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#62703 - 03/23/06 02:01 AM Handheld GPS redux
AyersTG Offline
Veteran

Registered: 12/10/01
Posts: 1272
Loc: Upper Mississippi River Valley...
Marty (or anyone else),

The last time I used GPS very much was a military unit (Magellan, IIRC) that was only charitably called termed a handheld unit.. 92-93 on another continent. So my hands-on experience is pretty irrelevant today.

Based on your experience, would you make three suggestions on make and model, constrained as follows:

1. Battery life

2. Color display big enough to use.

3. Expandable memory very desirable (I like SD/MMC best, followed by CF)

4. Cheapest ranging up to Cost not to exceed $600 (modify this if it's pie in the sky)

Ummm - modify the constraints if some of them don't fit together. I'll look 'em up, so you don't have to include links if that's a hassle.

TIA,

Tom

PS - I'm NOT giving up my paper maps and compass for navigation - but there are some things I want to do that I could practically do easier (and maybe better) with an appropriate handheld GPS unit.

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#62704 - 03/23/06 02:38 AM Re: Handheld GPS redux
KR20 Offline
CEP
Member

Registered: 07/19/05
Posts: 100
Loc: Arizona
I would start here http://gpsinformation.net/ .

20
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#62706 - 03/23/06 03:53 AM Re: Handheld GPS redux
Still_Gator Offline


Registered: 10/13/05
Posts: 7
Tom, I would check out the Garmin GPSMAP 60Cx and 60CSx, depending on whether you want the altimeter and compass. I got the CS just because I'd rather have it and not need it than....plus it's good to use the compass for bearing/heading when you're moving slow (walking).

It says 18hrs battery life, but I don't know what features are enabled with that. For example, you can disable the electronic compass and WAAS if you want longer battery life, as well as disable the backlit screen. For the record, I own the one without the expansion card slot, but have used it since about Christmas and I'm VERY happy with it so far. Only time will tell if it will be durable enough to have a long life getting beat up in a kayak in the saltwater. It's really customizable, has a easily readable screen, a simple user interface, redraws maps really fast, and so far has been durable and accurate. Good luck, there's a ton of info out there.

(This all assumes you're looking for a handheld unit)

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#62707 - 03/23/06 01:46 PM Re: Handheld GPS redux
harrkev Offline
Enthusiast

Registered: 09/05/01
Posts: 384
Loc: Colorado Springs, CO
Quote:
Tom, I would check out the Garmin GPSMAP 60Cx and 60CSx

Agreed. That is my dream GPS unit, if only I had the money.
_________________________
--
Darwin was wrong -- I'm still alive

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#62708 - 03/23/06 01:55 PM Re: Handheld GPS redux
AyersTG Offline
Veteran

Registered: 12/10/01
Posts: 1272
Loc: Upper Mississippi River Valley...
Thanks. After reading thru recent posts on the subject and researching on my own, the latest Garmen 60 and 76 series seem to be most suitable for the things I would like to do. I'd prefer regular SD cards instead of the micro cards, as I already use SD/MMC in my Palm Pilot and digital camera - or CF, as I have plenty of those sitting around, but... The Magellan Explorist would be a little cheaper, but I'm a little put off by the position averaging and a lot put off by the battery pack - sticking to standard AA makes more sense to me.

Does anyone know the differences between the 60Cx and 76Cx? I'm guessing the 60 has a helix antenna and the 76 has a patch antenna, but other than that, it looks like a $50 difference gets a 128mb card with it instead of a 64mb card, so it must be mainly the internal antenna difference - or am I missing something?

Also, it looks to me as if I can upload Delorme Topo USA maps (custom maps?) to these. I'm assuming it won't be the vector based versions, but that's OK on the unit - I'll continue using paper and compass for navigation. So - will these use the Topo USA files?

