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Everything posted by DogFleazJR

  1. This is the same problem with an EC - if you're a bit lazy and hold the unit at 15 deg from level, guess what? the arrow is not going to point in the correct direction. The only difference in function between an EC equipped unit and one without, is the EC unit can correctly display the GPS orientation while standing still. The non-EC unit has to move a few feet to get its bearing and update the display. Once that is done, the functionality of the two units is exactly the same. Your comment above is not quite correct. While moving, the non-EC unit doesn't care how you orient the unit to yourself, it reports the bearing based on your current position and the coordinates of where you are trying to go. You can hold the unit with the screen facing away from you and the bearing pointer will still point to the waypoint. Or try this, hold the unit flat in front of you like you were using the EC but with the EC turned off. Now slowly rotate the unit 360 deg as you walk toward the waypoint. The bearing pointer will keep pointing straight ahead to the waypoint, even if you are holding it 90 deg off. Some people seem to think the GPS uses the compass to calculate the bearing to the waypoint. The compass signal is used for display purposes only. Bearings are calculated solely from coordinate data. Once moving, I turn off the EC. For me it is hard to hold the unit level and clump through the woods.
  2. Not quite. The arrow has nothing to do with the compass. The arrow behaves EXACTLY the same way regardless of whether you have a unit with an electronic compass or one without. The arrow always points at the waypoint, when the EC is on, or if the EC is off, or if there is no EC at all. If the arrow always points to the waypoint, why turn the EC on at all? I think Grasscatcher's point is most people who have an EC don't understand why they have an EC, end up using it in a way that is not what they think, and then get frustrated with the compass. If all you are going to use your GPS for is geocaching, you don't need an EC. Save yourself some aggravation and some money and get a non-EC model. (like a new 60Cx instead of the 60CSx) (it's ok to rant, we understand. But once you calm down, get your GPS and try it out. You will find what I said above to be correct)
  3. It is called the compass page because it displays the compass rose so that you can see your bearing in relation to the cardinals. This is true whether the EC is turned on or not. The functionality of the page is exactly the same. The bearing pointer is the default set up, you do not need to select this. The alternative pointer is the course pointer which is for boating use. If you don't select a "go to" point, no pointer is displayed whether the EC is turned on or off. The EC is simply an extra sensor that overrides the GPS when displaying the bearing. The advantage of the EC is that it will display the correct bearing when stopped or moving very slowly. A "typical" compass, like the trusty Silva, has a needle that rotates and points to (magnetic) north. The compass on the GPS does not function this way - it functions like a ships compass where the pointer is fixed (the little notch at the top of the screen) and the compass bezel rotates to show your bearing relative to (true) north. As you point out, the bearing pointer (the red arrow) on the GPS is not the compass needle. The bearing pointer points to the selected "go to" point whether the EC is on or off. I have only found the EC useful when using the GPS in conjunction with a paper map and when you are way out back. Maybe it is only me, but I have a hard time trying to orient the map to north while simultaneously walking through the woods to get my bearing, all while trying to locate myself on the map. It is much easier to stand in one place and get me, GPS and map all oriented. Now that I print many of my own maps I superimpose the UTM grid on the prints. With the GPS set to UTM I don't need the compass anymore to find myself on the map - I simply read the northing and easting off the satelite page and then read 'em off the map. Kinda old skool, but sometimes simple is the best - and I'll never waste money on another set of crummy topos for the GPS. I still believe the misconception with the compass is that the bearing pointer will point directly at the cache when the seeker is within 50 ft of the GZ. As you point out, it is not the compass that is pointing at the cache and it is not the compass needle that jumps around, but the GPS changing its mind about where the cache is located based on its inherent positional error. Enjoy!
  4. John E, you hit the nail on the head. Most users get frustrated with their compasses because they think the compass will point them in the direction of the cache, but when they get close to GZ the needle starts jumping around. Worthless compass!! It is not the compass that is jumping around, it is the location of the cache as reported by the GPS that keeps moving around. The compass does not make the GPS any more accurate. If you want to use the compass most effectively, when still several hundred feet from the cache, note the distance to go. Then, using the EC, project a waypoint in the direction of the cache but 300 feet beyond. Follow the pointer and count down the distance to go. If you are having poor or erratic reception problems, this is the best way to go - no more bouncing around of the GPS bearing pointer or the EC. The cache will be somewhere on that line, you just have to get the distance right (assuming the posted coordinates are accurate!) Good Hunting!
