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Delorme PN-60 vs. Garmin for a new cacher


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Hello-

 

I have heard there are Garmin vs. Delorme arguments in this forum, and I don't want to start another one. I just have an honest interest. In the books I have read there seems to be a definite affinity for Garmin, esp. the MAP60csx, but it seems like an old unit to me.

 

Here's my story:

 

New to caching and am using my BBerry Tour with Cache Berry and Black Star right now... this means that I can wait (impatiently) for the release of the PN-60 from Delorme. I almost bought the PN-40 before I saw that the PN-60 is coming in June.

 

Budget- up to $350 or so (I know the PN-60 is at the top of that budget, but am willing to pay for it)

 

I will use the unit primarily for caching, so any auto nav features are not important to me.

I will be doing primarily urban/suburban caching

 

Wants:

Ease of use for geocaching

Good screen visibility outdoors

decent battery life

durability/IPX7 waterproof

 

Don't need a touch screen, and am not sure I want one.

 

the only thing I have heard/read so far that has me wary about the Delorme is this - quoting Phil, from the Amazon Community discussion board:

 

"The PN moves your current position across the screen, blanks the screen, then paints a new map section and puts your current position on the opposite side of the screen. It's difficult to find your current position at a glance, you are often looking at a blank screen, and you have limited visibility of what is ahead when your position is at the edge of the screen. You can't get six months use from a computer cable or power cable."

 

End Quote.

 

At any rate, thought I would consult the experts before I make a final decision.

Edited by kreuille
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How can you expect an intelligent review of a device that does not exist? You need to wait if you want a "real" answer.

 

Fair question. I guess my question should have been more of a general Delorme PN series vs. Garmin. I would have purchased the PN-40 had I not heard that the PN-60 is coming out... from what I hear, the PN-60 is a PN-40 plus.

 

not asking for a review so much as thoughts.

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My suggestion is to try a couple out and see which one appeals to you. I have a GPSMAP 60 CSx, a Garmin Oregon 550t, a Garmin Quest II and a nuvi 265wt. They all have their place. I love the 550t for geocaching, The 60CSx is better for hiking and mapping. The nuvi is pretty hard to beat for driving and the Quest II just goes along for the ride. Were I limited to only one it would be the Oregon 550t hands down. I can't comment on the Delorme, never used one...

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"The PN moves your current position across the screen, blanks the screen, then paints a new map section and puts your current position on the opposite side of the screen. It's difficult to find your current position at a glance, you are often looking at a blank screen, and you have limited visibility of what is ahead when your position is at the edge of the screen. You can't get six months use from a computer cable or power cable."

Don't know where he came up with this ↑.

 

It occasionally blanks the screen, but that is for perhaps 1-2 seconds. It does not jump to the far side of the screen -- at least our PN-40 doesn't, it centers your position. Maybe if he used fresh batteries, he wouldn't have such a lag in screen redevelopment -- I dunno, as we don't have that problem. Only occasionally does the screen blank out (whites out, really). Haven't yet had the screen blank out while driving along at 75 mph, it scrolls as it should.

 

If my cable is gonna die in 6-months, I must be overdue then. That tidbit is news to me.

 

We have not found any real negative about the unit. Some complain of battery life, but for us that seems inconsequential -- we always carry at least an 8-pack anyway. We don't leave it turned on when we aren't using it!

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I just ordered a PN-40 for $214 with free shipping. The 60 is well over $300 every where I've seen it available for pre order. That extra hundred is no small change so you might want to think about looking at a PN-40 again, Especially if your just going to be mainly using it for caching. Does the 60 really add that many features your going to need for what your use of it will be?

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How can you expect an intelligent review of a device that does not exist? You need to wait if you want a "real" answer.

The device exists. It's just that the only people who can speak authoritatively about it are under NDA for probably another month.

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I prefer to cache with the aerial photo imagery available from DeLorme on my PN-40.

