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Best GPS options for SA?


snufkin81
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I'm new to geocaching and I want to buy my first GPS. I've looked around and found this:

Garmin eTrex Legend HCx

 

Is this a good GPS? The price is *just* within my rather limited budget and most of the reviews I've found are pretty good (although Amazon has some rather scary ones). There aren't many reviews for it here.

 

Also, does anybody know that website and if it's safe to buy from? They seem legit but I'd love to hear about other people's experiences.

 

Another question: once I buy my GPS device, will I still have to buy maps to load onto it? That's the impression I'm getting from the review I've read.

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Hi Snufkin. My personal opinion on the Garmin eTrex series is a good one. I have no problems with mine, I have the eTrex Vista HCx. Very similar to the Legend. Price doesn't include the mapset which is probably going to set you back another R300 or so maybe shop around at some of the other stores like Cape Union Mart or Trapper Trading. Ask if the unit is loaded with a SA Street Maps. Most should come with them already loaded so just make sure. I do some hiking in mountainous terrain so I have the Topographical maps installed, which can be a great help whilst up in the mountains.

 

Shop around a little first, the eTrex is a nice starter, the only gripe I have is that the rubber housing tends to come off after a while.

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I bought a Garmin Oregon second hand using the Gumtree website.

Got it about half price of new, with maps loaded. Have had no problems with the unit at all. Its a good unit, rugged, waterproof and does paperless caching really well. No voice turn by turn though.

That said I think the Nuvi 500 is probably the most functional geocaching unit. A lot of your navigation to caches will be in a car and that's where the Nuvi is great. I think the accuracy is as good as "better" units, even under trees. It's rugged, waterproof and does paperless caching perfectly. Battery life is the only problem if you are going on REALLY long hikes.

Have a look on Gumtree and see what come up

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That seems a reasonable price - as to the company I have no idea. If stuff like guarantees are important to you find out if the product is official ex GDA or a parallel / grey import. A lot of these cheap online shops use grey products - they are genuine products but won't be supported by the manufacturer.

 

As for maps yes you will have to purchase and the price is actually R999 so take that into consideration.

 

You wouldn't steal a movie/music would you? Oh you would! Well then no problem with maps either.........

 

Good luck and enjoy your new unit.

 

Trev

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I use a little Dakota 20 which is perfect. Open street maps is a very usefull tool for the road navigation part but as CapeDoc says about the Oregon there is no voice instruction.

 

I bought mine from iWarehouse. Check out http://www.iwarehouse.co.za/navigation-gps...armin-handhelds which will open up some additional options for you.

 

It all depends on what you want out of your GPS. If you plan on going on long walks then battery life is important. The eTrex series and Dakota have great bettery life. I also recommend a waterproof option. The Nuvi's aren't waterproof as far as I know but that is nothing a jiffy bag can't solve <_<

 

Some salespeople try and sell you stuff based on what the unit can do overseas so don't stress about the WAAS capabilities becasue we can't use that in SA. That being said I think all the Garmin units now have it.

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The bit I really like about the dedicated hiking/outdoors units (like the Legend and Oregon) is that they record tracklogs - great for planning, sharing with others or having a look on Google Earth where you have been. If you like hiking in the mountains then the tracklog ability, longer battery life, screen visible in bright sunlight, ruggedness and waterproofness is a plus. Besides it looks a bit naff to be found on the top of a mountain with a car navigation device! The paperless aspect of the Oregon and Nuvi can be a plus, but many cellphones these days can do the paperless part for you. I've always liked the Legend (even though I don't have one) - it has been around for quite a while now, so if you are into the latest in gadgetry you might go for something newer with more gizmos, but there is no doubt the Legend is a good solid unit that has stood the test of time and will do what it needs to do well.

