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aud78

DeLorme PN-40: not so positive

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I spent two weeks actively using my new PN-40 and I would like to share my observations. There are lots of reviews stressing on positive sides of PN-40, so I will skip on that. I hope listing the issues will help people to make more informed buying decision. I spent significant amount of time reading forums and vast majority of issues I listed here are well discussed but with no solutions. Nevertheless, if you know the workaround or solution, I would really appreciate your reply.

 

First about myself: I use GPS technology for a variety of activities for a while. That includes contributing hundreds of geotagged photos to Google Earth via Panoramio, building recorded track database of less known trails, taking off-trail hikes planned using Google Earth imagery, geocaching and many other. I am in software industry for many years and I am used to all kinds of user interfaces and have no issues with learning yet another one.

 

Receiver

 

1. WAAS. PN-40 in practice is not a WAAS-enabled GPS. With firmware 2.0 the best I could get was one blue bar for a few seconds. With 2.5 I was able to get a lock once after spending 30 minutes in the middle of the stadium. I was not able to do that again anywhere including the top of the hill with 20 miles clear view in all directions.

 

2. Accuracy. With firmware 2.0 estimated accuracy never got better than 20 feet. I verified actual accuracy by recording multiple waypoints on clearly visible places like the center of paved trail crossing or specific place in a parking lot and measuring its distance to the place as seen on Google Earth, Microsoft Virtual Earth and Yahoo Maps. Delta of imagery across providers was never more than 1-2 feet; delta with my waypoint was 20-15 feet, depending on location. Once upgraded to 2.5, I saw much better accuracy estimates on the device - 10, 8, 6 feet - but once I repeated the test I did not observe any real accuracy improvement. Apparently firmware upgrade only improved accuracy estimate but not the true accuracy.

 

3. Loosing lock. This is the single most important reason why I am about to return the device back to the store. Without any appearent reason PN-40 looses satellite lock and is not able to lock again unless I turn it off and on. That happened only three times in two weeks of active testing. I was standing in an open area and just watched the dance of red bars until I finally was prompted to disable the GPS. I chose not to but waiting more did not help. Turning the device of and back on resulted in a strong 3D lock within couple seconds. I expect my GPS unit to reliably record the track while sitting in my backpack. If it loses lock due to some reason, I expect it to lock in again once signal becomes available. Without this geotagging becomes a nightmare. I cannot be checking the unit every 5 minutes to see if it needs reboot to restore the connection.

 

4. Manhattan. In dense skyscraper areas PN-40 was not capable maintaining lock. Neither my Garmin Nuvi 260 nor my Magellan Crossover does well in Manhattan - they occasionally lose connection or show me 100 yards away from the real position - but they are still usable there. PN-40 just offers to turn off GPS to save the power...

 

Interface

 

5. Screen. It's 220x176=39kpix. Oregon has 250% more pixels. My old Crossover has more than double. Also, unlike Oregon or Crossover, information fields are not transparent AND your position is in the middle of the remaining screen, not at the bottom. So if you have two rows of info fields on, only about 30 pixel tall area of the screen is available to see where you are going. I have 180 pixels or so to see what's ahead of me on Crossover. What difference does it make if you have aerial imagery, USGS 24s or just a black 30 pixels? Not big to me.

 

6. Buttons. There is no keypad lock. In many instances when I took the device out of my pocket I found it in other screen when before butting it there. Fortunately, I didn't delete tracks by accident and didn't power it off - although "power" and "enter" to confirm power off are next to each other - you would think they would be the most distant buttons. And also you would think that short click on "power" would have some other function and you would need to hold it for a while to power it off. It's vice versa; you need to hold it to adjust screen brightness and only short click is enough to be prompted for power off.

 

7. Computer connection. After hiking with your friend you stop in his house to take a look at the recorded track on Google Earth? No way except if he buys Delorme Topo! None of the non-Delorme GPS applications, free or expensive, will exchange tracks or read waypoints. The only thing you can do outside of Delorme's apps is upload waypoints and geocaches into the unit via "send to gps" browser plugin and obtain GPS position from the unit via Delorme Serial Emulator. There is no API you could get from Delorme to implement data exchange yourself. There is a serial protocol ("DelBin") documentation published, but that's raw data definition, you would need to implement API from scratch.

 

Maps

 

8. Topo. Check [ 41°13'57.72"N ; 74° 7'37.07"W] on Google, Yahoo, Microsoft, USGS - you pick. Now check TOPO USA 7.0. I also could not believe my eyes. Delorme thinks this lake does not exist. Unless you downloaded areal imagery or USGS quads, you would either hike straight into the lake or miss the most beautiful part of the popular canoeing trip.

 

9. Imagery. It is NOT like having Google Earth in your pocket. Urban "high resolution" is not even comparable to Google, Microsoft or Yahoo imagery. And non-urban places where most people hike are limited to the 1-meter resolution. Looking at Google imagery I can judge pretty well if area is walkable or there are dense bushes; or if there is an opening at the top of the hill with a potential vista. While in the woods with PN-40, areal imagery was irrelevant due to very low resolution. Just a low contrast gray texture.

 

10. Custom maps. Unless you pay $200 more for XMAP, there is no way to upload better imagery, scanned map or anything else custom into the unit. There is no demo version and according to forums, procedure is very problematic. Delorme failed to build enough trust in me so that I would risk paying $200 just to find out that it does not do what it promises.

 

11. Netlink. It looks like it is intentionally made to ensure users get as few maps as possible. Once you choose what you want to download, instead of seeing download progress bar you get a message telling that Delorme will inform you by email when you can start downloading your selection (!). I did not get any email for 24 hours but without any warnings suddenly download become available in Topo USA. The download was slow. Also there is a maximum download size.

 

Performance

 

12. Speed. I am really deeply puzzled about this. It takes at least 0.3 seconds to redraw the map with just a few lines on it. It easily takes 1-2 seconds to redraw map with several topo lines and imagery. Once you zoom out, redraw can take 5 seconds and more. If this is "blazing fast", what is slow then? Is it possible that none of the people who wrote PN-40 reviews had Oregon or Triton in their hands? And the slowness is even more striking when you realize that PN-40 only has to draw a fraction of the map displayed on other units because of its tiny resolution.

 

13. Battery life. All my tests are with backlight always off. With the Energizer NIMH 2x2000 mah I never passed 4 hrs mark, usually about 3.5 hrs. Better results with Energizer "Industrial" - up to 5 hrs. I did not buy DeLorme's Li-Ion RCR-VC3, maybe with that one it is possible to reach 8 hrs. It is unpractical to use "Power Saving" mode while having GPS in the backpack, because it weakens reception a lot and does not disable other unnecessary power consuming features, like continuously reading SD card to redraw aerial imagery.

