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GPS Recommendations

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Re: GPS Recommendations

Postby splattski » Tue Jun 05, 2012 1:46 am

I've been sort of anti-GPS for a while, but after participating in a Search and Rescue outing last weekend looking for my own father (http://www.splattski.com/2012/sar/index.html), I see a GPS as an especially valuable tool in that application.
    I already have a camera.
    I need powerful reception, ability to log tracks, and long memory.
    Not sure about touch screen, but I do a a lot of winter adventures where I'd prefer to leave my gloves on....
    I am a Mac user.
    I already own 4 states of Topo.
    I want this as a tool for searching for others, not to notify that I need help. My main use will be to show coordinates and paths of a search.
    I might use it for navigating if caught in bad visibility, but will not replace traditional technology like map and compass, wands, etc.

Recommendations?
Please give reasons, if it's not too much trouble.
Last edited by splattski on Tue Jun 05, 2012 4:39 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: GPS Recommendations

Postby peninsula » Tue Jun 05, 2012 2:54 am

I'd go for http://www.findmespot.com/en/index.php?cid=219

I've been using the original Spot device since its inception, before that, it was a lightweight 5-pound EPIRB for ocean kayaking. I'm ready to move up to the next level of this technology.

Reasons are:

Light weight
Most potentially effective communication in face of emergency
When it comes to initiating a life or death SR, it is a bargain for the money
Peace of mind
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Re: GPS Recommendations

Postby Enkidu » Tue Jun 05, 2012 8:27 am

peninsula wrote:I'll copy the following from a thread that might be helpful on the subject of GPS recommendations:
Been using National Geographic "TOPO!" for past 10 years starting when I got my first Garmin handheld GPS. Had to manually enter waypoints due to lack of Mac support with the geko 201. FINALLY upgraded this year, got a Garmin 60Cx, and due to Garmin's propensity to be PC only (ridiculous, in-package software Mac incompatible), I was forced to spend another bunch of bills on Garmin's PC/Mac "BaseCamp". The good news is the extra bills are worth it as I finally resigned myself to learning this later technology, and I'm impressed enough to share it in a post for us suffering Mac users (please, someone explain the stupidity) who may be stuck with outdated topographical software. The basic user interfaces are much the same in both handheld models, but similarities are few otherwise. Uploading waypoints via a USB cable, now my agonies with manual waypoint entries are behind me (miserably archaic it was). BaseCamp's 3D projection on the computer screen is crazy cool, it is truly like seeing the terrain from a birds-eye view. Picking waypoints is vastly more user friendly.


For more: topo-software-t58906.html


I have a cheap pc desktop for that very reason. It never goes online so it doesn't end up screwed up by spyware, security software etc. Anytime I need to download or install something I use my mac to download the pc version onto a stick and then just transfer it. I use it for those rare instances when there is not a good Mac software option.
Bring a compass. It's awkward when you have to eat your friends
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Re: GPS Recommendations

Postby peninsula » Tue Jun 05, 2012 2:00 pm

whitetail wrote:
I have a cheap pc desktop for that very reason. It never goes online so it doesn't end up screwed up by spyware, security software etc. Anytime I need to download or install something I use my mac to download the pc version onto a stick and then just transfer it. I use it for those rare instances when there is not a good Mac software option.


Clever solution!
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Re: GPS Recommendations

Postby peninsula » Tue Jun 05, 2012 10:03 pm

peninsula wrote:
whitetail wrote:
I have a cheap pc desktop for that very reason. It never goes online so it doesn't end up screwed up by spyware, security software etc. Anytime I need to download or install something I use my mac to download the pc version onto a stick and then just transfer it. I use it for those rare instances when there is not a good Mac software option.


Clever solution!


