GPS recommendations for seniors

Lee_N

Member
I have a friend in his mid 70’s who likes to explore the western deserts of Utah. He wants something that shows 7.5’ topo maps and will track his position. He tried using a Garmin Overlander but found it too confusing to use. Are there any recommendations for a GPS that is easy to use for those who are technology challenged?
 

Lee_N

Member
Is he comfortable with smart phones at all?
He doesn’t use a smart phone. I was looking at an android tablet with the Garmin Explore app. Looks like topo maps are easy to select and download. What he would really like is google maps with 7.5’ topo maps. Except off-line downloads aren’t really straight forward.
 

1leglance

2007 Expedition Trophy Champion, Overland Certifie
A tablet with Avenza maps (these are USGS digital paper scans). No routing, just a dot on a "paper" map, alots of free and historic maps along with all the parks and such.
Next is OnX where he just clicks "offline maps" and does it 10sq mile squares and it draws a green lined square on anything you already downloaded.
It can do topo, or a hybrid of topo overlaid on sat images (which is really nice to know if there is really water/green in that wash)
GAIA would be the next easiest to use as it will let you select a variety of map sources including historic maps
Best is if someone helps him download (only needed once) and gives him a run through. Depending on where in Utah he is I would be happy to meet up.
 

FlipperFla

Active member
An iPad with a Garmin GLOll for the gps and GAIA mapping software. You can download the maps if you plan to go out of cell phone range. Pretty straight forward.
 

WOODY2

Adventurer
You may want to check out Scenic Maps West, it is a totally resident program that doesn't require downloads and is extremely affordable. Works well on I pads.
 

Bill Ruttan

New member
You may want to check out Scenic Maps West, it is a totally resident program that doesn't require downloads and is extremely affordable. Works well on I pads.
I too am ‘Senior’, and use Scenic Map on my iPhone. I only wish there was a way to create a Route by linking Waypoints.
 

ChadHahn

Adventurer
Why not get a Garmin Nuvi or some GPS like that? I have one with a 7" screen. It's easy to download topographical maps and switch from the included street map to whatever maps you have downloaded. They are even capable of being run on battery if you want to take it out and about. Of course it's mostly a vehicle GPS.
 

DaveInDenver

Expedition Leader
Why not get a Garmin Nuvi or some GPS like that? I have one with a 7" screen. It's easy to download topographical maps and switch from the included street map to whatever maps you have downloaded. They are even capable of being run on battery if you want to take it out and about. Of course it's mostly a vehicle GPS.
Even though he's fine with technology my dad really likes his Nuvi receivers. The requirement to use 7.5' minute topos wouldn't be met. You can use topo maps but they're vector maps based on various sources such as USGS National Map, OpenStreetMaps and others. Getting custom scanned maps on a Garmin receiver is possible, and painful.

The Avenza maps is probably the closet to the description @Lee_N gave to just put yourself on USGS quads, as long as the gentleman can use a smart phone.

https://www.avenzamaps.com/vendor/804/united-states-geological-survey

Of course GaiaGPS and Caltopo can put you on top of scanned USGS topos, too. I just wonder if the added app complexity of making sure the right layers are turned on and extra tools to confuse might not be as ideal. They'd all be pretty seamless once the maps are downloaded or cached. The work on Avenza would be setting it up but once all the PDFs are loaded it's a simple interface and the map looks familiar retaining its border.

Avenza:
IMG_2277.jpg

Caltopo:
IMG_2280.jpg

Gaia:
IMG_2279.jpg
 
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ChadHahn

Adventurer
GMapTool or GPS File Depot doesn't have topo maps that will work? I downloaded maps from GPS file depot of my state and used MapInstall to add them to my Nuvi.
 

Photobug

Well-known member
Any of the mapping gps or programs will have a very steep learning curve for someone who does not even use a smart phone.

Does he have grandkids that can help him setup a pad and download the maps for him? Whatever he gets, he should likely carry a paper chart and emergency communications as well. I have a number of pads for navigation but have one of these coming to provide navigation and emergency coms.



I also carry these for any state I will be in as backup.

 

DaveInDenver

Expedition Leader
GMapTool or GPS File Depot doesn't have topo maps that will work? I downloaded maps from GPS file depot of my state and used MapInstall to add them to my Nuvi.
There's lots of options for getting topo maps on Garmin, like GPS File Depot has all sorts of maps people have made.

GMapTool is a tool Andrzej Popowski maintains for compiling your own Garmin maps. He periodically generates various maps based on the OpenStreetMaps database overlaying some additional information such as ground cover, DEM, contour lines.

I really like his maps for my Garmin GPS receivers but they aren't plain 7.5' quads.
 

DaveInDenver

Expedition Leader
It's a vector map zoomed to 1:24k. If that's what the OP needs then it's the scale that matters and not the source. I'm not saying the USGS 7.5' minute map is better than other options but just that it's a specific description. He may want to display digitally as close as possible to what his friend is used to seeing on printed quads.

It would be quite a lot easier IMO to put third party maps on a Garmin (like I say, I really like the GMapTools ones) if the data sources (such as OSM) and details are acceptable.

Just an example, this from those topo maps from GPS File Depot. It's the Garmin IMG generated from several sources, TIGER data, land usage, etc. It's not a great example simply because all the data agree at this scale, so just highlights the way the maps are formatted more than anything.

az_topo3_basecamp.jpg

The same spot from the most recent 7.5' quad there (the "S B Point, AZ 2018" quad), which is generated by the USGS. The Avenza PDFs are just these displayed, so it's a lot of files to achieve the desired outcome. When quads are displayed on Gaia and Caltopo they've remove borders and made the tiles seamless.

https://ngmdb.usgs.gov/topoview/viewer/#15/36.3073/-112.7644

AZ_S_B_Point_20180726_TM_croppedtorapids.jpg

Taken from this quad:
AZ_S_B_Point_20180726_TM.jpg

And this is the scanned 7.5' paper version, from 1988 I think, for historical reference.

havasurapidquad_mid.jpg
 
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deserteagle56

Adventurer
I have and use several different GPS units depending on what I'm doing. There's generally at least two GPS units active on my dash at any one time - each displaying different information.

For what the OP is looking for I'm think something like my RV760 (7" screen, easy to see for old eyes), and loaded with the Garmin 100k mapset would work just fine. Some examples of what this looks like:

Here is what the RV760 GPS looks like using Garmin's City Navigator map, driving across Nevada on US Highway 50:
P1001129r.jpg

Here is the exact same location but with the Garmin 100k topo map. Note how much more information is displayed - makes it easy to coordinate with a paper map.
P1001130r.jpg

I mean, I would have never known there was a "********** Canyon" to explore if I hadn't seen it come up on my GPS!
P1001133r.jpg
 
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