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GPS Recommendations
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Jamie Shortt
(jshortt) - MLife

Locale: North Carolina
GPS Recommendations on 07/25/2009 09:28:36 MDT Print View

I was anti gps until using one over the past year. I've got a Garmin etrex venture HC. It weighs 5.35 oz. At times I long for the old map and compass approach and would like to shed a few onces. The main thing I use the GPS for is telling me how far I have gone at any given time.

Here is my question...can anyone recommend a lighter GPS that only shows cooridinates and will track distance/elevation traveled? This most of what I use it for and would put more emphasis on map reading.

Thanks,
Jamie

Adam Hurst
(Stormcrowe) - F

Locale: Midwest
Gps Distances on 07/25/2009 17:03:56 MDT Print View

I was very excited about my Garmin Vist Hcx when I bought it. I wanted to use it for measuring distances and elevation changes. I found that when I went running it worked great and was pretty accurate. However, When I took it down into the Grand Canyon last year for a Rim2Rim2Rim I was disappointed.

It was terrible at keeping accurate distances. It was constantly telling me I was going farther than I was actually going. I could not understand it until I started looking at the Garmin every time I stopped. It seems that it would still be showing a slight MPH for somtimes up to a min after I had stopped. As it was pinpointing my location more accurately, it thought I was still moving. I thought I had pretty open skies for most of the trip so I could not see why it was having such a hard time "locating me".

Anyway I have never taken it on the AT because I always ditched it at the last min for a simple map and compass. I mean it IS the AT..:)

I still like the Garmin Vista Hcx and would even recommend it but I just wanted to post something about depending on it for accurate distances.

Adam

Jamie Shortt
(jshortt) - MLife

Locale: North Carolina
re: GPS Recommendations on 07/25/2009 17:31:39 MDT Print View

Adam, I have a theory about distance traveled and GPS's. IIRC there are 2 commons ways measure distance. The first is true straight line distance. The second is horizontal distance. When reading distance off a map we are using horizontal distance, but this distance does not account for elevation traveled so it is not true distance. I too have found my Garmin being significantly off the measured horizontal distance (map distance) when I travel across significant elevation changes (lets days 10K elevation change). I believe the Garmin is reporting true distance not horizontal distance. This would be consistent with the way your car measures miles.

When I download my data and view the elevation map it shows daily miles much lower than what the screen showed and is consistent with horizontal miles measured from a map.

I'm wondering if dropping into the Grand Canyon had you covered a lot of straight line miles which were not as far when only measured horizontally.

Maybe some GPS guru will chime in.

Jamie

Edited by jshortt on 07/25/2009 17:44:31 MDT.

Bob Summers
(SM498) - F

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
GPS Inaccuracies on 07/25/2009 19:41:18 MDT Print View

My Garmin GPS 60CsX will show me travelling even when I'm stopped. This seems to be caused by errors in calculating my position. If I leave my GPS on for 8 or 10 hours in a single place (say on my kitchen table) it will show me upwards of 100 feet away from my true position on some fixes. Most fixes are within 5 or 6 feet but a few are way off

Edited by SM498 on 07/25/2009 19:53:17 MDT.

Mike W
(skopeo) - F

Locale: British Columbia
GPS Recommendations on 07/26/2009 12:18:08 MDT Print View

The Garmin Vista Hcx has had issues with trip data since it was released. Specifically, moving time and stopped time has been inaccurate. Garmin has released many software upgrades for the Hcx to try and resolve this issue so make sure your software is current and you may get better results. The tracks are accurate but that only helps you when you dump them onto your computer.

The other thing to keep in mind is that a GPS is only accurate to +- 10 metres (+- 3 metres with waas). This accuracy will vary greatly with signal strength. This is why you see tracks being placed while stationary. The GPS can't actually tell if you are stationary because the coordinates will drift based on this error circle.

There are settings in the Hcx that can restrict how often the GPS puts down track point (based on distance or time) but this can effect track accuracy so you have to decide what works for you. It will however, allow you to get around the shot gun blast of track points you get when stationary if that bothers you.

I'm fine with my Hcx as I don't need highly accurate distance readings. My 60cx gives better accuracy in distances (stationary and moving times are more accurate) but it's heavier and harder on batteries.

Edited by skopeo on 07/26/2009 14:12:22 MDT.

John Carter
(jcarter1)

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: GPS Recommendations on 07/26/2009 12:22:40 MDT Print View

Jamie,

Garmin recently announced the Foretrex 401, which I think is what you are looking for. It is a basic (non-mapping) GPS that has an altimeter, high-sensitivity GPS, and uses only 2 AAA batteries. I believe it is only 3oz with batteries. It is significantly smaller than the eTrex H, but uses the same screen resolution (although in a landscape orientation)

Edited by jcarter1 on 07/26/2009 12:23:53 MDT.

