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A guide to GPS units
 
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walker
Link to this postPosted: Tue Aug 15, 2006 7:59 am    Post subject: Note A guide to GPS units

I have been through about a half dozen GPS's myself and used a heck of a lot of others. Here is a quick guide:

First, you want a Garmin unit. Yes, there are others that are probably as good, but you cannot get detailed map coverage as good as Garmin's for as many areas as Garmin provides. Garmin also provides the ability to selectively enable or disable individual map segments. I think that this is an important feature because each map segment is actually based on a plain old printed nautical chart, and some of those are dead wrong in their positioning. For instance, some of the Russian charts used for GPS map databases have Anegada misplaced by more than a mile. Don Street's Imray-Iolaire are also used for GPS map databases. Don Street didn't survey the islands - he based his charts on others. For portions of the BVI, he based his charts on the Russian chart Ru21085. So, if you want accurate map depiction, you need to disable chart segments Ru21085 and Imray charts Im1(a), Ima, Ima1(A), Ima2(A), and Ima23(A). I go into detail about this on my Navigating to Anegada page.

Also, my BVI GPS Waypoints page includes downloadable waypoint files in Garmin format.

Having settled on Garmin, you select the model that you want. The candidates are:

NOTE: The information below (originally posted in 2006) is now out of date!

GPSMAP 378 or GPSMAP 478 - The is the top of the line. Color, expandable memory, satellite real-time weather, auto road routing with audio output for driving instructions. Even receives XM radio entertainment. The difference between the units is that the 378 comes preloaded with U.S. inland lake map detail and the 478 comes preloaded with U.S. coastal marine maps. MSRP: $1071

GPSMAP 376C - The predecessor to the 378/478. Pretty much the same features except not preloaded with any marine maps. MSRP: $964

GPSMAP 276C - Similar to 376C, but no weather or XM. MSRP: $642

GPSMAP 76CSx - Color, auto road routing, expandable memory, barometric altimeter, and built-in compass. MSRP: $428

GPSMAP 76Cx - Color, auto road routing, expandable memory. MSRP: $375

GPSMAP 76C - DISCONTINUED but a good value if you can find one.

GPSMAP 76 - No color, fixed 24MB internal memory. Outdated - bad value for the money unless you can find one really cheap.

GPSMAP 60CSx - Color, 64MB microSD card, barometric altimeter, and built-in compass. MSRP: $429

GPSMAP 60Cx - Color, 64MB microSD card. MSRP: $375

GPSMAP 60 - No color, 24MB internal memory. MSRP: $250

eTrex Vista HCx - Color, automobile routing, microSD card, barometric altimeter, built-in compass, USB interface for fast map download. MSRP: $321

eTrex Vista Barometric altimeter, built-in compass, 24Mb fixed memory, USB interface for fast map download. MSRP: $215

eTrex Summit HC - Color, microSD card, barometric altimeter, built-in compass, USB interface for fast map download. MSRP: $246

eTrex Legend HCx - Color, automobile routing, microSD card, USB interface for fast map download. MSRP: $268

eTrex Legend - 8 mb fixed memory, USB interface for fast map download. MSRP: $160

eTrex Venture HC - Color, 24Mb fixed memory, USB interface for fast map download. MSRP: $182

If you are also a pilot, then you need to consider these units:

GPSMAP 496 - Similar to GPSMAP 376C, but includes aviation features PLUS terrain avoidance, airport detail maps, and a lot of other stuff. MSRP: $2395

GPSMAP 396 - Similar to GPSMAP 376C, but includes aviation features. MSRP: $1795

GPSMAP 296 - Similar to GPSMAP 276C, but includes aviation features. MSRP: $1195

GPSMAP 196 - Similar to GPSMAP 276c without color, but includes aviation features. MSRP: $695

GPSMAP 96C - Similar to GPSMAP 76C, but includes aviation features. MSRP: $375

Note: The street price for most of these units is about 75-80% of the MSRP.


Last edited by walker on Wed Dec 16, 2009 3:56 pm; edited 5 times in total
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mtbradley
Link to this postPosted: Thu Apr 19, 2007 2:38 pm    

Walker,

I'm also a pilot and getting ready to purchase my first GPS unit for a sailing trip this fall. I noticed you included some GPS units near the bottom that have aviation features. For those models in the lower end of this range, could you give me an example of what kind of features would be included that are aviation specific? Do they include aviation charts?

Also, I had all but decided on the Garmin eTrex Vista Cx. Is there any reason you know of NOT to go with this one? Seems to be about the best value...

thanks!

Matt
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walker
Link to this postPosted: Thu Apr 19, 2007 4:09 pm    

All of the aviation units (model number end in 96) have some form of aviation charts built in, along with a complete Jeppesen airport/navaid database. They have airport and runway diagrams.

In addition, they have a lot of other aviation-specific features, including aviation-style navigation pages, built-in flight logging, etc. The 196 through 486 also have a screen that is a virtual "instrument panel".

That being said, the choice of an Etrex Vista Cx isn't bad, either. I have one and I almost never leave home without it.

For the aviation units, go to Garmin's website and see the 96, 96C, 196, 296, 396, and the 496
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mtbradley
Link to this postPosted: Thu Apr 19, 2007 4:24 pm    

Thanks Walker!

Matt
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Rusty
Link to this postPosted: Fri Nov 16, 2007 8:36 pm    

Well thanks to input here I just ordered my Garmin eTrex Vista HCx Handheld GPS from walmart.com for $236.00
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mtbradley
Link to this postPosted: Sat Nov 17, 2007 8:16 am    

Enjoy Rusty. I just returned from a week of bareboating with my Vista Cx and it worked great. Had all the features I needed and the charts were spot on (except Anegada, as noted by Walker).

Matt
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Guest
Link to this postPosted: Fri Sep 05, 2008 12:30 pm    Post subject:  For Canadians...Garmin eTrex Venture HC® GPS Bundle

This week @ Cdn Tire for $199 for the bundle which includes dashmount and cigarette lighter charger. I am not sure how they arrive at MSRP of $399 but the extras are worth about $70 so that plus Garmins suggested price of $169 seems to be in the ballpark of good deal.

http://www.canadiantire.ca/browse/product_detail.jsp?FOLDER%3C%3Efolder_id=1408474396672342&bmUID=1220638649662&PRODUCT%3C%3Eprd_id=845524443301731&assortment=primary&fromSearch=true
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Seapaws II
Link to this postPosted: Thu Sep 18, 2008 3:22 pm    Post subject:  ANty changes to the Anegada points

With the latest version 9.0 , is it corrected. I will not be going there but just curious before purchasing.
Making a Christmas trip this year with Conch C
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walker
Link to this postPosted: Thu Sep 18, 2008 5:35 pm    Post subject:  Re: ANty changes to the Anegada points

Seapaws II wrote:
With the latest version 9.0 , is it corrected.

No, it is not.
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robertsnole
Link to this postPosted: Wed Dec 16, 2009 2:35 pm    

Has anyone used the Garmin GPSMAP 620? The prices are staring to come down.
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walker
Link to this postPosted: Wed Dec 16, 2009 3:54 pm    

I have not seen a 620. However, it looks to be the same general design as the Nuvi series. Nancy has a Nuvi and it works extremely well.

Garmin is popping these models out so fast now that it is hard to keep up with them!
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