did)
Paperback or hard cover road atlas’s come in very handy too and should be a standard item in every vehicle, not just for travellers. Even though we use the top of range GPS for our travels I often find myself kicking back in my comfy camp chair , spending hours browsing tracks, routes and looking at towns- planning day trips or checking out how far we may like to travel when it’s finally time to move on. A good quality road atlas will only set you back around $40 and will last for years- makes a cheap backup plan! Keep one in your vehicle; you never know when you will need it or when it will come in handy! If you are keen to explore local areas, keen on 4x4ing or bushwalking- Regional folding paper maps are worth their weight in gold and worth getting as well.
Don’t get caught out, make sure you have a good old faithful road atlas handy, and invest in some regional folding paper maps for the areas you are visiting. On another note, GPS units are only as good as the maps that are loaded on to them- keep them up to date by installing the map updates regularly or when they become available- it’s amazing just how quick roads can change, especially in major towns. Be prepared and diversify!