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IndyJpr

Garmin Colorado 400t - First impressions / info / topo comparison

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First impressions of Garmin Colorado 400t:

- startup is VERY slow (about 40 seconds)

- aggravating that connecting to PC forces Mass Storage mode (and can't exit)

- aggravating that un-connecting from PC shuts unit off

- custom mapsets not quite perfect (zooms/levels off, some attributes lost)

- backlight level not maintained (or I haven't figured out how to do it yet...)

 

Nicer menu for toggling maps:

mapselect.png

 

The screenshots below compare the same point at the same 3 zoom levels for the following mapsets:

 

Garmin 2008 Topo (internal to 400t):

8t1.png

 

8t2.png

 

8t3.png

 

Old Garmin Topo:

gt1.png

 

gt2.png

 

gt3.png

 

Custom Colorado (state) mapset (40ft contours):

ct1.png

 

ct2.png

 

ct3.png

Edited by IndyJpr

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Thanks for sharing these screen shots, filesystem details, and first opinions. I'll be interested to see what you think of the 'paperless caching' capabilities - or ALL the caching features, for that matter. I think the DEM topo maps look pretty slick, even if they're still based off the old, 'crude' Garmin topo maps. Clearly, your custom, 40' contour lines mapset includes additional detail / precision - but, the shading afforded by the DEM data in quite visually effective, I think.

 

Those definitely sound like some must-fix annoyances that you've mentioned - I can't help but think there will be a volley of firmware releases once these things get 'out in the wild' and really tested in a variety of circumstances to lab and test scripts can re-create.

 

Look forward to hearing more: BTW: how is it that you got your hands on one, so early?

 

Finally: What's the current firmware version?

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"IndyJpr," are these Garmin versions of the USGS maps, or direct copies? In the screen shots you showed, I didn't see any bench marks, Public Land Survey System section lines, or other things that are on the USGS maps.

 

Thanks,

Patty

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Thanks for sharing these screen shots, filesystem details, and first opinions. I'll be interested to see what you think of the 'paperless caching' capabilities - or ALL the caching features, for that matter. I think the DEM topo maps look pretty slick, even if they're still based off the old, 'crude' Garmin topo maps. Clearly, your custom, 40' contour lines mapset includes additional detail / precision - but, the shading afforded by the DEM data in quite visually effective, I think.

 

Those definitely sound like some must-fix annoyances that you've mentioned - I can't help but think there will be a volley of firmware releases once these things get 'out in the wild' and really tested in a variety of circumstances to lab and test scripts can re-create.

 

Look forward to hearing more: BTW: how is it that you got your hands on one, so early?

 

Finally: What's the current firmware version?

 

Paperless caching

I'm no help here...I've never geocached (yet...)

 

Annoyances

I agree, a lot of issues will be addressed in the early firmware releases

 

How did I get one...

REI has an exclusive on them until mid Feb, my local REI had them and REI has a very generous return policy so I thought I would go ahead and check one out.

 

Versions:

Software Version 2.10

GPS Software Version 2.50

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"IndyJpr," are these Garmin versions of the USGS maps, or direct copies? In the screen shots you showed, I didn't see any bench marks, Public Land Survey System section lines, or other things that are on the USGS maps.

 

Thanks,

Patty

 

Yes, the first two are Garmin versions of "Topo" maps - they are not direct copies of USGS topos. The third is a custom version of "Topo" maps that I created, also not based on USGS topos.

 

The rumor is that these can handle raster maps - if true then eventually will able to see digitized USGS topos on the unit....

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I hope that's true about the raster map capability!

 

Meanwhile, what scale are the ones provided by Garmin, do you know?

 

Patty

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- aggravating that un-connecting from PC shuts unit off

That aspect is user-settable on at least some of the eTrex models. On the Vista C and Vista HCx, the way to do that is:

Go to Main menu -> Setup -> System

Check the setting for "External Power Lost". It defaults to "Turn off", but you can change it to "Stay on".

 

Maybe the Colorado has something similar?

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The rumor is that these can handle raster maps - if true then eventually will able to see digitized USGS topos on the unit....

As far as raster maps go, I'm more interested in digitized park maps with trails (like how I can create overlays in google earth of scanned park maps, or pdfs). It would be ultra slick if they applied the shading based on the underlying topo data.

