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Topic: GPS purchase research< Next Oldest | Next Newest >
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PostIcon Posted on: Dec. 19 2012, 6:55 am  Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Have never Owned / used a GPS except in the service where they were 5 pounds and the size of a laptop. A different animal all together.


I have downloaded Gaia GPS for my phone and have started tinkering with it. Seems pretty good now. Not sure what to expect on the trail when I am actually using it.

Lusting after the Garmin 62stc but even with an in store hook up its a bit more than I wanna spend on a GPS.

In the 200 range what might you experts recommend?

Thanks in advance!
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PostIcon Posted on: Dec. 19 2012, 7:13 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(greenfeet @ Dec. 19 2012, 3:55 am)
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In the 200 range what might you experts recommend?

I would look for a  Delorme PN40 with the topo software for around that price. Perhaps on E-Bay such as here.  IMO, Delorme has the best topo maps.

I own several GPS units. Perhaps a dozen or so. I generally  like Garmin units  for cars and motorcylces, but Delorme for hiking and backpacking.

-Don-


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PostIcon Posted on: Dec. 19 2012, 10:53 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

For a GPS, my only real desire is to have it give me coordinates, be waterproof, shockproof and have a lit screen for when I hike at night. The rest is luxury to me. I use Gaia on my phone these days and use my actual GPS (Garmin ETrex) as a backup. Are there any specific desires you want from a GPS?

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PostIcon Posted on: Dec. 19 2012, 12:01 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

I use a Garmin Oregon 450.  on sale, it can be found close to the 200 mark.

for me, reception and battery life are important, but user interface is, also.  I am not a fan of the clumsy text entry on models that have a joystick (like the etrex models) and the d-pad is not much better (most everything else).  try to enter descriptive titles and comments on a couple waypoints and you'll see what I mean.  so I sacrificed some battery life and possibly a little reception for the sake of a better UI on the Oregon.  I like it.  it could be better, but they could all be better.

having access to satellite imagery is kinda nice, but I don't use it much because it clutters the screen.  simple vector topos keep things clear and to the point.  I actually prefer Garmin for maps, but not for Garmin's maps.  Garmin models give you access to a huge variety of free user-created maps at www.gpsfiledepot.com.  Plus, I can create my own (and I have done so).  I've made extensive use of this while traveling.


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PostIcon Posted on: Dec. 19 2012, 12:50 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

I still rave about my smart phone vs the Garmin I had.  60 Csx

one spare battery and I'm covered w/GPS, camera, downloaded a first aid manual..(not my clever idea, stole it from a friend)...and bout 8,956 games my daughter downloaded onto it.

Works very very well in the thick canopy of the Adirondacks so it should be fine most places


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PostIcon Posted on: Dec. 19 2012, 3:27 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

i like my garmin etrex. it has worked well in Tennessee's thick forests. the joystick does make text entry a PITA, but otherwise it's nice way to navigate. my only real complaint is the software is painfully slow when adjusting the map... don't know if the fancier ones improve on that.

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PostIcon Posted on: Dec. 19 2012, 5:05 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(ashepabst @ Dec. 19 2012, 2:27 pm)
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don't know if the fancier ones improve on that.

they do

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PostIcon Posted on: Dec. 19 2012, 7:56 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(wildlifenate @ Dec. 19 2012, 9:01 am)
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Garmin models give you access to a huge variety of free user-created maps at www.gpsfiledepot.com.  Plus, I can create my own (and I have done so).  I've made extensive use of this while traveling.

I just downloaded and installed the CA topo map from there. I guess if you can add to it, it would be okay, but there sure is a lot of detail missing as is. No lake names, some smaller lakes not even shown, many trails not shown.

Doesn't compare at all to Delorme Topo. Have you compared to the Delorme topo maps? Seems there's not much to add to the Delorme topo maps.

-Don- SSF, CA


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PostIcon Posted on: Dec. 19 2012, 9:12 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(DonTom @ Dec. 19 2012, 7:56 pm)
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(wildlifenate @ Dec. 19 2012, 9:01 am)
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Garmin models give you access to a huge variety of free user-created maps at www.gpsfiledepot.com.  Plus, I can create my own (and I have done so).  I've made extensive use of this while traveling.

I just downloaded and installed the CA topo map from there. I guess if you can add to it, it would be okay, but there sure is a lot of detail missing as is. No lake names, some smaller lakes not even shown, many trails not shown.

