Route Planning & Navigation

Route Planning

We have over ten years’ experience in planning routes through this desert area and have built up a catalogue of routes and tracks. A typical route consists of over 200 waypoints which we use for navigation by GPS and a physical roadbook. Routes are never completely fixed as dunes may have shifted so exploring (and sometimes changing course) is part of the trip.
If you enjoy navigation, we’ll let you lead the way.

When planning the timing of a trip, we even look at the lunar calendar to avoid full moon nights in order to enjoy the stars to the max. You’ve seen nothing like it!

Accurate and reliable navigation is crucial for serious desert travel. Planning a new route is a very precise and meticulous task which takes many hours to complete. Google Earth Pro (GEP) and Garmin BaseCamp (GBC) are the main tools. Steps in the process are:

Develop the routes in Google Earth

  • Select the area to be explored and superimpose a rough outline of the desired route and heading.
  • Identify and mark the infrastructure (roads, tracks) and all the potential dunes crossings, coding them for level of difficulty.
  • Select a logical path according to the desired level of difficulty.
  • Check all dunes crossings again in high detail images.
  • Identify and mark easy escapes (existing tracks or crossings with no dunes or or only small ones) that intersect with the route. This is a safety measure to reduce the time it takes to exit the area from any point along the route.
  • Create waypoints (using logical names) at strategic positions for navigation in the field.

 

Transfer the data to Garmin GPS software

  • Export all waypoints from GEP to GBC.
  • Verify all data in GBC and create routes using the waypoints.
  • Download high detail Garmin BirdsEye satellite images of the area along the route.
  • Upload all data (routes, waypoints, sat images) to the Garmin devices.

 

Always carry hard copies for safety

  • Create a paper roadbook using Google Earth screenshots.
  • In the field, using a combination of the roadbook AND the GPS is what ensures easy, accurate and therefore safe navigation.