 

Use case

 

Here is a true use case to illustrate how my life with PN-40 was the last couple weeks. The park I hike most has about 200 miles of interconnected trails. Delorme has about 10% covered in Topo. I have about 50% covered via hikes recorded myself, downloaded from various track sharing sites and carefully drawing lines as seen via aerial imagery. I imported my whole library in Topo 7, copied it to the Draw layer, exported to a map and copied it to the unit. I hiked both in covered and uncovered trails and once I came back I wanted to add the new recording to my library and take a look at the hike via Google Earth. What used to be a trivial task with Crossover, took me the following steps with PN-40: 1. Connect to the unit; 2. Choose "data exchange" on the unit; 3. Start Topo 7; 4. Click on exchange icon; 5. Chose the newly recorded track; 6. Import; 7. Go to "Draw"; 8. Click "File" -> export to GPX (steps to convert to KML skipped); 9. Copy the track to draw layer (before that making sure that line color/style is what it needs to be); 10. Navigate to the park; 11. Click "handheld export"; 12. Click "Select/Edit"; 13. Choose right grid size; 14. Click on each block to make sure whole park is selected; 15. Type the map name; 16. Click options and make sure only "draw" is being exported; 17. Click "Save"; 18. Click "exchange"; 19. On the unit, change the computer connection type to "Map transfer"; 20. Copy the map. 21. Ok, where was that DelBin spec? :)

 

Conclusion

 

If you will like or hate PN-40 depends entirely on your expectations and usage. None of consumer grade units is perfect; Oregon has sunlight unreadable screen and Triton, I better don't even start... For me PN-40 on specs/reviews seemed to be an excellent choice but after actually using it I was overwhelmed by its shortcomings. Still, I probably would keep it if there was a new firmware which would 100% eliminate (3) - Loosing Lock issue and if it had a usable API so I can write a little app to extract tracks/waypoints and convert them to GPX/KML with a single click.

 

Aud

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I agree with many of your observations. But the performance issues you reported with the receiver though may be worth calling DeLorme about -- you may have a bad unit. It is not as sensitive as some other units but it SHOULD be more accurate than you're describing. The PN-40 is new to market and their production may have some QC issues, so getting a lemon is possible...

 

Off-topic, I am puzzled about your comment that you "...use GPS technology for a variety of activities ... geocaching and many other." It looks like the above was your first post and you jist joined GC and the forums yesterday. Been lurking, or posting as a different user?

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Like you, having only had my PN-40 for awhile, I’m under whelmed to a large extent. Accuracy of the unit isn’t one of the problems I’ve experienced though. Mine seems pretty good, better actually than many I’ve used, and less prone to weird problems some units seem to experience due to software tying to make a wild guess vs. displaying actual computed data. The wife and I haven’t really done much geocaching in the last couple years, but would like to get back into it. For that reason, I’ll keep my pn-40 for the wife. She isn’t into maps much other than in the car where we have good dedicated units already, so the pn-40’s serious mapping shortcomings won’t be an issue for her. The 3 axis compass coupled with good paperless caching capability make it a good choice for how she’ll be using it.

 

As for the aerial photo capability: Besides the small screen problems, the downloaded photos are highly compressed or something to where they are noticeably less detailed than the same photo downloaded through Google, expertGPS, Topofusion or something similar. Seems kind of strange that the free data is better than that you pay for. Also worth noting is that in some areas, it’s obvious the data is older than what’s currently on the free service.

 

My battery life seems to be better than the <4hrs you‘re getting. On rayovac hybrids, which are about 2000 mah as I recall, I’m getting 6 to 7 hours operation most of the time, although it has come in at less than 4 once. I’ve been getting fairly good track recordings, although it doesn’t seem to use sophisticated methods of dropping breadcrumbs like the garmin units do.

 

We won’t even go into Delormes TOPO. I used it way back when it first came out, and then upgraded a couple times in hopes the new version would be better. It’s still awful to this day, both for the interface, and poor quality of the data. For the area I live in, and do most of my driving in, roads are miss plotted on the old Tiger Maps that the road data for TOPO is obviously based on. Errors in the east/west direction of over 150 feet are common, and very annoying. The elevation data is disappointing as well. Higher resolution DEM, or vectorized data at the 1:24k level would be much appreciated. As for the software itself, did I mention I hate TOPO…..

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11. Netlink. It looks like it is intentionally made to ensure users get as few maps as possible. Once you choose what you want to download, instead of seeing download progress bar you get a message telling that Delorme will inform you by email when you can start downloading your selection (!). I did not get any email for 24 hours but without any warnings suddenly download become available in Topo USA. The download was slow. Also there is a maximum download size.

 

There was a problem with the email delivery this past week, but overall it has been quite reliable at advising when all of your downloads are ready. Lately, it has been faster at being ready to download than the email delivery will advise, but I haven't seen the problems you saw.

 

As for the key push... Again, I'm not seeing it, and I've used the GPS in a variety of pocket conditions as well as the provided belt pouch.

 

I found no proof of the signal being less in powersave mode. I had a very strong repeatable track in that mode on the day I did my triple 1/2 mile loop. The interesting thing to note was in normal power, I had more trouble with the repeatable track and waypoints on the triple 1/2 mile loop. But I was also testing this in a known very troublesome high foliage and ravine area. So the results on the 2nd half of my test didn't surprise me. I was surprised I recieved a repeatable track at all.

 

It's worthy to note the Oregon has the same chipset as the PN-40 and has had nothing but trouble with the accuracy issues and did not come out with a firmware update to fix it until DeLorme was well on beta testing their firmware fix.

 

The imagery being used is from the same source as Google and Live. Sometimes, I have noted it is more up to date in my area than what displays on Google and Live. You have to wonder at that. The display on my PC monitor is very comparable to what I see on both of the other brands. Now, if you're trying to compare that 32 bit color image with what you get on a 16 bit color screen, prepare yourself to be disappointed. The sampling just isn't the same.

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In the PN-40's defense, the Garmin Oregon units using the Cartesio chipset (same as pn-40) are WAAS challenged as well. From what I've read, the vendor firmware is the problem. Until Cartesio get's their act together, you'll be missing WAAS signal in anything less than perfect conditions. Even then. Cartesio, the latest and greatest.:) I'd sooner have them using SirfIII.

 

Here we go, I've left the door wide open for those people getting AWESOME WAAS locks. I'm simply not buyin' it.

Edited by yogazoo

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I think I'll watch this one for a while.......... :)
I'm in the same row. :anicute:

 

For some reason I just can't come up with a reason to replace my 76CSx.

 

Jim

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1. WAAS. PN-40 in practice is not a WAAS-enabled GPS. With firmware 2.0 the best I could get was one blue bar for a few seconds. With 2.5 I was able to get a lock once after spending 30 minutes in the middle of the stadium. I was not able to do that again anywhere including the top of the hill with 20 miles clear view in all directions.

I have gotten a full WAAS lock on 10+ satellites while driving several times. I've gotten WAAS lock on fewer satellites on more occasions.

 

The Garmin Oregon uses the same GPS chipset and has the same problems. It's not a DeLorme problem, it's an STM Cartesio problem.

 

2. Accuracy. With firmware 2.0 estimated accuracy never got better than 20 feet. I verified actual accuracy by recording multiple waypoints on clearly visible places like the center of paved trail crossing or specific place in a parking lot and measuring its distance to the place as seen on Google Earth, Microsoft Virtual Earth and Yahoo Maps. Delta of imagery across providers was never more than 1-2 feet; delta with my waypoint was 20-15 feet, depending on location. Once upgraded to 2.5, I saw much better accuracy estimates on the device - 10, 8, 6 feet - but once I repeated the test I did not observe any real accuracy improvement. Apparently firmware upgrade only improved accuracy estimate but not the true accuracy.
IIRC, DeLorme didn't change any of their code with the 2.5 beta release which does these calculations, but there was a new "GPS engine" version built into the new firmware (I took this to mean updated code from STM for their chipset).