 

Does the 3D mode work well with the other maps, or only with the built in topo? (I only have the built in maps, since this is my first Garmin GPS.)

 

--Marky

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Meanwhile, what scale are the ones provided by Garmin, do you know?

Everyplace I just checked had 50ft intervals although I thought I saw some spots last night that had 100ft...

 

That aspect is user-settable on at least some of the eTrex models. On the Vista C and Vista HCx, the way to do that is:

Go to Main menu -> Setup -> System

Check the setting for "External Power Lost". It defaults to "Turn off", but you can change it to "Stay on".

 

Maybe the Colorado has something similar?

No, not that I can find. There seems to be a lack of configuration options on this unit - hopefully future firmware updates will give us more control.

 

Does the 3D mode work well with the other maps, or only with the built in topo? (I only have the built in maps, since this is my first Garmin GPS.)

Not tested - but should just be a flat perspective view - similar to the highway view of older units - since the other maps don't have elevation (DEM) data embedded like the 2008 Topo does.

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40 Seconds To Boot up...and some other issues?

 

I guess my 60Csx will have to do until a couple firmware updates are made.

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40 Seconds To Boot up...and some other issues?

 

I guess my 60Csx will have to do until a couple firmware updates are made.

Unless you are turning it on and off a lot, I can't see this as being that big a deal for me. Though with that kind of start up lag, I'm surprised they don't offer some kind of battery saver suspended state option that would take a couple seconds to wake up from (but would drain your batteries eventually).

 

--Marky

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I'm guessing the boot up is loading the maps just like a nuvi. Does the 300 also take 40 seconds to boot?

I'll see if I can turn off the maps and then reboot to see. It does say "Loading Maps..." for quite a while during start up.

 

--Marky

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I'm guessing the boot up is loading the maps just like a nuvi. Does the 300 also take 40 seconds to boot?

I'll see if I can turn off the maps and then reboot to see. It does say "Loading Maps..." for quite a while during start up.

 

--Marky

 

Probably because the map contains over 6000 segments. Another reason to come out with a topo map with a reasonable number of segments.

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I hope that's true about the raster map capability!

 

Meanwhile, what scale are the ones provided by Garmin, do you know?

 

Patty

Raster would allow arial photographs.

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I just have to know...

 

Is the Alarm Clock function and constant pressure logging (even when powered off) back from previous models (Non-X models)??????????????????? :D It was a great feature of the old 60C and Vista C models. I missed it and had heard rumors that these features were back! Please let us know ASAP! THANK YOU! :D

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I just have to know...

 

Is the Alarm Clock function and constant pressure logging (even when powered off) back from previous models (Non-X models)??????????????????? :D It was a great feature of the old 60C and Vista C models. I missed it and had heard rumors that these features were back! Please let us know ASAP! THANK YOU! :D

Yes and yes

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Did the 400T come with a copy of Topo in the box? So you can view/make routes?

 

 

No, they are preloaded on the unit - nothing for the PC.

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Meanwhile, what scale are the ones provided by Garmin, do you know?

 

 

Spoke with Garmin rep about this. The ones pre-loaded on the 400t are 1:100,000.

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- aggravating that un-connecting from PC shuts unit off

That aspect is user-settable on at least some of the eTrex models. On the Vista C and Vista HCx, the way to do that is:

Go to Main menu -> Setup -> System

Check the setting for "External Power Lost". It defaults to "Turn off", but you can change it to "Stay on".

 

Maybe the Colorado has something similar?

In this case, forget the old units. The Colorado, just like a nüvi (for example) works in a different way.

If you use external power, then removing the power will show a screen, where you can select if it should keep on running on batteries or turn off.

But when using a USB cable connected to a computer, the Colorado will enter USB drive mode. It will copy the contents of the track, route and waypoint memory to the \Garmin\GPX\current.gpx file, then show up as a drive on the PC. When you then remove the cable, it has to turn off, so that it can reboot in the normal navigaton mode again.

 

Booting for navigation takes about as long as it does with my Zumo 550, which also is a unit with the new style of interface.

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I picked my 400t up this evening and there are couple things I noticed that I'm wondering if other owners have figured out:

 

1) I don't see any way to average waypoint

2) I like to search for caches while on the map page. When I get close to the cache I tend to "over zoom" the map and walk to the cache icon. The highest level of zoom doesn't really allow that on the Colorado (80ft) because the "I'm here" cursor is so big it covers the nearby icon. Any way to change the cursor size or change the zoom in range.

