Australia's Great Desert Tracks

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DiscoverAus Streets and Tracks

A comparison

Australia's Great Desert Tracks (GDT) is a joint product between HEMA Maps and Magellan Australia. There has been many a discussion as to how this product compares with Magellan's DiscoverAus Streets and Tracks (DAST). Below is a summary of what see as the key differences.


As with all mapping products these are not perfect, but they are both very good with each having different strengths.

One of the things we noticed is that GDT maintains the display of minor roads, tracks and watercourses at higher zoom levels and this is very useful. All GPS receivers with loadable maps are setup to reduce detail as you zoom out, so that the screen does not get cluttered. As a result, DAST, which is setup for higher density city mapping, drops minor roads at lower zoom levels.

In Qld, NSW and SA we found that GDT has roughly 25% more tracks. An exception was WA where we found DAST to have more tracks. How accurate these DAST tracks are we don't know.

For Points of Interest detail we found DAST has more POI in small towns (Hospitals, Police, Government Buildings, Schools etc). GDT has less POI information but it does have fuel locations and other tourist style POI's which are missing in DAST.  GDT also has Camerons Corner, prominent features (rocks, lookouts, etc), Big Red etc. It would be handy if GDT also had Hospital and Police locations.

DAST has residential roads in small country towns whereas GDT has only the main roads.

GDT has better accuracy with some user provided tracklogs matching almost identically. In some places these tracklogs showed DAST to be up to 300 metres out.

At higher zooms (in GDT) there appeared to be 2 slightly different main roads in some areas. A comparison showed these to be the DAST mapped highways. When you zoomed in only the more accurate (GDT) road was displayed.

Sample screens:

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near Birdsville

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near Ross River

Both products can be loaded onto a single SD card as GDT creates a region of  approximately 8MB. This will easily fit onto a 256MB SD card also containing all of DiscoverAus or loaded into a SporTrak Pro or Colour.

In summary:

DiscoverAus Streets and Tracks:

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Excellent detail and accuracy in metropolitan and coastal areas

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More detail in towns and cities

Great Desert Tracks:

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More remote tracks

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Highly accurate remote tracks

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Better overview mapping capability

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Useful fuel and well POI - More "tourist" style POI's

We would therefore recommend Great Desert Tracks as a very useful product for anybody that is venturing into the remote areas of Australia. GDT provides a high level of track detail not found on DiscoverAus.

GPSOZ would like to thank Burnie Morgan for this review.