 

5. Screen. It's 220x176=39kpix. Oregon has 250% more pixels. My old Crossover has more than double. Also, unlike Oregon or Crossover, information fields are not transparent AND your position is in the middle of the remaining screen, not at the bottom. So if you have two rows of info fields on, only about 30 pixel tall area of the screen is available to see where you are going. I have 180 pixels or so to see what's ahead of me on Crossover. What difference does it make if you have aerial imagery, USGS 24s or just a black 30 pixels? Not big to me.
This one is kind of subjective. I have been very, very pleased with the screen on my PN-40. Anything significantly larger would change the handheld comfort.

 

7. Computer connection. After hiking with your friend you stop in his house to take a look at the recorded track on Google Earth? No way except if he buys Delorme Topo! None of the non-Delorme GPS applications, free or expensive, will exchange tracks or read waypoints. The only thing you can do outside of Delorme's apps is upload waypoints and geocaches into the unit via "send to gps" browser plugin and obtain GPS position from the unit via Delorme Serial Emulator. There is no API you could get from Delorme to implement data exchange yourself. There is a serial protocol ("DelBin") documentation published, but that's raw data definition, you would need to implement API from scratch.
DeLorme has acknowledged that the specs that are presently published are a bit much to work with. They're working on releasing an API which will enable GPSBabel compatibility; whether it'll support track log transfers remains to be seen.

 

9. Imagery. It is NOT like having Google Earth in your pocket. Urban "high resolution" is not even comparable to Google, Microsoft or Yahoo imagery. And non-urban places where most people hike are limited to the 1-meter resolution. Looking at Google imagery I can judge pretty well if area is walkable or there are dense bushes; or if there is an opening at the top of the hill with a potential vista. While in the woods with PN-40, areal imagery was irrelevant due to very low resolution. Just a low contrast gray texture.
1-meter resolution is a lot better than what Google offers for about 50% of my caching area. Google's imagery of my town & the surrounding area is so bad you can't even tell that there is a town here in the first place.

 

10. Custom maps. Unless you pay $200 more for XMAP, there is no way to upload better imagery, scanned map or anything else custom into the unit. There is no demo version and according to forums, procedure is very problematic.
What forums? You must not have asked on the DeLorme forums, or if you did, didn't mention that you have a PN-40. The price for XMap is only $100 if you already have a PN-40 or Topo USA.

 

11. Netlink. It looks like it is intentionally made to ensure users get as few maps as possible. Once you choose what you want to download, instead of seeing download progress bar you get a message telling that Delorme will inform you by email when you can start downloading your selection (!).
Because DeLorme can't have every map size & area pre-packaged. You select what you want, they pull it all together (which, for a large area, could take some time), then tell you to come pick it up.

 

13. Battery life. All my tests are with backlight always off. With the Energizer NIMH 2x2000 mah I never passed 4 hrs mark, usually about 3.5 hrs. Better results with Energizer "Industrial" - up to 5 hrs. I did not buy DeLorme's Li-Ion RCR-VC3, maybe with that one it is possible to reach 8 hrs.
Rechargeable batteries aren't always what they're rated at, and sometimes need several full charge/discharge cycles to reach peak peformance. I've been using a pair of Energizer Lithiums for over 8 hours now, and they're still going (but will be finished today or tomorrow).

 

Did you set the battery type properly in Device Setup? That can make a big difference as well.

 

For me PN-40 on specs/reviews seemed to be an excellent choice but after actually using it I was overwhelmed by its shortcomings. Still, I probably would keep it if there was a new firmware which would 100% eliminate (3) - Loosing Lock issue and if it had a usable API so I can write a little app to extract tracks/waypoints and convert them to GPX/KML with a single click.

With this sort of technology, nothing will ever 100% eliminating lock. Also, it sounds like the lock issues may not be DeLorme, but the GPS chipset - which means someone passing over the PN-40 for this reason may find the exact same problem with another STM Cartesio-equipped unit.

 

The API is coming.

 

My PN-40 has been everything I expected of it. It does seem to be more conservative in some of its readings, making it seem less "accurate" than it really is, and maybe a little too "honest" about how good of a lock it's getting, but I'd rather have that than a unit which is telling me that things are better than they really are.

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I think I'll watch this one for a while.......... :anicute:
I'm in the same row. ;)

I think I will join you all, I'll bring the popcorn. This could get real interesting. :)

Edited by North Fork Seekers

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I looked at the DeLorme and was hooked, that is until I read one name in the specs....MicroSoft! After the years of trouble I have had with windows, I refuse to buy anything running any system by MicorSoft

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In the PN-40's defense, the Garmin Oregon units using the Cartesio chipset (same as pn-40) are WAAS challenged as well. From what I've read, the vendor firmware is the problem. Until Cartesio get's their act together, you'll be missing WAAS signal in anything less than perfect conditions. Even then. Cartesio, the latest and greatest.:) I'd sooner have them using SirfIII.

 

Here we go, I've left the door wide open for those people getting AWESOME WAAS locks. I'm simply not buyin' it.

 

Buy it or not, there are some of us who are getting our WAAS!! I see the blue birds more and more often now, last 4 times I used it, I was locked within an hour (I know, a bit of time), but had +/-5' about 5 minutes into the motorcycle ride (I usually start out at about 13' and very rapidly get down to 6'-8'....when I see 5', I know my reception is good)!

 

TO THE OP (I've had people get confused if I don't direct my comments):

 

As has been said, you may want to give DeLorme a call, this sounds abnormal to me (but, I am one with little to no problems with my unit so far).

 

Power on/hitting buttons- have not seen a problem here, have never powered down my unit by accident. I have changed screens, but that's hardly worth me getting worked up about! MAybe a suggestion to DeLorme about locking buttons (seems like another thing to have to remember when trying to use the unit though...and I've yet to own a GPS which does this, so I'm really not worried about this)

 

Accuracy- checked against a benchmark a few times now, closest was less than a foot, furthest was 1.5'....seems pretty good to me!

 

Locked- did lose lock briefly yesterday, but i had no reason for this and couldn't get the unit to do so again, even inside my jacket pocket. A fluke or something??

 

Screen- seen this see-through display you speak of and I'm not overly impressed. Sure, the screen is small, you'd already know this if you do your homework before buying though!! Would I prefer a larger screen? Sure, I'd also prefer one you can see in daylight too!! Maybe DeLorme will come out with a larger screen that's better than the Garmin's? Time will tell and DeLorme has only had 2 tries at this so far! :anicute: How long did Garmin keep their smll screens??

 

Guess I've never had reason to hook up to someone else's computer to view tracks. But then, I never allow others to even TOUCH my computer, so even if you have the exact same GPS as I, you're still not hooking to my computer...period! Likewise, I'll not ask you to play on your computer either!! ;)

 

TOPO- have yet to find a problem, so I can't get worked up there. But, if you find yourself walking into the lake unaware, you might check for glasses! :D:D:D

 

Imagery- LOVE IT!!!

 

Xmap- Thought this was $100, but $200 is in par with other map software out there! Since I don't have need, I'll pass!!

 

NetLink- yeah, they sure limit you...I loaded all of Michigan in aerial in about 5 or 6 days of off and on working on it!! I lost count of the packets I ordered, but well over 300!! No problems here for me!!

