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My New PN-40 (My Opinion)


Hildy Boys
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I know there are a million other threads on this unit out there, but I wanted to give everyone an honest opinion of this unit but didn't want to highjack someone elses thread.

 

The unit that I ordered on Amazon last week showed up on Monday. I have to say I can't remember being that excited about a package arriving in the mail in a long time. Although, I also have to say that I was a bit nervious about the whole thing. All the stuff I have been reading since I bought this unit about it having a steep learning curve, tough on batteries, the map software being tough to use, and problems getting help from Delorme had me a bit worried.

 

A few things you need to know about me before I start. I am new to Geocaching and to using a GPS, and frankly I am not a gadget guy! Up until now I have been using a Lowrance ifinder H20c, which is great for fishing but just functional for geocaching. I had been hand loading all my geocaches on to this unti because I lacked the knowledge and the USB cable to do otherwise, so I had no idae how to even run a Pocket Query.

 

So I will walk this through from start to finish, and I will try and address all areas.

 

Opening the box (My first impressions)

 

Seems like a nice sturdy little unit, feels well built, and fits in my hand real nice. The batteries and SD card were easy to put in, turned on the unit and I was up and running I was sitting on my couch so I wasn't banking on getting a signal in the house, but low and behold after about 4 minutes it found my location! Now that impressed me because my Lowrance never gets a signal in the house, and even outside it takes at least 7-8 minutes with new batteries.

 

So I started navigating through the screens trying to figure out how to use this thing without having to read the manual. I am not sure who thinks this thing has a steep learning curve, but I was amazed at how a simpleton like me could just figure this thing out with no manual reading at all. It seems very intuative, and the screens are easy to navigate through. I also like the fact that it is fairly easy to see even when not back light. If there is anything that I could complain about, the lettering on the menues is a bit small. But that is not a concern with me, and who knows there may be a way to make it larger.

 

Map Software

 

So I pop the disk for my region into my laptop, hookup my GPS up to the USB calbe. And I have to say, I couldn't imagine this process being any easier. I just walked through the on screen instuctions and in no time I was transferring maps. The transfer took some time, but they even tell you in the instructions that it is quicker to do it with an SD card reader. Once the maps are loaded, I look at the map of my area and I was impressed with the detail. So I was good to go.

 

Now keep in mind this is not the Topo 8 maps, these are the other maps. I am wondering what advantages I would even have to loading the Topo 8 maps, it is not like I am climbing mountians here in Wisconsin. So I may wait until I learn the unit more before I try that.

 

Loading Caches (Cache Register and Pocket Queries)

 

I ran into a bit of a problem here, but I have a feeling it was operator error and not the equipment. I set up my first PQ, I get the email, I look at Cache Register and there it is. I select it and hit the SYNC button and I get a warning that says it can not load gpx files. I try it a few more times, I do some reading and can't figure it out. I even post a thread on here, got some helpful hint, I try them and still nothing. I try loading each individual geocache on and it works. But it will not load my PQ. I call Delorme tech support and they were amazingly helpful. They showed me a different way to load them on, and it worked. Since then I figured out what I was doing wrong and it now works.

 

My First Find

So I get the unit out in the car, select geocaches, take the top one on the list (closests), and choice to have it take me by road. A couple seconds later it has my route calculated, and off I go. I get to my first turn and I hear a chirp, well that is something I didn't know it did (cooooool). My lowrance didn't have a road option so this was kinda cool for me. Okay, I get to walking distance and change it to hike which was amazingly easy to do. I am about 600 feet from it, so I start to read all the information on about the cache. I was really impressed with this paperless feature, and only after a couple times I can tell you I am loving it! So now I am within 40 feet, switch to the compass, and I am impressed on how quickly the unit is responding to my movement. It gets me to within 6 feet of a bush, I look inside the bush and there is a micro hanging there. I sign the log, start heading back to the car, go to the menu, log that I found it. And off I am to the next one!

 

Loading my finds

When I get home I turn on my laptop, hook my unit up to the USB, it takes a few seconds to SYNC up, and there are my finds on Cache Register. I go to geocache.com, open my resent finds, and there they are, I open them up edit the log to put in my experience.

 

Tech Support

 

I couldn't imagine a Tech Support Department being more helpful. The guy I talked to (Rob) helped me walk through all the screens trying to figure out the problem. When we hit a birck wall, he said he needed to get some help on this one and asked if he could call me back. I thought, "GREAT, I am not gonna hear from him for the rest of the day!" About 5 minutes later, the phone rings, and there is Rob with my answers. He walked me through what I needed to do and fixed my problem.

