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Everything posted by Searching_ut

  1. Assuming it's the Garmin TOPO that you already have, it should upload to your dakota just fine. None of the versions of Garmins TOPO I've purchased have been locked, even though the 24k product has navigatable street data. Just try it, see what happens, remembering to have mapsource check in for updates first. If you have another non garmin brand of topo map software, it won't load maps to your receiver.
  2. I just took one of my son in laws out geocaching three weeks ago and he too ended up buying a GPS (PN-40 to be exact). So far they're having a blast. Myself, I have mulitple units and slightly prefer the Garmin units, but being a Dave Ramsey sort of guy, I try to advise people to stay within their budget. The Delorme PN series is probably the best bang for the buck out there right now. While I've been somewhat vocal about not being a great fan of their TOPO software, with each new version, they've actually made pretty good improvements, to where with TOPO 9, their maps are actually getting to be pretty good.
  3. The 60/spot combo looks nice, but It needs to be pretty fantastic for me to decide to upgrade the Spot II I already have, and a new GPS. $750 for the first year and a couple hundred a year after that will be hard to talk the old lady into.
  4. Opps, posted to the wrong topic..... Hmmm, lets see, as everyone should know, I like to log the trails I hike, or ride with my atv much more than I use my GPS for geocaching. Having something that I can turn on and forget rocks....
  5. 10-4! I went to find this cache without a SPOT device; however, there were 3 other 4WDs in our party. http://www.geocaching.com/seek/cache_detai...7f-075d5cf1da81 A SPOT is an absolute requirement for going after a cache like this as the sole vehicle. Consequently, for those remote caches such as that linked above, the PN-60w with the SPOT Satellite Communicator is the perfect combination. That cache looks close enough to I-15 that I would think a cell phone would work. If not, it looks like you wouldn't have to walk all that far to get to the road. That said, if they let you ride off road vehicles in that area, it looks like a great place to play. While I don't have the new Delorme/spot combination, I do have a spot II just in case, and have been known to walk 40 plus miles through the desert for a broken down vehicle. I'm a little behind the news. Have they released the subscription prices yet for the new spot?
  6. More often than not now, the wife and I camp by motel now rather than the old tent or trailer. We've found that even in fairly remote out of the way places, wifi is pretty common in the motels, even in the areas that don't have cell phone coverage. A little netbook doesn't cost much, and virtually all of them have wifi cards built in. As for wireless data plans, most of what I consider off the beaten path means no cell coverage of any type.
  7. I haven't tried birdseye yet, and from what I've been reading here, I probably won't for at least a little while. I had a subscription to Delormes download service for my PN-40, but I let it expire, and hardly downloaded anything because it just wasn't worth my time. I've used delormes TOPO off and on since the first version, but never been a fan of it. I find it kind of like visiting the dentist. I only do it when I have to. I do on occasion download aerial photos to my Dakota using TopoFusion, but you're limited by the hundred tiles thing so you can't download much area. For the most part, you can download higher res images than what I was getting on my PN-40, but the display on the dakota isn't the greatest at showing color and contrast so it doesn't look as good as the PN-40 images IMO (One of the other posts mentions washed out, which pretty much describes it). As mentioned, I don't know what the birdseye photo quality is, so I don't know if it's more detailed or not. Now, if someone can only figure out how to bust the tile size limit so that we could use decent software like TopoFusion to take care of selecting and downloading our aerial photo, topo maps etc we'd be set. It allows you to connect tracks, draw out your own to upload to your gps, and even manages trail/track networks much more easily than what you can do with either the delorme or garmin software. I've used it since it first came out, and pretty much don't use the other stuff except for loading maps into my units.
  8. My PN-40 has done the same thing on a couple occasions now. If the hard reset doesn't work, try getting it to power up while plugged into the computer. I found that worked for me once when nothing else would. There are a couple threads about this problem and the PN-40 on Delormes website. I'm not sure, but I'd think the 30 is similar. As you have already learned, the Delormes don't necessarily like you to let the batteries run dead while it's turned on, but I have found it's only a random thing, not something you can duplicate on a regular basis.
  9. It's sad, but touch screen devices tend to be somewhat fragile when it comes to outdoor use. I've given up on touch screen phones for this reason as I keep destroying them. That said, I had a lot of issues with my old sportrak maps cracking both the transparancy over the display, and the case itself. Part of it is probably just luck. On the plus side, my Dakota has taken quite a beating so far, but I always worry I'll impact the phone at some point and destroy it.
