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Messages - QuestionsGPS

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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)?

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).

General Discussion / Re: Which is better: Map and Compass versus GPS?
« on: November 08, 2012, 04:12:14 PM »
It's just that I hear so many people telling me I shouldn't bring my GPS when I hike to save on weight, and to use a map & compass instead so that I don't get lost.  I feel confused by that, so I was asking this question here to see if it's just their own personal preferences/opinions or if there's anything I'm missing? 

I do bring a map and compass as backup, but use my GPS for most all of my navigation.

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.

Didn't know we had moose in UT.  Thought the only large ones were elk.  What trail were you on?

City Creek Canyon just east of the Utah Capitol building.  At the front entrance, they have a sign saying dangerous animals, with a picture of a moose, black bear, rattle snake and cougar. 

Moose are in the Wasatch Mountains.  I've also come across one in Mueller Park in Bountiful, and in person, although it wasn't hurrying down a trail.  I also saw one from a car, in North Canyon in Bountiful.

In fact, I found this map of the North American range from Wikipedia:


Utah Topo 2011

The reason I asked this forum is in the description of "General Discussion" forum, it reads "Feel free to talk about anything and everything in this board."  In addition, a reasonable and prudent person would believe hiking safety is essentially related to anything dealing with a hiking GPS forum.

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?

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?

GPSr Units / Re: Garmin eTrek Vista vs. Dakota 20 vs. Oregon 450
« on: April 27, 2012, 10:34:05 AM »
Also: When visiting Garmin's online store they give you an interactive tool to see what their 100K U.S. Topo looks like.  Below the 500 ft zoom level it appears to me that the Garmin 100K is worthless because of lack of detail, while gpsfiledepot maps help you understand the shape of the land better.  However, zoomed out past 800 ft the gpsfiledepot maps look confusing with squiggly lines and the shaded relief from Garmin U.S. Topo starts to be quite helpful (I'm in the Rocky Mountains area).

Why I would wonder: I've noticed on my 450, which doesn't come with the preloaded topos but rather the very primitive relief basemap, when it's zoomed to 3 mi I can see both the contour lines of gpsfiledepot and shaded relief of the basemap at the exact same time.  I was curious if the same thing would happen if I were to combine with Garmin's 100K U.S., and if I would have shaded relief at any zoom level?

GPSr Units / Re: Garmin eTrek Vista vs. Dakota 20 vs. Oregon 450
« on: April 27, 2012, 10:30:55 AM »
Thanks for all the advice so far.  One question I have is if you were to get the Garmin 100K U.S. Topo and enable at the same time that and the free gpsfiledepot.com maps, could you get the detail of the contour lines of gpsfiledepot and shaded relief of Garmin's 100K at the exact same time? 

The reason why: I returned the Garmin eTrex Vista HCx back to Costco and got the the Oregon 450 from Walmart.  Apparently Walmart also has a return policy if you decide you're not completely satisfied, and I noticed the 450t is on Amazon.com for only $35 more than Walmart's 450 model.  I'm trying to figure out if the $35 extra would be worth it.

GPSr Units / Re: Garmin eTrek Vista vs. Dakota 20 vs. Oregon 450
« on: February 05, 2012, 11:42:09 PM »
Another question I have is about the Garmin Oregon 450 versus the 450t.  Which Garmin Topo map comes preloaded with the 450t model?  Is it the TOPO U.S. 100K at https://buy.garmin.com/shop/shop.do?cID=255&pID=28229

I've found the gpsfiledepot topo maps quite detailed.  A question I have is if "the shading" on the preloaded Garmin 450t map helps out that much if you want to hike in the Rocky Mountains and need to find passes so you can get through, just like looking at those sculpted relief maps in National Park Visitor centers could help?  Or does the Garmin shading not help out that much compared to just a regular topo?


GPSr Units / Re: Garmin eTrek Vista vs. Dakota 20 vs. Oregon 450
« on: January 26, 2012, 10:50:09 AM »
I know it was mentioned above if it slows me down because the Vista HCx doesn't recognize renamed map files, the eTrex 30 uses the same file format as the Dakota and Oregon.  I also know it has the same battery life as the Vista HCx.  However, when I went to Walmart.com, the eTrex 30 is about the same price as the Oregon 450, so I would want to go with the better model.  (I could buy the eTrex 30 cheaper on Amazon.com, however I know Walmart and Costco are pretty good about returns to their local stores in case the GPS is not quite what you thought it would be; I don't know if Amazon.com allows returns if you've already used the product and it has no defects?) 

What would you prefer, the Garmin eTrex 30 or the Oregon 450?

GPSr Units / Re: Garmin eTrek Vista vs. Dakota 20 vs. Oregon 450
« on: January 26, 2012, 10:45:50 AM »
Another thing I wanted to ask is I heard the reflection in direct sunlight is worse with the Dakota 20 and Oregon 450 touch screens than the eTrex?  Is that much of an issue?  Also, the battery life for them aren't rated as long as that eTrex.  So, in your opinion do the added features of the Dakota and Oregon overrule those two disadvantages?  Or, how much of an issue are those two concerns I have?

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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