View Full Version : GPS Problem!!

12-25-2006, 09:41 PM
As in, I know nothing about them really. And the fetching Mrs. Morgan got me a Garmin Nuvi 350 for Christmas for pities sake!

Here's the problem: the guys at Car Toys took her for a ride on the price and choice of unit IMHO. It's great for automotive use, not great for my uses. I need:
-Topo ability
-4x4 use more than street navigation
-motorcycle use, including more dirt bike orientation
-handheld use, such as for hiking and hunting.

From what I have gathered, guys in my uses tend to like the 60CSx (like a 60CS, but with compass and altimeter that work when standing still), or 76CSx (not sure of the differences), or the 276C which has a larger screen (good for aging eyes) and is kinda like the GPSIII-IV-V). No idea on 276C use in hiking though.

Anyone able to give advice here? Ideally somebody who is keenly interested in mentoring a newbie in exchange for, say, 1554 ale? HMMMM????

BTW, I need to decide fairly soon as they have a 5-day return policy. Yech!

12-25-2006, 10:19 PM
magellan units are awesome if you can read a map - which you can, and the garmin 60 are cool... I haven't used them, only the gps V.

The problem is that all of the new ones have all the map import features and directions to the local starbucks (why not the liquor stores?) and a bunch of other hoohey.., Magellan has moved mostly to the true vehicular users from what I can tell.

Personally, I carry maps and gps, so I don't need all the fancy mapping features, If I do, I just bring my lap top.

When you get to the quad level, those little screens just don't have enough information for me..

12-25-2006, 10:46 PM
Agreed, on the screen size. But with a GPS we would have been certain where we were in the bush in Wyoming when we didn't know if we had entered private land or not.

Kinda nice to have the map, then to double check my triangulation!

I'm thinking a laptop in the backpack with my ammo might be inconvenient. And that Magellan is going the way of all flesh.

12-26-2006, 07:48 AM
My cheapie eTrex has been good to me but doesn't have any of the cool stuff that the newer units have. No help here.

12-26-2006, 08:23 AM
I've been looking hard at the Garmin 76CSx (http://www.garmin.com/products/gpsmap76csx/). The capabilities are almost exactly the same as the the Garmin 60CSx (http://www.garmin.com/products/gpsmap60csx/) but it is a bit cheaper. I have not used the current version of the 76 but have used the early ones. I am more used to the button configuration on the 76 than I am on the 60-style. If you get a chance, head to CarToys or REI and play with the different types and decide for yourself which one "feels" right.

Sorry, that was probably not much help.

12-26-2006, 09:07 AM
bottom line that I have found, is that those of us with map abilities tend to go for the simple units. When I am on the road for my job, in LA, I use the hell out of the those creature comforts the mapping features have. In the boonies, I just want/need a compass, altimeter, bearing, and co-ordinates with backtracking and waypoint mapping.

The 3d view point is awesome at matching your terrain features with your map though, but not really needed.

12-26-2006, 09:12 AM
bottom line that I have found, is that those of us with map abilities tend to go for the simple units. When I am on the road for my job, in LA, I use the hell out of the those creature comforts the mapping features have. In the boonies, I just want/need a compass, altimeter, bearing, and co-ordinates with backtracking and waypoint mapping.

The 3d view point is awesome at matching your terrain features with your map though, but not really needed.
Agreed. I can read and plot on a map (the benefit of 20 years of military trng) but that doesn't mean that I don't want to use an easier way if it is available. I always carry hard copy maps with me as a back-up but I will take a GPS with the mapping capability every time.

12-26-2006, 10:15 AM
Particularly true when hunting on foot. No trail, deep woods, take off that-a-way. Hmmmm.... am I SURE I didn't miss a turn, am I in THIS draw or the one next to it?

As this noob does more research, my Magellan dis above seems particularly ignorant. I guess they have some powerful topo/street integration that Garmin doesn't.

Three Wheel Ben
12-26-2006, 10:47 AM
Bill, I have has the Garmin 60cs for about a year and love it. Screen is small sometimes but other than that it works great. I also have the Garmin TOPO software installed in it. Not as accurate as a 7.5 minute paper map but gives you the general idea. I loaned it to a guy I work with to take hunting. He normally takes a basic etrex. He said it was very handy using the built in map for location of property lines and such. And was much easier than digging the map out every time. It is also nice because it is small enough to throw in your pocket. I take it skiing with me, mostly for fun.

my 2 cents.


12-26-2006, 10:59 AM
Hey Ben- when I went to the Garmin site to test-view their topo software, I noticed a couple things:
The Homestake Road and Fancy Creek Road leading to Holy Cross Jeep Trail did not have markings (numbers), and some detail was missing. But most of all, private property was not accurately shown, which is definitely an issue! But your report is at odds with that. So it DOES show private property boundaries?

Related question: are there other topo software packages that can be loaded into the 60CSx?

[edit: darn, I guess if this info is still current I answered my own question. I hate proprietary stuff...]
From gpsinformation.us:
As of February 2004, NO software other than Garmin's MapSource CDROM Maps can be uploaded into the G-60C. All consumer GPS vendors have the same limitation for their respective units. This includes Delorme Street Atlas 9, Microsoft Streets, and all other non-Garmin road maps.

