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Anybody use a GPS

Discussion in 'Hunting, Fishing & Camping' started by Case, Mar 12, 2003.

  1. Case

    Case Cthulhu fhtagn!

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    I'm getting ready to buy a GPS, and thought I'd ask if any of you guys can shed some light on the subject for me. I've been reading up on them online, but still have some questions.
    One thing I'm wondering about is what kind of accuracy I can expect. The manufacturer of the one I've been looking at claims accuracy within 3 meters, but with the way that advertising works, that's probably under ideal conditions. Are these things all they're cracked up to be, or are they just good for getting in the right neck of the woods?
    Another thing I haven't been able to determine from reading online is what kind of software can you use? Do you have to use the software that the GPS manf. makes, or are there lots of companies making it? If so, can anybody recommend a good map software package?
    And can you add stuff onto the maps in the GPS? Like say you're fishing and you find a sunken brushpile, can you add it into the map so you can always see where it is? Or if you're hiking in the woods and you want to add a trail onto the map, can you do that? Or you want to mark where your deer blind is set up, etc?
    I keep reading things talking about "datums." Can anybody give me a clue on what the heck that means? Or "WAAS"?
    Any other general facts I should know going into this? Or good web sites you can recommend for reading on the subject?

    Thanks guys!
    Scott Case
     
  2. noway

    noway

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    I've always used one.


    Accuracy should be within +- 3m or less with today technology & WAAS corrections. You might find some models track the satellite or gather a lock quicker. Alot of issues factor in such as , cloud cover, overhead trees density,etc..... but expect accuracy tobe within 25-3m or less.


    {Do you have to use the software that the GPS manf. makes, or are there lots of companies making it? If so, can anybody recommend a good map software package?}

    Yes and no, it depends on what model you have.

    I have the Magellan 300 & 310 and they are the basic models with no topology maps.Great for computing distance to set landmark and getting avg speed and time to set landmarks based on avg speed distance.

    { And can you add stuff onto the maps in the GPS? Like say you're fishing and you find a sunken brushpile, can you add it into the map so you can always see where it is? Or if you're hiking in the woods and you want to add a trail onto the map, can you do that? Or you want to mark where your deer blind is set up, etc?}



    Yes you can add landmarks for most units.


    For informatio on Datums
    read here ( yes, it is confusing )
    http://www.esri.com/news/arcuser/0401/datum.html


    WAAS is a technology that the (IIRC) FAA developed to help obtain better accuracy with the current GPS satellites. It's mainly used by airports and airplane and by guidance delivery systems. Some claims you can get within 1ft of a location using GPS with WAAS technology. NOT all GPS units have WAAS capabilities and it is best you contact the mfg to find out for sure.

    For all of my needs the "el cheapo" GPS units are great , but I do have my eyes on a Etrex unit that I might purchase later on in the year.
     

  3. Ledbetter

    Ledbetter

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    Etrex Legend. Very happy with it.
     
  4. Racsan

    Racsan

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  5. isp2605

    isp2605

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    Bought a Garmin 12MAP in 1999 and have been very happy with it. I don't go anywhere without it. If I were to replace it I'm not sure what I would go with. If a Garmin probably a Legend. Not sure what if I were to replace it with a Magellan. I'd probably stay with Garmin simply because I've had such good luck with my 12MAP and have no complaints.
    WAAS claims to get within 3 meters. Maybe so. My 12MAP doesn't have WAAS. My Dad's Legend does and I can't tell any difference. I can easily get within 10 ft if conditions are right, 20 ft if some overhead cover.
    I'd recommend getting a unit with a road basemap, like a Legend, Vista, etc. The ones without a basemap work very well but everyone I know who started out with a low priced unit without a basemap soon upgrades to a map unit. The price difference between an Etrex without map and a Legend with map is only about $50 with rebate. Well worth it.
    Right now Garmin has a $50 rebate on some models. Check out on-line places for the cheapest prices. My Dad and Lil Bro bought theirs from www.gpsdiscount.com. They received theirs within 2 days of placing an order. Disclaimer - I have absolutely no interest in gpsdiscount and have never bought from them myself nor received anything from them nor know anyone involved with that company. I am just relaying the service my Dad and Lil Bro got from them. I'm sure there are other companies that have equally good prices and service.
    I recommend you pick up a 12V power cord. GPSs eat batteries.
    For more uses for your GPS check out www.geocaching.com. Great fun that gets you out of the house and into the woods or wherever. The kids love it.
     
  6. NYGunman

    NYGunman o.oO0Oo.oO0Oo.o

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    That is like saying Rosie O'Donald eats donuts.
     
  7. MCNETT

    MCNETT Load Developer Lifetime Member

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    I recently purchased a Garmin Etrex Vista. It does everything that you would ever need. I do plan on carrying an extra 4 AA batteries into the brush with me just in case. (It runs on two AA's)
    -Mike
     
  8. Case

    Case Cthulhu fhtagn!

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    Thanks for the info guys. After reading your responses and digging around on the web for several days, I bought a Magellan SporTrak Pro this weekend. I've given it a pretty thorough break-in, and I can't tell ya how happy I am with it.
    Me and a buddy of mine went and hunted a geocache Saturday, too. Had a great time. Good call, isp2605! Thanks!

