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Map software for Garmin 60 CSX


Willow1
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I've searched around on this site and others and couldn't find the answer to this question.

 

I live in Indiana and am planning on purchasing a Garmin 60 CSX for my husband and me. My husband will primarily use it when he is hunting for deer and turkey. He will be in valleys and high tree cover. I intend to use it to geocache in city and state parks initially. I know how to get to the parks, it's how to find the cache once I'm in the park. I have never been geocaching before, but can't wait to start. I want to have the right setup to get going.

 

I've read that the base maping software is much to be desired. Is it good enough to cache in parks or do I need to purchase an upgrade? The only upgrades I'm aware of for the Garmin is City Navigator or the Topo maps. I'm wondering if, however, I need City Navigator since I can get to the park, it's when I get there I don't know where to go. But when I researched the Garmin Topo maps, I found out they are at least 8-10 years outdated.

 

So what's the verdict to get started? Stay with the base map, buy City Navigator, buy Topo, or buy another software program that I'm unaware of being compatible to the Garmin 60 CSX?

 

Thanks for your input,

Willow1

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There is no one best mapping solution. Each has its plusses and minuses. I think for the best all purpose setup you need to have at least two, Topo and City Navigator.

 

Topo has better detail for lakes, rivers and coast line. It shows most rivers, streams, ponds and swamps as well as other terrain features such as hills, ravines, cliffs and mountains. It also shows roads, but only major roads are named and road data is terribly out of date in some areas. Topo doesn't support autorouting (turn by turn driving directions).

 

City Navigator shows none of the terrain features that Topo shows. Most ponds, streans and smaller lakes and rivers do not appear on City Navigator. Things like coast line and lake shores are kind of "rounded off" and not accurate depictions of the terrain. City Navigator does however provide reasonably accurate road data and supports autorouting on your GPS. City Navigator also provides a database of millions of services and businesses. If you want to find the nearest theatre, shopping mall, post office, marina, restaurant (by type of cuisine), supermarket, pharmacy, campground, hotel, gas station, etc..., City Navigator will tell you were it is and give you turn by turn directions there.

 

With City Navigator you will find yourself using the unit for many things outside geocaching. If you want to get the most out of your 60CSX, City Navigator is the way to go. Getting directions anywhere is a thing of the past. Just get the address and you're on your way.

 

If you can't swing the purchase of both at the same time, you'll have to consider which you will use more often at first, then maybe purchase the other one later.

Edited by briansnat
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I'm new to this too, and hav enot purchased any additional maps yet. From what I've read on this forum, the topo maps are good as far as accurate coastlines, accurate stream and rivers, etc. Plus, helpful when determining if a cache is down in the valley or up on the hill. But as you stated, they are out of date, so trail info may be hit and miss. I am guessing that the best option is the topo maps plus a paper trail map when you get to the state park. Or, what some find more fun, just get to the park and go on nothing other the GPSr to tell you the bearing and distance to the cache. So far I've found 2 caches with no maps, just cache coordinates.

 

I'd suggest do a few easier geocaches before you buy any maps. If those are successful, then try some more difficult ones (ones with more difficult terrain). Then you will quickly find out if you are wishing for the topo maps.

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If you know your way around and are primary going to use the unit for Geocaching. Maps are nice but certainly not necessary. I have over 500 finds in 5+ years and do not own mapping software for my GPSrs. I have tinkered with it and may by city nav for travels but probably not much use for geocaching.

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City Navigator or Topo are your only choices short of making custom maps. That being said, you can cache perfectly well without maps at all. Any unit will allow you to put in a waypoint and navigate to it with just the compass screen. What you get with the maps: City navigator gives you much more detailed street maps that are routable as in put in a waypoint, press goto and it will give you turn by turn driving directions to the road point nearest (not always best, sometimes on the wrong side of a river) and probably get you near the cache more quickly especially if you don't like doing a lot of advanced preperation such as looking at maps of how to get to the cache location. Topo maps are not routable, are often out of date regarding roads and don't have many of the roads that are shown named. What Topo does have is information about elevations, rivers, streams, swamps etc that don't show up on the CN maps or not as detailed. With or without additional maps loaded the GPSr will get you to a point and help you find your way back. For your husband's purpose Topo would probably be more useful but not required and for yours CN. All that being said, I have the 60CSx with both CN and Topo loaded and to date haven't used the Topo mostly because it hasn't been hunting season yet but have used the CN a lot.