 

GO$Rs

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But when using a USB cable connected to a computer, the Colorado will enter USB drive mode.

 

This is what is really driving me crazy. I am so used to leaving my old GPS connected to the PC working back and forth between the two until I get everything set up. This forced switch over to Mass Storage mode has to go...

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Meanwhile, what scale are the ones provided by Garmin, do you know?

Spoke with Garmin rep about this. The ones pre-loaded on the 400t are 1:100,000.

Thank you for the information. Maybe I'd be better off getting a 300 and adding maps from another source.

 

Patty

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I'll add my list of issues based on my first impressions. BTW, my current GPS is a 60cs so my baseline of comparison tends to be that unit.

 

Issues I haven't seen mentioned yet:

 

- No way to configure the boot screen with name, email, address, etc.

- Related to backlight settings not being saved, the second time you press the power button the backlight does not come on, even at the dimmest setting. This makes it hard to see if you are even on the backlight screen or not.

- Reset control is not nearly as convenient as the 60cs. On the 60cs you could reset tracks, waypoint and odometer settings from one place. Now you need to do it from three places (odometer, waypoint manager and tracks).

- No waypoint averaging

- Overzoom on map page is more limited than 60cs, you can only zoom into the 80ft level.

- Filtering on waypoint symbol doesn't seem to exist and other than on the map screen I don't see waypoint symbols displayed at all, for example the waypoint manager summary screen doesn't use them.

- Others have mentioned you can't turn the compass off and in addition I haven't seen any place to set the "auto-compass-on" trip point speed (probably the same setting).

- Reading geocache descriptions is slow. I have a gpx file with about 300 hundred geocaches and it takes 10-12 seconds to bring up the descriptions/logs (this is not a PQ GPX, it is exported from GSAK and probably has more logs than a PQ GPX).

- From the summary cache page you have to read the description before you read the hint, since reading the descriptions is a slow process it would be nice to read the hint from the summary page.

- Can't change the track color, thickness (or any properties that I can see)

- Outdoor temp readings seem to either not work or change _very_ slowly

- I've seen one hang reading a particular cache's description. Need to characterize it more carefully but its a full blown, take the batteries out to reset kind of thing. Seems to be reproducible.

- Summary screen (with time, GPS status, backlight, etc) should display the temperature.

- Changing the cursor size and shape would be nice (it's too big for me).

 

Issues I've observed that have been mentioned elsewhere:

 

- Boot time is 30-40 seconds (most time seems to be spent loading maps)

- Backlight settings aren't saved

- Geocaches don't show up on the map.

- Can't disable the compass

- No way to mark a geocache as found

- Device goes into mass storage mode upon connect to PC

- Device auto-powers off after disconnect to PC

 

Those are the issues. None of these seems to unfixable and most are just anonyances, but I worry about how much better the boot time will get if it is related to loading maps. I'll have to say so far it has been pretty stable the the navigation is very stable. The lock is fast and the signal reception is similar to what I've seen with 60csx's (much better than my 60cs). The display size and resolution is a huge improvement for me, map redraw times are good. The most pleasant change however was the rock'n roller. As long as this thing lasts I find it very easy to move around with a single hand w/my gloves on.

 

More testing today -- I'll post an update.

 

GO$Rs

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So, If I own Topo 2008 and can load customs, is the extra $100 on the 400T just for 1:100,000 topo basemap? I live in the midwest, 50 foot elevation intervals aren't very exciting.

 

Is the 3d rendering real time or only "snapshots" of a current view?

Edited by Baumer

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So, If I own Topo 2008 and can load customs, is the extra $100 on the 400T just for 1:100,000 topo basemap? I live in the midwest, 50 foot elevation intervals aren't very exciting.

 

Is the 3d rendering real time or only "snapshots" of a current view?

 

$100 gets you Topo2008 preloaded and 4G of memory. Topo2008 and the preloaded Garmin stuff seems to take up about 3G of memory leaving you with about 1G of free memory on the 400t for maps, gpx files, POI files. etc. What isn't clear to me is how much memory is available on the 300, Garmin claims 384M. So if you believe that having more memory to preload the topo maps is worth something, but you lose the ability to view the topos on your PC. Having more free memory (even after the maps are preloaded) on the 400t is also worth something.

 

3d rendering is real time.

