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Guest Harv

Which GPS for both geocaching AND driving?

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Guest Harv

I've recently learned about geocaching and think that it would be a GREAT hobby (I can't quite make myself call it a sport) for me and my family.

 

Therefore, I will soon be purchasing a GPS device. Besides geocaching, I'd like to have a device that could help me navigate to unfamiliar areas and addresses when driving. So, I'm looking for something that is fairly portable and weather proof (for geocaching) but can also accept uploaded maps and can pan through them automatically as I drive.

 

Do any of you have any recommendations for me based on these two uses? Which GPS devices that you use perform well in a car? What are the things I should consider when buying one?

 

Thanks,

Harv

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Guest gstrong1

AP76, so I have not had enough time out with it to make a real informed opinion on it, but from the little bit I have used it, it too appears to be a great unit.One of the nice features of the III Plus, is the ability to set the screen orientation vertically or horizontally.On the dash, I have it set to horizontal. Sits very stable on the bean bag mount.The bean bag mount is easily transferred to different vehicles.On a cache hunt, I set the orientation to vertical, allowing for very easy handling going into the woods.I also have the eTrex Vista, but I don't think that unit is what you're looking for.Screen is very small & lack of good antenna makes it a marginal unit when heading into woods under heavy tree cover.If you plan on loading maps into the unit, pay attention to the memory capacity.Vista-24 mb, MAP76-8 mb & III Plus-only 1.4 mb.Garmin is all I own, but I hope I have been of some assistance.I'm sure you'll get some help here from owners of units from other manufacturers-Happy caching-

-Gimpy-

 

------------------

Gary "Gimpy" Strong

Rochester,NY

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Guest GPS-Digger

Based on one use, I'd have to say the Garmin StreetPilot is a candidate. I've liked it a lot on a couple road trips, and it wasn't unbearably heavy to carry while caching (though it is by no means a lightweight in either size of weight). The nifty thing was that after a couple hours hiking/caching in 90 degree heat, I could plug it into the car and immediately look up the nearest 7-11 to replenish our Gatorade supply!

 

Seriously, I would think the problem with using any of the smaller units designed for backpacking as an auto unit is the smaller size of the screen. You don't want to be squinting at a small screen while driving.

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Guest Harv

Thanks for the responses! Based on a little reading, and thinking about how I'd probably use this unit, I think I'm leaning toward a device that is primarily designed to be a handheld. I really don't drive in unfamiliar places very often, but I will be geocaching quite a bit with my kids.

 

So, I'm considering the GPSMAP 76, but haven't completely ruled out the Vista. Given that they are about the same price, it seems like the tradeoff is:

 

Garmin GPSMAP 76:

- better antenna (how much better if I never buy an external?)

- 8 MB available to upload maps

- larger display

- no compass or altimeter

 

Garmin eTrex Vista:

- patch antenna, loses signal more easily

- 24 MB

- Compass and altimeter

- smaller display

 

Does anyone have any experience with the Magellan mapping units? Shold I be considering the MAP 330? It sounds comparable to the Garmin GPSMAP 76 (although the screen for the GPSMAP 76 is bigger). Has anyone done a comparison of these two units?

 

Thanks for your help!

 

[This message has been edited by Harv (edited 18 June 2001).]

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Guest jefficus

I'm pretty much a newbie (1 cache found, and 2 placed) but I *LOVE* my Vista. I use mine for driving as well as geocaching, but I haven't tried integrating with any of the MapSource data yet, so I can't comment too much on the driving portion.

 

But if you are going to use it for geocaching, I find the compass a must-have. True, you could get by with a regular mechanical compass, but the all-in-one tool is certainly convenient.

 

The best thing I can say about the Vista is that I put it in the hands of my eight year old daughter and she led us through unfamiliar woods to a cache location without help. (I had a similar experience with my 5-year old, but she was a little more confused when we reached forks in the path.)

 

The portability and user-friendliness of the interface is excellent. I haven't had too much trouble with signal drop-off, but I haven't tackled any "tough" sites yet either.

 

Hope that helps.

Jefficus

 

[This message has been edited by jefficus (edited 18 June 2001).]

