What kind of GPS do you have?

spectr17

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Let's take a survey and see what everyone is using for a GPS and any software if they are downloading into their computers.

I started a few years back with a Magellan 2000. It plain sucked becasue of the 8 channel design. I upgraded to a 12 channel 4000 XL and finally loved using a GPS.

I upgraded a year ago to a Garmin GPSIII. I ilke the feature of being able to rotate the screen and pop in on my truck dash while scouting. When I need to hike an area I just flip the screen back and take off. The external antenna is nice to have but I haven't really need to use it yet. You do have to be careful about the protruding antenna, the antenna will not take the pounding like my dirt biker buddies dish out.

Battery life is about the same for most GPS units I've used. The op manual is easy to figure out and the Garmin is very intuitive as far as buttons and menu functions. It locks up quickly on satellites.

For dislikes, I wish there was more room than 6 letters for naming a waypoint.

I made my own 12vdc cig. lighter cable and computer download cable using the connector from LArry's Pplug project. I have Delorme's Topo USA, Maptech's Terrain Navigator, Wildflower's TOPO and Ozie Explorer and I use Ozie the most. I get the free DRG maps (topo maps for computers), from GIS Data Depot and then use Ozie to upload/download my waypoints and other info.

How about evryone else, what kind of GPS do you have and what are your likes and dislikes? Do you download or uplaod your GPS info to you computer and if you do, what software are you using?

Links for GIS Data Depot  http://www.gisdatadepot.com/catalog/US/index.html

LArry's Pplug project for Garmin data cable connectors  http://pfranc.com/projects/g45contr/g45_idx.htm
 

Richard Webb

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Jesse,

Up until a month ago I had 4 ea GPS receivers.  An Eagle AccuNav Sport 5 channel, Garmin 12XL, Garmin GPSIII, and Magellan 2000XL.  The five channel just didn't lock on in the woods, so last month I finally gave the Eagle AccuNav to my fishing buddy for his boat.  Now, that leaves me with the two Garmins and one Magellan.  In the field the Magellan 2000XL (a trimmed down version of the 4000XL) is my favorite, because of the two large bold UTM figures that match the two large bold figures along the edges of 24K Topographical Maps.  Also, the 2000XL has two separate position screens, and I have one set for NAD27 UTM, and the other set for WGS84 Degrees & Decimal Minutes.  By the way, the WGS84 Screen is the way the US Coast Guard & other Government agencies want distress calls.  The 2000XL seems to be as accurate as the Garmins when returning to a waypoint (15 feet), but the Magellan's saved tracks are not accurate.  If you ever try to follow a Magellan saved track through the woods at 3AM you will surely wander 200 feet off course (best case), and sometimes wander so far off course that you will loose the advantage of using GPS.

In this respect both the Garmins (especially the GPSIII) are head & shoulders above Magellan.  I mentioned the Garmin 12XL & Paramedic Tool Case in a previous post, so I wont go into it again.  However, if I had to narrow it down to one GPS it would surely be the Garmin GPSIII.  The flip flop screen makes it compatible for horizonal use on the dash of my 4X4, boat counsel, & bike, and the vertical screen for use while hiking. The G3 plotter screen zooms in to 120 feet, and the Garmin software is so accurate that one can follow a track through the woods at 3AM with precision.  The G3's 10 saved plot trails added to the 1900 active plot memory make about 4000 track point available for home brew precision maps.  The California Delta where I fish for striper during the winter is very foggy, and I have the sloughs traced into the G3.  This system is so accurate that I actually could navigate at night without any lights. (poor man's radar!)

For GPS & Mapping software I use both Waypoint+ & OziExplorer, and of course, I use MicroDem for Terrain Visualizations.  Freebie Waypoint+ has the best plot screen for editing existing tracks, and Ozi is by far the best mapping software.  I doubt if a more accurate track could be generated with more expensive software, but I'm open to debate?  Ozi also creates & imports Shape files which I use as overlays on MicroDEM visualizations.  My system is very simple, and fast.  One weekend I may be boating in the Delta fog, the next cross country skiing, and the next boar hunting on BLM land.  All three cases require very precision tracks to be generated & loaded into my GPS at short notice.  The cost of the GPS is easily off set by not having to pay to hunt.  There is plenty of BLM available if you know where it is, where the property boundaries are, and can load these boundaries into your GPS.

