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CAR GPS? WORK OR NOT?


06LowRider
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I just started caching and i dont have a gps or a cell phone where i can get the geocaching app(this app is cool and works good i recomend it and would get it if i had a phone). If i were to buy a gps for my car can i go caching with it? if anyone knows let me know thanks!

 

Brandon

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If i were to buy a gps for my car can i go caching with it?

Many people use their car GPSr for caching. But I only use that for driving to the general area.

 

When cache hunting, the most useful info is degrees of bearing, and distance to the cache. But a car GPSr may only show distance to the nearest road, and have an icon for the cache location. Worse, you may only get a changing Lat/Long reading to follow. This is much tougher to use than a GPSr designed for hiking. Believe me, I've tried it.

 

My "nuvi 1250" car GPS has a "pedestrian mode", which always routes on streets for some weird reason (a cache may be a long way from the street). If you can find one that has features for hiking trails, that would be better.

Edited by kunarion
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Some car GPS's won't show the coordinates at all, or only show 2 decimal places so they aren't very good for geocaching at all. (except for driving to the starting point)

 

Even on the ones that do show coordinates, I thought it was much harder to match up numbers than it is to use a directional compass screen on a handheld. (I tried twice with that method before giving up and eventually getting a handheld)

Edited by Mosaic55
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I was given a TomTom a year ago last October and while researching it online I discovered geocaching. I did use it at first and with practice I was able to find the area of the cache fairly quickly. However, a TomTom is not meant to be held in the palm of your hand. I was always scared of dropping and breaking it. Thankfully, that never happened. You don't always get good signal in the woods, either. It wasn't meant for that. I use it now to get me to the general area, but it is road locked or sometimes doesn't even see the road, so my Magellan Triton handheld comes in hand for that. With it, I enter the coords and simply follow the arrow along the line to the cache. I rarely even look at the numbers anymore. I stop when my arrow icon is on the flag icon, pocket the GPS and use my eyes to find it.

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Don't buy an automotive GPS if you want to use it for geocaching. They can be used for geocaching just like you can hammer a nail with the heel of a shoe or play tennis with a baseball bat. This sport was designed around the capabilities of hand held units.

 

First off most automotive units don't have a compass navigation screen which is a key feature for most geocachers. Battery life is not sufficient for a day of caching unless you are sticking to caches near roads. Automotive units are built for the dashboard, not for the rigors of the outdoors. They are not waterproof or durable enough for the abuse that typical geocaching units receive. Finally they are simply not designed to be held in the hand. It's like walking around holding a photo frame.

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Some car GPS's won't show the coordinates at all, or only show 2 decimal places so they aren't very good for geocaching at all. (except for driving to the starting point)

 

Even on the ones that do show coordinates, I thought it was much harder to match up numbers than it is to use a directional compass screen on a handheld. (I tried twice with that method before giving up and eventually getting a handheld)

 

why do you need to see the coordinates?

 

Don't buy an automotive GPS if you want to use it for geocaching. They can be used for geocaching just like you can hammer a nail with the heel of a shoe or play tennis with a baseball bat. This sport was designed around the capabilities of hand held units.

 

First off most automotive units don't have a compass navigation screen which is a key feature for most geocachers. Battery life is not sufficient for a day of caching unless you are sticking to caches near roads. Automotive units are built for the dashboard, not for the rigors of the outdoors. They are not waterproof or durable enough for the abuse that typical geocaching units receive. Finally they are simply not designed to be held in the hand. It's like walking around holding a photo frame.

 

i never used a compass

 

i use a PDA with BeeLine, its just a little thinner that a car GPS and its comfortable to hold, certainly more comfortable than the iPad

 

battery life is around 5-6 hours, not as good as a handheld, but not many people walk for 5-6 hours straight, while you drive to next place you can recharge it

 

having said all of that, of course the best way to go is with a handheld dedicate geocaching GPS, but if there's a budget than might as well get a car GPS and you get more for your money

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why do you need to see the coordinates?

t4e,

On my car GPS, the only way to cache is by watching the coordinates click, until they match the listed GZ. And when I tried it, I was on a trail that made a large loop, with the cache possibly somewhere in the circle. Man, what a chore.

 

I have loaded some caches into it. It even has a proximity alert for caches while driving, which is pretty cool. But if I go off-road, the cache icon stays at the edge the mapped road. The car GPS doesn't want to leave the street, ever. But it's invaluable for routing me to the parking spot, before the hunt.

 

Some car GPS's will be better than others for caching. It's a whole other can of worms. Don't be surprised if there are plenty of suggestions to use a handheld. It's the better choice for Geocaching.