 

Speed- I see absolutely no problems here either?? When do you see this slow redraw? I have aerial imagery on, so it is a little slower than with just the TOPO, but nothing I can't live with? Unless I'm driving along and just staring at my unit, I don't think I've had any problems with redraw! (I do hope everyone pays closer attention to the roads than the GPS when driving)!! Do a test though, load a CO or OR with aerial and then compare the redraw!!

 

Battery life- Something I can get onbard complaining about!! Yes, the PN-40 SUCKS the battery dry in hours (closer to 7 hours for me and I leave my backlight lit). But, I heard the same about the CO and OR...go figure! Batteries are of very little concern for me though, since I always carry a spare pair of rechargeables and have yet to need them even on a full day's cache outing! Gotta love the power kit and being able to charge as you drive! And, the hooking up with the power kit, no worries of wearing out the connection!!

 

My best suggestion, check with DeLorme and see what they say about the lock and accuracy issues!! The rest, if you can't live with the issues you outlined, go for another unit, but be prepared! As you said, no one makes a perfect unit! For me, the PN-40 is close!

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3. Loosing lock. This is the single most important reason why I am about to return the device back to the store. Without any appearent reason PN-40 looses satellite lock and is not able to lock again unless I turn it off and on. That happened only three times in two weeks of active testing. I was standing in an open area and just watched the dance of red bars until I finally was prompted to disable the GPS. I chose not to but waiting more did not help. Turning the device of and back on resulted in a strong 3D lock within couple seconds. I expect my GPS unit to reliably record the track while sitting in my backpack. If it loses lock due to some reason, I expect it to lock in again once signal becomes available. Without this geotagging becomes a nightmare. I cannot be checking the unit every 5 minutes to see if it needs reboot to restore the connection.

 

This has been my chief complaint with my PN40. Loses lock and won't get it back unless I turn the unit off and back on. I do a lot of creating track logs for trail maps and this is unacceptable.

 

4. Manhattan. In dense skyscraper areas PN-40 was not capable maintaining lock. Neither my Garmin Nuvi 260 nor my Magellan Crossover does well in Manhattan - they occasionally lose connection or show me 100 yards away from the real position - but they are still usable there. PN-40 just offers to turn off GPS to save the power...

 

Manhattan is a challenge for any GPS. Older units don't work at all. My 60CSX will get a lock, but it will be wildly inaccurate. I used the PN40 on a trip to Manhattan recently and I was really pleased with the performance. I turned it on when I got out of the subway and had a sat lock within a couple of minutes (my 60CSX could take 15 minutes to get a lock in Manhattan).

 

7. Computer connection. After hiking with your friend you stop in his house to take a look at the recorded track on Google Earth? No way except if he buys Delorme Topo! None of the non-Delorme GPS applications, free or expensive, will exchange tracks or read waypoints. The only thing you can do outside of Delorme's apps is upload waypoints and geocaches into the unit via "send to gps" browser plugin and obtain GPS position from the unit via Delorme Serial Emulator. There is no API you could get from Delorme to implement data exchange yourself. There is a serial protocol ("DelBin") documentation published, but that's raw data definition, you would need to implement API from scratch.

 

I agree. I haven't been able to get my PN40 to work with NG Topo, which is my primary tool.

 

8. Topo. Check [ 41°13'57.72"N ; 74° 7'37.07"W] on Google, Yahoo, Microsoft, USGS - you pick. Now check TOPO USA 7.0. I also could not believe my eyes. Delorme thinks this lake does not exist. Unless you downloaded areal imagery or USGS quads, you would either hike straight into the lake or miss the most beautiful part of the popular canoeing trip.

 

I noticed this yesterday. I was driving past a lake that appeared on Mapsource Topo, but no sign of it on Topo 7. It wasn't a small lake either. Had to be about a half mile long.

 

12. Speed. I am really deeply puzzled about this. It takes at least 0.3 seconds to redraw the map with just a few lines on it. It easily takes 1-2 seconds to redraw map with several topo lines and imagery. Once you zoom out, redraw can take 5 seconds and more. If this is "blazing fast", what is slow then? Is it possible that none of the people who wrote PN-40 reviews had Oregon or Triton in their hands? And the slowness is even more striking when you realize that PN-40 only has to draw a fraction of the map displayed on other units because of its tiny resolution.

 

It is a bit on the slow side to draw screens when compared to my 60CSX, but not slow enough for me to

complain. It might be "lightning fast" when compared to the PN-20, but not to a Garmin.

 

13. Battery life. All my tests are with backlight always off. With the Energizer NIMH 2x2000 mah I never passed 4 hrs mark, usually about 3.5 hrs. Better results with Energizer "Industrial" - up to 5 hrs. I did not buy DeLorme's Li-Ion RCR-VC3, maybe with that one it is possible to reach 8 hrs. It is unpractical to use "Power Saving" mode while having GPS in the backpack, because it weakens reception a lot and does not disable other unnecessary power consuming features, like continuously reading SD card to redraw aerial imagery.

 

I agree. The thing eats batteries like potato chips. I'm lucky to get 3 hours out of my old rechargeables. Sure they are old, but I can still get a full day out of them with my 60CSX. I just bought some Sanyo Eneloops and I hope that helps.

 

I'm keeping my PN-40 in hopes that Delorme hears complaints such as these and responds. They seem to really care about what the users think about their units and go out of their way to address the concerns.

I really have my fingers crossed about the sat lock issue. If that isn't fixed soon, my PN-40 will be on eBay.

It makes my unit unusable for one of my chief uses and that is trail mapping. Right now I need to carry two units. My 60CSX to lay down tracks and my PN-40 for geocaching. I bought into the "Serious Tool" advertising line, thinking the PN-40 would be a great unit for trail mapping and geocaching. Right now it is a seriously flawed tool.

Edited by briansnat

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I looked at the DeLorme and was hooked, that is until I read one name in the specs....MicroSoft! After the years of trouble I have had with windows, I refuse to buy anything running any system by MicorSoft

 

Topo 7 runs on Windows, that is the only tie-in with Microsoft. No different than Garmin, Lowrance or Magellan who all design their mapping software to run on Windows.

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I think I'll watch this one for a while.......... :)
I'm in the same row. :anicute:

 

i think i see one more seat down at the end, excuse me...pardon me.....excuse me......

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Thank you for your detailed post Aud78; I appreciate you taking the time to share your experience. I trust that, despite the appearance of some popcorn eating spectators, this thread will continue to be a polite discussion of opportunities for improvement in our GPS and software solutions.

 

Here are some notes on your review; I hope they help you and other readers of this thread…

 

1. We’re working on a second release of our 2.5 public beta based on feedback and on updates made by STMicro to the GPS engine. While most have seen an improvement with the first 2.5 beta, the second release will contain additional WAAS changes. We’re working on final development and internal testing so that should be available soon.

 

2. Knowing how important the GPS Accuracy reading is to our users we were careful to test the 2.5 firmware to make sure that the GPS engine changes didn’t result in an overly optimistic reading. I even created a public test similar to what you’ve described. Final survey results returned an 80% response that users were confident with the GPS accuracy readings in the 2.5 firmware. Please check the test results and feel free to share your testing values. http://forum.delorme.com/viewtopic.php?t=17523

 

3. I heard reports of this prior to the 2.5 firmware release but haven’t experienced this with my testing of the latest firmware. I’m going to pass your review back through QA to see how this is testing out. We have your same expectations that a device will record a track log without needing to be restarted.

