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Best Current GPSr (Relative, I know)


Philmontosaurus Rex
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Second thread?

 

Yes, "best" is relative and based on personal preferences. Most responses will be based upon those individual preferences, mine included.

 

While I have no qualms about Garmin units, I switched to Delorme a long time ago. I still have and use a PN-40, brother-in-law and two nephews use PN-60's in conjunction with their cell phones too, as do we. I still use the PN-40 'cuz it works fine and I don't trade horses just because a "newer" one exists. It still gets us to target just as our older yet Garmin units did and the PN-60 units do.

 

So, you can guess what my recommendation would be... a PN-60.

We, and they, are used to the form and function of the Delorme line, which differ in some manners to the way the Garmin units work.

 

If you are up to the "experiment", I would switch brands. Not so much that one make is better than the other, but just to see what "the other side of the fence" is truly like. You really ought to base it on your own preferences, rather than somebody else'.

 

Just my 2¢.

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I'm not sure if any of the current models support external antennas, though my research suggests that the Garmin GPSMAP 62 series does (but not the 64 series - someone confirm?) as does the GPSMAP 78 series.

 

Anyway, I don't think that an external antenna is really necessary these days. The on-board antennas are quite capable of receiving a signal and holding it in some tight places.

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Thanks guys. Yeah, I went with a second thread cause I was looking to go broader with my questioning, considering any make/model that popped up. Not trying to be impatient or pestering. ;) I'm happy to listen to everyone's personal preferences, as they may show me facets I haven't considered. Thank you guys for sharing! Mineral2, I misspoke. I meant the antenna style of the Garmin 62, 64, or even the nub on the Delorme, as opposed to the Oregons. I forgot there were actual external antenna attachments. :)

 

One of the main points for me is getting detailed maps. If I can get 1:24K topos from DeLorme for $30 for the US, but only a section of the US for $90 from Garmin, that may seal the deal.

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I'm not sure if any of the current models support external antennas, though my research suggests that the Garmin GPSMAP 62 series does (but not the 64 series - someone confirm?) as does the GPSMAP 78 series.

 

Anyway, I don't think that an external antenna is really necessary these days. The on-board antennas are quite capable of receiving a signal and holding it in some tight places.

 

The 64 does support an external antenna. I'm in the same state of mind as you -- I don't see a lot of need for an external antenna, but it's supported if you want it.

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Also unclear about value of external antenna except in the most unusual circumstances. Avoid shielding the unit from the constellation any more than necessary while carrying it unless attempting to avoid multipath (where intentionally shielding it with your body can actually HELP). What to do with an external under those circumstances anyway? Wear it on your hat? Apart from that, certain in-vehicle applications are the only ones that require this kind of add-on.

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Topo discs in the box with a PN-60 do provide road routability. One may create a road route using the Topo 10.0 NA app on their PC and then upload to the handheld, or create the route directly on a PN-60. One may also create "trail routes" on the Topo app for transfer. For example, a route may be created which starts on a Forest Service trail and the transitions onto the Pacific Crest Trail at a junction.

 

Note: The trail and road databases on the discs are separate. One cannot create a route where one can transition from a trail route to a road route, nor vice versa.

Edited by Team CowboyPapa
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Good points. Not really a decision point for me as I roadroute with my phone, but for curiousity, does the PN-60 calculate routes faster than the PN-40 does, because that thing is sloowww to do so.

I have both, but have never tester either to determine route calculation speed. OTOH, I would the 60's faster processor to be faster in all respects.

 

But my PN routing experiences were just for gaining familiarity rather than actual road use. My Jeep has factory installed GPS/NAV with 3 x 5" screen in dash. (Map DVD came in Jeep's glove box; did not have to go to Auto Zone to buy one or search, scramble or scratch on internet for free maps.)

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Good points. Not really a decision point for me as I roadroute with my phone, but for curiousity, does the PN-60 calculate routes faster than the PN-40 does, because that thing is sloowww to do so.

