Cycling in Sydney Australia
I am in the planning phase of a trip and was wondering what technology I couWld take for touring. I get the feeling that the netbook I currently use will be a bit bulky and then there is the issue of the internet connection - I use a vodafone pocket wifi.
What I want is something that I can access the net to use soft copy maps such as google maps or whereis.com. The ability to take photos and up load them to the net would be advantageous. The device would need to fit into a small pannier or a carradice bag and not take up much room. So I am thinking either a tablet (if there is one that will take a sim card to connect to the net) or smart phone.
What do people use to connect to the web when they are touring?
Many tablets have ability to connect to 3G. You also have the option of using apps such as Viber to make calls using 3G, Issues you may face are availability of 3G away from major population centres and charging your device. Portable solar chargers are available.
Just be sure the portable solar panels wind out enough Amps to charge, My ipad needs 2.1amps which makes most solar panels to small to charge or too big to carry ( $$$$ too)
iPad mini with a decent protective case would do the trick.
Just use a smart phone. If you get one with replaceable batteries (Samsung) and a ~5" screen, get a couple of spare batteries (for <$20 off ebay) and you'll have a few days of limited use - just turn it off when you don't need it.
Google Maps app can cache tiles, albeit a limited amount at a time, so they are available offline, although if you are going to rely on electronics for this I'd be inclined to take a proper gps. The garmins can use Open Street Maps which are free. Some can use AA batteries which are easy to buy anywhere should you need to.
And you have a removable micro SD card so that high res photos, movies, maps etc can be uploaded, downloaded etc at internet cafes or friends places by putting the SD card into a USB adaptor. 64GB should see anybody through a decently long trip away.
Samsung also comes bundled with Navigon navigation which gives you the option of downloading the maps of wherever you want so you can turn your data off and still have full mapping and navigation.
BTW I just bought a spare battery for my Samsung Note II - $31 - bargain. I can go for days without needing a power outlet now.
I'm currently on the road, and this has always been of interest to me. If you get 1 device to do all things, the chances are that it may be good at some and crap at others, as well as it being a total failure of all of your systems if batteries go flat or the device gets broken, lost or stolen.
GPS - Garmin with AA batteries that can be bought anywhere and with lots of free maps available on the net other than Google. Mounted to the handlebars with routes already loaded, or if required, get it to navigate for you. Mine's an Etrex 20.
Phone - Telstra only due to its coverage, and a handset that has a good aerial to pick up signals in more remote places where I'm likely to travel. I can use its camera but don't. However I do use the voice record capability on it for notes of my trip.
Camera - I originally had one that worked with AA batteries, but it died, and AA battery powered cameras are now as scarce as hens teeth, so I have a spare battery with me. They're supposed to last for 200+ shots. Use the memory card to connect straight to a pooter or alternatively a USB cable.
Personal Locator Beacon - I often travel to places where there are not too many people and little opportunity for outside connection. When travelling alone, I believe this is an important bit of kit.
Kindle, Ipod and small radio using AA batteries for entertainment and the reception of emergency broadcasts - fire, flood, etc.
Spare AA batteries and a charger that will charge all devices used. These are small and readily available from the usual electronics places. They usually come with a cable that has several detachable plugs to suit whatever the device is needing to be charged - as long as that device has a socket.
Most towns these days provide internet access, usually from their local libraries or terrorist information centres. It's not perfect, but it's one way of carrying less crap with you, and is a lot cheaper than buying a bit of gear to do the same thing. On this trip I've paid from $0 (here) to $3 for 15 minutes - daylight robbery I know and it grates, but it weighs SFA, costs less than an Ipad and is one less bit of gear to worry about, just not as convenient. Many places now have wifi access too, so if you already have an Ipad or equivalent, it is one option.
I'd recommend a smart phone with a GPS chip.
To keep it powered, there are a huge range of solar, external battery etc things. I believe you can even get dynamo hubs which can recharge via USB.
Add to that a handful of uSD cards for photos.
I've always been told to always take paper maps and a compass over a second GPS device.
If you really are getting away from the big smoke, then definitely get an EPIRB