Joe Kuster
(slacklinejoe) - MLife

Locale: Flatirons
GPS Recommendations on 07/26/2009 14:11:05 MDT Print View

Until very recently, I exclusively used the Geko 301. It's got all the features you are looking for, is around $100 and is possibly the lightest option that offers those functions. My only problem with the unit was signal under thick canopies - it wasn't the best at that so my snowshoeing trips were problematic when I needed it for trail finding. Other than that, I used it for 4 years and found very few shortcomings.

Johann Burkard
(johannb) - F

Locale: Europe
Re: GPS Recommendations on 07/27/2009 04:59:17 MDT Print View

Here is my question...can anyone recommend a lighter GPS that only shows cooridinates and will track distance/elevation traveled?



Yes, the Suunto X10

A colleague has this thing which is a bit lighter.

Edited by johannb on 07/27/2009 05:00:28 MDT.

carlos fernandez rivas
(pitagorin) - MLife

Locale: Galicia -Spain
lightest gps on 07/27/2009 06:59:03 MDT Print View

Probably one of the simplest and lightest option is this data logger The wintec wlp 1000

http://www.wintec.com.tw/en/product_detail.php?pro_id=77%20style=

its compact, simple, uses AAA batteries and has a small display.wlp 1000 gps

Edited by pitagorin on 07/27/2009 06:59:51 MDT.

Inaki Diaz de Etura
(inaki) - MLife

Locale: Iberia highlands
Re: lightest gps on 07/27/2009 15:26:49 MDT Print View

hey Carlos, this one looks interesting. I wished for something like this for long. I'm not really after the market updates...

Do you have one, have you tried it? How's reception, is it equivalent to any recreational GPS we normally use? Can you select different map datums and grids? I mean, is it as useable as any other recreational GPS unit? Any drawbacks? I guess it doesn't have a "go to" function, just coordinate display

Actually, same questions for the other device mentioned above, that Holux thing... I've quickly checked the user manual but haven't found proper answers

Edited by inaki on 07/27/2009 15:37:21 MDT.

carlos fernandez rivas
(pitagorin) - MLife

Locale: Galicia -Spain
lightest gps on 07/28/2009 01:11:26 MDT Print View

Yes Im agree It looks promising

I find it looking for something smaller and lighter than my geck 201

Unfortunately I can´t buy everything. Several months ago I search looking for info but I can´t find a good review.

But, yesterday I discover one Spanish web shop that has this device in stock, and ...... I discover that is placed in Vigo :-) (incredible)

I expect to go there this week to have a look. I asked about in its forum

http://www.impextrom.com/foro/viewtopic.php?p=2867#2867

I keep you informed :-)



There is two interesting reviews about data loggers here

Holux

http://www.outdoorsmagic.com/news/article/mps/uan/6133

Genie

http://www.outdoorsmagic.com/news/article/mps/uan/6138

Edited by pitagorin on 07/28/2009 01:42:21 MDT.

carlos fernandez rivas
(pitagorin) - MLife

Locale: Galicia -Spain
lightest gps on 07/28/2009 01:12:29 MDT Print View

Iñaki here there is the wintec software manual



http://wintec.com.tw/~download/support_manual/E_WinTool.pdf

Edited by pitagorin on 07/28/2009 04:00:18 MDT.

Dan Durston
(dandydan) - M

Locale: Cascadia
Re: re: GPS Recommendations on 07/28/2009 02:18:29 MDT Print View

Jamie: "I have a theory about distance traveled and GPS's. IIRC there are 2 commons ways measure distance. The first is true straight line distance. The second is horizontal distance. When reading distance off a map we are using horizontal distance, but this distance does not account for elevation traveled so it is not true distance. I too have found my Garmin being significantly off the measured horizontal distance (map distance) when I travel across significant elevation changes (lets days 10K elevation change). I believe the Garmin is reporting true distance not horizontal distance. This would be consistent with the way your car measures miles."

I don't believe this is the case. Someone I know contacted Garmin and supposedly their GPS's just measure 'horizontal distance' as you describe it. Supposedly the Garmin rep said if you step off a 5000 ft cliff with your GPS, the unit will read a velocity of zero even as you approach terminal velocity in the downward direction.

Andrew Dolman
(andydolman) - M
Re: lightest gps on 07/28/2009 07:16:15 MDT Print View

Doesn't look like you can change the datum unfortunately.