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#86627 - 01/09/08 12:29 PM Newest topo GPS tech
300winmag Offline
member

Registered: 02/28/06
Posts: 1342
Loc: Nevada, USA
I'm about ready to buy my 1st topo GPS unit. I have a Garmin NUVI 350 for our cars and love it so I'm sticking with that brand.

Just talked to a Garmin "Outdoor GPS" guy & he said the new Garmin Colorado 400 T, due in stores & online in a month or two, is their best topo GPS. The 400T (T for topo) is PRE LOADED with N. American topos as part of the price. Also this unit will take coastal navigation charts - good for my sea kayaking trips.


The 400T is waterproof to a few feet of water, takes a micro SD card (up to 2 Gb) and can use aftermarket software to download trails.

QUESTIONS:
1. Is <trails.com> the best source of these downloadable trail maps?

2. Does Nat'l. Geo.Trails have the software for downloading their trail maps? I like the accuracy of their plasticized paper trail maps.

3. What experience has anyone had with downloading trails to their personal download-capable GPS units?

Eric
_________________________
"There are no comfortable backpacks. Some are just less uncomfortable than others."

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#86628 - 01/09/08 02:16 PM Re: Newest topo GPS tech [Re: 300winmag]
Rick_D Offline
member

Registered: 01/06/02
Posts: 2802
Loc: NorCal
Quote:
I'm about ready to buy my 1st topo GPS unit. I have a Garmin NUVI 350 for our cars and love it so I'm sticking with that brand.

Just talked to a Garmin "Outdoor GPS" guy & he said the new Garmin Colorado 400 T, due in stores & online in a month or two, is their best topo GPS. The 400T (T for topo) is PRE LOADED with N. American topos as part of the price. Also this unit will take coastal navigation charts - good for my sea kayaking trips.

* The Colorado series looks to be very impressive, although there's not been a formal rollout yet. They'll also be rather expensive, large and heavy compared to the etrex series, if that's important to you. The screens will be larger and IIUC may be touchscreens.

The 400T is waterproof to a few feet of water, takes a micro SD card (up to 2 Gb) and can use aftermarket software to download trails.

QUESTIONS:
1. Is <trails.com> the best source of these downloadable trail maps?

* Don't know.

2. Does Nat'l. Geo.Trails have the software for downloading their trail maps? I like the accuracy of their plasticized paper trail maps.

* Magellan has a GPS forthcoming that will upload NG Topo! maps. Garmin doesn't have this capability.

3. What experience has anyone had with downloading trails to their personal download-capable GPS units?

* Trails, no but routes, yes. Magellen, Garmin and Delorme among others will upload routes and waypoints from 3rd party software, and download waypoints and tracks. All three companies' GPSs will upload proprietary topographical maps that contain trails, which is somewhat different that uploading just trails. Delorme also offers USGS 7.5-minute maps, sat photos and aerial photos for upload, which makes for a very different GPS experience.

Eric
_________________________
--Rick

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#86629 - 01/09/08 02:16 PM Re: Newest topo GPS tech [Re: 300winmag]
hootyhoo Offline
member

Registered: 12/14/06
Posts: 686
Loc: Cyberspace
I have been using expertgps.com, but I am not sure if it will support your new gps. I do like the fact that I can get maps for N. America and only had to pay 60.00 -- one time. If it had not been for this software I would have been forced to spend over 300.00 for the 3 regions that the other mapping software companies offer (that pertain to me).

Top
#86630 - 01/09/08 07:15 PM Re: Newest topo GPS tech [Re: 300winmag]
hamish Offline
newbie

Registered: 01/08/08
Posts: 3
Loc: Coppell, TX
Eric,

I've been using a Garmin Gecko for the last 3 years. Excellant basic GPS, but it doesn't have maps loaded on it. Got it since it was the lightest at the time. Now am using a Delorme Earthmate PN-20 loaded with Topo USA. I've been using Topo for the past 2 years with good success. It's been as accurate as USGS Topos. The PN20 easily interfaces with my computers. Also has routing for streets to address level, and points of interest ie gas stations, restraunts... So far with the hiking & kayaking its proven its mettle.

