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Thread: GPS units

  1. #1
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    GPS units

    Folks, I've looked back down the page and do not see any discussion on this subject.

    Anyone use them?

    How do you like them? What do they do well. What do you wish you had bought as part of the package? (I.E., did you not buy a unit with enough options or features).

    Are the waterproof ones water proof for kayaking or only rain proof?

    We pretty much know what we are looking for, but it looks like we'll lay out $400.00 for it. That's a lot if we end up setting it on the shelf, or it doesn't do what we want, or it has way too many features. We could save$$$ if it doesn't have every golf course in the world entered on it, as we don't golf).

    Currently, I copy the portion of the map that has our route on it and blow it up. The quality of the maps is such that blowing it up 200% does not pixalate it, but improves detail. On the back side we put in the trail description. A single sheet of paper is easy to deal with and yeah, I'm counting the weight..... But it won't show nearby mountain peaks we can see from the top.

    My wife really wants to get one. And having just gotten a Tom Tom for the car, we can see real value in a hiking/kayak GPS.

    Just kinda want suggestions for what to get, and a reality check as to how real world usable they are.

    Thanx.
    Lovin' life,
    Bob

  2. #2
    Senior Member DougPaul's Avatar
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    There are many threads discussing this topic. If you searched on "GPS", you did not find anything because the internal search engine does not index 3-letter words... Use Google advanced search to search for "GPS" on this site.

    Most discussions about choosing a GPS include a reference to the Garmin 60CSx--you can search on "60CSx" and find many of the threads of interest.

    FWIW, many of us use GPSes to help with navigation or to record tracks. The 60CSx is one of the (justifiably) more popular and capable units--IMO it should be on your shortlist of units to consider. Currently available for less than US$300. https://buy.garmin.com/shop/shop.do?cID=145&pID=310 You will also need to buy maps--Topo US 100K would be a good first set for Garmin GPSes. If you wish more detail in selected areas of the NE, you might also consider TOPO U.S. 24K Northeast.

    Most hiking GPSes (including the above) are rated IPX7: waterproof to 1 meter for 30 minutes.

    Doug
    Last edited by DougPaul; 03-08-2010 at 11:31 AM.

  3. #3
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    I just want to address some kayaking gps items... Im going to assume you will be going out on the ocean.

    I recommend putting whatever unit you get in a electronics dry bag or pelican case. I know most units are submerisible, but salt water is very corrosive. All it takes is a little lint on a seal or slightly loose compartment door or a bad bump for some salt water to get through. The only exception I know of is Lowrance..they used to and perhaps still charge the insides of their units with nitrogen so that nothing can get in.

    Dried salt crystals on the display can scratch when you clean the screen. I don't know why anyone would want a touch screen unit for paddling.

    Check the visibility of the GPS screen in the sun before you buy! Put the unit in a dry bag or pelican box and re-check the visibility. I got a late model Garmin and I am really unhappy with the brightness. Check how well you can control the unit if it is a soft dry bag.

    For paddling, I have found my GPS to be useful for gauging the effect of tides and winds, as well as finding my way in and out of marshes in slack tide.
    A built-in tide calculator is handy.

    I would recommend getting a unit with mapping built-in, so you can carry a chart printed from the Internet instead a full NOAA chart.

  4. #4
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    DougPaul, I appreciate you explaining what the rating means. I'll watch for that. If it's in the water longer than that, I've probably already given up looking for it.

    Remix, as far as kayaking with it, I was thinking mainly inland, but in retrospect, we do go in the ocean also, mostly at the end of the rivers. I like the idea of a dry bag for the reasons you mention.
    Lovin' life,
    Bob

  5. #5
    Senior Member DougPaul's Avatar
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    I also endorse the use of dry bags around GPSes on (particularly salt) water. The seals on the external covers over the connectors aren't very good and the pins are likely to corrode. (The connectors are sealed so water is unlikely to get inside the unit.) And if salt water does get inside, it can easily destroy the unit. If you get salt water on the unit, it is a good idea to rinse it off with fresh water as soon as is practical.

    Waterproofness ratings apply to new units--as the unit ages the water resistance may decrease.

    The 60CSx (same display as the 60Cx, 76Cx, and 76CSx) is very easy to read in sunlight--I've read complaints about some of the newer units. I also protect the screen with PDA protector sheets (easy to replace), but the more layers you put around the GPS/over the screen, the harder it becomes to read. (Applies to any display.)

