GPS Questions

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GPS Questions

Postby Dustin » Apr 12, 2006 4:28 pm

I’m getting ready to buy a GPS unit and would like to get any feedback from those of you who have one. I’m currently looking at grayscale non-mapping units. Primary uses are cave location, so a good sat lock would be a priority. I also want it to be WAAS enabled, though I believe all Garmin products are now.

I was looking at Garmin’s GPS Map 60, but didn’t like the Mapsource products that only work with Garmin products. Hence the reason I’m beginning to stray from any mapping GPS unit.

Anyone have ideas/suggestions, or even better yet experience with a good/bad GPS unit?
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Postby wendy » Apr 12, 2006 4:38 pm

I just bought the Garmin Legend, so far so good, and several people I know have that one too. It was cheaper to get it on and came with a case and a car connect
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Postby Squirrel Girl » Apr 12, 2006 5:28 pm

I have an eTrex Legend. It's true that Mapsource sucks. But consider this. You only have to use Mapsource to put the topo into your Garmin with the little bitty screen. You probably can't use anything better inside your GPS anyway.

When you get your waypoints and tracks OUT, it's another matter. I'm using Topo! and it's OK. Here's a link to my journey 3 days ago to Sky Meadows State Park and you can see what you think.

FWIW, when I drove over my old eTrex Legend, I liked it well enough to replace it with another one.
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Postby icave » Apr 13, 2006 2:36 pm

My wife and I use the Garmin GPS Map60. We mostly use the GPS for geocaching, which we have found to be a ton of fun, but I also use it to mark cave locations and save tracks and multiple waypoints for difficult to find caves or caves with poor directions (can anybody say Two Lick in WVA).

From my understanding, most of the GPS units will meet the needs you described, so it's more personal taste and cost. I bought the Map60 over the eTrex due to the button configuration. I have no regrets.

The important thing is that once you get your GPS, use it and have fun!
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Postby David_Campen » Apr 13, 2006 2:55 pm

I'm using Topo! and it's OK.

Yeah, I wish Nat. Geo would get together with Garmin and others to cooperatively produce some decent software. I like the 5 levels of USGS topo maps that are available in the Topo! State series but their software is just so very retarded when it comes to importing GPS tracks from a Garmin and then working with the tracks.

Sometimes the Garmin Mapsource raster graphic maps are nice too. As a bonus it would be so nice to see these combined with Topo! USGS bitmaps

Primary uses are cave location, so a good sat lock would be a priority.

My Garmin Etrex is worthless under even a moderately heavy tree canopy.
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Postby NZcaver » Apr 13, 2006 4:13 pm

I have a Lowrance Globalmap 100, which I'm very happy with. :happy: This model was one of the first GPS units with a built-in map, and is probably about 5 or 6 years old now. They make plenty of newer models, though. I also used to own it's predecessor (without the map), which was marketed back in the late 90's under the Eagle brand name.

These are great units. Not quite as prominent and "trendy" in the outdoor stores as Garmin, Magellin, etc - but their commercial models are very popular with sailors and pilots. The handheld models, although less commonly found in local stores, are ideal for in-vehicle and on-foot users (like me). I have it on good authority that these units have some of the best receive sensitivity and signal processing on the market. My one will usually get a fix in clear sky from totally "cold" in about 1-2 mins. If I then turn it off, hike for a while, and turn it back on again - I usually get the next fix in about 30 seconds. It's surprisingly good under tree cover too - in fact it used to give me a fix from INSIDE my old apartment (top floor, flat roof). :bow:

Here's a link to the iFinder, a current handheld model - ... plorer.asp

And here's a list of other Lowrance models and their specs -

You could also check out this previous thread on GPS units - ... hlight=gps
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Postby rchrds » Apr 17, 2006 8:21 am

Hey there- I've fiddled with a number of GPS units (thanks to the government) and I'm still stuck on the Garmen Etrex Vista. The garmin software is miserable, but if you use the basemap that is provided and then use Maptech Terrain Navigator (expensive, but very good) it makes a great team. I tried out the Topo! business, but didnt find that much better than the Garmin software. Anyway, as soon as they come up with a GPS that allows you to put in georeferenced JPGs and DOQQs like my helo, we'll be in business.

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Postby John Lovaas » Apr 17, 2006 8:42 am

There's a couple of ways you can do it now, rchrds(I think we talked about this once on the way back from a Fern Cave survey trip)-

Thales Navigation is selling this beauty, the MobileMapper- price runs from $1600-$2000; I know had them in stock. ... PRODID=928

You can load your georeferenced images and there you are!

A compact and expensive solution.

A much cheaper, but less compact solution, is to plug your GPS unit into a laptop that has MicroDEM running on it- ... crodem.htm

A very cool freeware package that does a lot of nice GIS stuff, developed by a Naval Academy instructor. One of the features allows real time tracking of a GPS position on georeferenced images.

You could save space by running MicroDEM on this new tablet PC-

But I suppose in 10 years or less all our cell phones will have the same capabilities for a fraction of the price.

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Postby Scott McCrea » Apr 19, 2006 5:38 pm

Woot has the Magellan eXplorist 300 Handheld GPS Navigator for $99.99+ $5 shipping.

Woot deals are only good for 24 hrs. It will expire tonight (4-19-06) at midnight. And it's while supplies last.

I don't know anything about this unit, but Woot traditionally has great deals on good stuff.
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Postby Squirrel Girl » Apr 19, 2006 7:18 pm

I forgot to mention there's always the Garmin Geko.
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