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corbins

US Marine Japan GPS Recommendation

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My son is in the US Marines and currently stationed in Okinawa Japan. For C-Mas he would like a hand held GPS where he could enter multiple back country coordinates and it would show him the route. Furthermore, it would need to have a compass, PC Interface, and accept data cards. An important feature would be the ability to load a map of Japan. What GPS units would you recommend?

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My son is in the US Marines and currently stationed in Okinawa Japan. For C-Mas he would like a hand held GPS where he could enter multiple back country coordinates and it would show him the route.

 

I assume you mean "show the route from coordinate (waypoint) to waypoint". Most GPS will do this, even my lowly geko-based foretrex201 will show the route.

 

Furthermore, it would need to have a compass, PC Interface, and accept data cards. An important feature would be the ability to load a map of Japan. What GPS units would you recommend?

 

Any of the garmin hcx/hsx units would do it, I'd say. The hardest part may be getting good maps of Japan. I think there is at least one free and one commercial map.

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I would recommend a Legend HCX. I just upgraded to one from the Old Standby known as a Vista. Its accurate, has mapping capability and a lot of nice gizmos. Look up the Garmin Website and do a comparison between some of their models. And send a Merry Christmas to that Marine in Japan from my family.

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Despite their immense numbers of posts and geocache finds, I respectfully disagree with the recommendations given if I am correctly understanding what he is looking for:

 

First of all, there is a killer map app out there that I have used in my 60CSx available here. It rivals MOST topo maps available for GPSr's here stateside. Depending on the exchange rate, he can get it as low as $70.00 to well over $100.00.

 

Secondly, if I am interpreting his "compass" needs correctly, then the Legend HCX **IS NOT** a good choice. Personally, if I were still active duty, I would want that added feature. That leaves the 60CS and 60CSx, the Vista HC and HCx, and the 76Csx.

 

Any of these are good units, and I would be proud to send a fellow Marine any one of them. Here's where I would draw the line and would go from "needs" in the unit to "wants."

 

******

 

Third, if I am in Okinawa and other areas that he will frequent there, I would also want the tide tables. Now it will be argued that he can add this feature to the Vista - but I sincerely doubt he has the time and may not have the know-how to do so. So, that leaves the 60CS, CSx and the 76CSx.

 

Finally, because of the overall setup of the three remaining units, I would want the control buttons to be below the screen instead of above it - especially if I am using it on deployments. That leaves the 60CS or CSx.

 

From there, you just have to decide if he would prefer the added feature of the barometric altimeter in the CSx. If he spends a lot of time island hopping in C-130's . . . then he would appreciate that feature as well . . . especially since he can calibrate with a shout up to the cockpit . . . or on the sign leading out to the tarmac that gives the elevation of the airfield.

 

Please send Christmas greetings and a hearty Semper Fi from a former 1st Air Winger!

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can't us marine provide with a military grade gps units?

 

surely it's gotta be better than consumer level units.

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Yeah, but military GPS receivers are very hard for even low level soldiers to acquire, and even then, they need to be on the battlefield first.

 

You said you wanted a GPSr with a compass. You must be referring to the sensors, i.e. electronic compass and barometric altimeter. The only receivers I can find that fit all of your criteria are the eTrex Vista HCx, GPSMAP 60CSx and GPSMAP 76CSx. Get him one of those.

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