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Everything posted by Entropy512

  1. Good riddance... The iFinder H2O is probably one of the worst GPS units I've had the misfortune of working with. It was massively frustrating to only be able to load maps to the SD using the "special" SD card reader which is gigantic compared to every other SD reader out there - it was larger than even most multi-format readers that weren't dedicated to SD. No other manufacturer had such draconian DRM - both Garmin and deLorme let you use standard SD card readers.
  2. Free maps from gpsfiledepot.com are the first thing I can think of. Garmin BirdsEye is the next, and/or one of the products of the JNX reverse engineering effort. BirdsEye has a semi-limited selection and costs $30/year, but is user-friendly. Using hacked JNX is a fairly technical process, but allows you to put any raster imagery that you have access to on the device. (For example, I've put quite a bit of aerial imagery from New York GIS on my Oregon 300.)
  3. As to the perception that quad-helix is superior to patch - are there any examples of side-by-side comparisons of quad-helix and patch units using the same chipset and similar (or, preferably, identical) firmware? I think one of the issues is that, historically, quad-helix antennas have been paired with well-regarded chipsets (MTK 3318 for Colorado, SirfStarIII for many older units). Many of the recent patch-antenna units in people's memory have all been STM Cartesios, and honestly from my experience so far, it doesn't seem to be the hottest chipset out there. (They STILL can't get acceptable WAAS performance out of it...) The GPSMAP 62 seems to me the first example of a Cartesio fed with a quad-helix. Note: Some of the eTrexes may have been SirfStars fed with patches, however, keep in mind these were budget units and so other shortcuts might have been made in the design/implementation.
  4. Might allow numbers, I haven't tried. I would suggest sticking with 8.3 filenames to be sure. Obviously you need a recent Oregon/Colorado firmware for this. It was added sometime early 2010 I think? Maybe even late 2009?
  5. One thing I can tell you for sure - Avoid anything that is based on a Qualcomm chipset. Qualcomm's gpsOne is highly rudimentary - it is almost unable to function without working SUPL. With SUPL and ephemeride preloads (XTRA), it appears decent to the end-user - but it's such a poor implementation that to match a standalone GPS unit from 2002 it needs massive amounts of network assistance. As I understand it, whatever GPS implementation is used by the Acer Iconia A500 is also similarly highly dependent on SUPL to function well, other Tegra 2 based devices may be just as bad. Probably most other phones are similarly bad in order to maintain cost competitiveness. A-GPS is probably one of the greatest marketing successes in the mobile industry - it makes the user think they have a network-assisted GPS that's going to be vastly superior to non-assisted GPS. The truth is that the GPS receiver that is being assisted is so poor that the assistance only permits it to match the performance of modern standalone chipsets at best.
  6. Why? MicroSDHCs are readily available at sizes of 8GB and 16GB (I think even 32 exists but these are expensive). More than enough for Navigator (1-2 GB) and detailed topo. Or are you unaware that Garmin updated Oregons/Colorados long ago to allow arbitrarily named .img files? (Dakotas supported it from the get-go, same for Montana.)
  7. Since the Garmin sorts by distance, I'm not sure why you'd want to split out the Maui and Big Island PQs. Filters are usually used to hide certain cache types, sizes, or difficulties.
  8. Which topos? I use free topos from http://www.gpsfiledepot.com/ - these are MUCH more detailed than the Garmin 100k topos (although the roads in that mapset are low-quality, and they have no DEM data for relief shading) I sometimes also load aerial imagery, people figured out how to create their own JNX (BirdsEye) files and get the unit to load them - however it's a fairly technical process.