 

GO$Rs

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Have you tried any of the autorouting or turn by turn functions ? I would suspect its similar to a Nuvi?

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What isn't clear to me is how much memory is available on the 300, Garmin claims 384M. So if you believe that having more memory to preload the topo maps is worth something, but you lose the ability to view the topos on your PC. Having more free memory (even after the maps are preloaded) on the 400t is also worth something.

 

Can the waypoints be uploaded to the memory card or only the internal memory? (not interested in the POI tricks)

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Well I just ran into my first snag. I have installed a 1gb card in the 400T and installed part of city select maps. The install on the card worked fine. Now after unplugging the unit (and restarting it since unplugging it turn it off) the message comes up when it starts up "Can't unlock maps" Anybody have any thoughts or ideas what to do to get the maps on the card to work properly?

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Meanwhile, what scale are the ones provided by Garmin, do you know?

Spoke with Garmin rep about this. The ones pre-loaded on the 400t are 1:100,000.

Thank you for the information. Maybe I'd be better off getting a 300 and adding maps from another source.

 

Patty

 

Patty,

 

<from another source>

 

Except Garmin in the only source (they do a have 24k National Parks), unless you want Colorado or want to create your own.

 

Perry

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Well I just ran into my first snag. I have installed a 1gb card in the 400T and installed part of city select maps. The install on the card worked fine. Now after unplugging the unit (and restarting it since unplugging it turn it off) the message comes up when it starts up "Can't unlock maps" Anybody have any thoughts or ideas what to do to get the maps on the card to work properly?

 

Hmm - I dropped a 512MB SD card in that I had laying around, and installed a big chunk of City Navigator 2008 maps to the unit. However, in retrospect, I think it all went to the internal memory (about 300MB of map data) - so I think the SD card isn't in play.

 

Is there somewhere that you specifically targeted the SD card (from MapSource?) when pushing the maps - or does the unit just 'automatically' do it when it realizes the internal memory is incapable of holding the fileset?

 

I'll go pick additional data (say, the western US) and push it, and see if it hits the card.

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Have you tried any of the autorouting or turn by turn functions ? I would suspect its similar to a Nuvi?

 

I haven't actually DRIVEN anywhere yet, to see what the "prompts" look like at upcoming turns - but I did install City Navigator maps last night, and confirmed that the unit does calculate turn-by-turn directions.

 

Interesting observation, though: Perhaps it's 'modal' - I'm not quite used to this profile concept yet - but, at least while in the 'geocaching' profile - I can't seem to find a turn-by-turn listing, as I was familiar with from the 60CS / 60CSx. Maybe if I switch it to another profile, or customize the geocaching profile to add it.

 

I'll be driving around a bit today (into San Francisco), and will report back with my experiences.

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I haven't actually DRIVEN anywhere yet, to see what the "prompts" look like at upcoming turns - but I did install City Navigator maps last night, and confirmed that the unit does calculate turn-by-turn directions.

 

Interesting observation, though: Perhaps it's 'modal' - I'm not quite used to this profile concept yet - but, at least while in the 'geocaching' profile - I can't seem to find a turn-by-turn listing, as I was familiar with from the 60CS / 60CSx. Maybe if I switch it to another profile, or customize the geocaching profile to add it.

 

Quick update: YES, a quick change to the "Automotive" profile adds some additional items to the 'Shortcuts' menu, specifically:

 

Active Route

Route Planner

 

Active Route shows the turn-by-turn directions, similar to what the 60CSx displayed. I couldn't find the ability to change between "leg distance" and total distance, nor does it seem to show remaining travel time nor ETA? That seems to be an oversight - though I'm hoping/assuming I could display those items as data fields on the map page? More things to try...

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Well I just ran into my first snag. I have installed a 1gb card in the 400T and installed part of city select maps. The install on the card worked fine. Now after unplugging the unit (and restarting it since unplugging it turn it off) the message comes up when it starts up "Can't unlock maps" Anybody have any thoughts or ideas what to do to get the maps on the card to work properly?

City Select is a locked map set (I think), so I'm assuming you would have to have a spare coupon code and unlock the maps for your new unit.

 

 

Is there somewhere that you specifically targeted the SD card (from MapSource?) when pushing the maps - or does the unit just 'automatically' do it when it realizes the internal memory is incapable of holding the fileset?