Edited by kunarion
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Depends really if it has the capability to do both car and ground navigation. As my Garmin nuvi 265wt doesn't i prefer to download the caches to my iPhone and then plug in the coords to my trusty Garmin Etrex HCx Vista i have tried using the nuvi but its mainly better for car navigation to the cache site.

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The one exception to car units not being very suitable for geocaching is the Garmin Nuvi 500 and 550. But the compromise for that is that it is not very comfortable to hold in the hand, and it has a smaller screen than many of the Nuvis (3.5" screen instead of 4.3").

 

I use both a Nuvi and a handheld (an Oregon).

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why do you need to see the coordinates?

t4e,

On my car GPS, the only way to cache is by watching the coordinates click, until they match the listed GZ. And when I tried it, I was on a trail that made a large loop, with the cache possibly somewhere in the circle. Man, what a chore.

 

I have loaded some caches into it. It even has a proximity alert for caches while driving, which is pretty cool. But if I go off-road, the cache icon stays at the edge the mapped road. The car GPS doesn't want to leave the street, ever. But it's invaluable for routing me to the parking spot, before the hunt.

 

Some car GPS's will be better than others for caching. It's a whole other can of worms. Don't be surprised if there are plenty of suggestions to use a handheld. It's the better choice for Geocaching.

 

hmm than i guess you need that feature, mine has pedestrian and bicycle modes, and i can manually input coordinates into it too...i tried it for geocaching and mine displays the distance to GZ and i can see the track where i'm am walking so that makes it easier

 

first time i had the alarm go off for a nearby cache i thought my phone is ringing, than maybe something is wrong with the car, i kept looking at the dash for warning lights until i noticed the red message on the GPS :D

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I just started caching and i dont have a gps or a cell phone where i can get the geocaching app(this app is cool and works good i recomend it and would get it if i had a phone). If i were to buy a gps for my car can i go caching with it? if anyone knows let me know thanks!

 

Brandon

 

I just started out this weekend with 5 finds. I own the Garmin 255W and it worked pretty darn well. I plan to get a hand-held, but I was supprised how darn accurate this unit is.

 

The trick, as already mentioned, is to use it in car mode as long as you can to the parking lot. Than go into the menu and switch it to "pedestrian" mode, and "off road" then follow the arrow like in the car to the checker flag destination. Once at that GZ location, there's a nifty hidden menu on some of the Nuvi's... Go to the main menu or map page where you can see the bars showing your signal strength. Press and hold the "bar graph icon" for about 3 seconds and it will bring you to the sky satellite page showing all satellites and your exact location coordinates. Be sure and stand still for a few moments, it takes a few seconds for the satellites to zero in and reduce your tracking error. You will see the accuracy in feet on the bottom of the screen and it will improve as you stand and give it a moment to catch up.

 

I take a hand held compass and just go a few steps N/S or E/W and watch the coordinates change to get closer to the posted coordinates. It's got me within 8-25 feet each time.

 

Sounds harder than it actually is. After the first couple of times it got to be pretty fast. It's not like using a hand held, but if it's all you got, till you can spring for one, it gets you out and in the game having FUN! It got me and my family hooked on this hobby!

 

jsdad

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Don't buy an automotive GPS if you want to use it for geocaching. They can be used for geocaching just like you can hammer a nail with the heel of a shoe or play tennis with a baseball bat. This sport was designed around the capabilities of hand held units.

 

First off most automotive units don't have a compass navigation screen which is a key feature for most geocachers. Battery life is not sufficient for a day of caching unless you are sticking to caches near roads. Automotive units are built for the dashboard, not for the rigors of the outdoors. They are not waterproof or durable enough for the abuse that typical geocaching units receive. Finally they are simply not designed to be held in the hand. It's like walking around holding a photo frame.

 

OK, are you now officially going to give up? Because people are just going to do it anyways, and you will always be outnumbered by people who tell them they can do it. :D

 

I like the avatar. Is there a story behind it?

 

EDIT: Sure, he changes the avatar, and doesn't respond.

 

The Nuvi 550 is interesting! Waterproof, and it appears it has a hiking mode. It would still be like walking around in the woods with a picture frame though. :(

Edited by TheWhiteUrkel
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I have a few GPS units. I love my Nuvi 1390 the best. You switch it to ped mode and yes it will take you on known paths, but if you zoom out a bit you can navigate to the flag instead of the paths it takes you. When you get close, make sure you zoom all the way in, it makes the find much easier. Not to mention the Garmin Nuvi 1390 comes with lifetime traffic and its great in the car. There are ped maps available for download that may help with the ped mode. :D

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The one exception to car units not being very suitable for geocaching is the Garmin Nuvi 500 and 550. But the compromise for that is that it is not very comfortable to hold in the hand, and it has a smaller screen than many of the Nuvis (3.5" screen instead of 4.3").

 

I use both a Nuvi and a handheld (an Oregon).

