Which GPS on an Enduro
We think, or at least we hope, that the dedicated GPS systems are on their way out. Why? Because we love multi-functional gear, which a dedicated GPS isn't. Multifunctional things which work well means we can take less stuff with us while being able to do the same (or more). We also feel the motorcycle GPS systems are way over-priced, while car type GPS units aren't waterproof.
The only alternative to a dedicated GPS, as far as I'm aware, is a smart phone. Luckily they do it well too, use as little as 5W to charge, have brilliant screens and are easy to mount on a bike using the RAM mount shown on this page. We chose a Samsung over an iPhone, simply because of costs. This might be a touchy subject for some but while my previous one was an iPhone I've become fed-up with Apple's policy towards support for previous models. Apple thinks it can dictate me when to buy a new phone... so I've switched to Android as an older model can still run the latest software.
The one we have is a Samsung S7. Is it flawless? Certainly not, but overall we're quite happy with it. We use them to watch a movie, listen to music, check e-mail, go online, make photos… and of course as a GPS. It's waterproof, is more than capable of running a GPS App and has a good camera. It runs a long time on the internal battery too, which was handy when a deluge in the UK had soaked my charging cable overnight (the connector was submerged in water and found I was able to ride a full day on the internal battery. I also have a copy of the workshop manuals on it.
Using a GPS, any GPS, means you need digital maps. The unit itself can only track the satellite signals, the App translates it to a dot on the map, but it's the accuracy of the map which makes or breaks it as a viable GPS. When it comes to maps there are 2 options: paid maps or free ones such as OpenStreetmap. Logic has it that the paid for maps are more accurate and will have more detail… but that's not always the case. A paid for map such as a Garmin will let you know exactly where each house in the street is, so it'll take you spot on to number 54 if that's what you asked for. OpenStreetmap has quite a lot of street numbers too but not as much as Garmin. However, we've seen the opposite when it comes to gravel and dirt roads. OpenStreetmap often has more detail there. OpenStreetmaps are free to download, cover the entire planet and are regularly updated (every few weeks or so). We've used them on our own around the world trip and quite frankly found we've had less issues with OpenStreetmap in terms of calculation errors than with regular paid for maps. In fact when we still used a Garmin GPS and Basecamp, we had OpenStreetmap maps in them too.
We've tried several GPS Apps and found two worth considering: OSMAnd+ and Maps.me. Maps.me is fine for mapping a quick route from A to B but is rather limited when you want to use multiple waypoints for example to adapt your route. It actually has a better graphical and user interface, is better at finding a route over long distances and calculates quicker than OSMAnd+ too. It's a shame they haven't developed it any further as at the moment it just has too many basic requirements missing.
OSMAnd+ on the other hand is a full options GPS App. The settings and options in OSM-And+ are too comprehensive to list, so check out their website and download a trial version if you want. Having used it, so far on trips to Norway, Sweden and the UK, we're happy with it. It hasn't let us down, can import GPX tracks (from the TET website for instance) and we can interchange routes from phone to phone.
The beauty of being able to use a mobile phone as a motorcycle GPS is that we don't have to take another piece of equipment with us. It has replaced my camera too, which also saves me a set of batteries and a battery charger for it. It has also replaced my iPod and laptop, more chargers no longer needed… So, is OSMAnd+ the best GPS program? I have no idea! It's the best one from the lot we've tried but if there are better ones out there then please let me know!