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Out of the box...Garmin or DeLorme?


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Entropy,

I realize it doesn't come in the box but 40 owners can purchase Delorme's XMap for $100 which allows them to convert and install all of the free international and topo maps they want on their PN-40. There are a number of PN40 owners outside the U.S. using the 40 for not only caching but work.

 

Also in beta testing right now is the ability for the PN-40 to run Navionics lake charts on SD card.

Edited by Pax42
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It depends on how critical to your needs aerial imagery is.

 

In my opinion the ability to load aerial imagery does not make up for the fact that the PN-40:

 

Has a smaller and lower resolution screen

 

Despite the dual processor, smaller screen, and no relief shading (less work to do), has slower updating of the screen as you move.

 

Does not provide you the option of adding international maps if you ever travel internationally

 

Does not have third-party sources of free topographic data - Despite the fact that the source data is free in the United States from the Census Bureau and the USGS, DeLorme's topo maps are less detailed than ones freely available from www.gpsfiledepot.com - When I walked in my town park, the PN-40 showed the creek that runs through the park as an effectively straight line that eventually angled towards the river. Both of the New York topo maps available from the above site show its true structure (meandering frequently). Given that there's a cache in one of the peninsulas created by the meanders (which puts it on the other side of the line indicated by the 40), it helps a lot to have accurate hydro structure.

 

Has quite a few known (and even acknowledged by the manufacturer) quality control problems. These may eventually get fixed, but right now the PN-40 is a quality control gamble. (translation: you get what you pay for)

 

Cannot be powered in a vehicle using relatively common power supplies (Motorola, Blackberry, HTC, among others). In general, a lot of reports in the sticky thread documenting power supply issues indicate that the "one piece" cable that comes with the unit tends to cause lots of problems (lockups and such) if an attempt is made at using it to provide external power. You need to purchase a special cable to provide external power.

 

Has no "bracket mount/rail mount" point - Only options are friction mount and lanyard mount. The PN-40 comes with an incredibly long lanyard that allows the device to swing about quite a bit. The Oregon's included carabiner mount is just plain slick - It does not permit very much side-to-side twisting motion, and in general the device doesn't bounce/swing much when clipped to a belt loop. (The Oregon has a lanyard mount too.)

 

According to at least one review on Amazon, the NOAA marine charts provided by DeLorme are at a significantly lower resolution than the source data. Tonight I'll try to see if Topo 6 (since I had to return Topo 8 with my failed PN-40) is compatible with the Map Library (which I activated before my unit failed and I returned it) so I can see how DeLorme's aerial imagery for my area compares to the freely available source data for the area (USGS aerial, or in my case, New York GIS aerial which is what Google Maps and Google Earth users get for free at full resolution.)

 

Some of these gripes are true, the lanyard is long....long enough you can actually use it while walking! Does it swing from side to side?? Have never seen any others that didn't so why is this a problem? As to the rest of the comments..... :(

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I'd put my Vista HCx against any other gps for accuracy.

I think you'd lose. I don't want to knock the Vista HCx, which is a great little unit, (kinda like the Kia is a great little car), but a patch antenna is not suited for dense tree cover. Having used a Vista HCx along side a 60CSx and a PN-40, in various environments over the course of an extended weekend, we all found the Vista lacking. Of the three units, it was the only one to ever lose satellite reception, which happened several times. We also did fixed object return tests, where we selected random objects from a distance, (mostly tree stumps), and marked their position with all three units, then returned to the same spot later to see how close our original waypoint was to our current calculated lat/lon. The Vista lost every one of those competitions. Mind you, it didn't lose by any huge margin. For the budget conscious cacher, it's a great choice. It's just not the best choice for someone more worried about accuracy than price.

 

Bad analogy for many reasons. Based on the behavior of my PN-40, I'd be willing to bet it has a patch antenna, facing upwards out through the front of the unit. That said, your view of a patch vs helix wound antenna is flawed. Ever notice that those who can add external antennas often do so in tough reception areas. Those antennas they're adding on for "better" reception are virtually always of a patch design.

