GPS and/or Windows mapping program for Europe

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#1
Memphis, TN area
1,520 Posts
Joined Oct 2004
I live in the USA, but am planning a Rhine River cruise. I am looking for soltuions to help me navigate around cities while on the cruise, and especially while walking around town, etc.

I'd like to get an inexpensive, handheld GPS of Europe. I have several GPSs now, but they all have North America maps, and none of the GPS units would be good for travel. Any idea how to get a Europe GPS? There are hard to find in the USA.

I do have an Android "smart" phone I plan to take to Europe, but the cost of data while not on WiFi would be very high. I know WiFi is on the river boat, but not walking around seeing the sights. I have heard getting a "Europe Data Plan" from AT&T might cost $60/month for limited data...maybe 300mb, but I have not idea if that's enough.

Another limited option is a nice, easy to use (free would be nice!) mapping program I can use on my netbook while I'm in Europe. I will need to use it off-line for those times when WiFi is not available; like anytime I go off the ship.


My first choice would be the phone if it's not too expensive, and second would be a Europe GPS. Any suggestions?

Thanks,
Doug
#2
2,495 Posts
Joined Feb 2005
Doug, do you want the maps before you go or when your get there? If when you get there , then all the trips we been on river cruise that is, have maps available at the reception desk. The tours on river cruises are included for the most part--e few optional on most lines.
If I remember correctly Scenic gives a handheld device for independent touring,. Wish they all did that.
If before you go, we usually google the city and then print a map from that.
Be careful, river cruising can be very addicting. Pat
#4
Memphis, TN area
1,520 Posts
Joined Oct 2004
Originally posted by pacmom
Doug, do you want the maps before you go or when your get there? If when you get there , then all the trips we been on river cruise that is, have maps available at the reception desk. The tours on river cruises are included for the most part--e few optional on most lines.
If I remember correctly Scenic gives a handheld device for independent touring,. Wish they all did that.
If before you go, we usually google the city and then print a map from that.
Be careful, river cruising can be very addicting. Pat
Thanks. Knowing the cruise line will probably have maps is a big help. We had good maps for Rome and London when we were there, and it made our trips so much better.

We'll probably be on a Viking river cruise. I'm thinking the short term international data might be good for my phone. It has excellent maps and a GPS, but of course needs access to the internet to be used.
#5
Memphis, TN area
1,520 Posts
Joined Oct 2004
Originally posted by ingo_e
use my app: https://play.google.com/store/apps/d...am.rivercruise
Sounds like an excellent app, but I'll be danged if I can figure out how to download and install it. Mine is a recent purchase Android phone, an LG 980 Optimus Pro. I checked the link you provided but could not figure out how to get it.....using my phone, would I just go to the Playstore and search for "River Cruise Info"? Don't have my phone now so I cannot check. What's the cost for this app?
#6
Nuremberg
371 Posts
Joined Feb 2011
I checked the link you provided but could not figure out how to get it.....using my phone, would I just go to the Playstore and search for "River Cruise Info"?
exactly

What's the cost for this app?
it is free

actually later this month will be a major update (fixing a map freeze bug and other minor issues).
#7
Beverly, ma, us
325 Posts
Joined Feb 2012
Ingo's rivercruisinfo app is free and quite good, but it does not interface to the GPS in your smart phone. It can be downloaded from the google playstore. To make use of the GPS built into your phone, look for offline maps on the playstore that do use the GPS. Some may be free, others you would have pay for. Many apps are free, but you buy specific city maps for a couple of dollars each.
#8
Memphis, TN area
1,520 Posts
Joined Oct 2004
Originally posted by beverlyjack
Ingo's rivercruisinfo app is free and quite good, but it does not interface to the GPS in your smart phone. It can be downloaded from the google playstore. To make use of the GPS built into your phone, look for offline maps on the playstore that do use the GPS. Some may be free, others you would have pay for. Many apps are free, but you buy specific city maps for a couple of dollars each.
Thanks for the info. I'm gonna try that ap, and possibly do some others. The regular "maps" application that came with my Android phone is very good also...but of course unless I have data in Europe it would not have an "GPS info".
#9
WA State, USA
1,108 Posts
Joined Oct 2011
We have a Garmin GPS and purchased the Europe chip. It also has a pedestrian feature. We walked everywhere and navigated using the pedestrian mode. It includes features such as public transportation, landmarks and tourist sites. We've loaned the chip to friends who also used it successfully.
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#10
Memphis, TN area
1,520 Posts
Joined Oct 2004
Originally posted by PNW Traveler
We have a Garmin GPS and purchased the Europe chip. It also has a pedestrian feature. We walked everywhere and navigated using the pedestrian mode. It includes features such as public transportation, landmarks and tourist sites. We've loaned the chip to friends who also used it successfully.
By "the chip", you mean the SD memory card, right?

