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GPS (Read 12322 times)
06/20/12 at 12:33:39

Arizona C-1er   Offline
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Arizona

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I know there has been a lot of discussion in the past about GPS units, and there is a lot of information in the archives.  Nevertheless, I have lingering questions.

I need to buy a unit in the near future.  I am willing to spend up to about $200 if necessary, but would much prefer to find one around $100-$150.  I used to think I wanted to get one with as big a screen as possible, with the ability to plot a course within the riverbed itself.  (For navigating an exact course through Lisbon Bottoms or Berger Bend in the dark.)  I now realize that is probably impractical and unnecessary.

So the basic things I think I need/want out of a GPS are as follows: 

1) A continuous, instantaneous readout of my speed, for the purpose of staying in the fastest part of the channel.  (Probably not necessary in the daytime, but potentially helpful at night?) 

2) A readout of average speed since the start of the race, and/or average speed since the last checkpoint.  This would be for the obvious purpose of knowing whether I am falling behind schedule so I know if I need to pick up the pace a little (assuming I am able to do so).

3) A display of distance to the next checkpoint, and more importantly remaining time to the next checkpoint at current speed.

4) Easily readable display, and some or all of the above displayed continuously or periodically without having to fiddle with button or knobs.

5)  Waterproof.  I have read comments in various forums about GPS units that are supposedly waterproof that really aren't and end up getting fried as a result.  Are there any units that are really waterproof, or is that a pipe dream?

Are there any units that satisfy the above requirements in a price range of $100 to $200?  I have read good things about the Garmin Etrex Vista hcx, and it is available for around $200 at Walmart or Amazon.  But do I really need to spend that much for the basic things I need it to do?

As I have no experience using any of these units, I don't have the knowledge to make an informed decision.  I'm not sure I even know the right questions to ask.      

 
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Reply #1 - 06/20/12 at 12:53:28

Dan_VS_Wild   Offline
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GO OUTSIDE. DO COOL STUFF.

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I use a delorme pn-40. It does everything you described and more. I can vouch for its waterproofness, mine has lasted a couple of years in my kayak and it gets wet or submerged regularly.

You can load satellite images of the river on it, and have your speed displayed at the bottom of the map. What you will be more interested in sounds like us the trip info screen, which is what I use 99% of the time. You can customize about a dozen fields to show different stats. I have mine set to show current speed, average speed, time total, time stopped, total distance and a couple other interesting stats I can't recall at the moment. Worth checking out, I am very happy with it.
 

Why can't you trust a tree? Cause they're shady, man.
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Reply #2 - 06/20/12 at 12:54:12

FlyinLow   Offline
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with Courage"- A de T

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The Garmin eTrex is a great choice.  It will do all that you said.  It is combat proven and waterproof but does not float so make sure you dummycord it to your boat.  Check craigslist. I found one for $90 this spring. There was a model of Garmin Forerunner that used AAA batteries but it has been discontinued.
 

"Don't think you're on the right road just because it’s a well-beaten path."  ~Author Unknown
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Reply #3 - 06/20/12 at 12:59:39

Dan_VS_Wild   Offline
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Here is a pic of the screen I use, you can customize the size of the fields and what type of info it shows.
 

DSC00175-1.jpg (259 KB | 621 )
DSC00175-1.jpg

Why can't you trust a tree? Cause they're shady, man.
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Reply #4 - 06/20/12 at 13:51:52

Scott Mansker   Offline
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12X MR340 Safety Boat Pilot

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"Distance remaining to next checkpoint"   is a tough thing to ask a GPS to do.  It would give you straight line distance but that's not accurate.  Better to have a laminated card with all the checkpoint mileage and cutoff times taped into your boat.  Then looking at your gps and seeing that you've traveled 70 miles so far, you'd know you were only 3 miles from Waverly, etc.  Or if you know it's 36 miles from Miami to Glasgow, you note the mileage when you leave and then you have a feel for how far you have left. 

 
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Reply #5 - 06/20/12 at 14:04:18

Arizona C-1er   Offline
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Arizona

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Good point, Scott!    Like I said, I don't even know the right questions to ask.  The laminated card sounds like a really good idea - practical and virtually cost free.
 
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Reply #6 - 06/20/12 at 17:44:15

Walt Birmingham   Offline
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Chamois, MO

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I've been carrying a Garmin etrex venture hc. It's a simple waterproof unit, just like me.

I set the screen to moniter  following, trip odometer(which I reset as I pass each CP. That way when I'm doing the math in my head to the next CP I'm only worrying about 30 to 50 miles. Speed. and Moving time.

This works for me and keeps things quick and simple.

I bought it at BassPro maybe 3 years ago for around $160 I think. But I've seen them on sale for less.

I'm not really a gadget kind of guy, I envy the tech savy club but I'll never be a member. So like I said, I just stick to simple.
 

Never let the truth get in the way of a good story. (Mark Twain)       http://greatrivertimes.blogspot.com
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Reply #7 - 06/21/12 at 11:48:19

avbates   Offline
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I'd like a real-time display of a map with me on it.  I'm nervous in the fog.  Ideas?
 

walking the line between bravery and stupidity.&&www.riverpedaler.blogspot.com
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Reply #8 - 06/21/12 at 20:57:49

PolishPrince   Offline
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i have the garmin etrex ventur hc and am very happy with it.
it came with a topo package from cabela's for $99.
does all the stuff you list and as scott mentions, measures the way points in "as the crow flys" not "as the river runs".
i'm sure better units are out there but can't beat the price on this one.
 

