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GPS (specifically Garmin Oregon) accuracy outside US


HikingSeal
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Hi all!

 

I'm heading to Europe in a week. A friend who is a fellow cacher just returned from Europe. She complained that throughout the trip even with fresh batteries her accuracy was about 90 feet. This concerned and perplexed me. In my own travels I know I have had consistently poorer accuracy in Alaska and to a much greater extent in Hawaii. The latter is usually about 25-40 feet. When I've complained to Hawaiian cachers about this, they think I'm nuts. In the contiguous US, the same GPS displays around 10 feet. However, visiting southern portions of Canada I've never had an issue.

 

Is there something built into US sold/ based consumer GPS units that makes the accuracy poorer outside the contiguous US? If you know something, please share it, but please save the speculating. I'm also interested in hearing about personal experiences with accuracy as described above.

 

Thanks,

Chris

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No, there is nothing built into consumer handheld GPS devices that makes them inherently more inaccurate outside of the lower 48. Is it possible that you may not have received a WAAS fix? Did you leave the device out in an open area for up to half an hour? If it moves a long distance from where it last was, it can take awhile for it to figure out where it is.

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My experience with the problem in Alaska and Hawaii has been over the course of a week on multi-hour caching trips on multiple occasions across several years and GPS units. My friend's experience was over the course of three weeks throughout Germany and Italy, again on multi hour caching trips.

 

I make an effort my system software updated. Versions 6.2 for system and 6.0 for GPS are currently installed. These are reported as the current versions.

 

This unit is only a year old. I am not familiar with what a WAAS fix is. Nothing on the Garmin site illuminates the point either. Could you do so further please?

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Nice! Thanks Ashleychachacha!

 

I knew what WAAS is but not its geographic limitations. The important thing I got from reading this article was learning about EGNOS. When I first read insig's reply I checked my unit to be sure WAAS was enabled. It wasn't, but I recently updated my software. The default is Normal GPS, not WAAS. What puzzled me though was the option said "WAAS/EGNOS". I had no idea what EGNOS was and dismissed it. This article taught me it's the European equivalent of WAAS. Apparently Garmin has updated their older unit's software to pickup that signal as well. Tomorrow I'll see my friend who just returned from Europe. I'm going to check her GPSr to see if she has that update and if it was enabled. I'm betting not. I also bet you are exactly right. That's the source of my accuracy issues. Although it doesn't explain why Hawaiian cachers I've asked about don't see the problem. On the other hand maybe it's just a matter of what we are each used to.

 

Cool! Love learning new stuff. Thanks a bunch!

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My Oregon 550t has spent most of its useful life in the United States, but I also used it during a stay in Wales and England. I did need to set it out in the open for half an hour or so when I first arrived to allow it to get its bearings (so to speak), but after that it performed as well as it does in the US.

 

--Larry

Edited by larryc43230
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Hi all!

 

I'm heading to Europe in a week. A friend who is a fellow cacher just returned from Europe. She complained that throughout the trip even with fresh batteries her accuracy was about 90 feet. This concerned and perplexed me. In my own travels I know I have had consistently poorer accuracy in Alaska and to a much greater extent in Hawaii. The latter is usually about 25-40 feet. When I've complained to Hawaiian cachers about this, they think I'm nuts. In the contiguous US, the same GPS displays around 10 feet. However, visiting southern portions of Canada I've never had an issue.

 

Is there something built into US sold/ based consumer GPS units that makes the accuracy poorer outside the contiguous US? If you know something, please share it, but please save the speculating. I'm also interested in hearing about personal experiences with accuracy as described above.

 

Thanks,

Chris

 

Nothing I've noticed. My Montana works as well in the UK as it does in the US - I've used it for hiking and geocaching in both places and use it a lot for cycling in the UK. So far it's never let me down.

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On most parts of the world the Gps accuracy is the same, between 7 and 20 feet is normal everywhere.

In Europe there is no better or worse signal compared to the Us.

 

Accuracy is not the same world worldwide. Each unit has a basic accuracy based on satellites.Iin the US with WAAS enabled it gets significantly better. If you leave the WAAS area (basically outside the continental US) it degrades. Fortunately in Europe you have EGNOS to make it better. Now go to the Southern Hemisphere and you will have it degrade again.

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