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Want GPS (mapping) but nothing fancy


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I would like to buy a handheld GPS with mapping capabilities. However, I don't need or even want expensive maps of all over the world and any cities. All I want is to be able to enter a few maps around where I live (province of Quebec) and be able to see a live update of where I am on the map when I go hunting, fishing or geocaching for that matter. Having colour would be nice but grayscale is ok. There are no cities anywhere north of where I live. All of the roads are un-named timber roads and there are new ones every year. Which inexpensive GPS will do that for me? I already have a Lowrance GlobalNav 200 but it's time to upgrade a bit.

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Well, the most affordable Garmin model that holds maps is the Etrex Legend, $160 MSRP. It has 8mb internal memory and will hold MetroGuide maps. But, it's quite outdated and slow compared to the new H series with color screens and significant signal sensitivity. Next up would be the Etrex Venture HC, $214 MSRP, with 24mb of internal memory.

IMO, the best value is the Etrex Legend HCx. It has color, high sensitivy, supports auto-routing, and an external memory card. MSRP is 289. All the Etrex' can load up with the more affordable MetroGuide, but for the GPS' that support auto-routing, it's best to use City Navigator NT.

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I'm afraid that any mapping unit will be only a portion of your cost. Maps are an added expense, even if you only want a few. There are ways to make your own free topos in small areas and that may be the way you want to go.


If you purchase maps, plan to spend an additional $100-125. And the new roads that they add every year won't show up. And probably not the ones they added last year.

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Yes BelchFire, I plan to only use maps that cover my territory using a program like Oziexplorer and maps that I can either scan myself, or find on the internet. Where I go hunting and fishing (Saguenay region of Quebec), there are few maps anyway. There are no large lakes and rivers and most don't even have official names. The roads are all unmarked lumber roads which I can add to the maps myself after having tracked them out in my vehicule, VTT and snowmobile. I don't intend to spend much money on maps because I don't need very many of them. If there is any way that I can erase the basemaps in my GPS, I will gladly do it because I don't need all that info. As for travelling to any city that I do not know, I use programs like CarQuest or MapQuest to get directions if I really need them. Things like Google Earth, don't even have close ups of the area where I live. I'm certain that only a few megs of memory will be sufficient for my use, since I plan to download the area I will be playing in from my computer just before leaving home.


Yes, the Etrex Legend looks good. So does the Lowrance H20. Are there any that are even cheaper? I don't mind a slower GPS, I don't travel very fast anyway...lol. Even my Lowrance GlobNav 200 is accurate enough as it is now. However, with that thing, I can't use a map of any kind and certainly not have live update when I'm hiking or driving to some of the tiny brook trout lakes I try to find. It's nice to know that the tiny trail that I'm travelling on is at least going in the right direction.

Edited by phern47
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I plan to only use maps that cover my territory using a program like Oziexplorer and maps that I can either scan myself, or find on the internet.


Natural Resources Canada has made all of the 1:50000 and 1:250000 topo maps available free of charge so you should have no trouble getting maps for Oziexplorer. However these type of maps are not compatible with any handheld GPSrs that I am familiar with. You can certainly download waypoints and tracklogs (or upload them to your GPS) with Ozie but you can't load the maps into your GPS.


To use a mapping GPS you are going to have to buy the software. Lowrance has the Mapcreate Canada topo which covers all of Canada and costs around $130.00. I've used it and would rate the detail and accuracy on par with the topo maps. I am sure that Garmin has a similar product for the Etrex. Both units appear to be close in price and features.


By the way I had a GlobalNav 200. But once you try a mapping GPS it hard to go back.

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