  5. Barometric altimeters also provide much smoother track data than the GPS altimeter. As Hertzog mentioned, the vertical accuracy of GPS units is much lower than the horizontal, so vertical positional errors are magnified and produce a lot more "noise" in the reported elevation. The pressure signal has a lot of dampening behind it so a lot less noise. If smooth track data is not important to you, or you don't plan to also use your GPS as a portable weather station, then a GPS without the barometric altimeter is perfectly acceptable. Another complaint of barometric altimeters is you can't use them to determine altitude in a pressurized airplane cabin. You will have to trust what the captain tells you.
  6. I have had exactly what you describe happen to me, although I was autorouting at the time. Everything was as it should be and then the detailed maps disappeared (I did not realize this at the time as I was on the interstate), then when I left the highway, the unit melted down and gave up trying to autoroute. This was 4 months ago - v3.3? I chalked it up to the SD card. Powering the unit down and up again seemed to fix it. I have noticed since updating to 3.5, that if I power the unit up and select use with GPS off before acquisition, I get a track log on the SD card with a single point at my last known location. This seems to be a new phenom.
  7. Thank you for the help. I use TopoFusion for recording and mapping trails. TP runs on Windows platform only I believe. It links to USGS maps via Terraserver and Nasa's OnEarth photo maps including LandSat. 2m USGS topographic maps are available for most areas. Maps can be printed or exported as .jpg. One great feature of TopoFusion is the trail network feature which averages out mulitple tracks to give you a more accurate representation of the trail (essentially averages out the position errors). The more times you log tracks for a trail, the more accurate the final "reported" track will be. You can also create 3D renditions of maps and tracks and also complete climb and profile analyses. All tracks and waypoints are saved in .gpx format so they can be used by other programs including MapSource. Maps can not be exported (without additional means). You can import data directly from your GPSr or import it from MapSource once you save it as a .gpx file. They offer a free demo version that has all the functionality, it just doesn't download all the map tiles. You can play around with it to see if meets your purposes and then buy the full version. Good luck!
  8. High speed cards are not not recommended for GPS applications. The "high speed" recommended for digital cameras relates to the write speed, critical when collecting large amounts of data associated with digital photos and video, especially for fast sequencing. Data transfer rates when downloading maps to the GPS will be limited by the USB2 connection, not the card write speed. In normal use of the GPS, including look up of POI data, there will be no noticeable difference in performance. Buy the 2G card. You will never regret having more storage than you need.
  9. You have to be selective about what you download, and with the serial connection it takes about an hour to download the whole 19MB. I can fit most of the New York metro area in 19MB including SE Conneticut and the eastern counties of NJ. I travel for business and always carry my GPS with me. I used the V exclusively for over 5 years and it was a great travel companion. With some planning and patience the unit will work fine for you. A year ago I upgraded to the 60CSx. With a 2Gb card I have the entire lower 48 states.
  10. The compatibility chart on Garmin's website shows City Navigator North America as being compatible with the GPS V. ( I own and use a V, but still using the original City Select maps that came with it seven years ago). When CN first came out, Garmin sent me an upgrade offer to convert to CN (which I declined to do). The NT version will NOT work on the GPS V You may be able to find a new copy of CitySelect online (Garmin still lists it as a product, but not available for on-line purchase fro their store, not sure what that means) I also noted that City Navigator 2008 is not listed for the GPS V but is listed for other units (like the 60CSx). If in doubt, I would call the tech support number at Garmin.
  11. You will get a lot of different opinions. I own a 60CSx and my 2000 vintage GPSV. My two cents worth ... Items 1 and 2 are nice features but far from necessary to be a successful geocacher. Many people complain about the electronic compass and barometric altimeter on the "s" models, others insist on their value, there seems to be no middle ground. I find the compass helpful when I'm using the GPS in conjunction with a paper map which is something I've never had to do while geocaching. One thing to keep in mind is the elec. compass is most helpful when you are standing still, once you are moving/walking the GPS compass is as accurate and more stable. My opinion, if you are only using the unit for geocaching, skip the "s" models and save $50. The geocache feature allows you to mark a geocache symbol waypoint as "found" (changes the waypoint symbol to the open chest) on the unit and helps you keep track of what you have found and when. It is a helpful feature, but far from a "must have." I keep a pen and a sheet of paper folded in quarters in my day pack. I note on the paper that I have found a cache so I can try and remember to log it when I get back to a computer. My system works just fine for me, I don't use the Geocache feature. Item 3 - the Sirf chip models (like the 60C(s) x and 76C(s)x and other models) have outstanding performance in terms of acquiring and holding a signal in tough conditions. Lost or erratic signals are the most frustrating aspect of using any GPS in any context. I would definitely spend the money to get a Sirf set. You will get much more enjoyment out of your unit. Note: the advanced chip set doesn't make the unit more "accurate" just more "reliable." Item 4 I can't speak to, I have not used a 76, but my assumption is the screen is comparable to the other units. The ability of the handheld units to auto route is a great feature and there is no need to buy a separate unit for your vehicle. I would not buy a 60C(s)x without getting City Navigator. The combination of GPSr and nav maps is very useful, and you can easily move the unit from car to car, take it with you on vacation, rental cars and so on. My recommendation: handheld, sirf unit, navigation ready, nav maps. There are several to choose from, I think any would meet your needs. Good luck!
