Forum: Misc. GPS Equipment Information
Topic: What GPS do you Use and why?
started by: Quinn

Posted by Quinn on July 12 2001,2:44 pm
I have been spouting off about the Gps Equipment that I own and use. Now I would like to hear back from others as to why they like what they have, or maybe the main reason they bought it in the first place.
Fess up people!  :)
Posted by Road Kill on July 12 2001,5:34 pm
I use a Garmin GPS II Plus. Why? Because that's what the kids got me for Xmas 2 1/2 years ago. †I don't really know the reason behind their choice but, now that †I'm hooked on caching, I think they made a wise choice. †:biggrin:
My first experiences were while the sats were scrambling so I was weened on the averaging function and I've learned to recognize the good from the bad. I have looked at a few III Plus's and can't say that I would need their maps.  Bottom line - I don't think I'll be trading up soon. †
Posted by Gimpy on July 13 2001,2:20 am
I've done my share of spouting off also,but I'd like to jump in here too.The only unit I've got 100% faith in is still the III Plus.It's the least expensive unit of the 3 that I own, but the darn thing just refuses to let me down! No matter what the tree cover is,or the weather is or even when the batteries are getting low, it just keeps on performing flawlessly. Since I got the MAP76, I keep meaning to go out the door after a few caches with just the MAP, but I can't get out of the driveway without running back in for the III Plus.The Plus doesn't have the memory capacity that I'd like,but even with 1.4 mb. of memory, I've got topo maps loaded in there for everything from Lake Ontario to the boys cache down at Alfred & from Genesee County to darn near Syracuse.That covers every cache in & around our area, & then some.The Plus does'nt have waas, but when I put the 2 units side by side & have the waas activated on the MAP, the Plus gives me the same co-ordinates & an epe of no more than 4/6 ft. different than the MAP, while, except for the #35 waas bird. the Plus is pulling in just as many sats.Under heavy tree cover, the III Plus still gets better sat. coverage than the MAP, even with the external antenna connected to the MAP.I've noticed that when I'm moving in on a cache under heavy tree cover,the Plus will be right on the mark, while the MAP has to settle in for a bit.---If you'd like, you can tell me to stop now---.But there are still some features in the MAP thet I'd love to see in the Plus, but we know Garmin will never put it all in one package.I really like the MAP76 & I'm beginning to trust it more & more, but the Plus is still the unit for me.I might pick up another one just in case mine dies in a couple of years, and at that time, I might not be able to find one.Wanna talk about my Vista?--I don't!   See Ya  --Gimpy--
Posted by Bob Bowter on July 13 2001,3:26 pm
I may have my cachers's license revoked for saying this but caching is not the primary use for my Vista.  Most of the time I use it while just wandering in the woods, biking, canoeing or navigating unfamiliar streets.  For these activities itís an incredible unit.

If I were to use it primarily for caching, I would want a unit that performs better under heavy tree cover.  I'm borrowing a III+ and noticed that when the canopy is thick and satellite geometry is poor the III+ is far less sensitive to antenna orientation than the Vista.  I really have not had much trouble with the Vista in the woods, though I will say the III+ performance is better.

I'm keeping my Vista but considering a second unit.  The screen resolution and memory capacity of the III+ come up a bit short compared to the more recent designs, so I'll wait for the GPS V.  Like canoes, one GPSR is not enough for some of us.

Posted by Rocky on July 13 2001,8:56 pm
Kinda like Gimpy I now have more GPS units than hands.  All Garmin of course!  Started out with a 12, great unit for the money but no maps.  Then I went to a III and loved the map features.  Started to consider a III plus and asked Gimpy for advice, now have that and every thing Gimpy said I would ditto. Have had it only 3 days a do not know how I ever lived without it.
Posted by Iron Chef on July 14 2001,12:33 pm
I currently use a Venture, and most people know how I feel about the cheezy antenna  ;~)  I got it because the price was right and I didn't yet know about the differences in price.  Although I am kinda glad that I got it now (instead of the III+ which was my second or third choice as an uninformed consumer) because it helps support my internal reasoning for getting a GPS-V when it comes out  :~)  wahoo!  I just wish I could get a date from either Garmin or a vendor on when the unit is actually shipping.

