Thread: Map & hardware for off road, off grid, vehicle use.

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2015
    Taos, NM, USA

    Default Map & hardware for off road, off grid, vehicle use.

    Okay. This seems to span the hardware/software boundary since not all map software is useful on all hardware.

    I drive off road, off-grid, out of cell service, in the southwest where BLM, private and State Trust land are often checkerboarded. I need to know who owns what so I don't get busted. I had a garmin nuvi and OnXHunt maps. The nuvi does not have a screen large enough to be effective for exploring unknown areas, so I bought a garmin DriveSmart and got rid of the nuvi, which was a really Dumb idea. OnX no longer allows their maps to be installed on any device, but rather they live in an SD chip. However, the OnX chips are invisible to the garmin DriveSmart hardware. Since I got rid of my nuvi, I was reduced to using the tiny Oregon screen for back country navigation. And according to Garmin product support, the Garmin topo maps do not work in the DriveSmart device either since they are apparently OnX chip based.

    I know of several potential solutions, none of which are inexpensive. What I have been doing recently is borrowing my ex's Garmin Astro dog tracker and using it in basestation mode to show my position realtime in basecamp on my MacAir which I have mounted in my vehicle. I could buy a (discontinued) garmin Rino for $350 or so, and return her Astro, since the Rino also can operate in basestation mode. I could buy another nuvi, but the screen was too small for a good overview, which started this whole mess.

    Advice, please.

    As an aside, it is pretty annoying that Garmin doesn't appear interested in supporting the off-road/expedition vehicle world, but appears to think that off grid means handheld (I have an Oregon), and that vehicle means highway. And that, based on conversations with product support, OnX thinks their users are too dim to figure out how to use Garmin MapInstall, or whatever. Or have I got this wrong? If I have it right, are we, the expedition vehicle world, big enough that Garmin or OnX, or somebody would listen to us?
    Lifted AWD Chevy Astro Van, 4WD Suzuki Grand Vitara, Voyager Adventure Teardrop, all with 30" rubber.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Escoumins and Petite-Riviere-St-Francois, Quebec, Canada
    Get an andro´de tablet. The prety much all have internal gps, much wider screens that any hand held gps, you can find nice casing for some of them, they are fairly cheap. My samsung tab8a was like 225,00$ can (so I guess 160,00us) and tons of apps for them, people fight to say that the spp they have is the best.

    I am not an andro´d fan, but my tablet became my dedicated gps tool. All the maps I find interesting get loaded on it, and it is nice to have when walking cities. For me, I was an incredible maps to walk the streets of NYC, and it would always tell me were I was compare to were I wanted to go.

    I went with Osmand+, cause a guy in quebec mabe an encredible link to the quebec ministry of forest, for up-to date navigation tool. With all topo maps and street maps available for a big part of the wolrd. For a few bucks, it does the job for my area and more.
    Luc L., Paramedic, ski patroller, Charlevoix, Qc, Canada, 95 Wrangler, 1987 Honda Transalp

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Tijeras, NM
    I'm pretty happy with an android tablet (NVidia shield tablet - not sure that I would recommend this one but I can't hate on it either) and GaiaGPS. Built-in storage space is critical - microSD expansion cards are slow and unreliable.
    Stock '16 F150 HD
    Leitner rack with a CVT Mt. Rainier tent

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Central Nevada
    Not sure just exactly what you are looking for...but if you just want to see private land versus public, have you tried the free maps from I have them loaded on my Montana and on my Nuvi and my Garmin RV760LMT. With the gpsfiledepot maps anything green is public land and yellow is private (when the GPS is in night mode, the private land is tan or brown).

    Here's some screen shots of my RV760LMT (7" screen). That's a big ranch I'm heading for, and to the right are checkerboard private/public lands. It's zoomed way out so the dirt roads are not showing.

    Zoom in, and the dirt roads appear:

    Here's another area, yellow showing private land:

    In night mode, this one shows me skirting the Seven Devils Ranch:

    Driving through a checkerboard area:

    I've found the detail provided by these maps better for my use than topo maps. And different zoom levels provide different information. I can compare GPS information with that on my map atlas to locate myself. But of course, can't load tracks on this type of GPS unit so I generally carry my Montana along also.

    This unit takes a microSD card; I've loaded it with several different maps sets and often look at each one to see what information each shows about a particular area.
    Last edited by deserteagle56; 12-29-2017 at 06:50 AM.
    Worshipper of Wild Country

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
    So Cal
    Quote Originally Posted by Theoretician View Post
    I'm pretty happy with an android tablet (NVidia shield tablet - not sure that I would recommend this one but I can't hate on it either) and GaiaGPS. Built-in storage space is critical - microSD expansion cards are slow and unreliable.

    Is this true for the newer "high speed" SD cards?

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    i havent found the high speed SD cards to be slow at all
    98 Montero
    05 KTM 400 EXC, with torn seat

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Anthem (PHX), AZ
    This was my setup in FJ Cruiser with floor mounted RAM mount. I now have an iPad mini in my 4Runner mounted to dash with magnet, using GAIA GPS for offline maps.

    Last edited by BOHICA; 01-14-2018 at 11:12 PM.
    Ken Belt
    2018 Toyota 4Runner

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