Bulletin #14 – Navigation, Maps and GPS

April 27th, 2015

Directions

The Tour Leader will draw or write out the directions on a whiteboard each evening, give the address/phone number of the next day’s destination, and discuss this information during each day’s rider briefing.  Most cyclists write down the information in a notebook, or for the tech savvy they can take a photo of the whiteboard with their smartphone that they can stop and look at during the days ride.

Even with this information you will still need to use your own skills to get from point A to point B. You are often going to find yourself asking directions along the way (if you don’t speak any Spanish then your charades skills will come in handy) and pulling out your maps to help you stay oriented. Navigation is a skill that not all of us have, so everyone should ride with a partner at least for the first few days. Where it is feasible to do so, we will provide additional navigational aids like flagging tape.

Some parts of the route we are doing for the first time and the adventure quotient is higher than on trips which we have run many times; meaning we will face more unknowns and the chance for last minute adjustments to the route is higher.

Maps

We highly recommend that you bring some maps (paper or digital) of the countries that we will be traveling through. Please remember that we will be helping you by providing an overview of each day’s route, but it is up to you to navigate your way through the day. Below, you will find a short list of some recommended maps.

These and other maps can be found at:

http://www.omnimap.com

There are also many other online map retailers or check around for a map store or bookstore in your area.

Here are some suggestions of maps…

  • Colombia
  • Ecuador
  • Peru
  • Bolivia
  • Argentina
  • Chile

GPS

Having a GPS computer on your bicycle is a great gadget to have.  It will record all your ride details very accurately (with no wires to worry about)  This includes measurements like elevation, which a standard cycle computer will not include.  Battery life is not so long on these but by bringing a solar charger or extra battery packs that you can charge the computer through you should be able to get from rest day to rest day, where you can recharge all your devices again at the accommodations we stay at.

Companies like Garmin sell Navigation maps that you can upload to your GPS device for South America, though some of the smaller roads we follow may not be accurately depicted.

Another option for finding digital maps for those more GPS inclined is to try Open Street Maps, http://www.openstreetmaps.org   This is the wikipedia of digital maps.  Many of their maps are downloadable for Garmin devices.

Using Googlemaps on your smartphone is also an option.  To do this you’ll need to have an unlocked smartphone and purchase a sim card with data.  You should be able to purchase this in most of the countries along our route.

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