  9. What he said X2.... I got a 78S very shortly after Rich did and have been pleasantly surprise from the get go. I have a 76CSx , a 550, and a 78S and map a lot of trails I never thought that the Quad Helix could be beat, but actual "on the ground" results have proven that opinion incorrect. It's probably more sensitive, but also more susceptible to multipath error as well as erroneous points logged while stopped. I recently lost (HD crash and simultaneous Ext HD failure) a track file that had 13 copies of the exact same single track trail done with multiple GPSs, on multiple days, X ant or not, sometimes carrying as many as 3 GPSs at once. That file clearly showed the unit differences and suggested what needed to be done differently to improve track quality. Of the three units mentioned above, all carried simultaneously, the "as logged" tracklog of the 78 will require the least editing to accurately represent the actual path.....that pretty well says it all. How were you carrying that many units simultaneously? Are you sure you didn't merely have the 78 in the most favorable carrying position? Quad-helix antennas might have such a good rep because they are often in their optimal orientation when hanging from a belt clip. Patch antennas aren't. I know my Oregon performs MUCH better if I'm holding it flat than if I have it hanging from a 'biner. Similarly, my iBlue 747A+ performs very well when velcroed to the top of my backpack - not so well in any other situation. As to the weight compared to an iPhone - double the weight is about what I'd expect for the shock/vibe/water intrusion ruggedization this device has. (Actually, only doubling the weight is pretty good...) Garmin markets their units as waterproof, nearly all cell phones will have their warranty voided by a humid day. (Those immersion detection stickers are WAY too sensitive. I've seen them go red on numerous devices that were never actually immersed.) Rugged or lightweight - pick one.
  10. One comment: Never trust reported accuracy. It's arbitrary and varies from unit to unit. The various DOP numbers are the only real accuracy measurements that have any non-arbitrary trustable meaning, and these should be identical for all GPS units at a given time unless one is receiving satellites another isn't (since DOP is purely based on sat geometry). Another somewhat useful measurement (but not always comparable from unit-to-unit) is SNR reporting.
  11. This doesn't make sense. I keep reading in these forums that these phones have true GPS chips and that they do not rely on cell towers. Besides, Verizon's cell towers have nothing to do with the performance of your Nuvi. Semi-true - most smartphones do have true GPS units (At least anything Qualcomm gpsOne based) that don't rely 100% on the cell towers - HOWEVER they have fairly weak/primitive correlators. As a result their time to first fix is absolutely horrendous without crutches compared to proper GPS units. (Ephemeride preload, time injection, location injection, SUPL). Ephemeride preload doesn't require towers, time injection doesn't either. Loc injection does, SUPL absolutely does. Most endusers don't know this since they almost always have SUPL augmentation, but when you are running an OS that is missing SUPL support (I'm running Android on a Qualcomm MSM7200-based device that was originally intended to run Windows Mobile, as an example), performance goes down the tubes. However, if even a Nuvi is acting screwy, it sounds like there is some sort of local interference.
  12. If you specifically bought it for geocaching - yes, you did. If you bought it for driving and are trying to repurpose it for geocaching - few driving-oriented GPS units do any better. Driving-oriented GPSes (Nuvis and TomToms) tend to do a lot of low-speed position filtering and often will "jump" to the nearest road - it is possible to geocache with them but fairly difficult. I think the Nuvi 500/550 can disable some of these annoying filters but it still can't compare to a trail-oriented unit for geocaching. Trail-oriented GPSes (like the Garmin Oregon, Dakota, 62, and 78) are great for geocaching but tend not to do so well for driving.
  13. No, it's a result of them not having upgraded their resources in time and so they had to disable the smilies on the busy weekends. Not just weekends - no smilies on the "classic" maps 1-2 weeks ago on a weekday, no smilies today (a Monday) on the beta maps.
  14. All of Garmin's newer trail-oriented mapping GPS units (Dakota, Oregon, GPSMAP 62, GPSMAP 78) can give driving directions if you load City Navigator maps - however none provide spoken directions in this mode. The Nuvi 500/550 have limited geocaching support and very good driving support. There is no unit I know of that does BOTH functions very well.
