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 Post subject: Starter GPS?
PostPosted: August 3rd, 2011, 6:19 pm 
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Joined: July 28th, 2006, 9:01 pm
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Location: North Bay, Ontario
I'm looking to buy my first GPS for outdoor trekking. Any recommendations for a starter unit? Just looking for something reasonably priced and easy to use, download maps, etc., that will satisfy my requirements and curiousity for a few years.


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 Post subject: Re: Starter GPS?
PostPosted: August 3rd, 2011, 6:34 pm 
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It all depends on what exactly you consider "reasonably priced".

What exactly is your upper limit regarding price of a gps?

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 Post subject: Re: Starter GPS?
PostPosted: August 3rd, 2011, 7:22 pm 
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Location: North Bay, Ontario
About $300 or less. I've always used map and compass, have had no experience with GPS, not even in my car. Just looking for something I can take hiking, paddling and partridge hunting, stick to the trails and just get used to how the device works and the whole concept of GPS.


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 Post subject: Re: Starter GPS?
PostPosted: August 3rd, 2011, 9:48 pm 
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This would be worth looking at

https://buy.garmin.com/shop/shop.do?cID=145&pID=87771

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 Post subject: Re: Starter GPS?
PostPosted: August 4th, 2011, 6:20 am 
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Thank you. High sensitivity, waterproof.... good features.


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 Post subject: Re: Starter GPS?
PostPosted: August 4th, 2011, 9:12 am 
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Joined: May 23rd, 2002, 7:00 pm
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Location: Ottawa, Ontario Canada
Most "waterproof" units will say (somewhere in the fine print) that the battery compartment is *not* waterproof. If the unit is immersed in liquid, you need to open up the battery compartment and dry everything out.

For that reason, I keep my GPS in a clear drybag on my deck. You can find lots of drybags for electronic gear at MEC or other paddling stores.

--
Darryl


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 Post subject: Re: Starter GPS?
PostPosted: August 4th, 2011, 9:45 am 
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Location: North Bay, Ontario
I'm not sure I understand all the options for topo maps on the unit. I'm just starting to research featuures (talked to the dude at Wal-Mart....). If I understand correctly, the unit will not come preloaded with topo maps, but must be purchased as an add-on via download, cd, or card?


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 Post subject: Re: Starter GPS?
PostPosted: August 4th, 2011, 10:41 am 
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I have a quite basic model from about 5-6 years ago that has no map capability. I generally use a map and occasionally compass for my canoe navigation. For paddling I often input co-ords of campsites or ports and hit the 'go to' button. For snowshoeing I landmark where I parked and wen we are ready to head back I hit the go to for the car. Personally, I would not like to have the GPS on and be peeping at a map on the screen while paddling. To me that would be like looking at the world thru a keyhole---my 2 cents, but you might want to think about how you intend to use it.

(I have 1 for the car that you can have for free---glass is broken from hitting it with hammer after leading us to 2 successive wrong locations for Tim Hortons-----unforgivable!!)

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 Post subject: Re: Starter GPS?
PostPosted: August 4th, 2011, 12:26 pm 
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rp_perelli wrote:
I'm not sure I understand all the options for topo maps on the unit. I'm just starting to research featuures (talked to the dude at Wal-Mart....). If I understand correctly, the unit will not come preloaded with topo maps, but must be purchased as an add-on via download, cd, or card?



Most units come preloaded with base maps, fine for navigating in populated areas but only marginally good for wilderness areas. You can purchase maps but there are also free maps that you can download and install. This is one of the reasons I recommend Garmin over other manufacturers because most of the free stuff is compatible with Garmin but not so much with the others. You definitely want a unit with map capability, this is something that used to be only on more expensive units but these days even the sub $200 units can handle topo maps.

I have an older Garmin eTrex model, it's been bashed about quite a bit but it's still working fine after 4+ years. "Waterproof" is a misnomer but surviving dampness and dust are important, most Garmin units are good in this respect.

The only thing I don't like so much about the etrex series is the controls on the side, I keep my gps in my map case and it's a bit difficult to operate the controls through the case. On the other hand, front controls are easier but more likely to be accidentally activated. Neither are deal breakers.

Sensitivity can be an issue although for paddling use where you are mostly in open water almost any unit will maintain satellite contact just fine. For hiking under thick cover the more expensive GPSMap series might be a better choice but they are considerably more money.

I see the newer eTrex models have a larger screen, that's another of the drawbacks of my older unit, the screen is very small.

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 Post subject: Re: Starter GPS?
PostPosted: August 15th, 2011, 5:59 pm 
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Location: North Bay, Ontario
I'm seriously looking at the Garmin GPSMap 62S. More money than I wanted to spend and probably has a bunch of features I don't really need, but I'd hate to go cheap and be dissatisfied. If I can use it for 5 or 7 years without growing out of it, it will be worth it.


