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Re: GPS Recommendation

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GPS Recommendation
February 25, 2009 11:47AM
Hi Bill,

In my last post you suggested the Garmin eTrex GPS unit. Turns out there's a number of them, eTrex Vista, Legend, Venture ect. Which one do you have, and how is it's reception?

Thanks
avatar Re: GPS Recommendation
February 25, 2009 01:17PM
For eTrex:
C=Color
x=micro SD expansion slot
H=High Sensitive Receiver

I have the eTrex Venture Cx. (The H was not available when I bought mine)

The reception is very good unless you are in a Canyon or under VERY
heavy tree cover. H is now available which is what I would go with even
with the decrease in hours/battery life. In the Santa Cruz mountains
I get kinda pissed at it since I like to keep it on and get a track.
In Yosemite I've been very happy with it and end up with nice tracks
and few "lost reception".

Venture Cx rated at 32hours. So probably more like 40 with Lithium.

From their lineup now I would get either:
Legend HCx
or
Vista HCx

Both are rated 25 hours.

I've seen the Oregon and Colorado and feel those are kinda overkill and
way overpriced.

I would get the Legend HCx because the added features of Vista you can
"infer" with the Legend. (compass and elevation).
avatar Re: GPS Recommendation
February 25, 2009 01:26PM
Just looked on garmin website.

They now have TOPO US 24K DVD.

They used to only sell it on SD card with no way to look at maps on the
computer. They must have gotten alot of complaints! (I sold mine to
a friend that wanted it after checking it out for awhile)

With the entire mapset on the SD card the GPS was pathetically slow
with "Most" detail. This was the case for the Oregon that I played
with in a store. ... so being able to only download the mapset you want
is very useful.. (i.e. for me I have the Topo West National Parks 24K and
I download only SEKI and Yosemite)...
avatar Re: GPS Recommendation
February 25, 2009 01:27PM
from_mars, do you have email adx so I can email you a sample map?
Re: GPS Recommendation
February 25, 2009 01:53PM
my email is rolandruby@sbcglobal.net

I did read somewhere where someone had a compalint that the built-in altimeter for the Vista seemed to drain the batteries quicker than the units without that feature.
avatar Re: GPS Recommendation
February 25, 2009 10:19PM
I wish my GPS would save my marks and odometer before the battery goes dead. I always forget to turn it off and I lose everything since the last time I turned it off instead of running out the batteries. Very annoying.
avatar Re: GPS Recommendation
February 26, 2009 06:54AM
From current eTrex lineup, for some reason the battery life is much
lower on the non- HCx models.
So, again, eTrex Lengend HCx is my recommendation...
Legend - 18 hrs
Legend H - 18 hrs
Legend HCx - 25 hrs

Again, you WANT maps you can load and that are routable..

I am standing at Up Cathedral Lake and heading to Sunrise Lakes.
All I do is scroll to Sunrise Lake so it highlights the trail and hit goto
"follow road", and it draws your route on the trail...
5 miles... sweet...

I use mine as a Golf GPS too since it allows you to display in yards... smiling smiley

fore!
avatar Re: GPS Recommendation
February 26, 2009 07:16AM
Here's a picture from MapSource of a trip I took with the wifey.
This is the detail you get on the GPS itself.



From Garmin MapSource program you can also quickly view in Google Earth:
(I zoomed in a bit ...)



They are also here if you want to zoom in:
<http://picasaweb.google.com/dale.dekeyser/Maps#>;



Post Edited (02-26-09 17:18)



Everything I know I learned from Chick-on is looking at you!
Re: GPS Recommendation
February 26, 2009 07:38AM
I have the Vista HCx, and I love it. The best part about it is the ability to add SD cards. I had a Summit HC before, and it only had 24K onboard. The vista has all the bells and whistles (electronic compass and barometric altimeter, auto-routing, plus all the standard stuff), with the added SD card slot. Just check Garmin's website, they have a very nice comparison page (between their brand only, of course).