 

4. Manhattan is a classic urban canyon, you could refuse the prompt to turn off GPS and the device would continue to search for satellites the way your Garmin units do.

 

5. We chose daylight readability over size but I understand your desire for a larger screen. We have a feature request logged to bring the GPS location to the bottom third of the screen when in Heading Up mode, I’ll pass it through the team again to see about scheduling.

 

6. We chose a press and confirm to power down rather than a press and hold. I haven’t seen reports of people accidentally powering the device off although I recognize the desire for a screen lock.

 

7. Flexibility is a big topic in the building right now. We want to deliver more options for exchanging GPS data outside of Topo USA. The Cache Register is our first effort but we’re definitely working to address the points you’ve made about use outside of our desktop applications.

 

8. I’ll look at the lake issue you pointed out. Our data group has a corrections process that is available to our customers through Topo USA and our support site; I’ll pass this one along for you.

 

9. I agree that Digital Globe imagery found on Google is very nice. We’re always looking for ways to bring higher resolution imagery to our customers. For now the color aerial imagery that we offer is better then topographic data in most high detail situations. I agree that deep forests don’t offer much variability in terrain but I’ve been happy to have it when looking for old roads and clearings or other landmarks that aren’t in the topographic data.

 

10. XMap is a $99 upgrade for PN owners. We offer Image Registration and I swear by it, having used it to register Digital Globe imagery for a geocaching trip while in Jamaica and having used it to recently set up two devices for Ed Viesturs’ trip to Mt Everest, very exciting!!! I’d be happy to share more on Image Reg and XMap, just send me a PM or an e-mail.

 

11. We cut on demand and then let you know it’s available. You shouldn’t see too long of a delay unless we actually have to fetch the imagery from the source. 24 hours seems like too long for the average package. I can check on a particular order to see what might have happened. Try a second download and see if you get faster results.

 

12. I’m using topographic and aerial imagery all the time and haven’t seen redraw speeds like you described. We do smooth scrolling and 360 degree rotation with high resolution imagery. I’d like to hear more about the zoom level and map data that you are working with since this is not what you should be experiencing.

 

13. This is a tough area for the PN. We are expecting 6 hours with alkalines but recommend NiMH to get above 8 hours. The Li-Ion that we sell will add the convenience of charging in the vehicle to keep the device topped off on long geocaching runs but if you’re doing a multi-day camping trip I’d encourage the e2 Lithiums for optimum performance.

 

Your Use Case is something we thought would be valuable, allowing users to create draw layers and view them on the device… I agree that 21 steps seems long but we wanted to keep tracks and line annotations separate because tracks carry extra information for following on the GPS. I’m sure you’ve seen the Copy To option to take your Track database and turn it into a Draw layer that can be cut to the device as an overlay… that would allow you to keep a Track layer for GPX export to Google and a mirror Draw layer for the PN map. I do a lot of trail work and could offer some suggestions if you’re interested. I agree that KML support would be better then importing GPX to Google, it’s on our list for the desktop and web products in planning, along with other plans to bring data exchange features to the PN that don’t require our desktop applications. Just a matter of time for us to schedule! Check out this blog post for other trail mapping ideas: http://blog.delorme.com/2008/10/11/making-...arthmate-pn-40/

 

Again, thank you all for taking the time to share your thoughts on the PN-40 and Topo USA. I hope my reply will help explain where we’re coming from and where we’re going in the near future. We really are trying to take in all the great feedback that we’re getting from users as it helps us prioritize… Feel free to send a PM if there’s anything else I can help with.

 

Chip Noble

Team DeLorme

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Topo 7 runs on Windows, that is the only tie-in with Microsoft. No different than Garmin, Lowrance or Magellan who all design their mapping software to run on Windows.
Uh, that's not precisely correct...

 

Garmin offers full Mac support now.

 

Current Garmin, Magellan, and Lowrance devices can all exchange data directly with my non-Windows computer without firing up software from the manufacturer (using GPSBabel, Google Earth, etc). DeLorme has very limited support in this area but promises more RSN.

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Thank you for your detailed post Aud78; I appreciate you taking the time to share your experience...
Chip:

 

Speaking for every DeLorme user (and potential future customers), THANK YOU for taking the time to post a thoughtful and detailed reply.

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One thought on the redraw speed issue: what zoom levels and how large is the detail map file? Users have found that very large files (say 1.5GB or more) can contribute to slowdowns in imagery redraws. I keep my file cuts to no more than 1GB, and see crisp performance unless I am zoomed in to a very close zoom level--then I may see occasional redraws taking several seconds.

 

The vectorized Topo7 data should fit the blazing fast standard at all zoom levels.

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In the plus column for the PN-40, I’ll put customer support down. Their web forums are really nice, and it’s good to see them involved in other boards as well.

 

I find the discussion on Estimated positional errors to be quite amusing. Accuracy is nice, and one of the most important measures of a gps unit, but the EPE doesn’t necessarily tie in to actual repeatability or position error at all. My old Magellan sportrak would sometimes report EPE of under 100 feet and have actual errors measured in tenths of miles. I hope people aren’t influenced too much by EPE. It’s just a guess based on satellite geometry and other things. It’s best to judge based on accuracy compared to a benchmark, repeatability or the like.

 

Having said that, and knowing that Delorme is listening, I’ll throw my two cents worth in as to why I’m satisfied with my PN-40 as a tool for my wifes geocaching, but wouldn’t consider it for my outdoor adventure. For an outdoorsman, Dependability, battery life, and good accurate tracks can literally save your bacon. I periodically tell my story of how I got hooked on leaving my GPS on all the time while on the trail:

 

Back when the old yellow etrex GPS was new, and SA was still in effect, I ventured off into the Uinta Wilderness of Utah on a solo peak bagging trip. I was just getting into trail networks at the time, and leaving my etrex on during the entire trip. One day, in extremely rough terrain, a serious blizzard blew in making visual navigation virtually impossible, with me almost 9 miles from my tent and sleeping bag. Luckily, thanks to a very accurate track (despite SA) in my GPS unit, I was able to route myself back without any trouble at all, and slept warm and safely that night. Given the terrain, and total whiteout conditions I’m not sure I could have done this without the track, or a good routable trail loaded into my unit, even to this day. Even with the more modern mapping units of today, I’m not sure I would have been able to get myself back out of there quickly and easily with just the data available on the maps. The terrain was such as to require a route around and through swamp areas, rugged terrain, and other things that didn’t show up well on Topo maps, or even todays aerial photos. For this reason, any unit I can’t rely on to just keep chugging along for long periods of time accurately recording a track isn’t acceptable. Again, while aerial photos and whistles and bells are nice, dependability, and battery life are a must for an outdoorsman.

 

As for street data on the maps, it's not worth trying to detail. Just show virtually every surface street in Northern Utah such as Ogden, Layton, West Point etc to have position errors of 50 to a couple hundred feet. The tiger map data used in this product is very accurate in some areas, sadly, I happen to live in an area where they are way off.

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Back when the old yellow etrex GPS was new, and SA was still in effect,
Back in those good ole SA days, the only Garmin Topos available were the 100K Topo USA product. Decidely inferior to the modern, 2008, 24K Topos. By example here's a screenshot from the Utah 24K Topos from Above the Timber's website.

