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Daniel Collins
(Diablo-V)

Locale: Orlando FL
Garmin Oregon on 11/20/2013 20:00:20 MST Print View

Bah! Don't listen to all this nonsense.
You can get a Garmin Oregon for only $135. shipped, right here:

http://www.backpackinglight.com/cgi-bin/backpackinglight/forums/thread_display.html?forum_thread_id=81733&skip_to_post=695924#695924

Pretty nice deal if you ask me :)

hwc 1954
(wcollings) - M
Topo maps on 11/20/2013 23:34:14 MST Print View

I just want to clarify that the Garmin 24K topo maps are not the same as the maps you download from the free sites on the web. The free maps are fairly low resolution JPG images. As you zoom in, you don't get more detail. The Garmin 24k topo vector maps are like Google maps on the computer. As you zoom in, you get more and more detail and the resolution remains just as clear. 40 foot elevation contour lines.

jerry adams
(retiredjerry) - MLife

Locale: Oregon and Washington
Re: Topo maps on 11/21/2013 07:56:14 MST Print View

switchback.com maps are 24K maps - 40 foot contours - and free

I think the filedepot maps are the same

The maps I bought from Garmin several years ago for $100 (?) have 50 meter contours = ~160 foot contours

Ian Van Halen
(IDBLOOM) - MLife

Locale: PNW
Re: Re: Topo maps on 11/21/2013 08:02:55 MST Print View

"switchback.com maps are 24K maps - 40 foot contours - and free"

+1 for Caltopo as well. I've never used Garmin's or NatGeo's topo maps but if they offer something I can't get from Caltopo, I'm certainly interested to learn more.

Edit. Sorry. Apples to oranges. I was talking about paper maps. Back to your regularly scheduled programing.

Edited by IDBLOOM on 11/21/2013 08:06:30 MST.

Billy Ray
(rosyfinch) - M

Locale: the mountains
Re: Re: Re: Topo maps on 11/21/2013 09:19:27 MST Print View

Correct me if I am wrong, but I don't thin ANY of those maps will load onto ANY Garmin GPS unit. If fact, last I checked ONLY Garmin maps work on Garmin GPS units... unless you do some hacking, I suppose.

It seems this thread has taken a detour from recommendations of GPS units for the OP to maps in general.

Bill

Ian Van Halen
(IDBLOOM) - MLife

Locale: PNW
Re: Re: Re: Re: Topo maps on 11/21/2013 09:25:45 MST Print View

Bill,

I haven't personally used it but Jerry's link for Switchback.com has maps which can be uploaded into a Garmin. There are also other programs like Caltopo which can upload/download waypoints to a Garmin GPS. All germane to the topic.

William Chilton
(WilliamC3) - MLife

Locale: Antakya
Re: Re: Re: Re: Topo maps on 11/21/2013 09:33:26 MST Print View

I have successfully loaded maps based on Opencyclemaps onto both a Garmin Etrex 30 and Garmin's Basecamp computer software.

Hikin' Jim
(hikin_jim) - MLife

Locale: Los Angeles, CA, USA
GPS's on 11/21/2013 10:39:27 MST Print View

This is an extremely helpful thread. I've always done the map and compass thing and gotten along quite well thank you, but I've been considering joining the 21st century. Mainly, I'd like to be able to save my tracks for later reference and to be able to get accurate locations and mileages.

A SAR guy I know recommended the eTrex 30, and I see it's recommended here as well. I might go for that.

I don't have a smart phone, and I'm a little leery of touch screens for a GPS, I don't think I'll go that route.

HJ
Adventures In Stoving

Hikin' Jim
(hikin_jim) - MLife

Locale: Los Angeles, CA, USA
Topo Maps for Garmin GPS's on 11/21/2013 10:49:38 MST Print View

This is actually the most interesting part of this thread (Topo Maps for GPS's). I've already decided to get a GPS; now I need maps.

I've also had a strong recommendation for vector based maps (from a heavy duty map geek and canyoneer). Makes sense that I'd want something that scales well as I scroll in.

Garmin sells 1:100,000 maps (pretty useless for backcountry nav in my experience) and 1:24,000. It's something detailed like the 1:24k (or similar scale) maps that I want. I'd generally like something more detailed than "intermediate" scale maps (1:50k, 1:62k, 1:63,360), although if they were free, they'd be worth a look. :)

Are there any free downloadable vector based 1:24k (or similar scale) maps available?

HJ
Adventures In Stoving

Ian Van Halen
(IDBLOOM) - MLife

Locale: PNW
Re: GPS's on 11/21/2013 10:51:24 MST Print View

"Mainly, I'd like to be able to save my tracks for later reference and to be able to get accurate locations and mileages."

