Which GPS for me?

Submitted: Friday, Oct 31, 2003 at 08:51
ThreadID: 8211 Views:2278 Replies:8 FollowUps:9
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Greetings all,

I'm intending to add a GPS to the shopping list for our trip to the Cape next year but know as much about them as I do about nuclear physics and perhaps even the female of the species .... OK alright ... I know more about physics :-D.

My question is this ...

What type is best suited for my needs?

I'm not really into using it on a regular basis or uploading maps etc, including colour. All these seem to amount to mucho dollaros which I'm finding hard to justify.

I was probably only expecting my position which I can then relate to a map so seem to be drifting towards the bottom end of the market.

Am I missing something here? The top end appear very impressive but also very expensive .. particularly for a gizmo I expect to use every third blue moon, or our following trip ... whichever comes first.
Rosco
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Reply By: Mikef_Patrol - Friday, Oct 31, 2003 at 09:26

Friday, Oct 31, 2003 at 09:26
Hi Ross

It seems you done some research already. I would suggest either get a basic GPS or one with just about everything.

If I was going to buy a new GPS now I would probably buy a Garmin Geko 201. Heaps of features, but not too many... see details at this site http://www.garmin.com/products/geko201/. Not overly expensive either. Add a power/data cable and you can connect it to your PC/Pocket PC and use OziExplorer/OziExplorer CE in conjunction with NatMap 1:250K maps for moving map. Much more flexible option. (I currently do this with my Garmin GPS 2+ connected to either my Toshiba notebook or Dell Axim X5 Pocket PC. I use the X5 the most. It is excellent in the car - not too bulky. I use the 2+ for hiking, and the notebook at home and for route planning and recording past trips, although I can route plan on the X5 as well. )

This could turn into another Holden/Ford..Nissan/Toyota type arguement as there are those who like Garmin and those who like Magellan. Personally I wouldn't touch Magellan, but many have them, and are are happy with them.

Ultimately it's your cash.

Let the GPS wars begin :D
MikeF
AnswerID: 35776

Follow Up By: Pedro(Karratha) - Friday, Oct 31, 2003 at 10:03

Friday, Oct 31, 2003 at 10:03
Hi Mike,
Have a question you may be able to answer.
With the Garmin 201, it stores up to 10 tracklogs. What is the maximum istance that you get with each tracklog before fulling up the memory or is it time dependant?
Thanks
Pedro

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FollowupID: 25836

Follow Up By: Niko - Sunday, Nov 02, 2003 at 20:04

Sunday, Nov 02, 2003 at 20:04
From my experience working for GME and now with my own GPS shop, the biggest issue outside of mapping or no mapping is size of screen. If you are travelling over the humps and bumps it could prove difficult to view the smaller GPS units. Most people who buy a Geko and fit it to their dash are not wanting to spend anything but the minimum. I don't hear of any regrets because few people admit to making a mistake and to me a Geko in a 4WD is. However, they all admit that screen size is an issue but price is often a bigger issue. The Geko and Etrex are very similar, although, the Etrex just had a price slump I prefer the Geko because the buttons are on top. The Etrex has a slightly bigger screen than the Geko and is a better buy than the Geko 201 at the moment. (Etrex $249 - Geko201 $289) The Geko 101? Forget about it, it is a real toy that is not able to make use of external power or upload download waypoints. It is true that the older GPS like the GPS2 is older technology to the latest and may not be able to pick up weaker satellite signal as well as the GPS2+, for example. A GPS12 is great, it is bullet proof but for the same price you can buy a GPS72 that has a much larger screen and floats. Between you and me and the gate post I would buy the GPS72 as the best value for money unit. The Magellan range is very good, especially in the mapping side of things (Australian Great Desert Tracks).

If I was a 4WD freak and was willing to spend a few more dollars to get desert tracks etc, it would be a Magellan without doubt. As a note, Magellan have improved considerably since the new range has come onto the market (Meridain and Sportrak). Meridian Gold has dropped in price lately and may be a bargain afterall.

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FollowupID: 25968

Follow Up By: Pedro(Karratha) - Monday, Nov 03, 2003 at 14:12

Monday, Nov 03, 2003 at 14:12
Thanks for the info.
I live in Karratha and would like maps for 4WD holidays and Marine maps for fishing in this area. What is the extra cost for such maps from Magellan. How many maps may I load at one time on lets say a Sportrak or Meridian Gold.
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FollowupID: 26006