    Scott
     
  9. isp2605

    isp2605

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    Addicting isn't it. I've got 157 finds and have been at it 10 months. Plan on getting as many as 25 more next week when I'm on vacation. My wife is a geo-junkie, having to get her fix by hiking the area looking for caches.
    You're in a target rich environment in your area. Good hunting.
     
  10. iweb

    iweb

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    I have a Megellan Platinum and I can get within 2' of a geocache! I am now using the gps and my quad to put out quad only geocaches and of course Mr. Glock goes with me all the time.
     
  11. NYGunman

    NYGunman o.oO0Oo.oO0Oo.o

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    I just bought a Lowrance Ifinder. I've only used it twice while snowmobiling. So far so good. The thing has more features than I know what to do with. The only bad thing about the Ifinder is that it is not waterproof. Lowrance gives you a clear cheesey platic bag to put it in so it will not get wet.
     
  12. noway

    noway

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    Speaking of GPS units have anybody ever seen a affordable holder that universal fit for the Garmin/Magellan and hangs around you're neck?

    The cheapest I found was a belt holder available thru outdoor world. They wanted over 27usd for it.

    (btw) I have a freind of my mother is going to try to sew up some nylon into a holder and I'm going to use a looooong leather boot string as an alternative to paying 27.00 dollars.
     
  13. Sierra

    Sierra Millennium Member

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    I have two Garmins. The 12XL is designed for land navigation. No maps to speak of; no gizmos, its just like the one I used in the military. Need to go to the pickup point? This is the one. The second one is the Emap. Has the maps, has the gizmos. Want to navigate in the city, this is the one. Technology is moving so rapidly that both of these units are now obsolete. Need WAAS to get six feet closer, then jump on the new stuff.

    Eagle makes a pouch for the 12XL. Costs $20 and fixes to a garrison belt or any other belt. So much padding you could throw it off a cliff with no damage. It will receive signals through the pouch. You could also use one of the cell phone pouches available at REI for about $8.00 www.eagleindustries.com

    Be aware that a GPS is no substitute for a map and compass. Be sure to have extra batteries.
     
  14. Tol

    Tol

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    Check out
    http://gpsinformation.net/
    It is a good site with plenty of information.

    I too have a Garmin eTrex Vista and like it a lot. Should you get one, let me know. I have a brand new Mapsource Metroguide I had thought about selling on ebay but have been too lazy. They can be loaded into your gps and are quite accurate. I get a great satellite fix with mine even in my living room. No, I'm not joking. Outside it is accurate to within about 8 feet. In my living room it's usually about 45'. You may want to think more about what you want it for. Different GPS units have different strengths and weaknesses.

    Ditto on the geocaching!
    Tol

    FYI:
    I bought mine from www.tvnav.com and was very pleased with every aspect of it. They were very nice and very helpful. I had the unit in my hands extremely quickly and for less money than anywhere else I could find.
     
  15. txrebel

    txrebel

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    I am using the Garmin GPS III plus. I love it. I also use the US Topo software with it and use the software to creat routes and waypoints for traveling, makes long trips effortless and enjoyable looking for the next waypoint. Works like a champ. Does go thru batteries, so when ever possible I am plugged into other power source. I have a RAM mount in my truck, on my boat, and on my motorcycle.
     
  16. Sgt Tim USA

    Sgt Tim USA 1 Shot 1 Kill

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    GPS are ok, In the army we called them pluggers. BUT ! I still would carry a good military compass and know how to use it. They will never let you down and they don't need batteries.
     
  17. SGT109FA

    SGT109FA Eat this Osama

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    Ditto Dude on the compass!
     
  18. Flatlander03

    Flatlander03 StraightShooter

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    Yup, and the compass always works in heavy woods where the GPS will not.;P
     
  19. Sierra

    Sierra Millennium Member

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    Come on, my Garmin will work in dense brush but it might take a while for it to receive the signal. I am not in any fashion trying to make the case that a GPS alone as a replacement for a compass/map. However, if you have enough batteries you can back track from where ever you are to where you started from.

    The GPS is in its glory verifying your navigation skills. I use mine about twice a day in the field to see if I am where I think I am.

    Also the GPS will show you where you need to go (in a straight line) but will not show you the lake, cliff, river between you and your destination. Those with city maps are cool but out in the sticks things are different. I don't think the topographic maps are quite up to speed on them yet.

    The reliance on batteries alone should motivate the outdoorsman/woman to learn land navigation and keep those skills sharp.
     
  20. noway

    noway

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    { The GPS is in its glory verifying your navigation skills. I use mine about twice a day in the field to see if I am where I think I am.}

    If you think that using a GPS glorifies you're navigational skills try it with a old compass and map. That's shows true navigational skills.

    I whent out on a hunt and find drill with about 4 guys on 3 teams over 5 miles of wood forest terrain. We had to hike to various check points using just bearing directions given and compass and retrieve 4 objects.


    2 person where lost for well over 3 hours, one team found 1 objects, my team only found 3 before the expiration time and the last team thought they where traveling north east and where actually going south and ended up over 6 miles out of boundary and of course found 0 objects.


    GPS is great but like this army-vet once told me, any idiot can follow a GPS but it takes skills to master a compass and map and specially when you do it at night using the stars.