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GPS Unit - some common confusion


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Okay, I'm new, so...hello to you all!

 

I have been doing research on a few models, both Garmin and Magellan. Now I have some common questions. Some I saw a few ideas on, some not as I read through the board. Bear witih me if you would. Thanks.

 

1. Grayscale vs. color?

I like color displays, but haven't found many beyond the Magellan Meridian Color. Any other color suggestions or reason to not go that route?

 

2. Has anyone shopped at newpointgear.com?

They have what look to be some great deals, but I only found them today when hunting for GPS units online.

 

3. I'm just starting out, but everything I read says to invest now because I'll only wish to upgrade later. I usually do that with most things and I get addicted to my hobbies easily. I don't have a problem spending some cash, but what is reasonable if I don't want to drool for an upgrade too shortly after I start? Any advice for yet another GC newbie on this?

 

I apologize that this wasn't very well written, too much typing on the fly today at work.

Thanks in advance for any answers/advice or even links to posts I missed from the past.

 

Fall Down Seven Times. Stand Up Eight.

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I have a Meridian Color and a Meridian non-color. Both work equally well. The color is really good.

 

Some day they'll come up with a higher definition color screnn, but right now it makes a real difference. If you can afford it. $377 at techdepot.com less any rebate.

 

DustyJacket

Not all those that wander are lost. But in my case... icon_biggrin.gif

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quote:

1. Grayscale vs. color?

I like color displays, but haven't found many beyond the Magellan Meridian Color. Any other color suggestions or reason to not go that route?

 


 

Keeping in mind that I never even saw a

color unit working, let me suggest that

you may want to check if the color display

is legible enough for your purposes. Color

often ends up being harder on the eyes than

B&W. Also, check the electric consumption

of whatever units you choose. I do not know

whether color units consume more power.

 

 

quote:

 

3. I'm just starting out, but everything I read says to invest now because I'll only wish to upgrade later. I usually do that with most things and I get addicted to my hobbies easily. I don't have a problem spending some cash, but what is reasonable if I don't want to drool for an upgrade too shortly after I start? Any advice for yet another GC newbie on this?

 


 

Unless you have very non-mainstream needs,

you will only want to consider Garmin and

Magellan units. I suggest that you

visit their websites, which have lots of

useful information.

 

http://www.garmin.com

 

http://www.magellangps.com

 

Some features that you may want to

consider are mapping capability (not

too many units have it yet); DGPS and

WAAS compability (usually not too

expensive); built-in barometric altimeters

and compasses (not too useful for most

users).

 

Unless you know that your needs are and

will be very basic, I think that you

should insist on a model that supports

a PC cable for data transfer.

 

Take a look that the accessories listings

on the websites.

 

Try to anticipate just how and where you will

want to carry your GPS receiver. Many other

decision criteria derive from this one. For

instance, the GPS II/III/V lines from Garmin

are somewhat curious hybrids which may be

used (and read) either horizontally on a surface

or carried by hand - however, they are not too

well suited for carrying on a pocket. Also,

their antennas are mobile and external, which

may be a counter-indication for some activities

such as free flight.

 

It is probably a good idea to mention your

specific choices here in this forum later

so that we may give some more opinions, too.

 

Best,

Luis.

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I use an eTrex basic yellow for cache hunting only, I use the Street pilot III in my car to get me to the parking areas, so a basic eTrex is fine for me. The only feature it doesn't have that I might want is the built in compass feature that the eTrex Vista and Summit have (but it's pretty easy to just use a cheap pocket compass). Many have said Topo maps on your GPS are very handy, I can see how that would be the case, but so far (and I am new) I don't miss it.

 

I think any eTrex or similar unit is a bad choice for a vehical nav unit, so if you want a single unit for in-car nav and cache hunting, a full featured handheld unit may be for you. But for cache hunting only, you don't have to get very fancy.

 

_________________________________________________________

If trees could scream, would we still cut them down?

Well, maybe if they screamed all the time, for no reason.

Click here for my Geocaching pictures

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quote:
Originally posted by martmann:

I use an eTrex basic yellow for cache hunting only, I use the Street pilot III in my car to get me to the parking areas, so a basic eTrex is fine for me. The only feature it doesn't have that I might want is the built in compass feature that the eTrex Vista and Summit have (but it's pretty easy to just use a cheap pocket compass). Many have said Topo maps on your GPS are very handy, I can see how that would be the case, but so far (and I am new) I don't miss it.

 

I think any eTrex or similar unit is a bad choice for a vehical nav unit, so if you want a single unit for in-car nav and cache hunting, a full featured handheld unit may be for you. But for cache hunting only, you don't have to get very fancy.

 

_________________________________________________________

If trees could scream, would we still cut them down?

Well, maybe if they screamed all the time, for no reason.

http://community.webshots.com/album/67423220KEECyy

 

I use an etrex Summit and while it's not a Gps 5 and it's autorouting features, I've done quite well following the arrow in navigation to the cache. I've developed a feel for when to turn based on tne arrow...most of the time this works, but places like Bremerton gave me hell because I didn't factor in the little bays jutting in. Cache would be on other side of the water.