 

Battery Life

 

Well overall I have probably had this unit on for about 5 hours and it still has a good amount of battery life left on it. I am just using regular Alkine batteries right now, but will be switching soon. My old GPS just ate up batteries, so this one doesn't seem so bad. But I am going to be going to rechargeables, and as long as I am prepared I don't see battery life being an issue.

 

Overall Opinion

 

So fair I am loving this unit, I couldn't be happier with it. It seems well built, and very simple to use. All of the things that I have posted above were done without ever cracking open the owners manual. I am sure once I get around to doing that I will really be able to fine tune this thing to my liking, but I can't imagine making many changes to it.

 

Now keep in mind I have never used a Garmin or any other paperless units, so I really have nothing to compare it to, but I can't imagine a unit being much easier to use then this one.

 

I know this is a long read, but I hope it helps someone.

Edited by Hildy Boys
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We just got ours also. Being computer idiots, it took a little fumbling........ but all is well and working fine.

 

The PN-40 here also picked up nine satellites inside of the house (though not in the basement where my "office" is). But I turn off the GPS search while doing inside work anyway: downloading, uploading, etc.

 

A little stumble using cache register, but no real biggie there.

 

I would add that manual says maps loaded directly to the SD card through a card reader is far faster, and they are right about that! Already had a reader ($10 or less), so I opted to use that.

 

As far as the Topo 8 is concerned, that (I think) is just to load into your computer, as the PN-40 already has maps. You select regions you are using from the regional disks to upload the topo "layover". Could be wrong there, but it worked for me.

 

Are taking a trip soon, and already laid in the topo selections to it, as well as a PQ route, and "while there" PQ.

 

Long and short of it -- happy happy happy. :huh::(;)

 

Learning curve? So far isn't too steep. We do plan on learning more during the trip.

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Very helpful review. I've been wanting to upgrade from my blackberry to a stand alone unit, but have been nervous about spending the money on the wrong unit for me. I finally decided on the pn-30 or 40 and then I started reading some of the reviews and discussions about these units and started wondering again. This thread has put me over the top. I'm definitely getting one, now the only question is do I go with the pn-30 or the pn-40. Basically is the compass worth it?

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......I'm definitely getting one, now the only question is do I go with the pn-30 or the pn-40. Basically is the compass worth it?

You will get both sides of the story here.

Some will say that they find it very useful.

OTOH, I started with the PN-20 which has no electronic compass.

Now, with the PN-40, I don't even think about and seem to do just fine.

Remember, without it, you can just walk @ 2mph and the satellite based compass will kick in.

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Good review. Glad you like it. I was also a little apprehensive about ordering it because I had been reading great things about the PN-40 and some not so great things about it. The "steep learning curve" and the shortened battery life reports I'd heard about almost made me cancel my order from Amazon ($199.99). Now I'm anxiously awaiting it's arrival on Dec 7.

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I'm definitely getting one, now the only question is do I go with the pn-30 or the pn-40. Basically is the compass worth it?

Until this past Saturday, I would have said "flip a coin."

 

Saturday I had a cache which required a waypoint projection, which DeLormes don't do (yet. Several people, myself included, have been begging for it for a long time now). The only way we were able to get close to GZ was for me to stand at the given coords, fire up the compass, and shoot a bearing.

 

Now, I could have done this with an orienteering compass...except mine doesn't have a declination adjustment, and the projection called for 17.1 degrees True, not Magnetic. So it wouldn't have helped enough.

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Does anyone know if the maps that come with the PN40 indicate fire roads? Do the 24K maps have fire roads?

The 24K maps are USGS Topo Quads. If the USGS has the fire roads, the downloaded maps will. Outside those maps, it'll vary from region to region and probably even road to road.

 

If you have specific fire roads/areas you're curious about, post coordinates and we can try to get screenshots for you.

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I'm definitely getting one, now the only question is do I go with the pn-30 or the pn-40. Basically is the compass worth it?

Until this past Saturday, I would have said "flip a coin."

 

Saturday I had a cache which required a waypoint projection, which DeLormes don't do (yet. Several people, myself included, have been begging for it for a long time now). The only way we were able to get close to GZ was for me to stand at the given coords, fire up the compass, and shoot a bearing.