To illustrate my faith in the Venture... when under tree cover at all I just turn it off.  No sense in wasting battery power when its not doing anything besides keeping time.  Yesterday I was hunting a cache and the GPS took me right to it... of course I didn't look right there next to my feet because I figured that it would be 40-70 feet off like it usually is *grins*.  I found it eventually, felt real stupid, and kicked myself.  It looks like I've found a buyer for my Venture (as soon as I get the GPS-V in and do some comparison tests) as I'm giving it to my family.  They live in San Diego which is a bit flatter and doesn't have the same kind of really bloody tall trees that we have here in Northern California.  This is not to say that the Venture isn't a good unit, only that it is a very picky unit in that it wants to operate in ideal conditions all the time.  It has also worked pretty good as it has helped me find a few caches so far.  :~)

Just my thoughts.

Posted by Bob Bowter on July 17 2001,3:05 pm
I'm back with some more to say about the Vista that I own and the III+ that I'm borrowing.  Over the last few days I walked a dozen or so miles with both units.

For the majority of my travels, the Vista performed adequately in the woods.  It did require some attention to the satellite screen and it lost lock occasionally while the III+ kept on tracking.  It has never lost lock for long but when it does near a cache, the hunt becomes a bit more challenging.  This might sound weird, but I kind of like the challenge.  When I'm placing a cache, my good ol' 12 XL with an external antenna assists in getting a trustworthy position.

Due its diminutive size and weight, the Vista rides comfortably under my hat, in my hand or pants pocket.  The cranial mount consists of a wide brim hat with a small piece of foam padding added for comfort.  In hand, the III+ was tiring to hold for any length of time.  I tried carrying the III+ in my pants pocket and was reminded of its presence with each step.  I preferred to keep the III+ in my pack when covering an distance.  Its shape and movable antenna made it easy to keep the birds in view.  The Vista requires some creative packing to prevent if from rolling over when logging in a pack pocket.

When the Vista is stowed, the GPS receiver can be shut down while it continues to log elevation for later viewing on the built in display. This is one feature that makes the Vista a very useful tool when hoofing up and down mountains.

My trail journal entries, somewhat cleaned up, are presented below.

Friday afternoon both units were taken on a walk in Mendon Ponds park.  The journey began west of the dog kennels.  The tall trees did not result in any loss of lock condition for either unit.  I marked a waypoint and entered the same coordinates into both GPSR's.  Repeated attempts to return to the marked position were successful using both units.  The Vista had me about 80 feet south of the spot on one attempt, the III+ sent me east 50 feet north on one attempt.  Just before I exited the woods the Vista pointed 30-50 feet west of the car, the III+ was dead on.  Once in the clear both were directing me to the driver's seat.

The next stop was the cache along Canfield road.  I shut down both units before entering the woods.  While walking I fired them both up.  The Vista would not acquire, the III+ locked on the birds in less than a minute.  The Vista needed to get a fix on a bird below 45 degrees in order to acquire.  The satellite geometry above 45 degrees group of birds in a nearly straight line.   If I stopped and tilted the Vista, it would get me a position but once I started walking it tanked.  I repeated this process a few time until I got to the cache site.  I did not observe any loss of lock with the III+.  I used the Vista to guide me to the cache. The internal compass kept me on track between position fixes.  Once at the cache site, the III+ was pointing me 35 feet west when standing over the box and the Vista told me to go 55 feet further west.  While looking for the cache, the satellite geometry improved and the Vista had no problem taking me out of the woods.

Saturday I took both units to High Tor while placing a new cache.  The Vista remained lock on birds throughout the hike.  At my first snack stop I pulled out the III+ and it had a hard time acquiring.  It was last on only 20 minutes ago.  At the new cache sit, the III+ and Vista consistently reported positions within a 10 foot radius.

Monday at lunch time I checked up on my Lunch Box cache.  A limb had fallen onto the rotting stump exposing the loot.  After a quick repair job to the cache, the Vista and III+ were switched on.  Both had just gotten their almanacs updated in an open field a short distance form the Lunch Box.  The III+ acquired only a few seconds before the Vista.  The III+ locked onto three birds close to the horizon that the Vista could not see.  Four waypoints were saved in each unit as I wolfed down my lunch.  The Vista required some effort to keep satellites in view while the III+ was far more forgiving.

