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Messages - prglor

Thanks a lot for the link.  I've bookmarked it - don't have time to look into it yet.  Too busy making homemade wine  :).  Perhaps I should have specified that I my upgrade was from Windows 98 to Windows 7 so most of the software I was using was pretty old - but very functional.

I see that GPS City has dropped their price for the Etrex 20 to $170.  How is their customer service, return policy on defective equipment, etc?
How well does Garmin software work with 64 bit Windows 7?  I recently upgraded to it after replacing my computer which got hit by lightning.  Now about 3/4 of my software is incompatible with my operating system.  Are there any issues with Garmin software or with stuff downloadable from this site?
Thank you for the clarification as to which units can use custom maps.  Given this information, I guess I'm looking at the eTrex20, eTrex30 or Oregon 450 as the affordable (for me) choices.  When I read their reviews on Amazon, there are an alarming number of negative reviews claiming poor accuracy for all 3 units and difficulty reading the screen for the 450.  The 450 also gets a number of bad reviews on GPS City, the eTrex 20 and 30 not so much but they're so new there aren't many reviews for them.

Yet, along with these bad reviews that appear to show a pattern of flaws, there are many glowing reviews from satisfied customers.  Are the bad reviews just a case of lemons?  Is Garmin's quality control so poor that there is a significant percentage of flawed units being sold?  Are they, like everything else, being produced in China?

It looks to me like the return service of the place you purchase your unit needs to be the primary criterion, not price, for where you buy.  How do Amazon and GPS City stack up in this regard?  It appears that Garmin will be little help if you get a lemon based on an overwhelming number of people posting bad experiences with their customer support.
Are the 60CSx and 76CSx able to use custom maps?  What are their limitations, if any, in comparison to the eTrex20 or 30 or other moderate cost mapping gps's?
Are track logs and bread crumbs the same thing?  Do all GPS units (including the eTrex 30) create them to enable you to backtrack to where you started?
So now I'm convinced I need a gps that can handle both kinds of customized maps and has an external memory slot.  The eTrex 20 appears to be the lowest cost unit to get these features, but I'd kind of like to have a compass and an altimeter.  Let's say I can talk myself (and my wife) into my needing to lay out about $300 in order for us to hike without getting lost, is the eTrex 30 my best choice or are there other gps's in this price range I should consider?
And My Trails?  Is that on this website or another one?
What is My Trails?

For that matter, what is the T model and DEM data?  Did you mean DAM(N) data?  :)
Thanks once again for the great information.  That link is super for seeing what the 100k topo map is like.  I looked up a similar topo map for the southeast 24k.  I'm not sure what advantage the 24k map has over the 100k one.  I zoomed down to the area around the fish hatchery in the Pisgah Forest near Brevard, NC which I'm familiar with and couldn't see much additional detail in the 24k map - maybe a few more marked trails. 

Interestingly, the 24k map does not show Road 475 in the Pisgah Forest which goes to the Fish Hatchery and many trailheads, whereas the 100k map does.  I learned that neither map shows POI's like the Ranger Station on Rte 276 just west of Brevard nor do they show most of the trails in the Pisgah Forest.  I can see where being able to overlay a scanned image of a map having these features on them would be immensely useful to me, so I am leaning heavily towards getting the eTrex 20 or even breaking the bank to get the eTrex 30.  What other advantages does the 30 offer besides a compass and an altimeter?  Being able to share data wirelessly with other people with similar GPS's would not be useful at this point in time.

If I were to get a bundle with the 100k topo map, could scanned images or Google Earth views be overlayed onto the 100k map?  I assume they could also be overlayed onto maps downloaded from this site or maps I create myself?
I see that eTrex 20 is available bundled with a 100K topo map.  Does this map cover the entire US?  How useful is a 100K map - I see that most maps on this site are 24K. 

Does the eTrex 20 have some form of compass or altimeter?  In reading some reviews I got the idea that this might be the case, although not as accurate as what's on the eTrex 30.
Thanks for the clarifications.  Pretty understandable when the terms are defined.  Like a word in a foreign language that means nothing until it's defined in your language.

I think your suggestion of going to a store and checking units out in person is a great idea.  Don't know why I didn't think of it myself except I've gotten into the habit of online shopping.  Thanks.  Will let you know what I decide to buy.
So the custom vector maps that can be downloaded from this site can't be used with the eTrex summit gps? If I buy this gps I'm stuck with buying my maps from Garmin - am I understanding the comments about compatibility of different map types correctly?

What about the eTrex 20 review where the reviewer complained about the small size of the screen and poor visibilty and viewability.  What's everyone's opinion of this review?

If the eTrex 20 complaints are valid, I'm thinking of going with the eTrex Vista HCx instead of the Summit.  You guys have pretty well convinced me I need a model with an external card to be able to load more or bigger maps.  What does everyone think of this model?  Can the maps from this site be used with it?
Forgot another question I have.  What are "custom maps" and wireless geocaching.  Are "custom maps" the same as "Garmin Custom (raster) maps"?  If so, are they only available from Garmin and how does that fit with "  "custom maps" which you can easily make yourself. "

As you can see I know next to nothing about handheld gps, so this forum is a godsend for me.  But it may take awhile to get up to speed from where I'm starting.
Thanks for all the input.  I looked at reviews of the eTrex 20 on amazon and was turned off by this 1-star review:

8 of 18 people found the following review helpful:
1.0 out of 5 stars disappointed, September 11, 2011
By Graham (NH) - See all my reviewsAmazon Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Garmin eTrex 20 Worldwide Handheld GPS Navigator (Electronics)
I was beaten up for 'pre-reviewing' this as one-star vaporware. Now I have purchased it and - very regretfully - returned it. I cannot rate it any higher. Small can be a virtue but it can be taken to the point of being a liability. This screen is SMALL. Not only that but it is primitive in terms of reflectivity and visibility. My cellphone screen is both MUCH larger and MUCH more viewable. I found the tiny screen almost unviewable, particularly in street mode. The whole device is a good deal smaller than it needs to be and the screen does not make good use of the already minimal real estate. The non-touch interface is just plan clunky. This has the feel of a product that has been designed down to a price point not up to a spec. If cellphones makers can make easily pocketable devices with great screens so can GPS makers - they only have to incorporate a fraction of the functionality.

Does this guy have a valid point or not?  What is the bird's eye view and what is the advantage of it?
I am thinking of buying a Garmin Etrex Summit HC as my first hiking gps.  I realize that it is limited by the 24MB internal storage size.  I live in Western North Carolina close to the Pisgah National Forest , Dupont State Forest and Blue Ridge Parkway and do almost all of my hiking in these places so I don't need a lot of memory to hold something like a whole state or the whole Southeast.  I'm wondering if 24MB is large enough to store these 3 places, which are fairly close to one another.

I would also welcome comments from members of this forum about the Summit HC, other than the memory size limitation.  I'm particularly interested in how well free maps can be used with this unit because I hate the way Garmin overcharges for their maps and even after you purchase them doesn't allow you to use them on a new gps if you upgrade.  So, in essence you're only renting the maps, not owning them.