This is available for an annual subscription fee $30, all you can download.

 

I understand that Garmin has recently made available a competitive aerial imagery.

I can offer no advice regarding its tractability.

 

For the DeLorme, I have 55GB on my hard drive and about 15GB in my PN-40 in files of about 1GB each.

For the USGS Hi-Res City imagery, it's about 25 sq mi per GB.

For the lower resolution, but still very useful, imagery available for the back country,

it's about 10 times more area per GB.

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I prefer to cache with the aerial photo imagery available from DeLorme on my PN-40.

This is available for an annual subscription fee $30, all you can download.

 

I understand that Garmin has recently made available a competitive aerial imagery.

I can offer no advice regarding its tractability.

 

For the DeLorme, I have 55GB on my hard drive and about 15GB in my PN-40 in files of about 1GB each.

For the USGS Hi-Res City imagery, it's about 25 sq mi per GB.

For the lower resolution, but still very useful, imagery available for the back country,

it's about 10 times more area per GB.

Plenty of other Garmin PN vs Oregon threads elsewhere I'd reccommend reading. I owned a PN-40 briefly, it died, it was returned to Amazon, and I bought an O300 on short notice. I would definitely not consider going back, especially after the addition of Garmin Custom Maps.

 

As to imagery: Garmin Custom Maps allows you to load arbitrary raster data into the Oregon. This means you can use high resolution state aerial imagery when available. The "high resolution" USGS aerial imagery available through DeLorme is actually quite low resolution (1 meter I think?) compared to state imagery in many states. New York and Pennsylvania have freely available 1 foot resolution information as an example. (Best way to figure out what the best imagery available is and where it comes from is to fire up Google Earth, pan to your area of interest, and look at the copyright marker. In NY and PA it'll point you to the respective state governments.)

 

Not sure what Garmin BirdsEye provides - it is easier to use than Garmin Custom Maps, but may not have the really good aerial imagery.

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- quoting Phil, from the Amazon Community discussion board:

 

"The PN moves your current position across the screen, blanks the screen, then paints a new map section and puts your current position on the opposite side of the screen. It's difficult to find your current position at a glance, you are often looking at a blank screen, and you have limited visibility of what is ahead when your position is at the edge of the screen. You can't get six months use from a computer cable or power cable."

 

 

Just reading that review makes me think the guy was describing the PN-20. It was the first PN handheld and had a slower processor. It does act like the reviewer mentions. Not so desierable for car use, but not a problem at hiking speeds. The PN-40 keeps your "center" in the center of the screen. Faster brain on board.

 

As to the cord.....the one I've used this last year has served double duty. It is made to be used at the computer for data and USB charging, but I've married mine with a 12V to USB jack and use it for car charging too. It has seen a lot of use (and some abuse) and is still working. I just now purchased a dedicated Delorme car cord to give the stock cord a break.

 

My only real gripe with PN's is the battery life. I've read that the PN-60 is supposed to be easier on the batteries. We'll see.

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the only thing I have heard/read so far that has me wary about the Delorme is this - quoting Phil, from the Amazon Community discussion board:

 

"The PN moves your current position across the screen, blanks the screen, then paints a new map section and puts your current position on the opposite side of the screen. It's difficult to find your current position at a glance, you are often looking at a blank screen, and you have limited visibility of what is ahead when your position is at the edge of the screen. You can't get six months use from a computer cable or power cable."

 

End Quote.

 

At any rate, thought I would consult the experts before I make a final decision.

I've seen that review as well but didn't understand what "Phil" was talking about. What he describes is nothing like my PN-40. I agree with Woodstramp in that he may have been describing experience with a PN-20 which has a slower map refresh rate.

 

As for imagery, Delorme has announced new imagery plans being offered with the introduction of the PN-60 so any comments about what's available now may be moot.