 

What's different about the Nuvi 500 and 550? Do they have a compass or "radar" screen?

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The one exception to car units not being very suitable for geocaching is the Garmin Nuvi 500 and 550. But the compromise for that is that it is not very comfortable to hold in the hand, and it has a smaller screen than many of the Nuvis (3.5" screen instead of 4.3").

 

I use both a Nuvi and a handheld (an Oregon).

 

What's different about the Nuvi 500 and 550? Do they have a compass or "radar" screen?

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The one exception to car units not being very suitable for geocaching is the Garmin Nuvi 500 and 550. But the compromise for that is that it is not very comfortable to hold in the hand, and it has a smaller screen than many of the Nuvis (3.5" screen instead of 4.3").

 

I use both a Nuvi and a handheld (an Oregon).

 

What's different about the Nuvi 500 and 550? Do they have a compass or "radar" screen?

 

I have a Nuvi 500, the difference between the two is the 550 has topo maps unlike the 500. They both have a compass.

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Started with Garmin Nuvi 255w then upgraded to the Nuvi 1350.

We have been caching for about 1 1/2 years.

Found #1020 caches, 142 have been FTFs.

 

There are many different grades of car unites, just as there are different skill levels of cachers.

 

Make sure you get a GPSr that matches your style and you will do well.

 

Car unites are not for everyone. :anibad:

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The one exception to car units not being very suitable for geocaching is the Garmin Nuvi 500 and 550. But the compromise for that is that it is not very comfortable to hold in the hand, and it has a smaller screen than many of the Nuvis (3.5" screen instead of 4.3").

 

I use both a Nuvi and a handheld (an Oregon).

 

What's different about the Nuvi 500 and 550? Do they have a compass or "radar" screen?

Yes, as mmclain6101 already mentioned. Here's a review page showing geocaching screens on the 500. Skip the top section which is about installing software from Garmin.

 

http://gpsmagazine.com/2008/07/garmin_nuvi...iew.php?page=10

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I have a car nav unit that was hackable to use other software(a lot of windows ce software). I tried other software, but I end up using the native nav software more. It has good accuracy, and the ability to turn off the keep to road feature. I've tried Beeline on it, and some things just annoy with that software. I carry a small compass to determine N, look at the map on the screen and take a bearing from it. it works pretty well. I've never had problems with heavy cloud or tree cover, it picks up signal inside buildings pretty well too.

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I hope you get a chance to read this, Being I am posting on so far to the bottom.

 

I have an old Garmin GPS V (very cheap) and after you put the map sorce info on it, it will give you turn by turn directions then when you get close to the cache, you can use it as a hand held...

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Once I got a GPS for the car, a co-worker of mine introduced us to geocaching. We were able to use our Garmin nuvi fairly well. Once we were sure we wanted to continue geocaching , we then got a hand held. It is less cumbersome and has better battery capabilities. I found that our nuvi doesn't have a great battery life, so when we geocache with it, we have to remember to charge it as we drive to our next cache.

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I haven't posted in a while, but I do lurk, and thought this would be an interesting thread to chime in on. I love using my nuvi for driving to caches. It makes getting there so much easier. We live in a rural area, and can't just 'follow the arrow.' I leave it plugged in while in the car. We use an old palmtop computer (Dell Axim) with a GPS card and Cachemate as our handheld, and it works AWESOME. Sometimes I use the Nuvi if I don't have the handheld with me.

 

Call us cheap, but we don't have several hundred dollars to spend on a really fancy GPS... if you can get used to caching with your car GPS it's fine.

 

And by the way... for almost the first year we were caching we used Google Earth Imagery, and then *upgraded* to a GPS mouse on our laptop for the next several months. And *that* actually worked okay.

 

Thought I'd share...

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I haven't posted in a while, but I do lurk, and thought this would be an interesting thread to chime in on. I love using my nuvi for driving to caches. It makes getting there so much easier. We live in a rural area, and can't just 'follow the arrow.' I leave it plugged in while in the car. We use an old palmtop computer (Dell Axim) with a GPS card and Cachemate as our handheld, and it works AWESOME. Sometimes I use the Nuvi if I don't have the handheld with me.

 

Call us cheap, but we don't have several hundred dollars to spend on a really fancy GPS... if you can get used to caching with your car GPS it's fine.

 

And by the way... for almost the first year we were caching we used Google Earth Imagery, and then *upgraded* to a GPS mouse on our laptop for the next several months. And *that* actually worked okay.

 

Thought I'd share...

 

Dell made a palm device? I'll have to check that out.

 

No, I'd never call you cheap. I'm as cheap as they come. Ask anyone who knows me. I can definitely understand in these difficult economic times, that if someone splurges for a car GPS, and later hears about Geocaching, that they'd want to try it. Personally, I'm just starting to get busy at work, and I'm dadgum lucky I didn't get my hours cut (or worse) over the past year.