  15. Mobile Atlas Creator can create maps in the Garmin "custom maps" KML/KMZ format, but those are very limited in size. Apparently the JNX file format has been figured out, at least to some extent, and so it's possible to create custom birdseye-compatible map files from sources like Google. Haven't tried that myself yet though, and I'm sure it violates a number of license agreements. Also, nationwide high-res aerial imagery would eat up a lot of space, more than any SD card could store. I've had very good results with patched Oregon firmware and map2jnx (I'm a heavy Linux user with a fair amount of experience with GDAL - if you're not there are probably better choices than map2jnx.) http://whiter.brinkster.net/en/JNX.html
  16. Not to be a stickler but: 1. Ok i get that but if you wanted to you could get an extended battery 2. Ok smartphones have a ton of free offline maps. Try Locus on android for every map you could ever think of 3. I dont really see what your saying here. Yes phones use agps, thats an advantage...and I don't have that chipset. 3a. DFX's test shown a 3 foot difference...is that a lot in consumer grade GPS? hmmm 4. Also disagree, Dunno what to say 5. Otterbox Are you using only apple products? If that's the case maybe thats your problem? 1) Even an extended battery can't compare to just swapping AAs 2) Nearly every offline mapping app I've seen for smartphones used saved raster maps - horrifically space-inefficient 3) I'm saying that cell phones have such poor GPS receivers that they NEED AGPS to come close to the performance of even a not-so-hot dedicated chipset like the Cartesio. Without AGPS, they have lock times and performance on par with decade-old standalones like my old Garmin eMap. This holds true for older Qualcomm MSM7200, and newer Snapdragons - I've tried both. Not an Apple product user - I hate their walled-garden approach and the fact that they clearly choose visual form factor over performance and functionality - I would expect Apples to have substandard GPS performance too considering how incompetent their RF engineers are. Anyone who places a transmit antenna element where it is easy for human skin to come into direct contact with it is an idiot. Even worse to place it where human skin will be routinely in contact with it. 3a) Was that in the clear? - in the clear, everyone does pretty well these days. What's important is how far downhill things go when you're in a canyon or in tree coverage. Last time I went hiking in Watkins Glen State Park, the cell phone GPS lost coverage shortly after entering the gorge, my standalone GPS went downhill in accuracy but was still usable and maintained lock. 4) Don't know what to say - my experience with an Android tablet, for example, is that it routinely had the compass pointing the wrong way and there was no way to calibrate it. 5) Um, you can't use the phone when it's in an Otterbox.
  17. First, battery type: NiMH. Whether ULSD/Hybrid/Pre-Charged or not depends on your usage patterns. Non-ULSD have much higher capacities but self-discharge rapidly - good if you routinely use the GPS for long periods of time right after charging the batteries. ULSDs have lower capacities but hold their charge for a long time, good if you sometimes don't use the GPS for a few days after charging the batteries. I've used a variety of ULSDs with good results - Kodaks, Duracell Pre-Charged, etc. Always buy batteries that advertise their capacity - some NiMHs have shown up on the market without published capacity and they are down in the 1400-1600 mAh range!!! (This is even from the "name brands" - actually especially from them in the brick and mortar stores. Even low-capacity ULSDs have started showing up - previously if you bought ULSD you were pretty much guaranteed 2000-2100 mAh capacity...) Second, battery charger: You MUST get a charger with independent charging channels per cell to get the most out of your cells. The two most popular of these have already been mentioned, LaCrosse BC-700 and MaHa MH-C9000. I have a C9000 and it's great. Alkalines do horribly in high-discharge devices such as GPS receivers.
  18. XMap is fairly expensive, and the licensing prevents redistribution of converted maps. The OP implies they are fairly nontechnical, so if there aren't readily available premade map packages, it's a non-solution. To the OP: What country? Worldwide street maps are free from http://garmin.openstreetmap.nl/, some Euro countries may also have free topo maps.
  19. I strongly recommend buying a unit with electronic compass for geocaching... Not having the compass can make narrowing in on ground zero REALLY tough.
  20. DeLorme is basically useless outside of North America, so not another DeLorme. Garmin is your best bet - plenty of free map sources from gpsfiledepot.com There are a few good choices right now - The Oregon 450, the Dakotas, and the new GPSMAP units. Which one is really a matter of preference.
