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Stone
08-27-2008, 07:07 PM
The wife and I are starting to get interested in the Ghost Town looking. Last year we spent a day looking and the Black Hills and had a great time so we plan to do more. Having not used the GPS's do they work in places like the Black Hills of SD? I wondered if they show the gravel roads and so on.

David A. Wright
08-27-2008, 08:20 PM
I have both a basic Garmin eTrex (no maps) and a Delphi NAV200 mapping GPS/navigator.

The basic eTrex is useful to me as it's versitile and more accurate to determine where you are or where you want to go, or how to get back to where you've been. The Delphi is graphic and shows you where you are or where you want to go.

However, the Delphi has limitations. Maps, though supposedly are revised in 2006, have inadaquacies or inaccuracies, especially in rural areas where I live. In some cases it's far more graphic than I would image, as far as roads shown that aren't really there, or have been out of use for so many years that they are in effect grown over. In other cases, maintained and paved roads are not shown. Paradoxical.

As far as navigating, I had to go to San Francisco recently. Not having been there since the 1960s and not used to large cities in general, I was very nervous about getting around. It was faultless. However, in my neck of the woods (rural Nevada), it's often frustrating. Inaccuracies galore.

I've not used a Garmin Nuvi, TomTom or Magellain navigator unit, so I don't know how they stack up. I imagine many of the maps are generic - shared among many manufacturerers. Garmin and Magellain, however, due to their reputations, resources and the like, are likely far better. I've never heard any really valid complaints, other than user preferences.

For basic GPS, I can't fault my eTrex. It's very accurate, handy and for learning GPS basics, it's invaluable. I often prefer it over my Delphi for navigating.

If money isn't an object, I'd suggest any Garmin unit. They can run the gammot from fairly inexpensive for a basic mapping unit to high bucks and everything in between. But Garmin products have plenty of clout. And they stand behind their products, as a basic eTrex purchased by a buddy of mine was completely replaced by a higher priced unit from Garmin - plus they sent all the accessories for it - to replace a defective unit he bought. Now that's standing behind their products! Wish mine broke! But mine's been as reliable as the sun coming up every day.

GaryB
08-28-2008, 01:05 PM
Most car dedicated ones I have heard of have generic topo programs. So once you get out in the boonies, you're on your own.

I'd look at what's considered a hand held or portable. IMO either a Garmin or Magellan that has good dedicated software or can be used in conjunction with topo software like DeLorme or National Geographic sell.

If you just want to know where you are at or a decent idea of being there, any mid grade of the two aforementioned will handle you well. Lower grade (entry models) may as well, but you might want to be sure before you buy. IMO a large enough screen (easier to read) and the ability to zoom in close (mine goes to 100FT) are other major factors.

I'd also carry any maps of an area you can as well, and not rely solely on the GPS. They are only as good as their software, which is copied from USGS style maps. So if a map is too dated, you might not have ideas about newer roads, roads may be washed out or closed, etc.


Do lots of comparing before you buy, and see if you can try some out some where around you. Ebay is full of units people bought and were unhappy with afterward.

Also check with your local BLM, Forestry, etc. office as they sometimes offer GPS classes for free or cheap.

Goat
08-28-2008, 02:45 PM
I bought a Lowrance XOG crossover GPS. It's a pretty neat deal because you can go to the Map Select website and download BLM, USGS, or aerial photos (you can also make hybrid overlays) for $5 a pop. It is accurate and not real complicated to use.

So far, I've used it a great deal around ElDorado Canyon, and have been very impressed with it.

Rattler
08-30-2008, 08:05 AM
I have used the very basic Garmin Etrex for a couple years. I wanted to upgrade to somethig with topos. I bought a used Magellan Crossover. It worked ok for the road. The topo maps weren't that great. Plus it died the day before I left on the vacation I wanted it for!! I ended up picking up a Garmin Etrex Legend. Seems to wrok good but really no topo maps. It came with the topo software Mapsource (I paid less than what Garmin sells Mapsource alone for).

I like the Delorme PN-20 but I don't really want a small screen. THey are coming out with a PN-40 that is supposed to be a much quicker processing unit. Still the small display though.

Garmin recently put out a bigger-screen unit that has topos but it isn't cheap.

I would like the topos to look like topo maps you can get. I think the Legend will work well for now.

Tsarevna
08-31-2008, 10:42 AM
As far as car units, go, I played with many units in-store, and found the best one that I could afford was a Garmin Nuvi 650.

I found one on the internet for $250 using those sites that shop for you, the mysimon.com, etc.

The thing is small enough to detach from the car and carry in your pocket, but larger than the other Nuvi's.

I was impressed that some of the roads were little more than dirt paths, but it knew their names, even when paper maps didn't show them! One dirt road to a ghost town was called "Ford's Wagon Road."

The only downside of this, is the unit doesn't know which routes are viable or not. It told me to turn on a road that existed at one time, but was little more than a mule track in the 49'er days, and overgrown with trees. It would be impossible to take a car on that trail, but the unit told me to turn on it anyway. :D

Thank goodness it re-calculates your route when you fail to turn where it tells you to.