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 Post subject: Re: Starter GPS?
PostPosted: August 15th, 2011, 6:15 pm 
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The 62S is nice, I'm sure you'll be happy with it. You could save a few bucks (almost $100) by going for the basic 62 model. The additional features of the "S" version don't excite me.

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 Post subject: Re: Starter GPS?
PostPosted: August 15th, 2011, 8:47 pm 
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I've been shopping a bit and comparing specs and there are several models that fit the bill well for me. The GPSMap 62 or 78 or the eTrex 30 would all be very nice for my needs. I have had a GPSMap 76 (http://www.gpscentral.ca/products/garmin/76map.htm) for a few years and have been generally satisfied with it. But, it succumbed to saltwater this spring when a kayak instructor leaned on the deck of my kayak and put his elbow into the screen of the gps. :-?

Some of the shortcomings of my particular unit have been resolved in the meantime - the receiver for instance is much more sensitive (at least, it's promised to be) and the receiver eats less power too.

Some things that would be important to me:
  • High sensitivity receiver
  • Mapping ability
  • The larger the screen, the better.
  • The screen should be easy to read even in low light.
  • Long battery life (larger screen though eats more battery it seems)
  • The more memory the better, but the relatively small internal memory of my previous unit was adequate.

Some of the units float, which is nice, but a cheap foam keychain would do the same thing. Colour might be nice and make the GPS easier to read. The quicker I can see the information on the screen, the less I need to focus my attention to an electronic device rather than to the real world around me. The sun/moon information is nice as well, and I'm not too sure about the accuracy of the tide tables but I have used that too. The other features that some of the units have (compass, altimeter, wireless communication between units, camera) are not very interesting to me.

Let us know how you like what you get. One more point, learn to use it well. When you are still learning to use it, it distracts your focus from the real world. At best, it diminishes your experience. At worst, it can lead you into real trouble.

Cheers,
Bryan

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 Post subject: Re: Starter GPS?
PostPosted: September 15th, 2011, 2:30 pm 
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rp, did you decide on anything yet? How do you like it?

It was my birthday yesterday and I received a new GPS (picture below):
Image

You gotta love a gadget with lots of buttons!

This was my family's way of saying "go ahead and buy yourself a new GPS and pick out the one you want." Their only stipulation was that it be geocaching capable. So, now I have to decide...

I'm considering (all Garmin):
  • GPSMap76Cx, $189.99 from Costco
  • GPSMap76CSx, $219.95 at GPSCity.ca (plus $5 shipping). Same unit as above, with electronic compass and barometric altimeter - is there any value in these added features? I've read reports that the 'S' models for some reason get a bit better tracking than the other but maybe that's a firmware issue.
  • GPSmap 60CSx, $289.95 at GPSCity. Very similar to the above unit but doesn't float, has the keypad below the screen. I include this in the list because so many folks seem to love it. However, for the price I think I prefer either of the above models.

    Note that all of the above are actually discontinued models. That may not matter much though.
  • GPSMap 62, $298.95 at GPSCity.ca. Updated version the the 60 series above, without some of the bells & whistles. No expandable memory but the internal memory is huge compared to my old unit. "Transflective, 65-K color TFT" screen, whatever that means in the real world; two more hours of battery life which is of value.
  • GPSMap 78, $298.95 at GPSCity.ca. Updated version of the 76 series.

At this point, I think I'm deciding between the two 76 models. The obvious benefits of staying with the 76 series is that my learning curve should be very short since that's what I have been using. Also, the price is lower. The reviews on the GPSMap 62 so far have been mediocre at best based on what GPSCity shows on it's web site. Compare that to the reviews on the 76CSx and 60 CSx, each of which have many very good reviews.

Cheers,
Bryan

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 Post subject: Re: Starter GPS?
PostPosted: September 15th, 2011, 8:17 pm 
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Happy birthday, Bryan.

Love that gps. :thumbup:

We bought the CSx, I'm pretty sure from GPSCity, and it was under $299.00 that they have it listed now.

I love it. It's much smaller than the 76, so I don't need two hands to work the thing.

And we've been more successful finding caches with it.

I don't know what it is about the 76, but I just don't like it and I swear it doesn't work as well as the 60.

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 Post subject: Re: Starter GPS?
PostPosted: September 15th, 2011, 9:25 pm 
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Location: Saskatoon
Thanks Barbara,
I guess my long fingers don't have much trouble with the 76 series.
I take it you mean the 60 CSx.
GPSCentral.ca had the GPSMap 60 CSx on for $229 as recently as this morning, but they're sold out now.
Cheers,
Bryan

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