I don't road route very often, either, but my casual observation is that I basically never bothered with my PN-40, but it's sufficient quick on my PN-60 that I do sometimes use it. (It actually does a better job than the nav system on my lovely driver's BMW, but that's not saying much.) One common example is that I'll road route while walking to the next cache to better understand which roads go through where. I know not to bother looking at my PN-60 while I wait for the route, but on the other hand, the route is normally calculated by the time I get to the first turn, although take into account that in that case, we're talking about routes of a mile or two with only a couple dozen roads in the area.

 

On the other hand, I've run into a bad quirk on the PN-60 that I don't remember on the PN-40: if you tell it to road route, and then you get it into a situation where it thinks you're going the wrong way -- for example, if you decide not to go there after all -- it goes into a mode where it continuously recalculates and it becomes very hard to stop it. (Yes, there's a "stop calculating" button, but it doesn't break the cycle.) More than once, I've had to just power it down to get control again.

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Tough call. If you are using it for a lot of road navigation, I'd probably want a touch screen for the tedious entering & searching of addresses. But so many of us have smart phones already that are far better for driving use. For a rugged standalone outdoors or caching GPS, I agree with others, the GPSMAP 62 and 64-series are pretty nice. Have never used an external antenna, despite having that option on my current 64st and previous 60Cx & 62s models. (Nice to have options, though.)

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my research suggests that the Garmin GPSMAP 62 series does (but not the 64 series - someone confirm?) as does the GPSMAP 78 series.

 

Anyway, I don't think that an external antenna is really necessary these days. The on-board antennas are quite capable of receiving a signal and holding it in some tight places.

I agree.

The 64 and 62 series both support :laughing: Get it? SupPORT? :laughing: ha sorry,they both support MCX external antennas.

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Thanks guys. Yeah, I went with a second thread cause I was looking to go broader with my questioning, considering any make/model that popped up. Not trying to be impatient or pestering. ;) I'm happy to listen to everyone's personal preferences, as they may show me facets I haven't considered. Thank you guys for sharing! Mineral2, I misspoke. I meant the antenna style of the Garmin 62, 64, or even the nub on the Delorme, as opposed to the Oregons. I forgot there were actual external antenna attachments. :)

 

One of the main points for me is getting detailed maps. If I can get 1:24K topos from DeLorme for $30 for the US, but only a section of the US for $90 from Garmin, that may seal the deal.

Keep in mind that there are lots of free maps out there.

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Big advantage the Garmin 64 series has is unlimited geocaches... You don't have to worry about deleting out old oens you've found or having to decide which pocket queries to load up. The price of a Garmin 64 is now about the same as a Garmin 62s.

 

The 64S would be a bit more and for my use wouldn't be worth it.

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Ecanderson, Grayhawk613, a couple of points on maps: 1) How trustworthy are free road maps and topo maps? Who makes them? If I were to ever take the unit on a long hike, I would probably have a paper map anyway, and I may be being over cautious due to ignorance. 2) Where do you go to get them?

 

http://www.gpsfiledepot.com

 

This is the first place you should check, especially for US maps. The maps here, though not routable, are quite reliable for most roads (many are built from Open Street Map data). Some of the maps don't get updated very often, but topography and natural features don't change much over short time frames. I find it's nice to have mountain summits, rivers, lakes, and springs as POIs on the map. These maps also vary in whether or not trails are added, but there are often other trail overlays that you can add on top of any map if trails aren't included.

 

Any time you're out hiking, it's recommended that you have a paper map with you if it's available, but the maps that can be installed from the site above are great for trip planning in Basecamp.

 

http://garmin.openstreetmap.nl/

 

This is your worldwide source for Open Street Map data on a Garmin GPS. This is updated weekly, but due to the community nature of OSM, roads are as up to date as users update them, and POIs are as prevalent as users in a particular area. Still, it's a pretty sweet routable (turn-by-turn on-road directions) option for being free, and OSM does have some trail data. If you find the map information to be inadequate in your area, you can always contribute to the map. Also great if you want a general base map when traveling abroad.

 

There are other sites for routable and non-routable topo (and non-topo) maps specific to countries and regions (ex. Talkytoaster maps are well received for the British Isles). I'd start with these two links, for now, and as you need specific maps for places, we'll help you find what you need.

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Any time you're out hiking, it's recommended that you have a paper map with you if it's available, but the maps that can be installed from the site above are great for trip planning in Basecamp.

