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Need help finding the right fit

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I have been trying to do research on GPSr’s which I intend to use solely for geocaching. One of the features I really really want, is the ability to overlay a Google Earth image. Most of the units I have looked at do not mention this capability (even though they might have it). Rudimentary topo maps are fine for the “big picture”, but I really enjoy seeing the lines in the parking lots and buildings when “moving in for the kill”. My Tomtom has this ability, and if I overlay a map captured at about 500 feet elevation (AGL) there is enough resolution to see which parking stall, or which side of the trail the hide is located next to. I don’t need all the super duper high end features that are out there (electronic compass, altimeter, wireless links, auto routing, the ability to load a billion waypoints, ect.. , I just need real time LON/LAT displayed (I prefer degrees decimal), map overlays (free from Google Earth), 12 channel sat, SiRF III chip set, good resolution color display, removable memory (for more maps),and USB computer hook up (I don’t like the old serial port protocol). Naturally, durability, portability, and long battery life are also pretty important, but not enough to be cost drivers. I don’t want this to sound like all the other “what GPS should I buy” threads because I know exactly what I need (want), I just don’t know who makes it. Oh yeah, I’m not looking to spend over $175 either! So, anybody know if such a unit is available? Ok, well, how about something close? Thanks! I’m really hooked on this geocaching thing, please help me feed my habit :D

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I think what you're asking is a lot for $175. There are units that let you load satellite photos, but I can't remember who makes them.


I think what you're spec'ing out in your post will eventually be available at the equivalent of $175 in 2008 dollars... in 2 years, probably longer. To overlay a real-time Google Maps sat photo will require a real-time data link, like a cell phone. iPhone has pseudo-GPS, next-gen iPhone is rumored to have real GPS. But it'll cost considerably more than $175. Maybe there's a mobile device that'll do all you're asking for that price, but I think it'd be pretty popular on this board, and I haven't heard of it...


What you need to do is prioritize that feature set, then decide what you can live without at your price point.

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The only GPS that will let you download and view satellite images on it is the Delorme PN-20. Its on sale now for something like 300ish? I know thats out of you price range but it seems like the only GPS that will do what you want to do.


And I think you have to pay for the images, don't you? No free Google Earth.

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When you buy a new unit you get code that is good for $100 worth of downloads. Then after its a few cents per square km for downloads.




You could buy Xmap (which is only $99 for PN-20 owners) and use it to import free images from the web into program and send to the GPS. Though thats getting a bit technical.

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I was not expecting “live” downloads, or anything that requires a data link. I just wanted to overlay “static” raster images from Google Earth. These are free, and download as JPEG files. Here is an example of what it one looks like on my Tomtom.


This is a screen capture of a cache spot near my home. I had to write a text file to describe the upper left, and lower right corners of the image (lon/lat), and indicate what scale ranges the image would be displayed at. The overlay re-centers itself when I ask the nav system to indicate where I am (not a moving map like in a car nav setup). I also have some 3rd party software for offroad excursions which also allows map overlays (though those have to be in BPM format). I use the same image, but just convert it to a BMP file with a paint program. I’m really bummed out that hand held systems do not appear to support this function!

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Well, I guess that is the news I was hoping not to hear. I thought maybe my researching skills were lacking and I was missing something. The Delorme PN-20 is a nice unit, but well above my price threshold. I guess the Tomtom will be getting a lot dirtier, and a lot more scratched up. Oh well, for $400 I guess I could by 3 Tomtoms and just keep replacing them when they get trashed. As long as I can go cache hunting, it doesn't really matter what gets me there, Right? Thanks for the replies. :anibad:

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