  10. On the garmin, if you get the Garmin 24K maps, both the street data and trails are routeable. That said, I've found the trail data tends to be somewhat bad, to the point routing on it isn't really an option. I've been doing a fair bit of exploring of the backcountry of Utah, Arizona, and Idaho lately with an ATV, while carrying both a PN-40 and a Dakota 20. So far I've found neither unit to be very good when it comes to dirt roads or atv trails. With either unit, you really need to track down some one elses track data if you want to navigate accurately. As to pluses and minuses of the two units, myself I prefer the Dakota. I like the maps better, and find it just fits my use style better. That said, it has the harder to see display when outdoors, especially if you're wearing sunglasses. I found for use on my ATV neither one was acceptable and bought a Nuvi 500. Battery life is considerably better with the Dakota, which seems trivial but I just prefer having a unit that I can use all day without having to change the batteries. I can't do that with my PN-40. With both units, you can download aerial photos. That said, I never bothered renewing my subscription to the Delorme service as I found it more trouble than it was worth for me. I can't even comment on the Garmin service being as how I haven't chosen to subscribe. Either unit will get you to where you're going quite competently, and as you have already noticed, the PN-40 is probably the better value when it comes to cost.
  11. What he said I too use TopoFusion for the track analysis of the sort you're looking to do. As mentioned, GPS computed altitude isn't particularly precise, with the error being somewhere between 1.5 times and double the error you experience horizontally. It can add up significantly over the course of a hike. The barometric filtered units tend to be quite aq bit more accurate in this area.
  12. The only problem I know of with the Dakota 20 compass was one I had been reporting when it first came out. I had two different units that would loose compass calibration over time. When they did, you had to power the unit off and back on to re-calibrate the compass. The first firmware fix released for the Dakotas fixed the problem though, and now in my opinion it's one of the best implementations of an electronic compass in the Garmin line up of receivers. As for the OP, the Dakota is a nice unit, but you won't get any better accuracy, or performance any any way that makes finding geocaches easier. The dakotas are touch screen, which you may find preferable, and they do offer paperless caching which is nice depending on your caching style. That said, if you don't cache very often, I'm not sure the paperless caching alone would justify buying the new unit.
  13. It's really hard to give good advice as to what you'd like best, because everyone is different. I think you'd be pretty happy with any of the choices you're looking at. Of my more modern units, the first one I got was the PN-40. I have sort of a love hate relationship with it, but as a geocaching machine, it's actually quite good. I then got a Dakota 20, which I prefer so far for handheld use. Neither one fits my needs very well for riding around in my ATV though, so now I just purchased a Nuvi 500 to use on it, since the other nuvis and streetpilots I have aren't waterproof or suitable for that. It's a nice unit, but I would rather have a nuvi 500 case with a Oregon or Dakota functionality when off road especially when it comes to tracks, while maintaining the Nuvi street capabilty. Maybe in a few more years.....
  14. Hope I don't take us out of sync - I had to edit that post above about 4 times to get it to say what I meant. You might want to refresh the page to keep us "on the same page"! Actually, TomTom does precisely as I describe for all units with firmware versions since 7, and I would not be surprised if Garmin does the same with their road navigation units. As long as the unit is attempting to road-snap, the TomTom will display the road-snapped set of coordinates (90 degrees vs the nearest road) for a fair little distance until it gives up and admits you're elsewhere (like a parking lot or an unmapped road, or having a little off-road fun) and begins to show the actual coordinates again. I know - it seems nuts to me, too. I have always believed the best known coordinates should be displayed, not the ones being used for assumptions about road location. FWIW - that's one of the very few downsides I see in the TomTom units (although a typical user would never know or care about it). The "pedestrian" mode does not release the road-snap feature - it just allows you to walk the wrong way on 1-way streets, etc. I believe the more recent Nuvi models will allow you to shut off road-snap altogether. The geocaching friendly units MUST do it. I assume "road-snap" is TT Speak for "lock on road". My Nuvi is a 780 and has no way of turning off "lock on road" unless I choose the navigation method "Off Road", but even then, that only applies while navigating, which I wasn't when I took the screen shots. But even assuming that it was "lock on road" causing the problem, this does not explain why the N co-ordinates were identical, but the W were off. There's actually a road about 50 feet South of the position I was in, and another about 200 West. So I'd have expected the N to be different if the "lock on road" was the explanation. But I think if I have time tomorrow I'll set up both gps in the car with a video camera on them to show if there is a difference in reported co-ordinates under normal conditions while on the road. Remember, you can't really compare on the road because of the Lock to road feature. All you will be looking at is the coordinates of the road position on the map. When the unit locks to a road, the reported position is actually the location it puts itself onto on the map, and not the GPS computed location. Even the track log will be offset by the amount of the map errors.