For those who don't know, there are TONS of freeware out there to add to your card. I have a 20' contour map of the whole of California, downloaded free off the net. Garmin sells a 24K card, but you can't have your other maps on at the same time. There are also detailed maps of Yosemite and other major national parks available. A cool map I found of the Tahoe region has color-coded terrain coverage, so you know where the forested areas are, scrubland, open terrain, etc when you are planning routes. It also shows most of the major trails in the Tahoe region.

You can even add orthophotos to Garmin units, but that requires a boatload of space and makes the unit run incredibly slow.

Try going to the FreeGeographyTools.com website, there are so many resources there for Garmin GPS units. I have downloaded so many programs that let me do so many different things with my Garmin, it's ridiculous. The proprietary stuff is so limited when compared to the free stuff that's out there. Though I do have the National parks west CD which has all of Yosemite and all the trails on it, plus contours (I actually was 100% reliant on it to navigate the El Capitan trail from the top of Yosemite falls during an early May snow hike). I also have 2009 City Navigator which is awesome for routing and finding POI's.

Anyway, for a quick review, the unit has tons of capabilities, and add-on possibilities. It's very accurate, and produces very nice tracks. The negatives are the screen size (pretty small, espeically if you have more than a few data fields), and it can be quite slow. It's fine if you are at walking speed and navigating, but if you try to move the cursor around too much it takes a while to load the screen data (but then again, I have a topo map on top of other maps).

Buy it at amazon, at least 100 bucks cheaper than at REI or Garmin website, and no shipping or tax (and right about now, I' m all about "sticking it to the man"...stupid Govenator.)



Post Edited (02-26-09 07:45)
avatar Re: GPS Recommendation
February 26, 2009 08:00AM
>Garmin sells a 24K card, but you can't have your other maps on at the same time

smiling smiley

There is a way... but it is pretty painful..
Unlock the maps, split them apart... and you are on your way...
(I took out just the sierra)

The schmos at Garmin now put out a DVD instead of the SD card so not sure about that product...
And as you have found out... the more stuff you put on the card the
slower the unit goes... it seems..

Lemme say it again... routable trails kick butt..



Post Edited (02-26-09 09:23)



Everything I know I learned from Chick-on is looking at you!
Re: GPS Recommendation
February 26, 2009 05:01PM
bill-e-g wrote:

> >Garmin sells a 24K card, but you can't have your other maps on
> at the same time
>
> smiling smiley
>
> There is a way... but it is pretty painful..
> Unlock the maps, split them apart... and you are on your
> way...
> (I took out just the sierra)

Will Garmin's version be "transparent" though? I've had problems overlaying several Garmin products on the same unit and one set of maps will disappear when the others are activated. Pretty lame if you ask me, it's their own product, and you should be able to see the contours and street data at the same time. The freeware version also saves you a hundy tongue sticking out smiley

>
> The schmos at Garmin now put out a DVD instead of the SD card
> so not sure about that product...
> And as you have found out... the more stuff you put on the card
> the
> slower the unit goes... it seems..

OK, didn't know that. Do you use a Garmin?

>
> Lemme say it again... routable trails kick butt..
>

So true...now if we could only find some software with a synthesized voice telling me "turn left now" and so on, haha!
avatar Re: GPS Recommendation
February 26, 2009 05:27PM
>Will Garmin's version be "transparent" though? I've had problems overlaying several Garmin products on the same unit and one set of maps will disappear when the others are activated

Not transparent. You have to do "Hide Basemap" or whatnot from map setup.
Not too big an issue for me since I only care about the topo map when hiking... smiling smiley
But until you figure that you need to disable some maps you are just going... "where the heck are my maps I just loaded!"

I've loaded up the free one before and, for me, I still prefer the routable
trails and profile feature...

