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Topics - QuestionsGPS

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1
I'm looking for a way to let others experience my hikes by posting a track of where I went onto a Google Terrain map, with a picture slide show to the side.  TrimbleOutdoors.com doesn't automatically cycle through the pictures like EveryTrail does, you have to manually click the next icon, plus it now costs money.  EveryTrail.com used to be perfect, but now any trips you put together are so far zoomed out on the map that the picture locations don't make any sense to those who view it.  I've experimented, and cannot change the default map zoom view.  Plus, if you post on Facebook, it doesn't show a map icon like it used to.  It would be nice to find a website which does that just like those RunKeeper posts you see from your Facebook friends, presenting a small map on their News Feed.

Here is what I mean by EveryTrail.com trips being zoomed too far out, to the point picture locations don't make sense: http://www.everytrail.com/view_trip.php?trip_id=2184689&code=b0816c1362442d8b2618c1ba6d2a9bf0

This is how they used to look, zoomed in close enough: http://www.everytrail.com/view_trip.php?trip_id=1616229

Does anyone know of any websites which allow you to post trips on Facebook, but not zoomed out too far like EveryTrail now just recently changed to?

2
Hi, I emailed Delta Airlines if it's okay to use a handheld GPS when being a passenger in one of their airplanes.  They responded back with it's okay at cruise heights, although not when taking off or landing (apparently some airlines even say no GPS whatsoever).

Since I'm flying with Delta in a couple of weeks to Hawaii, I thought it could be fun to make a GPS tracklog to share on Facebook, and geotagg pictures I take out the window (probably would be more fun taking the pictures when I'm flying over the Continental U.S., rather than the open boring ocean part of it).

Anyway, would there be any special settings I'd need to set my Garmin Oregon 450 to, for the tracklog and geotagging to work properly?  Are there only a certain number of points in a track before the GPS archives it and starts a new one?  Because of that, would I need to tell it to only record the track every mile, rather than how I have it now at 1/100th of a mile?  Would I need to go to the time settings and tell it to not detect what time zone it's in, so that it'll allow me to "geotagg from track" later on?  If I don't do that, would BaseCamp get confused because it would see multiples of the same time within the same track?

3
I was thinking about getting a snapshot camera with an embedded GPS inside of it, to geotag photos so I can know where I took my photos at. Right now, I use BaseCamp with the GPS tracks from my Garmin Oregon 450, to find coordinates for my pictures. I was wondering what tends to work better?

The drawback with geotagging photos using my GPS unit tracks, I have to make sure I tell it to adjust the time by negative 20 seconds (or whatever the difference happens to be at the time of snapping a photo), so that the camera's time stamps can be synced with the GPS. In addition, if I happen to clear the GPS track log before I have the chance to geotagg a photo, that's an obvious problem. I also have my tracks set to record every 100th of a mile, so I don't know if that would throw off the accuracy of a photo?

On the other hand, since most people don't leave their digital cameras on the entire time when on a hike, I would be worried if it takes a while for a GPS embedded snapshot camera to get a good enough fix on satellites to get a decent geotagg location for its pictures?

What's better? Which tends to be more accurate?

4
I am curious because there are some issues that I think could make my GPS better with one of their future software updates, if that's something they can do? Is there a certain department at Garmin to write to that you know of?

For example, I have the Garmin Oregon 450. I think the track back isn't good for this model. It just "tracks back". If your hiking track overlaps itself (such as a figure eight), the unit doesn't use intelligence to have you take the shorter of the two distances back, but rather has you follow the same exact way you came, even if you have to go 50 feet in the opposite direction first before the arrow points you back in the correct direction. However, on the Garmin eTrex Vista HCx that I tried out earlier, it not only allows you to track back, you can click where on the track you want to track back to and the unit will tell you the shorter distance on your track in order to get there. The eTrex doesn't force you to completely track back your figure 8, but rather if the track overlaps itself you can just take the shorter distance. I think that would be neat if there was a way to make the Oregon 450 like that in a future software update.

Or another one, you know how the shading from the maps you buy from Garmin can affect your visibility on a touch screen like the 450, if "shaded relief" is set to on? You know how labels for waypoints for contrast have that small white box background behind them, and how user waypoints aren't affected by the shading from shaded relief while the default waypoint labels are? I wonder if Garmin with a software update could make all labels on the screen like that, even labels for the elevation contour lines, so that shaded relief doesn't affect screen visibility so much?

5
I've been thinking about later going on a 100 mile hike through the Uinta Mountains in Utah, the Highline Trail.  To make it less of a hassle in changing the batteries, especially if my hands are greasy when going through all that backpacking/camping, I've heard that lithium last longer than alkaline/rechargeables? 

Has anyone here had much experience with lithium in their GPSr?  By the way, I have a Garmin Oregon 450, an energy guzzler which is rated for 16 hours on the specification sheet, but really only 10 hours if you don't have the screen set to turn off after you haven't touched it for a couple of minutes.