 

Hope this helps.

 

Wow, in the time it took me to write my reply there were 3 other replies posted, all saying pretty much the same thing. Very helpful group.

Edited by trooperdjb
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The city navigator maps, especially in rapidly developing areas, it's more important to have updated maps.

 

The topo maps....let's face it, most people that look at a topo map are doing so for ground contours or stream locations. And, that has not changed much at all in the last 10 years. Yes, trails may relocate, but someone with a good working knowledge of topo maps doesn't need a trail map; and also, anyone going out into the woods any considerable distance at all should NEVER rely solely on their GPS. If there is ANY risk at all of getting lost or stranded, a paper map and compass should be with you anyway.

 

If you ordered a USGS map of an area, the odds are quite good that the data you will see on the paper map is at least 20-30 years old. 99% of the time it still applies.

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Where in Indiana are you? Maybe you could hook up with one of us Hoosiers to help get started. I have a Garmin 60csx. The maps are not necessary for general geocaching. They do help though. I have City Navigator North America NT v7 loaded on my 60csx. With the NT version, you can fit all of the US on a 1Gb microSD card. I also have the topo maps, but they are not loaded right now.

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Thank you so much for your replies. I think I'm just going to get the GPSr to start with and play around with it. From there, I'm thinking that City Navigator is probably the way to go. If my husband really gets into using it for hunting, I bet he'll end up getting the Topo.

 

I'm borrowing my dad's unit (that he bought strictly for driving directions) for a try at an Indianapolis park this weekend. I can't wait to try it!

 

Willow1

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I'm going to chime in with my reply, too. I knew I wanted topo maps, but I also knew I wanted Navigator first. I wanted Navigator to use not only for the caching, but for getting there, too. I realize you said you don't need it for that, and you might not now, but as you get more advanced you might change your mind (i.e., if you start venturing to other areas you aren't as familiar with). I have found the Navigator maps to suffice just fine for my routing and limited geocaching (I'm a newbie).

 

Having said that, I recently (this week) got the topo maps and while I haven't yet had a chance to use them on my GPS, I have loaded them in Mapsource along with my tracks. There is one occaision that without a doubt, the topo map would have saved me a bit of headache and frustration. It had to do with a stream that was just big enough to be a complete nuisance, and whether I actually needed to cross it or not. I crossed it, but then GPS was pointing the direction I came from. So I went back to the other side, and the GPS wanted me back on the side I just came from, so thenI crossed it AGAIN back. I did find the cache and it was literally right next to said stream, so it wasn't the GPS's fault. But I had to cross the darn thing 4 times instead of the 2 I needed had I had topo to show that I did, indeed, need to cross it.

 

I don't really know how to "read" topo maps, but as I study the caches I've done and how they look on the map, I'm getting it. I think, for me, Topo is a nice enhancement. Is it necessary? No. It's a nice to have...at least for me. As I get more advanced I'll probably change my mind on that.

 

One thing I have found that is frustrating, though, is that one of the larger parks in my area, rich with caches, has a huge lake in the middile of it and the topo maps do not have this lake!! Nor do they have a lake in another local park. So even with topo installed, I'll be using it more as a guide/general idea, knowing that when I get there, at least as far as water is concerned, it might not be correct.

 

Best wishes and have FUN. I sure have been...well, except for my recent snake magnetism.

Edited by French.
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When I ask questions such as yours I hate people like me who chip in and make things more complicated.

You don't necessarily have to go with a Garmin-like product. There are other GPS options.

There is the PDA/GPS option. In some cases it can be cheaper than a stand-alone unit and a PDA has a lot more functions. Besides mapping, you can also listen to music, have a contacts list, surf the Internet, read books, and display pictures.

