Buyting GPS - which one ?

Submitted: Wednesday, Jan 08, 2003 at 11:33
ThreadID: 2854 Views:1826 Replies:7 FollowUps:18
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I intend to ask my mate in the US to buy a GPS and have it shipped over to me (hopefully to save some $$$). I will be using it for 4WD and also very regularly mountain biking and bush walking.

I am confused by all the brands and memory sizes etc.

Also, should I buy a matching CD Map to go with the GPS, or would I be better off sticking with good old printed maps ?

Can anybody give me some help ?



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Reply By: Andrew O - Wednesday, Jan 08, 2003 at 13:17

Wednesday, Jan 08, 2003 at 13:17
I personally have a Garmin GPS76 used in conjunction with a laptop and oziexplorer. I don't like the crappy interface on the GPS's so went with one that has plenty of memory for waypoints, routes & tracks, and can effectively operate independently of the laptop, and then can be connected givning me moving map etc on a much larger and useful screen. The resolution on the GPS76 screen is also pretty good.
Cheers ... Andrew
AnswerID: 10827

Reply By: OziExplorer - Wednesday, Jan 08, 2003 at 14:30

Wednesday, Jan 08, 2003 at 14:30
CC your best bet would be the Garmin eMap. The eMap has excellent reception quality, has a bracket available that can clip onto your mountain bike handlebars, which is what I use on my motorbikes, is a great size to stick in your pocket, is a mapping GPS and will use NiMH batteries without an issue. The other thing about Garmin, all the software supports Garmin, and you do not have to change any settings to upload and download Waypoints, Tracks or Routes.
As for the maps, you can view them here:
then at the top of the page on the right hand side click on the drop down dialogue box "MapSource Map Viewer" then select the second item down "Metroguide Australia".
You can get a great deal on the eMap from Johnny Appleseed GPS in Brisbane:
The base map on the eMap is only what you call at best reasonable, and the available GPS mapping is also only reasonable as you will see on the Garmin website. However, the Garmin mapping is better than the Magelland mapping and is also less than half price of the Magellan mapping.
The only Magellan model avaialble that really comes up is the new SporTrak, but in Australia the price is extortion. This is an excellent GPS and the only one in the Magellan range I would buy. I actually have a SporTrak given to me as a present. Having used the large majority of GPS units, that is my opinoin on what is suitable for your use.
The GPS76 like John (I think) replied, is a great GPS, but not suitable for using on your bike, as there is no mounting bracket available, and is a tad big for bushwalking.
AnswerID: 10829

Follow Up By: Member - Ray - Wednesday, Jan 08, 2003 at 18:19

Wednesday, Jan 08, 2003 at 18:19
oz,I have a Magellan Meridian which I am still learning about( and I am quite happy with it ) and I was given a Etrex on the weekend . I have Oziexplorer but I have discovered my laptop wont run the
auslig maps. though it will run the Desert treks. ( need a newer laptop) Do you reckon I should persevere with the magellan or get the mapping software for the EtrexThanks
FollowupID: 5813

Follow Up By: Oziexplorer - Thursday, Jan 09, 2003 at 06:41

Thursday, Jan 09, 2003 at 06:41
Ray, there is no good reason why your present laptop will not run the Auslig/Natmap maps. What version or describe the front cover of the Auslig Map CD case.
When you say you cannot run them, can you describe the problem you are having.

Ray the Magellan Meridian works no problem, but it is just the interface and hardware design, not the best receiver under adverse conditions, and the large old fashioned clumsy plug they put on the back. If you don't use other GPS's or have never previously, you will not know the issues. Equipment is like software, the unit you own and know is the best one for you. The new Meridian models are supposedly not far away with a smaller case, better screen resolution to match Garmin, and generally a complete change in design.
FollowupID: 5859

Reply By: CC - Wednesday, Jan 08, 2003 at 14:45

Wednesday, Jan 08, 2003 at 14:45

Thanks a lot for the advice.

Have a great day !

AnswerID: 10830

Reply By: Gary - Wednesday, Jan 08, 2003 at 16:48

Wednesday, Jan 08, 2003 at 16:48
Just check the BASE MAP - if it's bought in USA, the base map will be different to Oz... so it will not read properly over here.

Check with Mapland in Melbourne or some other GPS specialist first before you buy :))
AnswerID: 10835

Follow Up By: Cc - Wednesday, Jan 08, 2003 at 17:07

Wednesday, Jan 08, 2003 at 17:07
That's a good point Gary. Thanks.
FollowupID: 5806

Follow Up By: Oziexplorer - Wednesday, Jan 08, 2003 at 17:59

Wednesday, Jan 08, 2003 at 17:59
Gary is correct on the Garmin, base map cannot be changed by user, however if you are buying the Metroguide this is not an issue.

With Magellan, you can change the base map on some models.
FollowupID: 5810

Follow Up By: Lyds - Wednesday, Jan 08, 2003 at 18:02

Wednesday, Jan 08, 2003 at 18:02
So if you do buy a Garmin from the US how do you change it?
FollowupID: 5811

Follow Up By: Oziexplorer - Wednesday, Jan 08, 2003 at 18:14

Wednesday, Jan 08, 2003 at 18:14
You have to send it to GME who will charge you more than the saving you made in the US to change the base map.