 

As for deciding which GPS unit to purchase, I can and do recommend the PN-40 for geocaching, but not for road navigation or back country exploring. The mapping software it comes with can be quite annoying though, depending on the area you'll be using it in. The street data is off by hundreds of feet in many areas. Check to see if tiger map data is any good in your area to figure out if it will work for you or not.

 

My experience with my PN-40 is that it is the most qwirky and least reliable of all the dozen plus units I've owned over the years. It sometimes locks up for for no reason, even with the latest firmware update, A couple times now it locked up so badly I had to pull the batteries to re-boot. It sometimes indicates a good lock, but isn't actually working. It eats batteries, especially if it gets a little bit cool. The same set of batteries that will power my VistaC for 20 plus hours, much of it with backlight on last maybe 4 to 8 hours in the PN-40 with little backlight use. (The unit tends to be very inconsistant on when it decides to shut down. Often you can re-boot and run a couple more hours after it shuts down for low batteries. If you do this though, when it does shut down you might have trouble getting it to power back up) Regarding reception and accuracy, mine seems about average for a modern receiver. pretty good actually in the open, somewhat unpredictable at times in rugged terrain. Repeatability is about what you would expect most of the time, but I've seen nothing about it to put it ahead of anything else.

 

Myself, if I was looking for a good general purpose handheld unit right now, I'd still go with a VistaHCX or a 60. I'm not sure I trust the ruggedness of a touch screen enough for the sort of abuse I give my toys in the hills

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Myself, if I was looking for a good general purpose handheld unit right now, I'd still go with a VistaHCX or a 60. I'm not sure I trust the ruggedness of a touch screen enough for the sort of abuse I give my toys in the hills

Having been an owner of an AT&T Tilt for nearly two years, a Palm Treo 650 prior to that, a Treo 600 prior to that, and a Kyocera 6035 prior to THAT, I've been carrying around touchscreen devices at almost all times (including while hiking and geocaching) since 2002. I have not had a single device fail or even get damaged, despite catching them on seatbelts, dropping them, etc. I have, however, averaged two belt clips a year.

 

Of course, I've invested in decent cases for all of them. The "stick-out" antenna of the T600 allowed me to use a SWEET aluminum hardcase with neoprene inserts - I dropped that down a flight of stairs at least twice.

 

The T650 just got a silicone skin, no problems with that other than the belt clip "stub" liking to slowly unscrew.

 

The Tilt has a Boxwave rubberized hardcase, with a nifty belt clip that prevents rotation of the device within the clip. Over a few months the screw holding the "button" in will back out a bit, but it's impossible for it to completely come out without removing the case from the device. I discovered the hard way that Loc-Tite and the material the "button" is made of don't get along.

 

I wish I could get a case for my phone that had the Garmin "rail mount" of the Colorado/Oregon - I love that mount!

 

While some cases for phones have hard shells that cover the touchscreen when not in use, with the exception of the T600's metal case (the screen cover was hinged and easy to move out of the way), not a single case I have ever used offered protection for the touchscreen. (I've used screen protectors to prevent scratches, but have never had any form of impact protection.)

 

The Oregon 300 is, as far as I can tell based on its construction, more durable than any of the above devices.

 

The PN-40, meanwhile, is the first handheld or portable device I've had fail on me in over a decade.

Edited by Entropy512
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I was hoping to read the links of side-by-side comparisons like the ones I posted, but no one seems to post them. I have cached with many people most had other Garmins, some maggies and even a delorme or two. I have not found another GPS I would like to have. My wife asked what GPS I wanted for our anniversary. I told her I was quite happy with my Vista, so she bought me an Eee Pc, which is awesome.