I have the Venture Cx...
Re: GPS Recommendation
February 27, 2009 07:45AM
bill-e-g wrote:


>
> I've loaded up the free one before and, for me, I still prefer
> the routable
> trails and profile feature...
>

The National Parks West CD is great. Very detailed and I agree...routable trails are super cool. For what you pay, you get a lot of detailed information about a lot of parks, well worth the money.
Re: GPS Recommendation
February 27, 2009 08:00AM
The routable maps look great. I'm seriously considering the vista, though the altimeter is questionable since if the gps and my own mapping skills are working I should be able to easily infer the elevation from the topo map. Does anyone know if the altimeter/barometer function can be turned off when not in use? I've read where these two features draw additional power and decreasing the life of the batteries.
avatar Re: GPS Recommendation
February 27, 2009 09:11AM
The cool thing with Garmin MapSource PC program and the NP Topo is that
you can very quickly plan trips / routes.
4 clicks gives me this route:



And you can look at the profile of the route:



If these pics don't show up for some reason look here:
http://picasaweb.google.com/dale.dekeyser/Maps
avatar Re: GPS Recommendation
February 27, 2009 09:13AM
The GPS has Elevation w/o using Barometric Pressure. We have
found this to be very accurate.
(thus my comment about not needing the Vista elev/compass features).
For compass... just walk ... and it points which way you are walking...
avatar Re: GPS Recommendation
February 27, 2009 10:06AM
You can turn the compass off on the Vista HCx.
Re: GPS Recommendation
February 27, 2009 10:07AM
Oh, by the way, does this software run on macs, becasue that's what I have at home. I can't imagine it doesn't but you never know.
avatar Re: GPS Recommendation
February 27, 2009 11:59AM
from_mars wrote:

> Oh, by the way, does this software run on macs, becasue that's
> what I have at home. I can't imagine it doesn't but you never
> know.

And does it run on Linux?

avatar Re: GPS Recommendation
February 27, 2009 10:47AM
Garmin introduced new software "Basecamp" which is supposedly
similar to MapSource.

From what I know MapSource does not run on a Mac. Basecamp
supposedly does... so if you want maps on your computer it looks like you
are stuck buying the "Topo 24K DVD".

Look on their website for more details.

The picts above are from MapSource.
avatar Re: GPS Recommendation
February 27, 2009 01:25PM
>And does it run on Linux?

MapSource will run on Linux, per se, however you will need to
install virtual windows also.

Google "mapsource on linux"

Here is a link I found:

http://jhau.maliwi.de/linux/gpssw.html

The Topo 24K DVD is very new along with this Basecamp Software
so I have no idea about that.

Here is an article on Basecamp software:
http://www.gpstracklog.com/gps_tracklog/2009/01/garmin-basecamp.html

The thing that really intrigues me about Basecamp is
geotagging photos.
avatar Re: GPS Recommendation
February 27, 2009 01:57PM
bill-e-g wrote:

> The thing that really intrigues me about Basecamp is
> geotagging photos.

Some cameras have GPS in them:

http://yosemitenews.info/am/B001DO15J2

avatar Re: GPS Recommendation
February 27, 2009 02:47PM
Geotagging photos is like what is done in Google Earth.
Zoom in on a spot and you can see a photo from that location that someone took...
(athough in Google Earth there are plenty of "that's not the right spot"
photos).
Anyway, it allows you to create your own "click here on the map and see
a picture". Something that I've wanted to do with for awhile...
(why else would I take a picture of every single trail sign in the park!?)
avatar Re: GPS Recommendation
February 27, 2009 09:25PM
Watch his slide shows and you will see that he HAS taken a picture of just about every trail sign in the park.





Old Dude
avatar Re: GPS Recommendation
February 27, 2009 10:55PM
mrcondron wrote:

> Watch his slide shows and you will see that he HAS taken a
> picture of just about every trail sign in the park.

I was once on a backpack (group of 12 or so) with a guy that was taking pictures of trail signs. Unfortunately when I teased him about it as a way to open a conversation he got really mad. Some people (he was from New York) just don't know how to banter. Sigh.

avatar Re: GPS Recommendation
February 27, 2009 09:51PM
Has anyone had any ownership/experience with the DeLorme Earthmate series? I have the PN-20 which I mainly use for kayaking in bays and deltas (I mostly use the "breadcrumb" mode because it is very easy to become ensnared in the labyrinth of sloughs that lead in and out of these areas) I have also loaded Topo and so forth, but I find the instruction book to be as dense as the sloughs for learning (and i even tried two of the languages hoping to combine knowledge)

B



Post Edited (02-27-09 21:52)



The body betrays and the weather conspires, hopefully, not on the same day.
Re: GPS Recommendation
February 28, 2009 08:27AM
Bee wrote:
(I mostly use the "breadcrumb" mode

That's handy if you get lost and are hungry. My Magellan has a switch to dispense a whole slice at a time, whole wheat or pumpernickel, but it uses up the batteries pretty fast...