These GPS Tracks & Waypoints are easily e-mailed, so just let me know if you guys want anything that I have posted.  Or, just forward the UTM coordinates of of the BLM plates that look interesting.

Richard



     
 

Richard Webb

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Jesse,

The accuracy of your GPS can be easily checked by standing over a near by Geodetic Survey Bench Mark Monument.  Some of these Monuments are on the Quads, but the best way to find one along with the exact GPS Coordinates is to look up the Data Sheet on the Internet.  Here is the URL:

http://www.ngs.noaa.gov/cgi-bin/ds_radius.prl



Your GPS should be accurate to 15 feet 80% of the time.  So, while standing over the Monument watch how your GPS' UTM last figures change, and use the 80% of the time figure.  This figure will be in meters, so you'll have to convert it.

Richard
 

gizz

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Well I'm not as High tech as you guys but I do have a Garmin 12XL. I purchased this unit about 5 years ago and appreciate its reliability. I've went on a couple "self" hunts up in Quebec in unfamiliar area and having one of these, although not a direct replacement for a compass, sure gives some confidence of finding your way back.
I use MapTech Terrain Navigator and purchased the CD for my home state of PA. Without getting into all the small details I'd say I'm very happy with it's simplicity and the ease of importing/exporting waypoints with the Maptech software. I've only had a few occasions where I had to move to get a signal because of a "too heavy" canopy.
BTW, is selective scrambling a thing of the past??
How accurate should my 12XL be if so?
 

Gun Docc

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Hello fellers,

i used to own 2 units , one was an older 8 channel motorolla unit . gave it away to someone

i now have the Magellan 315 and it is ok for it,s capabilities but i am looking to upgrade to a unit that can use the mapping software soon.

currently i have the Delmore topo 3d seires maps  but don't use it much as they don't use the UTM grid system. i know that you can upgrade this software to be able to use the UTM,s but it costs to do so from Delmore and i like other software better.
i also have software from wildflower topo which is heads over heels better than the Delmore software as it is a whole lot easier to use with your waypoints from the field to the puter or from the puter to the woods...lol.

the Magellan 315 is a very easy gps to use but it lacks in getting you any closer than 100 feet to your waypoint. on several occasions i have marked a waypoint, such as a tree to climb while deer hunting. and then when it comes time to go find that particular tree which happens to be on a hot feed sign. well the gps will only get you within the general area, you still have to know where the tree is just from your woods senses. the Magellan 315 will not get you to the exact spot. as for going to a waypoint, the closest you can set it to give you a proximity alarm is 100 feet and most of the time it will not even go off when you arrive at your saved spot. this is why i am looking to upgrade, and looking to go to the Garmin units.
 
C

caseype

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I have a Garmin 12XL and  StreetPilot. I use the 12XL in the woods and car and the SP in the car. I download using  MapSource Metroguide and also Roads and Recreation, Microsoft Streets & Trips 2001, DeLorme Topoquads and Street Atlas. I also use g7towin to manipulate tracks and waypoints. Of all this software, none of them do all the tasks I need, but some do certain tasks better than others.
The 12XL with the external amplified antenna works good in the woods, and I feel the StreetPilot is handicapped by its low 100 waypoint capacity.
 

Richard Webb

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Gun Docc,

I'm pretty sure that your Magellan 315 will get you closer than 100 feet.  One method is to write down the UTM Coordinates of your waypoint, and after the arrival alarm sounds, for you to move at right angles watching the UTM  figures.  The other method is to know the dimensions of your plotter screen in pixels, and the area of ground that it represents when zoomed in all the way.  That is the resolution of your plotter screen.  BTW, the Garmin 12XL is not very good in this respect, but the Garmin GPS III does a lot better.  Also, it is very helpful to know what the length of your curser represents on the ground when zoomed in. My Magellan 2000XL returns to a waypoint with the curser point being 15 feet or less from home 80% of the time.  That's pretty good, however the Garmin GPS III will do that while following a saved track trail.  That's excellent!  With all the improvements that Magellan has made to their software your 315 should also follow a saved track?  The 2000XL wont do it, so I'm wondering?  Does your curser point stay on the track when you walk around the block a second time with the plotter screen zoomed in all the way?