Doug
#11
WA State, USA
1,108 Posts
Joined Oct 2011
It's not a standard SD card - more like a micro SD card.
Because it's a GPS it also doesn't need to have wifi connectivity like a smartphone app. The cost for Garmin Europe was list price about $100 but was purchased last summer for $60 through Amazon. Current price on Amazon for all of Europe is $68. One country only (ie, Italy) is $28.
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#12
Memphis, TN area
1,520 Posts
Joined Oct 2004
Thanks for the info on the Europe maps for my Garmin Nuvi. I have Garmin Nuvi 1490s in my wife's car and my truck, and could get the Europe map for either of those and take that on the trip.

Or, I have found I can get a very similar GPS, the Nuvi 1370 which already has Europe maps for about $100 shipped....just a few dollars more than the map, and then of course I'd have that GPS as a spare, or I could sell it, etc.

I am still considering of all the options......if I rent a car over in Europe it makes very good sense to have a GPS that I can plug into the cigar lighter....but if we're just walking around, it might be better to just add "International Data" to our phones for the time we're in Europe. I think that's about $60 - BUT - I think the data limit is only 300 mb, but then I am not sure that would be enough for sightseeing, walking around for a week.

One issue with the GPS is it's battery life - they advertise 4 hours, but I think 2.5 is more realistic. So I'm probably need to take one of those "portable battery powered chargers" with us as we walk around, and either bring or buy AA batteries for it as we travel from place to place.....an inconvenience; unless I can charge that charger also in our cabin every night.

Lots of options, but there is over a year until we are in Europe!

Doug
#13
Athens, GA
2,597 Posts
Joined Jul 2005
You might want to try
http://www.openstreetmap.org

high quality maps, free to use.

The maps can be exported for use on GPS units
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#14
Arizona
34 Posts
Joined Aug 2012
You mentioned that you were taking an Android phone.
I did a Budapest to Amsterdam cruise and my phone was all I needed.
Just set up international data access to avoid huge charges for that kind of roaming and use Google Maps for all your navigation. GPS is integrated and you don't need an extra device.
#15
Memphis, TN area
1,520 Posts
Joined Oct 2004
Originally posted by PaperSniper4
Thanks for the info. I'm gonna try that ap, and possibly do some others. The regular "maps" application that came with my Android phone is very good also...but of course unless I have data in Europe it would not have an "GPS info".
I did try it and got an error message saving the ap quit working. That happened just after I thought I'd none a successful installation. I might try it again later. It sounds like an excellent ap for this trip.
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#16
Memphis, TN area
1,520 Posts
Joined Oct 2004
Originally posted by tomhigh
You mentioned that you were taking an Android phone.
I did a Budapest to Amsterdam cruise and my phone was all I needed.
Just set up international data access to avoid huge charges for that kind of roaming and use Google Maps for all your navigation. GPS is integrated and you don't need an extra device.
Do you recall what the charges were for international data? I have AT&T and I believe I saw they were $60 a month, but that's for only 300 mb data, and I am not convinced that would be enough.
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#17
Memphis, TN area
1,520 Posts
Joined Oct 2004
Originally posted by richwmn
You might want to try
http://www.openstreetmap.org

high quality maps, free to use.

The maps can be exported for use on GPS units
Thanks. Looks good, but it keeps bombing on my Windows 7 PC. I'll have to try it again, as it looks like a really useful mapping program.

Sailor? I'm a 27 yr Naval aviator - retired Navy In 1994, then from an air freight outfit in 2004, then the local police department about 3 years later.....had a hard time letting go....but now that I have, I'm getting really good at it!
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#18
Nuremberg
371 Posts
Joined Feb 2011
I would say every mapping program / app (except of google, apple and microsoft maps) is using the openstreetmap database - so am I . In general, when it comes to large cities, it is sometimes more accurate than the big three. For example local contributors are dealing quicker with construction sites, new shops in their area.. For villages in exotic countries, even the commercial publishers do not offer much information.

In case you want to put OSM maps on a garmin device, I suggest you start to read here: http://wiki.openstreetmap.org/wiki/OSM_Map_On_Garmin
#19
Arizona
34 Posts
Joined Aug 2012
Originally posted by PaperSniper4
Do you recall what the charges were for international data? I have AT&T and I believe I saw they were $60 a month, but that's for only 300 mb data, and I am not convinced that would be enough.
I don't remember all the specifics of the data charges, but the data was charged in chunks (possibly 300 MB), and ended up paying for a few "chunks" before the trip was done. It may have added up to more than $200 by the end of the trip, but it worked everywhere I went.

Really, the worst of the usage was from automatic updates on programs in my Android. I should have found a way to turn that off for the trip.

It was worth it to be able to just pull out the phone to get a map & GPS help when needed.
#20
Memphis, TN area
1,520 Posts
Joined Oct 2004
Originally posted by ingo_e
I would say every mapping program / app (except of google, apple and microsoft maps) is using the openstreetmap database - so am I . In general, when it comes to large cities, it is sometimes more accurate than the big three. For example local contributors are dealing quicker with construction sites, new shops in their area.. For villages in exotic countries, even the commercial publishers do not offer much information.

In case you want to put OSM maps on a garmin device, I suggest you start to read here: http://wiki.openstreetmap.org/wiki/OSM_Map_On_Garmin
Great - thanks!
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