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elenaluna
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I've read a good many of the topics here and still can't quite figure the answer to my question about Garmin maps.

 

Which should I buy if I can get only one?

 

I'm a little disappointed with the base map on my new eTrex Legend HCx (got it for my birthday a couple of weeks ago and been geocaching since), but was somewhat prepared for this disappointment and I'm prepared to purchase another map set from Garmin. (Even though I dislike these proprietary deals, I understand why.)

 

So, all that said, I see that I can get the Garmin Topo 2008 for $80-$90 and City Navigator for $20 bucks or so more.

 

I live in an area with county roads all over the place and travel to areas with lots of hiking trails and want a map set on my GPS that contains the best selection of both.

 

I've read that the topo set from Garmin is not all that accurate or inclusive (especially regarding trails) and I wonder if I would be better off getting the City Navigator even though most of my GPS use will be in the toolies. The Garmin web site actually makes me leery of both of them as their "try it" maps seldom work..lol

 

Right now, my $$$ situation will allow for the purchase of only one or the other.

 

Which one should I buy?

 

For the future:

 

I have a 1GB card for the HCx. Will both fit? I can't find any information on how the size of either mapset.

 

Thanks for any and all input...

 

Marlishduo

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There is very little trail data available on any set, except perhaps the National Park Series. You get a few trailheads in Topo 2008, but not the actual trails.

 

City navigator is required to get any kind of auto routing going, I'd spend my money there first.

 

You can cache without topos, but you cant route without street maps of some kind.

 

All of Topo2008 (preloaded to the 400T) plus City Navigator maps for 6 midwestern states is about 4GB

Edited by Baumer
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I would get the City Navigator maps because auto-routing is very useful. Then, keep checking eBay for the Topo maps. You can purchase those used because they don't have "unlock codes." The Topo maps can be useful because they show the contour lines, but they are not detailed enough to show trails, although sometimes they show "roads" that have turned into trails over the years. :ph34r:

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I live in an area with county roads all over the place and travel to areas with lots of hiking trails and want a map set on my GPS that contains the best selection of both.

 

I've read that the topo set from Garmin is not all that accurate or inclusive (especially regarding trails) and I wonder if I would be better off getting the City Navigator even though most of my GPS use will be in the toolies. The Garmin web site actually makes me leery of both of them as their "try it" maps seldom work..lol

Where do you live, and where do you cache? If Garmin's "try it" is giving you problems, I can post some sample screenshots from Mapsource showing those areas you're interested in, in both Topo and City Navigator, and you can use those to help you decide.

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Which should I buy if I can get only one?

 

Its best to take a look at them yourself and see which contain the information you want. Go to http://www8.garmin.com/cartography/ and select a map product in the MapSource Map Viewer drop-down field. Its a wonderful ability for you to view the maps before you buy them.

 

Personally I use the City Navigator pre-loaded on a chip most of the time, and then bought the National Park 24K topo maps for my visit to Glacier National Park.

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I have both Topo 2008 and City Navigator 2008; here is what I found between them.

 

City Navigator 2008

----Street and road location are accurate.

----Some county roads, especially gravel my not show up.

----Few if any BLM or Forest Service roads show up.

----No trails I have seen so far.

 

Topo 2008

---Some streets and Roads show shifted off from where they are. You see it on the Mapsouce too.

---Does not have all the city streets only some.

---You can navigate but it doesn't route well. (It may be using base map not sure)

Edited by Idahogreggory
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Which should I buy if I can get only one?

 

Its best to take a look at them yourself and see which contain the information you want. Go to http://www8.garmin.com/cartography/ and select a map product in the MapSource Map Viewer drop-down field. Its a wonderful ability for you to view the maps before you buy them.

 

Personally I use the City Navigator pre-loaded on a chip most of the time, and then bought the National Park 24K topo maps for my visit to Glacier National Park.

 

Ah, well, as I said, the results on the Garmin website's "look at the maps before you buy" is extremely disappointing. As I zoom in, I get blank maps an thus can tell nothing about the detail available.

Edited by elenaluna
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I live in an area with county roads all over the place and travel to areas with lots of hiking trails and want a map set on my GPS that contains the best selection of both.

 

I've read that the topo set from Garmin is not all that accurate or inclusive (especially regarding trails) and I wonder if I would be better off getting the City Navigator even though most of my GPS use will be in the toolies. The Garmin web site actually makes me leery of both of them as their "try it" maps seldom work..lol

Where do you live, and where do you cache? If Garmin's "try it" is giving you problems, I can post some sample screenshots from Mapsource showing those areas you're interested in, in both Topo and City Navigator, and you can use those to help you decide.

 

I live in northwest GA and we do our geocaching near there, of course. We RV to Colorado/New Mexico in Spring and or summer and will geocache along the way and while we are there.

