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GPS in the Philippines

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#1 djcabor

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Posted 07 January 2014 - 10:56 PM



Im wondering if buying a gps here in the states will work if will use in the Philippines?  And if so, what is the best brand to buy.


Your response will be highly appreciated.


Thank you,






#2 Fritz


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Posted 08 January 2014 - 09:18 AM

As long as it is a true GPS receiver it will work anywhere in the world where at least 3 satellites are in view at any given time. There are pseudo-GPS systems available that work by locating cell-phone towers. Those systems do have limited utility.

The good news is that 99% of the standalone GPS receivers are satellite receivers. What will set apart the good ones is the map support. You will want good detailed maps of the Philippines for the system you choose or at a minimum the equivalent of Survey Service maps for the areas you will be in. You can use the reported GPS coordinates to pinpoint your location on a paper map as long as the latitude and longitude information is included on the paper map.

A quick search shows Philippine maps available for iOS, Garmin & CarNAVI.

Avoid TomTom. They have just added Philippines to their SouthEast Asia map set and map quality is reported to be poor. Give them another 3 or 4 years and that may change. For now though TomTom should be avoided if you will use it in Philippines.

I would recommend any system that accepts Garmin maps as they permit third party maps and publish instructions for assembling a mapset for Garmin.

Here is a link to a free user created mapset and a list of GPS devices it has been tested with.
http://esambale.wiki...hil_garmin#FREE OSM-PH Maps for Garmin GPS-List of working devices

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Edited by Fritz, 08 January 2014 - 09:19 AM.

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#3 MrkGrismer

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Posted 08 January 2014 - 02:07 PM

Just as an added note, GPS is of limited usefullness there. We brought our Garmin with us on our last trip, we purchased the SE Asia map pack from Garmin which includes the Philippines. It has street level maps of major metropolitan areas, with a lot of the info a tad out-of-date. I would NOT recommend relying on it for navigating. I had no intention of using it for navigating while I was there. It was kind of fun to use while on trips. Note that gps doesn't tend to function well in the busses because a lot of them have privacy glass windows which interferes (along with the metal roofs). One thing that was handy was that the gps will give you your speed when moving. If you ever wondered how fast a trike/trimobile goes: about 10mph. As does any traffic behind it. ;) :D

If you will be there for a while and want to use one for exploring, get a Garmin and sign up for the mapping project some users have going. (see link in Fritz' reply)

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#4 jsnpilot_787

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Posted 09 March 2014 - 03:14 AM

What about Topo maps for Garmin gps units? We are really into hiking/nature trecking here in the U.S. I have topo's for all the places we go but have found nothing for the Philippines. There are free topo maps for much of the world including SE Asia over on http://gpsfiledepot.com/ but the Philippines seems to be left out. Mostly interested because when we do a lot of hiking/trecking the topo's are really useful.


#5 AsiaBill

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Posted 11 May 2014 - 09:53 PM

Thanks Fritz & Jason for posting and sharing your knowledge as I'm planning to explore the 500km long western, sunset coastline of Palawan in mid-September by local pump boats. We rented a 4WD last year and explored Palawan by road which are about 85% finished when the idea hatched in my head for this adventure trip. I'm in Puerto Morelos, Cancun Yucatan Mexico at the moment but flying back LAX tonight for a few days before heading back to home sweet home in Manila and Boracay Island. Thanks again.

Explore Philippines with AsiaBill Life is Short! Traveling and the people you meet and experiences you have "on the road" will enhance your life forever so GO FOR IT! Feel FREE to ask me Questions about living and traveling in Asia & the Philippines.

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