# Electic Compass

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I havent owned a GPS that didnt have an electric compass such as the Vista Cx and the Sportrak color

Whats the difference between them?

The electronic compass will move when you move. For example, if you are facing north and standing in the same location you turn around and face south, the compass will show you are facing south.

Without an electronic compass, you have to actually move in that direction in order for it to show that you are facing that direction.

Also, if you are facing south and move north (backward) the electronic compass will show you as facing south while the unit without the electronic compass will show you as facing north.

The electronic compass will move when you move. For example, if you are facing north and standing in the same location you turn around and face south, the compass will show you are facing south.

Without an electronic compass, you have to actually move in that direction in order for it to show that you are facing that direction.

Also, if you are facing south and move north (backward) the electronic compass will show you as facing south while the unit without the electronic compass will show you as facing north.

So would you say the price difference is worth it between the Vista Cx and the Venture Cx?

If I'm understanding your post, GPSr that have electronic compass (such as the Garmin Vista and Vista cx), will point to your destination while you are stopped, as it knows which way you are facing.

Those without an electronic compass only points correctly to your destination while you are moving in a straight line. It does the calculations of where you are and where you have been to determine your heading. So if you stop or start turning, the pointer is useless.

If I'm understanding your post, GPSr that have electronic compass (such as the Garmin Vista and Vista cx), will point to your destination while you are stopped, as it knows which way you are facing.

Those without an electronic compass only points correctly to your destination while you are moving in a straight line. It does the calculations of where you are and where you have been to determine your heading. So if you stop or start turning, the pointer is useless.

Correct. One without an EC actually will point to whatever direction you are moving when you were last moving. it will follow your movement through a curve or turn. On EC equiped models, it will show you backing up. On non EC models when you start backing up, the direction arrow will just flip around.

If I'm understanding your post, GPSr that have electronic compass (such as the Garmin Vista and Vista cx), will point to your destination while you are stopped, as it knows which way you are facing.

Those without an electronic compass only points correctly to your destination while you are moving in a straight line. It does the calculations of where you are and where you have been to determine your heading. So if you stop or start turning, the pointer is useless.

Correct. One without an EC actually will point to whatever direction you are moving when you were last moving. it will follow your movement through a curve or turn. On EC equiped models, it will show you backing up. On non EC models when you start backing up, the direction arrow will just flip around.

Ok so do you guys think its worth the dollar amount to go from venture Cx to the Vista Cx. If you had to choose between the 2. Thats a big dollar amount difference just for the compass. But thats what i like about the sportrak color is it moves where and when you do.

I have used a Vista and an Explorist 210, the 210 does not have the electronic compass that will correct itself unless you move just as the Venture cx works. I suggest for Geocaching pay the exta and get the Vista CX.

Ok so do you guys think its worth the dollar amount to go from venture Cx to the Vista Cx.

Well, I can tell you that the compass was higher on my priority list than others. Which is why I got the Vista (the grayscal version, not the cx). The Vista cx was too expensive. The Venture cx and Vista was in my price range. So, compare the specs of those two or three models on garmin.com and just see where your priorities lie. To me, expandable memory and color screen would have been nice, but I really wanted that electronic compass. I also was concerned about battery life. The vista is 12 hours. But after 5 or six caches and I'm on the same pair of AA batteries, I don't think the battery life is much of a problem.

By the way, the "12 hour" battery life time,according to the manual, is using the GPS with compass off, WAAS off, and GPS navigation off (i.e. receiving no satellite signal). What is the point of that? I have 12 hours to enter waypoints and such? I guess there are too may variables to give any "real-world" times, but still, saying a unit has 12 hours or 35 hours is pretty pointless. Just a rant.

Ok so do you guys think its worth the dollar amount to go from venture Cx to the Vista Cx.

Well, I can tell you that the compass was higher on my priority list than others. Which is why I got the Vista (the grayscal version, not the cx). The Vista cx was too expensive. The Venture cx and Vista was in my price range. So, compare the specs of those two or three models on garmin.com and just see where your priorities lie. To me, expandable memory and color screen would have been nice, but I really wanted that electronic compass. I also was concerned about battery life. The vista is 12 hours. But after 5 or six caches and I'm on the same pair of AA batteries, I don't think the battery life is much of a problem.

By the way, the "12 hour" battery life time,according to the manual, is using the GPS with compass off, WAAS off, and GPS navigation off (i.e. receiving no satellite signal). What is the point of that? I have 12 hours to enter waypoints and such? I guess there are too may variables to give any "real-world" times, but still, saying a unit has 12 hours or 35 hours is pretty pointless. Just a rant.

Yea i like the color screen, expandable memory as well and the electic compass thats why i was looking at the venture cx and vista cx. the only difference is the compass from what i can tell and man thats a big price difference

The compass will also help when navigating in heavy tree cover when the GPS may not be updating fast enough to keep up with you. I have found it to be worth it for me.