Richard
 

Gun Docc

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Richard,

yes the 315 will follow basically the same track when zoomed in using the plotter scale but while going to a saved waypoint that has been put in previously into memory then going back to it is not one of the 315's strongpoints.
i am bad to delete my tracks from one trip to the next, as i hunt so many different places and i like to keep the plotter screen fom being so cluttered.

yes i have used the UTM numbers visually to find the spot but this is a hassle while trying to find your waypoint in the dark carrying a tree stand on your back and your gun or bow in your hand....lol
it would be much better if the GPS unit would do this for you.
from what i understand of the Garmin units that i have handled in the field, they show you within feet of just how close you are to your waypoint onscreen and the Magellen does not. i used a Garmin E-map of a friend of mine and found it to be better at getting you close just by watching the screen where it is telling you how close you are within feet .many times it would let you know within 1 foot.
from what i understand from Garmins site the garmin 12 map is basically the same as a gpsIII except it is better suited to rugged use.
do you know if this is so ?
or is it closer to the E-map and just in a waterproof case where the E-map is not.
Thanks
 

Richard Webb

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Gun Docc

After thinking over what has been posted about the Magellan 315 I got a little worried about my Magellan, so today I did a test while standing over a survey marker with my 2000XL.  After about 20 minutes of watching the UTM display I noticed that only rarely did the last UTM digit change.  So, I used the 99% of the time figure to get these results:  

9.84 foot Northerly error.
3.23 foot Easterly error.

That's fantastic accuracy, not to mention the fact that I purchased that gadget from Cabal's for $149, and my 5th grader dropped it on the driveway while unloading the Jeep.

For those interested in testing their own GPS:

First I visited the Internet site above, searched for the Geodetic Data Sheets within a 10 mile radius, and chose a GPS site where I could park & not have to get permission to access private property.

Now here is the tricky part:  The coordinates on the datasheets were established in NAD 83 Datum with Degrees, Minutes, Seconds, and Decimal Seconds carried out to 5 places.  This is where Magellan's two position screens come in handy.  I set the first screen (primary screen) to NAD 83 in Degrees Minutes, and Seconds.  I set the second position screen to NAD 27 in UTM, so that I could watch the more accurate UTM figures while out in the field.  Then, I created a Land Mark (Waypoint) using the coordinates on the Datasheet with the lowest whole second, and reset the first position screen to NAD27 with UTM.  In this case I only needed to interpolate the Northerly meters, so I jotted down the last 3 figures which were 116 meters.  Then I set the first position screen back to NAD83 with Degrees Minutes, and Seconds. Next, I edited the Land Mark's northerly seconds to read one more second.  Repeating the procedure of changing to UTM, and jotting down the last three figures which were 147 meters.

In order to interpolate the Datasheet's 37 Degrees 47 Minutes, 34.54799 Seconds I subtracted the 34 seconds 116 meters figure from the 35 seconds 147 meters figure to get 31 meters.  Then to interpolate the decimal seconds I multiplied 31 meters by the decimal seconds (.54799), and added that to the smaller number getting 133 meters.  So, my little $149 Magellan was now corrected in UTM mode only.  Which was a northerly UTM reading of 4183133.  Note that without the interpolation there could be up to a 31 meter error, which of course would have been an operator error, and probably the reason that the specs say accuracy of 15 meters?  For all practical purposes the GPS is right on.

However, I still think that the manufactures need to improve the other stuff like plotter screens & navigation screens.  Why can't they be as accurate as the position screen?  After all, if we can do it with a little calculator surely a microprocessor can do it.

Richard
 

Tinhorn

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I am considering upgrading to one of the new GPS units and would like some advice.

