What to look for in a GPS?

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Postby Steven Johnson » Dec 18, 2005 1:43 pm

So does there exist a GPS that is suitable for both hiking and auto-nav use?

I want a hike-suitable one, but my non-caver, directionally-challenged wife would like one for in-car use...

and from a casual inspection of the options it doesn't seem like there's any out there that would work well for both.

But it seems nutty to have to buy two :-(
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Postby NZcaver » Dec 18, 2005 2:25 pm

lookingaround wrote:
NZcaver wrote:A caver I know bought a Garmin eTrex Vista a couple of years ago. He loved its small size and many functions, but was not impressed when the menu toggle button broke off. That's about all I know of the eTrex.


Did your friend call Garmin? If he called them, I bet that they took care of him... Here is my story:...


Lookingaround - thanks for sharing! It's always nice to hear about companies that actually DO put the word "service" back in customer service... :wink:

I think my friend got his one on eBay, so he probably thought he'd be wasting his time going back to Garmin. I still like the Lowrance GPS units, even though that company is probably more known for their fishfinders. They don't get quite the store-front publicity that Garmin, Magellan, and others do - but they are solid units.

Steven - for a good combination trail/vehicle GPS, check out the Lowrance Globalmap iFinder - http://www.lowrance.com/Outdoor/Product ... plorer.asp - or pick another of their many GPS units - http://www.lowrance.com/Support/gps.asp
Shopping around on-line may find you some good prices - perhaps just AFTER Christmas? 8)

Good luck!
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Postby Steven Johnson » Dec 18, 2005 5:33 pm

NZcaver wrote:Steven - for a good combination trail/vehicle GPS, check out the Lowrance Globalmap iFinder


Lowrance seems to be a distant third in handhelds, at least judging from Google... Garmin and Magellan get most of the coverage. How does Lowrance compare?
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Postby NZcaver » Dec 18, 2005 6:27 pm

Steven Johnson wrote:
NZcaver wrote:Steven - for a good combination trail/vehicle GPS, check out the Lowrance Globalmap iFinder


Lowrance seems to be a distant third in handhelds, at least judging from Google... Garmin and Magellan get most of the coverage. How does Lowrance compare?


Steven - Lowrance may be "a distant third" in it's sales and marketing to all the usual consumer schmucks out there, but as far as I'm concerned it's definitely not a distant third in quality.

As I mentioned in my post on the previous page, my last one survived 7 years of hard use before I replaced it. Technically it still works, but the old rubber keypad recently peeled off making it tough to operate. I don't believe this is a known problem with the current models - it's probably just that mine got abused a bit over the years. :roll:

Until someone proves me wrong, I think they make functional, reliable units with great receive sensitivity (12 parallel channel, like many current models) and fast signal processing (I believe they use the same Rockwell chip that the military ones use, without the Selective Availability decryption of course). This means quicker accurate fixes under the tree canopy, down in ravines, and even inside some buildings. (Haven't tried them in caves, though!)

The reason I spoke up about the Lowrance units is precisely because they get little main-stream marketing, although they are a main-stream product. I'm happy with mine, others I know are happy with theirs, and I'm just passing on the news. :wink:
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Postby Steven Johnson » Dec 19, 2005 1:55 pm

Thanks for the info... like I said, most of the info on the web is either Garmin or Magellan, and even the local REI only carries one Lowrance (and it's the bottom-of-the-line model).

Anyone else have experience with Lowrance, good or bad?
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Postby Mark620 » Dec 23, 2005 2:17 pm

Steven Johnson wrote:So does there exist a GPS that is suitable for both hiking and auto-nav use?

I want a hike-suitable one, but my non-caver, directionally-challenged wife would like one for in-car use...

and from a casual inspection of the options it doesn't seem like there's any out there that would work well for both.

But it seems nutty to have to buy two :-(


To answer your question: YES
The Garmin eTrex - Legend Color should do fine but you will need the topo maps.

I have been wanting a GPS for myself.
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averaging gps point locations

Postby klaus » Feb 6, 2006 3:08 pm

wondering if there is a consensus on how many readings to take. On my cheap yellow e-trex the accuracy, of course fluctuates, so i try and take 5 readings and average them out. also, if i was buying a new unit i would make sure it shows the accuracy while looking at the reading.

if anyone knows of any nss recommended way of recording cave locations via gps, please let me know.


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Postby RescueMan » Feb 6, 2006 5:58 pm

NZcaver wrote:Once in a while I like to download tracks and waypoints to my computer too, but unfortunately I can't with my newer laptop (no serial port).


You can buy a USB to Serial adapter at almost any computer supply outfit, such as:

http://www.usbgear.com/computer_cable_details.cfm?sku=USB-1S1PQ&cats=199&catid=199
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Postby NZcaver » Feb 6, 2006 9:44 pm

RescueMan wrote:
NZcaver wrote:Once in a while I like to download tracks and waypoints to my computer too, but unfortunately I can't with my newer laptop (no serial port).


You can buy a USB to Serial adapter at almost any computer supply outfit, such as:

http://www.usbgear.com/computer_cable_details.cfm?sku=USB-1S1PQ&cats=199&catid=199

Thanks, Robert. I tried that once a couple of years ago with a device from Radio Shack. It was totally useless - wouldn't work at all. I returned it.
I may have to investigate these devices again some time... :grin:
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Postby RescueMan » Feb 6, 2006 9:54 pm

NZcaver wrote:I tried that once a couple of years ago with a device from Radio Shack. It was totally useless - wouldn't work at all. I returned it. I may have to investigate these devices again some time... :grin:


I got one with a 1' cable from here: http://www.tigerdirect.com/applications/SearchTools/item-details.asp?EdpNo=123071&CatId=464 and it works fine. It was this one:

Image
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Postby NZcaver » Feb 7, 2006 3:28 am

RescueMan wrote:I got one with a 1' cable from here: http://www.tigerdirect.com/applications/SearchTools/item-details.asp?EdpNo=123071&CatId=464 and it works fine.

Nice looking cable, and only $15. But get this - I just ran the shipping calculator on it and it gives me 2 options. UPS 2 day for $40, or next day for $58. Considering they could send it USPS for under a buck, I don't think so!! :roll:

I'll keep looking elsewhere...
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