I've seen both the Energizer Advanced and Ultimate Lithium batteries at Walmart, but I'm not sure how well these work, and to what extent it's advertising hype when they say lasts "9X" longer than ...."  I'm not sure if they set up their numbers a certain way to make it look good, like a lot of advertising does.  The batteries I use right now are 2500 mAh AA rechargeables, so I don't know how they'd compare.

6
Hi, I enjoy the geotagging feature in BaseCamp.  However, I have an issue I don't know how to fix  ??? 

You know how BaseCamp gives you the option of stating how much time your GPSr and camera are offset by so that you can get correct geotagging?  I forgot to do that, and so BC gave me the wrong coordinates for a picture that I really care about.  So, I though about using that feature again to fix the issue, using the correct time offset (by an hour).  Unfortunately, earlier I had already split my track for that hike in half and erased the return journey portion of the track, because I prefer to remember the distance "one-way" on hikes rather than the "round-trip" mileage.  So, I wasn't able to get the track geotagging feature to write the correct GPS coordinates on top of my mistake of one hour offset.

Next, I tried dragging and dropping my picture on the correct portion of the BaseCamp map where my Bird's Eye Imagery tells me the correct location should be.  It wouldn't work because the "drag and drop picture" feature only works if the photo doesn't already have geotag coordinates, and thus the wrong coords are blocking this from working   >:(

Is it best to somehow remove GPS coordinates EXIF data?  Or some other easier method to fix it?  I don't know anything about editing EXIF data, so if that's the best option, any advice would be appreciated!  Also, I'd prefer not to touch any of the other EXIF data on the picture, in case I have to make copyright claims to my picture later on.

7
I just bought a Garmin Southwest 24K DVD version from REI the other day.  I haven't opened it up yet.  Although REI has a really good return policy, I assume I won't be able to return it after opening the packaging since it's a DVD version, so I'm trying to figure out beforehand how worth it this software is before opening. 

I'm curious how these particular paid version maps compare?  How easy are these maps to read on your GPS compared to the typical GPS File Depot free version map?  How detailed are they?  Do they label national forests, swamps, etc, etc, similar to the GPS File Depot versions?  How easy is it to differentiate the BLM, national forest, and national park areas from each other?  I guess the big difference is the Garmin 24K are shaded relief, and routable for paved roads (although I believe some GPS File Depot maps are routable)?

8
GPSr Units / A car ran over my Garmin Oregon 450, how to fix?
« on: December 03, 2012, 03:32:28 PM »
Okay, it's still functional.  The issue is that the upper part of the touch screen turned black, because of all the cracks (under the screen protector I put on).  It still functions when I touch various options under the menu in the blacked out part of the screen (I have memorized where they are).  The GPS unit still does tracks, etc.  The only other problem besides the screen which I've noticed is under the battery cover in the back, there's a small/short crack in the frame of the GPS unit itself, but large enough that it may let water into the unit if it were to be submerged (and it's located before the o-ring seal compartment.

Anyone know of any options for this situation?

So far, I called up Garmin, and they said they have a flat rate fee of $99 to fix the 450.  I also went online and found Oregon 450 touch screen replacements just by themselves, for only $20, plus I found a youtube.com video of how to replace a touch screen on one of these.  However, that wouldn't fix that short crack in the frame in the back (and I'm not sure how good some type of epoxy would be at guaranteeing no water gets through).

9
General Discussion / Which is better: Map and Compass versus GPS?
« on: November 08, 2012, 02:35:01 PM »
Hi forum,

One thing I don't understand, I hear many say that they won't use a GPS and only rely on a map and compass, because they say the map and compass are far superior?  I feel confused when I hear this.  I don't know if I'm missing something here?  I even came across a website which gave one of their experts a GPS and the other a map and compass, to test effectiveness.  The guy with the GPS took so much less time finding where to travel versus the lady with the map and compass, especially when on the "off-trail" section of the test.  However at the end, the website's guy expert said he would hands down use the maps and compass over a GPS if he was forced to choose between the two, because you don't have to worry about batteries or reception.

One thing I'm very confused about:  GPS critics say if you're at the bottom of a narrow canyon or under thick vegetation, the map and compass is better because of reception?  So what I don't understand, in order to find where you are at with just a map and compass, you need to find landmarks in order to triangulate.  Half of the time when I'm out hiking, the trees are high enough I can't see any landmarks to triangulate with the map and compass.  However, when I pull out my Garmin Oregon 450 GPS, it tells me exactly where I'm at and says it's within 15 ft accuracy.  I can understand the concern about GPS reception if you're on the north face of Mount McKinley in Alaska where you're further north than where the GPS satellites pass by, affecting your signal, but for general use within the Continental U.S.?  I also notice that taking bearings and heading to a place with a compass only works if you have landmarks along the way to keep yourself in a straight line, but half of the time the trees make that difficult; the same for taking back bearings with a traditional compass. 