  15. You may or may not get billed in southern Utah. Interestingly, the southern deserts are one of the areas I like to play in that I bought the spot for. (Remember, If you’re in a deep canyon down there any PLB might not work) I’m planning to go down there in about 3 weeks for some backcountry ATV exploring, and I’m pretty certain that the Spot II won’t work for me at all down there. Seems they haven’t worked all the bugs out of the Spot II yet, and by the sounds of it, they won’t be sending out replacements any time soon for the one I sent in as part of the recall. Oh well, I’ve gotten away with it for 50 years now, guess not checking in for one more trip won’t hurt. If nothing else, that area has become so built up that cells phones work in much of it, provided you can get up high. As for one of many stories about SAR in southern Utah: USA Today on Moab SAR
  16. The equipment you have, will more than likely work as good as anything in the current consumer grade GPS line up. For trees, more sensitive often results in better results. In canyons, the opposite is often the case as the sensitivity can result in multipath reception. At any given time, you might find one particular receiver works better than the other, but it doesn't tend to be consistant, and knowing in the field which unit is the most accurate is all but impossible most of the time.
  17. I am not sure where you got the $800 from. The 60W comes with the spot receiver at the $550 price point. Sorry about the price point documentation. I got then from a blog I frequent and the blogger was at the consumer electronics show. I just did a quick cut and paste. edit for clarification $550 gets you the GPS and the SPOT. My current spot subscription is $150 per year. Thats $100 for the basic check in okay, and SOS capability. It costs another $50 per year to enable the tracking feature, and another $7 or $8 for the rescue insurance, which may or may not be something you desire. Spot isn't giving a price for Text Messaging service yet, but I think it would be safe to assume it's another $50 per year which takes the spot subscription to $200 per year, which is reasonable for what you're getting, but more than some geocachers would probably want to spend based on the amount of people I see trying to get gps units for less than that amount. Throw in sales taxes, and some lithium batteries for the spot, and you're up over $800 for the first year and a couple hundred for each year after that.
  18. The unit looks interesting, but the shelling out an initial $800 plus bucks and $200 a year after than seems slightly steep. Looks like some nice improvements though. About the only feature lacking that I'd really like to see would be some means of two way communication, or at least having the unit at least let you know that the message was received. When I first heard of this possible unit, I didn't visualize two seperate units. The way the spot subscription service works, that's probably a plus, and I can see both good and bad points to the combination. I wonder if the Spot device offers at least as much functionality as the spot II when used as a stand alone device. It will be interesting to see. Finally, while I doubt they'd go for it, I wonder if I could talk them into sending me the new Delorme version of the spot when I send in my Spot II for the recall replacement. I can't imagine why I'd want two units, and if I already had the spot portion of the combination I'd only have to spring for the GPS part. I suppose while I'm dreaming, isn't the powerball lottery getting up there right now.....
  19. Interesting discussion in it’s intensity. As for a few inputs: The quartz crystal in a handheld gps unit is used to keep time for the internal clock within the receiver so it will have a rough time hack when it’s first powered up. It isn’t used in position calculation. A clock accurate enough to be used for position indication would cost more than any of us could afford. You can search and read about the calculated time used by gps receivers. Years ago, I set up instrumentation used to transmit and log satellite data when testing gps devices. From having looked that sort of data over, I'm confident in knowing upper atmospheric conditions have a fairly large effect, but you’re not going to see visually whats going on there to guess if it might affect you or not. Lower atmosphere conditions to include clouds, rain and snow have affects so slight you can barely measure them. It’s not significant enough you’ll notice anything with a consumer grade unit. I haven’t looked for the data in years, but some universities and cors stations used to put out data you could look at to see just how much signal strength varied over time, as well as atmospheric effects that would affect accuracy. Regarding the accuracy rating for gps units is universal across units because it’s based on the atmospheric affects on the signal. There are ways to process the signals differently to try and filter or calculate out those errors, but that is going to remain constant amongst same type receivers and only going to be of difference when comparing different software, or receivers. As mentioned, EPE indications are just wild guess having no way of being based on actual accuracy. They seem to influence peoples perceptions though. Finally, something well known in the test world is the tendency of people so see what they expect to see. Instrument your tests, record lots of data, and trust in the data rather than your perceptions of what you saw. A fun way to see how gps accuracy varies over time is to set up track log recording for time intervals, set the unit in a stationary position, then look at the data to see how it walks around over time.