 

Now, I could have done this with an orienteering compass...except mine doesn't have a declination adjustment, and the projection called for 17.1 degrees True, not Magnetic. So it wouldn't have helped enough.

Well considering it took a year to get multiple waypoint and track file management....

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I am glad that some people have found this thread useful. I am now on day number 3 (roughly about 4 hours) of geocaching with this unit and I am still loving this thing. I have to say, even if I had spent $300 on this unit, I would have considered it money well spent.

 

A few things that I have learned, some of these things I am sure I would have learned by reading the manual.

 

1. I am on about 4 hours of geocachig and 3 hours of playing with it and I just replaced the Alkalines. I have used this unit to find about 6 caches so far. I know that may not seem like a lot for 4 hours. But I use this sport for exercise, and usually park about a mile from my caches. I am not a quick grab kinda guy! So compared to Lowrance I am thinking that is not to bad. That is not much of an accomplishment though.

 

2. When you are in Road routing, the distance thing is not telling you the distance from the cahce but rather the distance to your next turn. This confused the hell outta me at first, and then I stopped being such a simpleton and figured it out! Like I said, I am sure a little reading would have told me that.

 

3. At first when I was in hiking mode and looked at the map it didn't update the distance to the cache which is the way I like to do it. I figured out how to do that now. But I do find myself liking the compass screen more.

 

4. One thing I need to figure out is how the field notes get sent to geocache automatically, because it did it the first time I hooked in. But it did not do it yesterday, so I will have to figure out what I did differently. It is not a big deal if I can't get it to work, becuase I am one of those guys that likes to write a little something in each of my logs so I go into each one anyway. There is no way I am typing all of that on the unit.

 

5. One thing I have noticed is that when you are in road routing mode and you are doing about 50mph, the unit does not keep up with your car so you have to anticipate your turns a little bit. I am not sure if other hand held units are better at this or not, but it is no big deal for me. I usually know which road I am going to be turning on any way, and only use the unit when I start getting closer and I am slowing down.

 

6. One thing that I am really liking about this unit that was a big complaint for me with my Lowarnce is that I can see it fairly well without the back lighting on.

 

7.And another thing that using this unit and my old unit has taught me is mainly a personal habit thing then it is the unit. When the unit gets me to within 10 feet of the cache, put the darn thing away and start looking. I keep finding myself trying to get myself to like 3 feet, but when you try and dial in that close you usually end up walking around like an idiot and you are turning so much that you confuse the GPS a bit too.

 

8. Oh and like stated earlier, I REALLY LIKE HOW ORANGE IT IS!!! Being that I am the type of person that puts something down and can't find it 3 seconds later, it is nice to have something that stands out. Hell I have been known to be walking out the door while on the cell phone, and check my pockets and freaking out about where I put my cell phone! I told you I am a simpleton! :)

 

Sorry for another long post again, can anyone tell I like to hear myself talk?

Edited by Hildy Boys
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2. When you are in Road routing, the distance thing is not telling you the distance from the cahce but rather the distance to your next turn. This confused the hell outta me at first, and then I stopped being such a simpleton and figured it out! Like I said, I am sure a little reading would have told me that.

You can customize the info fields so that you see both distance to next turn and distance to final. Note that when you're in "navigation mode" you have a different set of info fields than when you're not in that mode, so if you make changes while not navigating (just route to a cache or waypoint to get into that mode), those changes won't be there the next time you're on the hunt.

 

There isn't a distinction (for info field setup) between Driving & Hiking though.

 

4. One thing I need to figure out is how the field notes get sent to geocache automatically, because it did it the first time I hooked in. But it did not do it yesterday, so I will have to figure out what I did differently. It is not a big deal if I can't get it to work, becuase I am one of those guys that likes to write a little something in each of my logs so I go into each one anyway. There is no way I am typing all of that on the unit.
Your Field Notes are uploaded when you sync a Pocket Query. They are not posted to the cache page immediately - you have to go to http://www.geocaching.com/my/fieldnotes.aspx to edit & post them. When you upload them, Cache Register will ask if you want to be taken to that page - just click Yes.

 

You can also upload them by going to the Geocaches page, hitting Menu, then selecting Upload Field Notes. This will make your PN appear as a removeable drive on the computer, and you can upload them at http://www.geocaching.com/my/uploadfieldnotes.aspx . There are instructions right on that page (this page is also linked from the above page).