"that's the problem with work, too much instability!!!"
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Reply #9 - 06/21/12 at 22:24:51

Scott Mansker   Offline
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No gps can guide you safely through the fog.  The only utility they would serve is to point the way to shore for you so you can get off the river.  Flying by instruments is a dangerous game on the river.  The GPS doesn't know if a parked or moving barge is up ahead.  In dangerous fog, smartest thing is to get off the river.  It doesn't mean you're wasting time.  Use the time to sleep.  When the fog clears, you'll have the edge over the person who tried to press on and spent two hours of tight adrenalin pucker paddling figure eights and praying.  You'll have a REM cycle and fewer gray hairs.
 
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Reply #10 - 06/21/12 at 22:49:13

avbates   Offline
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Thanks Scott.  That is some sound advice, may have saved my bacon.... plus it saves me some cash.
 

walking the line between bravery and stupidity.&&www.riverpedaler.blogspot.com
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Reply #11 - 06/29/12 at 21:05:05

lazzy1   Offline
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A different question about GPS, but I thought I'd try to get insight here rather than start another thread.

I just got a Garmin etrex vista after reading a few treads in here. Is the standard base map that comes on the garmin units adequate for use during the 340?  I bought the topo map for the gulf coast region since I'm  in Louisiana, but Missouri is not in that map package. Is it worth the $100 to get a detail map of the Missouri area or can I get by with the standard base map that come on it?

Thanks in advance!
 
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Reply #12 - 06/29/12 at 21:58:38

Joewildlife   Offline
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Jackson MO

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you can get a new old stock Garmin 76Map on eBay for about $100.

The trip computer info you are looking for can be set up at the top of a map.

don't waste your money on topo or any other kind of map.  Download and install the track that folks have posted on a Spot tracker thread recently.

Joe
 

And I ain't too old to hurry
Cause I ain't too old to die
But I sure am hard to beat
Ride on
AC/DC, Ride On
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Reply #13 - 06/29/12 at 22:08:53

Scott Mansker   Offline
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I would agree with Joe that a topo map of Missouri, while cool, is not essential at all.  Print the list of checkpoints, mile markers and cutoff times and shrink it to about 4X4 and laminate it.  Tape it into your boat.  Set up your gps to show avg. speed, current speed, odometer, current time and whatever other good stuff you want.  The river is pretty thoroughly marked with mile markers.  You'll always know pretty well where you are and how far you have to go.  And you'll see a checkpoint for a half hour before you get there... so no worries about missing one.  If it's nighttime, you'll see Hermann for about 2 hours.
 
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Reply #14 - 06/29/13 at 19:33:07

JoshS   Offline
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for those of you who like to program things into the GPS, I have uploaded the river channel track and many of the boat ramps.  I have all the checkpoints in there as well as many non checkpoint ramps and a few places that are not ramps but could pull over, note this is not every ramp, just ones I thought I would use if need came up.  As well as ramps that road is closed to (taylors landing)  The checkpoints are not labeled as such as I know where I am going and just wanted the river mile and the name of the location in the waypoint.  I used Google earth and then GPS visualizer to create http://www.gpsvisualizer.com/  its free and nothing to install, can convert kml to gpx and back to kml.  I find this much better than using garmin's basemap.  Please dont use the channel track for navigation.  I only have so I can force GPS to calculate distance along the track instead of straightline. 


2014 edit, depending on how your GPS works, if the ramp is not near the actual gps track, ie ramp is on the non channel side it may not realize you have passed, so if you were wanting it for calculating distance to each point, you might be better served by putting one waypoint out in the channel and another one at actual location.
« Last Edit: 03/06/14 at 06:57:39 by JoshS »  

2013_340.kmz (66 KB | 371 )
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Reply #15 - 06/29/13 at 19:34:11

JoshS   Offline
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GPX
 

MR_340_2013.gpx (447 KB | 452 )
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Reply #16 - 07/08/13 at 12:43:51

JoshS   Offline
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has anyone with a garmin etrex 20 or 30 had problems when navigating along a track? 

I have etrex 20. When I navigate along a track, I desire to see the distance to the next waypoint. However it will give x.x miles to the next low point or high point, until I get fairly close to the way point then it will kick over to the distance to the waypoint. By then that data is nearly worthless as I can see the waypoint Is there a way to turn this off? They advertise this feature on the garmin website, but the manual is silent on how to turn it off.
 
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Reply #17 - 07/08/13 at 17:38:55

Gordon   Offline
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Butler, MO

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Another question.  I have a fish finder with gps included.  It weighs 3.4#.  Anyone just use these if they already have them installed?  Might provide some entertainment watching the bottom structure and schools of carp go by under the kayak.  It has a great down imaging 5.5" screan and excellent gps function.
 
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Reply #18 - 07/08/13 at 20:16:56

SkiBumJoe   Offline
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Gordon,

Interesting idea with the fish finder. What's the running time on a fresh set of batteries?
 
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Reply #19 - 07/08/13 at 21:13:32

Gordon   Offline
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Butler, MO

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Surprisingly those things use very little power.  I have a rechargeable 12v battery that can last for a couple of weeks of long fishing days.  Actually, I don't think it has ever ran down low enough to shut down the unit.
 
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