 

HighUintas.gif

I believe it shows the Uinta Wilderness, but you'd know better than I.

 

any unit I can’t rely on to just keep chugging along for long periods of time accurately recording a track isn’t acceptable. Again, while aerial photos and whistles and bells are nice, dependability, and battery life are a must for an outdoorsman.
Now you can have your cake and eat it too!!!

 

When I bought my first GPS, battery life was a very high priority. Much to my surprise, the color mapping units from Garmin had significantly better battery life than any of the B&W units. So I'm able to have 24K Topos and 30+ hour battery life in the same unit.

 

While I've yet to have a white-out as you describe, your story amplifies the superiority of a GPS and track over map and compass.

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While I have not had the issues that the OP mentions, there is one VERY good reason I went with Delorme....and that would be post #16. Lately it seems as though customer service has been thrown out the door with many companies, to which I get really frustrated. The way this company stands by their product and continually absorbs the community feedback for implementation into their products is awesome.

 

Thank you Chip, and Delorme as a whole..

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I spent two weeks actively using my new PN-40 and I would like to share my observations. There are lots of reviews stressing on positive sides of PN-40, so I will skip on that. I hope listing the issues will help people to make more informed buying decision.

Allow me to suggest then that this being a geocaching oriented forum, that you could point out alternative handhelds that are not subject to these anomalies that you describe. You do have hands-on experience with these alternative GPSrs, of course.

 

Maps

 

9. Imagery. It is NOT like having Google Earth in your pocket. Urban "high resolution" is not even comparable to Google, Microsoft or Yahoo imagery. And non-urban places where most people hike are limited to the 1-meter resolution. Looking at Google imagery I can judge pretty well if area is walkable or there are dense bushes; or if there is an opening at the top of the hill with a potential vista. While in the woods with PN-40, areal imagery was irrelevant due to very low resolution. Just a low contrast gray texture.

And the alternative handheld GPSr for geocaching which supports the Google, Microsoft or Yahoo imagery is .........?

 

Nevertheless, if you know the workaround or solution, I would really appreciate your reply.

 

Maps

 

11. Netlink. It looks like it is intentionally made to ensure users get as few maps as possible. Once you choose what you want to download, instead of seeing download progress bar you get a message telling that Delorme will inform you by email when you can start downloading your selection (!). I did not get any email for 24 hours but without any warnings suddenly download become available in Topo USA. The download was slow. Also there is a maximum download size.

 

 

Although I have downloaded 22GB of the DeLorme imagery without experiencing any of the tribulations with which you have been afflicted, I do accept the fact that such happens in a minority of the download attempts.

 

You have invited work-arounds and I'll accept that invitation by suggesting a work-around: The newly available Online Map Center:

http://forums.delorme.com/viewtopic.php?t=17958&start=0

 

Thank you for allowing me the opportunity to assist you in providing the best information regarding selection of a handheld GPSr for geocaching.

Edited by Team CowboyPapa

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And post #16 makes me glad that I ordered a PN-40 to replace my dying eTrex.

 

Just have to wait until Tuesday when UPS comes.

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Back when the old yellow etrex GPS was new, and SA was still in effect,
Back in those good ole SA days, the only Garmin Topos available were the 100K Topo USA product. Decidely inferior to the modern, 2008, 24K Topos. By example here's a screenshot from the Utah 24K Topos from Above the Timber's website.

 

HighUintas.gif

I believe it shows the Uinta Wilderness, but you'd know better than I.

 

any unit I can’t rely on to just keep chugging along for long periods of time accurately recording a track isn’t acceptable. Again, while aerial photos and whistles and bells are nice, dependability, and battery life are a must for an outdoorsman.
Now you can have your cake and eat it too!!!

 

When I bought my first GPS, battery life was a very high priority. Much to my surprise, the color mapping units from Garmin had significantly better battery life than any of the B&W units. So I'm able to have 24K Topos and 30+ hour battery life in the same unit.

 

While I've yet to have a white-out as you describe, your story amplifies the superiority of a GPS and track over map and compass.

 

Technology has indeed come a long way, but the map you use as an example also shows some of the shortcomings of the conversion process to vector mapping. Notice the contour lines running through water. Many other areas don’t like right as well, and if you compare this map with an actual topo quad of the area you’ll notice a lot of errors, some of which would make reading the terrain using this map a little more difficult than it needs to be. There is a lot to be said for the quality of the good old hand drawn Topo Quads. There could even be something to be said for Delormes approach to giving you a scan of the paper product for use in the field….

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Maps

 

11. Netlink. ....... The download was slow. Also there is a maximum download size.

 

Can you please add some quantitative definition here to aid others in the selection process?

 

For example, my Netlink download speed is typically around 350MB/sec. Do you characterize that as slow, or....?

 

Additionally, many of my downloaded files are in the order of 130 - 150MB in size. Do you consider this maximum size as insufficient? What alternative source allows significantly higher maximum sizes of aerial and satellite photo imagery and USGS 3DTQ imagery at an annual subscription fee of $30 for all one can download in a year?

Edited by Team CowboyPapa

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...And the alternative handheld GPSr for geocaching which supports the Google, Microsoft or Yahoo imagery is .........?
The Dancing Bear defense. Sure it doesn't dance very well, but how often do you see one?

 

Alternatives: iPhone. Blackberry Curve. T-Mobile G1/Android. Garmin Nuvi Phone (RSN). Sure they aren't "real" geocaching units (even though many people use them) but they do a great job of downloading and displaying aerial and satellite imagery and topo maps.

Edited by lee_rimar

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You have invited work-arounds and I'll accept that invitation by suggesting a work-around: The newly available Online Map Center
While this has its advantages, I can't imagine suggesting it to someone whose complaint was "slow downloads."

 

The Online Map Center delivers "cut" versions of the imagery to be loaded directly to the PN-40 rather than used in T7. But the cut files are SEVERAL times larger than the data subscription would deliver for use in T7 -- meaning even SLOWER downloads. The only advantage I've found to the Online Map Center is that I don't need to run Windows and I can download while doing other things on the computer (or unattended, as long as I can first sit through the process of selecting/queueing up all my downloads before bedtime).

 

But either way -- downloading gigabytes of data, even at off-hour peak speeds of 200-300kbps (if you're lucky) requires more planning and patience than most people are willing to invest. Especially when better imagery is available in available in more convenient forms.

Edited by lee_rimar

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Probably not worth mentioning, but with regard to Use Case (14) -- It is not necessary to individually click each grid square. You can drag the mouse to select a rectangular area.

 

With regard to WAAS -- it's definitely better with the 2.5 beta. But you are right -- it still does not work reliably enough, at least for some people. Anecdotally, it seems that there might be correlation between location and WAAS operability. The farther north you are, the less likely you are to get reliable WAAS. But it's just anecdotal -- nothing definitive. As somebody pointed out, the OR shares the chipset and the problem.

 

Agree that the improvement in reported EPE with 2.5 beta f/w is pure hype. This is apparently a result of the change in the chipset f/w. It is probably closer to reality than what you got with 2.4, but is also probably somewhat optimistic. In any case, best to treat EPE as a relative figure of merit, not an absolute measure of accuracy. You can't tell anything about EPE without knowing both the estimated error and the associated probability figure -- and no manufacturer will give you the latter.

