To Start From Scratch


I'd like to start from scratch here and just focus on what I want to do and maybe you experienced peoples can help me get myself set up in a good way.

I want to be able to do the normal highway and city routing.
I want to know where the public lands are including forest service, BLM and state lands (so that I can camp there for free).
I want to have an accurate accounting of gravel and dirt roads.
I would love to have POIs for free and cheap public campsites.
I would love to have POIs of dispersed camping areas and road-side RV camps.
I would like to up-load POIs of places and things that interest me (I mean I want a system that will allow me to import POIs).
It would be nice if all this were to occur in one application.

So, if I were to start from scratch, what would be the most economical and practical way to set up for this sort of well informed road tripping master station?

A particular GPS and mapping combo?
ipad with some certain apps?
Android with certain apps?
PC Laptop with GPS, Delorme and POIs?
ArcView GIS Mobile?
Or what?
Thank you Thank you Thank you for considering posting/answering this.

Sincerely, Wanderbucket


Considering that I did the very same thing you are contemplating, there isn't a single solution. You have to break this apart.

Get a good Automotive GPS. Only consider the highway mapping, routing, and POI use first and settle on a unit that does all you want in that respect. Most any of the Garmin, (that's the only units i'm familiar with), will fill the bill. It just depends on the $$ you want to spend and the bells and whistles you want.

Next, I would go with Delorme TOPO and the GPS puck. Not the PN handheld.

Street Atlas doesn't have the detail on BLM stuff and campground options that TOPO has. The benefits here are that POIs from the Factory can be easily imported into TOPO, it supports POI Factory files.

Frank DriveSmart55 37.322760, -79.511267

MVUM maps

Hi and welcome to The Factory with your first post.

One thing that can help is National Forest MVUM maps; i.e., Motor Vehicle Use Maps. An example is from the Coconino NF in northern AZ:

In fact, the revised 2014 Coconino MVUM is due out in a couple weeks or so. From the linked discussions above, it appears that other NFs are also issuing paper MVUM maps--as well as Garmin, iPhone/iPad, Android devices, and computer versions of the MVUM. I can report that the Garmin-MVUM-maps work very well on automotive GPS devices (keeping in mind that they're not routable maps like City Navigator is).

I understand your desire to find answers to everything from one source, but I fear your needs are more complicated and that you'll need a mix of custom maps (MVUM and topo maps), custom POIs (campsites, etc.), etc. with updates to all your desires occurring multiple times a year making it a never-ending process to keep up with the latest revisions.

I will note that from what I've seen, the Garmin City Navigator NA NT map (a nuvi's standard routable map and installable on Garmin handheld devices for a fee) is very good at including gravel roads on both public and private lands. More detail can be found with either Garmin-sold or free Garmin-compatible topo maps, such as the maps available at:




I'll look into your recommendations.



CraigW, Thanks for your response! It looks like I'll have to cobble a solution together. I'll check out the links.