My Navigation setup to drive around the world

Dan Grec

Expedition Leader
Hi All,

Back in the day I used only paper maps when I drove the Pan-American highway from Alaska to Argentina - I had no digital mapping of any kind, not even a phone.
It worked, but it was far from perfect.

Things have changed a lot since then, and for my around-Africa expedition and North America I use a combination of paper maps, a dash-mounted GPS with FREE worldwide maps, a couple of FREE phone apps, and I even manage to load some of that into my dash-mounted GPS.

In this video I explain the whole setup, and show you how to get the best global navigation on a budget:

Fire away with any questions you have!



Active member
Hi: what we have is the following:

1) Maps from ITMB, Vancouver, in pdf on an iPad (we give them feedback every trip to improve the maps)
2) A few more pdf maps for smaller areas - e.g. National Parks
3) Google maps on iPhones - used for navigation very rarely,
4) on iPhones - better than Google maps in my opinion - good for offline use (when there's no cell coverage).
5) Waze on iPhones - used for navigation in cities from time to time, occasionally between towns, but not a primary navigation tool
5) Garmin GPSMAP64ST, with relevant base map(s) loaded - e.g., Tracks4Africa when in Africa. We download the GPX files to the laptop every week or so, and upload them to Garmin Connect when we have a good connection. We can link to Base Camp as well, but do this rarely. We DO NOT use the GPS for navigation, we use it to know where we are.
6) A few paper maps - e.g., when we're exploring an area and find that a local paper map is better than anything we have. Also we have one paper map for the whole trip, principally to be able to show people who are interested.
7) A Silva compass
8) a watch with an hour hand so that we can point it at the sun and figure out where north or south are.

We also use what seems to be a very unusual technique for navigating - we ask the local people! This is amazingly effective, although not so good in a few places - in Brazil no one has a clue except some truck drivers, for example. You have to use a bit of judgement, however most people around the world know where they are, know how to get to the next town, and are keen to help.