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Degai

Best GPSr Units

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Is there anyone out there who can help me find a good GPSr unit that would work in Estonia, Finland, Latvia, Russia?  I know they make GPSr units that you can get European maps, but would these maps work for Baltic and Nordic countries (even if they are part of Europe)?  What about Russia?  I am trying to find a good unit for Geocaching and to use for maps getting around in these countries.  I am trying not to use my phone because of costs.  I will be in this area for almost a month and it is really expensive when using my phone, besides, it really didn't work that great the last time I was in Europe. 

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You can use a phone in offline mode, with a suitable caching app. Set it up in advance over WiFi. Find caches in Airplane mode. No costs.  :)

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5 minutes ago, Viajero Perdido said:

You can use a phone in offline mode, with a suitable caching app. Set it up in advance over WiFi. Find caches in Airplane mode. No costs.  :)

Hello Viajero Perdido and thank you for your answer, however, could you give me a little more detail about how I can do that and what caching app are you talking about?

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I use Locus Map on Android.  In the iOS world people recommend Cachly.  Even the Groundspeak app can be set up in advance for caching offline.  Those are the ones that I know can work offline; some of the others may as well.  (Locus even does offline auto-routing down trails with voice directions, good for impressing or annoying your hiking companions.)

 

Load pocket queries in advance, load maps in advance, and off you go.  Details will vary depending on the app you choose, of course.

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The G in GPS stands for GLOBAL so your GPS will work everywhere. OSM maps for Garmin can be had (free) from http://garmin.openstreetmap.nl/  .

For Android there's GDAK, an app designed for offline use (caches, images, maps) but can also be used with online maps and is an API partner.

 

If you want to have cheap data, get a local SIM for your phone (if it's unlocked).

 

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Hello Viajero Perdido and thank you again.  I am not sure I know about pocket queries and if I load a map, how do I cache offline.  Thank you for that information.  I will see if I can find someone locally who can explain it to me.

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On 5/5/2019 at 3:17 AM, on4bam said:

The G in GPS stands for GLOBAL so your GPS will work everywhere. OSM maps for Garmin can be had (free) from http://garmin.openstreetmap.nl/  .

For Android there's GDAK, an app designed for offline use (caches, images, maps) but can also be used with online maps and is an API partner.

 

If you want to have cheap data, get a local SIM for your phone (if it's unlocked).

 

I did get a SIM card for my phone when I was in France and Italy, but I haven't been reading anything encouraging about SIM cards in Estonia.  Thanks for the info.

 

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Viajero Perdido, IceColdUK, and on4Bam- Many thanks to all of you, however, you guys are way smarter and much more knowledgable and advanced than I am or will ever be!  You may as well be speaking a foreign language to me.  :o

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4 hours ago, Degai said:

I did get a SIM card for my phone when I was in France and Italy, but I haven't been reading anything encouraging about SIM cards in Estonia.  Thanks for the info.

 

 

You don't need a SIM card to use your phone for geocaching.   I have traveled to 30 countries and have never bought a SIM card.  Before leaving for the trip you can create pocket queries or lists and download them for offline use. When creating the list off line (while still connected to cellular data or wifi) it will also download the relevant map tiles that you need.   Actually, you don't *need* maps at all (early GPS devices didn't have maps, yet people found geocaches).  Once you're abroad you can turn off cellular data and even put the phone in airplane mode and the GPS in the phone will still work and you can read the geocache data and navigate to the cache. 

 

 

To answer your initial question,   there is nothing location specific about how a handheld GPS works.  They all use the same set of global satellites.   I'd recommend one of the Garmin units such as the Etrex 20x or 30 series, the GPSMap 64 (or and older 62), or Oregon series.  The Etrex models are in the lower price range.  Most of the models will optionally include (for a price) topo maps but I'd save the money and use the free open street maps for Garmin mentioned earlier.  They are available for every part of the world and are relatively easy to load onto a device.   Then understand how to use pocket queries so that you can download listings for all the caches that you might be able to find before you leave.   Personally, I prefer to use a handheld device and have used one to geocache in 29 of the 30 countries in which I've found a cache.  The only exception is Cuba, where bringing a handheld GPS into the country is not allowed.

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NYPaddleCacher-Are you telling me that I can use a handheld GPSr without maps and find a geocache?  And yes,  you are right, I do need to know how to do pocket queries-I have never understood them, nor have I understood how to "download" maps on my phone from the Geocaching website.  Thanks for your information; truly appreciated; I just need to find some local help.

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21 minutes ago, Degai said:

NYPaddleCacher-Are you telling me that I can use a handheld GPSr without maps and find a geocache?  And yes,  you are right, I do need to know how to do pocket queries-I have never understood them, nor have I understood how to "download" maps on my phone from the Geocaching website.  Thanks for your information; truly appreciated; I just need to find some local help.

You don't NEED maps. We found our first caches with a Garmin 12XL with N-Amercan database. So all I saw was a blank screen with a line pointing to the cache or WP.  No roads, no paths and only major cities as a dot on the screen.