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As to imagery: Garmin Custom Maps allows you to load arbitrary raster data into the Oregon. This means you can use high resolution state aerial imagery when available. The "high resolution" USGS aerial imagery available through DeLorme is actually quite low resolution (1 meter I think?) compared to state imagery in many states. New York and Pennsylvania have freely available 1 foot resolution information as an example. (Best way to figure out what the best imagery available is and where it comes from is to fire up Google Earth, pan to your area of interest, and look at the copyright marker. In NY and PA it'll point you to the respective state governments.)

 

Not sure what Garmin BirdsEye provides - it is easier to use than Garmin Custom Maps, but may not have the really good aerial imagery.

OK, I see this all the time. For Garmins, go here, go there, go everywhere for better photo imagery.

One thing missing there is that they never tell you that they have 15GB on their Garmin and 55GB on their hard drives and that it all works together as a seamless package.

 

Therefore, I suggest that you see DeLorme screenshots and examples of their aerial photo imagery for yourself. All from one source and downloadable to your PC and then exportable to your PN-40.

Check this:

http://www.amazon.com/Delorme-AE-7985-201-...8014&sr=8-1

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I just ordered a PN-40 for $214 with free shipping. The 60 is well over $300 every where I've seen it available for pre order. That extra hundred is no small change so you might want to think about looking at a PN-40 again, Especially if your just going to be mainly using it for caching. Does the 60 really add that many features your going to need for what your use of it will be?

Where did you order from? Where are the deals on the PN-60?

Thanks

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Thanks for all the helpful info... Feel free to keep it coming.

 

in terms of the pricing of the Delorme PN-60, I just used google to search for Delorme PN-60 and the shopping results bring in prices in the 320s at the low end and 400 at the high end (without the SPOT communicator)

 

I am concerned that the 320 prices are going to rise as the release date gets closer, but hope they won't climb too high.

 

I will probably order in the next few days... will look for a low price from a reputable seller on the Google shopping results page and take my chances with the price.

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My suggestion is to try a couple out and see which one appeals to you. I have a GPSMAP 60 CSx, a Garmin Oregon 550t, a Garmin Quest II and a nuvi 265wt. They all have their place. I love the 550t for geocaching, The 60CSx is better for hiking and mapping. The nuvi is pretty hard to beat for driving and the Quest II just goes along for the ride. Were I limited to only one it would be the Oregon 550t hands down. I can't comment on the Delorme, never used one...

 

My problem is that in my local area (Indianapolis) stores don't carry multiple brands of GPS (at least not the ones I want to try). I could get a PN-40 and return it, and I think there's an Oregon for sale in town, but I don't want to chance having trouble with the returns.

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Be aware that when the PN-40 first came out, Amazon was discounting it $20 to $50 below the suggested retail price almost right away. Don't know if that will happen with the PN-60 but you never know. I believe Amazon's policy if you pre-order is to give you the lower price if it drops. Problem is, they'll sell all the pre-orders at retail and then start discounting a week or two later :o .

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Thanks for all the helpful info... Feel free to keep it coming.

 

in terms of the pricing of the Delorme PN-60, I just used google to search for Delorme PN-60 and the shopping results bring in prices in the 320s at the low end and 400 at the high end (without the SPOT communicator)

 

I am concerned that the 320 prices are going to rise as the release date gets closer, but hope they won't climb too high.

 

I will probably order in the next few days... will look for a low price from a reputable seller on the Google shopping results page and take my chances with the price.

What stores have them for $320? All I get is $399.

Thanks

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My problem is that in my local area (Indianapolis) stores don't carry multiple brands of GPS (at least not the ones I want to try). I could get a PN-40 and return it, and I think there's an Oregon for sale in town, but I don't want to chance having trouble with the returns.

If you buy from an approved retailer (e.g., Amazon, REI, Cabella's) then DeLorme will honor the return policy. I think they've been very good about it; I've never heard of a problem on that front.

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The device exists. It's just that the only people who can speak authoritatively about it are under NDA for probably another month.