 

Example: Some friends and I went to GCD30B in Eastern Alabama (you can see Flagpole Mountain from my house in Georgia) yesterday. We found the cache OK, which is on the Pinhoti Trail, but my Legend HCx wanted to send me on a 16 mile trip back through Georgia, over into Alabama and back again even though we were at the trailhead and only a couple of miles from the cache. All because the county road we we on wasn't included on the base map.

 

Anyway, the screen shots would be appreciated! Thanks!

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There is very little trail data available on any set, except perhaps the National Park Series. You get a few trailheads in Topo 2008, but not the actual trails.

 

City navigator is required to get any kind of auto routing going, I'd spend my money there first.

 

You can cache without topos, but you cant route without street maps of some kind.

 

All of Topo2008 (preloaded to the 400T) plus City Navigator maps for 6 midwestern states is about 4GB

 

Hmmm, now I'm really confused! LOL

 

I thought the City Navigator map included all states and Puerto Rico also. Do you load it state by state?

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Yes, you load City Navigator (as well as all/most) Garmin maps by segment. In the case of CN NA, each state (for the most part) is one segment. Note that a few states are more than one segment (CA, TX) and a few New England states are in the same segment.

 

So you can load all of it (if it fits on your card) or just some of it.

 

Wow, so what size would be needed to load all of City Navigator 2008 on a micro SD? How about CN 2008 NT? Does it take less room?

Boo to Garmin for not including this kind of info on their website..

 

I keep getting more and more disappointed in Garmins maps! LOL

 

(I need to straighten something out here. When I started this topic, I signed in and didn't notice that I was posting as "elenaluna" the name my DW used to register at the beginning of our geocaching career. I later registered as marlishduo, to cover us both. I deleted all cookies and seem to be able to post under the name I sign in with, now. So, for this topic, I am both elenaluna and marlishduo. LOL

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I live in northwest GA and we do our geocaching near there, of course. We RV to Colorado/New Mexico in Spring and or summer and will geocache along the way and while we are there.

 

Example: Some friends and I went to GCD30B in Eastern Alabama (you can see Flagpole Mountain from my house in Georgia) yesterday. We found the cache OK, which is on the Pinhoti Trail, but my Legend HCx wanted to send me on a 16 mile trip back through Georgia, over into Alabama and back again even though we were at the trailhead and only a couple of miles from the cache. All because the county road we we on wasn't included on the base map.

 

Anyway, the screen shots would be appreciated! Thanks!

Here are three screenshot of the area around GCD30B.

 

The first is with City Navigator, and the next two are Topo. All three are at the same zoom level (1 mile per division as shown in the lower right corner). The first two are at the "Highest" level of detail; the third shows a little less detail in case the first Topo looks a bit cluttered (it's set to "High" instead of "Highest").

 

GCD30B, City Navigator North America 2008:

0538334d-c77b-41c0-9a54-39cefd263a44.jpg

 

GCD30B, Topo USA 2008:

9609ccdb-a9a2-4eb9-986e-ad530a1a9596.jpg

 

GCD30B, Topo USA 2008, less detail:

b9de60de-46e1-4065-8e7b-4943592782ca.jpg

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Wow, so what size would be needed to load all of City Navigator 2008 on a micro SD? How about CN 2008 NT? Does it take less room?

Boo to Garmin for not including this kind of info on their website..

 

I keep getting more and more disappointed in Garmins maps! LOL

 

No, this is actually a good thing for most users. They may not have enough space or processor speed to handle all the maps. It's actually a fairly simple process.

 

All of CN NA NT is 64 segments and 998.5 MB. I can't speak to the regular CN NA.

Edited by Motorcycle_Mama
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I just bought a Legend HCx myself this month. I did buy a 1GB memory card and Topo2008 along with it.

 

Here was my reasoning: It is the topo data I'm most interested in while caching. My previous gps had no mapping at all for it, so I always used paper maps for driving to locations. I want to know what obstacles are between me and a cache location after I get parked there, especially any water features. I tried both the topo and streets online, and found the topo maps to give better mapping of water features, and of course steep hill slopes are also there to be seen.

 

There are plenty of roads displayed on Topo2008, if not quite as fully up to date as the Streets maps. I pretty much see all the streets and roads displayed in and around my hometown.

 

When I decide I want auto navigation with routing and turn directions, I will buy a dedicated product for automobile use. An eTrex gps is just not the most appropriate tool for that job, IMHO.

 

As for memory use, I loaded Wisconsin, and most of the surrounding states (my area of interest) onto the 1GB card and it occupies less than 300MB of it. I read complaints about how slow the process of loading onto a card is, but it was all done in about an hour from beginning to end for me. Definitely was not an all-night thing like some people have reported.