 

http://forums.Groundspeak.com/GC/index.php?showtopic=168470

 

http://forums.Groundspeak.com/GC/index.php?showtopic=176734

 

http://forums.gpsreview.net/viewtopic.php?t=6326

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Thanks for all the feedback. I've only used Nuvis to date, for both road & caching (playing with other's 650's while on shared business trips, and my 250W). The 250W has served pretty well for caching, it's just the tree cover and urban canyons that frustrate me with it. Compared to all of you responding, I just don't have much experience w/GPS units. And I don't have a store nearby that carries DeLorme, or that has an Oregon on display to play with. (BB has a placard for the Oregon, but a CO400t attached - go figure!) I have also been considering a Nuvi 205W and GSAK because of the price point for now (and it would be mine, all mine!)

 

I don't know what kind of true trail caching I may get into, as I can't get my husband interested in the game. But he will be tagging along on vacations, you can bet. :) However, even a handful of mature trees over a half-acre spread sends my 250W off into other wilds. After reading logs all around, I'm surprised, because this unit has the SIRF chipset (or so it says on boot-up).

 

Since I've got chargers all around for Garmin already (yes, Motorola, too, though they are not fully interchangeable), and screen visibility/size is a factor for me, looks like I'm leaning toward the Oregon at the moment.

 

Correct me if I'm wrong, but it sounds like I would need to purchase City Nagigator (that's not a typo in my crowd) for both the 300 and 400t if I want true turn-by-turn - is this true?

 

And would I be able to get equivalent topo mapping detail for the 300 from gpsfiledepot.com, to make it on par with the 400t?

Edited by hunterKat
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Correct me if I'm wrong, but it sounds like I would need to purchase City Nagigator (that's not a typo in my crowd) for both the 300 and 400t if I want true turn-by-turn - is this true?

 

And would I be able to get equivalent topo mapping detail for the 300 from gpsfiledepot.com, to make it on par with the 400t?

You would need to acquire City Navigator for driving navigation. Though, AFAIK, there are some free routable maps i.e., at http://garmin.na1400.info/routable.php and GPS File Depot as you said.

 

Also, it's too bad you waited because Dell just had the 300 (among others) for $150 off. Coincidentally, I was just reading about Buridan's a**.

Edited by FierceDeityLink1
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screen large enough to see (eyes aren't that young any more);

 

If that is a criteria forget the DeLorme, unless you want to bring your reading glasses with you. The menu fonts are very small and virtually unreadable for me and my eyes aren't all that bad. I have pretty mild reading glasses and perfect vision otherwise.

 

I never had a problem reading any other GPS display.

 

Of all the annoying little things about the unit I find this one to be most bothersome because it's so unnecessary.

 

Who cares? Amazon provides a better policy that applies to both Garmin and DeLorme products. Unlike DeLorme's policy, Amazon will pay for the unit to be shipped back (in fact, gives you a premade UPS label to print out), and will reset the 30 days while you're waiting for your replacement. Also, a good return policy is no substitute whatsoever for a reliable unit. If the unit fails before an important event, what good is a return/exchange policy?

 

I had to return my unit 3 times to DeLorme. Ran into a good chunk of change with shipping and insurance. I complained and DeLorme promised to reimburse my shipping costs. That was 3 months ago. I'm still waiting.

Edited by briansnat
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I have followed this threat with great interest. I am a complete GPS novice who will be purchasing a GPS unit shortly. I intend to use it primarily for use in back country hiking in Southern South America. I have narrowed the possible choices between the DeLorme PN-40 and the Garmin Colorado and Garmin Oregon series. From the exchange I gather that each model has certain strengths and weaknesses. In favor of the DeLorme PN-40 it apparently has the capability of uploading satellite imagery, whereas the Garmin models have a much wider presence and support outside of the US. I would humbly request the participants in this thread to add anything that they might deem of interest to someone in the process of making a final decision. Of paramount importance to me is utility and support that the GPS of choice would have in for example South American topography, groups of interest especially in Patagonia and flexibility of options and sources again related to South America. Reliability of build is also of interest as also features that might allow for multitudinous usage, whistle and bang features, versatility in performance i.e. primarily back country use but also in general route finding, etc. Finally if a particular model i.e. Garmin Colorado is suggested, then what series i.e. 300, 200, 400, etc. I realize that this is a very private issue that each person eventually comes to term with, however even after having attended a basic GPS class at a local mountaineering store, I still have not found the answers I was hoping to obtain. In anticipation, I thank one and all for any suggestions or pointers.