 

8. Oh and like stated earlier, I REALLY LIKE HOW ORANGE IT IS!!! Being that I am the type of person that puts something down and can't find it 3 seconds later, it is nice to have something that stands out.
The color is very polarizing. Some people think it's an eyesore, other people like it. I'm with you - I like that it's hard to lose track of it. I almost lost my Magellan Meridian Gold a few times because it blends in with everything out in the woods. Edited by dakboy
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5. One thing I have noticed is that when you are in road routing mode and you are doing about 50mph, the unit does not keep up with your car so you have to anticipate your turns a little bit. I am not sure if other hand held units are better at this or not, but it is no big deal for me. I usually know which road I am going to be turning on any way, and only use the unit when I start getting closer and I am slowing down.

 

Ouch :) Wouldn't that make the PN-40 road navigation basically useless to use on interstates etc??

 

Did it have fresh batteries at the time? Would it process any faster if it was plugged into the car power kit?

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You can customize the info fields so that you see both distance to next turn and distance to final. Note that when you're in "navigation mode" you have a different set of info fields than when you're not in that mode, so if you make changes while not navigating (just route to a cache or waypoint to get into that mode), those changes won't be there the next time you're on the hunt.

 

This is one of the things that I don't understand how people think this unit has such a steep learning curve. Just reading what you wrote, I turned on the unit and within seconds saw where to do that and now have it setup the way I like it. Thanks for the help.

 

There isn't a distinction (for info field setup) between Driving & Hiking though.

 

It would be nice if they could be different, because there is different information I would like to have when I am hiking then when I am driving. But I will play with it and figure out what combination is best. Thanks again.

Edited by Hildy Boys
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Loading Caches (Cache Register and Pocket Queries)

 

I ran into a bit of a problem here, but I have a feeling it was operator error and not the equipment. I set up my first PQ, I get the email, I look at Cache Register and there it is. I select it and hit the SYNC button and I get a warning that says it can not load gpx files. I try it a few more times, I do some reading and can't figure it out. I even post a thread on here, got some helpful hint, I try them and still nothing. I try loading each individual geocache on and it works. But it will not load my PQ. I call Delorme tech support and they were amazingly helpful. They showed me a different way to load them on, and it worked. Since then I figured out what I was doing wrong and it now works.

 

 

Can you tell me what you/tech support did to fix? I too have occasional hickups with CR and have not yet fallen into a particular routine as to how to do things correctly every time, yet.

 

I think i read that CR uploads the field notes to Geocaching.com when you sign in (thru CR), and it gets the PQ the same way and not from the e-mail sent to your puter.

 

Thanks,

lemn

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5. One thing I have noticed is that when you are in road routing mode and you are doing about 50mph, the unit does not keep up with your car so you have to anticipate your turns a little bit. I am not sure if other hand held units are better at this or not, but it is no big deal for me. I usually know which road I am going to be turning on any way, and only use the unit when I start getting closer and I am slowing down.

 

Ouch :) Wouldn't that make the PN-40 road navigation basically useless to use on interstates etc??

 

Did it have fresh batteries at the time? Would it process any faster if it was plugged into the car power kit?

 

Actually no, it doesn't make it any more useless on the interstates. Just look ahead and drive as you normally would, or should.

 

I fear a world where people cannot navigate w/o "turn-by-turn" directions. I'm not throwing stones at you, friend. This is a generality that I am poking at.

 

If we already know that we need to turn at such & such a road, we don't wait for a "device" to tell us what exit to use, as we have looked ahead -- just like the "ol" days. We ain't preoccupied with texting, phoning or looking at a screen when the jerk ahead suddenly stops or sumtin'. :)

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5. One thing I have noticed is that when you are in road routing mode and you are doing about 50mph, the unit does not keep up with your car so you have to anticipate your turns a little bit. I am not sure if other hand held units are better at this or not, but it is no big deal for me. I usually know which road I am going to be turning on any way, and only use the unit when I start getting closer and I am slowing down.

 

Ouch :) Wouldn't that make the PN-40 road navigation basically useless to use on interstates etc??

 

Did it have fresh batteries at the time? Would it process any faster if it was plugged into the car power kit?

The unit is slower in power-saving mode than in regular mode.

 

That said, it does give an alarm when you're .5 miles from the turn, and I think there's another one when you're a little closer. The alarm distances are not customizable (that I've found, anyway). On the interstate, .5 miles should be enough warning.

