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New to GPS

15 posts in this topic

I need some advise about what GPS unit to purchase. I have trouble when I go to a store to buy one because I drum up in my head that they are just trying to make the sale. I don't really know how much I would use it. I would like to use it to get to the flats on Mille Lacs. BWCA navigation. Safety in the woods. Basically another "Toy". I like the idea of being able to save waypoints and routes. Input would be really appreciated. They seem like they could be a fun tool to have.
Thanks
Paul

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Hey fish, Just wondering do you travel allot? If all you want is a GPS for routes and waypoints take a look at the Gramin GPS12/12XL series. The work well, very user friendly, and dont cost that much

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slick2521,
I was thinking about Garmin GPS 12 or 12xl series. The mapping technology does look really neat and I have seen it, but really neat won't be able to convince the "boss" that I need it. It seems that the Garmin would be a good start. What are some other comparable brands. I would like to have a bit of storage or route memory. How about etrex? The entry one seems to be too basic.

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Staples has had a recent sale in which you could get a Magellan 330 for $99.99. This is an incredible deal!!! I'd strongly recommend checking if this is still available. They don't sell it online, you have to physically go to one of the stores.
The 330's have 500 waypoings, routes, WAAS, and lots of good doo-dads. I love mine!
Scoot

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Fish,

Besides cost and performance after market support is important. If you are considering anything other than garmin you should check their web sites and compare them to garmin. Also ask around in sporting goods stores about which units they will be able to provide the most support and accessories, for. Garmin also has a good repair plan.

Tell the boss GPS=more fish. I can not believe how buying one has increased my success. I don't know how people fish the large lakes without one.

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I just bought the Lowrance 100. I really like it. It's easy to use about 1/2 hour with the manual and your off and running.
Price about $190. The only bad thing about Lowrance is the accessories are expensive.

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The Garmin E-Trex seems to be the unit. It is compact (carried in a shirt or parka pocket). Besides the whistles & bells, it has an electronic compass that is operational even when you are standing still, a feature that not all of the other units can boast. It is definitely worth looking at!

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Im guessing your new to the gps sceene. If you want a gps that is user friendly and is good for a begginer deffinatley go with the gps 12 series. Others are nice but can get confusing. I believe you can by different memorie cartridges also if you fill one up.

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Take a look at the needs you have with a GPS and what exactly you expect it to do.
If you are just looking at a basic go from point to point unit, a plotter screen unit is fine. If it is for road travel then you might opt for a mapping unit.
Plotter only units show where you are compared to points that you have entered around you. Mapping units show the same but put that info on a background map.
The argument over what model is best is up to the user. ALL currently produced models are user friendly, but look at the price of the options, number of batteries, waterproofness, clarity of screen, screen layouts, number of steps to enter a waypoint or navigate to one.
What you are going to look for is up to you. But watch out for the limitations. Plotter units can be linked to a PC but only if you are running a software that can be read by the unit. They cannot recieve any map data, they dont have a memory option, and it cant be added later. So the software is used for waypoint management only.
Mapping units have a memory to download additional map detail from a PC program. But all of the downloadable info is propriatary, if its made by Garmin is is only for Garmin units, Lowrance and Magellan are the same. Lakemaster software is only for waypoint management it cannot transfer map data to a GPS. Garmin and Lowrance have Hot Spot map information that can be loaded to a GPS. But it is limited on what lakes are available.
Accuracy of ANY GPS is dependant on how many Sat signaly you are getting and where the are in the sky. General accuracy is going to be about 30' with any unit but it could be better or worse on occasion. WAAS system is not fully operational at this time. It was developed for FAA (aircraft) chances of getting a good WAAS signal, consistantly in Minnesota is slim. Only time will tell if the system will ever be finished.
At work I have to operate 23 different models of GPS's to show customers. All of these I have to run upside down so the customer can see. None of them are hard to operate. Just take your time, learn what you want the GPS to do for you and you will make the right choice.

Rob

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Wow Great responses. Sounds like there are some real differing opinions about which entry level GPS to purchase. Sounds to me like they are all pretty good. I have been looking at the Magellan 12 or the Garmin 12. I looked at the mapping units. Very cool. The software seems quite expensive. I need to start somewhere. I like that compass feature. Is this something on all units?

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The Magellan 315 compares to the Garmin 12 the Magellan 12 does not, it is a VERY basic model.
The Electronic compas is only on a few garmin models, not all.

Rob

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If all you're looking for is a unit to mark waypoints, track routes, and basic navigation for fishing/hunting, I'd go with an entry model. I needed one for doing my field research in some pretty remote areas in northern MN and went with a Garmin 12 XL. Yes, the mapping capabilities are cool, but expensive. Besides, I can't see spending all that money (and time learning to use all the features!) when I can pick up a road map or topo for significantly less and get there twice as quick. My cousin had a fancy new unit that he used to mark the trail to my deer stand. On the way back, he followed his unit (nose glued to the screen) while I followed the TRAIL. Fancy electronics can't replace woods/water saavy! - just an opinion

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I bought a Garmin 12 about 2 years ago. It is a great unit, and I would guess they have added improvements since then. I use it during deer hunting, and all the time in my boat. I don't think you'd ever run out of waypoints to mark, no matter what brand you bought. Mine has 500. The biggest limitation I see on mine is how long trails last. When the limit is reached, I think it automatically erases oldest trails first.

If you are using it in your boat, be sure to get hardwire or cigarette lighter wiring, because the batteries will not last long at all (6-8 hours). I made the mistake of buying mine without wiring, thinking I could just use the batteries. And Scheels talked me into a "generic" holder: they said people using the Garmin factory holder had their GPS's bounce out in rough water. But when I got hardwire later, I found out the generic holder had no place for the hardwires to fit through! I was not happy! I ended up buying a second Garmin factory holder. Works great, except, yes, I have had the GPS bounce out in rough water. Fortunately, not all the way out of the boat. So beware. Maybe Garmin has improved holders since then?

Also, if using in cold weather, suggest carrying spare batteries too. I got lost big time while deer hunting, and the GPS saved my butt. But the batteries were disappearing fast in the cold and snow, so I had to keep turning the unit off during 3 hour search back to home base. Lots of unnecessary sweating that a spare set of batteries would have prevented.

Good luck in your purchase.

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If you want a good handheld unit I would go for the Lowrance globalmap 100. I have one and they are very easy to use. Ask anyone and they will tell you that the globalmap is the best handheld that you can buy.

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Who's advice do you take??? Everyone says the unit that they have is "the one". I agree with the comment about look at exactly what your purposes are and go from there.
For me there are three major considerations:
1) Many of these units that are being mentioned are old technology. Meaning to me, they lack WAAS and won't put you on nearly as small of a spot (this may or may not be important to you- it is to me.)
2) Mapping- as I suggested before, I definitely wouldn't get a gps without it.
3) Tech. support- this is an important suggestion (somebody else mentioned it). I've owned Garmin, Lowrance, and Magellan and been at the very least satisfied with all of their service. I will admit to being extremely annoyed with Lowrance because of the serious jerking around they gave many of us with their out-right lies about the i-finder. However, I wouldn't hesitate to buy one of their units in the future.
Good luck,
Scoot

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