  21. I'm a fairly avid smartphone/tablet user, and also own an Oregon 300. I almost never use my phone for caching, and probably never will. 1) Battery life - Having a phone "always-on" for hike tracking/viewing imagery/etc will kill its battery REALLY fast. Having a backup battery to swap out is not feasible - expensive and device-specific. My Oregon uses cheap and standard NiMH AAs 2) Maps stored locally - If I'm in an area without cell phone reception, the phone becomes useless. Garmin's desire to milk you for extra money does make the unit seem less attractive at first, but since the IMG format has been mostly reverse engineered and the JNX format has been fully REd, there are PLENTY of free map sources for Garmin units. 3) Superior GPS performance. The GPS solutions in cell phones are cheap with weak correlators. Their raw performance is on par with or worse than old standalone GPS units from a decade ago. (my eMap locks faster than any smartphone I've used when out of coverage). When in a phone coverage area, the crutches of SUPL, time/location injection, and ephemeride preload (Qualcomm XTRA or similar) make the phone seem almost as good to an end user as a dedicated GPS - but if those crutches go away, the phone's GPS will show its true (vastly inferior) colors. Also, as far as ephemeride preload - a GPS with an MTKv2 chipset (Unfortunately, while there was a press release saying Garmin and MediaTek signed a supplier agreement, it sounds like the GPSMAP units are still using Cartesio - maybe MTKv2 is only in Nuvis?) will smoke a fully augmented smartphone in terms of lock times even without ephemeride preloads. The ephemeride caching implemented by the Cartesio (Oregons, DeLorme PN-40 and maybe 60) is a good middle ground. Similarly, MTKv2 chipsets smoke smartphones in terms of sensitivity. (Cartesio not so much) 3a) As others have said, reported accuracy means nothing. The only things that mean anything are: Measured actual errors/variances from a known position, and PDOP. DOP numbers are the only accuracy measure a GPS unit can give you that isn't a guess. 4) Magnetic compass performance - the magnetic compasses in many phones are flaky and inconsistent. (Nearly useless in my tablet...) Phone manufacturers focus on form factor and phone functionality - compass performance is a barely tested afterthought. Even Apple focuses only on the user interface and form factor and doesn't even care about phone performance. (The iPhone 4's antenna design is simply inexcusable. And yes, I am an RF engineer with antenna design experience - designing an antenna where the element is routinely contacted by human skin with no insulation whatsoever is dumb, dumb, dumb.) 5) Durability. I've dropped/bumped my GPS in many situations that would destroy a phone without the Oregon taking any damage. (This is admittedly part of the reason for smaller screens - the larger the screen, the easier it is to break/harder it is to protect.) Same for if it rains or there is any water spray - even light spray can kill some phones, and most phone's warranties void even in high humidity due to the immersion sensors being a liiitle too sensitive.
  22. To clarify the other posts further: You can have multiple caches in a GPX file. (For example most of my PQs are set to return 500 caches each, giving me a limit of 10 such files).
  23. I believe the 62s also supports BirdsEye, so you might be able to use custom JNX files: http://gpsunderground.com/forum/garmin-general-discussions/5863-garmin-jnx-file-format-hacking.html I'm not sure if the firmware patcher supports the 62 series, it may only be valid for Oregon/Dakota. I've been able to use gdal and map2jnx to put massive quantities of aerial imagery from New York GIS onto my Oregon 300. gdal is nice for changing coordinate reference systems and projections, however I only have experience with: 1) Manually georeferencing a map to WGS84 using the three-point technique, hoping it is in a compatible projection or the area covered is small enough for the projection not to matter 2) Pre-georeferenced GeoJP2s and GeoTIFFs (easy peasy) 3) Manually georeferencing a not-to-scale map using thin plate spline (rubbersheeting) techniques (multiple -gcp options to gdal_translate followed by the -tps option to gdalwarp) with mixed results Edit: myotis, any chance of getting a plain 'ole .img download of My Trails? At 16MB, most people will probably throw the whole thing onto their unit rather than select tiles in MapSource.
  24. In that case the primary benefit is the ability to mass-download large numbers of caches in one go using Pocket Queries. e.g. I have a PQ that gives me the 500 closest unfound caches to my home.
  25. Almost 1500 installs in five years, of which 270 use the package? Am I really reading that correctly? 1) The tracking is opt-in, probably only a certain percentage of users use it (goes back to the whole "metrics are a ****" thing) 2) Unless that includes Ubuntu statistics it isn't too meaningful. Not many people run straight Debian these days. Unrelated: As to your personally collected statistics, will an Ubuntu install give you any statistics? I'm guessing not likely, the Ubuntu packagers wouldn't be too happy with a package that "phones home" in the background, and I know gpsbabel never prompted me to collect usage statistics back when I used it. (See my post a while ago - my Oregon's native GPX support has largely rended gpsbabel unnecessary for me.) Also, for support, people will often go to ubuntuforums first rather than upstream to ensure that "distro-specific" bugs don't bother upstream. In fact I think this is general Ubuntu guidance - report bugs through Ubuntu's system (in case it's distro-specific breakage) and then package maintainers might kick things upstream if they can't fix it. As to a drop in commits to gpsbabel from users - Well, you have a fairly mature and robust project, and modern GPS receivers reducing the need for gpsbabel due to supporting more standard formats natively. The drop in contributions may just be due to a drop in needs for fixes/new functionality now that the project is very mature.
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