The internal memory and card slot show up as two different drives on your PC - so in Mapsource you would have to select either the unit (internal memory) or the appropriate Removeable Disk (card slot).

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After a morning of geocaching here are a few more observations:

 

- I think that the screen is slightly dimmer than my 60cs (w/o backlights). It was fairly bright out this morning and I felt like I needed to use the backlight more than I would w/my old unit. I'm going to do a better comparison tomorrow.

 

- It isn't just geocache waypoints that don't show up on the maps it is ALL waypoints. This is a major issue right now and it really makes doing anything on the map page very difficult.

 

- The fact that the waypoint lists don't use icons is worse than I thought. This issue combined with the one above make finding the next waypoint (geocache, parking, trailhead, etc) a major pain.

 

- Geocaches (not geocaches loaded as waypoints) don't contain coordinates!! The first thing I did this morning was search for a cache I wanted to visit, selected it and expected to find the coordinates so I could key them into my car unit. No coordinates. I had to find the GC code, locate the waypoint for the same cache (I had loaded both) and found the coordinates that way. This is a major "opps" in my opinion.

 

- I hate not being able to turn the compass off. I like having a compass but I would like to have the ability to control it AND have some sort of icon that tells me on the map screen when the electronic compass is in use.

 

- Similarly I miss the geocaching mode to mark caches found and quickly find the next, although I always thought that there was major room for improvement on the 60cs geocaching mode (ie. like after I find a geocache I would like the option to find the next geocache or a parking location, and I would like the mode to support different types of icons for geocaches)

 

- I notice that the accuracy rings on the 60cs map page don't seem to be supported.

 

Stability and reception have been excellent. No freezes, lockups, resets or funky jumps in location. I'm happy about the basic operation of the GPS, I just wish that some of the geocaching features were more robust.

 

GO$Rs

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Man this new unit seems to be a winner. I wish I had waited a bit longer before upgrading to the 60csx. Or if they really wanted to revamp the geocaching portion of the "old" 60 series that would be nice. I wonder how long it will take to get a firmware upgrade to fix these issues noted above?

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Can someone explain why the Colorado is better than a 60csx for Geocaching? This thread is not making the Colorado look like a good choice at all....

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The internal memory and card slot show up as two different drives on your PC - so in Mapsource you would have to select either the unit (internal memory) or the appropriate Removeable Disk (card slot).

 

DUH. I went back into Mapsource, and saw that is showed both the Garmin (internal memory - in my case, Drive F:\) as well as the SD card (Drive G:\).

 

I just pushed another City Navigator 2008 mapset, this time to the SD card - and have no problem accessing it. Or... perhaps it's still just seeing the first set I pushed, which is on the internal memory. More testing required...

 

I was assuming you had used an unlock coupon, or (as in my case), purchased an additional unlock code for your particular unit and mapset.

 

As a side note: Startup time seems directly effected by the volume of maps loaded (as indicated by "Loading Maps" during startup). This shouldn't be surprising - but, it is FAR more obvious and extreme on the Colorado than, say, on the 60CS/CSx.

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Can someone explain why the Colorado is better than a 60csx for Geocaching? This thread is not making the Colorado look like a good choice at all....

 

As it is now I do NOT think the Colorado is better than the 60csx for geocaching. Right now the only thing i like about the Colorado more than the 60csx are the Graphics. I realy hope Garmin comes out with a firmware update for the Colorado soon.

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Can someone explain why the Colorado is better than a 60csx for Geocaching? This thread is not making the Colorado look like a good choice at all....

 

With the current version of software I would say that the 60csx is a better choice for geocaching today. Long term I think the Colorado has the promise to be better but its going to take some more work on the software side.

 

Right now they need to fix the following ASAP:

 

- Waypoints/geocaches need to show up on the map page

- Ability to turn off and manage the electronic compass

- Waypoint icons on the waypoints lists, select, search by icon type.

- Equivalent geocaching mode to mark geocaches found + goto next

- Ability to average waypoints (for placing caches)

- Reduce startup time.

 

Once these are addressed I think the Colorado has three major geocaching advantages:

 

- Geocache information on the GPS (major plus for me because I can ditch the Palm I carry around since I don't record data in the field)

- Bigger, higher resolution screen

- Rock'n Roller -- I like this interface much better than the 60cs(x) buttons, particularly in cold weather (ie. gloves on).

