View Full Version : Need some pro GPS advice

05-10-2014, 08:54 PM
I've never owned a GPS, I use a cheap one for work that does fairly well. I want to get one that I can save coordinates into when I find a good trail that doesn't really seem to be "known" and that I kind of stumble upon which has happened a lot over the years.

Anybody have any good suggestions? The Magellan I use for work doesn't have this option and honestly, it gets me lost about 10% of the time if I'm not on my game. It is outdated and doesn't seem to learn new routes so that may be the problem.

05-10-2014, 09:08 PM
Very happy with the E-trex series over 10 + years

05-10-2014, 09:36 PM
I have a garmin dakota 20 that I like. It's small but powerfull, has all the features that you are needing. I upgrade maps about every 2yrs.

I have a kenwood/garmin powered nav. system in my cruiser that works well.

I usually transfer stuff like that to my colorado map when I find it as well....Kinda nerdy I guess but to each there own. :)

Seldom Seen
05-10-2014, 10:06 PM
iPhone with a Bad Elf (http://bad-elf.com/pages/be-gps-1008-detail)

05-10-2014, 10:57 PM
Any Garmin is your best bet IMO. I've owned a few Etrex over the years & have been happy. Make sure it has a color screen & a slot to add a memory. I believe my current one is the HCX?

05-11-2014, 12:13 AM
just to clarify a little......... I always carry a map for backup. seems that even with keeping maps updated, my garmin's can be misleading especially on old Colorado roads and rural OR and CA

05-11-2014, 06:49 AM
iPhone with a Bad Elf (http://bad-elf.com/pages/be-gps-1008-detail)

this or an iPad. combine it with the MotionX GPS (http://gps.motionx.com) app. maps are downloadable in tiles at different resolutions. download the area you need before you leave and you're golden. once the bad elf is locked in, i've never had it drop a connection.

05-11-2014, 07:25 AM
Still use paper maps. Never out of WiFi range and never needs batteries. You do need to sometimes remember how to use a compass and a ruler, though. We make notes in our Gazetteers or our guide books based on the coordinates pulled from my radio (Yaesu FTM-350 with the FGPS-1 receiver), an old Garmin GPS III+ or a Nuvi 350. The Gazetteer is based on the WGS84 projection and so all the UTM datums along the edge align with your GPS position.

We've never found a reason to spend real money on a device where the screen was too small to be the least bit useful for route finding. They are excellent for telling you where you are and following a predetermined route. But any device made in the past few years (e.g. since the availability of the SiRFstarIII/STA2062/MTK3318 trio) is going to be sufficiently accurate and fast to acquire and lock your current position. These chipsets began appearing around 2008, so you do not need to get the latest and greatest to have excellent receivers.

Just as long as the device can give you the raw GPS position you don't gain much with a new device as far as knowing where you are right now. They have more memory and improved ability to record your track, though. If I had to buy something right now it would likely be a 60CSx or something similar.

05-11-2014, 08:00 AM
For 4wd trails in Co. and stuff I use maps predominantly. The only real time I use my GPS is when I am mountain biking and have loaded a track to follow or want to create one. For that I used to use the Etrex Vista HCx but it recently broke.... I replaced it with an Etrex 20. The 20 Works fine for the following tracks thing but is as bad as the HCx for looking at the screen to navigate. They all kinda suck for that. It was cheap(ish) though and lasts 50hrs on a set of lithium AA batteries in tracking mode. For me that battery life is the main driver... if it weren't for that i'd find a iPhone option since I already own that hardware and the screen is better. It'd probably be faster too... my Etrex 20 is slow with all the southwest maps loaded... I can't keep an iPhone charged on my bike tho.

edit: i'm no pro... just a casual user. Also, I noticed that the Etrex 20 with the addition of the Russian satellites tracks better than the old HCx, as in it stays locked on the satellites better. much better.

05-11-2014, 08:16 AM
So the Etrex must be using a SiRFstarV chipset. That's cool. Most of the improvement is antennas in newer devices. If money isn't important I think the GPSMAP 62 and 64 (which adds GLONASS and Galileo I think) look like good options. I still think the 60CSx is the standard that consumer handhelds are compared against.

05-11-2014, 08:38 AM
I did like the 60CSx too but the antenna appeared to be a possible "branch catcher" when on my dirtbike's" handlebars. I installed mine on my steering column & just zoom into 3-500' when following a track.

05-11-2014, 09:11 AM
iPhone with a Bad Elf (http://bad-elf.com/pages/be-gps-1008-detail)

Why do you need a bad elf? Phones and iPads have GPS receivers. What am I missing?

05-11-2014, 09:32 AM
Why do you need a bad elf? Phones and iPads have GPS receivers. What am I missing?
Bad Elf is a stand alone GPS receiver so it doesn't piggy back off the multifunction radio chipset, which includes the cell modem, WiFi and GPS. The built-in GPS tries to do assisted GPS first, which is where the cell towers feed the device a triangulated position from several known locations. This is why when you first turn on a phone the accuracy is 100 meters or whatever, it's still getting an updated satellite table and a good fix. But beyond this the internal GPS even when it's got a real GPS fix isn't as reliable because the receiver and antenna are not optimized for the task. So built-in GPS loses lock and reduced accuracy more.

05-11-2014, 09:53 AM
Thanks every one. Had been leaning towards a Garmin. You gave me some good options to think about.

05-12-2014, 07:13 AM

05-12-2014, 07:29 AM
Have a Garmin Nuvi that Has always worked well for me. I get a map update every three months and it's nice when I do goo off road or go to some of the less traveled areas, I still get maps, even though there is no cell signal.

05-12-2014, 09:11 PM
Garnin CSX 60 are great for that, color screen and tons on=f waypoints, not to big, very accurate and price wise they are around $300 if not cheaper. I have people ask me to sell it all the time, I think somebody hear was looking for one lately. good luck and it is a unit that has gotten us out of an unfamiliar area in a really bad snowstorm. safe and sound!