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I have followed this threat with great interest. I am a complete GPS novice who will be purchasing a GPS unit shortly. I intend to use it primarily for use in back country hiking in Southern South America. I have narrowed the possible choices between the DeLorme PN-40 and the Garmin Colorado and Garmin Oregon series. From the exchange I gather that each model has certain strengths and weaknesses. In favor of the DeLorme PN-40 it apparently has the capability of uploading satellite imagery, whereas the Garmin models have a much wider presence and support outside of the US. I would humbly request the participants in this thread to add anything that they might deem of interest to someone in the process of making a final decision. Of paramount importance to me is utility and support that the GPS of choice would have in for example South American topography, groups of interest especially in Patagonia and flexibility of options and sources again related to South America. Reliability of build is also of interest as also features that might allow for multitudinous usage, whistle and bang features, versatility in performance i.e. primarily back country use but also in general route finding, etc. Finally if a particular model i.e. Garmin Colorado is suggested, then what series i.e. 300, 200, 400, etc. I realize that this is a very private issue that each person eventually comes to term with, however even after having attended a basic GPS class at a local mountaineering store, I still have not found the answers I was hoping to obtain. In anticipation, I thank one and all for any suggestions or pointers.

Your best bet would be to stick with the Garmins. Although it is possible to load international maps on the PN40 using Delorme's Xmap software, it's an additional expense and you would still need to find a good source for the maps you need. With Garmin you can purchase routable maps for your location and perhaps find other free topo maps.

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What's the maximum memory card size these units can support?

Garmin Oregon 300 & 400t, Colorados, Nuvi 205W, 60CSx

DeLorme PN-40

 

Garmin says 4 gig in the Oregon and Colorado but some people claim to have used 8 gig without issues.

At one time the 60CSX had a 2 gig limit, but I hear it's 4 gig now.

 

The PN40 is 32 gig.

 

That is a bit deceiving though. The DeLorme maps eat up memory so you really need the extra capacity. I filled up my PN40's 8 gig card and don't think I had the whole US yet. Once you start loading sat imagery and more detailed maps they really chew up memory.

 

With Garmin you can load City Navigator for pretty much the entire US in well under two gigs.

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...The DeLorme maps eat up memory so you really need the extra capacity. I filled up my PN40's 8 gig card and don't think I had the whole US yet.
Correct. The complete US set of pre-cuts shipped with Topo 7 comes to around 22GB. That's just DeLorme's streets, topo, and POI data. As you said, any downloaded subscription data will "really chew up memory" a lot faster.

 

It was a bit of a surprise for me to learn that maps on the GPS take up MORE memory than they do on the computer. But I don't know if this is problem for most users. Other than the convenience of "load it once and forget it" -- does anyone really need the complete USA roadmap on their GPS? I'm quite happy with just Oregon and Washington most of the time, and can swap in other areas when I need to.

Edited by lee_rimar
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affordability; PN-40, Colorado

screen large enough to see (eyes aren't that young any more); Colorado, Oregon

geocaching (of course!), but likely not much back-country-ish stuff; All of the above

turn-by-turn navigation (for road trips and vacations, as well as getting to cache sites); All of the above

custom POIs; Colorado, Oregon

good signal in tree cover and urban canyons; PN-40

power options (alkaline or rechargeable batteries, and car-charging is a must); all of the above

good battery life; all of the above

compass (altimeter is nice, but not necessary);All of the above (again)

easy UI - I'm all for intuitive operating systems, but no dummy at learning something new; all

able to input street addresses on the go; none of the above

light-weight, including accessories (charger, batts, etc.).all of the above

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Official memory limit on the Oregon is 4GB.

 

That said, 8GB cards work fine and I'm guessing anything up to the SDHC limit works fine.

 

The issue is that the Garmins load maps from a single file on the SDHC, and FAT32 has a 4GB file size limit.