 

I have to be honest though, I find all the positive reviews of caching with a car GPS in this forum (and not just this thread, every time it comes up) mildly annoying. :lol:

 

I think the "it's like playing golf with a baseball bat" analogy hits the nail right on the head. And to top it off, it's a pretty funny analogy too. :)

 

EDIT: Reading that a few hours later, it sounds kind of snobbish, even to myself. Sorry about that. But it's my opinion, and I've been known to give it.

Edited by TheWhiteUrkel
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I'm kind of worried about the people who use car nav units to geocache. They lack the screens and capabilities that are needed for safe bush navigation. Features such as compass and actual co-ord readouts, back tracking and altitude are essential. I can see some people getting themselves into serious trouble without these features. Leave your Tom Tom in your car where it belongs and invest in a proper hand held GPS. The are so cheap to buy these days.

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Down where I cache most folks use Nuvi's for driving to the cache and the Nuvi can receive custom poi's ( points of interest) so all the cache pages are on your Nuvi....so you're paperless.

 

Once at the cache general location we use a quality hand held mapping unit with electronic compass to walk to the cache.

 

In my experience an auotmobile GPS is not suited for geocaching in the field.

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I'm kind of worried about the people who use car nav units to geocache. They lack the screens and capabilities that are needed for safe bush navigation. Features such as compass and actual co-ord readouts, back tracking and altitude are essential. I can see some people getting themselves into serious trouble without these features. Leave your Tom Tom in your car where it belongs and invest in a proper hand held GPS. The are so cheap to buy these days.

 

Thank you for your concern for our safety. Here are a few Screen Shots from my Garmin nuvi 1350 Car GPSr unit.

 

This one shows my Bearing and Elevation.

compass.jpg

 

This one shows Latitude and Longitude. I like using Decimal Degrees but I could also could have shown it in Decimal Minutes or Degrees Minutes Seconds. Since I'm inside I have turned off the GPS part of the unit. If it was on it would show the Accuracy in feet. This would be right where it says "GPS is Off".

co-ords.jpg

 

If I wish to back track all I need to do is Follow the blue line. The "Trip Log" shows where I've been. It works on road as well as off road.

B-dance-foot.jpg

 

Here is another screen Shot of Direction, Elevation, and Time.

Ele.jpg

 

The little arrow above the "N" (bottom left) points to North at all times. Those four dots are caches I put in as POIs (Points Of Interest). Right now I have over 65,000 POIs loaded in my car unit. Don't worry, not all are caches, I have other interests. But for those caches I have the full description with hints loaded into my unit. Can you say Paperless caching.

caches.jpg

 

A good car unit can do almost anything your hand held can do, and in many ways it is much better. The there are only three areas that my car unit is not as good as most hand helds and they are, 1. Shorter battery life, 2. Not as rugged, and 3. It is not water proof.

 

My solution to these problems:

1. As I'm driving from cache to cache I plug it in and charge it up. If I'm hiking, I turn it off when I'm not using it. That way it lasted for over 5 hours on one charge.

 

2. Don't drop it. My old unit (255w) was dropped 4 times and it still worked fine. Maybe I was lucky (4 times) or maybe they are stronger that most people think.

 

3. When it starts to rain here in Seattle, WA., I just slip it into a (4"x6") plastic bag.

 

If there are any other concerns about my safety or well being, or if you wish to learn more about my Garmin 1350 feel free to ask. But as I said before "There are many different grades of car unites and car unites are not for everyone."

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I'm kind of worried about the people who use car nav units to geocache. They lack the screens and capabilities that are needed for safe bush navigation. Features such as compass and actual co-ord readouts, back tracking and altitude are essential. I can see some people getting themselves into serious trouble without these features. Leave your Tom Tom in your car where it belongs and invest in a proper hand held GPS. The are so cheap to buy these days.

 

A good car unit can do almost anything your hand held can do, and in many ways it is much better. The there are only three areas that my car unit is not as good as most hand helds and they are, 1. Shorter battery life, 2. Not as rugged, and 3. It is not water proof.

 

My solution to these problems:

1. As I'm driving from cache to cache I plug it in and charge it up. If I'm hiking, I turn it off when I'm not using it. That way it lasted for over 5 hours on one charge.

 

2. Don't drop it. My old unit (255w) was dropped 4 times and it still worked fine. Maybe I was lucky (4 times) or maybe they are stronger that most people think.

 

3. When it starts to rain here in Seattle, WA., I just slip it into a (4"x6") plastic bag.

 

If there are any other concerns about my safety or well being, or if you wish to learn more about my Garmin 1350 feel free to ask. But as I said before "There are many different grades of car unites and car unites are not for everyone."