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The bit I really like about the dedicated hiking/outdoors units (like the Legend and Oregon) is that they record tracklogs - great for planning, sharing with others or having a look on Google Earth where you have been. If you like hiking in the mountains then the tracklog ability, longer battery life, screen visible in bright sunlight, ruggedness and waterproofness is a plus. Besides it looks a bit naff to be found on the top of a mountain with a car navigation device! The paperless aspect of the Oregon and Nuvi can be a plus, but many cellphones these days can do the paperless part for you. I've always liked the Legend (even though I don't have one) - it has been around for quite a while now, so if you are into the latest in gadgetry you might go for something newer with more gizmos, but there is no doubt the Legend is a good solid unit that has stood the test of time and will do what it needs to do well.

 

I will concur with the pooks' sentiments here. I have the eTrex Vista HCx and have been using it for quite a while now both in SA and many other countries overseas. The only difference between the Vista HCx and Legend HCx is the Vista has a compass and a barometric altimeter build in. Previously I was using the Legend with teh black and white screen which is still being used by my daughter and son-in-law. Only downside - the rubber that comes loose! <_< As for paperless caching I use my iTouch with the Groundspeak application - works really well.

 

I have cached extensively with both the Oregon and the Colorado and found them to be a bit "finiky" when it comes to user friendliness and reading the screen in bright sunlight when compared to the Vista. The GPSMap 60 series is also a great unit, but has too many buttons that need pushing for my liking! It is also quite a bulky unit by comparison.

 

At the end of the day it is what works for you. If you want the touch screen with paperless caching all in one on a unit that has all the bells and whistles then I would go for the Oregon. It you want a good solid unit that does 99% of everything without making coffee at an affordable price then I would go for the Legend / Vista.

 

Good luck with your purchase and happy caching in the future.

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Also, does anybody know that website and if it's safe to buy from? They seem legit but I'd love to hear about other people's experiences.

Yes, I know that website, they are legit and do not sell grey imports - you get a full locally supported guarantee. They have a physical (home)shop and a published Centurion phone number too.

I have been buying from Basil for years, have successfully recommended them numerous times, and heard no complaints as yet - only good service.

 

Another question: once I buy my GPS device, will I still have to buy maps to load onto it? That's the impression I'm getting from the review I've read.

Yes, if you buy from them, you need to add the price of at least one map to that price. There are a few maps to choose from, R999 upwards.

 

On your decision of which model to get, I can only say "Good luck".

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Another question: once I buy my GPS device, will I still have to buy maps to load onto it? That's the impression I'm getting from the review I've read.

 

You don't HAVE to buy maps. Depending on where you live, the free Open StreetMap may be all you'll ever need. In Cape Town I don't use anything else and it's more up to date than the commercially available products. And the mountain trails are way better <_<

 

You can download the whole of SA & Lesotho with a Mapsource installer (the program you use to transfer the files to your Garmin) from here: Free worldwide routeable maps for Garmin

 

If you want to see the coverage in your area, go to www.osm.org and just move the map to your area of interest and zoom in.

 

I have the Oregon and swear by it. If you can pick one up 2nd hand for a good price, I'd do it. Who needs another voice in the car telling you where to go anyway?

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No doubt you have realised that you have touched on a rather passionate topic amongst geocachers. It reminds me of the time when my friend and I went to our neighbour to borrow a fishing rod and Mr Rhodes-Harrison said with some reservation: "You know, a man's fishing rod or gun is a lot like his wife: you don't lend it out to just anybody - unless it's pretty battered", he said.

Edited by the pooks
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Oh wow, I never expected to get so many replies! Thank you everyone for your advice and suggestions.

 

I'm going to shop around a bit more, but I feel more comfortable about the Legend HCx now, so I think I might get it if I don't find anything better in a hurry. I want to try to get everything sorted soon so I can start some serious geocaching over the Christmas holidays!

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You don't HAVE to buy maps. Depending on where you live, the free Open StreetMap may be all you'll ever need. In Cape Town I don't use anything else and it's more up to date than the commercially available products. And the mountain trails are way better <_<

 

You can download the whole of SA & Lesotho with a Mapsource installer (the program you use to transfer the files to your Garmin) from here: Free worldwide routeable maps for Garmin

 

If you want to see the coverage in your area, go to www.osm.org and just move the map to your area of interest and zoom in.