Back at the lab I fired up MapSource and analyzed the results.  Even though the III+ had more birds to work with than the Vista, it logged a couple of nasty outliers.  One 83 from the cache and the other 61 feet away.  The Vista captured one stray point 35 feet from the Lunch Box.  The rest of the points form both units fell into a 16 foot diameter circle centered 53 feet from the cache.

It's not going to be easy handing over the III+ to ArtCriticNY.  Should I place an order for a III+ or wait for the V?  Something only a truly obsessed GPSR would write.

May your outliers be few,
Bob Bowter

Posted by Iron Chef on July 17 2001,7:39 pm
Quote: from Bob Bowter on 2:05 pm on July 17, 2001
...It's not going to be easy handing over the III+ to ArtCriticNY. †Should I place an order for a III+ or wait for the V? †Something only a truly obsessed GPSR would write.

May your outliers be few,
Bob Bowter

Thanks for all the info Bob, it was great to see a detailed comparison between an eTrex model and a III+.  And unfortuantly I'm in the same quandry as you when it comes to a III+ now or a V in a few months.  

October is sooo far away when your waiting for UPS to bring you goodies.

Posted by dwr50 on Aug. 05 2001,11:12 am
I just bought my first GPS. I had a loran on my boat so I knew the basics going in. I just read the forums and then shopped the local stores to see what was available. I chose the Magellan 315. I've only used it two days, but so far I like it. I'll be replacing my first set of batteries tomorrow. The 315 only uses two batteries so I think thats a plus.
Posted by mikechim on Oct. 25 2001,11:40 pm
I use the extrex venture, bought if cause of the price (and the city database, helps alot for map driving).  Haven't had any real problems getting caches with it, occasionally I may lose the signal for a while but it comes back.  Placing caches I haven't had a problem but it does take awhile since I take  a reading, leave come back take another one, leave etc like 15 times (an averaging feature would be nice) but hey you got to get the coordinates right.  I have also found it to be extremely durable, I've fallen on it many times and even tumbled down a 75ish foot cliff with it in my pocket (no I wasn't geocaching at night, I was hiking with a friends, and having her there with me I figured I could do something semi stupid (last couple months all my hikes have been solo).  Anyway just a few scratches on the face plate is all the damage that the gps bears (and those are mainly from improper storage in my car).
Posted by 300mag on Mar. 13 2002,6:45 pm
I use a lowrance gm100. I like it a lot . It as all the features needed.A zoom that goes out to 2000miles,audible alarm,screen customize,averaging ,cursor goto,mapping, map project ,project a wpt ...After moose hunting with my cousin we tested our gpsr. His was always locked in before me.I had a old mageland trailblazer xl. He had a Eagle expedition2. It impresed me with the way it was easy to use. So on boxing day I whent out and got this gm100. I find this unit very accurate even if it doesn't have waas and also as great sat lock in all sorts of conditions. It is true that it uses more batteries and is a bigger unit †than the newer †etrex line but this doesn't bother me. I too like Gimpy trust this unit a lot. ;)

Posted by Harrkev on Mar. 14 2002,7:31 am
Magellan Meridian Platinum.

I have this thing decked out with 128mb of maps!  :0

128MB in the palm of my hand (with USB writer), for far less money than any Garmin solution!!!
Posted by Quinn on Mar. 14 2002,11:34 am
Quote (Harrkev @ Mar. 14 2002,09:31 am)
Magellan Meridian Platinum.

I have this thing decked out with 128mb of maps! †:0

128MB in the palm of my hand (with USB writer), for far less money than any Garmin solution!!!