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Guest Artful Dodger

I have the GPSMAP 76 which I use for both hiking and driving. Before I bought the unit, I was contemplating buying the external antenna for use while driving or whatever - glad I didnt buy it as the units own built in antenna picked up the WAAS birds to an accuracy of 8ft while driving in a few places.

 

The MAP76's screen is big enough while driving and you can set the detail level from Minimal to More detail if you wish to clear too much info on the screen. Coupled with Mapsource's Roads & Rec, I create a route beforehand, upload it to the unit and it works like a charm while driving.

 

I have found the 8Meg more than adequate. You can load many counties before it even gets full.

 

I am awaiting a good car mount from RAM which is available any day now.

 

As for the lack of compass while geocaching - I find I dont need it. If I am within the destination area, I navigate to the exact waypoint via the Latitude/Longitude readings on the sattelite page until I get an exact match to the search coordinates.

 

[This message has been edited by Artful Dodger (edited 18 June 2001).]

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Guest Harv

I just bought the Garmin GPSMAP 76 from a seller on Ebay. Thanks for all your input! I was leaning towards the MAP 76 after gstrong1's message, then Artful Dodger's message pushed me over the top. Knowing my personality, I knew I couldn't wait very many days before ordering one, so I appreciate everyone's prompt replies.

 

Thanks again!

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Guest Artful Dodger

quote:
Originally posted by Harv:

I just bought the Garmin GPSMAP 76 from a seller on Ebay. Thanks for all your input! I was leaning towards the MAP 76 after gstrong1's message, then Artful Dodger's message pushed me over the top. Knowing my personality, I knew I couldn't wait very many days before ordering one, so I appreciate everyone's prompt replies.

 

Thanks again!


 

Cool! You wont be dissapointed. Don't forget to upgrade the unit's software to version 2.04 from Garmin's website free.

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Guest bbeck4x4

I purchased the Garmin GPSIII before I heard about geocaching and I use a laptop in the work truck with Micro$oft's streets and trips 2001 software, works quite well, BTW I use it to get addresses in the SLC area, to install cable modems. One other note it is not possible(as in safe) to enter addresses in the laptop while driving.

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Guest Falco

I have compared all units being the Vista, map76, IIIPlus, Legend and regular etrex.

Yes, this was a hands on test and I can assure you that the IIIplus is by far the best out of the box GPS unit going. Reception can not be matched even by the map76 with it's waas. Mnay times during my testings the map76 and the Vista both lost reception while the IIIPlus stayed right on course keeping a minimum of four sats during my tests. Most of these units cost about the same amount of money, so get more bang for the buck and go with the IIIPlus. Not to mention the shape and screen settings of the IIIPlus allow you to just place it on the dash to be seen. The map76 being a flat unit will need a bracket to keep it upright unless you intend on getting fancy with it.

I wouldn't post this if I didn't put them all through the toughest of reception and ease of use test's that I have. So take note that I am certain that if you want the right unit and you wish to be happy, go with the IIIPlus.

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Guest Quinnow

uhhh...the map76 does not have a compass and altimeter...did you get the extra special map76 that I am not aware of?

 

quote:
Originally posted by mcb:

I also have to give the GPSMAP 76 the thumbs up. I just used it for a Geocaching weekend trip to Chicago. I loaded Roads & Recreation CD maps from the east side of Cleveland to the west side of Chicago continous. I search for nine caches and returned home. The GPSMAP 76 was great. I log 28 hours of in time with my GPS covering 1000 miles of driving and walking. The big screen and WAAS support is great in the car. I really like the flexibility of the user data fields. I use the small feild when driving and the medium data field when hiking. The better antenna in the 76 is wounderful. If you are looking for a good all around gps then the GPSMAP 76 is a great unit.

 

As for the built in compass and altimiter I think it is a bit of a waste. I would rather use a compass that does not require batteries. The altitude my GPS gives me is close enough for most thing I do.

 

mcb


 

 

------------------

Quinn Stone

Rochester, NY.14616

www.Navicache.com

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Guest Harv

quote:
Originally posted by Quinnow:

uhhh...the map76 does not have a compass and altimeter...did you get the extra special map76 that I am not aware of?


 

I think that was in response to my earlier message comparing the GPSMAP 76 with the eTrex Vista.