12-26-2006, 07:16 PM
Hi Bill,

Here's my 2 cents: If you like hunting, hiking, canoeing in addition to off roading you'll definately want a portable unit. There are so many GPS units out there (and many of them use the same chipsets, like from SiRF).

I've had the Garmin GPS III for quite a number of years. It's got a decent set of road maps built in, but no map upload capability. (You can, however, upload/download waypoints, tracks, & routes via a serial port.) It mounts nicely on my 4Runner's dash. The unit that I am drooling over is the Garmin 60Csx (http://www.garmin.com/products/gpsmap60csx/). There are some limitations on what maps you can upload, but, as noted before, this is true of the other units. This unit also has a flux-gate compass and an altimeter. You can use this with a paper map to get additional accuracy. You can also use other map software upload/download waypoints, tracks, and routes.

Some GPS units with a PDA or computer with a wired connection or wirelessly via Bluetooth. That way you can use some really decent map software. For example the Garmin GPS10 Bluetooth Enabled Wireless GPS Receiver (Sensor Only) (http://www.amazon.com/Garmin-Bluetooth-Wireless-GPS-Receiver/dp/B0007KXEUQ/sr=8-6/qid=1167180983/ref=pd_bbs_sr_6/104-6130030-0168716?ie=UTF8&s=electronics) can be paired with a PDA of your choice. Map software from DeLORME (http://www.delorme.com/default.aspx) can be used on a PC and downloaded to a PDA. (You can also buy a sensor bundle (http://shop.delorme.com/OA_HTML/DELibeCCtpItmDspRte.jsp?section=10051&item=24718&promotion=&minisite=10020) with them. Their TopoUSA map software is excellent.) The sensors use the SiRF chipset, so they're as good as many handheld units. Obviously, this is a more complicated solution, but friends of mine rave about this on business trips.

I'm partial to Garmin and the SiRF chipsets (I have a friend that works for SiRF in LA), but many of the other companies units are excellent too. Obviously, you should always carry a compass and a map. Oh, and extra batteries. If you are interested in the Sensor/Computer/PDA solution let me know. I can check what my friends are using.

the Other Matt

12-27-2006, 08:05 AM
I would be interested. I give you a ring when my rich uncle dies. Then I can have a couple of each.

Oh yeah, I ain't got a rich uncle. Dangit! :(

I bit the bullet last night. Went to REI because I had not even HELD one before. The guy was extremely helpful, spent a lot of time with me. For that reason I paid more than I should have (like, $80 more after my dividend comes back to me), but my wife (rightly) has this thing about the "shopkeeper's law" (don't take up a shopkeeper's time, then go somewhere else with your knowledge instead of rewarding him for his effort). After I explained my intended uses (4x4, dirbike, dualsport, on-foot hunting) he steered me away from the Magellan eXplorist which has a nice large screen, because it does not have the SiRF chipset. Nicer price though.

So I got a bright shiney 60CSx! :cheers: The SiRF chipset pulled in satellites even in my house. And not necessarily all that close to the windows either. Pretty impressive.

Oh, and yes it's expensive. By the time you get the software you need (City Nav, and Topo USA, and 12VDC adapter, and a 1GB or 2GB card) it's not only merely expensive, it's really quite sincerely expensive. But I'd rather have a high-zoot GPS that goes from truck to streetbike to dirtbike to hunting pack, than a bunch of cheapies or a cheapie plus another truck-only unit.

The screen is quite fine. Backlighting definitely is good, and it is reputed to be viewable in direct sunlight. I wouldn't be able to see much in grayscale. The features jump out at ya pretty well.

Now I just hafta figger out how to operate the dang thing. But it's coming to me in waves. REI also has a class coming up, free to me. So that figures in to the mix. Matt, I'll sure take some mentoring though! Maybe we could have a GPS class or sumthin', I know we did some light stuff last winter. Could be fun.

A couple years ago I took a shot at an elk cow in the DEEP dark timber, WAY down in a canyon, at the end of a very cold day. I missed. She hid in the brush, looking for her I spooked her, and did not take the shot at end of legal shooting. All I was thinking was, geez, so I clean her in the dark, then come back in the morning to haul her out ALL the next day... and what if I can't find her? I was actually kinda relieved at my bad marksmanship.

Not a problem now.

12-27-2006, 09:09 AM
I could use a suggestion or 2...my mom drives all over the upper midwest as a quilt-fabric rep, and she has expressed interest in a GPS for her car to help her get around. What would you experts suggest? Is tomtom something that would be good for her? Nothing off road obviously, just the main roads and small towns of Illinois, Indiana, Wisconsin, etc. Thanks!!!!!


12-27-2006, 09:30 AM
http://gpsinformation.net really helped me. They have a comparo of all the car routing GPSs. The TomTom only did fair IIRC.

12-27-2006, 10:47 PM
I agree, check out that web site. Joe, Jack, and Dale's web site is probably one of the best resources on the web. I would be up for teaching another GPS class, perhaps a Geocaching (http://www.geocaching.com/) trip.

I would definately trade some mentoring time for some help in re-building a tranny. :)


12-28-2006, 08:26 AM
You're on, Matt! Youbetcha. Just have to finish setting up my shop and we're golden.

I'm up for a geocaching trip too.