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I use the Magellan SporTrak Pro and have had really good luck. I geocache with Renegade Knight who uses the Garmin GPS V. The Garmin is better. It zeroes out much quicker and has higher resolution. It also gives point to point directions if you have the right software, but it is more expensive. I also see that Magellan now has a color SporTrak, but have not heard much about it. Whatever you get be sure it has sufficient memory to download maps. This makes life a lot easier.

 

Lost? Keep going. You're making good time anyway!!

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Yes. Thank you all for the information.

Now I have some more to think about and check on while beginning my Geocaching experience.

 

I'm fairly certain I would like color.

From what I've read, it shows terrain and such more easily since it can make water blue and the like. Please correct me if I've heard wrong.

 

I have decided that I'm not as worried about one handed operation. The only time I think this would bother me is in rough terrain, but I'd rather have both hands free then anyway.

 

I plan on using, um...lithium batteries? Heh. I think that's the right kind. Then I'll carry a few extra sets of regulars, just in case. Better safe than lost.

 

Definitely a PC cable. Being the owner of 3 PCs and a laptop. I'm addicted to connecting my gadgets.

 

quote:
I have a Meridian Color and a Meridian non-color. Both work equally well. The color is really good.

 

Some day they'll come up with a higher definition color screen, but right now it makes a real difference. If you can afford it.


 

DustyJacket,

If I read this right, you're saying that the color makes a big difference in a good way, not the higher resolution of the grayscale?

Just making sure I read you right.

 

I think I've babbled enough now about this. I'll hopefully be making my decision in the next couple days so I can get started on some local caches!

 

Thanks again everyone!

 

Fall Down Seven Times. Stand Up Eight.

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if youre using a laptop in the vehicle a color unit may not be a necessity and since it is new gps technology may not have all the bugs worked out yet. id invest in a good set of digitized topos, while expensive they do make a great moving map setup with the laptop. personally due to the lack of waas and near non-existant topo maps for my area im resisting the urge to upgrade from my basic mag 315, until the waas comes online in about '06.

 

'Get to the point---speak English!!!!'

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I bought a Geko 201 for a trip to Idaho later this year, and I decided to do this geocaching stuff as an excercise motivator.

 

The Geko is has a B&W screen, and its been excellent. Whats important to me is that the GPS can reliably get the satellites. The Geko does it with no problems, and in heavy tree cover. I have had no problems locating actuall cache locations. Finding the cache hiding place has been a different story ....

 

If you want to blow a wad of cash on an expensive toy, go for it by all means!

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A quoted conversation with a friend that saw me reading through this...

 

FRIEND - "So you're getting the Meridian Color then aren't you?"

 

ME - "Why do you say that? I haven't fully decided on it yet"

 

FRIEND - "You never do anything without going all out. Expensive toys especially, I know you."

 

ME - "Alright, maybe I'm thinking about it."

 

FRIEND - "So you'll be ordering today then?"

 

ME - *sigh*

 

Anyway, I am leaning towards it now. I found a nice package deal at newpointgear.com. In my area, the Meridian Color is $499 no matter where I go. Only the stuff that comes with the box, nothing else. No maps, no nothing.

 

Newpointgear has a package for $546 that includes a card reader/writer, 128mb memory card, NewSend US Topo map CD, and the Meridian Color all in one.

 

Unless I find something better, that might be what I jump on now.

My friends scare me sometimes, but at least they're all willing to go geocaching with me. That'll make for an enjoyable experience, whether we find out first cache or not!

 

Fall Down Seven Times. Stand Up Eight.

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I recently upgraded to a Garmin V and have mixed feelings. I like the WAAS enabling, but I find that the unit has a VERY hard time keeping the satellite signals. This is true in tree cover, in an open field, in my vehicle, etc. Might be an individual bug instead of a design flaw.

 

For geocaching, I don't use the autoroute feature much but some might find it useful for general highway navigation. It has enough memory to store a good bit of MapSource maps, which is very useful, indeed.

 

For the money I spent, I was probably better off sticking with the III+.

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As far as batteries go, I invested early on in 10 AA sized NiMh batteries for my Vista, plus a charger. In a year+ of geocaching I have bought zero additional batteries. Even if the lithium batteries offer 10X performance vs. alkalines, you'll still be replacing them if you do a lot of caching. IMO rechargeables are the only way to fly. I usually get about 10 hours of operation out of a pair of batteries if I don't use the compass or backlight, and I always carry a charged pair as backup. I don't have any info on how much the compass or backlight consume, since I rarely use either feature, but I know for sure that it cuts at least 20% off the operating time, probably more. In any event, this is a lightweight, inexpensive, and environmentally friendlier alternative to disposable batteries. When I picked up a digital camera I made sure it used AA batteries - so I use the NiMhs in there too.

 

There are 10 kinds of people in the world: those who understand binary numbers, and those who don't.

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