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Thread: GPS in Alaska

  1. #1
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    Default GPS in Alaska

    Howdy,

    I am new to the site and we are coming up to AK for a trip at the beginning of August 2014. I have been researching GPS units, both Auto and handheld and have myself unsure of what unit to get. I am looking at Garmins exculsively and initially looked at some of the Nuvi models. Then I started thinking of a handheld that I could also use in Auto mode. Several suggestions say get an auto then a seperate handheld for offroad, rural area travel.
    If you have experience with GPS units in Alaska, please let me know your experience and any suggestions you may have for units that work well in Alaska.

    Thank you very much and Best of Luck to you and yours

    Tom Brissee
    Proctor, MN

  2. #2

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    I've never considered using a handheld GPS for driving around. I definitely wouldn't try it the other way around. The auto GPS units are not built for outdoor use. In all honesty, there really isn't a lot of use for an auto GPS up here with so few roads. Most places have one road north and one road south. You don't really have too many options to get lost on, although every once in a while you will hear of someone half way to the north slope when they intended to go to Canada....

    Personally, I would look at a good "offroad" GPS unit to use for hiking/fishing/etc... If you need it, the GPS in a phone will cover most of your road use. Anywhere you really might need GPS when driving will be when you are in or near a town and you should have signal in most of those places.

    EDIT: If you do a search for GPS on this forum, you should find a number of threads that discuss the pros/cons of various GPS units. There has been a lot of discussion on this subject in the last couple of years and tons of good first-hand experience.

  3. #3
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    Default Thanks

    Thanks for your opinions and valuable info. To be honest, the deeper I get into researching GPS' for Alaska, I am pretty much coming to the same conclusion: might not need the street GPS. The main reason that I was looking into it was for finding campsites, likely fishing spots, national parks, etc.

    I will search around for more info. Thanks again,
    Tom

  4. #4

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    Most of that kind of information can be found pretty easily if you just get the "Alaska Atlas" map book. It has some pretty good detail and can be interesting to just browse when you have some down time.

  5. #5
    Member tjm's Avatar
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    Download a good app for your phone like Gaia for $15 and maybe a waterproof case, it'll do everything the garmin hand held will do and more...even get satellite images in addition to all of the 7.5" maps if you want 'em...I haven't used my handheld in years the apps are just that good...
    ------------------------------------------------
    pull my finger....

  6. #6
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    GaiaGPS on iPhone or Android for hiking Topo Maps, The Milepost should direct you to every campground and gravel pull-out on the road system. Throw in Lonely Planet or a Moon Handbook and you should have more than enough information.

  7. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by taygan View Post
    GaiaGPS on iPhone or Android for hiking Topo Maps, The Milepost should direct you to every campground and gravel pull-out on the road system. Throw in Lonely Planet or a Moon Handbook and you should have more than enough information.

    Agreed. And the hard copies don't need charged batteries or a cell signal to work. While there is now decent cell coverage along most of AK's major highways (e.g. Parks Hwy between Anchorage and Fairbanks), once you go a mile or two off the main drag, you may not have much of a signal. True GPS can always access satellites, of course. If you were to use a vehicle GPS (and there really isn't any reason to buy one if you would only use it for travel within AK), be aware that there are a lot of non-through roads here in Anchorage, that may appear to be continuous on whatever map base your device uses. And for awhile there, iPhones were sending visitors looking to return rental cars at Fairbanks Airport on to active runways. I think this has been fixed . . .

  8. #8
    Member tjm's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AKRivers View Post
    Agreed. And the hard copies don't need charged batteries or a cell signal to work. While there is now decent cell coverage along most of AK's....

    True GPS can always access satellites, of course. . . .
    So can the phones, they don't need cell service to function as a GPS....
    ------------------------------------------------
    pull my finger....

  9. #9
    Member theultrarider's Avatar
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    Another vote for a handheld garmin you and use anywhere. Buy a copy of the current "milepost" for all your driving and camping needs.

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