 

But I don't think anyone has claimed that road navigation is one of the PN-40's strong suits. I've had to double back more times than I can count. Better off looking at the route ahead (Menu -> Route Directions will show all turns) and watching for road signs.

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You can customize the info fields so that you see both distance to next turn and distance to final. Note that when you're in "navigation mode" you have a different set of info fields than when you're not in that mode, so if you make changes while not navigating (just route to a cache or waypoint to get into that mode), those changes won't be there the next time you're on the hunt.

 

This is one of the things that I don't understand how people think this unit has such a steep learning curve. Just reading what you wrote, I turned on the unit and within seconds saw where to do that and now have it setup the way I like it. Thanks for the help.

Some people expect things to be placed right in front of them with a giant CLICK HERE arrow pointing at what they need to do.

 

Others press buttons labeled "Menu" and say "wonder what I'll get if I press that." Explorers vs....ummm...non-explorers, if you will.

 

There isn't a distinction (for info field setup) between Driving & Hiking though.

 

It would be nice if they could be different, because there is different information I would like to have when I am hiking then when I am driving. But I will play with it and figure out what combination is best.

I agree. Some people have asked for a second "trip info" screen because they want more info fields on that screen than you can fit. I don't know that I need that, but I wouldn't mind having a computer-based utility to arrange all my screens, save & restore various screen configuration, etc.

 

Have you ventured into the Page Order screen yet to rearrange your screens & add/remove ones from the "cycle"?

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This is one of the things that I don't understand how people think this unit has such a steep learning curve.

I think most of the "steep learning curve" is directed at TopoUSA, not the device itself.

 

I have to deal with horribly broken applications with "steep learning curves" on a daily basis in my job (and have done so for the past 10+ years), so unless something is so far broken as to barely even function, I can usually find my way around after an hour or two.

 

Also keep in mind that many who claim that the software is difficult are coming from another package which does similar things, but does them differently. In this case, it's a matter of unlearning what you learned with the other software and setting aside the expectations you've developed from using that software. Kind of like learning how to drive a 5-speed after only knowing automatics all your life. It's not hard - it's different.

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5. One thing I have noticed is that when you are in road routing mode and you are doing about 50mph, the unit does not keep up with your car so you have to anticipate your turns a little bit. I am not sure if other hand held units are better at this or not, but it is no big deal for me. I usually know which road I am going to be turning on any way, and only use the unit when I start getting closer and I am slowing down.

 

Ouch :) Wouldn't that make the PN-40 road navigation basically useless to use on interstates etc??

 

Did it have fresh batteries at the time? Would it process any faster if it was plugged into the car power kit?

 

I don't know about useless because once you are on the interstate, you can have a field that tells you what your next turn is going to be. I am not a big fan of looking at a GPS a lot while I am driving at high speeds, so I would just assume see what my next exit is supposed to be and just watch for that exit. Once I know what to do, I don't need a signal or a voice to tell me to do it. "Although my X wife may dispute that point!"

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Have you ventured into the Page Order screen yet to rearrange your screens & add/remove ones from the "cycle"?

 

Actually I did a little bit, I think I removed the Tide stuff because I have no need for that here in the Midwest. But I want to play with that a bit more.

Edited by Hildy Boys
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Loading Caches (Cache Register and Pocket Queries)

 

I ran into a bit of a problem here, but I have a feeling it was operator error and not the equipment. I set up my first PQ, I get the email, I look at Cache Register and there it is. I select it and hit the SYNC button and I get a warning that says it can not load gpx files. I try it a few more times, I do some reading and can't figure it out. I even post a thread on here, got some helpful hint, I try them and still nothing. I try loading each individual geocache on and it works. But it will not load my PQ. I call Delorme tech support and they were amazingly helpful. They showed me a different way to load them on, and it worked. Since then I figured out what I was doing wrong and it now works.

 

 

Can you tell me what you/tech support did to fix? I too have occasional hickups with CR and have not yet fallen into a particular routine as to how to do things correctly every time, yet.

 

I think i read that CR uploads the field notes to Geocaching.com when you sign in (thru CR), and it gets the PQ the same way and not from the e-mail sent to your puter.

 

Thanks,

lemn

 

I can not remeber exactly how I did it becuase I only had to do it that once. But I opened the email from my PQ, unzipped the file, dragged the gpx file I wanted to my desktop, in CR i clicked on import gpx file, and it uploaded it that way.

