Handheld GPS Recommendations

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I'm looking to buy a hand held GPS. On my short list are the Garmin Oregon 400t,450t,550t, as well as the DeLorme PN-40. These are all topographical units. Have you used any of these units? I'd appreciate words of advice on finding a good unit.

Garmin 60csx is what I use.... very rugged and reviews have shown that the chipset used in the receiver seems to work a tad better than Garmin's newer models (which you mentioned, the Oregon line etc) which is important if you work in valley's or have a canopy of trees above you.

If you have an iPhone, there are a couple good apps that work good as well, Motionx-GPS is one of them and the newest version allows you to download map data incase the area you are going to is outside of cell range (as it normally uses the data connection to retrieve maps).


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I use my own GPS Garmin's GPSMAP 60CSx. It's really excellent one with any topographs, waterproof, strong high-senstivity GPS receiver and good clearly rugged. I went to the different claims through GPAA and RRPC in Arizona area. I tested all the times. It seemed pretty accurates and easier to use. I recommend you to get memory card (such as a chipset) with Topo 24k (1:24000 scale) or any options of MapSource data into unit. You need to look up at Garmin website to find more info what kind of topomaps do your really need. I agree with Jennifer mentioned about this message to you.


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I have a Garmin Venture cX and I was recently given a DeLorme PN-40.

I bought the Venture CX with the 24k topo for about $200, three years ago. The DeLorme PN-40 with the topo pack cost about $400. I was excited to get the DeLorme because I had heard that DeLorme had finally made a hand held GPS that could challenge the Garmin units.

The Garmin Topos are much higher quality than the Delorme.

The Delorme can use maps downloaded with their computer software from their pay site. The aerial images and topos offered by DeLorme are of two types, low quality or expensive. To download aerial images, of google quality, for approximately 70 square miles was more than $100. The DeLorme Topo format is a real memory hog, I used up the 16 Gigabyte SD card before I could load all the topos for the US. At twice the resolution the Garmin 24K topo maps take up less than 1/2 Gigabyte.

The Garmin also offers pay downloads from their site, but you can obtain quality maps for free from gpsfiledepot.com and many others. The DeLorme units will not let you use these maps. The Garmin Venture cx will not load aerial images without serious hacking, but the Oregon will out of the box.

The PN-40 is almost twice the size of the Garmin unit. The controls for the DeLorme are on the face of the unit, the Garmin is on the side. I find it very easy to use the Garmin buttons with one hand, the DeLorme is almost too large to manage the buttons and keep a good grip on the unit with one hand. I have large hands, so this may be an issue for others.

The Garmin Venture cx and the DeLorme PN-40 have the same size and resolution of screen. In side by side tests the Garmin always acquired a Satellite connection before the DeLorme. The DeLorme has dual processors and draws it's maps marginally faster than the Garmin. I doubt it would be any faster than the Garmin if it was drawing the higher resolution topos that are loaded on the Garmin. The Garmin batteries last almost twice as long as the same batteries in the DeLorme.

The DeLorme software map program is clunky compared to Garmin's. It is nice that DeLorme finally came up with a GPS data format that is readable by other programs but it is not nice that their mapping program will not interface with the common formats. On the other hand the DeLorme PN-40 units interface was more intuitive than the Garmin Venture CX unit.

The DeLorme has a digital compass and a digital altimeter, nice feature because you don't have to be moving to get a reading. I'm not sure if the Oregon has these features.

If the Garmin Oregon is as well built and battery frugal as the Garmin Venture series I would give it to the Garmin over the DeLorme hands down. As it is I will stick to my three year old Garmin and leave the DeLorme in the drawer.



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I just stepped up from a Summit to an Oregon 400t. I just love the new unit. For $30 a year, I can download birdseye imagry(arial photos). I can also create custom overlay maps using google earth to the gps unit as a custom map, showing me BLM Lands,state lands,wilderness lands, claims, etc.

I still run the gpsfiledepot topo map, but can toggle between that topo and the garmin 100k topo, which came with the unit. I can view the garmin topo in 3d.

The photos really don't do it justice. I am happy with this unit and Garmin is now giving Delorme a run for their money.




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The second image on the above post is of birdseye view on the gps unit. You can always turn off the topo map and just view the arial image. Here are some pictures of the same view from the computer screen.

The oregon has a digital compass, barometer, altimeter(?). The Dakota series has a triple axis compass, but not the Oregon.The Oregon 550 has a built in camera, which would be handy, but a little bit more money.

I am not sure if this is the same birdseye as on bing. For Garmin, there is a $30 yearly fee for downloading the arial images, but no limit as to how many images you can download.You must also have a Birdseye compatible gps unit to use birdseye. I believe they are: Dakota, Oregon, and Colorado.




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