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I'm thinking in investing in a altimeter as the gpsr altimeter doesn't seem all that accurate.

Does anyone know the pro & cons of wristwatch type versus the handhelds?

Are there any stores in Canada you would recomend?

I don't wish to spend a paycheck on one but I am looking for a decent model.

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Well... Me... after working for an entire summer... Bought a Sunnto X-Lander ($450 at the time) ... Comes with everything and the kitchen sink.. now in my personal opinion... it has been a Very very large asset in all my outdoor pursuits. Do i regret not buying a GPS first ... then an insanely expensive wrist top computer.... probably... but, for a digital compass... barometer...Temp...Altimeter... and well... the time functions... it's been worth it.... though if you don't want to spend a paycheque there are the less expensive versions, for roughly $120, i believe... but as for accuracy... my Watch is blatently accurate... and very usefull in keeping an eye on weather changes.

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If you don't have a GPS, it makes cost sense to by a GPS with a built in Altimeter. I have an Etrex Summit. The altimeter works as well as any other with trending and logging. The compass is quite handy for Geocaching.


If you are getting a separate one, then I think a handheld is better from an abuse perspective. To learn about functions, go visist the websites of the specific manufacturers or look at them in person.


MEC Altimeters

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I don't remember what you're using for a GPSr these days ZZ (but I'm sure CG probably has a photo of it somewhere :lol: ) but my experience with the barometric altimeter in the Vista has been really good. I've checked it a few times at known elevations, and it's always given me numbers within 1m elevation. Even when "known" numbers aren't readily available, its altitiudes always match our topo maps.


But yeah, those Brunton weather stations look pretty cool too! That's a few toys down on my list :o

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My gpsr is suppose to give me at least 3m accuracy, but I think that's only on a good day. If I could even borrow an altimeter, I would like to test my gpsr against one. As for maps, I believe they are a little outdated as the landscape is alway changing and as far as I know our canadians maps were last produced in 1983. Maybe I bought the wrong ones, 1:50,000 scale. I could be wrong on this but I don't think so!

Like I said, I'd like to do a side by side test on both unit just to justify if it's worth the money spent. Seems like I've had to play with elevation lately. :lol:

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If you're just referring to the EPE that your GPSr gives you, I don't think it applies to the elevation you're getting from the GPS system. That is, I think your 3m EPE is only for a 2d fix, and that the elevation you get from a 3d fix may not be accurate to the same degree. I'm not certain about how that works, so I may be wrong. Unless your GPSr has a built-in barometric altimeter, such as what you'll find on the eTrex Vista and Summit, GPSMap76S, and the Magellan Meridian Platinum, I wouldn't trust the altitude it's giving you.


As far as I know, the altimeter on something like the Brunton Weatherstations works exactly the same as the ones incorproated into the above-mentioned GPS units. They all rely on subtle differences in barometric pressure to get their reading, although the ones built in to a GPSr will automatically calibrate themselves because they get approximate elevation data from the GPS signals. I'm not sure how the stand-alone altimeters work - you may have to manually calibrate them by giving them either current barometric pressure at sea level, or your current known altitude before you start your journey (you can also give this information to the GPS units so they can use that for calibration instead of GPS data).


As for topo maps, the geology of our planet is changing - but not by a metre since some maps were produced in 1967 or whatever our oldest ones are for some areas. Worst case scenario (and assuming no massive earth-moving occurnaces!), you might move as much as a millimetre or two over a period of a couple of hundred years. I don't think even Roswell could measure that! :lol:

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Ok, just had to look at the MEC ad for altimeters, and noticed this


Clock measures the passing of time.


What the heck else are clocks used for ? :DB):lol:


So, I agree, go with the Brunton, the windspeed indicator is great just incase you need to land your helicopter there, but I did notice one downside:


and the barometer has a 16-hour pressure tendency graph.


This is pretty short for a trending barometer. The Vista trends for 24 hours, and the GPS76MAPS trends for 48 hours. The 60cs also has a trending barometer, but the new product announcement that I have does not state what the duration of the trending barometer is.