  20. I agree, and I am really thinking that I want one. However, with a perfectly good PN-40, it will be hard to justify the cost, regardless of what that is. Oh, sheesh, darn, just as I was typing I accidentally tipped the coffee over and it spilled on my -40 and now it is starting to spark and smoke. Hmmm, I suppose the justification thing is an issue I need to start working on right away being as how I have a couple perfectly good GPS units, and a Spot II already. When I got the Dakota shortly after buying the PN-40 I had to use the old offset concept on the wife. The Mexican Rivera cruise that purchase cost me was shall we say somewhat more expensive than the Dakota. The more I think about it, wouldn’t the acids in the coffee eat the seal on the PN-40? I’m thinking that might be the story I stick to.
  21. I, too, will want to know more about pricing and other details before jumping in...but this sounds like it has the potential to be a very useful feature. I know you've mentioned how you like to go out by yourself, Searching_ut; I don't get into quite as isolated situations as it sounds you occasionally do, but I antipate being able to take some solo hikes a bit more often and with more reassurance for the concerned ones back at home base. Actually, it’s not just the ability to feel a little more secure when out on your own I find interesting and exciting, but the possibilities for when the wife and I are out on doing the backcountry 4X4 thing in the side by side atv. While I’m getting older in a hurry it seems, I’m still up to a 40 or 50 mile hike if need be should the mechanics break down. I’m not confident in the wifes abilities in that area though, and the thought of leaving her on her own don’t appeal to me either. It would be a big plus to not only have the capability to request assistance, but to specify what parts, or type of rescue was needed. We also found the spot kind of fun when we were on a cruise ship. I’d send out an okay signal a couple of times a day, which would show the kids and friends where we were, which they found re-assuring and kind of fun since they knew we were skirting around a tropical storm. We could have made phone calls from the boat, but for the cost of a couple minutes of talking you could enjoy a nice cold drink around the pool which seemed like a much better way to spend the cash. The more I think about it, the more I'm finding the concept to be the first GPS improvement in awhile that has really excited me.
  22. Sweet, While I'm still not a big fan of Delormes maps, I've got to give them credit for creative thinking. I've also got to say they're really coming on strong lately with improving their products in a very useful way. I'm thinking I'll be one of the early purchasers of this unit when it comes out, providing of course the price is somewhat reasonable. Being an exploring type of guy who is more in to trying to keep the people back home happy than I am in having a PLB, this sounds exactly like what I'm looking for.
  23. Delorme does indeed seem to targeting geocachers more than the other guys at the moment. That said, it will be interesting to see how much interest geocaching manages to maintain a few years from now, and what percentage of handheld gps users actually geocache. I know literally hundreds of people who use handheld gps units, but only of couple that geocache on a regular basis, and if anything, I think the number of geocachers I'm aware of is decreasing rather than growing in size. The other thing that will be interesting to watch is what percentage of the population actually ventures outdoors, and whether or not there will be any areas of the country where you can actually get away from it all enough to actually make navigation of any significant importance. I seek out places to explore that are way off the beaten track, but find it's getting hard to find spots where there aren't many other people nearby.
  24. I got one recently. I was distinctly underwhelmed. Any kind of canopy completely prevented the unit from making contact with the com sats. Not a single "I'm OK" message got through on 3 different hikes. And this is leaf off season. Not what I would consider thick canopy at all. It's good to see that it may be a "messaging operating specifications" problem, and the service doesn't suck this bad in reality. I got my e-mail notification of the recall a couple days ago, and when you log into the tracking page for "Spot" it tells you about it. I have yet to request a shipping box and instructions, but intend to do so in the next couple days. I think I may have experienced the battery issue. The first set lasted about as expected. The second set intitially worked for one day, gave me a low battery indication the next, then a few days latter over the Thansgiving weekend, I headed out to the Sand Dunes of Little Sahara Utah with my Quad and it ran all day without missing a single check in, and never once indicated the battery was getting low. Seemed kind of weird, and surprising since I expected battery issues because of the cold. I'm not sure if the problem we're returning them for is what I experienced on my mountain hike, or if that is just the norm for the unit. Seems to work really good on Cruise ships, driving even on roads through mountain canyons, and when playing in wide open country. On the other hand, even though the leaves are off the trees, I had sad results with mine while in the mountains. Guess I'll know better when I get the replacement unit.
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