Joel
08-31-2008, 03:49 PM
That's why I try to depend on my feet instead of technology. It's going to take he** or high water to stop me and quite often a combination of both.
I have given up on topo maps for having the right roads and trails at all.

David A. Wright
09-02-2008, 05:05 AM
The only downside of this, is the unit doesn't know which routes are viable or not. It told me to turn on a road that existed at one time, but was little more than a mule track in the 49'er days, and overgrown with trees. It would be impossible to take a car on that trail, but the unit told me to turn on it anyway. :D

Thank goodness it re-calculates your route when you fail to turn where it tells you to.
Usually in the menu somewhere is where you can tell the unit to take you to a location via a "fastest" or "closest" route (or a term similar).

Choosing the "closest" way will usually result in your navigator trying to take you via dirt roads, 4x4 trails, etcetera. Choosing "fastest" will generally result with your navigator behaving itself and sticking to main highways.

And yes, it's very nice that they recalculate the route when you pass by a turn - by choice or mistake. Sometimes the recalcuated route it tries to get you to take can be humerous or just plain dumb ... :confused:

Advice: Never completely trust your GPS (except for telling you where you are or how to get back to your starting point) or navigator. Do your homework before setting out into the unknown. And carry a map(s) of where you are going for backup.

Topo maps are available online for free or cost. Some state university libraries have free maps you can download (usually large files - not dial-up friendly). And they often have historical topo maps from the early years, which show far more historical sites or places now ghost towns with their attendent access roads, roads within and around their area, and railroads. Great for exploring ghost towns.

My favorite map sites:
NEVADA - http://keck.library.unr.edu/data/drg/nv24k_clickable.html
Very well organized and easily navigated.

CALIFORNIA - http://archive.casil.ucdavis.edu/casil/maps/drg/
Goofy organization. Loosely based on coordinates. Once you have figured out the coordinates of the region you want to focus on, you can narrow your search for finding the map you want.

Rupe
12-03-2008, 09:58 AM
I'm starting to look at GPS's as well and I was wondering if anyone has spent time with the NUVI 500, it comes with some Topo's in it and of course you can put more in it with SD's. Using a cane I don't hike more then a little ways so I have to drive my Jeep to where I want to go and this seems like a good unit for that. What do you guys think? rupe

SnapShot
12-03-2008, 11:08 AM
I like the Delorme PN-20 but I don't really want a small screen. They are coming out with a PN-40 that is supposed to be a much quicker processing unit. Still the small display though.

Garmin recently put out a bigger-screen unit that has topos but it isn't cheap.

I would like the topos to look like topo maps you can get. I think the Legend will work well for now.

The PN-20 reconditioned has been hitting the market for under $200. Since it has topo USA along with street maps and hangs on a lanyard, it seems like a good answer for hiking. Also it includes aerial sat photos free for a limited area. I suspect I could get most of one state for free.

I don't think that a car GPS is designed for hiking, battery life is an issue with larger screens. A backpacking GPS isn't meant for highway navigation.

The other reason for choosing a DeLorme GPS like the PN-20 is that it outputs NMEA data for geomapping photos.

Most of my interest is in taking photos of sites I visit and GPS locations are a good tool for spot location should I want to tell someone else how to find the exact spot in the future.

I go with the general rule, take only photos and carry out everything that I carry in. Sometimes I bring a little bag and take litter with me.

Can't afford a PN-40 but I can afford a PN-20 and some cheap reading glasses for the smallish screen. :)

GaryB
12-04-2008, 08:26 AM
The other reason for choosing a DeLorme GPS like the PN-20 is that it outputs NMEA data for geomapping photos.

Most of my interest is in taking photos of sites I visit and GPS locations are a good tool for spot location should I want to tell someone else how to find the exact spot in the future.



Though pricey, the new Magellans have a digital camera built in that stamp the pic with coordinates.

Also, Sony has a GPS system that works with some for their cameras that does the same.

Rupe
12-24-2008, 12:37 PM
Mrs. Rupe bought me a Garmin Nuvi 500 for Christmas. So far I have just played around the area with it. But so far I really like it. It's waterproof, has topo in it and you can put an SD card in it with better TOPO's on it. It has 4 modes, car, bike,boat,and hiking. The boating needs to have the Marine program downloaded into it. I can't wait to get it out in the back country and see how it does. rupe