 

So while an 8GB card will work fine, you can only use 4GB for maps. The remainder is:

1) Storage of other data, or

2) You can load a map file, rename it, then load another one, and switch maps by putting the MicroSDHC card into another device by renaming files.

 

As to OS compatibility:

The PN-40 has procedures for loading maps by dragging and dropping precut maps to the SD card. This ONLY works for the topo maps - A Windows machine is currently required to access the Map Library (aerial, etc.) to my knowledge. All other data exchange requires special software, there is limited Mac support to do this.

 

The Garmin requires either Windows (MapSource) or MacOS (RoadTrip) to build mapsets for loading onto a device (although I think there may be open source mapset builder alternatives, I haven't tried them yet.) Once a mapset is built it can be "dragged and dropped" onto the Oregon SD or internal memory.

 

Transferring other data (waypoints, geocaches (treated differently from other waypoints by the Oregon), tracks, routes) is drag and drop on any operating system. The Garmin stores all such data internally in GPX files!

 

Garmin profile files also are text-based, so are drag-and-droppable and hand editable (although it's far easier to copy/drag/drop them and do editing by changing settings on the unit.)

 

Based on various reports, it seems like the Garmin maps require less disk space for a given area of coverage than the DeLorme.

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Cutting to the quick...DeLorme is the ONLY choice if you're looking for "out-of-the-box".

 

I own a PN-40 and have not seen a single lock-up when transferring from auto or any other connection...ever. With Cache register, DeLorme is ahead of any other unit on the market...as stated by many in the forums. Have not had the chance to see if TOPO 8 has made routing any better, but I persoanlly have never had a gripe about the routing, it works just fine for me!

 

For users who travel outside of North America, what are the DeLormes street navigation and topo maps like?

 

Thanks.

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...outside of North America, what are the DeLormes street navigation and topo maps like?
Non-existent.

 

Wouldn't you be able to use XMAP and get all you needed? For a price of course!

A work around perhaps, but DeLorme's maps and street navigation outside the North America is non-existent.

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I spotted another person complaining about this on the Communicator-plugin Developers forum (dec 2008), but they claimed to have no time to fix this problem.

http://developer.garmin.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=761

Maybe DeLorme's geocaching support will shake Garmin out of their complacency and actually push them to fix things like this.

 

Had contact with Garmin. Had updated the firmware to V2.98 beta (V3.01 beta is out right now, see Firmware page)

And started experimenting with GPX files. It still goes wrong when you download the file from Geocaching.com directly into the Oregon. Even with the latest version of the browser plugin. But when you download the GPX to your PC and copy it into the Oregon yourself all looks fine! Even the buttons Description and Hint work fine now and will take you to the corresponding section of the text. Little side effect... the hint is already decoded in de Oregon.

 

Paperless Geocaching with multiple waypoints is still on the wishlist. But we're getting somewhere now.

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But it is doable, right?
Yep, but not likely by you or I. It's not for someone who wants to buy maps pre-made. The title of this thread says "out of the box" and the more recent question from ObeliskAG was what DeLorme street and topo maps exist outside of North America. The answer to that is still "none."

 

If you say XMap means DeLorme sells maps for outside of North America, then I'd say Home Depot sells houses -- because you can buy tools and lumber there. But sticking with that analogy, XMap is just the toolbox - not the lumber. You still have to find/collect your own data to build maps.

Edited by lee_rimar
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But it is doable, right?
Yep, but not likely by you or I. It's not for someone who wants to buy maps pre-made. The title of this thread says "out of the box" and the more recent question from ObeliskAG was what DeLorme street and topo maps exist outside of North America. The answer to that is still "none."

 

If you say XMap means DeLorme sells maps for outside of North America, then I'd say Home Depot sells houses -- because you can buy tools and lumber there. But sticking with that analogy, XMap is just the toolbox - not the lumber. You still have to find/collect your own data to build maps.