- 1GB of free memory on the unit. Lots of caches, waypoints, POI's kept on the unit w/o SD card.

 

GO$Rs

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- It isn't just geocache waypoints that don't show up on the maps it is ALL waypoints. This is a major issue right now and it really makes doing anything on the map page very difficult.

 

The Waypoints do display on the map. It is a "bug", see the instructions below to adjust the display settings....as given in another thread.

 

1) Go to "Set-up"

2) Select "Map"

3) Push the left "soft key" for options

4) Choose "Advanced" over the default option

5) Select "Zoom Level" from the menu

6) Select "User Waypoints" from the menu

7) The setting should already be set to the "Auto" default setting. In this setting, the Colorado is supposed to automatically adjust to show POI's and Waypoints within the map overlay's current view. For some reason, this does not appear to be working properly. To show the cache icons on your map, select "500 miles." This will show you the cache icons on the map unless you pan out to more than 500 miles.

Edited by Red90

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Can someone explain why the Colorado is better than a 60csx for Geocaching? This thread is not making the Colorado look like a good choice at all....

 

With the current version of software I would say that the 60csx is a better choice for geocaching today. Long term I think the Colorado has the promise to be better but its going to take some more work on the software side.

 

Right now they need to fix the following ASAP:

 

- Waypoints/geocaches need to show up on the map page

- Ability to turn off and manage the electronic compass

- Waypoint icons on the waypoints lists, select, search by icon type.

- Equivalent geocaching mode to mark geocaches found + goto next

- Ability to average waypoints (for placing caches)

- Reduce startup time.

 

Once these are addressed I think the Colorado has three major geocaching advantages:

 

- Geocache information on the GPS (major plus for me because I can ditch the Palm I carry around since I don't record data in the field)

- Bigger, higher resolution screen

- Rock'n Roller -- I like this interface much better than the 60cs(x) buttons, particularly in cold weather (ie. gloves on).

- 1GB of free memory on the unit. Lots of caches, waypoints, POI's kept on the unit w/o SD card.

 

GO$Rs

Thanks. Are assumptions being made that Garmin plans to add all these missing geocaching features or has Garmin stated that they would?

 

You didn't mention the brightness. I demoed a unit in Las Vegas (for Wherigo only) and it seemed dim to me in sunlight compared to the 60 series. Also unless the internal memory reads much faster, the memory is a non-factor to me, since memory is so cheap these days. Finally does this GPS have the Sirf chip or the knockoff? I've been reading about all kinds of bugs with the knockoff on the HCX models.

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Can someone explain why the Colorado is better than a 60csx for Geocaching? This thread is not making the Colorado look like a good choice at all....

 

Well, here's what motivated me. And, you have to keep in mind, that this is EARLY rev firmware. I don't know about you, but when I first received both my 60CS, and then 60CSx, each had unique (and some significant) problems around functionality, lockups, etc. So - based on my past experience with Garmin, my assumption is that much of this will be fixed in what are likely to be imminent (and probably frequent, for awhile - I remember an upgrade or two that actually made things worse ;-).

 

SO - why would you consider one, for caching:

 

Geocaching data. As a heavy CacheMate/Palm user, I (and many others) have already commented that the current 'geocaching' capabilities fall well short of the mark, without being able to mark caches found, time/datestamp for chronological logging, etc, etc.

 

BUT:

 

Having the cache data in hand (in a single, compact, WATERproof unit), rather than digging into my pack and pulling out the Palm - is a HUGE benefit. I know, our Magellan brothers have had this feature for years, but - it's new to Garmin.

 

The 400t has 4GB of internal memory, as opposed to the 64MB or zero of the 60CS/CSx. Peel off the ~3GB used for the built-in Topo 2008 maps, and you've still got over 1GB of available INTERNAL memory - before you even add an SD card. It looks like I can load the ENTIRE (continental) United States (City Navigator 2008) on a 2GB card. From a practical perspective, while I'm still understanding the performance implications of having all this data loaded (think about it: Find -> Food -> Restaurants -> Find by Name would search/sort/list restaurants across the ENTIRE US??) - and deciding on the "right" amount to carry, for day to day use, and know that I'll push another mapset when I travel out of state, to Europe, or ...

