Author Topic: Google maps vs garmin GPS  (Read 5908 times)

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Offline littledn

Google maps vs garmin GPS
« on: December 09, 2012, 01:44:12 am »
My husbnd and I are planning a San Diego to Annapolis trip starting late March.  Will be using some AC maps and other maps I have seen online.  We are in our 60's and have ridden from Santa Cruz to Mexico (my husband rides an older swinn cruiser).  Can we safely use the Google maps for bikes when we are not on AC maps?  Also is garmin GPS better than iPad mini with google maps?  Any advice would be great.

Offline JHamelman

Re: Google maps vs garmin GPS
« Reply #1 on: December 10, 2012, 07:48:50 am »
Hi littledn,

I would highly recommend checking with the bicycle coordinators for the states in which you will be traveling through and need routing. Many have online resources as well as printed materials. Nearly every state publishes a bicycle map of some sort that they will send out for free and the coordinators often have more information they can distribute for no charge as well. And while the maps aren't as detailed as ours, they generally offer suggested roads for cycling through their state. Here is a link to the contact information for all of the bicycle coordinators:

I hope this helps.


Jennifer Hamelman
Assistant Director, Routes & Mapping

Adventure Cycling Association
Inspiring and empowering people to travel by bicycle.
800/755-2453, 406/721-1776 x205

Follow Routes & Mapping on Twitter: @acaroutes

Offline mdxix

Re: Google maps vs garmin GPS
« Reply #2 on: December 10, 2012, 09:44:05 pm »
The iPad certainly has some advantages:
  • Map browsing on a larger screen for route navigation & plan adjustment
  • Multi-purpose tool for email, blogs, camera, Skype, and other communications
While a dedicated GPS unit has other advantages:
  • Long battery life that, for most units, lasts at least a full day with continuous navigation at every turn
  • Pre-determined routes & points of interest that you can store in advance of the trip
There are many apps out there to make the iPad better for navigation (check out EveryTrail), and battery accessories.

My choice for now is a dedicated GPS unit + iPhone.

Offline John Nelson

Re: Google maps vs garmin GPS
« Reply #3 on: December 10, 2012, 10:23:58 pm »
Stored maps (as well as paper maps) have the advantage that they still work when you have no internet connection or the internet connection is weak. If you're lost on a small country road or in a small town, relying on the web for help may be useless.

I often use Google maps, using the "avoid highways" option with driving directions to pick bike routes. This is usually much better than Google's bicycling directions, which often gives routes that are just plain weird and/or incredibly complicated.