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#177348 - 07/23/09 02:03 AM Re: Handheld GPS? [Re: Eugene]
JohnE Offline

Registered: 06/10/08
Posts: 601
Loc: Southern Cal
Well good news and bad, my new GPS arrived today, very nice, it works right out of the box. Bad news, I ordered a Legend HCx when what I wanted was the Vista HCx.

Virtually identical except the Vista has an electronic compass and an altimeter built in. I should have realised when I saw the price that I'd made a mistake but apparently being able to read very, very fast, which I can do doesn't mean that I can always read and comprehend well..;^)

Thought I was getting a great price, ended up with just a very good one.

Ah well, I've since read that the compass and altimeter isn't that valuable and given that I always have one with me in the field anyway, I'll suck it up and keep what I ordered. I don't want to pay to have this one returned and the right one shipped out.

On another positive note, I can recommend the GPS store as a vendor, their prices are very good, fast and efficient service too. Thanks to Izzy for the referral.

Off to the store, hope I don't end up with something I don't want in my cart...;^)


"and all the lousy little poets
comin round
tryin' to sound like Charlie Manson"

The Future/Leonard Cohen

#177379 - 07/23/09 10:27 AM Re: Handheld GPS? [Re: JohnE]
Eugene Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 12/26/02
Posts: 2830
When I bought mine the vista was $100 more, I didn't think that was worth it for the real altimiter and compass, the simulated via location and movement was good enough.
Only feature I wished I had on it was a thermometer, would be nice to see if the temp drops and how far as you get to the top of a mountain.

#177387 - 07/23/09 11:17 AM Re: Handheld GPS? [Re: Eugene]
KenK Offline
"Be Prepared"

Registered: 06/26/04
Posts: 2027
Loc: NE Wisconsin
The altimeter's value may depend on where you live. Here in the flatlands of the midwest mine gets ZERO use. When visiting Yellowstone & the Tetons I found it fun to watch as I was traveling.

The compass' advantage is that I can stand still and the point will continue to point in the proper direction ... but for the most part I'll only trust it if I've calibrated the compass quite recently.

I've tried to convince myself that a GPS without an electronic compass isn't as accurate when trying to find a waypoint, but with the compass turned off the GPS is still amazingly capable of pointing to the waypoint so long as I am moving even at a slow rate.

Don't sweat your mistake too much. You've got a GREAT GPS. Enjoy it.

#177390 - 07/23/09 11:45 AM Re: Handheld GPS? [Re: KenK]
Tom_L Offline

Registered: 03/19/07
Posts: 690
The way I look at it, not having an electronic compass and altimeter makes no difference in the field whatsoever. You should be carrying a decent compass for backup anyway and electronic compasses just don't work very well. The altimeter might be more useful but providing you have a proper topo map uploaded on the memory card you'll be able to take pretty accurate altitude readings based on your position. Probably more accurate than the built-in altimeter in the Vista could provide.

The Legend HCx is just a great unit. Not having the unnecessary bells and whistles is no setback in itself, it only means the battery life will be that much better. smile

#177528 - 07/24/09 05:51 PM Re: Handheld GPS? [Re: KenK]
GoatRider Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 08/28/04
Posts: 832
Loc: Maple Grove, MN
Originally Posted By: KenK
The altimeter's value may depend on where you live. Here in the flatlands of the midwest mine gets ZERO use.

You can also use it as a barometer if you already know your altitude. I used my Vista that way once on a camping trip when I had no other weather forecasting information.

Edited by GoatRider (07/24/09 05:52 PM)
- Benton

#177586 - 07/25/09 10:46 AM Re: Handheld GPS? [Re: KenK]
Brangdon Offline

Registered: 12/12/04
Posts: 1201
Loc: Nottingham, UK
Originally Posted By: KenK
The altimeter's value may depend on where you live. Here in the flatlands of the midwest mine gets ZERO use. When visiting Yellowstone & the Tetons I found it fun to watch as I was traveling.
Doesn't the unit show you altitude derived from the GPS signal? I have a GPSMap60Cx, without the compass and air-pressure altimeter, and it does show GPS altitude.

My understanding is that the air-pressure sensor makes it more accurate. GPS height errors are roughly twice horizontal errors, mainly because the geometry is always adverse - the satellites are always above you. If you are just looking at it for fun, it probably doesn't matter.

I'm not sure how much more accuracy air-pressure gives you. Aircraft use them, but I believe they get their accuracy partly through having a reference sensor at the airport which can adjust for local weather conditions. I have an altimeter in my watch, and it won't even display to better than 5m (15ft). Admittedly an airplane would have more sensitive sensors than my watch, but I don't know how much better the sensor in a domestic hand-held GPS unit would be.

The bottom line is that I got the 60Cx because it was cheaper than the 60Csx and I didn't think the extra sensors added much value.

Other than fun, why do you even need altitude? I gather it can help find your location on a map, if the map has contour lines. With a GPS you shouldn't need that anyway.
Quality is addictive.

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