Doesn't compare at all to Delorme Topo. Have you compared to the Delorme topo maps? Seems there's not much to add to the Delorme topo maps.

-Don- SSF, CA

The quality varies by state.  The AZ map there is better than any other I've seen, especially regarding trails and springs.
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PostIcon Posted on: Dec. 20 2012, 4:17 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(big_load @ Dec. 19 2012, 6:12 pm)
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The quality varies by state.
OIC

(big_load @ Dec. 19 2012, 6:12 pm)
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 The AZ map there is better than any other I've seen, especially regarding trails and springs.
Is Delomre Topo among those you have compared AZ to?

-Don-


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PostIcon Posted on: Dec. 20 2012, 4:24 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

I see the PN40 on E-Bay already sold for $99.00.  I would say whoever bought that got a very good deal.  

Was the buyer somebody here?

I own a PN40SE, which is the main GPS unit I use on my backpacking trips.

-Don- SSF, CA


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PostIcon Posted on: Dec. 20 2012, 1:37 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(DonTom @ Dec. 19 2012, 6:56 pm)
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(wildlifenate @ Dec. 19 2012, 9:01 am)
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Garmin models give you access to a huge variety of free user-created maps at www.gpsfiledepot.com.  Plus, I can create my own (and I have done so).  I've made extensive use of this while traveling.

I just downloaded and installed the CA topo map from there. I guess if you can add to it, it would be okay, but there sure is a lot of detail missing as is. No lake names, some smaller lakes not even shown, many trails not shown.

Doesn't compare at all to Delorme Topo. Have you compared to the Delorme topo maps? Seems there's not much to add to the Delorme topo maps.

-Don- SSF, CA

Delorme Topo cannot load on my GPS, so it's not worth anything to me.  as I described above, I do not like d-pad text entry so I would not buy a Delorme GPS, either.

I also do not rely on the GPS maps for everything.  They are simply a visual reference that speeds location finding.  I always carry a paper topo, which gives me a wider view with a high level of detail.  I definitely don't rely on digital maps for trail information.  That's probably the least reliable bit of data that gets included.  I also don't rely much on old topos for trail information, but I will use the best I can get.  A recent hike to a local Wilderness in TX was a perfect illustration of why.  All the trails were old county roads that were closed when the area was designated a Wilderness.  Most of them were completely grown over, and only a few remained.

I always search for more recent trail information on agency websites or visitor centers, published trail guidebooks (checking the pub date), NG Trails Illustrated maps, .gpx file upload websites, local trail websites, etc.

If the website provides GPS data, I can convert it to a transparent basemap file for my Garmin GPS and overlay it on top of any other maps I have loaded.  If there is a paper map that is drawn to scale, I can scan it, trace the trail, and convert it to a transparent basemap file, and load it onto my GPS as an overlay.  

If not, then I simply carry the paper map (which I would do anyway).

You also have to understand how many of those gpsfiledepot maps are created.  They are created using free publicly available GIS data.  The data commonly used for water sources comes from the National Hydrographic Database and it doesn't have everything.  The person generating the maps often controls how features are labelled, so they may opt to hide labels, or only include them at specific zoom levels.  This is one occasion where having satellite imagery can be useful.  Load sat imagery and you will often find water sources that do not appear in the NHD data.  Sometimes that works for trails, too, but it's locally variable.  In wetter climates with dense vegetation, trails can be impossible to find from sat imagery.  There is one mapmaker on that site who has been working on a nationwide transparent trails overlay, but it mostly covers the eastern part of the country for now.  He has had some problems getting digital trail data from the NPS, also, going so far as filing a FOIA request for it.


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PostIcon Posted on: Dec. 20 2012, 7:45 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

I have a Delorme pn 40 and a Garmin 60csx.  Battery life with the Delorme is horrible,  The Garmin blows it away in every way.  The Delorme allows satellite photos and other images which are mainly useless with the small screen.  Most images show canopy and are unreadable-mostly a gimmick.  I would like to see a smart phone that is waterproof and uses AA batteries so I can exchange batteries with headlamps etc. or buy new ones anywhere.  Someday smartphones will be the top choice, but not just yet.  On an extended hike-over 10 days or so.  The phone would be dead weight.  I also downloaded 24K topo maps for the Garmin for NJ, PA and MD.  They are pretty good and because I have the 100k Garmin maps installed, most POIs are covered.  The Garmin also has City Nav installed and gives good turn by turn directions.  It was my primary in vehicle GPS for years and after buying and installing European maps I used it in Ireland and Italy when on vacation.

