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Old 09-03-2013, 05:32 PM   #1
The Silver Slipper
2001 25' Excella
Batavia , New York
Join Date: Jun 2013
Posts: 26
Best GPS for Boondocking

Hey all just checking your thoughts on the best approach to using gps boondocking - I'm thinking of going with a Samsung 10.1 tablet and using Google Earth I would like to enter the coordinates then zoom goggle earth satellite view to see just what is there! Trying to save some time from unhitching and investigating... Anyone else trying anything like this?

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Old 09-03-2013, 05:49 PM   #2
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1975 31' Sovereign
Palomar Mountain , California
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Question: How are you going to know the "coordinates" of a place you're not at?

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Old 09-03-2013, 06:31 PM   #3
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2005 19' Safari
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We use Google Earth (GE) on a laptop for trip planning, and to scout out campgrounds and possible boondocking sites when on the road.

You can use GE's SEARCH function to search for "CAMPGROUNDS near CITY, STATE", and GE will list possible sites.* Then, click on the item in the provided list to zoom to that location and use STREET VIEW to see what the campground looks like. Between the satellite and street views, you can usually tell if this is somewhere you'd like to stay. Also, you can "drive" around on the streets near the site using STREET VIEW to get an idea of the route to the site once you get in the vicinity. This frequently helps by giving you a mental picture that's almost like having been there before, which makes the site easier to find when you get close.

This may or may not work with boondocking sites; because, by definition, these are usually off the beaten path, and it's less likely the GE photo car has been down these roads. However, I have often been surprised at the back roads on which those cars have driven.

The biggest problem boondocking with GE is the lack of a cellular/broadband signal. A GPS uses navigational satellite signals, so if you can see the open sky, your GPS will probably work. However, this is not the case with mobile broadband; if you are out of cell tower range, GE may be useless, or nearly so.

Our workaround for lack of a cell signal is to use the GPS to read the coordinates of our actual location, then plug that data into Microsoft Street & Trips to pinpoint our location on their map. Streets & Trips (and other similar software) is standalone and does not require a cell/mobile broadband signal.

As a backup for when your laptop/tablet/cell phone or GPS batteries go dead, make sure you take a compass and road atlas or other detailed maps. And, make sure to tell someone where you're headed before you lose your cell signal.


* Note: You can also use GE SEARCH to look for National or State Parks, museums, restaurants, hotels, hospitals, gas stations, etc.
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Old 09-04-2013, 05:32 AM   #4
The Silver Slipper
2001 25' Excella
Batavia , New York
Join Date: Jun 2013
Posts: 26
Originally Posted by Silver Hawk View Post
Question: How are you going to know the "coordinates" of a place you're not at?
Silver Hawk - there are several ways to gain coordinates - 1 big one is the book Free Campsites - another is many are listed by others on forums. If you look you can find them in several places - some very out of the way camp ground sites are even now listing them.
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Old 09-04-2013, 05:39 AM   #5
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2012 Interstate Coach
Metairie , Louisiana
Join Date: Dec 2011
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Originally Posted by Silver Hawk View Post
Question: How are you going to know the "coordinates" of a place you're not at?
Here: Printable Maps - Federal Lands

Google Earth may be more popular these days, but USGS is still THE mapping expert!
WBCCI #1105

Engineering: Finding complex solutions to simple problems you didn't even know you had.
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Old 09-04-2013, 07:48 AM   #6
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Google Earth function

I drag the cursor on, and around the location. There is a read out on the bottom that tells you the altitude for where the cursor is. You can decide if the ride, or campsite will be too hilly. Also, many very scenic routes DO have street views.

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