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I have decided to purchace a GPS Map 60CS but is the compass worth the extra money. I will be using it for Geocaching and hicking. While geocaching does the electronic compass read the cache location while stoped or is it like the other compass only while walking? Please advise

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The compass works just like a real magnetic compass it will point the direction whether you are moving or standing still. GPS units that have a compass screen but no actual internal electronic compass require you to be moving in order to show which direction you are pointing.


I have the 60cs and I love it. I wanted a unit with all the bells and whistles so I got that one. I know I can get by without the compass, and I don't use it all the time, but it has come in handy on occasion.


Hope that helps!

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The electronic compass on the 60CS, if properly calibrated, will continue to read directions, even when stopped.


As a 60C owner, I see no use for the electronic compass, since I carry a cheap but accurate magnetic compass in my pack.


60CS owners will tell you that they can't imagine caching without the electronic compass, and once you try it you will never go back.


I haven't tried it, so I don't have any regrets. :o

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I have found the compass on my GPSmap 60CS to be very useful when geocaching.


However, the real reason I got it was because I like to fish some offshore reefs. The "delta position" compass of the 60C gets real confused when the combination of wind, current, and motor push a boat in a direction other than straight forward. The e-compass is a real plus in these situations.


I also use the e-compass to triangulate areas in the salt marshes were I might want to duck hunt. Basically I can sight-and-go on an area were I see ducks flying around in the distance even several miles away. The sight-and-go will draw a straight line to where the birds are. I then move some distance away and take another sight-and-go and mark the intersection of the two lines. It works like a champ.


One more thing, I do hike in the Blueridge Mountains several times a year and have found the barometric altimeter useful, but it's when I'm home in the lowcountry with an elevation from 0 to 27 feet amsl, that the barometer becomes a fairly good weather forecaster.


The worse case scenario is that I'd rather spend $50 and have the compass and barometer and never use them than to waste the $50 on hamburgers and CDs and wish I had an e-compass.

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Another cool use for the compass is when navigating trails on topo maps, especially with poor GPS reception. You could be on any one of three nearly-parallel trails, but the little triangle which represents you on the map, will be pointing exactly along the trail you are actually on.


This saves me time on almost every trip, and is for me a better reason to have the compass than the "last 30 feet to the cache" reason (which is, however, also cool).

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We are new to geocaching and went out for the first time sunday. I bought two gps at the same time. 1 with an electronic compass and 1 without. OK... there is a learning curve but we didn't find any caches with the gps without the built in compass and did not know that I needed to go out and buy a magnetic compass. So if you don't already own one factor in another $10.00 for the compass and now your $40.00 apart.

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The magnetic compass is useful, but not a necessity. Some people actually dislike it because you have to calibrate it every time you change batteries.


Personally I prefer it and figured that since I was already spending that much money for a GPS I may as well go the extra yard and get everything.

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To answer your question...no, plus the baro altitude I do not care for since it does not display actual altitude when flyingin pressurized aircraft


I guess that you didn't buy the optional pressurized cabin Pito Tube accessory from Garmin. :)


Oh... I forgot the real reason for this post. I just got off the phone with a geocacher that I met this weekend and he said that we did very well finding 6 cashes the first time out (3 hours 45 min). It's because of the electronic compass I am sure.

Edited by b_rad2cool
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I myself have gotten funny looks from people who see me spinning in place trying to calibrate the compasss.  :P

Instead of holding the GPSR and turning in a circle you might just put the unit on a level surface and turn just it. Works great for me.

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Better to spend the money now than to wish you had. Besides if you do much hiking in the mountians the altmeter will give you the total number of feet you have climbed. Looking at my 60CS now I see that I climbed a total of 249 feet, reached a max. of 602 ft and at 347 feet right now ( live in flat upstate NY).

The compass does come in handy when caching. My 5 year old grandson loves to follow the arrow, and would bush-wack all the way to the cache if I would let him.

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I myself have gotten funny looks from people who see me spinning in place trying to calibrate the compasss.  :lol:

Instead of holding the GPSR and turning in a circle you might just put the unit on a level surface and turn just it. Works great for me.