 

The problem with losing lock has been reported by a (relatively) few people on the DeLorme forums. Not clear if this is a hardware issue with individual units, a firmware bug which manifests sporadically, or a combination of the two. Agree that it makes it difficult to trust the unit for life and death use in the field. But you do carry map and compass -- and have a backup plan? I'm not trying to minimize the severity of the issue. Just pointing out that I never, ever trust my life to just one piece of technology.

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Especially when better imagery is available in available in more convenient forms.

Dancing bear here, again.

Which better imagery?

From where?

For which handhelds? Apples or oranges handhelds?

More convenient than Netlink or Online Map Center?

Imagery at how much cost per GB?

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Which better imagery? From where?
Google Earth. Microsoft TerraServer. NASA WorldWind. Others.

 

For which handhelds?
I mentioned several in an earlier post :blink:

 

More convenient than Netlink or Online Map Center?
Depends where you are and what you need. If you're out in the wilderness you're better off with a paper map and a compass. If your any place within reach of cellular data or WiMax coverage, you can be connected to much richer data sources, dynamically and on demand for the spot you're standing on right this minute.

 

Don't like that option? Gotta have the whole county/state/country preloaded on Big Orange? Even DeLorme offers a better option than their data downloads. Buy the imagery you want on disk. Yes, the cost per square mile (or gigabyte) is way more than $30 per year - but it could be a bargain if you value your time, don't have huge bandwidth, or only need one state or a few counties.

 

The $30 per year subscription is like an "All you can eat" buffet. That only serves soup. By the teaspoon. And you have to drink it through straw :anitongue: I'd rather go to the sandwich shop next door and get a complete meal.

Edited by lee_rimar

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Which better imagery? From where?
Google Earth. Microsoft TerraServer. NASA WorldWind. Others.

 

For which handhelds?
I mentioned several in an earlier post :blink:

 

More convenient than Netlink or Online Map Center?
Depends where you are and what you need. If you're out in the wilderness you're better off with a paper map and a compass. If your any place within reach of cellular data or WiMax coverage, you can be connected to much richer data sources, dynamically and on demand for the spot you're standing on right this minute.

 

Don't like that option? Gotta have the whole county/state/country preloaded on Big Orange? Even DeLorme offers a better option than their data downloads. Buy the imagery you want on disk. Yes, the cost per square mile (or gigabyte) is way more than $30 per year - but it could be a bargain if you value your time, don't have huge bandwidth, or only need one state or a few counties.

 

The $30 per year subscription is like an "All you can eat" buffet. That only serves soup. By the teaspoon. And you have to drink it through straw :anitongue: I'd rather go to the sandwich shop next door and get a complete meal.

Hey, I was just trying to help the OP with the stated intent of his post, which is:

I hope listing the issues will help people to make more informed buying decision.

Which I infer is in the context of a PN-40 or an alternative handheld for geocaching (the subject of this forum).

I can see how all the above is spot on regarding selection criteria.

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The $30 per year subscription is like an "All you can eat" buffet. That only serves soup. By the teaspoon. And you have to drink it through straw :blink: I'd rather go to the sandwich shop next door and get a complete meal.

I'm actually surprised at this kind of complaint. This is the first company ever to offer this option to be downloaded to the GPS and it has been met with huge criticism. It takes a lot to deliver this kind of imagery in massive quantities. Not just little 1MB requests by the AVERAGE cell phone. And when the cell phone is using actual GPS receivers built in, they are very slow. Much slower than the PN-20 and the battery burn is a lot worse. And if you're not within the G3 range of delivery for the imagery, forget it. I have yet to be impressed with cellular application technology in this regard.

 

So yes, so far, the comparison is apples and oranges.

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The $30 per year subscription is like an "All you can eat" buffet. That only serves soup. By the teaspoon. And you have to drink it through straw :anitongue: I'd rather go to the sandwich shop next door and get a complete meal.

I'm actually surprised at this kind of complaint. This is the first company ever to offer this option to be downloaded to the GPS and it has been met with huge criticism. It takes a lot to deliver this kind of imagery in massive quantities. Not just little 1MB requests by the AVERAGE cell phone. And when the cell phone is using actual GPS receivers built in, they are very slow. Much slower than the PN-20 and the battery burn is a lot worse. And if you're not within the G3 range of delivery for the imagery, forget it. I have yet to be impressed with cellular application technology in this regard.

 

So yes, so far, the comparison is apples and oranges.

 

Yep, this complaint makes me smile....it's such a horrid deal!! :blink: I love the phone idea, that's MUCH better than having the info all on one device! I wonder, are those images sent free to your phone...or do you need to pay a subscription??

 

I'd more consider the subscription to be like an ala carte. Serve up as little or as much as you need and come back as much as you want!

Edited by Rockin Roddy

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Oregon has sunlight unreadable screen

Why do people keep saying this? I almost didn't buy an Oregon because I kept seeing this over and over, I'm glad I ignored it now. There is absolutely NO problem reading the Oregon's screen in sunlight or any other condition. Out of the box the default settings aren't the best but it takes less than 2 seconds to adjust and its a permanent fix (i.e. doesn't loose it again when changing batteries, etc).

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For example, my Netlink download speed is typically around 350MB/sec. Do you characterize that as slow, or....?

Cowboy Papa -- If this isn't a typo, please post how you manage it. My typical NetLink downlaod is in the 35KB to 100KB per second range -- less than 25% of the measured bandwidth of my 6Mb broadband connection. Occasionally, especially in the wee hours of the morning, I'll see something on the order of 160KB. In all fairness to the OP, this is definitely a "go do something else while it downloads" moment.

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For example, my Netlink download speed is typically around 350MB/sec. Do you characterize that as slow, or....?

Cowboy Papa -- If this isn't a typo, please post how you manage it. My typical NetLink downlaod is in the 35KB to 100KB per second range -- less than 25% of the measured bandwidth of my 6Mb broadband connection. Occasionally, especially in the wee hours of the morning, I'll see something on the order of 160KB. In all fairness to the OP, this is definitely a "go do something else while it downloads" moment.

 

I saw some slow speeds, but I also some as high as 500+. I found it depended more on the time of day and the amount of time you've been using it! I downloaded all of Michigan in a few day span!

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Oregon has sunlight unreadable screen

Why do people keep saying this? I almost didn't buy an Oregon because I kept seeing this over and over, I'm glad I ignored it now. There is absolutely NO problem reading the Oregon's screen in sunlight or any other condition. Out of the box the default settings aren't the best but it takes less than 2 seconds to adjust and its a permanent fix (i.e. doesn't loose it again when changing batteries, etc).

 

I can only comment on what I personally observed, and the screens I've seen on the OR are not very good! Maybe the owners of the ones I've checked out weren't up to par on making the screen better (doubtful), or maybe I saw some bad examples (again, doubtful), but visibility of the OR screen left me unimpressed! Again, I do not own one, I can only speak of the limited amount of time I've seen these! But, the times I did see them were enough to convince me I'd not want one! I even took a friends' OR out to my bike and laid it where I put my GPS...sitting on the bike, I would need to do more than a simple glance to get info from it. Not what I need, but YMMV! And, I didn't even have my sunglasses on when I was trying this, imagine how hard it'd be with glasses on, traffic buzzing by etc!