Personally, yes, I buy gear from the US, but not GPS gear. By the time you stuff around and often you get caught for customes and GST especially since the increase in checking, you are better buying in Australia.
FollowupID: 5812

Follow Up By: Truckster - Wednesday, Jan 08, 2003 at 18:21

Wednesday, Jan 08, 2003 at 18:21
Magellan Meridians can have the base map changed... FREE.

FollowupID: 5814

Reply By: Truckster - Wednesday, Jan 08, 2003 at 18:25

Wednesday, Jan 08, 2003 at 18:25 I got a Magellan Meridian Platinum thru, and saved nearly half on the aussie quoted price.. Not that Magellan could supply them at the time...

Mall will send it marked GIFT, then you pay NO duty, thus you save a fortune!!

Go forth and save....
AnswerID: 10843

Follow Up By: Lyds - Wednesday, Jan 08, 2003 at 18:35

Wednesday, Jan 08, 2003 at 18:35
What was the postage?
FollowupID: 5817

Follow Up By: Oziexplorer - Wednesday, Jan 08, 2003 at 19:19

Wednesday, Jan 08, 2003 at 19:19
Lyds, days of defrauding customs are over with the increased security.

Truckster just likes being a small time criminal and fraudster from copying software to defrauding the public of Australia to avoid paying his way.

What is more, the Magellan Merridian are not one of the better GPS units. Reason, the reception under adverse conditions is not terrific, the interface design is poor and they have far to many screens, the main switch is placed in a dumb place, the PC cable is clumsy and awkward, just check out the large bike mount and the receiver is that oversize it is not easy or suitable to put in your pocket. The revamped Meridian range is due for release according the rumours at the end of February.
FollowupID: 5821

Follow Up By: Truckster - Wednesday, Jan 08, 2003 at 20:25

Wednesday, Jan 08, 2003 at 20:25
Lyds, Ignore the fool. hes cheezed that he isnt smart enough to save $.

Mail them, they will tell you what the freight costs are. Different to each state. It wasnt much really(note was in around Sept Oct cant remember)
FollowupID: 5826

Follow Up By: Truckster - Wednesday, Jan 08, 2003 at 22:39

Wednesday, Jan 08, 2003 at 22:39
He couldnt resist saying it isnt good ..

Lyds, try group for 2439 happy owners.
FollowupID: 5845

Follow Up By: Oziexplorer - Thursday, Jan 09, 2003 at 06:43

Thursday, Jan 09, 2003 at 06:43
Why would you believe a thief like Truckster who steals peoples pictures and copyright, defrauds the Commonwealth of Australia openly and encourages others to do it, and steals and pirates illegal software.
FollowupID: 5860

Follow Up By: Oziexplorer - Thursday, Jan 09, 2003 at 06:48

Thursday, Jan 09, 2003 at 06:48
Why do you think Garmin has such a much greater share of the GPS market over Magellan - Reasons, the Magellan interface is poor in design, the mapping is extortion and more than triple the price of Garmin, check out the extortion prices of Magellan cables that are around $100 when you can buy the exact same cable in Garmin for $35, and what is more, you can buy Garmin plugs for a couple of dollars and make your own cables. The only really decent receiver Magellan have made is the SporTrak and everything else is sub-standard, accessories and mapping conservately two to three times overpriced to Garmin. What is more, many of the Magellan models do not even support the Australian datums. Magellan is a product you are better staying away from.
FollowupID: 5861

Follow Up By: Steve L - Thursday, Jan 09, 2003 at 07:43

Thursday, Jan 09, 2003 at 07:43

Horses for courses. I have a Magellan 315 and almost everyone I know has a Magellan of some sort. They are not the crap you purport them to be. I have no problems interfacing the unit and I have absolutely no reception problems under 'adverse conditions', and the unit supports the Australian Datums. I also love have a large number of different USER DEFINABLE screens to page trhough as a nd when I need them.

Personally I wouldn't touch a Garmin, so let's put it down more to personal preference rather than bagging the other manufacturer with claims that their units are substandard.
FollowupID: 5862

Follow Up By: Steve L - Thursday, Jan 09, 2003 at 07:47

Thursday, Jan 09, 2003 at 07:47

I think you might also find that Magellan has the biggest market share when you look at the global market, not just the overall tiny part that is Australia.
FollowupID: 5863

