Saturday, January 26, 2013

Women and maps, dangerous or not?

Apparently women's oestrogen plays havoc with our 'spatial intelligence'. Regardless, I love maps and have no problem reading them or navigating...Stray would beg to differ because I do have difficulty determining which deck I'm on or which side I'm on when travelling on ships. (They should supply maps)

In preparation for our driving holiday in Thailand I downloaded a few map apps onto my HTC Android phone. After a while I was reminded that however smart these phones are, they're really not so great for those of us with poor eyesight.

So, a little research later, I hunted down a tablet for a reasonable price which had built in GPS.

Now I'm armed with maps galore, including some old fashioned paper versions we kept from our visa run to Laos.
Notice how nice my photo looks? :) New camera too!

The three android apps downloaded?

Nostra Map Thailand by Globotech - Free - needs GPS and Internet
Thailand GPS Map by Kaart Data - $4.99 - needs GPS only!

The tablet? A Flytouch 8. This is my first Tablet and even having used computers for umpteen years and mastering my smart phone...this was a little challenging. The manual is wafer thin and finding what's where is a trifle frustrating at times.

It also comes with a GPS antennae for extra satellite detection and a GPS Test app...just so you can see how many satellites are up there watching you. A few days went by and I remained undetected and began to Google the problem. I wasn't alone. Many others were experiencing the same issue, followed by being plonked off the east coast of Africa...when they were clearly not.

Starting to panic as our departure date approaches, I downloaded, tried and deleted a few other GPS testing apps. I remained invisible until I upgraded to GPS Test Plus ($2.99). Sitting on my front veranda, antennae attached, I finally made contact with 2 satellites which put me in my correct place. Coincidental? I'll never know.

The map apps? I've started taking notes and will be writing a full run down after we return.

Snap's other blog Chiang Mai Thai


Catherine said... Best Blogger Tips

I was starting to wonder how you were going to get your maps to work without an Internet connection but built in GPS will do it.

I don't have roaming on my phone so when I'm traveling out of Thailand, except for at places with wifi, I'm out of touch.

Good luck on your coming trip! Exciting stuff.

Snap said... Best Blogger Tips

@Catherine Exciting for some...for me I'm getting some pretty decent frown lines, lol. I DO love to learn more about gadgets though...I hope there's plenty of satellites over Thailand :)

I leave roaming on, but am sure to turn off connecting to my Australian phone data $24 per MB!!! it could be one very expensive holiday.

MJ Klein said... Best Blogger Tips

hi Snap. the GPS constellation is not geo-synchronous, meaning that the satellites move. so if you don't have good coverage now, just wait a few minutes and you will.

my wife is good with maps, and i'm a genuine map freak :) you should be all set with maps and apps!

Snap said... Best Blogger Tips

@MJ Klein I didn't think about that, but I'm positive, they're not moving over my house, lol.

Martyn said... Best Blogger Tips

COOEEEEEE!!!!!!!!!! Is there anybody out there?

You wrote that configuration of words and squiggles. Perhaps the satellites were getting their own back.

I've got plenty of old-fashioned paper maps of various parts of Thailand. I usually pick one up when we visit a new city or whatever. I'm not into GPS having only just mastered SMS but I'm sure I'll get there one day.

Your new camera takes a good picture. What type is it?

Snap said... Best Blogger Tips

@Martyn The title of this blog, in hind sight, is very fitting in regards to my GPS invisibility ;)

I ended up purchasing a Sony Cyber Shot HX20V. It was on my short list, along with a Lumix and a few others. The lovely Cat helped me stop procrastinating and finally make up my mind.

Martyn said... Best Blogger Tips

Snap - I've just googled your camera and Amazon have them new for £212. That's impressive and an independent review I've just read reckons it's an excellent camera. I'm very tempted.

Snap said... Best Blogger Tips

@Martyn That's a great price, a tad cheaper than what I paid. I'm very happy so far and will never use all of the settings or functions I'm sure. For a point and shoot camera, the zoom, clarity and steadiness are wonderful.

Elodia said... Best Blogger Tips

sounds like you had a great trip :-) I'm planning a road trip to Thailand myself and I was wondering how the gps maps worked out for you?
I'm currently looking at these three:
Nostra, which is free but requires internet
Kaart data, which is now 10$ and
Sygic, which costs 35$
I was thinking to go with Sygic, just because they're big and hoping that price equals quality, but I'm really interested in hearing how the two other option worked out on the road!

Snap said... Best Blogger Tips

@Elodia to be brutally honest, none of the apps worked consistently and were only helpful on 2 or 3 occasions. Thailand is well signed, in both Thai and English...unless you're going a long way off the beaten path. Also, this was my first time using GPS/apps. MJ over at, seems to be up on all of this. I felt a little more at ease having my devices being tracked by FollowMee, in case of theft, although at one stage is showed us as making a giant leap over to Myanmar, lol. I haven't heard of Sygic, please let me know how you go with it all.