  12. The GPS V came with a serial cable connection to the PC, not a USB connection. Generally this should not be a problem, but the transfer rates are much slower via serial cable. Make sure you get the CitySelect software for autorouting. The maps are unlocked to the unit so you will continue to be able to download maps to the GPS once you install the software on your PC. For reference, these units were selling second hand for $125 a year ago and the technology is even more dated now. It is odd that the face plate says GPS III and the start up screen says GPS V. Another good reason to expect a lower price. I have owned a GPS V since 2000 and it has performed very well for me. I use a 60CSX for hiking and autorouting now, but the ol' V is still my first choice when kayaking.
  13. You don't state what software you are using, but you should be able to change the position details from DD MM SS to UTM in the software preferences. The software will do the translation for you. If you are using a Garmin receiver with MapSource... In MapSource, go to Edit/Preferences Select the tab for Position Note which position format is currently being used Change the Grid to UTM Leave the Datum at WGS84 Now when you set a waypoint in MapSource, you will enter the coordinates in UTM format. Once you have created your new waypoint in UTM format, repeat the steps above, but change the Grid back to what it was originally. Your UTM waypoint details will now be displayed as DD MM SS. Your GPSs will do this translation for you as well under the set up screens. The specific steps will depend on your specific unit. Happy Mapping!
  14. Thanks, tried it and it seems to work! Even easier, when the GPS is searching for signals, from the satelite screen, press MENU and then select New Location and then Automatic. It may take slightly longer to lock than panning with the map, but it saves the time of panning with the map. This came in handy when I flew from New York to Sydney. The GPS couldn't get a lock until I selected the New Location option.
  15. Only garmin maps will work on the handheld out of the box. If you want to use your GPS for auto-routing you the following options: purchase City Navigator NT on DVD find an old version (v4 or earlier) of metroguide that auto-routes (but the maps are old) "hack" newer versions metroguide so that they can auto-route (search the forums for guides) Use nRoute (free from Garmin) to connect your GPS to your laptop and let the laptop do the navigation in Streets and Trips
  16. I would agree that a summersault over MTB handlbars would qualify as "hard use!" A dry pouch can't hurt a GPS. Just makes the buttons harder to push and the screen harder to read. They are also relatively cheap. My V is over six years old, was in the drink last season with no problems. I do worry about the seal around the battery compartment cover, especially on the side opposite the hinge. My biggest concern on the 60CSx is making sure to remember to close the rubber cover over the USB connection. I suspect I will kill my CSx through forgetfulness long before the gasketing becomes brittle.
  17. I never go kayaking without my GPS (usually my ol' Garmin GPS V as it's triangle shape sits on the deck nicely, wedged under deck bungie where I can easily see the screen, and my 60CSx as well). I have logged 100's of miles of kayak tracks. The GPS keeps track of pace, distrance travelled, distance to go, etc. All very helpful info when you are out on the water. I have gone swimming (by accident) on a number of occassions. Worse that has happened is I managed to put two nice scratches through the screen protector and into the screen of my 60CSx when it popped out of my pfd pocket and got wedged between the boat and a rock. The GPS made out better than my shin. Battle scars! Most of my paddling is on fresh water. You have to figure that the GPS is going to get wet when kayaking - spray, rolls, waves. Salt water is pretty tough and can really gunk stuff up. I put the GPS in a clear dry pouch when I'm in salt water. This may not be necessary, but seems like reasonable assurance. Neither the V nor 60CSx float. For the V, I put a biner clip on the wrist strap and clip this to the deck bungie as a safety cable. If I do go over, or the GPS slips out from under the bungie, it is staying with the boat and not decorating the bottom. I haven't found a good mounting solution for the 60CSx. It goes in the pocket of my pfd and I clip the wrist strap through the pfd buckles so it stays with me (even if it pops out of the pocket, a scratch in the screen is still better than a lost GPS!). I also added a bright orange floating key fob to the wrist strap which is enough for the unit to float with rechargable NiMH batteries. The V is a brick and would take a milk jug to float! Happy paddling!
