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Clearlysuper

Starter GPS for kids?

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Posted (edited)

I have been looking for recommendations on a starter level GPS that my 8 yr old can learn with. Used is ok, since we are looking to upgrade at some point in the future if she stays hooked on geocaching. Anyone wanna help a mama out with a good starting point?

Edited by Clearlysuper

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I'd suggest a smartphone, even if it doesn't have a data plan.  GPS can work while offline.  You'd just have to check the Location settings in the phone to make sure they are not turned off, which some phones will do when the phone is offline.

While the phone wouldn't need a data plan, it would at least need to be able to connect to wifi so you can pre-load caches to it while connected to wifi at home (or wherever) before heading out on a "cache hunt".  You could use the official Geocaching app to create a list of target caches and download that list for offline use, then put the phone on Airplane mode and hand it over for the kid to use to navigate to the caches.

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As much as I state the benefits of a GPSr, I agree with noncentric,  and think about a phone.

Find a kid who's clueless with a phone.   If they weren't thrown so often, those things would be  attached to pacifiers ...        :D

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Right.  Find/borrow a surplus phone in a drawer.  Doesn't matter if it no longer has a phone number or cell service.  As long as it still turns on OK and can hold a charge, that's all you need.  Load an app, load caches (PQs) and optionally maps over WiFi, then go caching!

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....OR.....

 

If you want to teach them to use a GPSr, not a smartphone, look at the eTrex 10 or 20 (B&W or Color).

 

You can even score some inexpensive Garmin Geko GPSr on ebay, but you never know what exactly you are getting, and the Geko 101 will show the wrong date due to older non-updateable firmware.

 

The eTrex Touch (25 or 35) provides a more smartphone like interface for a few dollars more.

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Is that one that requires a special cable to connect to your computer? I agree that the old Legend series are good beginner models, but only if you are learning basic navigation and aren't transferring a lot of data back and forth between the unit and your computer. If geocaching is the goal, the eTrex 10 would be my introductory model for a kid that might treat it as a toy and break it. Otherwise, there's no reason not to learn on something higher end if the goal is to have it around for years to come. But my argument against the older eTrex Legend or Vista models is that they aren't as good with geocaching. Geocaches are treated as just another waypoint, and GPX file support is rudimentary at best, if at all. The eTrex 10 may be basic with a mapless black and white display, but it at least handles geocaches the same way as all of the other current GPS models, and reads and writes to the GPX file format.

For basic navigation, I would start with map-compass orienteering, then introduce the GPS, this way your kids grow up understanding the principles of navigaiton instead of relying on the "black box" of the GPS.

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Posted (edited)

That model was USB, but you are correct, the newer eTrex are better with geocaching.

 

I also agree that teaching map reading and basic compass use along with GPSr use would be very beneficial.

 

Most of the GPSrChive 'Maps' pages include a link in the first paragraph to a PDF titled 'An Introduction to using Garmin GPS with paper maps for land navigation'.

 

You may want to download it and maybe even print it out!

 

 

Edited by Atlas Cached

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