That's definitely one of the benefits. Like the recent Thermometer article by Rex, I'm one of those people who like to have data available from past hikes to help me make decisions about gear and capabilities for future hikes. I can do it without the gadgets but the data they provide is hard to beat vs wild speculation.

"Are there any free downloadable vector based 1:24k (or similar scale) maps available?"

Not an answer for you since you don't carry a smart phone and I'm going to have to learn more about vector based maps (assuming as mentioned that more detail pops up as you scroll in) but for the benefit of other readers here's what I do....

I always bring my iPhone as a multi-use item. I do a couple things before a hike.

1) I'll download a large map with GAIA of the area I'm hiking. Big enough to get me home in case I have to bail due to an emergency. As previously mentioned, the iPhone's battery isn't big enough for continuous tracking but it's more than sufficient to plot the occasional coordinate or to see where you are on the map.

2) When I print my Caltopo maps, I'll also save them as a PDF. I email myself the map, pull up the email from my phone, save it onto the phone and make it viewable with my Nook app. I just pulled one up that for no particular reason I saved at 1:30145. I can scroll in to see more detail.

This all sounds kludgy but it works fine for me and remember, I already had the iPhone so my total investment is <$70 for the Geko and accessories and $20 for Gaia and I don't have to subscribe to any plan for my maps. It could have been much less but I purchased some unnecessary accessories in error.

Edited by IDBLOOM on 11/21/2013 11:20:12 MST.

Hikin' Jim
(hikin_jim) - MLife

Locale: Los Angeles, CA, USA
Re: Topo Maps for GPS on 11/22/2013 09:56:44 MST Print View

Ian,

It's not so much that more detail pops up, rather that things "scale" better. In other words, instead of things getting pixilated, they stay clear. At least that's what has been described to me.

HJ
Adventures In Stoving

Charley White
(charleywhite) - F

Locale: Petaluma, CA
caution re thinking "unlost" button on 11/22/2013 11:11:50 MST Print View

Mike,
Since you are just now moving your tent from the hotel room to the trail, I wonder how new you are to hiking & map use in general. I can't argue vs mapping GPS units since I haven't gotten one yet, but want to urge to get and use real paper topo maps early on. They will greatly aid the leaning how to translate reality--the dirt under your shoes & adjacent trees--to a mapmaker's (& SAR squad's) graphic/numeric depiction of where you are. I'm intimately familiar with some people who just can't do this spatial translation. I suppose with a good, walked, waypoint route you could push a button & follow a GPS arrow, but IMO it would be unsafe as a start. Far better to get used to "reading" a map first; what it can tell you and how it can suggest routes. The wonder of a map the size of a...map, not just the palm of your hand is the Big Picture it gives. In Utah of the wide-open-vista, you can enjoy that to the maximum.

I find the UTM grid on the map & coordinate reading on the GPS the easiest visual translation and 1,000m a useful unit on the ground. It used to be the compass function was a notorious battery hog. I always carry a real compass, too. But I have a partner here in CA who doesn't even carry that. It's pretty obvious in the wide open spaces which way is which, if you stay tuned into your environment and follow your map.

I've departed on a new mission. If you contain a GPS chip but won't tell me what that says, I ain't carrying you. Grinds me no end. ;)

Michael Driscoll
(Hillhikerz) - M

Locale: Monterey Bay
GPS choice on 11/22/2013 11:34:44 MST Print View

No... Etrex 30
Yes... Etrex 20
I like the high end bike 810 but $$$
But would go with Jim for the 62s by the 24th would be easy to sell... Buy no maps and get the 30$ a year sub until you know more about GPS and what they can and can not do for you and custom maps... Down side heavy, do what I do ask someone in the hiking party if they want to learn how to use a GPS and they carry it... I like the unit for kayaking as it keeps me out of the mpla's and gets me back in the fog...2ยข

Mike W
(skopeo) - F

Locale: British Columbia
Mapping on 11/22/2013 11:39:48 MST Print View

>> rather that things "scale" better. In other words, instead of things getting pixilated <<

That's not entirely true. While you can use either vector or raster mapping, how the raster mapping is implemented is what you need to know.

If the map is a single raster image of a map (think of a scanned copy of a hard copy map), then it will pixelate) if the scanning was done poorly, the map detail doesn't change as you zoom in or out. Lines will not scale down (they get fatter as you zoom in). This is the "cheap)" method.

You can also get raster maps that are created with tiled images that are pre-processed at a series of scales. Each scale has unique content that is appropriate for the given scale (so think of it as a bunch of different scaled hard copy maps scanned and present to you as the zoom changes). Google maps are a good example of this.