 

I doubt that any reviewers have them. Nor do I think we'll get them ahead of release.

You think DeLorme doesn't have field beta testers who are under NDA?

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Thanks for all the helpful info... Feel free to keep it coming.

 

in terms of the pricing of the Delorme PN-60, I just used google to search for Delorme PN-60 and the shopping results bring in prices in the 320s at the low end and 400 at the high end (without the SPOT communicator)

 

I am concerned that the 320 prices are going to rise as the release date gets closer, but hope they won't climb too high.

 

I will probably order in the next few days... will look for a low price from a reputable seller on the Google shopping results page and take my chances with the price.

What stores have them for $320? All I get is $399.

Thanks

 

Here's a link to the shopping results for the PN-60 on Google... Once you search for "delorme PN-60" then click on the "Shopping results for delorme PN-60" link to get this.

 

http://www.google.com/products?q=delorme+P...ved=0CC8QrQQwAA

 

I plan to pull the trigger today on a PN-60. Will let you all know if I get any feedback re: pricing/release date.

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is Cascade GPS a good retailer?

Thanks

 

I went with JTH Marine b/c they had more positive ratings and were on the east coast (I think). didn't pay for next day shipping.

 

Cascade doesn't look bad from the seller ratings.

 

Just heard from JTH Marine - they still have the unit as being able to be shipped to their customers on 5/24... but no guarantees. Delorme has always said June for release, and Amazon has a date of June 10, so we shall see. I will try to remember to let you all know when it has shipped.

 

Thanks!

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I just ordered a PN-40 for $214 with free shipping. The 60 is well over $300 every where I've seen it available for pre order. That extra hundred is no small change so you might want to think about looking at a PN-40 again, Especially if your just going to be mainly using it for caching. Does the 60 really add that many features your going to need for what your use of it will be?

Where did you order from? Where are the deals on the PN-60?

Thanks

 

I ordered my PN-40 from an online fishing supply site called www.baitnhook.net. I ordered it about noon on Monday and UPS is delivering it today. I paid $213.99 exactly with free shipping. They have the PN-60 for $309 pre-order price. Good luck!

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i bought a pn-40 and loved it! Right until I was burning through a brand new set of duracells in 45 minutes. I liked it so much more than my garmin but the battery life ruined it for me. I returned it after 1 outing becasue of the battery issue. if the pn-60 fixes the battery issues i would buy one in a heartbeat!

 

the maps are phenominal compared to the garmin topo.

 

just my .02

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On this recent blog post where DeLorme said the PN-60 release is being set back until early July due to a component shortage :grin: , Caleb (their marketing guy) mentioned down in the comments that they are seeing 30 hours off a set of e-lithium AA's, with a prediction of as much as 50 hours (!) with power management enabled.

 

As I recall, people using lithium AA's reported something like 14 hours run time in the PN-40. Even if we take Caleb's report with a grain of salt, I'm optimistic that the PN-60 will be showing substantial improvement for all battery types over the PN-40.

 

Edit: I mis-read the post. The SPOT Communicator is involved with the component shortage, so the PN-60w (which pairs to the SPOT Communicator) is delayed until early July. The PN-60 is still on track for mid-June.

Edited by embra
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The '40 eats batteries but 45 minutes is either a gross exaggeration, you've got the wrong battery type selected in Device Setup, or you've got a short somewhere.

 

Must be defective... I can get a good day, to day and a half of Geocaching out of mine. :)

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How can you expect an intelligent review of a device that does not exist? You need to wait if you want a "real" answer.

 

Fair question. I guess my question should have been more of a general Delorme PN series vs. Garmin. I would have purchased the PN-40 had I not heard that the PN-60 is coming out... from what I hear, the PN-60 is a PN-40 plus.

 

not asking for a review so much as thoughts.

 

The updated Garmin 60 series is also imminent.