Yep, just spin the 60CS itself for calibration, not me, I get Dizzy! :D

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I have decided to purchace a GPS Map 60CS but is the compass worth the extra money. I will be using it for Geocaching and hicking. While geocaching does the electronic compass read the cache location while stoped or is it like the other compass only while walking? Please advise

What are the real purposes of you purchaseing a gps in the first place? If it's primary use is to go geocaching I would say not to pay the extra for the compass. After all, you can always buy a real good magnetic compass for less than $20. And they don't need batteries. If you are into hiking and plotting maps and visual courses of travel, the maybe the gps with compass feature is for you. But then again, if thats for you, then you would be foolish not to get and use a real magnetic compass.

Like I said, If all you plan on doing is caching, you don't need it.

On the other hand, if you like really neat and cool gadgets get the gps with the compass.

After all, it's what you want that really counts.

Did I really confufuse you?

-Jeff :yikes:

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a magnetic compass is not an option, it's a necessity. a paper map is not an option either, it’s a must.


a gpsr can easily hurt you in the bush, electronics and batteries can fail in an instant. in the event of a terrorist attack the govt can shut down the entire satellite system to the public. where are you then?


the electronic compass in my 76cs is used for guiding me to waypoints, campsites, and fishing spots – my silva ranger ultra 530 is to keep me and my group alive and get us home.


I’m not much of a geocacher yet. but when you’re deep in the wilderness – a map and compass is invaluable.


spend the $50 and get the compass option on 76cs - you’ll regret it if you don’t.


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Having used a basic yellow w/magnetic compass for a couple years and 300+ caches I am VERY glad I went with the electronic compass in my 60cs.



  • saves time (don't have to compare gps screen against physical compass)
  • points accurately despite bad sat reception
  • points accurately when you've slowed near a cache
  • points accurately when you turn to look around or backup a bit
  • is less confusing when there's bounce
  • makes projection caches infinitely easier
  • offers Sight-N-Go
  • is one of the least expensive electronic compasses

I do find I have to calibrate it more often than each battery change though. (But you can easily just hold the belt clip in your hand and rotate it with a finger.)


I also don't calibrate it flat, but at a more natural viewing angle...


Recently I did a cache designed to send you around a wide expanse of water--some folks visually looked at landmarks, some divided their team, some used compasses, few used FRS radios.


Using Sight-n-go I simply made a waypoint at the destination! Saved tons of time, took no thought/planning, was very easy and earned me a FTF. (Speaking of which, if those scratch-offs are worth anything it could go toward paying off that $40...)






PS: YMMV, but I've never heard someone regret getting it--only folks stating they don't miss it.

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I choose the 60C and have never looked back. Used the extra $50 towards some MapSource products. I have never personally found a need for the compass and from what I have read its a drain on the batteries. I opted for longer battery life and to use my real compass.

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Sight and go, and projecting a way point are 2 very good reasons for getting the compass. I was pleasantly surprised by the accuracy and ease of use. Another point to note is that when you are using "track up" and you have stopped walking to take a bearing, turning around in place will leave the display oreiented in the wrong direction (track not up). Having the internal compass on keeps the "track up" oriented in the right direction without necessitating movement on your part for the direction indicator arrow to be accurate. I ususally just turn the compass on when I need it, and off when I'm done. I don't have any problem with holding it level for a reading....you will be happy you got it.



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I use a 60C....I've never missed the compass and for the fifty bucks that could be used for something else ...I don't mind taking three or four steps to let the unit know which way is 'up'.... As a matter of fact.I've probably changed batteries more times than the 'direction while standing still' was a concern. I would spend more time calibrating the compass (at each battery change) then it would take to walk the three or four steps

Just my two cents

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I am glad i bought the 60CS the compas is a nice feature and even though i have it i still carry an magnetic compas in my backpack and have another in my girlfriends backpack, talk bout overkill lol but it never hurts to play it safe when ya play..... :anicute:

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I am not sure if the "sensors": Altimeter and Compass are worth the extra money but I can tell some circumstances where i found them useful:

- When you are stopped at a crossing and do not know which direction to take the compass will help you.

- The altimeter smoothens the altitude reading the GPS provides. This gives you much better elevation profiles.


I own a Garmin GPSmap 60CS i do not regret paying the extra money above the 60C. It has to be pointed out that the Compass drains batteries when on but the battery life i get from 2300mah NiMH rechargeables is OK. You can always switch it off when not needed.


The compass has to be held horizontal to work properly.

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