This is a very brief introduction is not intended to be exhaustive, it is based on my own experience of using a dedicated GPS unit for cycling and walking and an app for car navigation.
GPS functions – will include one or more of the following: viewing a map following a pre-recorded journey (with or without audible prompts and directions) creating an on-the-fly journey automatic recalculation of a journey when off-course recording a journey recording other metrics such as heart rate, cadence
Device Options: Dedicated GPS units – very many models. Generally, the larger the size of the unit, the greater the accuracy of the GPS location. The penalty of greater accuracy and screen size is increased power demand from the battery Bike specific eg Memory Map 270, Garmin Edge Multi-activity eg hiking, running eg Garmin Oregon – these may have restrictions on the maximum number of waypoints that can be used for turn-by-turn directions Apps for smartphones – Android, iPhone, Windows Examples – Viewranger, Google, Strava Free/paid for Data source – online/offline There will normally be a minimum version of an operating system required to run an app ie if you have an old phone it might not be possible to load a particular GPS app
Power: Internal batteries – either a pack (normally Lithium Ion) or conventional batteries eg AA - the best type of rechargeable is Hybrid Nickel Metal Hydride eg Sanyo Eneloop. These have no 'memory effect' ie you can recharge them when they are partially discharged, also they retain their charge for long periods. External battery - Often referred to as a 'Powerbank'. Normally a Lithium Ion pack. To extend their life, Lithium Ion batteries should be fully discharged every 6 months (I do this every 3 months).
Accessories: Mounting device for device on bike Weatherproofing your device – all dedicated GPS units should be designed to resist water ingress, however the same does not obtain for smartphones, waterproof cases are available but touch screen functionality can be compromised depending on the design.
Maps: Paid for eg OS Open source (ie free!!) eg Open Street Map. There are quite a few different types (eg bike specific, contours), but the important thing to ensure is that the map is routable. When driving in the UK and abroad, I load the latest appropriate Open Street Maps onto a smartphone app called Map Factor Navigator. This gives voice-guided prompts and for road journeys. I also regularly upload the latest Open Street Maps onto my Garmin Oregon, both for the UK and abroad – we have used this device in many countries to follow walking routes.
Journey Planning/Manipulation: On the device/app Using a web site - You don't normally have to use the web site for your device to plan a journey The Garmin web site and software can be rather impenetrable and daunting, I prefer to use an alternative: Ride with GPS. There are tens of these web sites to choose from and most do a similar job. It is possible to edit journeys that you create and also copy and edit other people's journeys When creating a journey, there will be the option to make it public, so that others visiting the web site you use can see it and download it. Most web sites will allow you to search for other people's journeys and download them. There are two main file extensions for journeys - .gpx includes info for the journey (a Track) or in addition, including turn by turn directions (a Route) .tcx in addition to .gpx data this includes additional data with each track point (e.g. heart rate and cadence). The format was created by Garmin for their devices which record fitness metrics. Note that this format is the better choice for several Garmin Edge devices.
Recorded Journeys: Open your journey planning web site, then connect your device to your computer and download the GPX/TCX file. Metrics will be calculated and in most cases, comparisons with other cyclists' times of segments (parts) of the journey will be displayed. Examples of these web sites are Strava (the de facto standard) and Ride with GPS. Your previous efforts on segments can be displayed so that performance over time can be compared.
The Suggested Way Forward: Send out an email to Identify Members' expertise and experience of GPS devices, web sites and software and who would be willing to share their knowledge. Identify Members who would like assistance and their needs I can then try to co-ordinate the two. Methods of passing on knowledge - One to one help Presentations to several people 'Idiots Guides' YouTube/Vimeo videos recommended by Members Web blogs
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