My biggest complaint with Garmin is they charge extra for topo maps and they have limited coverage of the most detailed maps (1:24000 maps).

I have about 450 bucks invested in my PDA/GPS setup and I get all the topos of the US I want for free.

But there are some advantages to a Garmin-like product. They are rugged and battery life is great. A lot of people use them.

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When I started, I used my 276C with City Navigator. It was great for use in the car, but when you got into the sticks, it didn't show any detail. I then got a 60CSx and Topo. I put a bigger card in it, and run both mapping programs. It's great to have Topo because it will show more detail, like that stream thats between you and the cache.

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When I ask questions such as yours I hate people like me who chip in and make things more complicated.

You don't necessarily have to go with a Garmin-like product. There are other GPS options.

There is the PDA/GPS option. In some cases it can be cheaper than a stand-alone unit and a PDA has a lot more functions. Besides mapping, you can also listen to music, have a contacts list, surf the Internet, read books, and display pictures.

My biggest complaint with Garmin is they charge extra for topo maps and they have limited coverage of the most detailed maps (1:24000 maps).

I have about 450 bucks invested in my PDA/GPS setup and I get all the topos of the US I want for free.

But there are some advantages to a Garmin-like product. They are rugged and battery life is great. A lot of people use them.

The battery life on such a unit . . . not to mention how fragile they are . . . is a big reason to not go that direction. I frequently go on long hikes with my Garmin Vista C. It has been dropped and has gotten wet. A PDA would not be very happy after such incidents . . . ;) I have my Palm with me, but it is protected, in my pack. I only need to get it out to read the cache description or the hint if I am having trouble finding the cache.

 

For $450.00, someone can get a Garmin Venture Cx, City Navigator and Topo maps, the automount, and cigarette-lighter adapter. That rugged GPSr will work for more than 12 hours on fresh batteries. :D For $30.00, they can pick up a Palm M500 on eBay to use for "paperless" caching. :)

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The battery life on such a unit . . . not to mention how fragile they are . . . is a big reason to not go that direction. I frequently go on long hikes with my Garmin Vista C. It has been dropped and has gotten wet. A PDA would not be very happy after such incidents . . . ;) I have my Palm with me, but it is protected, in my pack. I only need to get it out to read the cache description or the hint if I am having trouble finding the cache.

 

For $450.00, someone can get a Garmin Venture Cx, City Navigator and Topo maps, the automount, and cigarette-lighter adapter. That rugged GPSr will work for more than 12 hours on fresh batteries. :D For $30.00, they can pick up a Palm M500 on eBay to use for "paperless" caching. :)

 

Not to turn this into a tit-for-tat thing but...

I am a forester and have used several types of GPS units in the past dozen years or so for work. I have tried high end trimble units, garmins and other GPS solutions. My favorite is the PDA. I use a protective case and am able to run it in all kinds of weather and have dropped it several times with no ill effects.

The battery life is a minor issue. I am able to use mine several hours with no problems.

 

With the $450, I get all you said plus Internet, and music and pictures and books and PIM, and calulator,ect.

 

The PDA/GPS may not be for everyone but it is another geocaching option.

Edited by rlridgeway
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Does the memory card that comes with the 60csx have anything hard loaded on it? I bought one and also purchased the City Navigator. I had thought about getting the TOPO maps as well but was curious if i would lose anything by buying a larger memory card so that i could fit both mapping programs on there.

 

Nope, nothing on the card. You can fit the whole US from the Navigator NT on a 1Gb card and still have some room for some of the TOPO stuff. I think the Navigator NT US takes about about 800Mb.

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I've searched around on this site and others and couldn't find the answer to this question.

 

I live in Indiana and am planning on purchasing a Garmin 60 CSX for my husband and me. My husband will primarily use it when he is hunting for deer and turkey. He will be in valleys and high tree cover. I intend to use it to geocache in city and state parks initially. I know how to get to the parks, it's how to find the cache once I'm in the park. I have never been geocaching before, but can't wait to start. I want to have the right setup to get going.

