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Author Topic: Advice for GPS Purchase  (Read 4445 times)

DesertCruiser

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Advice for GPS Purchase
« on: September 23, 2012, 09:18:00 PM »
I've been asked by quite a few people now about which Garmin GPS unit to purchase. Here's what they are looking for.  A larger screen, 4 to 5 inches, something that can be mounted in a Jeep for off road use. Be able to install maps and be able to upload tracks and routes to the unit. Also be able to download tracks and way points to a computer topo program. Not a deal breaker but being able to power the unit with a 12 volt power outlet in the vehicle would be nice, and a color screen would be a must. Backlight for night runs and better visibility in the sun (this is why vehicle power would be nice).  Enough memory for daily use for weeks? And enough memory for loading maps of several states. Being able to add mini SD cards in the unit would also be nice to add to memory. Smaller units won't cut it as these people are mostly older and like the idea of being able to see the larger screens better. Ease of use!

I'm asking here cause I know you guys keep up with this stuff and some of the Nuvi's had problems with tracks and being able to upload to them. Maybe this is not a problem now? Anyway any help would be greatly appreciated.
Don .....
www.in-the-desert.com 
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Boyd

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Re: Advice for GPS Purchase
« Reply #1 on: September 24, 2012, 06:03:53 AM »
The Montana 600 should fit those needs perfectly, budget permitting: https://buy.garmin.com/shop/shop.do?cID=145&pID=75226

I got mine over a year ago and use it everyday, both on foot and in the car. I love it. Very advanced feature set not available on any other device. The screen is just beautiful.

You are correct - none of the Nuvi's have track management features and none of them allow you to upload tracks. Track is always being recorded - you cannot even turn it off although you can clear or hide it. But it will only display the active track being recorded on the device and will ignore any tracks that you send to it.

DesertCruiser

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Re: Advice for GPS Purchase
« Reply #2 on: September 24, 2012, 10:24:40 AM »
Boyd: Thanks for the advice. Maybe someone else will have more, but it sounds like you have exactly what they are looking for. Several of them have said that they were considering the Nuvi's and I had my doubts about that working for them, as I've heard others say the same thing about the tracks. But things change, so you never know. It's always best to ask people that do know. 

Boyd on this Montana 600 -- is it possible to add memory, and can you use the maps that are offered here? Does this unit use Base Camp?

I see that http://www.amazon.com/Garmin-Montana-600-Waterproof-Hiking/dp/B0050SNCN4 has it for $471, which isn't bad. 

I'm sorry about asking all this, but I'm still using an older Etrex Vista HCx that works fine for me, but it has too small of a screen for these people.
Don....
"A picture is worth a thousand words"
"Some pictures leave you speechless"

DesertCruiser

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Re: Advice for GPS Purchase
« Reply #3 on: September 24, 2012, 10:33:34 AM »
Sorry Boyd, I went back and looked at the Specs in the link you were nice enough to give me and found the answers to all but one question. Do they have a 12 volt cigarette lighter plug in for the 600 that can power it in a vehicle?
Thanks again,
Don....
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"Some pictures leave you speechless"

DesertCruiser

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Re: Advice for GPS Purchase
« Reply #4 on: September 24, 2012, 10:38:22 AM »
Okay I'm an idiot, found the power cable also, Thanks again.

Anybody else have a recommendation?
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Boyd

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Re: Advice for GPS Purchase
« Reply #5 on: September 24, 2012, 11:01:48 AM »
Looks like you found what you want, but I'll make a few comments.  :)

I have the auto cradle for my Montana 600 and use it daily in the car. If you install City Navigator maps, the cradle will provide spoken directions which no other Garmin handheld can do. You will also see lane assist and speed limit display with City Navigator (but no junction view or traffic receivers).

I also have a Nuvi 205, 5000 and 3790 but no longer use any of them - I greatly prefer the Montana. The Nuvi's can use topo maps, but they will look ugly and be missing some features. The older Nuvi's were actually better for topo maps (like the Nuvi 205).

The Montana and other new Garmin handhelds were specifically designed to work with Basecamp. You can still use Mapsource to send maps, routes, tracks and waypoints to the Montana, but it won't work correctly receiving your waypoints and tracks. Mapsource has been discontinued by Garmin and doesn't know where to look for this data on the Montana.

All the new handhelds, including the Montana, can also use Birdseye, Garmin's subscripton service for aerial imagery and scanned USGS 24k topo maps. You can use the aerial imagery as a background while also displaying a topo or road map. http://www.garmin.com/us/maps/birdseye

You can also make your own maps from raster imagery (downloaded or scanned) - see: http://www.garmin.com/us/products/onthetrail/custommaps

You can use a memory card up to 32GB in the Montana. However, the more stuff you put on the card, the longer the startup time when you turn it on.

DesertCruiser

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Re: Advice for GPS Purchase
« Reply #6 on: September 24, 2012, 11:21:13 AM »
Thanks again Boyd, this is all helpful. Some of these people may be interested in the City Navigator for use in their motor homes so they don't need two units. I thought it would be Base Camp, that's okay although I still use Mapsource myself. With Basecamp to download and use the maps here they'll have to download another program to install them on the 600, right?

Once I get all the info I'll probably write this up on our site for other people to take advantage of it.

Don....
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"Some pictures leave you speechless"

Boyd

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Re: Advice for GPS Purchase
« Reply #7 on: September 24, 2012, 11:27:04 AM »
No, you can use Mapsource to send maps to the Montana (or Oregon, Dakota, Colorado, etc). That part should work the same as your eTrex. However, it is preferable to put each map into a separate file (which you can't do on your eTrex).

So you send the first map with Mapsource, change the filename from gmapsupp.img to topo.img (or anything you like), then send another map and repeat. If you use Basecamp/Mapinstall, it should figure all of that out automatically though.

DesertCruiser

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Re: Advice for GPS Purchase
« Reply #8 on: September 24, 2012, 11:32:53 AM »
Okay Boyd, thanks again. I think I have enough info now for a recommendation.

I'm keeping my Etrex for now, it still works great for what we use it for. But if I do upgrade this unit sounds like a good one. I do appreciate all the info. Have a great week!

Don....
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"Some pictures leave you speechless"

DesertCruiser

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Re: Advice for GPS Purchase
« Reply #9 on: September 24, 2012, 03:08:56 PM »
Boyd, because of your recommendations I've just put up a page on our site with the new choice  http://www.in-the-desert.com/garmingps.html

Don....
"A picture is worth a thousand words"
"Some pictures leave you speechless"