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Delorme PN-20 what do you think?


HummerH1
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I have used it for a while and it has been great. There are a few bugs that are getting worked out right now for the next firmware release as long as with some enhancements (hopefully with in this month) that will make it sooooo much better. With the 5 different types of mapping that can go on the unit, it beats any other GPSr in that catagory. Using some of the aerial data really makes a huge difference in being able to locate a cache in unfamiliar territory.

Edited by benjamin921
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There are two or three threads that should turn up some more detailed discussions (search for "Delorme PN-20"; here is the longest). I find it very promising, and look for the firmware upgrade to take care of some out-of-the-gate concerns.

 

In my reading, the PN-20 seems to compare favorable with the sensitivity of the 60csx, but the autorouting and search features of the 60csx look to be a few notches above the PN-20. The topo maps on the 20 are ver-r-ry nice.

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I got a PN-20 to play with, and while I'm not yet ready for it to replace my 60CS for Geocaching in a firmware revision or two I might be. There's a lot of information available on DeLorme's forums, but here are my quick impressions.

 

The topo maps and aerial images on the PN-20 are very nice and the aerial images in particular will be helpful for finding caches in unfamiliar territory. That said, once you've used up your 400 sq. km of free downloads they're terribly expensive. You can apparently order them on CD for a lot less than the downloads (I don't understand that pricing model) but even so they're still expensive. You can use their TopoQuad data with the PN-20, which gives you the USGS 7.5 minute quad maps but not the aerial imagery.

 

Physically, I prefer the 60CS. They're pretty comparable in size, but the 60CS feels smaller and the tapered case fits my hand nicely. The PN-20 is OK, just not as nice. The PN-20 has more battery options. It will take standard alkaline or NiMH AA cells, or you can get a Li-Ion battery for the PN-20 and can charge it in the unit.

 

The UI is where I think the 60CS really shines. It may just be because I've been using it (and other Garmins) for a long time, but I really do think the 60CS has a better designed UI. Things seem better laid out and more intuitive on the 60CS. Garmin uses bigger fonts and makes better use of graphics, and it's a lot easier on my aging eyes. The PN-20 uses a really small font for most things. Also, the PN-20 feels slow - I'm often waiting for it to do things, where the 60CS is always quick to respond.

 

I like what you get out of the box with the PN-20. For a decent price you get the unit plus routable streets and good topo data for the entire US (if you live anywhere but the US it's probably not of much interest to you). The additional maps and aerial photos are great, but once you get to like them you'll end up sending DeLorme a lot of money a little at a time.

 

Anyway, the PN-20 seems very much like a 1.0 release. It's a little rough around the edges now, but I'm pretty confidant that it will get polished nicely. Given that this is their entry into this market, DeLorme has a lot of incentive to get it right. Plus it seems like a lot of the DeLorme engineers are outdoors types that actually use the thing. It has great potential, and I have high hopes for it.

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I have been looking at the Delorme PN-20 for use as a Geocaching gpsr. It has some very nice features such as the topo maps.

What do you think of it? Is it better than my 60csx?

 

Barry

 

That unit is designed for someone on foot not someone who travels longer distances. So it could be a good unit for a hiker/geocacher.

 

The problem with distance (such as what you would cover say on an ATV) is that when you zoom out on government USGS 7.5 minute DRG's, you very quickly lose your detail; the map becomes unreadable. What is really needed is the ability to toggle back and forth between 7.5 minute and 30 x 60 minute maps. Technology will get us there, one day, in a handheld GPS unit. At present the only means of doing this is with an iPAQ.

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Does the PN-20 have a geocaching mode like the garmin or Magellan?

No. However, the comments field for each waypoint is rather large (I forget how large...200 characters maybe?), so with GSAK you can get a lot of data in there.

Edited by embra
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The problem with distance (such as what you would cover say on an ATV) is that when you zoom out on government USGS 7.5 minute DRG's, you very quickly lose your detail; the map becomes unreadable. What is really needed is the ability to toggle back and forth between 7.5 minute and 30 x 60 minute maps.

I just wanted to point out that you have complete control over what data is displayed at what zoom levels, by using the Data Layering menu option on the Map Page. You also control the zoom levels the maps are cut at, so if you find the defaults don't work, you can adjust them.

 

Currently, I have been using the PN-20 a lot for road navigation. I make Street Atlas type maps by removing all topo type data from very large areas of the state. I don't need shaded relief, contours or land cover when doing road navigation. For ATV you will want some of these, but my point is you can cut them for what you need. You can setup the maps in your mapset (3DTQ, Aerial, Satellite, and Topo) to display the type of data you want to see at different zoom levels. Even after you do that, you can still change what is displayed at a given zoom level, by turning off either a specific data type, or the map that is displayed.

 

This of course all depends on the data you are using, and what zoom levels the data is displayed appropriately at. It's easy to over/under-zoom ADP data, but with Topo and the PN-20, that's totally controllable by the customer. If you don't like the looks of aerial or satellite at a certain zoom level, just change the level the maps are cut at.

 

To the best of my knowledge, there is no other GPSr or PDA that will give you this much control over what is displayed, when you want it.

Edited by JeepCheck
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Does the PN-20 have a geocaching mode like the garmin or Magellan?

No. However, the comments field for each waypoint is rather large (I forget how large...200 characters maybe?), so with GSAK you can get a lot of data in there.