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Edit: I mis-read the post. The SPOT Communicator is involved with the component shortage, so the PN-60w (which pairs to the SPOT Communicator) is delayed until early July.

 

Per Amazon:

 

"This item will be released on July 31, 2010."

 

:laughing:

Edited by yogazoo
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Delorme Earthmate PN-60 Portable GPS Navigator

 

Price: $399.95 & this item ships for FREE with Super Saver Shipping. Details

 

This item will be released on June 10, 2010.

Pre-order now!

Ships from and sold by Amazon.com. Gift-wrap available.

 

http://www.amazon.com/Delorme-Earthmate-PN...r/dp/B0031QNP8O

Now the above is true for the non-wireless version of the PN-60.

 

However, the wireless version, PN-60w, to which Embra and yogazoo were addressing is now scheduled for July 31:

http://www.amazon.com/Earthmate-Portable-N...449&sr=1-12

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I came across valuable information (Jan 2010) regarding the features of the PN-60 - especially for Canadian residents (mapping) and also Mac users. Check out this podcast for an interview with Chip from DeLorme for the lowdown. An exciting aspect of the PN-60 will be the ability to simply copy/paste .GPX files (PQs) to either internal memory or data cards and then select which ones you want active making the number of PQs nearly "limitless" based on the capacity of your media. That's cool! :( This has me much more interested in DeLorme knowing that I don't have to use some other software to transfer caches. Also the web features for world wide imagery and Canadian Topo totally rocks the set. Can't wait to see this develop further. :)

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I was under the impression you needed to use Cache Register to load .GPX files (which I thought was cumbersome and silly and another $10 rip off). ;)

 

Obviously I don't have a DeLorme unit (yet) - but the Podcast made it sound like this ability to drag and drop multiple .GPX PQ files was new deal for the Earthmate. Perhaps I heard that part of the podcast wrong. (I was wrong once...when I thought I was wrong...) :)

 

Goejibby, the ability to load GPX files directly to the SD card already exists in the PN-30/40 series if you are using firmware 2.7..

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...can't use a GPX file direct from Groundspeak, it has to be tweaked some before it can be read right off the SD card into memory.
True. I fix the files up in GSAK first (though you can do it with a text editor too if you know what to search/replace).

 

I don't expect DeLorme to reliably fix their GPX interpreter in firmware 2.8 or on the PN-60 either. Not their fault, since Groundspeak has made GPX for pocket queries is a bit of moving target. Even if DeLorme gets it perfect on the rollout, this website might change one tiny substring in PQs the next day -- and we're back to GSAK macros.

Edited by lee_rimar
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I gathered from that podcast though that with the PN-60 this mess had been changed. It *seems* that it is more of a drag & drop affair now without having to re-tool the .GPX files. I'm kind of shocked that it isn't already. Several other units already have paperless caching that is simply just drag n' drop without editing.

 

EDIT: when I went back and re-listened to the podcast, from 14:00-14:15 I hear Chip saying about the data "whether it comes from GSAK or the geocaching.com website or topo usa, once it gets into that standardized GPX format the device can read it in and knows exactly what to do with it"

 

I take that to mean that the data coming straight from a Pocket Query is loadable as is into the PN-60. No? ;)

 

I don't expect DeLorme to reliably fix their GPX interpreter in firmware 2.8 or on the PN-60 either. Not their fault, since Groundspeak has made GPX for pocket queries is a bit of moving target. Even if DeLorme gets it perfect on the rollout, this website might change one tiny substring in PQs the next day -- and we're back to GSAK macros.

Edited by geojibby
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I take that to mean that the data coming straight from a Pocket Query is loadable as is into the PN-60. No? :laughing:

I think everybody's right...the goal would be the capability of dragon dropping a PQ onto a PN's SD card. But as pointed out, slight variations to whatever is considered "standard" can break things. I would expect that to whatever degree of success that Garmin has been able to accomplish this, DeLorme should be able to match. They both see geocaching as more than incidental to their feature lines, and make it a priority in their firmware design.