Reply By: Arkay - Friday, Oct 31, 2003 at 09:54

Friday, Oct 31, 2003 at 09:54
Whatever you get, my advice is that you should get one THAT YOU CAN CONNECT AN (active) EXTERNAL ANTENNA TO, for continuous sequential in-vehicle use. I have an older Garmin GPS II (NOT the Plus, although the + is the same arrangement), which has a BNC connector for an external antenna. You can remove the standard Garmin antenna - see the manual - and add a little flat magnetic Garmin active (powered) antenna which sits on the roof of the 4WD. The antenna gets its power from the GPS unit. My friends have not got that facility with theirs so it is virtually useless inside their 4WD - they have to get out & fire it up, not good for "snail trails" either (recording way points to see where you have been and which direction you are heading in). I also have a little 4 pin plug (about $5 sourced from QLD and soldered wires on myself) so that I can power the GPS from the cig lighter or CB 12v power wires, and run the GPS continuously from that (saves MANY AA batteries). You can then mount the GPS anywhere convenient & not have it floating about on the dash, or secured there in the direct sunlight.
Maybe the more modern 12 channel GPSs receive better in the car, in the forest, around narrow trails in hilly country than my old Garmin, but I bet they still can't beat one of those small external antennas. They are not cheap, around $150 if I recall correctly.
AnswerID: 35778

Follow Up By: Member - Melissa - Friday, Oct 31, 2003 at 11:32

Friday, Oct 31, 2003 at 11:32
Arkay,

We have a Garmin GPS12, a good basic unit without a whole lot of fancy features which we decided we'd never use. Anyway, we've never had any problem using this in-car. Most people we spoke to when shopping around (ie freinds and other forumites) seemed fairly unanimous that the newer GPS's don't have the same probs as the older models although of course, where you have the GPS in the car makes a big difference. We have ours on the middle of the dash.

:o) MelissaPetrol 4.5L GU Patrol &
Camprite TL8 offroad camper
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FollowupID: 25845

Follow Up By: Arkay - Friday, Oct 31, 2003 at 11:59

Friday, Oct 31, 2003 at 11:59
Don't really want to get into a debtate over it Melissa. I'm sure you are right about the new GPSs being more signal sensative. And I'm sure your set-up is satisfactory for most people. Like I said, if you want to leave it secured on the middle of the dash, in plain view, in the sunlight, that's O.K. by me.
Hi.
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FollowupID: 25848

Follow Up By: Member - Melissa - Friday, Oct 31, 2003 at 12:26

Friday, Oct 31, 2003 at 12:26
Hi Arkay,

Wasn't trying to start a debate just relating our own experience. As for leaving it in plain view on the dash...NEVER!!! That's asking for trouble. When we leave the vehicle it comes out of the bracket and out of sight.

:o) MelissaPetrol 4.5L GU Patrol &
Camprite TL8 offroad camper
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FollowupID: 25851

Reply By: Member - Oskar(Bris) - Friday, Oct 31, 2003 at 10:32

Friday, Oct 31, 2003 at 10:32
Rosco
We will never really understand women that's for sure. LOL.
The Garmin Geko (is there a 101??) is about the cheapest and it does the basic functions.
My Meridian works very well inside the car up on the dash on a suction mount.
It works as well there as outside in the open.
If you don't think you'll be out in remote forest tracks and off the regular trails, you'd have to ask the question "Do I really need one any way?"
I have a friend who always knows where he is because he can read a topographic map properly.
The GPS in my car does a great job of keeping the navigator busy and thinking she knows where she is. LOL
They are a great toy. (The GPS I mean .... what was that dear??)
Cheers
Oskar
The real oskar
AnswerID: 35787

Follow Up By: Leroy - Friday, Oct 31, 2003 at 11:56

Friday, Oct 31, 2003 at 11:56
"Do I really need one any way?"

Ross, that's the question I'd ask yourself. I wouldn't buy one just for the trip to the cape. I had one with me and used it once to find Posession Island. I found our paper maps to be more than adequate. If I had more time to explore while I was up north I would probably think about one.....
Leroy
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FollowupID: 25847

Follow Up By: Member - Ross - Friday, Oct 31, 2003 at 12:46

Friday, Oct 31, 2003 at 12:46
Leroy

Yup ... decided we "really need one anyway" when we were at Fraser in Sept.

Trying to find our camp site after dark ... black as the inside of your proverbial with mist blowing in from the east.

Overshot our spot by many k's and had to back track.

Would have been the duck's nuts in that instance if we'd logged our spot upon arrival.