 

I've read that the base maping software is much to be desired. Is it good enough to cache in parks or do I need to purchase an upgrade? The only upgrades I'm aware of for the Garmin is City Navigator or the Topo maps. I'm wondering if, however, I need City Navigator since I can get to the park, it's when I get there I don't know where to go. But when I researched the Garmin Topo maps, I found out they are at least 8-10 years outdated.

 

So what's the verdict to get started? Stay with the base map, buy City Navigator, buy Topo, or buy another software program that I'm unaware of being compatible to the Garmin 60 CSX?

 

Thanks for your input,

Willow1

Getting back to your original question: You don't need either of these programs!

 

Once you're at the park and wanting to know which direction to head. The best thing to have is an aerial picture of the area; Google Earth/Maps is the answer. When I go to a park/area I am not familiar with, I study the aerial maps to get an idea which trail(s) to take. On the cache webpage is a link marked "Geocaching.com Google Map" to the right of the little map that pops up. This is one of the most useful links GC has included as you can toggle to aerial photos, and see what other caches are in the area.

 

I'd recommend downloading Goggle Earth; the free version is plenty good enough and with MapSource (Garmin's mapping software you'll get with City Navigator, etc...) you can transfer you waypoints into G-E and open G-E with the click of a button. But when you press for time, like racing for the FTF, the link on the webpage can be most useful.

 

After 4K finds, and numerous hikes through the deserts, mtns, etc... I have yet to find the need to purchase Topo maps. I use Google Earth instead to find the trails and note the elevation changes. I can see the benefit of Topo if you're lost or hiking off trail so you see the terrain changes on your GPS, but I don't cache this way. And I engage tracks on long hikes so I can backtrack if I feel lost.

 

If you're deciding between Topo or City Navigator, definetly go with C-N. You'll find it very useful for non-caching outings as when you go out of town on vacation.

 

My two centavos.

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One thing I have found that is frustrating, though, is that one of the larger parks in my area, rich with caches, has a huge lake in the middile of it and the topo maps do not have this lake!! Nor do they have a lake in another local park. So even with topo installed, I'll be using it more as a guide/general idea, knowing that when I get there, at least as far as water is concerned, it might not be correct.

I'm going to bet that the lake is a man-made lake; as such, if it was built after the last updates to the USGS topo maps (again; 20-30 years ago) it would not show on the GPS topo. There is a very good fishing lake about one hour west of me that was built in 1998; they dammed off a creek flowing through the park and created a 2.5 mile x 1.5 mile lake, over 100' deep at the dam. That lake does not show on any USGS contour map.

 

However, that fact is also VERY nice, as a copy of the USGS contour map will show you what the bottom contour of the lake is and aides in finding fishing structure such as old bridges--they left them all in place when they flooded the area.

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[i'd recommend downloading Goggle Earth; the free version is plenty good enough and with MapSource (Garmin's mapping software you'll get with City Navigator, etc...) you can transfer you waypoints into G-E and open G-E with the click of a button. ]

 

I downloaded Google Earth as recommended; it looks like a really cool mapping program. ;) I've looked for it on Garmin, but couldn't find this out - do I have to purchase an additional map (like CN or Topo) to have MapSource? Just checking that a version of it doesn't come with the unit.

 

Thanks,

Willow

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There is the PDA/GPS option. In some cases it can be cheaper than a stand-alone unit and a PDA has a lot more functions. Besides mapping, you can also listen to music, have a contacts list, surf the Internet, read books, and display pictures.

 

I have about 450 bucks invested in my PDA/GPS setup and I get all the topos of the US I want for free.

I am new to this sport as well. I am familiar with obtaining free digital, ortho-rectified (in the proper coordinates) USGS topo maps. However, I am currently working on getting my paperless system set up and don't yet have my PDA working. Is there a way to get the topos to the Garmin? Or can I view them with the cache locations on them somehow? I'd like to use the skills I already have and just add the GPS portion, but I can't seem to figure out how to make all of it work.

 

I would be very interested in hearing more about how you use the free topos and whether you can see caches on those or not. What program are you using on the PDA to view it? All that...

 

Thanks!

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