Here is another option I am considering. It is only good if you are using a Mac with an Intel core: http://eshop.macsales.com/item/Parallels/PDFM7XL/
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Re: GPS Recommendations

Postby MoapaPk » Tue Jun 05, 2012 10:40 pm

Garmin BaseCamp has versions for Mac and PC. I currently have both a Garmin 62stc and a 60csx. The latter does most everything you want; the 62stc is more Mac-like-- that is, flashy and convoluted. Some things that used to be simple (like selecting a track or a track color, saving a track, resetting trip odometers) are now spiffy and difficult, while giving the impression that they are somehow "better."
Last edited by MoapaPk on Tue Jun 05, 2012 11:23 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: GPS Recommendations

Postby peninsula » Tue Jun 05, 2012 11:22 pm

MoapaPk wrote:Garmin BaseCamp has versions for Mac and PC. I currently have both a Garmin 62stc and a 60csx. The latter does most everything you want; the 62stc is more Mac-like-- that is, flashy, convoluted, and oriented at people who feel superior.


If only BaseCamp was compatible with the Delorme Earthmate... PC software-compatibility with Macs has come a long ways, but why not all the way. Intel-core Macs bridge the gap with bootcamp or better yet, with Parallels Desktop 7. I finally pulled the trigger on acquiring a Delorme Earthmate/Spot combination. Pricing stuff, but safety and effective communication gets the nod over price.
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Re: GPS Recommendations

Postby edge17 » Fri Jun 08, 2012 10:23 pm

I was battling Parallels today, trying to get it to recognize my Garmin etrex 20. I had to upgrade the firmware from 2.40 to 2.70 via the Webupdater for Mac. Now it sees it, and I'm using Mapsource to transfer over some files.

I'm an engineer, and I am used to using relatively ghetto toolchains when necessary, but the amount of effort (and maybe i'm doing it wrong) necessary to get maps to my Garmin is sorta depressing. My only point is, if you go the Parallels route, it's only one part of the solution... the pain doesn't stop there :)

peninsula wrote:
peninsula wrote:
whitetail wrote:
I have a cheap pc desktop for that very reason. It never goes online so it doesn't end up screwed up by spyware, security software etc. Anytime I need to download or install something I use my mac to download the pc version onto a stick and then just transfer it. I use it for those rare instances when there is not a good Mac software option.


Clever solution!


Here is another option I am considering. It is only good if you are using a Mac with an Intel core: http://eshop.macsales.com/item/Parallels/PDFM7XL/
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Re: GPS Recommendations

Postby MoapaPk » Fri Jun 08, 2012 10:59 pm

It's been really easy to put maps on the Garmin by the PC route, so I wonder-- can you just get someone else to put them on for you? Maybe via an SD card? I've done this for PC users who were not computer savvy, or would rather have the quick solution of a card swap.
Last edited by MoapaPk on Sat Jun 09, 2012 1:58 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: GPS Recommendations

Postby peninsula » Fri Jun 08, 2012 11:37 pm

edge17 wrote:I was battling Parallels today, trying to get it to recognize my Garmin etrex 20. I had to upgrade the firmware from 2.40 to 2.70 via the Webupdater for Mac. Now it sees it, and I'm using Mapsource to transfer over some files.

I'm an engineer, and I am used to using relatively ghetto toolchains when necessary, but the amount of effort (and maybe i'm doing it wrong) necessary to get maps to my Garmin is sorta depressing. My only point is, if you go the Parallels route, it's only one part of the solution... the pain doesn't stop there :)



I have ordered Parallels. Bummer to hear it is not as easy as I had hoped! I'll update my progress using Parallels on a Mac and Delorme EarthMate with Topo North America once I get everything up and running.
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Re: GPS Recommendations

Postby MCGusto » Sat Jun 09, 2012 6:50 am

Here is my old review of the Delorme Pn-40.

http://www.summitpost.org/outdoor-gear/ ... ct_id=7099

While some of the information is dated, and Delorme has the new PN-60 out with SPOT capabilities, I feel it gives the bare bones basics of GPS units in dealing with maps and such.

As a side note, I still have my PN-40 and love it. I know a lot of people are Garmin fans, but I was really turned off at the time due to the cost of their map selection. That may have changed by now, but I couldn't say... I'm sticking with my Delorme unit. If you're a MAC guy, like I am, you'll have to run parallels or VMFusionWare or something similar to get Topo running, but beyond that everything with Delorme has worked out well.