In my opinion, and this is coming from a person who uses a GPSr with an electronic compass, you would be better served buying the Venture CX and spending part of the difference on a good handheld magnetic compass such as the Silva Ranger. I keep the compass on mine set so that it only comes on if I'm below 1 mph for 45 seconds or more and I've found that I don't look at it even then. I'm going to turn it off completely the next time I boot the GPSr up. It seems to need calibration every time I need it. It's to the point that I simply don't trust it and prefer to use the magnetic compass.

Edited by pcunningham

In my opinion, and this is coming from a person who uses a GPSr with an electronic compass, you would be better served buying the Venture CX and spending part of the difference on a good handheld magnetic compass such as the Silva Ranger. I keep the compass on mine set so that it only comes on if I'm below 1 mph for 45 seconds or more and I've found that I don't look at it even then. I'm going to turn it off completely the next time I boot the GPSr up. It seems to need calibration every time I need it. It's to the point that I simply don't trust it and prefer to use the magnetic compass.

Yea the compass I have is this one here

The compass will also help when navigating in heavy tree cover when the GPS may not be updating fast enough to keep up with you. I have found it to be worth it for me.

This is the exact reason why I say get the Vista CX.

The compass will also help when navigating in heavy tree cover when the GPS may not be updating fast enough to keep up with you. I have found it to be worth it for me.

This is the exact reason why I say get the Vista CX.

Yea i'm stuck inbetween lol I like to have that option on the gps in case something happens to my handheld compass. Or if something happens to the gps compass i have the handheld in my backpack.

Yea the compass I have is this one here

A very serviceable compass and one that I used for quite a few years during a different phase of my life.

yea its kept me pertty good while out in the field

The compass will also help when navigating in heavy tree cover when the GPS may not be updating fast enough to keep up with you. I have found it to be worth it for me.

This is the exact reason why I say get the Vista CX.

Yea i'm stuck inbetween lol I like to have that option on the gps in case something happens to my handheld compass. Or if something happens to the gps compass i have the handheld in my backpack.

Just to clarify a little. The Vista come with a built in Electronic compass AND barometric altimeter. It also comes with a Micro SD card (32 MB IIRC), and a USB data cable. The Venture comes with none of those things. So, If you a planning on buying a larger card, already have a USB cable, and don't need a compass or alimeter, go with the Venture .

Well i already have this Card and would switch out the card that comes with it and put it in my motorola razr phone. I have several of the usb cables and not sure if i would use the altimeter so it all depends on the compass i guess I mean it was cool on my old gps just to see how high i am lol

Edited by dave1980

I went from the Legend to the iFinder Hunt to the 76Cx and back to the iFinder Hunt. I didn't have the EC on the 76Cx and missed it a lot. The EC was almost invaluable to me on cache hunts. After being away from it I had to sell the 76 and go back to it.

Of course I also use a stand alone compass for backup.

I've used both. I would not spend the money for an EC. Nor would I sell a 60CSx to get a 60Cx if someone gave me the EC version.

When I had the use of a Vista I ended up turning off the compass. If I wanted it I turned it on for a single use then turned it off.

Some people get used to how the GPS works with a compass and like it. That's fine. A GPS with one isn't broke. It was more PITA than Beneifit in my case.

The important difference between one with and without is 2 steps in any direction to get the reading to start showing the right way.

Oh, and I've only once ever had a use for a compass while caching. I used the pointer on my NON EC GPS and solved the cache. A real compass would have worked better, while the EC compass would not have done me any better than my standard GPS. I do think it's fair to say though that sighting a bearing while walking is a bit harder...

You guys have some really great answers and reasons, and every post i read makes me change my mind lol this is obviously a big decision for going with either the vista Cx or the Venture Cx and it all comes down to the compass. on my old one i guess i really never did use it a whole lot. And I guess my regular compass would do just the same if i needed it. I mean most gps units get you within so many feet of the goal. I guess to save money i would go with the venture Cx unless i can see a great price for a vista that i cant pass up ebay has a few vista ones at pretty goo prices.

So i will see what other posts are made and i'll be watching prices still

I've never owned a gps with an electronic compass and never thought I would ever need one... until the other day. I was in a swampy woods where it was impossible to more more than 2ft in any direction, it was more of a hop to dry land in any direction to keep moving.

My gps compass was never able to tell me which way north was, But I have one data field set to show bearing to the waypoint so I was able to check with a real compass to keep on track. I feel it would have been great to have an electronic compass in this situation, other than that I have never had any use for one.

You guys have some really great answers and reasons, and every post i read makes me change my mind lol this is obviously a big decision for going with either the vista Cx or the Venture Cx and it all comes down to the compass. on my old one i guess i really never did use it a whole lot. And I guess my regular compass would do just the same if i needed it. I mean most gps units get you within so many feet of the goal. I guess to save money i would go with the venture Cx unless i can see a great price for a vista that i cant pass up ebay has a few vista ones at pretty goo prices.