Follow Up By: Oziexplorer - Thursday, Jan 09, 2003 at 08:18

Thursday, Jan 09, 2003 at 08:18
Steve, never did I say they were crap. It depends on what you want to interface a Magellan to. Every program supports Garmin, only about half support Magellan and even those that do, few support Magellan fully in Waypoint icons and route and track formats. As for Magellan having the biggest market share, that is absolute nonsence. From memory I think Garmin has 60% to 70% market share world wide, but will have to check the figures. In Australia Garmin could possibly be as high as 75% market share. Magellan does not support all the Austrlian datums and the 315 most definitely does not have them all. Unfortunatly on checking the Magellan website they do not list all the datums, but from memory the AGD66 and GDA94 datums are not on the unit. The majority of professionals in the field use Garmin because of support of hardware and software.
The Magellan SporTrak as I said previously is the first hand held Magellan unit I consider worthy of buying, HOWEVER, the price of unit in Australian, their mapping and accessories is nothing short of extortion. Just compare the cable and mapping prices for a start. Magellan charge $112.20 for a lousy power data cable, and you can buy an equivelent Garmin one for $35.00. Magellans maps of Australia $1,036 - Garmins maps of Australia which are more detailed in some areas $269.
Garmin also have their models I am not fussed on, for example I am no fan of the eTrek range for the same reason as the Meridian range, poor reception under adverse conditions and no external aerial socket. The little SporTrak kills the Meridian units under adverse reception conditions in the field, so if they can do it for one unit, why not make the Meridian the same. I suppose the new Meridian models will have the same aerial system and an external aerial socket.
FollowupID: 5865

Follow Up By: Steve L - Thursday, Jan 09, 2003 at 08:52

Thursday, Jan 09, 2003 at 08:52

I agree that the GDA94 datum is not on the 315 unit. However, as the co-ordinates achieved using this datum are only a few metres different from the WGS84 datum (and given the accuracy of ALL GPS units - anything upto 15 metres 'off'), the lack of this datum is not an issue. Same goes for AMG66/84 vs AUS66/84 (AUS66 and 84 are on the unit).

I don't know what the problem is with the Meridian aerials, but the quadrifialiar aerial on the 315 must be more like the SporTrak as I have never lost reception in trees, rocky outcrops, etc. (have lost it in tunnels, but then ALL units lose track when they can't 'see' the sky regardless of manufacturer), and that's with the unit mounted next to the A pillar in the corner of the dashboard - with no external or re-radiating aerial.

I also agree with your comments re the pricing of some units (though I couldn't find a Garmin with all the features of the 315 for anywhere near the same price, and yes I don't like the Etrex range either as they were options I investigated) and all accessories, however shopping around does lead to a number of bargains being found - I have purchased a combined 12 volt power/data cable as well as a stand-alone data cable and a windscreen mounting bracket, and have only paid around half the RRP.

Obviously as far as manufacturers maps go, I'm not worried as the 315 isn't a mapping unit. I bought it for that particular reason. No screen on any unit is, in my opinion, big enough to warrant mapping - if I want to follow my progress on a map I'll link to a laptop with a decent screen - hence the data cables. To get such detail as metro street names, etc., on the units screens you have to go down to a very high level of detail and basically can't follow anything of your travel except the current 200 metres or so. Obviously this is a personal choice and many feel otherwise - whether they don't have a laptop or it's cheaper to buy the unit with mapping rather than also buy the laptop I don't know (guess it'd be hard to prop a laptop on the handlebars with the GPS!).
FollowupID: 5867

Reply By: Bruce - Thursday, Jan 09, 2003 at 08:38

Thursday, Jan 09, 2003 at 08:38
I live in the USA and just got a Magellan Sport Pro complete with PC cable and USA map CD for $US190.00. I have Oziexplor Software and Raster 250 maps of Australia. I intend to get an Ipaq shortly to use it with Australia. Do I need anything else or just set the GPS when I arrive in Oz.

AnswerID: 10888

Follow Up By: Oziexplorer - Thursday, Jan 09, 2003 at 09:35

Thursday, Jan 09, 2003 at 09:35
Bruce you will need the iPaq serial/USB cable and a 9 pin NULL modem adaptor. Personally, I split the serial/USB cable and cut off the USB part completely and fit a plug directly to the iPaq lead. I don't think you can get non-genuine plugs for the Magellans yet.
Being in the US there are quite a number of connector and cable suppliers:
Make sure you get screen protectors for your iPaq as soon as you get it.

FollowupID: 5873

Reply By: Spy - Thursday, Jan 09, 2003 at 20:51

Thursday, Jan 09, 2003 at 20:51

I have used a mapsource for about 18 months now and found them to be a great unit. I did have some poriblems early on with the unit recording extreme maximum speeds in certain conditions, however GME were fantastic and supported me in every way. In the end it appeared that it was a combination of the location of my unit and the area I was in (very hilly and overgrown). The unit picked up shadows reflected from the environment. An external (magnetic) aerial solved the problem.

As for purchasing a unit from the US - you could consider purchasing Mapsource software as I did. It is far more accurate than the basemap and given this, I simply replaced the basemap on the memory card that contained it - very easy. The Mapsource maps allow you to locate street addresses in cities and major centres. On the 8Meg card in my unit I was able to store maps for the entire sate of WA and most of the NT and SA. I can transfer others as I travel from my notebook with ease if required.

I know others have their opinions - a bit like a Ford v Holden debate I think. Just thought I would share my experiences with you.


AnswerID: 10942

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