 

 

Thanks so much for this! I've taken a look and it does have the area I want. I really can't afford to be spending a lot of extra money at this point, so this is great!

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Also, does anybody know that website and if it's safe to buy from? They seem legit but I'd love to hear about other people's experiences.

Yes, I know that website, they are legit and do not sell grey imports - you get a full locally supported guarantee. They have a physical (home)shop and a published Centurion phone number too.

I have been buying from Basil for years, have successfully recommended them numerous times, and heard no complaints as yet - only good service.

 

On your decision of which model to get, I can only say "Good luck".

 

Oh great, thank you! I think I might buy from them after all!

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As for maps yes you will have to purchase and the price is actually R999 so take that into consideration.

 

You wouldn't steal a movie/music would you? Oh you would! Well then no problem with maps either.........

 

Good luck and enjoy your new unit.

 

Trev

 

Thanks for the advice!

 

My question wasn't actually about buying vs stealing maps. What I meant was whether I can manage *without* the extra maps (i.e. is the device usable on its own - it seems a bit silly to me that they would be sold in a state that isn't usable) as I don't have a very big budget at the moment. I gather that it does come with a basic map, so I won't need anything extra to start off with?

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I gather that it does come with a basic map, so I won't need anything extra to start off with?

 

If it comes with the same Base Map as my Oregon did, it really is VERY basic. That map covers the whole world, so all you get for SA is the really major roads. Think N roads and some R roads. You really do need something better for geocaching.

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Thanks for the advice!

 

My question wasn't actually about buying vs stealing maps. What I meant was whether I can manage *without* the extra maps (i.e. is the device usable on its own - it seems a bit silly to me that they would be sold in a state that isn't usable) as I don't have a very big budget at the moment. I gather that it does come with a basic map, so I won't need anything extra to start off with?

 

 

Well I never meant to encourage anyone to steal anything - I was being facetious and ripping of those stupid ads your are forced to watch after you just paid R200 - R300 per DVD/Bluray disc.

 

All I meant was its just as easy to share this kind of thing and if you have shared music or videos then there is really no difference.

 

Ok I'll shut up about this now.

 

So you have never copied a cd or illegally downloaded a mp3 and you certainly don;t want to use a mapset you ave not paid for then gr8scots option is perfect.

 

I just put the California OSM maps on a friends GPS for his recent trip and he said it was awesome. Street addresses did not work but a quick use of google to get a coord and the thing routed him with no problem.

 

So OSM FTW!

 

Have fun and remember contibute if you can - you will be able to take nice long tracks with your new Legend! An just by using and sharing with others you ARE contributing. No if only Garmin and those musos saw the value in this model......oops I have not shut up..........

 

Trev

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So OSM FTW!

 

Have fun and remember contibute if you can - you will be able to take nice long tracks with your new Legend! An just by using and sharing with others you ARE contributing. No if only Garmin and those musos saw the value in this model......oops I have not shut up..........

 

Trev

 

I go along with the OSM option - was in the states and downloaded the relevant portion onto my Vista - and it allowed me to use the routable feature!

 

so

You can download the whole of SA & Lesotho with a Mapsource installer (the program you use to transfer the files to your Garmin) from here: Free worldwide routeable maps for Garmin

 

is a good route to go!

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An update to my rubber problem with the eTrex HCX.

 

As you know the rubber is coming off, and has been quite annoying over the last few weeks of caching as the buttons don't work properly.

 

My father-in-law here had some glue called "Q-Bond" which he says he got from Midas at around R65.00 per bottle. He says it works like super-glue, and I took the chance and stuck the rubber back on to the GPS unit. It seems to be sticking quite well, but I have not had it outside in the sun yet for any period of time.

 

I will give more feedback in a weeks time or so after I have handled it a little more. But for now it seems to be sticking.

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