 

While the topo maps have the same 'resolution' (e.g. 100K) - the addition of the DEM (Digital Elevation Model) shading is HUGE. From my perspective, this shading, even with the less-granular elevation lines, provides a FAR enhanced perspective of the actual terrain (hills/valleys/etc) than even the more detailed (e.g. 24K National Park Topos) "flat" topographical maps.

 

Then new interface, while it definitely needs some work, is pretty 'sexy'. It's the most significant UI change I've seen in my experience, dating all the way back to the mid-90s and the 48 - more dramatic than even the jumps from the GPS III to a Vista, or from the Vista to the 60CS.

 

The "rock-n-roller" shines the MOST when it comes to zooming in/out on the map. It's also a directional joystick, and select button - combined with the two softkeys, I've been able to access all the same functions, with fewer 'controls'. As I mentioned, some features are a bit more 'obscured' in the new interface than I might prefer. THESE things can be updated with software.

 

So - those are some of my observations, so far. But, to your point: As it exists today, I would be a 'frustrated' cacher with the unit, and intend to use it "side-by-side" with my 60CSx (AND CacheMate on the Palm), until these issues are resolved. I'm headed to Palm Harbor, FL next week to present at a conference - and will be dragging both units along. I actually believe that a single firmware upgrade could make a huge difference: Just being able to see caches on the map, and mark them as found (ideally with "find next" type capabilities in the 60CS/x series).

 

Just one guy's observations/experiences...

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Thanks. Are assumptions being made that Garmin plans to add all these missing geocaching features or has Garmin stated that they would?

 

You didn't mention the brightness. I demoed a unit in Las Vegas (for Wherigo only) and it seemed dim to me in sunlight compared to the 60 series. Also unless the internal memory reads much faster, the memory is a non-factor to me, since memory is so cheap these days. Finally does this GPS have the Sirf chip or the knockoff? I've been reading about all kinds of bugs with the knockoff on the HCX models.

 

Some assumptions, but I've read on one the threads that some of the basics above are planned to be addressed in a release of firmware.

 

Brightness might be an issue. I noticed it today compared to my 60cs but I didn't have by 60cs with me to do a direct comparison. It could be because the screens on the Colorado are darker or than there is more glare from the screen. I plan to look at this more tomorrow. Obviously that won't be fixed via software.

 

I believe I read that the Colorado is based on Garmin's chip set -- not the Sirf. So far I haven't noticed any issues with reception and lock but it is the dead of winter around here (MA) which normally isn't a problem anyway!

 

GO$Rs

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The Waypoints do display on the map. It is a "bug", see the instructions below to adjust the display settings....as given in another thread.

 

 

I just noticed this post as well, thanks I'll take it off my list of issues!

 

GO$Rs

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Can someone explain why the Colorado is better than a 60csx for Geocaching? This thread is not making the Colorado look like a good choice at all....

 

Well, here's what motivated me. And, you have to keep in mind, that this is EARLY rev firmware. I don't know about you, but when I first received both my 60CS, and then 60CSx, each had unique (and some significant) problems around functionality, lockups, etc. So - based on my past experience with Garmin, my assumption is that much of this will be fixed in what are likely to be imminent (and probably frequent, for awhile - I remember an upgrade or two that actually made things worse ;-).

 

SO - why would you consider one, for caching:

 

Geocaching data. As a heavy CacheMate/Palm user, I (and many others) have already commented that the current 'geocaching' capabilities fall well short of the mark, without being able to mark caches found, time/datestamp for chronological logging, etc, etc.

 

BUT:

 

Having the cache data in hand (in a single, compact, WATERproof unit), rather than digging into my pack and pulling out the Palm - is a HUGE benefit. I know, our Magellan brothers have had this feature for years, but - it's new to Garmin.

 

The 400t has 4GB of internal memory, as opposed to the 64MB or zero of the 60CS/CSx. Peel off the ~3GB used for the built-in Topo 2008 maps, and you've still got over 1GB of available INTERNAL memory - before you even add an SD card. It looks like I can load the ENTIRE (continental) United States (City Navigator 2008) on a 2GB card. From a practical perspective, while I'm still understanding the performance implications of having all this data loaded (think about it: Find -> Food -> Restaurants -> Find by Name would search/sort/list restaurants across the ENTIRE US??) - and deciding on the "right" amount to carry, for day to day use, and know that I'll push another mapset when I travel out of state, to Europe, or ...