 

The one that I originally tried to do that I had a problem with just reran today, so when I get home I am going to see if it works this time. The other PQ that I built works just fine.

 

Hope this helps.

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Does anyone know if the maps that come with the PN40 indicate fire roads? Do the 24K maps have fire roads?

 

Dakboy is right about the USGS stuff. If the government lists them they will be on your quad downloads. If not, then you can see them on the DOQQ (black and white aerial) or CDOQQ (color aerial) maps you download from Delorme. You can also "trace", and save them as draw objects in Topo8 if you care to. I do this to show logging roads in hunting areas.

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There are a few things you can do to improve the screen redraws while road routing. If you are able to zoom out, that will reduce the number of redraws needed...but you might lose desired detail.

 

Another option is to select "Street View" for the Map Style parameter on the Map Setup screen. That takes the topo data out of the display, which may or may not make a difference for your needs. It's a matter of tradeoffs, but the general strategy is to reduce the screen detail to reduce processor load.

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This is one of the things that I don't understand how people think this unit has such a steep learning curve.

I think most of the "steep learning curve" is directed at TopoUSA, not the device itself.

 

Yes, and concerning Topo USA 8.0, the mythology of the steep learning curve has been promulgated by those who have neither used Topo 8 nor held a PN-40 in their hands.

 

Now, in an attempt to preempt accusations of overgeneraliztion, allow me to be more specific.

Previously, without success, I have asked those with qualified hands-on experience to step forward and relate such on a comparative basis.

Note that in the generalization (not mine) of steep, should we not have one of two possibilities:

1. An absoulte measure such as 23° of steepness, or

2. A side-by-side, step-by-step comparsion between Topo 8 and another qualified product, with those qualifications being:

2a. A comparable software application, bundled in the box with a competitive handheld GPSr,

2b. The step-by-step comparison would be of an equivalent task, such as editing a track recorded on the competitive handheld GPSr and downloaded (via a proprietary or non-proprietary cable is not significant here) to the software app for editing.

2c. Or any other task requiring equvalent functionality to compare between Topo USA 8.0 and an in-the-box competitive product.

 

Note that in order to preclude overgeneraliztion I am disqualifying third party software such as one would get from the brother of the guy that works with a next door neighbor who......... :)

 

Well, in the fullness of time, their appears to be nobody that can come forward to testify that.....

 

Is it possible then, that the steep learning curve admonition is a total myth without comparative substance? :)

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Just Ordered my PN-30 :blink::laughing: now waiting its arrival on the 8th! I'm upgrading from my blackberry curve and never used any mapping software in my life. So i will soon find out how steep this learning curve is. I suspect it will be fairly straight forward and after an hour or two using the software i will have the basics down, and everything else will come with time. Just like when I first got my Blackberry I had to explore and play with things for a while to find out all of its features. :laughing:

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Just Ordered my PN-30 :blink::laughing: now waiting its arrival on the 8th! I'm upgrading from my blackberry curve and never used any mapping software in my life. So i will soon find out how steep this learning curve is. I suspect it will be fairly straight forward and after an hour or two using the software i will have the basics down, and everything else will come with time. Just like when I first got my Blackberry I had to explore and play with things for a while to find out all of its features. :laughing:

 

I am in the same boat with my PN-40 which is coming next week. I also have never used mapping software before. My first endeavour will be to transfer the pre-cut street maps for Canada from the DVD and I am hoping that goes smoothly. Then I can take my time figuring out if there is a way to get some Aerial maps for Manitoba and Northwest Ontario on there. I've already downloaded the Ibycus topo maps but I am not sure that I really need them for what I do.

 

Regardless, I am an IT professional and very comfortable with most software so I will try to report back on my experiences with Topo 8.

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Just Ordered my PN-30 :blink::laughing: now waiting its arrival on the 8th! I'm upgrading from my blackberry curve and never used any mapping software in my life. So i will soon find out how steep this learning curve is. I suspect it will be fairly straight forward and after an hour or two using the software i will have the basics down, and everything else will come with time. Just like when I first got my Blackberry I had to explore and play with things for a while to find out all of its features. :laughing:

 

I am in the same boat with my PN-40 which is coming next week. I also have never used mapping software before. My first endeavour will be to transfer the pre-cut street maps for Canada from the DVD and I am hoping that goes smoothly. Then I can take my time figuring out if there is a way to get some Aerial maps for Manitoba and Northwest Ontario on there. I've already downloaded the Ibycus topo maps but I am not sure that I really need them for what I do.