Hoof!  with 128 megs you can pretty much load the country. :)
Posted by Rob on Mar. 14 2002,12:00 pm
Iím using the Garmin E-map. Iíve never used anything else so I canít really compare it to other units. †I donít have any major complaints. †I use the Gamin Topographic Map Source software and have all the pertinent waypoints entered before I start the search. †I use rechargeable batteries and have been really satisfied with the length of charge. †I can easily get a days worth of use on a single charge. †Because I have less experience with the thing, Iím still at that stage where I walk around carrying it in front of me. And yes, Iíve had some close calls because I was looking at it instead of where I was walking.
My wife carries the sign that says, †:withstupid
Posted by Gimpy on Mar. 14 2002,1:22 pm
I really like the eMap. Not built quite as shatter resistant as the other Garmin units, so I just keep mine loaded with 64 mb. of maps covering pretty much all of whatever state I'm going to be in. Use it mainly for reference & finding restaurants etc. Got the data card programmer so I can download the whole state with Metroguide info in about 3 minutes. Still rely on the MAP76 for caching in the woods, with the optional external antenna if necessary. And the V can't be beat for road navigation. Love the autorouting with either Metroguide or CitySelect maps. CitySelect is nice in that you can load data for Canada too. Being as close to the Canadian border as we are up here, that comes in handy. :^:
Posted by Quinn on Mar. 14 2002,2:36 pm
Gimpy is so full of #%$@...he say's he likes one over the other but I can assure you that he brings them all along on each cache hunt. He has so many GPSR's strapped to his belt with batteries in them that if he were to die in the woods they would have to tape off the area as a toxic waste dump. :grinnin  Gimp is a walking Radio Shack™
Posted by Jumpmaster on Mar. 14 2002,9:56 pm
GPS units...that's a long story.  My first was a Magellan 2000.  I was driving and it fell from the seat of my Jeep into the floorboard and quit working.  Received a replacement from Magellan and sold it.

Next, I got a couple of Trimble military GPS receivers.  Their military nomenclature is the AN/PSN-10 Small, Lightweight, GPS Receiver (SLGR).  It's old, but at least it has averaging capability and you can turn that on or off.  Gulf War vintage.

Then I got the Magellan Trailblazer XL...mainly just because I'd wanted one since they came out.  The remotable antenna is a nice feature.  Original price when new was about $400.00.  I bought mine for about $50.00 on ebay.

Then I bought an eTrex new...the camouflage one with hunting/fishing times.  I don't hunt or fish, but they were out of the yellow one and the camo one just looks a lot cooler.  :)

Then, a couple of days ago, I sold the old eTrex and bought an eTrex Legend because I think the mapping capability will come in handy when traveling.  I like it a lot.  An added benefit for geocaching is that it has WAAS.  That will help out a lot when placing caches.

Posted by YardBoy on Mar. 14 2002,11:10 pm
"Yellow Submarine" (eTrex) and III+.  The eTrex suited me perfectly until I got NaviFritzed on my 50th NaviCache (deep gorge, up against a wall & under trees).  I then purchased the III+, went back to the scene of the crime, & got 'Fritzed again :nono

I take both whether NaciCaching or GeoDashing & the III+ seems slightly better under trees.
Posted by The Parkers on Mar. 19 2002,11:33 am
I started out with a Garmin 12 about 2 years ago and just recently bought a Garmin 76. I use OziExplorer and MS Streets and Trips and don't really have a need for a GPSr with the ability to load maps. I picked the 76 as a replacement to the 12 as it has many of the same features like averaging and it allows waypoint projection. The screens are close to the 12 as well so I found it easy to use right off the bat.

The 76 allows an external antenna which is handy at times. It also stores longer tracks than the 12 did. Having WAAS doesn't do a whole lot of good up here in Canada and especially when we're in the mountains so it's turned off.

I tested out  a Summit first but didn't care for it and I found the compass and altimeter were more of a pain than useful.
Posted by Quinn on Mar. 19 2002,3:16 pm
Welcome to the forums Parker...I am not sure too much about the "Summit" but I kind of like the compass feature on a GPSR. The Vista was on the right track with all the neat toys it came with (compass included) but it lacked reception in my opinion. I'll just have to see how the "Platinum" fairs with this type of set-up.
Posted by The Parkers on Mar. 19 2002,6:46 pm
Quote (Quinn @ Mar. 19 2002,3:16 pm)
Welcome to the forums Parker...

There were a few things I didn't care for about the Summit, but to each his own. I think since I started with the fairly basic Garmin 12 and using my own compass, I sort of expected the same features I was used to when it came time to upgrade and the Garmin 76 worked for me.

When I bought the 12, there weren't too many choices out there seems to be something to suit everyone's needs - which I guess is the way it should be. :D
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