 

While the topo maps have the same 'resolution' (e.g. 100K) - the addition of the DEM (Digital Elevation Model) shading is HUGE. From my perspective, this shading, even with the less-granular elevation lines, provides a FAR enhanced perspective of the actual terrain (hills/valleys/etc) than even the more detailed (e.g. 24K National Park Topos) "flat" topographical maps.

 

Then new interface, while it definitely needs some work, is pretty 'sexy'. It's the most significant UI change I've seen in my experience, dating all the way back to the mid-90s and the 48 - more dramatic than even the jumps from the GPS III to a Vista, or from the Vista to the 60CS.

 

The "rock-n-roller" shines the MOST when it comes to zooming in/out on the map. It's also a directional joystick, and select button - combined with the two softkeys, I've been able to access all the same functions, with fewer 'controls'. As I mentioned, some features are a bit more 'obscured' in the new interface than I might prefer. THESE things can be updated with software.

 

So - those are some of my observations, so far. But, to your point: As it exists today, I would be a 'frustrated' cacher with the unit, and intend to use it "side-by-side" with my 60CSx (AND CacheMate on the Palm), until these issues are resolved. I'm headed to Palm Harbor, FL next week to present at a conference - and will be dragging both units along. I actually believe that a single firmware upgrade could make a huge difference: Just being able to see caches on the map, and mark them as found (ideally with "find next" type capabilities in the 60CS/x series).

 

Just one guy's observations/experiences...

Thanks. What is funny is that to find caches where I would be using detailed topos, I almost never need a Palm. Those types of caches are typically easy to find without hints. However, I can see the value in having that info in one place even though it takes me a few seconds to load my Palm from GSAK. A Palm also allows me to easily jot down comments and coin/tb numbers. What seems weirdest to me is why they left off the found cache and next cache function....

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I believe I read that the Colorado is based on Garmin's chip set -- not the Sirf. So far I haven't noticed any issues with reception and lock but it is the dead of winter around here (MA) which normally isn't a problem anyway! GO$Rs
The issues were with the odometer not reading at slow speeds. I think the current firmware on the HCX still won't read below 1.1mph. This normally isn't a big deal but if you are using detailed topos then you could be climbing steep mountains and going very slow. There also seems to be an issue with max speed being glitchy. Some people have done hikes where their max speed was reported as high a 90mph. So maybe you can check this stuff out. It's very possible that the Colorado could be using a newer version of the chip that addresses all of those issues. I was thinking that is was a hardware issue all along.

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- It isn't just geocache waypoints that don't show up on the maps it is ALL waypoints. This is a major issue right now and it really makes doing anything on the map page very difficult.

 

The Waypoints do display on the map. It is a "bug", see the instructions below to adjust the display settings....as given in another thread.

 

1) Go to "Set-up"

2) Select "Map"

3) Push the left "soft key" for options

4) Choose "Advanced" over the default option

5) Select "Zoom Level" from the menu

6) Select "User Waypoints" from the menu

7) The setting should already be set to the "Auto" default setting. In this setting, the Colorado is supposed to automatically adjust to show POI's and Waypoints within the map overlay's current view. For some reason, this does not appear to be working properly. To show the cache icons on your map, select "500 miles." This will show you the cache icons on the map unless you pan out to more than 500 miles.

 

Thanks - I remember seeing this while reading the forums, BEFORE I got my unit yesterday - but had forgotten about it in all the excitement. Interestingly, I HAD played with that setting, but guess I never cranked it out far enough, but...

 

It seems to have turned on MORE than just the "User Waypoints". Oops - wait: the problem is that I'd cranked the "Detail" setting up from Normal, to Most, in an attempt to see POIs. I've set it back to Normal, and now - it's what I (we?) want:

 

Caches shown on the map - in my case, both the POI ones w/ custom icons, as well as the closest 1000 waypoints, send via MapSource, with the treasure chest icon. They show different information when "moused over" or clicked on, with waypoints showing more/better formatted information than the POIs.

 

The ideal functionality (IMHO) would be linking from the custom icon on the map, directly to the "geocaching data" (e.g. entire description, logs, diff/terr, hint, etc) - with an easy way to get back (there doesn't seem to be the notion of a "quit" (/escape/back/triangle) button, as there have been on all previous units? Except when one of the softkeys changes to "done" - but that's a little different, I think.

 

ANYway... thanks for the reminder! The device just became INFINITELY more useful!! :huh:

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