  18. You should also verify the auto routing capability of the Canada MetroGuide product. Current versions of the US MetroGuide do not auto route out of the box. You have to use third party software to modify/change/fix/hack the maps so that they can be used to autoroute on your GPS. Something to be aware of. The CN product works very well in my opinion and not a bad deal for the money. If I understand the recent change correctly, it only comes with a single unlock now which is kinda cheap on Garmin's part (IMO) and will only encourage buyers to delay upgrading their hardware due to the cost of the software. Happy navigating!
  19. A suggested clarification: when you have both topos and CN loaded on your PC, you can only view one set at a time just like on the GPS. There is a drop down menu on the MapSource tool bar where you select which map set to display. Select CN from the drop down menu in MapSource, select the map tiles you want to download to the GPS using the map select tool as described, then toggle to the topos and select the topo tiles you want to down load. These will be added to the map tab on the left side of the screen. When finished selecting maps from all sources, then download the whole lot to the GPS. NeoGeo has provided a nice step by step on modifying the registry so that you can copy the topo CDs to your harddrive and not deal with the CDs any more. I highly recommend doing this. The total memory requirements of the selected maps will show at the bottom of the maps tab. You are limited to roughly 2050 total map tiles regardless of the size of your unit's memory. With the topos, you will exceed the tile count limit long before you reach the memory limit of a 2Gb memory card. Happy trekking.
  20. I also love my 60CSx. I use Radio Shack 2100mah NiMH batteries, now going on six years old, on a full charge (12 hrs to fully recharge these old dogs) I get 15+ hrs of "normal" use (clipped to a shoulder strap or a deck bungie). I do not discount claims of 20 hrs on newer 2500mah NiMH rechargeables. Things that I would improve: - earlier low battery warning. The beep isn't very loud and you only get one warning just as the unit shuts down. Kinda lame and should be fixable in the software. - Louder turn-by-turn warning beeps. There is no volume control. If you are talking to someone in the car or have the radio on, fuggeddabowdit! You either like or hate the electronic compass and barometric altimeter. No one seems neutral about them. I like them both, although I get more value out of the altimeter, it is accurate and creates much smoother track logs compared to the GPS altimeter (at least compared to my old unit). I only use the compass occassionally, but like the fact that it holds my bearing when I'm stopped, a nice feature in many circumstances when you are lost and confused (thick fog, kayak, two miles from shore). The 76 also seems very comparable to the 60. Happy trails!
  21. I routinely get WAAS corrections on my 60CSx and my ol' GPS V here in Morris County, New Jersey. I will lose WAAS reception and then get it back from time to time, but no problem receiving it. I have not noticed a significant improvement in "accuracy" based on the WAAS corrections on the 60CSx. Even the reported EPE does not change much with WAAS reception (I have even seen the EPE increase). On my ol' V, WAAS will improve EPE by 5 ft or more, but the signal on the V is not nearly as reliable as the 60CSx. Don't know if that is normal, but that's been my experience
  22. More detail is nice, but 1:100k is hardly useless. When you're in the mountains your ability to pick a route is limited to line-of-sight, meaning you may end up bushwhacking up an 800 foot climb without realizing that there is a streambed around the ridge that avoids the climb completely. There is a thread on here that talks about a private individual offering 1:24k maps of all of Colorado from I-25 west. It would be nice to have the additional detail, but I'm currently weighing the advantages of that over the cost. I agree for the rockies, wasatch's and so on the topos are a nice addition. But I would still carry a paper map with me if I was heading into the back country. For New Jersey and New England, I have not found the topos to be all that helpful. It is not so much the level of detail (or lack of it) but viewing a topo on a 2" x 3"screen is pretty tough to get any real appreciation of the topography around you. I suggest trying out the map viewer on Garmin's web site for areas where you will be using the GPS and decide if the information is helpful or not.
  23. Load your waypoints into MapSource and then save it as a .gpx file (select Save As, and then use the drop down box in the pop up window to select the file type as .gpx, default is .gdb) E-mail this file to your friend and he should be able to download it to his GPS the same way he downloads othr waypoints.
  24. How do you get it to respond differently at differing zoom settings? I thought it would just have to be one or the other -- track up or north. Richard Page to the map screen and MENU/ Set up Map Select the left-most icon at the top of the screen ( the compass rose) Scroll down to Orientation, select Track Up Scroll down to Below, and select the zoom level where you want Track Up to switch to North Up Happing Tracking!
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