View Full Version : First GPS which one

25th August 2005, 10:23 PM
I am about to buy my first GPS for offroading. I am slightly confused as what to buy. I was thinking of the Garmin GPS 60.
I want to use the GPS in conjunction with topo maps.
I don't think I need mapping facilities. :confused:
I will not be using a laptop. I like the idea of alarms when waypoints come up and also connection to 12V outlet in vehicle and external aerial (much of a advantage with external aerial). I have never used a GPS before.Thanks in advance Wombatwal

25th August 2005, 11:51 PM
I'm not going to suggest that I know what you want better than you do yourself :o , but mapping on the GPS is much more enlightening than you can imagine.

I used to have a Magellan GPS2000.
No mapping not even PC connectivity!
After a week or two with the Meridian, I suddenly realised how "less handy" the 2000 really was.
I've had a mapping capable handheld since '98 and it was then that I realised that the GPSs real usefulness!

I could sit and stare at the Meridian screen for hours on end, admiring the maps :eek:

I have no experience with Garmins, other than a brief few minutes, but the Magellan menu seemed more natural(??)
(easier to understand! but then again I seem to lapse into a state of retardedness every now and then, so maybe it was really not the fault of the Garmin!) :D

Cheers :)

26th August 2005, 05:48 AM
I can't say I agree with Arthurking's comments about Garmin.

I am very close to purchasing a new Garmin mapping GPS. My choice is the GPSMap 276c, after using a non mapping Etrex Summit for several years. I chose it over the Magellan Meridians and newer Explorists for a number of reasons. In particular their superior menuing system, which is far easier to use (I have used both) and it also has the added turn by turn navigation capabilities for use in metro areas. Many Garmin units also have the waypoint proximity alarm feature that you mentioned including the 276c.

Arthurking's comments about on the value of mapping functionality in a GPS unit is quite correct. Especially for off road use. With a non mapping GPS you can preplan your trip and navigate your way with it until you come up against an unexpected obsticle and have to detour around it. This is when some sort of moving map display (be it on the GPS itself or on a connected device like a laptop or PDA) becomes your best friend. Remember, you can always relate a non mapping GPS to a paper map, but it's time consuming and is not easily performed at the steering wheel.

26th August 2005, 07:02 AM
Thanks ArthurKing83 and Pluto.
I will not be connecting the GPS to a laptop or PDA, so would have to rely on the screen on the GPS. Are they large enough to be effective particularly for my 53 year old eyes requiring glasses to read.
Stopping to look at maps is not a problem because I want this for 4WDriving on tracks at a slow speed with no other traffic.
A lot more expense of course with the mapping GPS and cost of digital maps.
Still confused, I do not want to buy a non mapping unit then months down the track realise I should have bought a mapping unit. Wombatwal

26th August 2005, 08:57 AM
if you even remotley suspect you may get into using the gps and its capabilities, i would get the best mapping unit i could. even though you think you'll only use it as a position finder and relate that to paper topos, most would find (especially the people on here) that very soon this isnt good enough and PC connections, mapping and memory is a must.

if you do become a gpsgeek and you have only bought a basic unit, you can atleast use it as the permanent built in car computer gps and use the mapping unit you subsequently buy and the mobile feild unit...

26th August 2005, 09:13 PM
Thanks ArthurKing83 and Pluto.No worries.

...I do not want to buy a non mapping unit then months down the track realise I should have bought a mapping unit...Once you've used a mapping GPS off road you won't consider the extra expence to be a waste.

26th August 2005, 09:45 PM
But I won't be using a laptop just the GPS. How large are the map screens on a GPS. How expensive is the software and maps to go with a mapping GPS. Wombatwal

27th August 2005, 09:13 AM
You will find that a mapping GPS is always "too much"
and as far as the mapping software for them............ :eek:

I can only advise on Magellan products! (as I have no idea on Garmin products)

Meridians are good value for money, there mapping software available from Magellan, but it's damn expensive ~$250-350 for good maps.
The Meridians can take upto 1Gb SD cards, which is far more than Garmins can!
The latest topo maps from Magellan (I'm still waiting for the online shop....) fit on a 512M card.
So in that respect the magellan seems to have a small advantage.
I've seen meridians(Gold, Platinum, and Color) on ebay for ~$300-600)

Having said all that it, appears that Garmin have cheaper mapping units, and there is a lot more mapping data/programs/software available from third-parties.

screen sizes?? my Meridian screen size is 55cmx40cm. I believe it to be large enough! It get kind of 'hectic' when around town, but you can turn detail up or down.
I would say that screen size is good enough but if you have vision impairment.... well, I can see what you can! So I can't comment??

Go into a RaysOutdoor to check out a Magellan Meridian and see for yourself!

Ralf the RR
27th August 2005, 12:24 PM
I am in the same situation as you.
I want a GPS for 4WDing and also in my boat.

I downloaded the specs on various handheld GPSs, PDAs, Laptops & Handheld laptops.
From this, I made paper models of the physical size and then drew in the screen size (very crude).
I then put each of them in the vehicle (on the dash).

I found the GPS too small, and the handheld laptop too large.
The PDA is the right size (for me).
A laptop running a 7" screen would work also, but I couldn't be bothered setting it all up.

So I am going to get (when funds available) a PDA ($250ish on ebay), a mouse or bluetooth (depends on PDA) GPS receiver ($100ish), a 12V charger to power both, manufacture my own mounts, and run OziExplorer.

This setup can be used in both the 4WD and the boat (it wont get wet), and 'll be happy :D

27th August 2005, 02:38 PM
I had a non mapping etrex then meridian gold (not colour) and on the trail bike if I get stuck I can look for the nearest bigger road to get out. the best thing I do with mine is to bring the track to ozi explorer and next time I ride there I take a printed map (a4 size)with the last track on it also I'm getting an explorist 600 next week and will be selling the meridian gold

29th August 2005, 07:39 AM
Thanks everyone for your views. I will probably go down the parh of a non mapping GPS and use paper topo maps. If I decide to go to mapping further down the track I can sell the GPS and buy a mapping one. The extra expense is not worth it for what I want to use it for. Wombatwal