With a map it's easy to find a path to a cache/wp, without it's guessing where there is a path :wacko:

Anyway, if your unit has enough free space for maps you're better off loading them and since open street maps are free there's no reason not to use them.

 

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1 hour ago, Degai said:

NYPaddleCacher-Are you telling me that I can use a handheld GPSr without maps and find a geocache?

 

My first GPS unit diplayed only the distance to the cache and I had to enter coordinates manually for every cache using DMS format. Nothing more is required for Geocaching than a GPS receiver and a printed cache description.

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3 hours ago, Degai said:

NYPaddleCacher-Are you telling me that I can use a handheld GPSr without maps and find a geocache?

 

Coordinates give you location.  Your GPSr leads you to those coordinates.  Common sense helps a lot...   :) 

Our first GPSrs were so basic (and tiny screens...) that we rarely looked at the map. 

The map on the cache page these days are often good-enough to keep you on trail. For example,  multiple  caches in a park.

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21 hours ago, arisoft said:

 

My first GPS unit diplayed only the distance to the cache and I had to enter coordinates manually for every cache using DMS format. Nothing more is required for Geocaching than a GPS receiver and a printed cache description.

 

My first GPS receiver, bought in 2007, wasn't as archaic as some of the others that have responded.  It  had a base map that came with the unit but the map only had major roads and cities.  The company (Garmin) sold topo or city navigation maps that had much more detail and thats what a lot of people used at the time.  Then there were a couple of places where one could get "free" maps that were being created.  One of the most popular (and still is) is the Routeable OpenSTreetMaps for Garmin (http://garmin.openstreetmap.nl/) which provides free user created mapsets for anywhere in the world. Still,  I think if you asked most of the geocachers at the time, you'd hear that most used the compass screen to find the cache once the "Go To" button was clicked.    A compass arrow and a distance indicator is all one needs.    A good detailed map comes in really handing in an urban environment, especially in cities in Europe with narrow meandering streets.  It's easy to be 100 feet away from a cache but on the wrong street.  

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1. One doesn't need any special device to hunt geocaches in Russia, indeed. It's OK to use the same device as for other countries. Using smartphone is OK in our country. There are many areas in Russia where you can only hike and you will probably need some days to reach your destination; however, there are very few caches in such places. For "general" tourism (such as visiting Moscow and SPb for several days) there's no need to buy a handheld GPS receiver.

 

2. Buying a local SIM card makes sense in some countries where geocaching is really active. It can easily be that you've got your pocket query and downloaded on Monday but something changed in Tuesday - for example, the owner checked the cache and restored it in some other location. In our country life isn't that fast :) Also, you need to provide your ID to buy a SIM card in Russia (some people aren't happy with this fact). I'm not sure about Estonia though. Estonia is much more "electronic" country than Russia and also more than the two other Baltic countries so probably buying a SIM card there will require no documents (as it happens in Lithuania). Anyway, if you've got a good SIM card from a European provider (one that won't cut your traffic when you travel within the EU but out of the country where you purchased it originally) you can probably use this SIM card in Estonia too.

 

3. In my view, the question "do I need maps" shouldn't be answered based on the fact that most old-school'd geocachers here started without any maps (my first GPS receiver was Garmin eTrex, the yellow model, very basic one). Maps mean much. GPS signal may be poor in narrow city streets and show that I'm behind that wall or around that corner and it may be confusing and not much fun, especially when there are CCTV cameras and policemen/guards watching. When you're in your home city using a device with no maps may seem an additional challenge but when you're abroad and only have three or four days in the city for sightseeing/geocaching/cuisine/meeting people, you won't be happy if you waste your time on trying different turns and paths blindly. After all, if you've got a smartphone you can get maps easily. Locus (there's a free version for Android) is nice and geocaching friendly. OSMand is an alternative for offline navigation. Maps.me is the easiest app among all of them (e.g. you download maps with one click directly from the app, no need to visit any websites or count tiles) but it lacks geocaching features. Perhaps you like to have several apps on your smartphone (this is what I have and it has helped me many times). 

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I like to use the automotive anology in answer to the "you don't need" responses. I learned to drive when manual transmission and manual steering were the norm, and I did just fine. I don't "need" those features. Would I buy a car today without auto trans, power steering and air conditioning? Absolutely not. 😉

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On 5/11/2019 at 1:11 PM, NYPaddleCacher said:

One of the most popular (and still is) is the Routeable OpenSTreetMaps for Garmin (http://garmin.openstreetmap.nl/) which provides free user created mapsets for anywhere in the world.

 

Oh, it's popular, all right.  Looks like one or more parties spammed the system this weekend.  I meant to get a map of Normandy for a work trip coming up this week, but forgot until last night.  Submitted it and our request was #4001 in the queue, estimated delivery in 8.9 days.  Over twelve hours later and I'm #3986, estimated delivery in 8.3 days.  Guess I'm not getting my map before I head out tonight.

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6 hours ago, hzoi said:

 

Oh, it's popular, all right.  Looks like one or more parties spammed the system this weekend.  I meant to get a map of Normandy for a work trip coming up this week, but forgot until last night.  Submitted it and our request was #4001 in the queue, estimated delivery in 8.9 days.  Over twelve hours later and I'm #3986, estimated delivery in 8.3 days.  Guess I'm not getting my map before I head out tonight.

