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Old 09-27-2002, 10:28 AM   #1
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Looking for GPS info/advise

I'm very interested in GPS handheld units for fun and travel. There are so many models and prices it is very difficult to make a informed choise. I don't want to spend the most money for a unit. Is it required to also buy special maps for same. There is also a new game or adventure called Geocaching, where a site is to be tracked and a "treasure" is found. A site for reference is
Every state has treasure sites to be located.. On Ebay there are literally thousands of choises. Is a $500 unit twice as good as a $250 unit??
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Old 09-27-2002, 11:39 AM   #2
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I have a Magellan 410 model that has water or land maps and points of reference loaded from the factory. This includes most major and some minor roads and almost all the rivers and streams. I like it because it has a scrolling map function that pinpoints you on a map grid and can help to forewarn you of upcoming turns or junctions. This is in addition to a compass, speedometer, numerical bearing and heading feature as well as elevation.

Most of the ones that will hold maps can be updated with new or more detailed maps. Mine can be but I have not yet bought the cable. Updates are important, I drive a <2yr old road to work each day and it is not in my GPS. So most newer routes will look like you are dirving thru the wilderness on the screen. Any of the small baterry power color LCD's will suck up batteries like there is no tommrow, and GPS's in general eat batteries fast. I would reccomend staying with a grey scale model. You may want to make sure that the model you buy can have an external antenna attached for better signal strength. I sometimes have to wait a while for the unit to update. I have the stock antenna.

Check out the accessories that are availbale for your unit before plunking down the money for one. Some offer many more add ons than others.

I have yet to try the geocaching, but I hope to soon. There are three sites near where I live.

Brett G
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Old 09-27-2002, 10:11 PM   #3
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I've been using a few Garmins for several years and have been impressed with their features over the current competition. I will say that you can always get more features by paying more with any of them. Most of the GPS receivers all have maps, and I presume that they can all download the waypoints collected or automatically logged to a computer.
Garmin does supply several national maps showing various types of detail (mostly man-made features as opposed to topographical maps or a set that shows every road mapped including those requiring a 4x4 to travel. The Garmins can also be downloaded to other packages such as National Geographic TOPO which I reccommend.
I currently have an E-map with 64 meg of memory added, and I've used it to find restaurants in California and RV stops in Flagstaff. I'd love to have one of the street pilots that tell you where to go -- that is, where to turn to get to your destination, but they add $$$ to the price and they can't be carried around if I go hiking. The etrex appears to be a neat package, but does not have near the flexibility and upgradeablity and power of the emap. I suggest you visit there is probably a also.
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Old 09-28-2002, 06:12 AM   #4
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I am still a fan/user of the Laptop and external GPS. We had a little discussion on this here:

I also have a Lowrance Aviation GPS that will serve dual purpose with optional Mapping software and memory card. It comes with all the cabling to recharge, DC adapter, external antennae rugged carrying case and PC cable. Good mounts are available for it. I think I paid $800 for it but I use it mostly for flying .

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Old 09-28-2002, 04:46 PM   #5
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Before you spend your bucks ........... If you are going to use and trust it a lot look at Northstar>>>>>>>>>>> The best.. Good luck SAM
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Old 09-29-2002, 02:21 PM   #6
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I'm a fan of Garmin, new GPS III+'s are available still and at quite a discount. While they don't have as much internal memory as a GPS V+ they have more than enough when you hook to a laptop. On the lap top I run Precision Mapping 4, Street atlas 9 and street and trips 2003. All of them inteface with the Garmin well, however, 2003 is painfully slow on older laptops like mine. SA 9 is pretty fast though. HTH

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Old 01-27-2008, 09:25 AM   #7
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I love my Garmin!

We initially purchased a Magellon Maestro, but it didn't have all the features we were looking for. My daughter and I were looking at the after Thanksgiving Day sales ad and she spotted a Garmin Nuvi 660 for a little less than $400. It's one we thought we wanted, but I missed the ad! Stood in line in the cold and dark, but got one of the six Best Buy had. My husband has trouble hearing female voices (yeah, I know....), so we settled on an Austrailian male voice and we've dubbed him Sir Garmin. We like the fact that if we're out caching, we can switch from vehicle mode to pedestrian mode. Makes a difference if you're within a few feet of the cache! We're looking to add a "keeper" to the GPS unit, so if one of us drops it, we can catch it before it hits the ground or the water. Hope this helps!

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Old 01-27-2008, 10:38 AM   #8
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Does anyone use the telenav unit which makes your cell phone into a GPS unit? Does it work well?
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Old 01-27-2008, 10:48 AM   #9
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If you are looking into expanding into the many open source programs and packages that expand a GPS's capabilities by using your laptop do not get a Garmin. They are just about the only company that uses a propriety system that will not allow it to work with 3rd party software packages.
I have one and wanted to be able to connect my laptop up to it and use some open source navigation software and could not. I also found Garmin's maps to be not very accurate - roads where none exist and other roads and in my hometown a whole highway that has been around for 20 years to not be on the maps at all. I was less than impressed with Garmin and will not be buying one of them again.
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Old 01-27-2008, 11:01 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by car2nqueen
...Hope this helps! Jenny
hi jenny and welcome to the forums!

you've peeled open a 6 year old zombie thread here, wow.

a lot has happened in that time on the gps front...

and here are just 2 more recent threads on the topic...

all of the true things that i am about to tell you are shameless lies. l.b.j.

we are here on earth to fart around. don't let anybody tell you any different. k.v.
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Old 01-27-2008, 04:33 PM   #11
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Another vote for laptop based GPS.
I do own small handheld unit, that I am using on the boat to mark the ramp in case I'll be coming back in the fog, or occasionally we use it for exploring downtown of the city on our way, when GPS helps a lot to find shortcut to parked car, but for $39 at DeLorme you can have USB antenna and detailed software.
$99 right now buys you Bluetooth based antenna and addresses software, that separately cost more than the antenna.
I have discount codes if somebody would like to use them.
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Old 01-27-2008, 05:25 PM   #12
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Was forced to buy a GPS (got a Garmin C340) after honoring wifes request for a NAV system. Unfortunately, my 1st purchase was a Compass. She didn't appreciate my efforts to fill her wish list one bit.

I/we love the Garmin. Keep in mind there are two settings that determine which route it selects for you. Shortest distance and Fastest. They aren't necessarily the same.
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Old 01-27-2008, 05:46 PM   #13
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The GPS routing is only as smart as the guy who put data on the software.
While in Death Valley GPS was trying to force us for driving on gravel road at the rim, instead of asphalt road in the Valley.
You always have to watch those things.
That's why I love the computer based system. With a mouse, or touch-pad you can add via-points in few seconds. Having 3 maps in different scales displayed simultaneously helps a lot.
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Old 01-27-2008, 05:51 PM   #14
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We bought the Garmin Nuvi 350 and really like it. Have recommended to friends who like it also.

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