Gary
Yosemite Photo Galleries: http://www.pbase.com/roberthouse/yo
avatar Re: GPS Recommendation
February 28, 2009 11:52AM
>taken a picture of just about every trail sign in the park

I've taken a "few":



The photo above is created with 750 of the "signs" in Yosemite.
Here's some more:

<http://picasaweb.google.com/dale.dekeyser/YosemiteSignsMosaics#>;

If you go to the website and zoom in you can see each individual picture.





Everything I know I learned from Chick-on is looking at you!
avatar Re: GPS Recommendation
February 28, 2009 12:01PM
eeek said:

>>I was once on a backpack (group of 12 or so) with a guy that was taking pictures of trail signs. Unfortunately when I teased him about it as a way to open a conversation he got really mad. Some people (he was from New York) just don't know how to banter. Sigh.<<

Try bantering on the Whitney Portal Store web site. There is a lot of humor there but also a little algae-filled puddle of pouters.

I'm glad to see so much competition for your money as far as GPS units go. I have a Magellan Explorist 100 given to me as a gift, very simple, but it gives you a low battery warning then shuts off without saving the info since your last bootup. That's why I carry pencil and paper (not pen and paper, pens freeze).
Re: GPS Recommendation
March 02, 2009 11:35AM
Hey Bill,

Ordered the vista Hcx this morning. Now the test will be getting the software to run on my mac. A rep from garmin said they fully support macs, but from other forums as well as their own website, I'm not so sure. I really like the picts you posted. i'm looking forward to using it.
Re: GPS Recommendation
March 02, 2009 03:53PM
from_mars wrote:

> Hey Bill,
>
> Ordered the vista Hcx this morning. Now the test will be
> getting the software to run on my mac. A rep from garmin said
> they fully support macs, but from other forums as well as their
> own website, I'm not so sure. I really like the picts you
> posted. i'm looking forward to using it.


Good choice on the unit (in my opinion, of course!). Did you get it at Amazon and save tons o' money?

I have not owned a Garmin unit w/o the baro altimeter and elec compass, so I can't disagree with Bill on the Venture, but I paid $189 for the Vista at Amazon, so I got a damn good deal for the "added features". does the Venture do auto-routing?

Can't help you with the Mac issue, but if you can run Mapsource you should be pretty happy.
Re: GPS Recommendation
March 02, 2009 04:52PM
That's a great deal. i checked amazon and right now $200. Got mine at REI for $225 subtracting the dividend it came to $160. Didn't see the amazon deal. Everyone else was selling at retail, $299 or close to that, so I thought REI was the best deal. Anyway, checking on the software now. I'm assuming, the TOPO 24K West DVD is probably what I want.
avatar Re: GPS Recommendation
March 02, 2009 06:24PM
I got a Nuvi 760 because I needed a GPS for my road trip and got a good deal on it at one of the CC closeouts. I assume this type of GPS can't be used for trail maps?
Re: GPS Recommendation
March 02, 2009 08:16PM
dqniel wrote:
> I got a Nuvi 760 because I needed a GPS for my road trip and
> got a good deal on it at one of the CC closeouts. I assume
> this type of GPS can't be used for trail maps?

You're right, they're two different beasts. The automotive units are street map based, and made to route you between your location and a destination via streets. In an emergency, you could maybe use one to let you know where you need to go and which way you're heading, but they lack all the useful features of the handheld trail units.

And vice-versa. Trail units can be used in a car, but don't have the nice functions, smaller screens, etc.

