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Which Gps?


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We introduced geocaching to our relatives and friends and now both my brothers are keen on joining the sport. Only problem - they both need to get GPS's :P I started looking around and discovered that it's no easy job deciding on a single unit :lol: Even Garmin's shopping assistant can throw some questions at you which is not so easy for a novice to decide on.


So tell us what GPSr you are using and why. What do you like about it and what don't you like about it. If you could afford it, what would you go for. You are also welcome to explain some of the technical stuff like map enabled, 12-channel receiver etc.


I was fortunate to be issued with a Garmin GPS V at my work. I use it (officially) to record coordinates of projects and to "rough survey" plantations, farm roads, etc. Unofficially I use it for geocaching and tracking district roads, farm roads and 4x4 tracks (for making my humble contribution to Tracks4Africa) In the rare cases where I have to navigate through a large city like Jo'burg, I also use the GPS' autorouting capability.


If I have to buy my own? I would definitely go for something with an electronic compass and barometric altimeter. So far never went caching on a rainy day, but we might need something water proof - just in case! A little more than 19MB space for maps would be great and the monochrome screen is not always very clear while driving in daylight.

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Took me about a month to settle on the eTrex Legend. I wanted to use it for hiking mostly, but then discovered Geocaching. I think for Geocaching you do not need anything more that the most basic unit. Unfortunately the South African culture dictates that you must buy the most expensive unit you can find. Price, to some people, is the only consideration. The more expensive, the better. I was in a conversation once with someone who hunts profesionally. ALL he needs is to mark a waypoint at the kill, move on to the next kill and by the end of the day, backtrack to pick up the carcasses. Now to me, a Gecko type GPS would be fine, but NOOO, you should see the huge GPS this guy bought in the end, just because paying ONLY R1000 for a GPS unit did not sit right with his image. Now he is stuck with something he cannot carry with him....


I figured I needed something small that I can carry easily with at least some water protection, as it was going to be used on my (then) motorcycle. My eTrex has since expired and I have replaced it with the Legend C. In my mind, the best move I've made. Still small and compact but with the added benefit of auto-routing, which does save time when you arrive in a strange town and you need to be near a cache. The colour screen, I thought, was going to be difficult to read but it's clear and a very nice unit to use. As I do not fly/glide, I had no use for the barometric height measurement in the Vista, so even it is 'more expensive', I do not have a use for it, so the Legend it was. I have a little compas with me at all times, so no need for a electronic compass either.


Point is : You have to make sure that the unit you buy suits YOUR requirements.

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First, determine EXACTLY what you are going to use it for and what your budget is.


Then use this to get a selection off the Garmin site, and download the manuals! Read 'em and choose.


Personally I prefer Garmin, and I think if you're interested in autotouting they are the preferred option regarding availability of maps. If you don't want autorouting, then There is a huge range available out there from different manufacturers.


I use a GPSV from Garmin and wouldn't trade it for anything else

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My opinion, you don't need all the bells and wistles. For example, how many of us would like a cellphone that's just a cellphone and not a camera. Usability, usability, usability! I rank the eTrex as highly usable cuz it has a joystick type button. I use the Garmin GPSIII Plus which hasn't let me down even if it's old.

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Garmin has so many models that you have to decide what you really want to do with your GPS. As I had geocaching and hiking in mind as the main uses of a GPS I decided on the eTrex Vista (monochrome version at purchase time). It has electronic compass/altimeter (great for hiking) and 24MB for maps. This model has definitely served its purpose as it is small and light-weight. Auto-routing would be a plus too so I might be looking at the colour version (Vista C) soon. Power consumption was also a factor as you do not want to carry too many spare sets of batteries with you. The Vista runs about 2 days on a set if you do not use the light and electronic compass.


The other day I was scouting around for a new cache location when I accidently dropped my GPS into a small dam. Luckily it is water-proof and survived .javascript:emoticon(':huh:')



I have not used any other brands of GPS but I am happy with the eTrex family (Vista + Legend). Most of the new units boast colour displays which is a great improvement.


The Vista was going for around R4000 at the time but a geocacher friend in Boston (RATK12) brought me one from the USA for $300 (R2500). The only problem is that the basemaps are for the Americas and not for South Africa and the local agents in South Africa will not service it. javascript:emoticon(':lol:')


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My personal opinion is Garmin (I've never worked with any other brand - speak to Whostops and Azaruk...). A eTrex (Vista / Legend is sufficient, GPSMap C60S is my personal choic (I own(ed) both models). I bought mine on eBay cause the price (my GPSMap was cheaper that what you can buy a eTrex locally - and I took this up with the local dealers...) was better.


Contact me if you want to get contacts for my suppliers in the states.

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One thing I have to add to the mix here is that it sometimes does pay buying locally. My case, I bought a eTrex Legend in 2000. Four years later the unit started having hassles switching on. It required special coaxing to get going. SO I handed it in at Avnic, and because it was bought locally, they fixed it free of charge. On a trip to Vaalwater one of the kids carrying my GPS fell and used the GPS as a cushion. Not good. I ended up with a cracked screen and the switching on problem re-appeared. So this time I handed it in with the infamous KJ Bolton. This time round though there was going to be a bill as the damage was self inflicted. BUT they offered to upgrade my unit to the Legend C. The bill came to Price of Legend C (new) - Price of Legend (New) + Repair damage. If this had been an overseas unit, I would have been told I was on my own. Friend of minehad hassles with his 60C he bought from KJB, and the unit was swopped, no questions asked. Yes I agree that the prices are a bit inflated, but imagine you get your eTrex Vista from the US and say the electronic compass does not work. What u gonna do. PAY to have it fixed locally ?

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I agree with Brick about buying locally. However, in my case, I have purchased most of my electronic toys (PDA, dig Camera, etc) in Dubai / Abu Dhabi because the company I work for does a lot of business in that part of the world and the guys are going there every few weeks. This makes it easy to return the faulty unit to the supplier in the UAE.

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