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GPS Anybody got one??

Discussion in 'After Hours Lounge (Off Topic)' started by David McGough, Feb 25, 2005.

  1. David McGough

    David McGough Well-Known Member

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    Im thinking of getting on..
    What are some good options to look for in one?
    What are ones you reccomend and how much?
     
  2. Scott Merryfield

    Supporter

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    What will you be using the device for? There are different models tailored to different uses, such as driving, boating, hiking, etc.

    I have a Garmin StreetPilot III, which is very good for street navigation and long trips. There is a newer model (mine's over 3 years old) with a touchscreen and compact flash memory card support. The unit "talks" to you, informing you of upcoming turns and exits. It also includes "points of interest" information, such as nearby hotels, restaurants, etc. You can program routes and waypoints either on the device or via your PC (software is supplied).
     
  3. Matt Stryker

    Matt Stryker Well-Known Member

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    I got a Magellan Meridian Gold for christmas, primarily since they had support for additional memory. I'm living in Mexico right now, so I wanted the ability to load every single GPS map of Mexico on the memory card at once. Its a very well built unit, but a bit larger than the Garmins. If you're looking for something that will just help you mark your favorite spots and won't have any complex topo or mapping overlays other than your waypoints and routes, there are some great inexpensive Garmin units that will do the job.

    The "HTF" of GPS and geocaching (using your GPS to find hidden spots, kinda like treasure maps) is GroundSpeak:

    http://forums.groundspeak.com/GC/

    They have a good overview of units and usually are good place to look for great prices.

    This site is also good:

    http://gpsinformation.net/
     
  4. John Stone

    John Stone Well-Known Member

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    I looked at several dedicated GPS units, but wound up taking a slightly different approach. I'm really happy with the results.

    I bought an iPAQ with Bluetooth (model 4355), a Belkin Bluetooth GPS package and an awesome mount kit with power and a built-in amplified speaker (great for hearing the voice directions even at highway speeds with the top down!) Now I have GPS when I need it, and a very cool iPAQ with Bluetooth and WiFi that I use for all sorts of other tasks. The price for everything was less than just about every quality dedicated GPS package I looked at.

    I have some pictures of the whole setup in my car here: http://www.twowiresthin.com/S2000/

    (scroll down to pictures #19, #20 and #21 for the GPS shots)
     
  5. Jassen M. West

    Jassen M. West Well-Known Member

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    What would you be using it for? If its for hiking in the woods and general outdoor stuff where you would be under tree cover I recommend a unit with a Quad Helix antenna. If you are going to be using it to navigate canyons or urban canyons (read skyscrapers) then a unit with a patch antenna would better suit your needs. Personally I believe the quad helix antenna is better all activities. Also if you plan on adding maps a unit with a memory slot would be good too. Stick with Garmin or Magellan though.
    I have a Magellan Meridian gold that has taken me on a few treasure hunts sucessfully.

    ---jay
     
  6. David McGough

    David McGough Well-Known Member

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    JS Wow, what a CAR!!

    Im gonna use it for tracking and in the woods..
    I have a friend at work who has one a magelian I think it is.
    He has joined this club. Its called Caching. what folks do is hide things and you track them down. Take something and add something. Log on what your adventure was what happend..

    Im just learning about it. I have not picked his brain about it yet but it seems fun thing to do.. You put in your zip code/ state look for the
    cachs hid in area..
    http://www.geocaching.com/
    All over the world, I could not belive all I saw or were I saw. There are ones hid 3 miles from my house.

    He loves the river and boating. His user name is -boatman-
    This his site,whats hid and ones he has found.
    http://www.geocaching.com/seek/cache...decrypt=y&log=

    What is a good beginer model?
    I don't want to sink a load but get something to start/learn with. He don't know it yet but he is gonna teach me.
    Il go to those sites listed to learn. I want to know a little before I get in with him.

    Last question.. What is a good beginner model.
    Say I want to put $250 $300 in one. You buy online or a local store?
    Tks
     
  7. David McGough

    David McGough Well-Known Member

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    Who's ready to up grade and pass on a deal?
    David
    raveatusit.net
     
  8. Greg_R

    Greg_R Well-Known Member

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    I have a Garmin 60CS which does a great job in the backcountry and in the car. Although mine is general purpose, there are units for specific purposes (car, marine, backcountry, aviation, etc.). For car use you'll want something that not only loads the road maps... you'll want something that can navigate on the roads (instead of telling you to head SE for 23.4 miles).

    For Geocaching / backcountry use a cheap Garmin eTrex unit will work. There are fancier units out there with special geocaching modes but they are more $$$.

    A GPS unit is NOT a replacement for map skills and a compass. I rarely bring my unit backpacking... I use it for the car and geocaching.
     