 

I'm simply saying that it can be done by someone who would want to take on such an endeavor....nothing else. Whether the person who asked that question wants to or not is for that person to decide, the option is there. :unsure:

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And I'm simply saying DeLorme does not sell maps* for outside of North America. Being what ObeliskAG asked about seems kinda relevant, doncha think?

 

* Oh wait, there IS this...

 

http://shop.delorme.com/OA_HTML/DELibeCCtp...8&item=5311

 

It doesn't answer the question either, but someone could use that if they wanted. I'm just saying... y'know?

 

I believe you have answered the question posed by Obelisk, but I also believe you are misleading with your comment. If I read your comment correctly, you're basically saying the XMAP is a useless piece of junk? You say it would be very difficult for a user to make their own maps and put them to use? Or am I reading this all wrong?

 

Unless I misunderstand the purpose of XMAP, unless I misinterpreted all the posts about using XMAP in other threads, isn't XMAP FOR putting maps onto the unit which are not available from DeLorme? I know lee, the question asked was about maps from DeLorme, but that doesn't mean there aren't ways to get maps for the unit, right?

 

Lastly, you make it out that this isn't a practical workaround, but I go back to my points made about those maps on GPSfiledepot...they didn't just *poof* out of thin air, did they? Sure, this is a bit of work, but someone has to take up the task if there's ever to be shared maps...right?

 

And, I know, you'll see this as more bantering from a fanboy....but it isn't. It's seeking the truth in the whole mix. Friendly and helpful comments are welcome! :drama:

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Cutting to the quick...DeLorme is the ONLY choice if you're looking for "out-of-the-box".

It is the only unit listed that comes with the batteries. The other units just won't work out of the box. Of course, the included software won't work without a computer, but that is not included in the box. So "out of the box" all you really get is the basemap. Edited by coggins
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... am I reading this all wrong?
Reading it wrong? You've "rephrased" it in such an insulting way that you should be ashamed of yourself.

 

Nobody has said anything negative about XMap, only that it's not an answer to the user's question. Or even relevant to a discussion of "out of the box" packaged map products.

 

There is a a huge difference between what a user can build into a map on their own, and what is available in DeLorme's packaged maps. Making your own maps is not "a practical work around" for someone looking for a packaged map - it's a huge undertaking, outside of the scope of the disucssion about what packaged maps are available "out of the box."

 

... seeking the truth in the whole mix. ... Friendly and helpful comments are welcome! :drama:
Go to church. ;)

 

Nah, seriously: No single forum discussion is going to cover the "whole mix" of any product. Packaged maps "out of the box" are one thing, tools for building maps or how to do it yourself are really a subject worthy of a separate discussion. You might want to start a new thread on XMap for that.

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... am I reading this all wrong?
Reading it wrong? You've "rephrased" it in such an insulting way that you should be ashamed of yourself.

 

Nobody has said anything negative about XMap, only that it's not an answer to the user's question. Or even relevant to a discussion of "out of the box" packaged map products.

 

There is a a huge difference between what a user can build into a map on their own, and what is available in DeLorme's packaged maps. Making your own maps is not "a practical work around" for someone looking for a packaged map - it's a huge undertaking, outside of the scope of the disucssion about what packaged maps are available "out of the box."

 

... seeking the truth in the whole mix. ... Friendly and helpful comments are welcome! :drama:
Go to church. ;)

 

Nah, seriously: No single forum discussion is going to cover the "whole mix" of any product. Packaged maps "out of the box" are one thing, tools for building maps or how to do it yourself are really a subject worthy of a separate discussion. You might want to start a new thread on XMap for that.

 

You stated quite clearly that "yep, but not likely by you or I". I take that to mean the normal user can't take on such an endeavor, I would even go to say more than the normal user since I would consider you a bit more experienced than the normal user (forgive me if I am wrong on that though). So, for the normal user, XMAP isn't junk, we can likely use it as it is intended? Or were you making that statement just to make it seem as such?

 

How do you know what the poster had in mind when he posted that question? Maybe he was looking for options, which I definitely gave with the XMAP.

 

And ashamed of myself?? Really? I'm not the one making statements which are obviously misleading.

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