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anyone know much about handheld GPS?

Discussion in 'Off Topic' started by tommy_ed, Jun 14, 2011.

  1. tommy_ed

    tommy_ed Android Expert
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    as i've mentioned on here before, i'm planning a long trip around the US and some of Canada that will involve a lot of canoeing and backpacking. since i'm not personally familiar with some of the areas i'll be visiting, i figured it would be a good idea to get a GPS in case I somehow get lost or need assistance. Problem is, I don't know much about them.

    - Will they show local towns, hospitals, police stations, etc.?

    - Do I have to buy a map for every part of the area I'll be in, or can I just turn it on and go?

    -Adding to the above question, can I buy maps on the spot? (similar to android market or other cellphone-similar purchase methods) or do I have to pre-load them before trekking?

    -Can they send an emergency beacon of some kind?


    I'd appreciate ANY and all help or input!! im only looking to spend $200 at the very most, and will most likely try to find a used one. Any good recommendations? something waterproof would be preferred :)
     

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  2. dan330

    dan330 Android Expert
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    stand alone GPS...
    - will show local towns, hospitals, police, gas... etc..
    - yes. it should come with the maps for the country you purchase it in....you have to get maps of other countries... over the internet. the device might have wifi.
    - will have to get maps before hand. most likely you will have to do that through your computer.
    - no they do not send beacons. hopefully your cell phone will find some signal.

    did you know..
    there are GPS apps that you can purchase for your android.. that work like they are stand alone... download full maps to your phone's SDcard.
    example: "copilot" is a good one.
     
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  3. Hrethgir

    Hrethgir Android Expert
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    - Will they show local towns, hospitals, police stations, etc.?
    Most of them should have that kind of thing loaded as POI's. And if they aren't preloaded, you should be able to add that kind of info.

    - Do I have to buy a map for every part of the area I'll be in, or can I just turn it on and go?
    Depends what kind of map you are looking for. Most handhelds have major highways and bodies of water, but to add street-level maps might cost extra. My Garmin eTrex Legend HCx is like that, but my DeLorme Eathmate PN-40 comes with software that can add street-level routable maps for no extra cost. And with the DeLorme, for a fee I can add topo maps and satellite imagery, which is nice. And only costs $30 for a 1 year all-you-can-download subscription.

    -Adding to the above question, can I buy maps on the spot? (similar to android market or other cellphone-similar purchase methods) or do I have to pre-load them before trekking?
    Gotta preload from a computer, I don't know of any handheld GPS units that have a cellular or wifi capabilies, unless you count cellphones

    -Can they send an emergency beacon of some kind?
    The DeLorme Earthmate PN-60w is the only one I know of that can do that. It's way over your $200 budget though!

    NEW! PN-60w with SPOT Satellite Communicator - DeLorme


    I'm a big fan of DeLorme Earthmates, but Garmin also makes nice handheld units. There are others out there too though, but those two are ones I own and have experience with.
     
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  4. tommy_ed

    tommy_ed Android Expert
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    thats sweet! but do they require cell reception? a lot of the places i'll be in (especially in canada) probably won't have any cell signal

    topo maps and satellite image would be awesome! do you happen to know if those are available on any models under $200?
     
  5. dan330

    dan330 Android Expert
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    yes. the stand alone gps apps (copilot) will work pefect without CELL signals.

    also, the new google navigation app.. was a new feature that will cache maps that you are looking at. so you can do that with a wifi at the hotel/home before you go out.
     
  6. Hrethgir

    Hrethgir Android Expert
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    I have the DeLorme Earthmate PN-40, it does all kinds of imagery, and you can get it on Amazon for under $200, and its an excellent unit. The computer software is a little tricky to use, but once you learn it, it's very powerful.

    Amazon.com: DeLorme Earthmate PN-40 Waterproof Hiking GPS: Electronics


    More detail on the unit:

    http://shop.delorme.com/OA_HTML/DELibeCCtdItemDetail.jsp?item=31585&section=10461
     
  7. Usta

    Usta Android Expert
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    Whenever I'm in abroad, I use an offline SatNav software. My favorite at this moment is Copilot.
    You don't need any data or cellular connection.
    You have access to advanced navigation features and more important POIs (some of them with phone numbers included, like hotels and restaurants).
     
  8. tommy_ed

    tommy_ed Android Expert
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    i looked at CoPilot and it seemed like more of a road-related GPS, i'm looking for something with topo maps, mainly something that catalogues rivers, landmarks, etc.

    i found one called BackCountry Navigation, but i tried it with my data connection turned off last night and it wouldn't load the maps!!

    what a catch-22 haha i think i might go with the one Hrethgir just listed above me, looks pretty nice
     
  9. Hrethgir

    Hrethgir Android Expert
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    It is pretty nice. Plus, it's waterproof, much more rugged than your phone, and runs on 2 AA batteries, so if it dies on you, just swap a new pair in and you are good to go. I ran a test with my PN-40 once, and it ran for 12 hours straight on a single pair of new batteries.
     
  10. tommy_ed

    tommy_ed Android Expert
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    nice! battery life was one of the main "cons" i had against using my phone. that and i wouldn't want to drop it in the water

    thanks for the help guys, i'll be ordering the PN-40 soon :)
     
  11. Hrethgir

    Hrethgir Android Expert
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    Hope you like it as much as I like mine!
     

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