    Doug

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    Dougpaul,

    I'm looking at that Garmin and it lists for $399 on the link you gave me. Just an FYI.

    Anyways, I am looking and see this one can take more maps, etc... I originally looked at LL Bean and their $400 model has all the maps (I need) already loaded. Hiking trails, roads, waterways, intracoastal waterway for the US. I can add the world, if I choose, up to a the limit of the memory. The one you linked needs to have some of this added.

    I guess I am finding that there are many units available and many different map combinations loaded in, at varying costs. The more expensive have room for lots of additional maps, while the cheaper ones have less room and less water"proofness".

    At Bean's they showed me 4 or 5 models. Each one progressively more expensive in need of adding less after the fact with buy ons or add ons. For example, if i got the 4300 model, I would need to buy a disc for $89.00 to get what i wanted, while I could get all that for the $400 unit, and have twice the available memory, to boot.

    I'm thinking now I need to solidify what we want and find the best deal that meets all that.
    Lovin' life,
    Bob

  7. #7
    Banned Kevin Rooney's Avatar
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    Check out Amazon. I just saw a new 60CSx for $252 (includes shipping), a 2GB micro SD chip for $8, and Topo 2008 for $78 - again, no shipping.

    In general, it's really tough to beat Amazon's prices.

    As for maps - I have a 60CSx and replaced the factory-supplied chip with a 2GB. I created a mapset which includes ME, NH, VT, NH and parts of PA, along with OR, WA, CA, NV, AZ, CO, MT, & WY.

    I think that includes most all the US which ain't flat, with the possible exception of the mountains in the southern AT.
    Last edited by Kevin Rooney; 03-08-2010 at 01:18 PM. Reason: Add mapset comment.

  8. #8
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    I have a relative who works at Beans, and she suggested Amazon, as it beats the prices she can get.
    Lovin' life,
    Bob

  9. #9
    Senior Member sardog1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kevin Rooney View Post
    I created a mapset which includes ME, NH, VT, NH and parts of PA, along with OR, WA, CA, NV, AZ, CO, MT, & WY.

    I think that includes most all the US which ain't flat, with the possible exception of the mountains in the southern AT.
    Well, except that tiny little part adjacent the Bering Strait, plus the skier's paradise on Mauna Kea.
    sardog1

    "Å! kjære Bymann gakk ei stjur og stiv,
    men kom her up og kjenn eit annat Liv!
    kom hit, kom hit, og ver ei daud og lat!
    kom kjenn, hot d'er, som heiter Svevn og Mat,
    og Drykk og Tørste og det heile, som
    er Liv og Helse i ein Hovedsum."

    -- Aasmund O. Vinje, "Til Fjells!"

  10. #10
    Senior Member Mohamed Ellozy's Avatar
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    For New England there is no need to buy a map; an outstanding one is available for free: New England topographical map.

  11. #11
    Senior Member DougPaul's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by uphillklimber View Post
    Dougpaul,

    I'm looking at that Garmin and it lists for $399 on the link you gave me. Just an FYI.
    I intentionally gave you a street price, not the list. Others have given you some actual street prices. (Kevin outlined a good hiking package.)

    Anyways, I am looking and see this one can take more maps, etc... I originally looked at LL Bean and their $400 model has all the maps (I need) already loaded. Hiking trails, roads, waterways, intracoastal waterway for the US. I can add the world, if I choose, up to a the limit of the memory. The one you linked needs to have some of this added.

    I guess I am finding that there are many units available and many different map combinations loaded in, at varying costs. The more expensive have room for lots of additional maps, while the cheaper ones have less room and less water"proofness".
    The most versatile arrangement is the GPS plus a 2-4 GB micro-SD card (the 60CSx will take up 8GB if you have/upgrade to the latest firmware). You buy the maps on CD-ROM/DVR and load whatever combinations of maps and regions that you wish. (Garmin is now selling some maps on memory card... These cannot be loaded into MapSource (Garmin's map management software). ) FWIW, I have routeable road maps, 100K topos, and 25K topos simultaneously in my GPS and can use it both in the car, on the trail, and on the water (using the topos--don't have the nautical charts).

    At Bean's they showed me 4 or 5 models. Each one progressively more expensive in need of adding less after the fact with buy ons or add ons. For example, if i got the 4300 model, I would need to buy a disc for $89.00 to get what i wanted, while I could get all that for the $400 unit, and have twice the available memory, to boot.
    I was at Bean's last week and knew more about GPSes than the salesman...