Davidw
02-25-2009, 07:06 PM
As a geocacher, a GPS unit is indispensible for me. I would recommend staying away from units designed for auto use, as they aren't built to take the abuse that ones designed for hiking can handle and would likely sustain, plus they aren't water resistant. You can get units that can do double duty for under $200, including maps (which can be an additional $75 to $100 depending on what and where you buy). I typically buy on Amazon. I personally use Garmin's etrex Venture Cx, and just aquired a etrex Legend Cx, which are almost the same unit. Both units have expandable memory using Micro SD cards, and street maps for all of the continental US can fit on a 2GB card. I paid 104$ for the Legend, and $109 for the Venture. Vehicle brackets and cigarette lighter power sources are extra, but both units use Mini USB cables for power, so any power source with a mini USB port can power the unit. I'm using a cell phone charger to power mine in the car. I carry rechargable batteries when I'm not in the vehicle. Also, with Garmin, you can have both topo and street maps on one unit. Also, all GPS units default to WGS84 datum, while USGS Topo maps use the NAD27 datum, so if you are using a map with the GPS unit, make sure the GPS unit is set to NAD27, or your position will be off relative.

caver
02-26-2009, 03:58 AM
I use a Garmin 276C for the motorcycle and truck. Fast screen redraw and pan. It's taken quite a bit of abuse over the years. It replace a 176C. For foot patrol I use a 76Cx. I had a pre X 76C and never liked it due to easy drop outs from poor satellite views. :D

Davidw
02-26-2009, 11:24 AM
The x actually means that it has expandable memory. The high sensitivity receivers have an H in the name. C means that it's got a color screen. S means that it has an electronic compass and barometer.

Rupe
02-26-2009, 11:41 AM
AFter using the NUVI 500 out in the forests for awhile now. I love it! With the different modes (crossover) I can do anything with it. It's waterproof, takes a mini SD card for downloading the Garmin TOPO maps. You can use it for Geocashing because of the hiking mode. The only down fall is you need to carry a spare battery with you if you are going on a long hike. For a cross over I don't thinkyou can do much better for $299.99.

rupe

GlacierBasin
02-27-2009, 01:44 PM
Check out my blog (http://www.glacierbasin.com/blog) just did a write up in using your Iphone for GPS... If you already have an Iphone its a great program!!

caver
02-28-2009, 08:09 AM
The x actually means that it has expandable memory. The high sensitivity receivers have an H in the name. C means that it's got a color screen. S means that it has an electronic compass and barometer.

From the Garmin website.
The GPSMAP 76Cx adds a whole new dimension to the mariner-friendly 76-series navigators: a high-sensitivity GPS receiver, microSD™ card slot, color TFT screen and turn-by-turn routing — features that have made the 76Cx and its counterpart, the GPSMAP 76CSx, a mainstay among serious outdoor enthusiasts

Davidw
02-28-2009, 11:38 AM
From the Garmin website.
The GPSMAP 76Cx adds a whole new dimension to the mariner-friendly 76-series navigators: a high-sensitivity GPS receiver, microSD™ card slot, color TFT screen and turn-by-turn routing — features that have made the 76Cx and its counterpart, the GPSMAP 76CSx, a mainstay among serious outdoor enthusiasts

They don't always follow that naming convention, as the 60CSX has a high sensitivity receiver. I think it may be that including the H makes the name too long.

oldman3000t
04-26-2009, 04:00 PM
I use the eTrex Vista for more than 5 years. It works great and when I stop my 4x4, I just remove the unit and hook it up to my belt. I feel the best program to use with this unit is National Geographic State topo program. I have California and Colorado. I found a few flaws with the eTrex Vista and maybe other people have had this problem. If you use it in your car or truck, get the plug-in adapter for the unit, and remove the batteries because in the Desert the unit may over heat and the unit will shut down even if you have AC on. Also if the trail is rough I found that the unit will shut off for no reason, but if I use the plug in adapter it works fine. I have an IBM thinkpad T-23 for my software, but you can connect eTrex while driving and will display realtime data while you drive and record that information, it will slow down if you go over 5000 data points. I transfer routes and way points via laptop now days, and if I become lost locating ghost towns I turn on the laptop and use the topo to locate myself. I do keep spare maps as a backup, and I can print a map through my printer for the topo. My next up grade will be 256megs of ram to 1gig of ram. I do have a 120 outlet in my truck for the laptop and charging batteries, make sure you have 250 to 400 watts power supply, and before you leave charge all batteries. I do take pictures and use my garmin to mark waypoints for each picture. Hope this helps anyone.

Mike
San Diego

jjcraigo
06-29-2009, 06:58 PM
Garmin Nuvi 205 is all I have ever needed. It does everything I need it to, and now you can pick one up at most dept stores for under $125. This one has been the easiest and simplistic GPS I have ever operated. It's a so called "Lower end" Garmin, but in all honesty most people who drive with me like it better than the bigger fancier ones.
You can also download character voices and different cars. Being the morbid horror fan that I am, I have Dr. Nightmare narrating and the black Hearse as my car:D

ghcoe
08-17-2009, 09:49 AM
I use a DeLorme PN-20.

I think the best bang for the buck right now are the DeLorme PN-20/PN-40. Does every thing the others do. Great support and updates. And cost less than main stream brands. What more can you ask for.
DeLorme
http://www.delorme.com/
Great support
http://forums.delorme.com/index.php
Still can get a great deal here
http://www.tigergps.com/refurbpn20.html