Before buying the PN-20 I considered the mapping Garmins (map software esp the nauticle charts too expensive) and Magellan. The Magellan looked promising since you got their topo software & coast marine charts for $200. However I've been using Delorme's Street & Address software for the last 10 yrs., so with the availability of nautical charts now (Delorme didn't used to have this) I went with the PN-20.

Bill T.

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#86631 - 01/09/08 08:20 PM Re: Newest topo GPS tech [Re: 300winmag]
ChrisP347 Offline
member

Registered: 09/05/02
Posts: 50
Loc: NC
I've had several GPS over the years. I've had Garmin and Magellan units and I've found Garmin easier to use in the field.

Right now I have a Garmin Vista HCx which is small, light, but most importantly it gets great signal with a new high sensitivity antenna. I can pick up satellites inside my house, very impressive, and so I can pick them up in covered woods. My vote is that good satellite reception trumps all other features for selection purposes.

The HCx runs 24 hours on 2 AA batteries which is great.

I have the Gramin MapSource topo sw and it's OK. I also have a copy of Magellan Topo USA. Based on my sw, Garmin shows the most trail detail and Magellan has the best backcountry road detail. Hence it's nice to have both. I've not used 3rd party sw so I'm interested in what you guys think is the best for trails and what is compatible to upload to Garmin units.

Having said all this GPS is a backup tool and I always have maps with me as my first reference. I've had times in the field when the satellites can't be picked up due mountains or heavy cover. With my new unit I do plan to have it track breadcrumbs on trail so that I can transfer back to the PC software.

Top
#86632 - 01/12/08 08:21 AM Re: Newest topo GPS tech [Re: Rick_D]
BrianLe Offline
member

Registered: 02/26/07
Posts: 1146
Loc: Washington State, King County
"Magellan has a GPS forthcoming that will upload NG Topo! maps. Garmin doesn't have this capability."

Hmm, does it really not work on any Garmin unit? Maybe not, dunno.
If you have a PDA (or smartphone) running either Palm or PocketPC, there's a product called PocketTopo that basically unlocks functionality that already exists in the National Geographic Topo software to do what you want. Works fine on my PocketPC smartphone.

The smartphone is a possibility you might consider if you're into weight saving (combine multiple devices into one). Just be sure to look for one that has the SiRF Star III chipset. Definitely not the cheapest route to go, but if you look round at some point and find that you're separately carrying some or all of a phone, GPS, camera, MP3 player, voice recorder, and maybe a paperback book (plus maybe spare batteries for some of that stuff), then it gets interesting to try to combine some or all of those into a single device.

Top
#86633 - 01/12/08 10:40 AM Re: Newest topo GPS tech [Re: BrianLe]
300winmag Offline
member

Registered: 02/28/06
Posts: 1342
Loc: Nevada, USA
Brian,

Good idea. I'm sure that in a few years Smartphones, I-Phones and Blackberrys will be about as good, in terms of all features, as a dedicated GPS and thus combine many functions. My present Samsung/Verizon phone has road map GPS, if I want to pay the fees.

I'll look into this and if I'm not giving up too many GPS functions, may get one. I wonder if they are as good in forests & canyons at acquiring signals.

Eric
_________________________
"There are no comfortable backpacks. Some are just less uncomfortable than others."

Top
#86634 - 01/13/08 08:59 AM Re: Newest topo GPS tech [Re: 300winmag]
goatpacker Offline
member

Registered: 01/22/05
Posts: 86
Loc: Eastern Washington
Eric,
You might want to try one of these new phones with extra features <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/shocked.gif" alt="" />


http://www.youtube.com:80/watch?v=TYIOIM6hHBk

Top
#86635 - 01/14/08 06:05 PM Re: Newest topo GPS tech [Re: goatpacker]
300winmag Offline
member

Registered: 02/28/06
Posts: 1342
Loc: Nevada, USA
GOATPACKER,

I vote that the best gag reply yet on this site!!!

I PARTICULARLY like the "Samsing" cell phone rectal thermometer/antenna.

Gracious goodness! Whatever will they think of next?

Eric
_________________________
"There are no comfortable backpacks. Some are just less uncomfortable than others."

Top

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