Yea, pretty neat toy that Brunton, but at over 50% of the cost of a new Vista, I think I would leave it for someone else and buy a used or new Vista. Also, having taken apart Brunton GPS products (made under contract by Lowrance.......shhhh you did not hear that from me) I would not touch it.

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Regarding My wrist top computer... I've had it for 2 years and i have not had to change the bateries yet.. i use all the features very regularly so it's not as if i'm babying it... it's a very tough watch too... it's had it's fair share of abuse and still provides all the accuracy needed... Though one note: While it's great and dandy to have your wrist watch... on your wrist... because the sensors are on the underside and in direct contact with the warm human body (at least i'd like to thinks so ;) ) It's Far more accurate and sensable when you attach it to an external point... IE belt loop... On your back pack harness... whatever... that way it can acurately measure the teperature, and inturn... the alltitude. (it measures the barometric preasure and checks it with the teperature (average temperature at air pressure)... )...


Seccondly... You can change all the settings from feet to meters... from M/bar to I/Mercury ... and Degrees Celcius or Degrees Farenhiet(Sp?) Changing the settings is a snap.. .along with everything else on the watch... it's made for easy use and big buttons for functionality with gloves on ...


I feel like a spokesperson for the thing.... :huh: Lol

Happy caching ;)

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you must zero it at aknown value for each outing...for everyday the baro varies.....i hope that helps ZZ....i tend to use sea level and rezero.. ..Gg




Yup, that is very true. And it is a good thing if you want accuracy, imagine if pilots did not do this everytime BEFORE they take off (this little item is on EVERY pilots checklist at startup before they even taxi out). Knowing your EXACT altitude is very important for some people, and not so important for others.


On units such as the GPSMAP76S and others, there is an averaging feature for use on the water, just so you don't go up and down with the waves.


The pressure of the altimeter is broadcast on aviation radio and websites for all airports, and remember that in the inner harbour here in Victoria is "an official aerodrome" (government word for real airport) and therefore the correct barometric pressure is broadcast so you can set your unit from that. Also I believe the weather office will advise you of the pressure for given points as that is why they have all those great little measuring devices that all our tax dollars paid for.


Personally whenever I bump into the ground I know that my altitude is too low, and I did not need a machine for that. LOL

Edited by Capitalpete
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Hey ZoomZoom,


What type of accuracy do you need that the built-in altimeter is not good enough? I'd have thought the built-in altimeter (not a calculated altitude from satellites) would be good enough, as it is a real altimeter. I'd think a wrist watch would be worse.



Geo 25 65

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Hey ZoomZoom,

I'd have thought the built-in altimeter (not a calculated altitude from satellites) would be good enough, as it is a real altimeter.



Geo 25 65

That is what I wish to do is get away from calculated altitude from sat's. I understand the fact barometric alt's need to be recalibrated for every outing, I was wondering if that was required with the new electronic one also not that it matters.

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The GPS with the built in Altimeter/Barometer have a feuture to auto calibrate. I'm not sure how they decide to do it, but it must look at the variance between the GPS altiitude and the barometer altitude over time and adjust. This can be turned off if desired.


The barometer in my Summit seems accurate and changes with altitude correctly. I've checked it on climbs and it is as close as you can determine agianst other altimeters and the map. It also beats carrying a bunch of gadgets around on a trip.

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Well in my personal opinion... it's Preaty dadgum easy to adjust my watch to the right settings before leaving for a "trip"... i know my house is a whole 25 meters above ground.. which would translate (through trial and error) ... to be 3 M/bar above sealevels... so i just fiddle with it till it's right.. takes a whole 30 secconds..

It's about as easy as things get...


Regarding accuracy... i havn't found it not accurate yet.. unless there is severe weather pattern changes...

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I hope you dont mind me jumping in (My Dad lives in canada so I nearly qualify) I have a Casio Protrek watch that is very good (only £130), But It does need to be set each time, but I just set it before I leave home (500ft), But I find my Yellow etrex is pretty close normally if you give it time to settle (5 mins or so). I Check it against the Known Trig Point height and is normally with in 25ft and most times with in 5ft.

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