 

Well with this post, I throw my hands up, and resolve to no longer tell people not to "play golf with a baseball bat". But I will address this post first. :laughing:

 

To your "3 areas" where your unit is not as good as ALL handhelds (not most as you stated) I'll add:

 

4. No compass navigation screen (yours has a North up only view in pedestrian mode)

5. Is ergonomically like walking around holding a picture frame in the woods

6. Weaker internal antenna than handhelds, as it's designed to be used on roads, not under tree cover.

 

So between you and I, we've named 6 areas where your Nuvi 1350 unit is not as good as even the cheapest handheld (save the Geomate Jr. :))

 

Seeing as you don't have a handheld, at least from what I can tell from your posts in this thread, I'm curious about your statement "and in many ways it is much better". How? In what way(s)? :smile:

Edited by TheWhiteUrkel
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Seems like the issue at hand is Finances - or you'd already have th nices GPS units for car and caching :smile:. Like most folks said - Garmin car GPS units allow you to go geocaching (though they do not have actual geocaching mode in them like new Garmin Etrex units do). Most basic Garming Etrex H (for High sensitivity reciever) will run you about $85 brand new from walmart.com site if you use site-to-store option (free shipping that way. Decent car gps that lets you input the coords and has Pedestrian and Off Road capability is way more than that (my nuvi 265 WT was about $220 at Costco - depending on membership you can get lifetime warranty through the club for free). Benefits of hand held (have Garmin Venture HC) are... it's rugged (and you will drop your gps unless it's around your neck on the lanyard unless you only do urban caching - terrain might be rough and rocks might be slippery), waterproof (waterproof car/motorcycle GPS cost a small fortune), have Geocaching mode, easily connect to computer to avoid inputting all teh data by hand...etc. etc...

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I'm kind of worried about the people who use car nav units to geocache. They lack the screens and capabilities that are needed for safe bush navigation. Features such as compass and actual co-ord readouts, back tracking and altitude are essential. I can see some people getting themselves into serious trouble without these features. Leave your Tom Tom in your car where it belongs and invest in a proper hand held GPS. The are so cheap to buy these days.

 

A good car unit can do almost anything your hand held can do, and in many ways it is much better. The there are only three areas that my car unit is not as good as most hand helds and they are, 1. Shorter battery life, 2. Not as rugged, and 3. It is not water proof.

 

My solution to these problems:

1. As I'm driving from cache to cache I plug it in and charge it up. If I'm hiking, I turn it off when I'm not using it. That way it lasted for over 5 hours on one charge.

 

2. Don't drop it. My old unit (255w) was dropped 4 times and it still worked fine. Maybe I was lucky (4 times) or maybe they are stronger that most people think.

 

3. When it starts to rain here in Seattle, WA., I just slip it into a (4"x6") plastic bag.

 

If there are any other concerns about my safety or well being, or if you wish to learn more about my Garmin 1350 feel free to ask. But as I said before "There are many different grades of car unites and car unites are not for everyone."

 

Well with this post, I throw my hands up, and resolve to no longer tell people not to "play golf with a baseball bat". But I will address this post first. :laughing:

 

To your "3 areas" where your unit is not as good as ALL handhelds (not most as you stated) I'll add:

 

4. No compass navigation screen (yours has a North up only view in pedestrian mode)

5. Is ergonomically like walking around holding a picture frame in the woods

6. Weaker internal antenna than handhelds, as it's designed to be used on roads, not under tree cover.

 

So between you and I, we've named 6 areas where your Nuvi 1350 unit is not as good as even the cheapest handheld (save the Geomate Jr. :))

 

Seeing as you don't have a handheld, at least from what I can tell from your posts in this thread, I'm curious about your statement "and in many ways it is much better". How? In what way(s)? :smile:

#7 - Geocaching mode where you can plug your handheld right into your USB on computer and without having to sit thaere waiting for stuff to print you click "Send To GPS" option. Later in your Handheld go to Find/Geocaches and off you go! it listst the neares first if you want by the GC code.

#8 want Paperless like the guy in teh post above? there is a "notes" field you can add needed attached to each POI (point of interest) in handheld units.

#9... well - this one is a repeat really of another point but here it is - My Handheld Garming VentureHC (not the best one out there) picks up service inside the house, meaning you can be in thick woods, or beside a huge cliff (and you'll come across those caches too) and you won't lose service (unless your battery dies - and you get about 20-25 hours continious battery life on each one - and you can easily bring along a couple extra AAs). You car unit will not pick up service in such areas.

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Thanks for responding back with other "possible" areas that a car unit "might" not be as good as a handheld. :(

 

Since a few of these questions deal with signal strength and overall performance between my car unit and handheld units and not being an engineer or technician, I decided to contact Garmin to see if they could assist with some of these questions. At first I was a little surprised at what they were saying, but after they explained it to me, it made sense and I'll get to that discussion after I answer the posted statements.

