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Thread: GPS units

  1. #16
    Banned Kevin Rooney's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by michaelb View Post
    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.
    Am not sure I agree with you entirely, Michaelb. Yes, there are lots of free maps out there, but the quality of them seems to vary widely. For example - the CA version doesn't have labels, which makes it of limited utility.

    At some point in the future perhaps I'll agree with you. But, at the moment - I'd still recommend someone cough up the $75 for the Garmin maps (Amazon price).

  2. #17
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    Ok, sure, there could be States or places in which the free maps are limited. Maybe I am too price sensitive, but before spending $200+ on commercial maps, buy a unit without them and try the free ones first and see if they meet your needs. Topos + road maps + Canada topos cost close to $300 on top of buying the gps unit.

    BTW, in a quick search, cabela's seemed to offer the cheapest price on the dakato 20, and that appears to include the 100k topo DVD bundled in for $299 (I didn't spend more than a minute looking for deals though). The dakota offers good battery life, small size, reasonably light, and high resolution touchscreen display. You will want the microSD slot for maps, so the Dakota 20 makes more sense. At this point, adding in the option for decent free maps for most places, with the internet exploding with more free maps all the time for garmin units, that has to be the best all around choice for a hiking GPS these days.

    If that is too expensive, then picking up a vista (with the altimeter + compass) or the legend (without them) for around $200 is a good budget choice. I haven't seen deals on the 60 Csx, but if that could be had for the $2-300 range, and you had a need for such a large unit with the external antenna, and whatever additional accuracy that may get you, then the 60 Csx has a long history of being very well regarded too.

  3. #18
    Senior Member DougPaul's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by michaelb View Post
    Ok, sure, there could be States or places in which the free maps are limited. Maybe I am too price sensitive, but before spending $200+ on commercial maps, buy a unit without them and try the free ones first and see if they meet your needs. Topos + road maps + Canada topos cost close to $300 on top of buying the gps unit.
    You also need a copy of MapSource to manage and load the maps. The easiest way to set it up is by buying a set of maps on CDROM/DVD. There is reported to be a procedure for getting it free, but my attempts to get it working failed. (This was in an emulated MS Windows environment, so it might still work on a real MS environment.)

    BTW, in a quick search, cabela's seemed to offer the cheapest price on the dakato 20, and that appears to include the 100k topo DVD bundled in for $299 (I didn't spend more than a minute looking for deals though). The dakota offers good battery life, small size, reasonably light, and high resolution touchscreen display. You will want the microSD slot for maps, so the Dakota 20 makes more sense. At this point, adding in the option for decent free maps for most places, with the internet exploding with more free maps all the time for garmin units, that has to be the best all around choice for a hiking GPS these days.
    Some warnings:
    1) Maps installed in the GPS may not be usable by MapSource. (Make sure there is a CDROM/DVD copy of the maps.)
    2) Some of the Garmin maps (generally road maps) are locked to a single GPS. (US topo maps are not locked. I believe the Canadian topo is locked.)
    3) The maps sold on microSD card are locked to the card and cannot be used in MapSource.

    If that is too expensive, then picking up a vista (with the altimeter + compass) or the legend (without them) for around $200 is a good budget choice. I haven't seen deals on the 60 Csx, but if that could be had for the $2-300 range, and you had a need for such a large unit with the external antenna*, and whatever additional accuracy that may get you, then the 60 Csx has a long history of being very well regarded too.
    If you get an eTrex Legend or Vista, make sure it is an HCx (high sensitivity, color, microSD card) model. (The earlier models are obsolete due to the low sensitivity.) These models give up some features compared to the 60CSx that some consider important.

    You can also save some money by getting a 60Cx or 76Cx. These models give up the barometric altimeter and magnetic compass.


    *The "external" antenna makes little difference. (The plastic case is transparent to radio waves so whether there is a bulge to show the antenna or not is meaningless.) An improved GPS chipset is what makes the difference for the "high sensitivity" units.

    Doug

  4. #19
    Senior Member spider solo's Avatar
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    I want to mention that if you're thinking of using the GPS for paddling on the ocean Charts and Maps are two different things.