You get 256 characters in the Comment Field. embra is correct, with GSAK you get a lot of info in there. I usually put the size of the container, Terrain and Difficulty, the name of the cache and the hint (+any other info I might find pertinent) in the comment field which works out nicely.

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This of course all depends on the data you are using, and what zoom levels the data is displayed appropriately at. It's easy to over/under-zoom ADP data, but with Topo and the PN-20, that's totally controllable by the customer. If you don't like the looks of aerial or satellite at a certain zoom level, just change the level the maps are cut at.

 

To the best of my knowledge, there is no other GPSr or PDA that will give you this much control over what is displayed, when you want it.

 

Right, though with 7.5 minute maps, that is a waste of time. We need 30x60 minute maps for zoomed out viewing, instead of zoomed out 7.5 minute maps. Government 7.5 minute DRG's, as is where is, are just too difficult to read in that display, in any scale but close-up. Of course, this issue gave birth to the vector maps products that zoom all the way through the spectrum.

 

My bellyaches- I don't like having to download all 7.5 maps from online. Delorme should have continued to provide these on disc. They no longer do so.

 

Agreed there is no other unit like it. I salute Delorme for stepping up with the first of its kind. I'm excited to see what the competition will come up with. Get me toggling between 30x60 and 7.5 minute maps on a decent size display, a realistic amount of tracks allowed, and I'm down with it. :D

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I've played with a friend of mine's PN-20 a couple of times and for now, it's something i am just not interested in. One thing that i found right away is that it's processing speed (lag time after pushing a button) is very slow. I would end up pushing a button a couple of times, thinking i didn't hit it good enough the first time, and it would skip right over the screen i was trying to get to. This is something i don't think we should have to experience with today's technology. She also has experienced some bugs that have shown up, i don't remeber what they were but there is supposed to be updates coming through to allevaite them. It looks to me like Delorme jumped the gun with the unit's debut by not first taking addressing some of the unit's bugs and hopefully, minor problems..

 

One other thing and this is only my personal opinion,,,,, the unit itself is uglyyyyyyyyyyyyy. :laughing:

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This of course all depends on the data you are using, and what zoom levels the data is displayed appropriately at. It's easy to over/under-zoom ADP data, but with Topo and the PN-20, that's totally controllable by the customer. If you don't like the looks of aerial or satellite at a certain zoom level, just change the level the maps are cut at.

 

To the best of my knowledge, there is no other GPSr or PDA that will give you this much control over what is displayed, when you want it.

 

Right, though with 7.5 minute maps, that is a waste of time. We need 30x60 minute maps for zoomed out viewing, instead of zoomed out 7.5 minute maps. Government 7.5 minute DRG's, as is where is, are just too difficult to read in that display, in any scale but close-up. Of course, this issue gave birth to the vector maps products that zoom all the way through the spectrum.

 

My bellyaches- I don't like having to download all 7.5 maps from online. Delorme should have continued to provide these on disc. They no longer do so.

 

Agreed there is no other unit like it. I salute Delorme for stepping up with the first of its kind. I'm excited to see what the competition will come up with. Get me toggling between 30x60 and 7.5 minute maps on a decent size display, a realistic amount of tracks allowed, and I'm down with it. :)

A couple of months ago, when I purchased my PN-20 from DeLorme, I also purchased the 7.5 by 7.5 USGS topo maps for the state of Colorado and they were sent to me on CDs. After loading them on to my laptop, I transferred the areas I wanted in my PN-20 to the 1 Meg SD that I put in the slot on the laptop. Fast transfer and not really expensive by buying the entire state.

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Sounds like a promising GPSr. Does the PN-20 have any type of carrying clip or strap? Are there any cases available for it yet? I just got a coupon in the mail for $299 for this unit. Very tempting to upgrade from my Meridian Color. I wonder when the next version of this GPSr will come out and the upgrades it will have.

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Does the PN-20 have any type of carrying clip or strap?

Yes. See quote below for the standard package.
What's in the Box

 

* › The Earthmate GPS PN-20, a rugged, IPX-7 waterproof, TFT color-screen, handheld GPS receiver

* › DeLorme Topo USA software with full U.S. topographic and street-level detail

* › Pre-loaded worldwide highway and major road base map

* › Certificate for $100 worth of Aerial Data Packet downloads from DeLorme (up to 400 sq. km)

* › USB interface cable

* › A convenient neck lanyard

* › 2 AA Energizer® alkaline batteries

* › Comprehensive user's manual with usage scenario tips

 

 

Are there any cases available for it yet?
Yes. From the reports, this is a very good case.
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Sounds like a promising GPSr. Does the PN-20 have any type of carrying clip or strap? Are there any cases available for it yet? I just got a coupon in the mail for $299 for this unit. Very tempting to upgrade from my Meridian Color. I wonder when the next version of this GPSr will come out and the upgrades it will have.

$299 is a great deal for what you get...and you do not have to pay extra for the Topo6 package! If you do decide to get the PN-20, I would recommend you spend the extra $20 or $30 for the Power bundle as that is a great package. Regarding your last sentence, I believe from reading the technical forum on the DeLorme website a couple of weeks ago that a major upgrade is expected out probably at the end of this month with some good changes. Get your PN-20 now and just download the firmware update from the website when it comes out. I did that for their first update and it was very easy and simple process. I did a comparison between the 60CSx and the PN-20 and based on best value, I selected the PN-20 and am happy I did. The carrying case is $19.95 and again, it is worth the investment.
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