 

To keep things clear I'm only talking about my Garmin Nuvi 1350 car unit. As I've stated before, there are many different grades of car units with different capabilities and features. Things that I say that I can do with mine, others may not be able to or know how to do with their car units.

 

Let's deal with the second post first:

 

#7 - Geocaching mode where you can plug your handheld right into your USB on computer and without having to sit thaere waiting for stuff to print you click "Send To GPS" option. Later in your Handheld go to Find/Geocaches and off you go! it listst the neares first if you want by the GC code.

#8 want Paperless like the guy in teh post above? there is a "notes" field you can add needed attached to each POI (point of interest) in handheld units.

#9... well - this one is a repeat really of another point but here it is - My Handheld Garming VentureHC (not the best one out there) picks up service inside the house, meaning you can be in thick woods, or beside a huge cliff (and you'll come across those caches too) and you won't lose service (unless your battery dies - and you get about 20-25 hours continious battery life on each one - and you can easily bring along a couple extra AAs). You car unit will not pick up service in such areas.

 

#7 - As far as I'm aware, most GPS units sold today can be plugged into the computer to transfer information and files from one unit to the other. This is done, in most cases, to update the firmware and to transfer files in one format or another. Between geocaching and other interests, I currently have over 65,000 custom POI's in my system. All but 30 were downloaded straight from the computer. If I wanted to, I could take a pocket query as sent to me from Groundspeak, unzip it, and drop it straight into the unit and start caching without any other alteration. I don't do this because I don't care for the format or the way the unit handles the information, so I use another program to manipulate the data to my liking before downloading.

 

#8 - I'm not sure if you're referring to creating notes prior to heading out or once in the field. If it's prior to heading out, I can add as much information to each entry as I want. Currently my largest information section contains 26,960 characters, and that's just for one entry. However if you are talking about creating notes while in the field, that's a different story. I can transfer each "GC number" into separate folders, such as transferring it from "caches to find" to "caches found", or create a new folder on the spot such as "caches with wet logs" or "needs maintenance". That part is easy, but as far as actual note-taking, I'm limited to around 30 characters in the name.

 

#9 - When I explain my conversation with Garmin, this point will be made clear. Inside my home, I routinely get 30' accuracy. Of the pictures I posted that had the GPS turned off it was so I could manipulate the screens easier. Turning the receiver on and off is something that is routinely done with car units to make it easier to explore different areas of the map and quickly get information about places. This had nothing to do with lack of signal. As far as not getting a signal next to cliffs or amongst trees, this is still not a problem. If you drive through any major city in the US, the very tall buildings on either side of you create a canyon which, by your example, would be two cliff faces on either side. Since car units were designed to originally work inside a glass and metal structure, being under trees doesn't offer that much more of a challenge. Being from the Pacific Northwest, I assure you we have a lot of trees in this area.

 

Now to address the other group of questions. And please remember I'm only talking about the Nuvi 1350.

 

4. No compass navigation screen (yours has a North up only view in pedestrian mode)

5. Is ergonomically like walking around holding a picture frame in the woods

6. Weaker internal antenna than handhelds, as it's designed to be used on roads, not under tree cover.

 

So between you and I, we've named 6 areas where your Nuvi 1350 unit is not as good as even the cheapest handheld (save the Geomate Jr. :huh:)

 

Seeing as you don't have a handheld, at least from what I can tell from your posts in this thread, I'm curious about your statement "and in many ways it is much better". How? In what way(s)? :D

 

# 4 - That's true. Our particular unit has three modes: automobile, pedestrian, and bicycle, each designed for a different purpose. Pedestrian mode is designed to read the GPS like a standard map and to obtain information over a small area. We find this mode very limiting and simply don't use it. Instead, we use the bicycle mode and set it for "off-road" when we are out of the car. In this mode we have all the capabilities that we would in automobile mode, which includes basic compass bearings and other information I listed previously. In the last picture that I posted it shows a compass arrow, which is above the "N" and it slowly rotates as we turn.

 

On a side note, as I can tell from this and previous posts of yours, a compass is extremely important to you. I'm sure you're aware of this, but I'm going to state it for others who might be reading our posts. Before getting into geocaching, I checked into the difference between electronic compasses and standard compasses, and in every article that was written by a park ranger, an experienced hiker or someone else with recognizable authority, they all stated that electronic compasses are good and will become better over time, but because they can fail you should always have a good quality standard compass as backup in which we also carry one as part of our standard equipment at all times.