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PostIcon Posted on: Dec. 20 2012, 10:24 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(Godxillax @ Dec. 20 2012, 4:45 pm)
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I have a Delorme pn 40 and a Garmin 60csx.  Battery life with the Delorme is horrible,  The Garmin blows it away in every way.  The Delorme allows satellite photos and other images which are mainly useless with the small screen.  Most images show canopy and are unreadable-mostly a gimmick.  I would like to see a smart phone that is waterproof and uses AA batteries so I can exchange batteries with headlamps etc. or buy new ones anywhere.  Someday smartphones will be the top choice, but not just yet.  On an extended hike-over 10 days or so.  The phone would be dead weight.  I also downloaded 24K topo maps for the Garmin for NJ, PA and MD.  They are pretty good and because I have the 100k Garmin maps installed, most POIs are covered.  The Garmin also has City Nav installed and gives good turn by turn directions.  It was my primary in vehicle GPS for years and after buying and installing European maps I used it in Ireland and Italy when on vacation.
I own both too.  I like the Topo maps on the Delorme MUCH better than anything Garmin has. There are several things I like about the Garmin too. But the maps, to me, are the most important. I look at my GPS more often than any paper map, but I bring both, along with an old fashioned compass, which I rarely use anymore.

The main feature I like about the Garmin is how it holds the "goto" after it is turned off. The Delorme doesn't. I also agree with you about the battery life. At least kinda, but see below. The strange thing is that the Delorme eats more battery even though it seems to turn more off than the Garmin when it is off.

I always bring plenty of extra batteries, so battery life is not much of an issue to me. BTW, you can extend Delorme battery  life my using lithium batteries and when they get weak, simply change to the  "alkaline" setting with the lithium batteries  still in there. That will allow the Delorme to work with weak batteries. But don't change the setting to "alkaline"  until the lithium batteries no longer run the unit. Lithium (not Lithium-ion) batteries put out more voltage than alkaline so also  don't forget to change it back to "lithium" when you install new lithium batteries. You may find when you do this, it will run longer than the Garmin on the same type of lithium batteries.

I only look at the satellite photos on a computer when I am home. I would never try to use such out in the boonies, screen way too small to be useful, as you say.

And BTW, I cannot stand to use CityNav. And you can get turn-by-turn directions on your PN40 too, when you set it for "road". You can also create a route in both. I used "roads"
one time with my PN-40SE, but I have several other GPS units that are more suited for vehicles. I own MANY vehicles, cycles and RV and each has it's own GPS. But here, I am only giving my opinion on the best units for backpacking, where there are no roads. And I find the detail of the Delorme topo  maps to be best, by far.

-Don-


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PostIcon Posted on: Dec. 20 2012, 10:36 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(wildlifenate @ Dec. 20 2012, 10:37 am)
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 I definitely don't rely on digital maps for trail information.  That's probably the least reliable bit of data that gets included.

Either would I with the Garmin.

I find the Delorme Topo trails  to be very helpful, even when not 100% accurate. One problem is the Delorme sometimes shows old trails that have not been used for years. Still useful, as you can still follow the GPS even if the trail has not been there for years, by setting your own waypoints up the trail on the unit until you get to the end or wherever you're going.

Since I prefer off trail hiking, I find following GPS trails that don't exist on the ground to make things much easier at times.

-Don-


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PostIcon Posted on: Dec. 21 2012, 1:07 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(DonTom @ Dec. 20 2012, 9:36 pm)
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(wildlifenate @ Dec. 20 2012, 10:37 am)
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 I definitely don't rely on digital maps for trail information.  That's probably the least reliable bit of data that gets included.

Either would I with the Garmin.

I find the Delorme Topo trails  to be very helpful, even when not 100% accurate. One problem is the Delorme sometimes shows old trails that have not been used for years. Still useful, as you can still follow the GPS even if the trail has not been there for years, by setting your own waypoints up the trail on the unit until you get to the end or wherever you're going.

Since I prefer off trail hiking, I find following GPS trails that don't exist on the ground to make things much easier at times.

-Don-

in the eastern half of the country, you might just find that it doesn't matter whose maps you use, trail data is equally crap.  it's most often because the trails I use most tend to be too new or not popular enough.

FWIW, I think you are too reliant on your GPS devices, anyway.


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PostIcon Posted on: Dec. 21 2012, 3:10 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

In areas with energetic foliage growth like in the wooded east trails are very perishable, not as much in more arid areas where trails can often be easily visible and followed decades after their last maintenance.