Tom

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#62709 - 03/23/06 03:32 PM Re: Handheld GPS redux
Nomad Offline
Addict

Registered: 05/04/02
Posts: 472
Loc: Just wandering around.
Hi Tom.
I use GPS a lot and have a few suggestions. First, I insist on it having AA batteries. This is a MUST HAVE item. I can't tell you how many times we have scrounged batteries from other equipment to keep the GPS units going. Mostly it is because we did not intend to use them and therefore did not check the battery state. Yeah, stupid, but stupid happens.

Next is form factor (shape, size, display etc.). We both prefer the smoother shape of the 76, although ours are different models, much older. We want them to be easy to carry in a pocket or pouch. I normally carry mine on the front of my left shoulder. Up high where it can see the sats easily. Patch type antenna works fine. Sometimes I carry it on my belt, but my body will block the signal. Especially bad if I am working with minimum satellites such in a canyon etc.

The display should be easy to read at arms length. I use mine in rental cars and when traveling/driving other folks vehicles. Usually the GPS gets jammed between the dash and the windshield so I can see it while driving. Need a display big enough and clear enough to see easily at that distance. Color is nice for this application. The problem with color is it uses MUCH more power. Not a problem if you are good about battery management. All of ours are monochrome. I have used a lot of color units and although there is an advantage to color, I would check power consumption before I buy.

I doubt that you can upload delorme maps to any garmin (or other brand) units. As far as I know, all require propitiatory maps. Garmin even requires the purchase of a CD for each unit. If you have 3 units all using the same map, you have to buy 3 licenses. Not sure if this is for all units, but be sure to check it out. Usually all you can do is upload/download routes and waypoint data. And usually you get a subset of the GPS data when uploaded to the Delorme maps. For instance, the icons do not transfer and some of the GPS data like date,time etc. You get the minimum of lat, long and identifier. Again YMMV. Mine are old units.

Automatic routing is nice. It is not always the best route but it will eventually get you where you are going. Mine insisted we take a road (which was blocked) thru the SEAL training area near Niland CA (the slabs) which is a live fire and impact range. So don't trust it blindly.

Most of the other stuff is useful, but I can get along without routing, color, WAAS (which is not a available as I thought it would be). Frequently the WAAS satellite is not in view. Accurate enough without it, however I guess it is in all new units.

Hope that helps. I use GPS a lot and have developed a variety of tricks & techniques which I guess I should share here. So little time and so many toys....

Ron
_________________________
...........From Nomad.........Been "on the road" since '97

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#62710 - 03/23/06 04:41 PM Re: Handheld GPS redux
AyersTG Offline
Veteran

Registered: 12/10/01
Posts: 1272
Loc: Upper Mississippi River Valley...
Rather than post the same reply in two separate threads, see http://tinyurl.com/n283x

Thanks to everyone for all the help!

Tom

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#62711 - 03/26/06 03:10 PM Re: Handheld GPS redux
Brangdon Offline
Veteran

Registered: 12/12/04
Posts: 1201
Loc: Nottingham, UK
> As far as I know, all require propitiatory maps. Garmin even requires the purchase of a CD for
> each unit. If you have 3 units all using the same map, you have to buy 3 licenses. Not sure if this
> is for all units, but be sure to check it out.

Here in the UK Garmin let each CD be registered to 2 units. I gather you can unregister an old unit and transfer the licence to a new one if you contact them, but I've not tried that myself yet.
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Quality is addictive.

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#62712 - 03/26/06 03:19 PM Re: Handheld GPS redux
Brangdon Offline
Veteran

Registered: 12/12/04
Posts: 1201
Loc: Nottingham, UK
I have the GPSMAP 60Cx and I'm very happy with it. I took it skiing recently and it performed well. I could push the buttons with gloves on. I also use the same unit for in-car navigation, on my push-bike as a speedo, and for hiking and geocaching. It's good to have one unit that is so versatile.

The -x models are a big improvement over the older ones. I didn't bother with the altimeter and compass partly because I have those functions in my EDC watch, and if in the wild I'd be carrying at least one real compass anyway. I wouldn't want to be solely dependant on the GPS in case it got a flat battery or something.

Using 2.5A/h rechargeable AA batteries they do indeed last about 18 hours.
_________________________
Quality is addictive.

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