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GPS Advice

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Was wondering if you could provide any input on the decent GPS device that is working for you guys. Wasnt sure if the higher cost units were that much better?

I have also been told that getting the Lakemaster chip is vital to the GPS being effective.


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This is sort of like asking which is better Ford or Chev. You're going to get lots of advice on numerous units. My 2 cents. I bought a Lorance handheld IFinder about 4 years ago. Those units had been out for a number of years already and so I was getting towards the end of that model. Lowrance doesn't support it any more so if I have a problem I'm SOL. Also the map software that I will mention below is now 6 years old and not updated any more - or at least if it is I'd have to spend a lot of money to get it.

I bought the Lakemaster Minnesota chip for it and I think it's about the best investment I've made for fishing since it helps with some pretty precise location and underwater features. I also bought a mapping software that allows me to chose areas of the US and download maps onto the chip that provide incredible detail. I've used this on many road trips and have found my way all over the country without hassle. The base map on the units is OK but it doesn't give a lot of detail past the blacktop roads. When hunting in more remote places being able to see where the roads are is a great help.

Whichever make you chose realize that you're probably going to stay with that make for quite a while. For instance when I bought a sonar/gps unit for the boat it pretty much had to be a Lowrance so I could use my Lakemaster chip.

The newer units appear to be a bit easier to use and have fewer buttons. They have things like MP3 players which I don't care about. If you have a chance go to one of the bigger stores - Reeds, Cabelas, Gander, Scheels - and play with a few so you get a feel for them.

You're also going to get a lot of advice about color vs black and white. Guys will say the colored ones show up better in sunlight.

Final - I have done some business with ProFishingSupply a sponsor here on FM, and have consistently found the prices to be very good, but most importantly Dave is a great help if you have a chance to talk to him on the phone. Once you zero in on one shop around and you may find some prices that are 10-15% different than other places.

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I have a Garmin Oregon 200 and absolutely love it. The touch screen and the user-ability of the unit is great. It is the cheapest of the Oregon line and the only thing that I would really like on the more expensive models that this doesn't have in more internal memory. Garmin's customer support is some of the best in the industry. I do also have the Lakemaster Minnesota program for it and it is awesome. For the Garmin units, Lakemaster has about 3500 lakes profiled while the Lowrance Lakemaster has about 800 lakes. To me that made a huge difference.

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Tom has offered some great advice. Be aware that mapping software for Lowrance products may not be compatable with Garmin and vise versa. As Tom mentioned, what you have in your boat may play an important part of your decision if you think down the road.

From my experience and what I've read, you'll find that the Lowrance products are good and most that have them like them. I will suggest that in terms of GPS technology, Garmin will likely have an edge whereas Lowrance has the edge when it comes to sonar technology.

I also believe the Lowrance products don't come with quite the pricetag that Garmin has but you may sacrifice a little on the accuracy. We're talking a difference of about 1 to 2 yards difference at the most. What I mean is that when the Lowrance shows 9 foot accuracy, the Garmin may be down to 7 or 8. How important that is to you is up to you.

I have used Garmin for about five years. Mine is a Rino120 mapping handheld with two-way radio. Most of my friends use Garmin GPSMap76. Two of them use GPSMap76Csx and one uses a GPSMap60Csx. My brother uses a Garmin Etrex Legend. They are all pleased with their purchases. Two of these fellas are in the forestry products industry and also use them for work. I can tell you from experience that keeping a lock on satellites in the woods has been a little more difficult for Lowrance handhelds than for the Garmin. Another area where the Garmin seems to perform slightly better.

Hope that helps.

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TOm ,

Thanks for the input. I acutally bought a flasher from Dave last year. I think he is out of waconia right? and yes his prices are excellent. I may give him a holler on this one.

I have used a lowrance H20 a few times, and have very much liked it, but I didnt think it provided the detail that some of the other models i have seen out there. However this was the older non coler model and was 4-5 years old.

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Thanks for all the input folks. It provides me a starting point on moving forward on this. I think since I have used a lowrance before and know how to use it reasonably, that my be the choice I go with. Im going to go to the stores today and take a look at them up close.

I will mainly be using this device for ice fishing and I think when ice fishing accuracy is somewhat paramount so will have to take that into consideration.

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