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Not what I need, but YMMV! And, I didn't even have my sunglasses on when I was trying this, imagine how hard it'd be with glasses on, traffic buzzing by etc!

 

Exactly, YMMV. No problems with the OR's screen visibility personally here. Yes, it's slightly duller than the PN-40 and 60, but not an issue. Makes for better battery life, which for me is far more important. Only time I've had issues with GPS screens and sun in general is on my dash, but the OR is actually very bright when powered from the car.

Edited by Maingray

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Not what I need, but YMMV! And, I didn't even have my sunglasses on when I was trying this, imagine how hard it'd be with glasses on, traffic buzzing by etc!

 

Exactly, YMMV. No problems with the OR's screen visibility personally here. Yes, it's slightly duller than the PN-40 and 60, but not an issue. Makes for better battery life, which for me is far more important. Only time I've had issues with GPS screens and sun in general is on my dash, but the OR is actually very bright when powered from the car.

 

It was one of the main reasons I didn't buy the OR. If I can't see the screen when I am using it to guide me to the next cache (or whatever), it isn't something I need! And, having to look just so, or take my glasses off in order to see it isn't very safe for the bike!

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Exactly, YMMV. No problems with the OR's screen visibility personally here.
Could you post a photo of the OR with no backlight showing a map screen? Here's an example from a CO:

 

Triad-NF-Marker_7975.jpg

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Moderator's note This thread is not about OR or several of the other things mentioned above. Please keep this thread on topic.

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It is interesting to see this thread as I too have returned my PN-40 for many of the same reasons. I would add or expand on a couple though. The 1000 waypoint limit is just not the way to go for a GPS unit that has 8 gb of memory (SE). I don't understand why there are waypoint limits on any GPS that is being released these days. The second is the redraw speeds when having imagery loaded on the GPS. Everyone including Delorme agreed that you should only maintain 1 to 2 gb of imagery to avoid the slower redraws. So what is the point of having up to 40 gb of total memory again? The last is bad reception. I have used the PN-40 side by side with both the Oregon and 60csx and without exception the 40 loses signal prior to either of them and in areas where I would not think it should lose signal.

 

I will say that the expectation of having good signal in any city with skyscrapers is unrealistic and not a good benchmark for GPS reception.

 

It was a bittersweet moment to return the PN-40 because Delorme has some of the best customer service I have experienced in quite some time. I think the information flow has dwindled as of late from Delorme and I am sure this is due to NDA but it still troubles me. So that’s my story and I have joined the ranks of those using the geocaching application on the iphone and so far I am very impressed with its functionality. Will it replace my current GPS? No, I will continue to use the Oregon and 60csx.

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Moderator's note This thread is not about OR or several of the other things mentioned above. Please keep this thread on topic.

 

Sorry, it was brought up by the OP, so I thought it was OT!

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It is interesting to see this thread as I too have returned my PN-40 for many of the same reasons. I would add or expand on a couple though. The 1000 waypoint limit is just not the way to go for a GPS unit that has 8 gb of memory (SE). I don't understand why there are waypoint limits on any GPS that is being released these days. The second is the redraw speeds when having imagery loaded on the GPS. Everyone including Delorme agreed that you should only maintain 1 to 2 gb of imagery to avoid the slower redraws. So what is the point of having up to 40 gb of total memory again? The last is bad reception. I have used the PN-40 side by side with both the Oregon and 60csx and without exception the 40 loses signal prior to either of them and in areas where I would not think it should lose signal.

 

I will say that the expectation of having good signal in any city with skyscrapers is unrealistic and not a good benchmark for GPS reception.

 

It was a bittersweet moment to return the PN-40 because Delorme has some of the best customer service I have experienced in quite some time. I think the information flow has dwindled as of late from Delorme and I am sure this is due to NDA but it still troubles me. So that’s my story and I have joined the ranks of those using the geocaching application on the iphone and so far I am very impressed with its functionality. Will it replace my current GPS? No, I will continue to use the Oregon and 60csx.

 

I think the extra memory is for the maps!

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The second is the redraw speeds when having imagery loaded on the GPS. Everyone including Delorme agreed that you should only maintain 1 to 2 gb of imagery to avoid the slower redraws. So what is the point of having up to 40 gb of total memory again?

The 1 to 2 GB is not a limit on the total amount of imagery on the unit. It's a best practice guideline for the size of a single cut map file. For example, I use a cheap 8GB SD card to hold all the maps and imagery I use regularly. I have 2 states worth of the standard Topo USA 1:100K topos plus routable roads (2GB or so) plus about 5GB of 1:24K topos, color 1M imagery and black/white 1M imagery. No redraw issues. But I keep the size of individual cut map files below 1GB.

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From twolpert: Cowboy Papa -- If this isn't a typo, please post how you manage it. My typical NetLink downlaod is in the 35KB to 100KB per second range -- less than 25% of the measured bandwidth of my 6Mb broadband connection. Occasionally, especially in the wee hours of the morning, I'll see something on the order of 160KB. In all fairness to the OP, this is definitely a "go do something else while it downloads" moment.

Not really a typo; more like a misrecollection.

I'm downloadoading another now at 334KB/Sec from my TW Cable internet service.

I suspect that reported download speed results are more a result of internet service than throttling by DeLorme servers.

Edited by Team CowboyPapa

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The second is the redraw speeds when having imagery loaded on the GPS. Everyone including Delorme agreed that you should only maintain 1 to 2 gb of imagery to avoid the slower redraws. So what is the point of having up to 40 gb of total memory again?

The 1 to 2 GB is not a limit on the total amount of imagery on the unit. It's a best practice guideline for the size of a single cut map file. For example, I use a cheap 8GB SD card to hold all the maps and imagery I use regularly. I have 2 states worth of the standard Topo USA 1:100K topos plus routable roads (2GB or so) plus about 5GB of 1:24K topos, color 1M imagery and black/white 1M imagery. No redraw issues. But I keep the size of individual cut map files below 1GB.

10-4, I found that at one particular Zoom Level, the time required to Zoom Down to the next level was cut in half when I cut the map file in half, from 2GB to 1GB. Therefore, I just have more, but smaller files loaded on a 16GB card.

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I see some good points with the PN-40 itself, but don't see how anyone could or would try and make the mapping interface and functionality of the TOPO software seem like anything but a real pain in the ......

 

The TOPO data within the software itself is crude at best, and leaves quite a bit to be desired, even when compared to actual paper 1:100,000 scale maps. I'm not sure if the problems lie with the methology used in converting the maps to a vector format, or if the database used was a DEM of some sort with features overlaid, sometimes quite crudely. The street data can be just as bad, depending on the area you're trying to navigate to. Granted it's more or less free with the unit, but then again it's a case of getting what you paid for.

 

As for downloading real topo maps, or aerial photos, it's extemely time consuming, far from simple, and quite memory intensive. If you got the unit to go out and play with rather than spend forever trying to program it you're going to be in for a surprise. I like doing weekend trips to widely varying areas, and to try and use this for useage like that would require far to much time just trying to download and cut my data. It seems odd to me that Delorme made it so much more difficult than it needs to be. If you've played with TOPOFusion, ExpertGPS, or similar programs that download the same sort of data onto your own hard drive you're likely to be even more frustrated because programs like that make it so easy.

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