 

#5 - Haven't you ever heard of a traveling art show? <_<;):)

 

The size of the Nuvi 1350 is smaller than a package of 3 x 5 index cards. It measures 4.8"W x 2.9"H x .6"D (12.2 x 7.5 x 1.6 cm). The unit is small enough that my wife, who is only 5'5" can easily carry it without any problem, and when not in use, she puts it in her coat pocket. For myself, who is much taller (about 6'3"), when I'm not using it, I put it in the inside breast pocket of my coat. Since it only weighs 5.7 ounces (161.6 g), it's not much heavier than a lot of cell phones. I will agree that the design for handhelds does make it easier for the average person to carry but like anything that's new or different, it's simply a different style that might not appeal to some people. Just like some PDA's are rectangular, there are those who don't like that style, but I've seen a lot of people walking around with PDA's or other devices that have text capabilities in which their unit is wider than tall.

 

# 6 - I think I've addressed this statement fairly thoroughly in response to statement # 9, but this does give me a chance to talk about my conversation with Garmin.

 

I'm the type of person that likes to do research and if possible, go to the source for information, so here is the essence of our 20-minute conversation.

 

I called and inquired about signal strength, reception, and a few other things, trying to find the true differences between the Nuvi 1350 and a few of the other more popular handheld models, and explained that I was engaged in a debate in which we all had different beliefs about these various units. The customer service rep admitted he knew some information while the rest he would have to look up. One of the first things that he pointed out is what we're doing is an unfair comparison, like comparing apples to oranges, and if we wanted to do a proper comparison, we needed to look at the individual components of each unit.

 

When we first started talking about the receivers in each model, what he told me was that if it states that the unit has a "High-sensitivity receiver", then that aspect of the units are the same. All of the current Garmin models are designed with a 3-meter accuracy. What makes the differences between the models they sell are the individual components, which include the firmware, the processing power, how the information is handled and displayed once it's received, and all the other bells and whistles that go into each unit.

 

For example, the 1350 Nuvi can give turn-by-turn directions and has the ability to re-route fairly quick, and this should only be compared to other units with similar features, just as units that have electronic averaging to create an artificial accuracy better than 3 meters should be similarly compared. Since the 1350 Nuvi has a "High-sensitivity receiver", just like your handheld (I'm assuming), the information that the car unit and handheld unit receives at GZ (since your unit and ours both have High-sensitivity receivers) are the same, the only difference is how it's processed and displayed. He went on to add that the High-sensitivity receivers are not in all units, especially the older models. So if we're standing under trees or in the middle of the city with all things being equal, our two units should respond in a similar manner. Even if you had two identical models sitting side by side, you could still get a difference in their readouts due to the impurities in manufacturing, the history on how each unit has been handled, and the subtle differences of how it's being used in the same environment.

 

The customer rep went on to say that each model that they sell is designed to excel in one or two areas, even though they are fully capable of doing other things extremely well. Navigating through a city and getting to GZ quickly is an area that the Nuvi excels in. Being tossed in a pack and going on a two to three day hike into the wilderness is something that most handhelds excel in. But when it comes to looking for a cache, if we are both near GZ and both our units are functioning correctly, for that simple task, the big difference will then come down to the information being displayed and how the user interprets it. To paraphrase the examples he gave, it all boils down to the expertise of the operator, and how much they know about their individual GPS unit and its functionality. Even though we don't own a handheld unit, we have cached with many people who do and on many occasions, we are the ones to zero in on the cache location. So whether or not it was our two units responding differently within the acceptable margin of error or us able to interpret the information better, all I know is that with us using our Nuvi, we have at times outperformed someone else using a handheld.

 

To wrap up this very long post, according to the folks at Garmin, in many areas of our debate it will end in a tie. For a weekend of in-city caching the Nuvi 1350 will definitely come out on top. However for a weekend hike or even a long day hike, most handhelds would come out the winner. As to your analogy to use a baseball bat to play golf, that could be used clearly to describe both of us using a unit in the environment that it wasn't designed for. This debate of handhelds versus car units, some would say, is similar to the Ford / Chevy debate. I would like to think of it more as a sports car versus a truck. Both vehicles will get you down the road equally as well, just like the handheld versus the car unit can search at GZ equally as well. It's just that the sports car and truck are designed with different long-term goals in mind and appeal to different individuals.

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I have used various car and handheld GPS devices... the higher end car GPS do seem to work fine for geocaching but the handhelds tend to work best. Car GPS units are designed for driving, and you may or may not end up with a device that will work, but not nearly as good as the handhelds.

 

I have an older Garmin StreetPilot c330 which does work to get you in the area but it is a bit bulky to hold onto while searching.

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I'm kind of worried about the people who use car nav units to geocache. They lack the screens and capabilities that are needed for safe bush navigation. Features such as compass and actual co-ord readouts, back tracking and altitude are essential. I can see some people getting themselves into serious trouble without these features. Leave your Tom Tom in your car where it belongs and invest in a proper hand held GPS. The are so cheap to buy these days.