That said I largely use mine for general area location for which it's convenient to have a topo map display and my eyes for more specific route decisions.

A fast modern ETREX model, a UTM grid card and a nice USGS or other  topo map sheet and you'd have the same and better (the map having wider coverage than screen) at a fraction of the cost of a "big" screen full color display mapping gps unit.
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(wildlifenate @ Dec. 21 2012, 10:07 am)
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FWIW, I think you are too reliant on your GPS devices, anyway.

Perhaps, but I always bring two, with several extra batteries. Always my Delome PN40SE with Topo 8, and one of my many Garmins, using Garmin Topo.

-Don-


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I've had several Garmins: 45, 12xl, 60csx.  I always used them with a printed map from My topo, formerly Mapsource..  I still have a grid card in my wallet.  I bought the 60CSX to use in my car and boat. In Ireland that's all we used.  Search for a B&B, enter and go. Walking around Dublin, it was very effective. I could never get my Delorme to work as well.  I love their Street Atlas program though.  To bad it wouldn't work on the PN40 whereas on the Garmin I have Topo 2008, City Nav,  Blue water, and various topo maps from GPSFile.

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(Godxillax @ Dec. 21 2012, 3:42 pm)
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I've had several Garmins: 45, 12xl, 60csx.  I always used them with a printed map from My topo, formerly Mapsource..  I still have a grid card in my wallet.  I bought the 60CSX to use in my car and boat. In Ireland that's all we used.  Search for a B&B, enter and go. Walking around Dublin, it was very effective. I could never get my Delorme to work as well.  I love their Street Atlas program though.  To bad it wouldn't work on the PN40 whereas on the Garmin I have Topo 2008, City Nav,  Blue water, and various topo maps from GPSFile.
One thing Mapsource seems to do right that no other computer maps have is how you can decide on every scale how much detail you want.

For an example, you're driving down a dirt road in the middle of the NV desert where there is not much around. You want to see where the dirt road goes, so you scale out. With Mapsource, you can always still see the road when you scale out and on that new scale, you may choose as much detail as you like to the point that there is way too much on the screen to be useful, but still your choice.

With the Delorme, the dirt road will disappear when you scale out and there is no way to bring it back on the new scale. Sometimes it's almost impossible to see where the road goes, unless you have all day to follow it up the GPS unit, which gets very tricky and slow sometimes.

I wish they could combine all the features that I want in Delorme Topo with all the features I want in the Garmin Mapsource with all the GPS unit features I want in each, in one unit. But I doubt if that will ever happen.

-Don-  (in rainy SSF, CA)


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PostIcon Posted on: Dec. 22 2012, 7:44 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

DT - you know what sort of support delorme is offering for its products now. They seem to be out of stock in many places and I'm wondering if they are planning to continue with their gps line.

How do you find it to use. A lot of people describe it as fiddly.
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PostIcon Posted on: Dec. 22 2012, 8:25 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

I've been trying to download some new maps to my PN40/  Several hours, many attempts, still can't get it to do it.

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PostIcon Posted on: Dec. 22 2012, 11:28 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

I second Delorme. For my criteria the Garmin's were over priced and I was not fond of having a touch screen in the winter when I will use it the most.
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(Land Rover @ Dec. 22 2012, 4:44 pm)
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DT - you know what sort of support delorme is offering for its products now. They seem to be out of stock in many places and I'm wondering if they are planning to continue with their gps line.

How do you find it to use. A lot of people describe it as fiddly.
I like the way the Garmin units works better, but I find the better detail of the Delorme maps to be much more important. I don't find it to be a problem to use the Delorme. Out in the boonies, I find plenty of time to play around with the units and get used to them.

With the Delorme topo maps, I like the way the elevation displays with the pointer / mouse and better detail. The elevation displays wherever the pointer is, no need to be on a contour line. But Mapsource has an important feature too, such as being able have more detail on  scaling out  without anything disappearing.

It's all a trade-off. I like to bring two GPS units, which helps a bit.

I have not used Delorme support for several years and only one time when my PN40SE crapped out. They sent me a new one in just a few days, and still using that one. IIRC, they sent me the new one even before they even received my broken one. I had no complaints.

But I never used Garmin customer service. That's the best service of them all--the one you never need.

The Delome works differently than Garmin units, but even some new Garmin units work differently than older Garmin units. So if you're used to Garmin, you might have to play around with the Delorme a bit to get used to all the differences. But it's not a big deal or that hard to get used to.

