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PDA GPS - Any advice ?


CountryLover
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I already own a Garmin which I use for bush whacking, however I'm now seriously considering getting one of those PDA GPS extensions for use with my M505 for the Urban jungle.

 

Currently considering two models :

 

1) Navman M Series

2) Magellen GPS Companion

 

Not sure which is better although from what I see, the Magellen offers 2xAAA batteries which can be bought anywhere and lasts 12-hrs which seems much better than the Navman that uses built-in rechargeables that last only 3hrs.

 

Anyone has opinions for either of these or can suggest other models ?

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My understanding is that the NavMan for the m500 series actaully uses the Palm's internal battery--they have no battery of their own. Therefore the 3-hour rating is the time it takes to discharge the Palm's internal battery!

 

Partly because of that, and because of past good experience with Magellan, I bought the Magellan m500 companion for my m515 and I have been really happy with it. It isn't as slim as the Navman (it is about the same thickness as the Palm m5xx modem) but it powers itself, and should last at least as long as the battery in the Palm itself.

 

I actually use mine with GeoNiche software for all geocaching, even deep woods. I bought an AquaPac that pads and waterpoofs the Palm/Magellan combination. It's probably not quite up to the same abuse as the latest "armored" models, but it can take a lot.

 

I use Mapopolis to get to drive to the general area, with the car charger. I love having it all on one device. My only complaint so far is that the release of the windshield mounting bracket for this unit has been delayed until (at last check) August. I had to jerry-rig a substitute.

 

John

 

--

"Stay off that highway: word is it's not so safe

The grasses that hide the green-backs,

the amber waves of gain again" --R.E.M.

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I use a Visor Prism with the Magellan GPS Companion. I have found 10 of 12 with it so far in my 1st month and I can't fault it for the 2 no finds, as I know it got me within 20' judging from the clues and other cachers' descriptions.

 

I have used both the Nav Companion that comes with it as well as GeoNiche. I also use GeocachingDB, written by DougsBrat to store cache info.

 

The biggest problems that I have noticed are 1) it is not water/shock resistant. While I have been carefull and lucky, my unit has taken a fall or two. 2) No one program will do everything. If you are using the map software, you can't home in on waypoints, if you are homing in on waypoints, you can't look at the cache description. You must switch between apps to do everything, waiting to acquire a lock everytime you go back to the GPS application, although it usually does not take long once you have the initial lock. 3)There is not a good way to import waypoints. If you have them in the cache description, it takes several times of switching back and forth to get everything cut and pasted. Other programs that let you send and retrieve waypoints with your GPS unit don't work with the PDAs.

 

I think that PDA/GPS combo has the potential to be the best thing out there, but the software support just isn't there. (My apologies to anyone who told me this a few weeks ago and had me refute it - I have changed my mind!)

 

All that being said, I don't think I will be changing units anytime soon and I will probably still be using this combination when I log my 100th find. icon_cool.gif

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I use a Visor Prism with the Magellan GPS Companion. I have found 10 of 12 with it so far in my 1st month and I can't fault it for the 2 no finds, as I know it got me within 20' judging from the clues and other cachers' descriptions.

 

I have used both the Nav Companion that comes with it as well as GeoNiche. I also use GeocachingDB, written by DougsBrat to store cache info.

 

The biggest problems that I have noticed are 1) it is not water/shock resistant. While I have been carefull and lucky, my unit has taken a fall or two. 2) No one program will do everything. If you are using the map software, you can't home in on waypoints, if you are homing in on waypoints, you can't look at the cache description. You must switch between apps to do everything, waiting to acquire a lock everytime you go back to the GPS application, although it usually does not take long once you have the initial lock. 3)There is not a good way to import waypoints. If you have them in the cache description, it takes several times of switching back and forth to get everything cut and pasted. Other programs that let you send and retrieve waypoints with your GPS unit don't work with the PDAs.

 

I think that PDA/GPS combo has the potential to be the best thing out there, but the software support just isn't there. (My apologies to anyone who told me this a few weeks ago and had me refute it - I have changed my mind!)

 

All that being said, I don't think I will be changing units anytime soon and I will probably still be using this combination when I log my 100th find. icon_cool.gif

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The latest version of GeoNiche (1.1) supports a note for each target (waypoint), which obviates the need to exit the GPS in order to look at the description. This makes it a lot easier to create the target (coordinates, etc.). It also decodes hints (via the Edit menu). It is not yet an all-in-one solution, but it is getting a lot closer.

 

I also use MultiClipHack, which is really handy for setting up waypoints because it allows you to copy several things, and then paste them one by one.

 

I agree that the ability to download waypoints automagically is sadly lacking for PDAs. I use a Mac, and this is a problem for me even for stand-alone GPSs.

 

--

"Stay off that highway: word is it's not so safe

The grasses that hide the green-backs,

the amber waves of gain again" --R.E.M.

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quote:
Originally posted by jcr:

The latest version of GeoNiche (1.1) supports a note for each target (waypoint), which obviates the need to exit the GPS in order to look at the description.


 

Another way to avoid having to leave the GPS program to look at the description is to use something like daMemoPad with an appropriate DA Launcher hack (I use TealMaster.)

 

I have a web-based utility that converts caches to waypoint databases suitable for use with GPSPilot Tracker. I still haven't tried GeoNiche, but if it supports multiple databases like Tracker does, it might be possible to adapt my script for it. If that works, maybe I'll find a place to get it hosted.

 

warm.gif

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Since your looking to use the new combo in the urban jungle. I would bet most of the time from your car, I would just get a cable to connect your current GPS to your Palm and then get a program like XMap to talk to the GPS. Cheaper, and it would most likely give you longer battery life.

 

Like I said in the subject, if you really want something that hooks to your PDA I would get the magellan.

 

A = A

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I got an email from Palm the other day about a rebate on the Magellan GPS Companion for the M500 series. Here's a link with the details.

 

For what it's worth, I've been a Palm user for a couple of years now and when I got into Geocaching really wanted one of these add ons (nothing was available for the m500 for a long time). What I ended up doing instead was ordering a cable from GeorgeCo and hooking my Palm up to my eTrex. The eTrex doesn't suck my Palm's batteries down like some of the attachments do and my Palm's screen size and memory size enhance what I can do with what's really a pretty basic eTrex (Venture).

 

Unless you're really looking for an extra GPS, I'd leave this option open. It was a LOT cheaper!

 

Bret

 

"The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field.

When a man found it, he hid it again."

Mt. 13:44

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Originally posted by jcr:

I bought an AquaPac that pads and waterpoofs the Palm/Magellan combination. It's probably not quite up to the same abuse as the latest "armored" models, but it can take a lot.

 

 

where did you get the aquapac? is there topo maps available also?

 

SR and dboggny. WHAT?!?!

 

[This message was edited by dboggny on July 12, 2002 at 08:41 PM.]

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Topo maps: I currently use AcidImage to view jpegs of topo maps and aerial photos I download from Lost Outdoors .

 

There are GPS programs that support tracking over a topographic map (PilotTracker program and the TopoSync add-on for the Topo! CD-ROM series from National Geographic are two I know of) but I haven't used them much yet.

 

John

 

--

"Stay off that highway: word is it's not so safe

The grasses that hide the green-backs,

the amber waves of gain again" --R.E.M.

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