Mind you herself was driving and I was navel gazing ... if that had anything to do with it :-D......Rosco
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FollowupID: 25855

Follow Up By: Member - Oskar(Bris) - Friday, Oct 31, 2003 at 13:13

Friday, Oct 31, 2003 at 13:13
"Do I really need one"
Her: It was just past that log I'm sure
Him: You're dreamin' ... we haven't even got to that wash-out yet.
Her: But there's that ..... etc. etc.
The GPS is really handy finding your campsite after dark that's for sure.
We use it to find the right cutting off the beach to find our favorite campsites when we first get there as well.
I've only had mine for a while but it has actually been quite handy in that time.
Cheers
Oskar
The picture below is supposed to be my dog but my browser at work won't handle thge change-over.The real oskar
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FollowupID: 25857

Reply By: Drifter007 - Friday, Oct 31, 2003 at 15:01

Friday, Oct 31, 2003 at 15:01
Hi
I know this is probably a bit over the top but it is just intended to add fuel to the do I need a GPS debate. I run a Street Pilot III in my GU Patrol and with the Mapsource Metroguide maps installed found it very useful. On a recent trip to the Simpson via Cameron Corner, Bore Track, Innamincka, Walkers Crossing and Birdsville I found myself traversing the Walkers Crossing track at night. Although the crossing did not display on my GPS the Birdsville track and QLD border did, this helped keep me on track, as the crossing was washed out in many places with numerous bypass tracks especially in the Gibber.
Also whilst crossing the desert via the French Line, this track appeared on my GPS and helped to determine my location as I progressed over the 1,200 sand dunes. I used it to record sites of interest, campsites and side tracks whilst on the road.

Hope this helps.
Cheers
Drifter007
AnswerID: 35809

Reply By: Patrol22 (Queanbeyan - Friday, Oct 31, 2003 at 16:20

Friday, Oct 31, 2003 at 16:20
Yeah - just bought myself a Garmin GPS 76 after much internal argument. While I intend to use it in conjunction with paper maps most of the time I will also be using it to keep records of the places I found the fish to be biting best. Those bloody blue maps with all the features under the water make for difficult navigating back to secret fishing spot 23. The breadcrumb tracking feature is magic. Like other I have noticed that this 12 channel set doesn't seem to have difficulty in picking up at least 4 sattelites (but mostly 5-7) without using the external aerial (but I have one anyway). Even picks up sattelites in my study when I'm using oziexplorer to upload waypoints and tracks.
Go for it - it's a toy you got to get.
AnswerID: 35816

Reply By: keepsmilin - Friday, Oct 31, 2003 at 20:56

Friday, Oct 31, 2003 at 20:56
Hi Ross
every body loves gadgets, and a GPS is one handy gadget. We purchased a Magellan (Meridian gold), over ebay about 8 months ago, we only wanted a cheap unit also, and that is exactly what we got, saved $250 payed a little extra to get the add ons, which was well worth it. Very acurate and fully portable.
They seem complicated, but after playing with it a few times the are really quite simple (even the navigator can use it, and she cant even read a map)
The book GPS vehicle navigation in australia, is good reading material, probably better than the manual that comes with the unit.( you can get it from this web site in the shop)
good luck and happy tinkering.......
AnswerID: 35851

Reply By: Willem - Friday, Oct 31, 2003 at 23:13

Friday, Oct 31, 2003 at 23:13
I have spent most of my life exploring this country and always relied on a basic compass and paper maps.

So do you need a GPS?...no, not really.

BUT they are a lovely toy and I get a lot of pleasure from my Magellan 330 which works well inside my vehicle and is very reliable. Yes, it was expensive but still under a grand including some add ons.

My advice is to decide on which brand and then go and buy the most expensive one. It will be good value and you will have added features.

Cheers,
Willem

Always going somewhere
AnswerID: 35876

Reply By: Niko - Monday, Nov 03, 2003 at 14:38

Monday, Nov 03, 2003 at 14:38
From my experience working for GME and now with my own GPS shop, the biggest issue outside of mapping or no mapping is size of screen. If you are travelling over the humps and bumps it could prove difficult to view the smaller GPS units. Most people who buy a Geko and fit it to their dash are not wanting to spend anything but the minimum. I don't hear of any regrets because few people admit to making a mistake and to me a Geko in a 4WD is. However, they all admit that screen size is an issue but price is often a bigger issue. The Geko and Etrex are very similar, although, the Etrex just had a price slump I prefer the Geko because the buttons are on top. The Etrex has a slightly bigger screen than the Geko and is a better buy than the Geko 201 at the moment. (Etrex $249 - Geko201 $289) The Geko 101? Forget about it, it is a real toy that is not able to make use of external power or upload download waypoints. It is true that the older GPS like the GPS2 is older technology to the latest and may not be able to pick up weaker satellite signal as well as the GPS2+, for example. A GPS12 is great, it is bullet proof but for the same price you can buy a GPS72 that has a much larger screen and floats. Between you and me and the gate post I would buy the GPS72 as the best value for money unit. The Magellan range is very good, especially in the mapping side of things (Australian Great Desert Tracks).

If I was a 4WD freak and was willing to spend a few more dollars to get desert tracks etc, it would be a Magellan without doubt. As a note, Magellan have improved considerably since the new range has come onto the market (Meridain and Sportrak). Meridian Gold has dropped in price lately and may be a bargain afterall.
AnswerID: 36064

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