 

Now I just am waiting for the blasted snow to stop accumulating so I can get out and search for a cache or 2.

 

Also keep in mind the caching style of a person's advice. A good day for me is logging 3 caches. I like to fully explore the trail and parks that the cache is leading me to, and I don't play the numbers or FTF games. I often will spend more time taking photos while exploring than searching for caches. Somebody who does a lot of "cache-n-dash" activity and logs many caches per day will likely find the topo maps meaningless and want the streets maps with auto-routing.

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OK, thanks to everyone responding. The screenshots from the crabs were especially helpful as was the info from mama concerning memory size needed.

 

It looks like I will end up getting both mapsets as there are advantages to both. I'm sure that's the way Garmin has it figured out! LOL I really wish I knew how much space both mapsets would take up so I'd know what size card to get. I'd like to take advantage of the "x" part of my new GPS and have all the maps loaded. Is there any disadvantage to this?

 

Hammer, thanks for the tip on caching style and map usage. It sounds like our caching style is much like yours and your advice makes good sense.

 

Again, thanks to everyone replying!

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OK, thanks to everyone responding. The screenshots from the crabs were especially helpful as was the info from mama concerning memory size needed.

 

BTW... all of City Nav (not NT) fits on a 2Gb card. It's generally around 1.7 Gb, but changes a bit depending on which year you're loading. I've used every version from 2004 and up and they all fit on a 2GB card for the US & Canada. Note, this is for the standard version, not the NT version... I haven't messed with the NT version at all.

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marlishduo, you won't be able to load ALL of CN and TOPO no matter what size card you get. There is a segment limit of 2025 segments. You can't load more than that number of segments no matter where the maps come from and no matter what the size is. If you are loading topo maps, you will likely reach the segment limit long before you reach the size limit of the card that the GPS unit can read. Get a 2GB card, and you will be fine. You'll just have to choose which segments to load.

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I'm using Garmin TOPO USA 2008. I'll relay my observations with that product and maybe it will help with your purchase decision.

 

The TOPO USA 2008 mapping is drawn from 1:100,000 scale U.S. Geologicial Survey (USGS) topographic maps. At that scale, the maps lack much of the detail typically found on USGS 1:24,000 scale maps (the "Quad" maps commonly used for hiking). The details that I'd like but can't find on the TOPO USA 2008 maps include some forest roads, most trails, and detailed topography (contours on the maps I've used so far have been 100' to 200'). Even though I can zoom in, the detail is simply not there. It seems like the only thing that makes this product "2008" is that Garmin has added points of interest. The CD-ROM covers the entire the entire Unitied States, which is a plus.

 

Garmin lists the US TOPO 24 mapping as being at 1:24,000 scale. The Map Viewer at Garmin.com shows that, at least in my area, the coverage only includes National Parks, National Forests, and some other high use areas. Perhaps only 25% of the area is covered. The details on the mapping are good, and consistent with the Quad maps commonly used for hiking. Trails and forest roads are shown, and the contour intervals are 20' to 40'.

 

The City Navigator NT mapping appears to be limited to primarily paved and well maintained roads. It does not show topography, but it does allow you to find the Starbucks nearest your last cache site.

 

I have not found TOPO USA 2008 sufficient for mapping a track, but I have found it sufficient for getting to and from caches in suburban areas and for some use in forest areas and the deserts. For planning a hike, I found the product unsuitable. To work around this, I used Google Earth to plan the hike, save the Google Earth file, used a converter to convert the Google Earth file to waypoints, and then uploaded the waypoints into MapSource as an overlay to the TOPO USA 2008 base map. That worked for me, but was more complicated than I'd prefer and will not do it very often.

 

I'll probably buy the City Navigator NT product as it includes routing, but will probably not buy US TOPO 24 as the the coverage area is limiting.

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http://home.cinci.rr.com/creek/garmin.htm#1

 

This is a fairly new site that gives step by step instructions on creating your own custom TOPO maps. the only drawback is the fact that in the process you have to download several programs to help you edit along the way. It has the option of downloading NED .3 arc second elevation data (10m resolution versus 30m for all the other DEM data sources i.e. 24K topos)! so if you don't mind doing a good bit of work, rather than paying for it, and you're somewhat computer savy, this would be the way to go.

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I have both Topo 2008 and City Navigator 2008; here is what I found between them.

 

City Navigator 2008

----Street and road location are accurate.

----Some county roads, especially gravel my not show up.

----Few if any BLM or Forest Service roads show up.

----No trails I have seen so far.

 

Topo 2008

---Some streets and Roads show shifted off from where they are. You see it on the Mapsouce too.

---Does not have all the city streets only some.

---You can navigate but it doesn't route well. (It may be using base map not sure)

My old USA Topo was more accurate than 2008 and it had coastal and waterways data, go figure?
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