Vector maps are not images they actually made up of vectors (lines), that run from point to point. Zooming in and out does't effect the line quality because it is always drawing point to point. You only notice it's deficiency when you zoom in close and the point density is too course to display well, which is why vector data has a scale associated with it... The vectors will always draw well but once you zoom in very close you won't see enough points to get a good map representation.

Vector maps will draw more slowly when zoomed way out, raster maps tend to draw faster, especially if they are tile cached per scale.

Vector maps are easily searchable and route-able which is why I like the Garmin maps. I don't know of any free Topo maps that are route-able.

High quality map caches like Google are route-able and searchable and you can get those types for your smartphone but I've not seen any that are available for free for a GPS.

Edited by skopeo on 11/22/2013 12:05:08 MST.

Hikin' Jim
(hikin_jim) - MLife

Locale: Los Angeles, CA, USA
Re: Mapping on 11/22/2013 15:18:18 MST Print View

Thank you, Mike W. for that explanation.

HJ
Adventures In Stoving

Hikin' Jim
(hikin_jim) - MLife

Locale: Los Angeles, CA, USA
eTrex 20 vs eTrex 30? on 11/22/2013 15:20:50 MST Print View

Michael Driscoll wrote: > No... Etrex 30
Yes... Etrex 20
Michael, can you say more about that? I see several people on this thread that really like the eTrex 30. What makes you prefer the eTrex 20?

HJ
Adventures In Stoving

Ian Van Halen
(IDBLOOM) - MLife

Locale: PNW
Re: eTrex 20 vs eTrex 30? on 11/22/2013 17:09:03 MST Print View

I'm interested to hear more about Michael's preference of the 20 over the 30.

Personally, I've found that a GPS only altimeter to be highly inaccurate with the ones I've played with (admittedly few) so having an actual barometric altimeter onboard is a plus that I'd personally upgrade for. The wireless option would be handy in some cases.

Edit: I've never played with the 20 or 30 so please correct me if something is different with the 20.

Edited by IDBLOOM on 11/22/2013 17:11:48 MST.

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Re: eTrex 20 vs eTrex 30? on 11/22/2013 18:07:40 MST Print View

"Personally, I've found that a GPS only altimeter to be highly inaccurate with the ones I've played with (admittedly few) so having an actual barometric altimeter onboard is a plus that I'd personally upgrade for."

It depends. When a GPS receiver calculates your position, the vertical accuracy is generally worse than the horizontal accuracy. At the best, vertical will be 1.5 times horizontal accuracy. At the worst, vertical will be several times worse than that. The variation between best and worst is due to the geometry of the satellites in view in the sky. If you have a lot of satellites in view and they are spread across the sky, then geometry is good. If you have fewer satellites in view and they are clustered together somewhat, then geometry is bad.

Some receivers have both the GPS calculation of altitude and the barometric measurement of altitude. Each has its problems. Should you let barometric steer the GPS calculation, or vice versa? As long as the weather is stable, then the barometer can be very good, but when the weather is changing, then it can be very bad. Some receivers with both types attempt to use heuristics to determine what is really right.

--B.G.--

Billy Ray
(rosyfinch) - M

Locale: the mountains
Re: Re: Re: eTrex 20 vs eTrex 30? on 11/22/2013 18:35:48 MST Print View

I have the eTrex 30. On a trip last year my friend set his non-eTrex 30 to GPS altimeter and I set mine to barometric. The two reading were VERY close the entire trip. Like within 50 to 100 feet... well within the error margin for either. And this was in some pretty dramatic canyon and mountain topography.

But here's the other thing: If you have 24k topo maps on board, like I do on my eTrex 30... you don't really need either the gps or the barometric altimeter. Just move the pointer on you GPS map to the closest contour line and up comes the altitude... likely MUCH more accurate that EITHER the gps or the barometric altimeters!!!!

Bill

Billy Ray
(rosyfinch) - M

Locale: the mountains
Re: Re: Re: Re: eTrex 20 vs eTrex 30? on 11/22/2013 19:00:44 MST Print View

Also. Regarding the compass function on the eTrex 30... It's pretty much useless for walking a heading with any accuracy... all is give is N, NE, E, SE, S, SW, W, and NW... NO DEGREES!!!!!!!

Sure, know which way is north or NE can be helpful, but if the sun is out and I have a watch I can tell you that without a compass or a GPS.

So the eTrex 30 I figure is REALLY designed for using with the maps loaded. whereas the foreTrex 401 compass does not support maps but does give degrees zero to 360. However, the 401 compass gets confused easily and often needs to be recalibrated... not hard to do, but a PITA.

B