Try this link, might be faster

 

http://www.freizeitkarte-osm.de/garmin/de/frankreich.html

 

I have another one, but cant find it at the Moment.

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10 hours ago, hzoi said:

 

Oh, it's popular, all right.  Looks like one or more parties spammed the system this weekend.  I meant to get a map of Normandy for a work trip coming up this week, but forgot until last night.  Submitted it and our request was #4001 in the queue, estimated delivery in 8.9 days.  Over twelve hours later and I'm #3986, estimated delivery in 8.3 days.  Guess I'm not getting my map before I head out tonight.

It's up again. On May 9th., I experienced a similar result and never got an email indicating it was ready for downloading. When I tried again, just now (May 13, 5 P.M.ish), I selected the map I wanted and noticed there was no option for email but there was for "Download Now". Which I did and bingo, back in business.

,

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On 5/12/2019 at 8:11 AM, -CJ- said:

Maps.me is the easiest app among all of them (e.g. you download maps with one click directly from the app, no need to visit any websites or count tiles) but it lacks geocaching features.

 

I also recommend Maps.me.   It won't show geocaches on the map but it's a very easy to use mapping app.  Just remember to download maps for every area you'll be visiting while you still have internet access.

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23 hours ago, hzoi said:

 

Oh, it's popular, all right.  Looks like one or more parties spammed the system this weekend.  I meant to get a map of Normandy for a work trip coming up this week, but forgot until last night.  Submitted it and our request was #4001 in the queue, estimated delivery in 8.9 days.  Over twelve hours later and I'm #3986, estimated delivery in 8.3 days.  Guess I'm not getting my map before I head out tonight.

 

This is why we can't have nice things.

 

 I have only seen it get an estimated delivery more than a few hours a couple of times.   I don't know how often this sort of delay happens but the only way to really solve it would be to limit the size of the Mapset and/or throttle the numbers of requests one can make in an hour.  

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on4bam, arisoft, cerberus1, NYPaddleCacher, CJ, and JohnCNA-I really appreciate all of your answers, but to be honest with you, I am a very LOW TECH person and I don't mean to sound indignant, but I really don't understand a lot of what is being said.  I would just like to reiterate that I did start geocaching with a very lo tech GPSr, which didn't have maps and I did find geocaches, but they were all in the US.  It is so much easier now to find caches with maps and when you are in a foreign country where you don't know the area and you don't have a lot of time, you want to be able to find caches rather easily.  So, if I understand all of you, you are saying if I use that lo tech GPSr (Magellan Sport) I can use it in a foreign country without doing anything to it.  It is the type of device that you have to load in the coordinates, so if I load the coordinates of some caches, it should be able to take me to these caches in any foreign county?

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12 minutes ago, Degai said:

 So, if I understand all of you, you are saying if I use that lo tech GPSr (Magellan Sport) I can use it in a foreign country without doing anything to it.  It is the type of device that you have to load in the coordinates, so if I load the coordinates of some caches, it should be able to take me to these caches in any foreign county?

 

Coordinates (the location of the cache) doesn't change.  A GPSr leads you to those coordinates.

If you really need a map, there's a handy one right on the cache page.  All caches, in all countries,  have a map on the cache page.

I've loaded caches manually ("have to load in") since starting this hobby (two years before you).     :)

 Any useful information from the cache page,  I  jot down in a small notebook.    Simple.

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51 minutes ago, Degai said:

It is the type of device that you have to load in the coordinates, so if I load the coordinates of some caches, it should be able to take me to these caches in any foreign county?

 

As said, the "G" in GPS stands for global so as long as you have the coordinates you will be able to get to the cache no matter where on earth you are.

 

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1 hour ago, Degai said:

So, if I understand all of you, you are saying if I use that lo tech GPSr (Magellan Sport) I can use it in a foreign country without doing anything to it.  It is the type of device that you have to load in the coordinates, so if I load the coordinates of some caches, it should be able to take me to these caches in any foreign county?

 

Lo tech GPSr can not even say in which country you are. All caches with GPS coordinates posted on the cache page can be searched with any GPS receiver.

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I started out using an Etrex 10, no (useful) maps. When I traveled to an international country  I would take a print out of caches near my hotel, or of the city if I did not know the hotels' location, and even write the names of the caches on it. I would use a resolution that included some street names so that I could orientate it with a local map after I arrived. I also noted my finds on the map with short notes for Find logging on my   computer at a later date. This was  seven years ago before smartphones were common. I still do this to this day even when I have my Etrex 20x with or without local maps and, if I get desperate, I can drag out my Motorola smartphone.

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On 5/13/2019 at 7:53 PM, speakers-corner said:

This one is up and running again and the maps were updated today

 

http://www.raumbezug.eu/ag/internet/osmGarmin.htm

 

Extremely helpful, thank you.  Since my earlier requests are still #3950 in the queue (after almost a week), and for some reason the option to direct download never seems to show for me, I will go with these.

 

 

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