First off, I have a Magellan 4000 (not XL) which I liked extremely well untill they turned off SA.  It seems to have an accuracy problem to me.  If I save a landmark and immediately "Goto" that landmark, it says the distance is 0 but after a few hours or days later, standing in the same place and entering "Goto" it usually says the distance is .1 miles????   etc.   etc.   etc.

Anyway, it's too slow at locking on and seems to lose the lock easily, compared to a Garmin 12 and a Magellan Color-Trak my buddies have. (an aside, the Magellan Color-Trak has locked up several times on my buddy, especially on HOT days!)  Also, I hate the green screen on the 4000, hard to read it

Here is what I "Think" I want:  

Economical to purchase (cheap)

Since I'm used to Magellan's Land navigation terminology, I prefer it (Landmark)  over ocean terminalogy (Waypoints) (I know the change would be easy but.....)

I don't really care about built in maps or landmarks of cities and hate to pay for that feature.  They would be fine for travelers I guess but I'm just lost in the woods and could care less where New York City is.

Light screen with dark letters, easy to see and read

I really like the Track (Plotter) and the Garmin resolution is the best, even plots my circle driveway, the 4000 won't do it (at least not smoothly) and the track don't have nearly as much memory as the Garmin

The Garmin 45 I played with a while did not indicate when it lost Lock-on, I def want to know if it's not locked onto the satelites (and maybe they all do now, I don't know)

I thought they all enlarged certain numbers of the UTM coordinates but sure would want that too

I sometimes change the distance from miles to kilometers to pin down the location to (about) yards, didn't realize some had a "Feet" feature and can see where that would be nice

How much is the antenna sticking out of the Magellan a problem, seems like I would prefer a squared off unit

***************************

Well, anyway, you get the picture......

Now, what do I want?????????  

Thanx in advance and sorry for the long post

(Richard - have you heard of Project 4?)
 

Richard Webb

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Tinhorn,

I don't have a clue as to what Project 4 is. I have had 4 ea GPS receivers, and my Garmin GPS III is the best yet.  The only thing I can find wrong with it is that the antenna falls off once in a while.  The flip flop screen makes it easy to use on the dash of my 4X4, and that's where it spends most of its time.  I still use my Magellan 2000XL for map reading, becasue of the two large bold UTM figures that match the two bold figures along the edges of the Quadrangle Maps.  For map reading the 2000XL is the best yet.  Is your Magellan 4000 UTM screen the same as the 2000XL?  If so, you had better hang on to it, becasue the new ones have such small UTM figures that it's almost impossible to use them in the field.

Richard

Richard
 

PowDuck

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Tinhorn,

Seems to me like you're looking for about the same thing I need in a GPS unit. I have an Eagle AccuNav unit that I almost never carried with me in the woods due to it's large size, etc. Then I got a Garmin eTrex. It goes with me everywhere due to its size and ability to lock on even in dense cover. No, it's not the most fancy and doesn't have a lot of bells and whistles but... it IS accurate and easy to use. It's also very affordable.

Like you, I could care less where 5th Avenue in NewYork City is, I just want to know where the duck blind/tree stand/truck is when I want to get there.

I use the DeLorme 3D TopoQuads software.

P.S. - Always carry a compass.
 

Tinhorn

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Richard:

Project 4 is a gov't program that converts from NAD27 to WGS84 (is it) and vs but does some other conversions too, like from Lat/Long to UTM or Military Grid systems,  etc....I have been trying to find the site for you to look at but no luck,  for some reason, I can't find it on their program I downloaded either.......if u r interested, say the word and I WILL find it....

U r rite, the Mag 4000 UTM screen has enlarged Numbers like the 2000XL

PowDuck,  I still havent decided on which Unit to get,  I like what Richard said about the Garman GPS III but.......

Bow season is when I use it the most so got a few months to decide.  I'm getting so lazy in my old age that when I get so far off the road I don't see beer cans anymore I'm at about the limit of my walking distance anyway, why do I need one of those dumb things!   ha ha  ......

See Ya!

Tinhorn
 


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