And the Delorme maps show  street names for even the smallest streets, so that can be useful on a computer while checking stuff other than boonie type stuff when you're home.

-Don-


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PostIcon Posted on: Dec. 23 2012, 6:42 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(Godxillax @ Dec. 22 2012, 5:25 pm)
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I've been trying to download some new maps to my PN40/  Several hours, many attempts, still can't get it to do it.

I have not downloaded maps to my Delorme in years, but I had no trouble doing it when I did. What version of Delorme maps are you trying to send to your PN-40?

Have you tried the Delorme help forum here.?

-Don-


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PostIcon Posted on: Dec. 23 2012, 4:15 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

I'm using TN 9.  I had a PN20 for a while. Didn't like it at all.  Too slow.  When I bought the 20, the ads stated that it would work with SA as well as TN-not true.  Because I was interested in the USGS quads and the sky shots, I bought a PN40.  I can't get a 32g sd to work and with a 4g it takes forever to download maps.  My TN 9 doesn't recognize an SD in the card reader so I have to use the USB cable. have been using both the PN and the 60CSX for years now.  Until recently, 4 years ago, my 60CSX was also my vehicle GPS. I finally got a dedicated car unit.  I also have several RINOs, 520, 530 and recently sold my older models.  I still would never go BPing without paper maps.  I mush prefer the bigger picture of a map to a little screen.  I have used MY Topo for maybe 20 years, since it was G-Ref.  I also like Ozzie Explorer.

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PostIcon Posted on: Dec. 24 2012, 1:31 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(Godxillax @ Dec. 23 2012, 1:15 pm)
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I'm using TN 9.  I had a PN20 for a while. Didn't like it at all.  Too slow.
I too have a Pn20, as well as the PN40SE. While the pn20 was a lot slower, it was about the same as other units for its time. I was happy with mine. I was never in a big hurry for it to load the maps and find my location. But it was slower to do other things with, such as mark a distant waypoint on the map. But it gave me something to do after being all set up.

(Godxillax @ Dec. 23 2012, 1:15 pm)
QUOTE
When I bought the 20, the ads stated that it would work with SA as well as TN-not true.
Ask in the forum and see what they say. I've only used Delorme Topo in mine and it has always worked fine for me. I've used the SD card a few times too, with no problems.

(Godxillax @ Dec. 23 2012, 1:15 pm)
QUOTE
 Because I was interested in the USGS quads and the sky shots, I bought a PN40.  I can't get a 32g sd to work and with a 4g it takes forever to download maps.  My TN 9 doesn't recognize an SD in the card reader so I have to use the USB cable. have been using both the PN and the 60CSX for years now.  Until recently, 4 years ago, my 60CSX was also my vehicle GPS. I finally got a dedicated car unit.  I also have several RINOs, 520, 530 and recently sold my older models.  I still would never go BPing without paper maps.
Again, ask in the forum to see why. I always print out the Delorme paper maps for my trips. Several, for different scales of the same area.

(Godxillax @ Dec. 23 2012, 1:15 pm)
QUOTE
 I mush prefer the bigger picture of a map to a little screen.
I mainly use the paper maps to decide where to go and the GPS to see how far I have to go to get there, and in which direction, where possible. Where not possible, I use it to get back on track after going around a hill or whatever.

-Don-


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PostIcon Posted on: Dec. 24 2012, 8:54 am Skip to the previous post in this topic.  Ignore posts   QUOTE

I've checked in the forums and also with delorme. The SA reference was wrong and the unit does not work with SA.  TNA didn't support turn by turn mapping either back then. It might have been Topo 2007 or so.  I use MY TOPO (Terrain Navigator, G-Ref) for my printed maps.  It was the first to allow UTM grids to be printed.  I could also customize my print areas.  This was before Delorme had a GPS and I still prefer to use it. It is too pricey now.  I used SA 2-8 on my laptop, first with  my Garmin 45 then my 12xl. I then bought the Delorme earthmate because it was smaller. I was disappointed that it didn't have a magnetic mount. I was mistaken in that with TN 9, I can't access the SD card directly that is how I use my Garmin.  I plug the card into a reader and use it from Mapsource.  With the Delorme I have to go through Windows explorer. I had forgotten that.  With a 32g card it would only load through windows, not the cable. I usually only use the GPS when off trail to find a small pond or lake to swim in.  It is also good for taking shortcuts to roads.  But I would always use a topo map.

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