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Guest gstrong1

Falco--Could not agree with you more!After my previous post, I had time to go out after some caches & give all three the real test.I went after a cache in the Genesee County Forest, in upstate New York.And when they called it a forest,they weren't kidding.I don't think there were too many spots along my 1/2 mile hike in that I had a glimpse at any sky.I took along my III Plus,Vista & MAP76.

The Vista was pretty much dead from the minute I entered from the parking lot.I don't think it picked up a satellite once.The MAP76 was able to navigate maybe 20% of the time,and thats being generous.The III Plus never skipped a beat,either on the way in or out.Never once lost satellite fix.And I'm not just making this up.I know others here have said they have had no problem with holding satellite fix with MAP76.After the $ I've laid out,I'd love to say the MAP is the answer to all my hopes as far as dependability. The III Plus was the first unit I purchased,about 3 months ago.I had no problem with it,other than I would have liked a few more features & more memory capacity.Along came the Vista.All the bells & whistles,so I ordered one about 3 weeks after getting the III Plus.The first day out, I realized the reception problem under tree cover.So whenever I went after a cache,I carried the Vista & the Plus.Relied on the Plus probably 75% of the time.Along came the MAP76,about 4 weeks after I got my Vista.Got on the pre-order list & received it last week.The test showed me what I feared.Like the Vista a lot & love the MAP76, but when I go out for a cache,I have to bring the III Plus or chance getting aggravated.I'll be getting the external antenna for the MAP,& see how it improves satellite coverage.But as of right now,the least expensive of the 3,is the most dependable.

 

------------------

Gary "Gimpy" Strong

Rochester,NY

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Guest mcb

oth be the same if the 76 in not using the WAAS. The best EPE I ever saw on my III+ was 11 ft. I have had 5.9 on my 76 with a WAAS differntial lock. The really nice thing is that if I only have four or five satellite and I can still get a 10-15 ft EPE if I have WAAS. I loved my III+ but I would have to say that the GPSMAP 76 is its equal or better in most features.

 

mcb

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Guest gstrong1

mcb. In my rambling on, I may have overstated my position.In my statement that the III Plus is more dependable,I mean in the most adverse of conditions.ie:very heavy tree cover.Under ideal conditions,the MAP76 is for sure the better unit.Overall,I do prefer the MAP over the III Plus.The reason I made the dependability statement,is that when a new cache is placed,and I print out the co-ordinates & scramble for the door,of the 3 units sitting along side each other,I'd probably have to grab the Plus.The reason for this being that I have no way of knowing, until I get to the cache area,if the cache is buried under a canopy of tree cover so heavy that a sunny mid-day could seem like dusk because the leaves and foliage block out the light,as well as the satellite signal.This may happen only 30% of the time,but when it does,I'd like to be able to say my unit can handle it.The III Plus has been there for me 100% of the time while cache hunting.Plus,as falco stated,it is more convenient to just slap the Plus onto its bean bag mount on the car dash, without having to attach a mount to hold the MAP upright.Aside from these circumstances, I much prefer the MAP76 & am very happy with it.--Gimpy--

I have edited this post & because it is off topic,started a III Plus,MAP76 comparison thread.--Gimpy--

 

------------------

Gary "Gimpy" Strong

Rochester,NY

 

[This message has been edited by gstrong1 (edited 23 June 2001).]

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Guest Harv

Just an update. I received my GPSMAP 76 last Friday and used it to find three caches on Saturday. I'm pleased with it so far and it seems to work well in the car. I haven't tried loading any map data yet (don't have the CDs) and I also haven't tried using external power from the cig lighter.

 

Thanks for all of your help in making this decision.

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Guest mcb

I also have to give the GPSMAP 76 the thumbs up. I just used it for a Geocaching weekend trip to Chicago. I loaded Roads & Recreation CD maps from the east side of Cleveland to the west side of Chicago continous. I search for nine caches and returned home. The GPSMAP 76 was great. I log 28 hours of in time with my GPS covering 1000 miles of driving and walking. The big screen and WAAS support is great in the car. I really like the flexibility of the user data fields. I use the small feild when driving and the medium data field when hiking. The better antenna in the 76 is wounderful. If you are looking for a good all around gps then the GPSMAP 76 is a great unit.

 

As for the built in compass and altimiter I think it is a bit of a waste. I would rather use a compass that does not require batteries. The altitude my GPS gives me is close enough for most thing I do.

 

mcb

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