  9. Andrew Pratt

    Andrew Pratt Well-Known Member

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    I've used a variety of GPS units both for pleasure and at work and my preference has always been for the Garmin units. There's a ton of aftermarket freeware apps that are mostly geared towards garmin's and they're very reliable. Make sure you get one that has a PC uplink port and is WAAS enabled. The rest of the features are just that features the accuracy will typically be about the same prividing you have an unobstructed view of the sky.
     
  10. Seth--L

    Seth--L Well-Known Member

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    Does anyone have those GPS watches meant for running that tells you exactly how far you've run and keeps track of your times (among other things)? I'm looking into getting one, but don't want to spend $150 to find out it's a piece of junk and be unable to return it since it's covered with my sweat.
     
  11. Jason L.

    Jason L. Well-Known Member

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    Can someone explain what NMEA compatibility is, and why it is important?

    I'm looking at one of the soon to be released Magellan Explorist models that are coming out soon.
     
  12. Eric_L

    Eric_L Well-Known Member

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    I bought a Delorme Earthmate GPS about 18 months ago for my laptop. The result was disappointing. The signal takes long to acquire and is easily lost, the software is cumbersome. The mapping is not bad, but most distressing is the verbal commands don't match what is on the map! Often saying completely wrong information!! Nice as a novelty but useless as a travel companion.
     
  13. Seth--L

    Seth--L Well-Known Member

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    I had a friend who had one of those a few years ago; it was a total piece of junk. Accuracy was terrible. It would show him driving off a highway into a river, and that's when it could acquire a signal. The one time he was truly lost (on a back road in Maine) and needed it, it couldn't get a signal despite being a cloudless day without any trees or obstructions above his car. It sounds like nothing has changed.
     
  14. Gregg Loewen

    Gregg Loewen Video Standards Instructor, THX Ltd.
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    hi guys

    I have been using Delorme for about 60K of driving annually over the past 3 years. I love it...full country access without having to do down loads etc.

    The older included GPS (serial port) was slow to connect, which was replaced with the newer USB GPS. This works much better. I did notice a huge increase in performance when switching from an older PII based PC to a PIV laptop.

    I am very happy with the performance.

    Regards
    Gregg
     
  15. Andrew Pratt

    Andrew Pratt Well-Known Member

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    NMEA's a communication standard that GPS's can use to communitcate with other devices like your laptop. There's several other standards like Garmin and text but NMEA is likely the most popular.

    If you're going to get a PCMCIA GPS for a laptop buy a model that has an external antenna and fix that to your roof.
     
  16. Dennis Nicholls

    Dennis Nicholls Well-Known Member

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    The Garmin eTrex units are now down to around $80. I'm thinking of this as a hiking/hunting/fishing unit and for emergency use. It appears to be rugged and waterproof enough for casual outdoors use. Does anybody want to ward me off this purchase? [​IMG]
     
  17. Andrew Pratt

    Andrew Pratt Well-Known Member

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    They're decent units but the Garmin 60's are almost as cheap and offer USB connectivity.
     
  18. Arthur S

    Arthur S Well-Known Member

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    Hi guys

    For automobile use the Garmin 350 is about the best unit at around $500...but for somewhat more the Garmin 660 is as good as it gets for under about $800...I got mine for somewhat less...you may be able to get a Tom Tom One for $200 after rebate this weekend...check your local newspaper for details on the Tom Tom One.
     
  19. Jay H

    Jay H Well-Known Member

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    Sometimes the GPS is used with a particular software on your PC/Mac/Palmpilot. Most of the mfgrs I believe have their own proprietary communication system so they can be mfgr dependent, but for universal applications meant to be compatible with most, the GPSs should output their data via the NMEA standard so any software can read the data and utilize it. So, if your GPS doesn't support the NMEA standard for compatibility, you may be forced to use their software and their software only. Probably not many, but it is possible.

    As far as GPSs for geocaching/letterboxing, the Etrex series is nice, you can spring for the Legend or Vista for more memory. It doesn't replace map and compass skills so I never use my Etrex Vista's electronic compass but it could be a backup. the altimeter is a good function and the MapSource program by Garmin is quite common.

    Do yourself a favor though and learn compass skills and know how to read a topomap and take bearings both visual and via the map.

    I am an avid bushwacker/orienteerer so my Vista tags along for backup. I don't even own the MapSource program so all the waypoints I put in mine are either preprogrammed markers I know I want to be able to get to or at the spot markers, like say where my car is.

    Also, if I had money to spend, I would go with the 60CS rather than the etrex series (at least the upper models) because I dislike the clickstick that is on my Vista, they are way too prone to breaking off and costing a lot of money to fix.

    Jay
     
  20. TonyD

    TonyD Who do we think I am?

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    another vote for the garmen nuvi 350.

    got one for chritms and love it
     

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