 

Thank you for your concern for our safety. Here are a few Screen Shots from my Garmin nuvi 1350 Car GPSr unit.

 

This one shows my Bearing and Elevation.

compass.jpg

 

This one shows Latitude and Longitude. I like using Decimal Degrees but I could also could have shown it in Decimal Minutes or Degrees Minutes Seconds. Since I'm inside I have turned off the GPS part of the unit. If it was on it would show the Accuracy in feet. This would be right where it says "GPS is Off".

co-ords.jpg

 

If I wish to back track all I need to do is Follow the blue line. The "Trip Log" shows where I've been. It works on road as well as off road.

B-dance-foot.jpg

 

Here is another screen Shot of Direction, Elevation, and Time.

Ele.jpg

 

The little arrow above the "N" (bottom left) points to North at all times. Those four dots are caches I put in as POIs (Points Of Interest). Right now I have over 65,000 POIs loaded in my car unit. Don't worry, not all are caches, I have other interests. But for those caches I have the full description with hints loaded into my unit. Can you say Paperless caching.

caches.jpg

 

A good car unit can do almost anything your hand held can do, and in many ways it is much better. The there are only three areas that my car unit is not as good as most hand helds and they are, 1. Shorter battery life, 2. Not as rugged, and 3. It is not water proof.

 

My solution to these problems:

1. As I'm driving from cache to cache I plug it in and charge it up. If I'm hiking, I turn it off when I'm not using it. That way it lasted for over 5 hours on one charge.

 

2. Don't drop it. My old unit (255w) was dropped 4 times and it still worked fine. Maybe I was lucky (4 times) or maybe they are stronger that most people think.

 

3. When it starts to rain here in Seattle, WA., I just slip it into a (4"x6") plastic bag.

 

If there are any other concerns about my safety or well being, or if you wish to learn more about my Garmin 1350 feel free to ask. But as I said before "There are many different grades of car unites and car unites are not for everyone."

 

Thanks for the tour of your GPS, of course this now goes somewhat to the reversal of my concerns, but not all they way. I kind of wonder why all this info available on your model is warranted for the usual market application it was designed. Most people who purchase a car navigator would never have use for the co-ords feature let alone other information. If you have these features, well and good, but a purpose built, off road and more rugged navigation aid would probably still be better suited for geocaching and bush trekking than a hybrid car navigator.

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Not to muddy the waters but my Nuvi 1350 works very well for paperless geocaching. There is a learning curve required to figure out how to do it but not only can I display the complete description and 3-5 logs, I add attributes too - thanks to GSAK.

I also create my own gpx files with pictures or maps of the area. The scren on my old Etrex Legend is becoming problematic so I will likely replace it with an Etrex 20. I like the extended battery life which the Nuvi does not have.

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We have met a lot of folks who started out using their existing automotive GPS in a plastic baggie. Once they knew they wanted to continue geocaching, every single one of them has switched to a dedicated GPS.

One of our GPS units is paperless - has most of the info on the cache page - and was about $160 CDN. I could have bought something with more bells and whistles, but I'm cheap and we already have one of those!

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We have met a lot of folks who started out using their existing automotive GPS in a plastic baggie. Once they knew they wanted to continue geocaching, every single one of them has switched to a dedicated GPS.

One of our GPS units is paperless - has most of the info on the cache page - and was about $160 CDN. I could have bought something with more bells and whistles, but I'm cheap and we already have one of those!

By "dedicated GPS" I'm guessing you mean a hand-held unit.

 

Next time you are in the Seattle area let us know, that way you can say that you have met at least one cacher that has stayed with a car unit after three years of caching. :D

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Hi, I am also a newbie, so forgive me if Im saying something obvious to the experienced.

 

It seems I did this totally the other way to the previous posts. I got a gps for walking purposes, making sure it also worked for driving as I didnt have a satnav..... two products in one! Then I found out about geocaching whilst reading the instruction!!!! lol. Errr... guess which one its been used for most since lol lol

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We have met a lot of folks who started out using their existing automotive GPS in a plastic baggie. Once they knew they wanted to continue geocaching, every single one of them has switched to a dedicated GPS.

One of our GPS units is paperless - has most of the info on the cache page - and was about $160 CDN. I could have bought something with more bells and whistles, but I'm cheap and we already have one of those!

By "dedicated GPS" I'm guessing you mean a hand-held unit.

 

Next time you are in the Seattle area let us know, that way you can say that you have met at least one cacher that has stayed with a car unit after three years of caching. :D

Wish we were having this discussion a few years ago prior a trip down to Bellevue from Victoria for a work exam! We could have gone caching!!

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