Onward! Fjord-ward!

23 July, 2006

I’ll be getting married in a weeks’ time and we’re then headed off for fourteen days touring the fjords in Norway.

I was rather hoping that I’d be able to use Google Maps ahead of time to find our hotels and what was around us, and draw up a little map of where we’d be, but either Google’s location search for Norway is the pits, or the Norwegian addresses I have aren’t specific enough. Given that they do actually receive post however, I’m tempted to think it might be Google’s fault. Anyway, I’ll probably try and work with what I’ve got.

Additionally I’m semi-tempted to buy a GPS device and track some of the places we go so that when I get back I can plot that as an exciting animated treck across Norway. Yes, I’m a nerd. Welcome to my world. What this means is that I’d have to decide on and buy a device in the next couple of days – something that’s no more than £80, which is roughly what I have to spend. Maybe. I keep seeing devices that are cheaper than this, but I read further and apparently you can’t always get data off of GPS devices. How rubbish is that?

Anyway, I know practically nothing about GPS things so any advice along the lines of “X worked for me” or “Y is terrible, avoid!” in the next 48 hours will be warmly welcomed 🙂

See other posts tagged with general and all posts made in July 2006.


James Wheare
23 July, 2006 at 23:51

The Holux GR-236 was highly recommended by Tom Coates a while ago and can be had for £75 from Holux UK. You could probably find it cheaper still elsewhere too. Good luck and have a fantastic time in Norwegia, sounds brill 🙂

Rod Begbie
24 July, 2006 at 02:36

I bought that Holux GPS too, and it’s BLUDDY GRATE. You just need something that talks Bluetooth to get the data (I’ve got it playing nice with my laptop, Nokia 6682 and Tungsten T3). If you don’t have something handy that fits the bill, though, you’d be better off with one of them all-in-one jobbies.

24 July, 2006 at 12:00

Hi guys! Thanks for the advice – I’d already read Tom’s review the other week, but wasn’t sure how it was going to work out for him long term.

It was definitely his post which made me think about actually going out and buying something though.

Cheers for the recommendation Rod. I’ve got a Nokia 6630 that speaks BT, and a nice little dongle so I should be OK. I’ll probably get that one then!

Really, this comment was just an excuse to say “a nice little dongle”.

Irregular Shed
24 July, 2006 at 12:37

From what I can see, that there Holux thing doesn’t have any memory to store routes and things – it’ll just tell you where you are, not where you’ve been. Unless you plan on having a laptop on continually, pinging the Holux, you’re not going to get any routes stored. You’re going to be better off with a Garmin-type device, I’d think.

Anyway – congrats in advance. I shall have to get your address off you for a card!

Irregular Shed
24 July, 2006 at 12:42

Oh, and the lack of Norweigian detail is entirely down to Google not having the data for geocoding.

Rod Begbie
24 July, 2006 at 12:52

What Shed sed, in case you didn’t realise that.

For tracking, I’ve been playing with (but haven’t actually, you know, *registered*) AFTrack ( on my cell.

I also use Wayfinder Earth ( for navigationy purposes (free download, only 10 euros[1] to enable the GPS and route-planning services), and Yahoo’s Zonetag ( for geotagging my cellphone photos.

This is why I went with the Holux instead of a “real” GPS unit. Rather that being tethered to one whole unit+software+display that will all become obsolete together, I can choose + upgrade the applications individually. Since I already have the devices that talk BT, it was the cheapest way to go.

[1] Quick random question: Do PC keyboards in the UK come with a Euro key on them these days?

25 July, 2006 at 12:02

Actually no, I hadn’t realised that it didn’t have any memory, cheers for the pointer, Shed. Like I said in the post, I don’t know anything about GPS devices 🙂

I was planning on taking my phone though, so I could keep the BT switched on and let that store the data, but I would ideally just have the one device which did the GPS tracking and data storage, so perhaps one of the Garmin devices is really what I’m after. I can understand the appeal of doing thins separately, but I’m just not that fussed, I think, because I’m likely to do all the real processing on a desktop or server.

And yes, UK keyboard do come with a Euro symbol on and have done for a few years now: €. It suffers the awkward key combo of CTRL+ALT+4 and the euro symbol is actually on the 4 key, occupying the bottom right corner.

Irregular Shed
25 July, 2006 at 12:02

@ Begbie:

Yep. Alt Gr+3 on Windows, other operating systems may vary. But for posting on websites, using € is preferable.

Irregular Shed
25 July, 2006 at 12:03

Erm, I meant to hit four instead of three =) I’m on a particularly lame keyboard.

25 July, 2006 at 19:20

Congratulations! (if that’s appropriate before the big day!). Hope you have a wonderful time.

Colleague of mine swears by his Acer N35, more like a PDA with a GPS antenna. Seems to run any old GPS software you can give it (Destinator, Tom Tom).

25 July, 2006 at 20:14

Cheers dude.

Yeah, most of the PDA-style ones are good, and I’ve used a few, but they’re probably out of my price range for just this task and then I’d probably get frustrated at it for not being good at job X and Y as well (I always expect too much of PDAs)

28 July, 2006 at 00:38

There are some cheap gecko garmins, the 101 and 201 i think. They are around the 100 quid (i don’t have a pound sign on this keyboard so use quid instead)
Personally I would look on amazon to see prices and features – forget garmin’s official website which is awful.
the 201 is at for 95 and has a serial port.
In your budget you are unlikely to get any fancy maps (if any) but will get destination arrow,speed, eta etc.
The only other thing to check is if you get a serial connection for your pc the cable will probably cost you about 20-30quid and won’t come with it (probably) and you have to have a serial port on your pc – mine doesn’t have one.

For more advice drop me an email or check at in the uk forums for advice as they are a friendly bunch.

20 August, 2006 at 22:28

Thanks a lot for all the advice everyone. I settled on getting the Garmin 201 since it did all I needed and would be simple to use, but what with arranging everything else, I forgot to order one, and the model in the shop didn’t actually work, so I ended up GPS-less. Very disappointing, but at least I’ve now got the info for next time I might want to get one! Thanks everyone!