 

Quoted for truth. B)

 

GPS maps (paid or free) are great for situational awareness, but for any critical navigation, I wouldn't be caught without a map & compass. Electronics can fail, batteries run out, satellite reception can be degraded, etc.

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Electronics can fail, batteries run out, satellite reception can be degraded, etc.

 

Sure ...

 

I carry at least 2 electronic devices when out hiking, and spare batteries, but no paper map. Bear in mind even with no satellite reception you still have a map ... an electronic one.

 

So for me to be without a 'map' both my devices would have to fail, a highly unlikely scenario ... but then again a paper map could be blown away in the wind.

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Ecanderson, Grayhawk613, a couple of points on maps: 1) How trustworthy are free road maps and topo maps? Who makes them? If I were to ever take the unit on a long hike, I would probably have a paper map anyway, and I may be being over cautious due to ignorance. 2) Where do you go to get them?

Free topo maps are available, as noted above, from gpsfiledepot. On the whole, I've found these to be quite good, though they are not republished on an annual basis in most cases, so while they work well as topo maps, they won't keep up with all of the roads.

 

For 'road maps', the openstreetmap (as noted above) seems to be 'the' source. In the areas I have used them, the quality has always been quite good -except- for some trouble I ran into in the boondocks of Costa Rica where whoever had done the mapping hadn't quite 'connected' roads at some intersections, creating some weird routing. Openstreetmap (OSM) is a mixture of things, with detail level depending upon where you are. I swear, I think the Germans have marked the site of every post office drop box in the country. Other countries provide much more basic information. On the whole, I find that OSM does quite a nice job with casual trails, both urban and out in the sticks. Seems there are a LOT of contributors to the effort.

 

http://www.gpsfiledepot.com/

http://garmin.na1400.info/routable.php

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Sure ...

 

I carry at least 2 electronic devices when out hiking, and spare batteries, but no paper map. Bear in mind even with no satellite reception you still have a map ... an electronic one.

 

So for me to be without a 'map' both my devices would have to fail, a highly unlikely scenario ... but then again a paper map could be blown away in the wind.

 

I guess I should have specified paper map & compass in regards to the backcountry or remote areas. For a casual day of caching around town, it's overkill. :D

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Well I still never carry a paper map even when hiking in remote areas, always have a compass though.

 

Same here.....its been a LONG time since we used a paper map. There has only been a handful of times when we were 5+ miles in the middle of nowhere and I've always felt comfortable with two handhelds. If we were walking days in to the wilderness we would do several things different then we do now.

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Good points. Not really a decision point for me as I roadroute with my phone, but for curiousity, does the PN-60 calculate routes faster than the PN-40 does, because that thing is sloowww to do so.

I don't road route very often, either, but my casual observation is that I basically never bothered with my PN-40, but it's sufficient quick on my PN-60 that I do sometimes use it. (It actually does a better job than the nav system on my lovely driver's BMW, but that's not saying much.) One common example is that I'll road route while walking to the next cache to better understand which roads go through where. I know not to bother looking at my PN-60 while I wait for the route, but on the other hand, the route is normally calculated by the time I get to the first turn, although take into account that in that case, we're talking about routes of a mile or two with only a couple dozen roads in the area.

 

On the other hand, I've run into a bad quirk on the PN-60 that I don't remember on the PN-40: if you tell it to road route, and then you get it into a situation where it thinks you're going the wrong way -- for example, if you decide not to go there after all -- it goes into a mode where it continuously recalculates and it becomes very hard to stop it. (Yes, there's a "stop calculating" button, but it doesn't break the cycle.) More than once, I've had to just power it down to get control again.

Both the Delorme PN-40 and the PN-60 are capable of storing at least 32GB of the bundled (free)Topo/Road maps of North America. This amount of data can include almost the entire USA. However if more than 23GB are installed, even local road routing to points only a few miles away may fail as noted above.

 

So for local geocaching it is better to limit total map storage somewhat if using the PN-40/60 for road routing. I have personally stopped in New Mexico, but not near Philmont, on cross country trips to delete a few unneeded states gigabytes of data to make road routing work reliably.

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