So i will see what other posts are made and i'll be watching prices still

A map is more handy than a compass. You can ge the Venture Cx and have some money left for topo or city navigator. If you have a limited budget that's the way to split the decision. If you have enough funds to cover either GPS...well back to pondering the Compass or Not...

You guys have some really great answers and reasons, and every post i read makes me change my mind lol this is obviously a big decision for going with either the vista Cx or the Venture Cx and it all comes down to the compass. on my old one i guess i really never did use it a whole lot. And I guess my regular compass would do just the same if i needed it. I mean most gps units get you within so many feet of the goal. I guess to save money i would go with the venture Cx unless i can see a great price for a vista that i cant pass up ebay has a few vista ones at pretty goo prices.

So i will see what other posts are made and i'll be watching prices still

A map is more handy than a compass. You can ge the Venture Cx and have some money left for topo or city navigator. If you have a limited budget that's the way to split the decision. If you have enough funds to cover either GPS...well back to pondering the Compass or Not...

LOL Thanks

I dont have unlimited funds i wish i did but my wife would kill me. what i used with my magellan sportrak color was MS Streets and trips for route planning and a topo to cut and load maps and upload it to ftp. alont with GSAK.

Is city navigator like ms streats and trips? or better? and will any topo program work with the garmen as well?'

Right now i'm thinking the Venture Cx and if i need a compass use my regular compass.

Is city navigator like ms streats and trips? or better?

I have both, CN on my 60CSX & my 2620, S&T's on my computer.

IMHO Streets & Trips has a much better readable format, wish that CN looked like that. This is not to say that CN is not usable, it is and quite accurate BUT S&T's just looks great & maybe because I have always used it to plan routes & look up places, I just love it.

Oh, on edit--S&T's is not locked either, you can use it on another computer...just make sure it meets the copy-write parameters. Sometimes Costco has a good buy on it, I bought my 2006 version last year for \$36 (I think) with a rebate of \$16...around \$20 total...quite a bargain. I have the 2007 Version now which is on a DVD, it is about one Gig size...hope this helps.

You guys have some really great answers and reasons, and every post i read makes me change my mind lol this is obviously a big decision for going with either the vista Cx or the Venture Cx and it all comes down to the compass. on my old one i guess i really never did use it a whole lot. And I guess my regular compass would do just the same if i needed it. I mean most gps units get you within so many feet of the goal. I guess to save money i would go with the venture Cx unless i can see a great price for a vista that i cant pass up ebay has a few vista ones at pretty goo prices.

So i will see what other posts are made and i'll be watching prices still

A map is more handy than a compass. You can ge the Venture Cx and have some money left for topo or city navigator. If you have a limited budget that's the way to split the decision. If you have enough funds to cover either GPS...well back to pondering the Compass or Not...

LOL Thanks

I dont have unlimited funds i wish i did but my wife would kill me. what i used with my magellan sportrak color was MS Streets and trips for route planning and a topo to cut and load maps and upload it to ftp. alont with GSAK.

Is city navigator like ms streats and trips? or better? and will any topo program work with the garmen as well?'

Right now i'm thinking the Venture Cx and if i need a compass use my regular compass.

Edited by canuck travellers

S&T and some others will "work" with most GPSs. But work with is not the same as work "on".

City Navigator will load into your GPS and let you auto route with the GPS. There is a packages you can download from Garmin that lets you use City Navigator on your Laptop so that you can auto route with your laptop (with your GPS hooked up to it) and get voice prompting.

Maybe not as slick as S&T and others but since you can't load the maps from the others on your GPS and autoroute with it...I think Garmin has an edge.

Lastly, Unlock codes by Garmin are such that you can install the software on any number of computers. They will only let you load maps into your unlocked GPS.

My first GPS didn't have an electronic compass and I was forced to use a compass to get around with it. My last two (a Vista & CSx) have the electronic compass and I wouldn't buy another without it. I think it's the greatest thing since sliced bread. It's well worth the mnoney from my point of view.

I have owned both and the difference is like having a tractor with manual shift or one with the hydramatic transmission. Many times the ones without EC will read complety off unless you walk away for about 50ft or more and then walk back where you just came from. They go completely goofy when you get around 30 or 40 ft from the coordinates of the cache. The gps with EC is way better for close in work, work in the trees, being able to stand in one spot and have the compass/bearing be accurate. My wife has one without the EC and she gets frustrated when I can move right in on the cache coordinates and she has to fool around by walking back and forth trying to get a decent reading that she can trust. When I had her gps the trick that I used was to pay close attention when I was within 60ft of the cache and and then just stay on that course for about 20ft and start searching.. The little Geco 300 was my 1st gps with EC and it was very noticeable change. I would recommend saving the money and getting one with the EC.

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