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I take that to mean that the data coming straight from a Pocket Query is loadable as is into the PN-60. No? :laughing:
Yes, that's the target. But as I mentioned earlier, it's a moving target and I don't expect DeLorme (or other makers) will always be able to track it.

 

IN THEORY: The GPX file format can encode any kind of data, not just geocaches, and a given file can provide its own definitions of the data it contains. A "smart" GPX interpreter is supposed to be able to read a GPX file, correctly process what it understands, and discard what it doesn't understand or thinks is irrelevant.

 

IN PRACTICE: Once in a while Groundspeak "improves" the pocket query format, to add features like cache attributes. Last time they did that, PN-series could still download a PQ -- but then would show geocaches as simple waypoints, w/o retaining the paperless caching info. Some other GPSRs and software packages got it right, and others didn't. GSAK folks quickly put out a macro to fix-up the files. Groundsspeak rolled back the changes after a few weeks.

 

It's happened before and I expect it to happen again -- so hang on to your copy of GSAK B)

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...can't use a GPX file direct from Groundspeak, it has to be tweaked some before it can be read right off the SD card into memory.
True. I fix the files up in GSAK first (though you can do it with a text editor too if you know what to search/replace).

 

I don't expect DeLorme to reliably fix their GPX interpreter in firmware 2.8 or on the PN-60 either. Not their fault, since Groundspeak has made GPX for pocket queries is a bit of moving target. Even if DeLorme gets it perfect on the rollout, this website might change one tiny substring in PQs the next day -- and we're back to GSAK macros.

Um, it's not that much of a moving target... Other GPS receivers seem to have no trouble dealing with whatever changes are made.

 

I'll admit I update my unit's firmware pretty often, but it never seems to be "behind" in terms of PQ compatibility.

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I'm with Entropy on this one. Garmin, Magellan, Lowrance, heck even my iPod Touch app iGeocacher can correctly display all the cache information without having to edit the supplied Pocket Queries from Groundspeak - and have been doing so, some longer than others, but it's being done. I'm totally over the moon about this new PN-60. It's like a nuclear submarine in the midst of a bunch of sail boats. But this .GPX parsing issue is like having a screen door in the side of the submarine! :laughing: I just don't get it.

 

Um, it's not that much of a moving target... Other GPS receivers seem to have no trouble dealing with whatever changes are made.

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I'm with Entropy on this one. Garmin, Magellan, Lowrance, heck even my iPod Touch app iGeocacher can correctly display all the cache information without having to edit the supplied Pocket Queries from Groundspeak - and have been doing so, some longer than others, but it's being done. I'm totally over the moon about this new PN-60. It's like a nuclear submarine in the midst of a bunch of sail boats. But this .GPX parsing issue is like having a screen door in the side of the submarine! :laughing: I just don't get it.

Let's not rush to judgment about how the '60 handles GPX files until after it's released. Here's all anyone officially knows right now:

  • Firmware 2.7 can read GPX files from the SD card into memory as long as they're formatted properly, and write them from memory to the SD card. Obviously this will be retained in future releases.
  • The '60 comes with a heavily revised FW 2.8
  • Chip (from DeLorme) has said ""whether it comes from GSAK or the geocaching.com website or topo usa, once it gets into that standardized GPX format the device can read it in and knows exactly what to do with it"
  • Neither the device nor the firmware has been released yet, so anyone who has a definitive answer is almost certainly under NDA

Last I checked the release date was June 11th - you'll know for sure then what the story is.

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This is wise advice. Speculation is always and only just that until the truth has been established. I think *most* people would agree that not having to edit .GPX files from Pocket Queries before using them should be the standard for any GPSr geared for paperless caching. Time will tell if this is the case for the PN-60. :laughing:

 

Let's not rush to judgment about how the '60 handles GPX files until after it's released.

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