Good luck,

Gusto
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Re: GPS Recommendations

Postby peninsula » Fri Jun 22, 2012 5:16 pm

After ordering the DeLorme PN-60w and Spot device, it turned out I got the Spot device for smart phones, and not the one for the PN60! It was frustrating because the two Spot devices look almost identical. As I came to find out, the Spot device for DeLorme got pulled off the market as it was found to be defective and is no longer available. I returned the Spot device and replaced it with DeLorme's "In Reach" device which does allow texting, but is even better as the texting can be two way. I installed Parallels Desktop for MacPro computers and Windows 7 to utilize Delorme's Topo-NA software. I needed tech support from Parallels to configure Windows, and they were very good. Parallels tech support is free for only 20 or 30 days. All said and done, it has been a real pain to make this work, not to mention the substantial expense. But, I now have everything up and running, and I am impressed with the product. Running Windows 7 on a Mac is a first for me and seamless once installed, but it would sure be a heck of a lot easier if Delorme would cater to Mac users! From what they had to say when consulting tech support for Delorme, there are no plans to accomodate Mac users in the foreseeable future, they say there are not enough Mac users to justify the expense! I find that hard to believe.

All said and done, it is going to be sweet having the ability to text from remote backcountry locations.
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Re: GPS Recommendations

Postby MoapaPk » Fri Jun 22, 2012 7:07 pm

What are the service charges for the "In Reach"?

There are a lot more Mac users out there now, but an awful lot of the GPS market is still aimed at the techies, who are willing to put up with crappy documentation and were mainly PC folks in the old days of GPS (14 years ago!). A lot of Mac folks are going to smartphones for GPS. If you carry the extra batteries, and can put up with worse reception in the mountains, that may not be a bad way to go.
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Re: GPS Recommendations

Postby peninsula » Sat Jun 23, 2012 3:16 pm

MoapaPk wrote:What are the service charges for the "In Reach"?


Online information for service plans is vague, but once I set mine up, I'll post more specifically on expenses. The Delorme website has a rough description of service charges at: http://www.inreachdelorme.com/product-i ... -plans.php

From what I can find without calling Delorme, the one-time startup fee is $150.

Then monthly plans run as follows:

Basic Safety Plan - $9.95 per month
Recreation Plan - $24.95 per month
Expedition Plan - $49.95 per month

To be continued...
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Re: GPS Recommendations

Postby peninsula » Tue Jun 26, 2012 11:48 pm

Okay, I have more information on subscription costs using the Delorme PN-60w with inReach

It is complicated, so I'm going to limit the detailed explanation to the " Seasonal Recreation Plan", which is the most popular. The Seasonal option obligates the user to a minimum of four months at $39.95 per month plus a one-time setup fee of $19.95. I can send unlimited predefined messages using the inReach device to an unlimited number of email addresses and/or cell phone numbers.(Compare this to "Spot" device subscriptions that limited users to 10 email addresses and 10 cell phone numbers.) I also get unlimited tracking with a breadcrumb trail appearing on Delorme's "MapShare page". I am limited to 40 custom text messages per month which includes any incoming messages as well as those I send (Spot allows only one-way texting.) Overage charges on text messages cost $0.50 each. Messages can contain up to 160 characters (41-character limit with Spot). After four months, I can cancel the plan to avoid further charges. Renewing the 4-month Seasonal Recreation Plan will incur another "one-time" setup fee of $19.99. Delorme also has a more economical plan for year-around users (24.95 per month with a full year's commitment), an "Expedition Plan" for those that like to chat ($49.95/month), and a bare-bones "Basic Plan" for those that don't like to chat ($9.95 per month). I'm anticipating using the device only during the late summer/fall season, so the 4-month plan works for me (I like to chat, but not too much.)

As compared to Spot, Delorme is more cost effective, more versatile (two-way text messaging with 4 times the number of characters allowed per message including unlimited contacts), and is somewhat more complicated (steeper learning curve.)
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