Other things about when I use the traditional map/compass:  Subtracting or adding 5 degrees from a compass bearing to hit a "handrail" to follow to a waypoint often takes me through weird terrain to get there.  Then also when it's pitch dark and I'm on a trail which hasn't been maintained in 30 years, it's difficult to find my way back, and impossible to take bearings with the compass mirror sight.  On the other hand, my GPS is easy to see in the dark and I can just follow my "track" back to where I had come from (very easy).  I don't fear running out of battery because I usually carry three backup pairs of batteries, and check their charge before my next outing.

Map/compass supporters say you may drop your GPS and it'll break, so use the map and compass instead?  For a while I had a protractor compass in my backpack, but then from all the pressure the liquid would leak out of it, to the point of making it so taking bearings wasn't accurate anymore.  My Garmin Oregon 450 is rubberized and I've dropped it on rocks so many times and it still works, even if I don't like the scratched rubber look.  I upgraded from the thrashed protractor compass to a mirror sight compass you can fold over to stop that pressure on the encased liquid compartment, but I still feel skepticism.  Is that legitimate skepticism?

The only reasons I carry a map and compass for backup is because it's always possible the Garmin could have software issues, and USGS maps tend to be more detailed/much easier to scroll across than the GPS maps.  I'll use the compass for finding out which mountain peaks in the distance are which, because I find compasses more accurate than the electronic GPS compasses if you're not actually moving.

Is there something I'm missing here about why there are all these people who prefer the map/compass over hiking GPSr's.  I'm just trying to become a more educated navigator.

10
I ask because just this last Saturday I was about ready to go on a hike where a moose came barreling around the corner! I've heard they can get dangerous.

I went up a canyon where cars have to pay a fee to get past the gate on the road. I drove up 6 miles.

When I got to where the road ends and a dirt trail begins, at first I was excited to go hiking, but then decided to relax inside my car for five minutes. Just a couple of minutes later, I saw something dashing in my direction. I looked up and saw a moose moving quickly and was less than 10 feet from my car. After it passed my car, it stopped for a second, looked around, and then with speed started down the paved road I just drove up. I thought to myself, "If I would have started my hike right when I parked here, I would have been on this trail when it came barreling around the corner."

Since that thought freaked me out, I am asking if anyone here knows what you're supposed to do if you're in a situation like the one I almost got in? I was about ready to hike on a narrow single track trail, thick with trees on both sides. Do you try to move off the trail a bit? Would a moose ignore you if you try that, or would it just charge you?

Another reason I'm concerned: You know how people can get "concealed carry" permits for carrying guns? I have one of those for the state of Utah and was carrying both a 9mm handgun and some of that grizzly bear pepper spray which shoots a cone shaped spray out 35 feet. If a moose comes around the corner, wouldn't that be awkward to then make a police report "I just shot my gun several times at a moose within 'City Limits' and sprayed it with my pepper spray"? I also don't know how much a 9mm handgun will protect you from something as big as a moose.

This really concerns me! What do you do if you're caught in a situation like this?

11
I'm trying to expand my hiking capabilities. 

So far this is what I've done: I use the free maps from GPSFileDepot.  For hiking trails, I downloaded maps4gps's "Trails from 100K maps Map", the popular "My Trails" map doesn't include the state I'm in.  I also try to create my own hiking routes by going to the geocaching.com/map Map, making sure "My Topo" is selected and visualizing where the hiking trails are and then creating a Route by placing waymarks near the contour lines on GPSFileDepot maps I've transferred to my GPS (MyTopo.com maps are copyrighted against any type of printing without paying money, but they're free to view online).

Another option, I've also noticed there are hiking GPX tracks online which you can transfer to your GPS.  So my question for this post, what are some good websites to find them at?  So far I've found TrimbleOutdoors.com and EveryTrail.com.  However, at EveryTrail.com, in order to download the "Guides" you need a smartphone, you can only download the "Trips" as GPX to a dedicated handheld GPS.  The other site, TrimbleOutdoors.com, is often a bunch of clutter when looking through all the tracks. 

What are some additional websites which hold hiking GPX files?

12
GPSr Units / Garmin eTrek Vista vs. Dakota 20 vs. Oregon 450
« on: January 25, 2012, 08:21:57 PM »
Hi, hereís my situation and I was wondering your input? I just bought the eTrex Vista HCx from Costco.com. I've enjoyed it so far.  However, I noticed that if I want to upload another map a day later, itíll overwrite that gmapsupp file. If I try renaming gmapsupp, like this website suggested, the Vista HCx wonít recognize the file. If I start from scratch by resending all the maps to my unit all over again, it takes more than 12 hours just to do the whole thing again (I have an 8 GB card in the unit). That's a pain.

Since Costco has a return policy if youíre not satisfied, I was thinking of returning this unit and paying the extra $100-140 to get either a Garmin Dakota 20 or Oregon 450. My questions: Do those two other units allow you to recognize the renamed gmapsupp file? Another thing Iím concerned about is if their touchscreens make it more difficult to pinpoint the exact point on the map you want compared to the eTrex's roller joystick (if you donít have good fingernails)? How do the Dakota 20 and Oregon 450 compare to the eTrex Vista HCx?

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