    Garmin charges big money for it's charts. For example i thought if I bought the Blue Charts for North America. That I would need to pay a one time fee to unlock it. Boy was I naive.
    They sub divide it into small regions of which you have to pay $100 a pop to unlock.
    Garmin topo works fine straight from the box...no hidden fees.
    Garmin City Navigator needs to be unlocked...we returned it as soon as we saw the UNLOCK word.
    "you've got to stand for something
    or...you'll fall for anything"

  5. #20
    Banned Kevin Rooney's Avatar
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    I seem to recall that the 60CSx had a limitation of a 2GB microSD card or less due to a limitation in the OS' ability to manage more memory? Does anyone know whether that limitation has been changed with a newer OS?

  6. #21
    Senior Member DougPaul's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by spider solo View Post
    I want to mention that if you're thinking of using the GPS for paddling on the ocean Charts and Maps are two different things.
    The older (pre-Topo 2008) topos had better representations of the close-to-land ocean waters than the newer US Topo products . Of course, such objects as buoys may have been moved since the maps were made...

    Garmin topo works fine straight from the box...no hidden fees.
    Garmin City Navigator needs to be unlocked...we returned it as soon as we saw the UNLOCK word.
    USGS topos are public domain, thus no locking. The routeable road maps contain copyrighted data and thus the mapmaker can demand per-user fees from Garmin (and the other consumer GPS suppliers) which is passed along to the customer as locking fees. (One lock currently comes with the original purchase.)

    There used to be a version of City Navigator which was not locked, but it also does not allow automatic routing on the GPS. (It can auto-route in Mapsource.) Perhaps it is still available. I avoided the whole issue by buying the last set of routeable road maps (Metroguide, v4.02?) before locking was applied due to a change in the map supplier. Of course, the map is old, but all maps have errors...

    Doug

  7. #22
    Senior Member DougPaul's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kevin Rooney View Post
    I seem to recall that the 60CSx had a limitation of a 2GB microSD card or less due to a limitation in the OS' ability to manage more memory? Does anyone know whether that limitation has been changed with a newer OS?
    The old limits for the 60CSx were 2025 map segments and a 2GB card. One of the more recent firmware updates (v3.90, released 31 Mar 2009) increases the maximum card size, reportedly to 8GB. (No change in the max number of segments.)

    The topo maps come with a large number of small segments--thus the limitation for me is 2025 segments. With my current mix of maps (Topo 2008 for the eastern 1/3 of the US (100K scale), 24K topos National Parks East, Metroguide for the eastern 1/3 of the US), ~2020 segments comes to 1.3GB.

    Doug

  8. #23
    Banned Kevin Rooney's Avatar
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    Thanks for clarifying that, Doug.

  9. #24
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    I want to mention that if you're thinking of using the GPS for paddling on the ocean Charts and Maps are two different things.
    Yes:

    1) Garmin is moving the ocean stuff to SD Cards and is stopping Blue Chart DVD production- I assume this is to cut down on piracy and re-use of the product in multiple units.

    2) The Blue Charts software--and the other marine mapping products--cannot print useable nav charts. (Compass rose, lines of orientation, navaid flashing and noise properties, datum, max ebb/flood tidal velocities at points and too many other things are omitted)

  10. #25
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    Regarding Garmin Locking Codes-

    There are two types of unlocking codes.

    1) The first type is an unlocking code that allows the software to be installed on a PC. This appears to a random number.

    2) The second type of unlocking code is one that is a combination of the mapping product unlock code and the serial number of the unit that is going to be used with the mapping product.

    Example.
    I bought a Garmin GPS10 bluetooth unit. It came with City Navigator.

    1) I used the unlock code to install city Navigator with Map Source to my PC.

    2) Then I needed to get an unlock code to make City Navigator work with my GPS10, (This would prevent other people's GPS 10 working with my PC. )Mapsource got this code for me automatically over the internet.

    3) Much to my surprise, Garmin gave me a free additional unlock code so I could download City Navigator maps into my Garmin Colorado. (I made an email inquiry) But, if I also wanted to use City Navigator a third Garmin device, I would have to pay for another unlock code.