I bought a Magellan 210 a couple of years ago, after some desert hikes where I realized that it might be a nice backup in places where you can get so easily disoriented. It works very well, but one should never put all their faith in a GPS. Do all the normal precautions, have a real map, mark your junctions, be aware of your surroundings, have a compass, and use the GPS as a backup, never your only source of getting back. (or only map)

Most require you to buy the maps. I found a package deal which was really worthwhile, which included the map and software for the US, which can be a big expense if it's not included. None of them (Garmin, Magellan) that I know of are good at updating your maps unless you happen to get one at just the right time, so check what maps and the dates. Making your own maps can be done, but it's a real pain in the rear, and a lot of time and work.

My Garmin C330 that I use for the car has a battery and supposedly you can carry it around, and city streets would be fine for that (or a bicycle). But no trail info, and it doesn't have the backtrack and other features that trail units do.





Gary
Yosemite Photo Galleries: http://www.pbase.com/roberthouse/yo
avatar Re: GPS Recommendation
March 02, 2009 07:29PM
>Anyway, checking on the software now. I'm assuming, the TOPO 24K West DVD is probably

I talked about this above. MapSource doesn't run on a Mac.
This new s/w, BaseCamp, which come with the 24K West DVD says it
runs on a Mac from the garmin Website.
From their website, etc... it appears that BaseCamp and MapSource
do the same thing. I can't really find anything much about BaseCamp
other than what I already said and that Garmin says it is "designed" for
the outdoors.
24K West DVD is very new insomuch as Amazon doesn't even carry it yet.
You may have to resort to the Garmin website to purchase it.
>$140 after tax, etc.

I can spend hours looking at maps but even that is pretty pricey for me...

As mentioned by cthenn above there is ALOT of free stuff out there so
it's just up to you what you want to pursue...

Garmins Mac stuff: http://www8.garmin.com/macosx/index.jsp

Good luck



Post Edited (03-02-09 20:02)



Everything I know I learned from Chick-on is looking at you!
avatar Re: GPS Recommendation
March 02, 2009 07:31PM
Just to give you an idea of what maps look like that are out there that are free:



http://picasaweb.google.com/dale.dekeyser/Maps

Trails are not routable on the free ones. (at least I don't know of
any free ones out there that are)
avatar Re: GPS Recommendation
March 02, 2009 07:48PM
>Nuvi 760 because I needed a GPS for my road trip and got a good deal on it at one of the CC closeouts. I assume this type of GPS can't be used for trail maps?

I have the Nuvi 350.

You can download maps into it and could navigate with it... but...

I guess it all depends on HOW you want to use it. It's a GPS so it will
show you where you are on the map. You can download topo maps into it.
You can download waypoints.

I just don't think you will be all that happy with it hiking.

The Nuvi are really designed for the Auto and they do it very very very well.

There are all kinds of features on a "hiking" GPS that don't exist on the Auto ones.

I'd recommend going and downloading the free topo stuff out there into it
and then trying it out for yourself.



Post Edited (03-02-09 20:03)



Everything I know I learned from Chick-on is looking at you!
avatar Re: GPS Recommendation
March 02, 2009 08:35PM
I'm going to be in northern NM and AZ along with southern UT and CO in early April. We don't plan on doing any backpacking or backcountry hiking at all so I'm not too worried about it. I was just curious to see if it was possible.
Re: GPS Recommendation
March 04, 2009 07:25AM
Hi Bill,

Ordered the new 24K TOPO DVD from Garmin. Supports mac and says it includes basecamp. Hopefully it'll have similar content/usefulness to the 24K TOPO National Parks DVD you have. I'm looking forward to using it, though I'm not sure when I'll be in winter IFR hiking conditions again. I am going with the sierra club for another trip. An igloo building trip out near Carson Pass (Meiss Meadow). Can't wait to use my samuri snow saw. Than another trip to Crocker Point. My solo trips out to yosemite in the fall were great, but it's nice to have others along sometimes, especially to split the costs and/or chores.

I'm thinking the gps will be quite useful for finding obelisk lake. I still want to get out there. Though after breaking trail to the point of exhaustion (a few hundred yards maybe? we took turns) this last trip, I don't think I'll be planning to plow out to Merced lake from the valley in a day.

Thanks everyone for the gps advice. I always get such good info here.
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