 

Regardless, I am an IT professional and very comfortable with most software so I will try to report back on my experiences with Topo 8.

Check these for getting started:

http://pn-series.wiki.delorme.com/

http://delormepn40.wikispaces.com/

http://pn-series.wiki.delorme.com/Getting+Started

 

Also:

http://delormepn40.wikispaces.com/Map+Layering

 

Great help at the DeLorme Fourm:

http://forums.delorme.com/

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While using your Delorme in road mode - it knows your location and the location of your next turn. It also knows your speed at the moment. It will "wheeeep wheeeep" at 60 seconds prior to the turn. At 10 seconds prior, it will let out a single "wheeeep." Mine seems to tell me when I am crossing a county line also and it does "wheeeep" at me if the road has a dogleg 10 seconds ahead also.

 

I just leave it on the top of the dashboard and it manages to sound off above the radio - but I don't play the radio at 110db either.

 

I also don't have it recalculate the route if I get off it - I just work my way back on route up ahead. In my area, roads are generally on a one mile grid anyway.

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I've already downloaded the Ibycus topo maps but I am not sure that I really need them for what I do.
FWIW, those maps will only load into a garmin gps.

 

Sigh.. good to know in advance. I still don't think I will need them much, and if at all it won't be until July so I have some time to either figure it out or for Delorme to release more international maps.

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Go ahead and buy the $30 annual download option to Topo 8. You can get all the topo maps you want plus aerial imagery. It is a bargain.

 

You can also update your firmware to 2.7 and hold thousands of caches on the SD card. Get the SD card of the highest class you can afford. 6 is tremendously faster than 2.

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Saturday I had a cache which required a waypoint projection, which DeLormes don't do (yet. Several people, myself included, have been begging for it for a long time now). The only way we were able to get close to GZ was for me to stand at the given coords, fire up the compass, and shoot a bearing.

 

Now, I could have done this with an orienteering compass...except mine doesn't have a declination adjustment, and the projection called for 17.1 degrees True, not Magnetic. So it wouldn't have helped enough.

 

I had a cache like this and used the map page, the panning arrow, and the bearing info and distance fields at the top to mark a waypoint at the end point. Then used compass to get there! It's only accurate under .10 miles, though; if over .10 miles, I just mark a waypoint every .10; or go home and use google earth! ;)

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Saturday I had a cache which required a waypoint projection, which DeLormes don't do (yet. Several people, myself included, have been begging for it for a long time now). The only way we were able to get close to GZ was for me to stand at the given coords, fire up the compass, and shoot a bearing.

 

Now, I could have done this with an orienteering compass...except mine doesn't have a declination adjustment, and the projection called for 17.1 degrees True, not Magnetic. So it wouldn't have helped enough.

 

I had a cache like this and used the map page, the panning arrow, and the bearing info and distance fields at the top to mark a waypoint at the end point. Then used compass to get there! It's only accurate under .10 miles, though; if over .10 miles, I just mark a waypoint every .10; or go home and use google earth! :)

The only available tool for Waypoint projection on the Delorme PN-xx devices was designed for measuring distances and areas. It is indeed not very precise above 0.10 miles, but does read to the nearest 0.01 miles (52.8ft). With a little bit of "guestimation at the destination" it might be possible to narrow that down to 35-40 feet or so, but you would probably not be able to do so paperless.

 

Delorme Topo and Street Atlas software has a better and more precise bearing projection tool, so there should be no need for PN-xx geocachers with Windows OS computers to do their projections on Google.

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Delorme Topo and Street Atlas software has a better and more precise bearing projection tool, so there should be no need for PN-xx geocachers with Windows OS computers to do their projections on Google.
I agree, but carrying my Thinkpad in the woods with me isn't really feasible :)

 

With FW 2.7 just out, and FW 2.8 building on it & targeting cachers but not available to spring, I'm hoping for some really big changes which include projection.

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After receiving my PN-30 on Tuesday and playing with it the past couple of days, I LOVE this thing. The learning curve that gave me pause, is almost non existent. My only problem right now is with CacheRegister importing PQ's. I have to download them to my PC, unzip them, and only then can I import them to CR.

 

Thankyou everyone who contributed on this thread for helping make an informed decision on my purchase (and saving me a pretty penny because I was leaning toward the Garmin 60Cx) :)

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