  11. #26
    Senior Member DougPaul's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Remix View Post
    1) Garmin is moving the ocean stuff to SD Cards and is stopping Blue Chart DVD production- I assume this is to cut down on piracy and re-use of the product in multiple units.
    This also means that one cannot view the charts on one's computer...

    Doug

  12. #27
    Senior Member DougPaul's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Remix View Post
    3) Much to my surprise, Garmin gave me a free additional unlock code so I could download City Navigator maps into my Garmin Colorado. (I made an email inquiry) But, if I also wanted to use City Navigator a third Garmin device, I would have to pay for another unlock code.
    This may depend on which version you bought. When locking codes originally came out, the products included a second lock in the original purchase. From what I have read, Garmin has discontinued this practice on (many? all?) recent products and now includes only one lock with the original purchase.

    So far, I have managed to avoid locked maps... Makes things much simpler.

    Doug

  13. #28
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    Well, I don't know if they discontinued the practice of giving away a free second unlock code, but they never advertised that they were doing this.

    The maps that are locked are the City Street Navigation and all of the ocean charts. I am guessing that the hiking market--which has unlocked maps--is not big enough to worry about piracy.

    I know you said that Topo maps are Public Domain, but why shouldn't NOAA ocean charts be public domain as well? Perhaps there is a bigger liability if there is a chart error and thats why Garmin has clamped down. Or they are greedy.

  14. #29
    Senior Member DougPaul's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Remix View Post
    Well, I don't know if they discontinued the practice of giving away a free second unlock code, but they never advertised that they were doing this.
    Given that unlock codes and their management is a frequent source of complaints, I suspect that Garmin is not particularly motivated to advertise them very prominently. As noted earlier, I have successfully avoided them so far--my info on 2 vs 1 codes in several products being included is from comments on several newsgroups. Quite a few posters were highly annoyed to discover they had gotten only 1 lock when they expected 2 (based upon earlier products).

    The maps that are locked are the City Street Navigation and all of the ocean charts. I am guessing that the hiking market--which has unlocked maps--is not big enough to worry about piracy.

    I know you said that Topo maps are Public Domain, but why shouldn't NOAA ocean charts be public domain as well? Perhaps there is a bigger liability if there is a chart error and thats why Garmin has clamped down. Or they are greedy.
    Presumably it depends on who produced and owns the data. The US Government produced the topos (and scans) and put them in the public domain. Street maps are commercially produced by TeleAtlas and Navteq* and they can put whatever conditions and limits on the use of the data that they want. (Garmin road maps used to be from TeleAtlas (up to Metroguide v4.02?), but they switched to Navteq which brought in locking.) I don't know who produces the Blue Chart maps.


    * There is also the Tiger road maps (produced for census purposes). These are freely available, but far to inaccurate for use with a GPS.

    Doug

  15. #30
    Senior Member SAR-EMT40's Avatar
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    I just want to show some of you why I switched after owning five or six Garmin GPS's since 1992 to the Delorme. The first three are all centered on Mt. Carrigain.


    Here is a USGS 7.5 minute map. Not just in the Whites but for any location in the US.


    Here is a high resolution Black and White Satellite photo


    Here is a high resolution Color Satellite photo


    I have zoomed into a spot in the White Mountains. Anyone recognize this very recognizable location?


    I have been mentioning this for several years now. Not only do I have this on my computer which is fantastic for planning SAR or camping trips, etc. THEY ARE ALSO LOADED AND VISIBLE ON MY Delorme GPS SCREEN. All of this information is available, as much as you want to download for $30 per year. Of course if you get all the maps and photos you ever need, there is no download limit, then you don't every need to renew. I have seen and used all the Garmin maps including the 2008 topo. There is no comparison. You should also be aware that the resolution of these maps and photos are actually higher than what you are seeing here.

    Regards,
    Keith
    Last edited by SAR-EMT40; 03-09-2010 at 08:37 PM.
    "The real work of men was hunting meat. The invention of agriculture was a giant step in the wrong direction, leading to serfdom, cities, and empire. From a race of hunters, artists, warriors, and tamers of horses, we degraded ourselves to what we are now: clerks, functionaries, laborers, entertainers, processors of information."- Ed Abbey

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