    I'm thinking now I need to solidify what we want and find the best deal that meets all that.
    There are lots of models from a variety of manufacturers and combinations of hardware features, software features, and maps. It is worth taking some time to familiarize yourself with the details and make an informed decision. (I studied GPSes for several months before buying.) Garmin and Magellan are the two largest manufacturers of outdoor GPSes.

    I suggest that you start by studying the 60CSx, 60Cx, 76CSx, or 76Cx (the 60 and 76 lines are electrically identical--only the cases differ.) (Garmin has the manuals online--link from the 60CSx page.) It is a top-of-the-line hiking GPS with autorouting on road maps. Garmin has some newer (and more expensive models) but IMO they are not as good for hiking. (Also, can you operate a touch screen with gloves or through a dry bag?) Then compare it to other units to see if there is anything that you think is better (including price). FWIW, if my current 60CSx failed, I'd replace it with another one. Darrel at http://www.tvnav.com/ (a small authorized Garmin dealer) is very knowledgeable.

    Some other threads with useful info:
    GPS?
    http://www.vftt.org/forums/showthread.php?t=33538
    GPS recommendations
    http://www.vftt.org/forums/showthread.php?t=29811
    Oh no, another GPS Question
    http://www.vftt.org/forums/showthread.php?t=28286
    GPS shopping
    http://www.vftt.org/forums/showthread.php?t=27655
    GPS recommendation, please
    http://www.vftt.org/forums/showthread.php?t=26456

    Doug

  12. #12
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    Thanx Doug. I'm kinda burnt out with information overload right now. Gotta let it sink in overnite and re-review in the AM. Again, thanx.
    Lovin' life,
    Bob

  13. #13
    Senior Member DougPaul's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mohamed Ellozy View Post
    For New England there is no need to buy a map; an outstanding one is available for free: New England topographical map.
    I downloaded that map a while ago and made some spot comparisons. IMO, it isn't as good as the Garmin Topo US 100K, but it is free...

    As an example, take a look at the summit of Mt Washington (500 ft scale and highest detail)--the trails aren't shown and the contours are at uneven intervals.

    GPSFileDepot has a number of free maps of varying quality. Worth checking out. http://www.gpsfiledepot.com/ (They host the above map.)

    Doug
    Last edited by DougPaul; 03-08-2010 at 03:50 PM.

  14. #14
    Senior Member DougPaul's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by uphillklimber View Post
    Thanx Doug. I'm kinda burnt out with information overload right now. Gotta let it sink in overnite and re-review in the AM. Again, thanx.
    Yeah--they are complicated little beasts. And after you get it, it will likely take you a while to learn how to use it. (Practice when you don't need it so it will be familiar when you do need it.)

    Just to confuse you even more, here is a website with lots of info: http://www.gpsinformation.net/

    Doug
    Last edited by DougPaul; 03-08-2010 at 03:58 PM.

  15. #15
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    gps

    I think you can keep this fairly simple. The 60Csx and the Vista HCX and Legend HCX are older models. Start by looking at the newer touchscreen models: the Dakota and the Oregon. I haven't actually played with one, but the Dakota may be best all around hiking GPS avail now. But with that said, there are trade offs and options for all models. If you don't want a newer touchscreen model, look at the bigger 60 Csx or the smaller Vista/Legend HCX.

    I like having a GPS when I kayak and canoe. I make sure it is tied to me or the boat. Out on the open water they work great and navigation is generally easy, so any GPS will work there.

    I don't see a reason to buy maps anymore, because for a garmin unit you can legally get them for free. So don't bother buying one with onboard maps and don't pay garmin for maps. There are two free topo maps for New England. In addition to the one linked above, there is the NE Topo Part 1 on the gps file depot:

    http://www.gpsfiledepot.com/maps/view/200/

    This is much higher in detail and has 20 ft contour lines. I don't see trails on the summit of Mt Washington, but it has the geo details.

    Now you can get routable street maps of the US and most of the world for free through open street map:

    http://www.openstreetmap.org/

    This may not be as good as garmin's map for auto routing: I can't really compare that. But it does have the trails marked on Mt. Washington and tons of over street level detail. [edited: looking at mt wash on my vista, I don't see the trails from the open street map unless I turn the topo map off, but maybe I am missing a setting here. Not on mansfield either].

    Here is the free topo map for canada:

    http://www.ibycus.com/ibycustopo/
    Last edited by michaelb; 03-08-2010 at 10:45 PM.

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