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Navigation - Maps, Compass, GPS How to find your way - traditional map, compass and road signs, or GPS and more
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  #16  
Old 9 Nov 2002
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I, myself baught a eTrex Legend. I haven't tested it on the bike though, and for what I need it, it's good enough.
First, all GPS units will give you an altitude reading, albeit with a big enough error, usually 150-200% of the horizontal error. So, if you get an accuracy of 10 meters, then you should expect 15-20 meters of error in altitude, but it may be more.
There are some GPS units that have an additional barometric sensor (eTrex Vista, Summit) and can give a better accuracy for altitude.
As for navigation, a GPS should only be seen as an aid, not the ultimate tool. For most parts, a map, a compass and the ability to use them, is probably enough. GPS was developed for marine navigation, where features do not exist.
However, a GPS is good in keeping track of your path and is good at leading you close to a specific target. Then use your compass or map reading skills to pinpoint the final destination.
I find that even an accuracy of 10 meters is not enough to navigate correctly through complicated terrain. A compass and map is better.
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  #17  
Old 10 Nov 2002
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I have the eTrex Vista. In two months travelling from the US to Guatemala (currently) it has performed flawlessly. The only slight problem has been that the locations of towns and roads stored in the GPS map can be somewhat inaccurate, at least for Mexico & Guatemala - in the US it was perfectly accurate.

I have the RAM mount and has performed flawlessly, too. The GPS is fed via the Garmin cigarette-lighter adapter plugged into an accessory outlet. This adapter (transformer) has just shorted and is therefore useless. It is not sealed, so if you get one, I suggest running some silicon down the seams. The GPS runs just fine off batteries, though, and I give it the thumbs up.

Altitude readings seem less accurate than the longitude/lattitude positioning; going over the same mountain pass at different times, it gave readings different by 20m.

James.
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  #18  
Old 26 Nov 2002
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my troublesome etrex vista is completely dead now.....
:-(
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  #19  
Old 19 Jan 2003
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my etrex became troublesome after 2 weeks in Algeria: wouldn't switch on/couldn't find satellites/switched itself off ... in the end, it died completely when I was 100km+ from any roads/towns so I took it apart and found that a small internal battery had broken off and was rattling around. its irrepairable as the contact connections are less than 0.5mm apart. prior to failure, yellow dust was appearing on the inside of the screen and obscuring the letters. I'd have to say the etrex is for back-up only and you'd best know how to get out of the desert without one! I can see how to improve it, but it will invalidate the warranty (if that's important!) Garmins 2+ seems more robust, but heavier, thirstier and prone to switching itself off.
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  #20  
Old 20 Jan 2003
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I'd have to agree with Richard,
your GPS should be a secondary system only.
Esp. when riding in uninhabitable areas.

Get yourself a good compass (one that works well world wide), research maps and learn to navigate by first principles.
Once you've done this you won't have to worry abouy your GPS failing on you/giving you false readings because its set up wrong etc. as you'll be confident in your own abilities.

Saying this though, I do have a GPS as well.
It will be great for tracking my route and the track back feature will be timesaving when I end up the losing the track and have to turn around.

Geoff
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  #21  
Old 21 Jan 2003
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I have a eTrex Legend and the Word Map software. I'm not happy with the quality, I sent the gps 2 times to Garmin to be repaired, and it is bad again.
I founded that is very important to update the gps software time by time because Garmin launch a new system fixing bug every month.

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Ya verás como quieren en Chile al amigo cuando es forastero (traditional song)

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  #22  
Old 21 Jan 2003
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I was gonna get an etrex (for circuit of the Med via Tunisia, Libya and Egypt) and everyone said I shouldn't bother, as they're "help together with elastic bands and sellotape", to quote a major dealer.

It doesn't sound good that you were able to repair the "self adhesive" antenna yourself in the hotel. Great that it still worked though - general quality of Garmin?

I will be using a III+ or a 12. No base maps, and far more rugged I think. You can pick up a military-spec vibration-proofed GPS12 on Tottenham Court Road in London for under 130GBP.

..And they're the same vertical, mobile-phone style format.
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  #23  
Old 24 Jan 2003
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Hi Pob/london,
can you tell us ,the name,tel no. of this shop in london that's doing the deal on the GP12? thanks
bryan
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  #24  
Old 25 Jan 2003
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That's pretty tough - I went into about 20 shops! I'll go in again in a few days (possibly to buy my unit) and tell you after that.

PS > It wasn't an advertised "SPECIAL OFFER" or time limited - I think they're just cheap, so no huge rush
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  #25  
Old 30 Jan 2003
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Hello all.
I bought and etrex recently, from Staples in Wednesfield w.mids, it was reduced to £98. A week or so later they were back to full price (£128) but I noticed whilst in another branch in Birmingham they had them reduced too, can only guess that they are going around reducing them in certain stores at certain times so it might be an idea to keep an eye open there if you are looking for one.
A nice mapping one would be nice, but this does. I can get my position from it, and i can program my destination into it, not had chance to use it too much as yet but first impressions are that it is ok. few minor drops have not damaged it yet.

There is a couple of pieces of software which i have been using. One is called waypoint+. The other is called easyGPS, I followed links to them from the gps section on ebay from some of the sellers.
hope this helps.

w?
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  #26  
Old 8 Feb 2003
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I've got to speak up for the Etex (see my early post in this thread, where it half-survived a 100mph drop on the Italian Autostrada).

The problem of it turning off at times seems to be the battery contacts losing some of their tension, and the batteries rattling about - you need to bend the contacts a bit as they've become too "flat".

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  #27  
Old 12 Feb 2003
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well, Garmin have declined to replace my month-old Etrex because I invalidated the warranty by opening it up to try to repair it while in the middle of the sahara. they offered to replace it for £50: the same money that they make on selling them.

I don't much care for their legalistic stance of "you shouldn't have opened it because you're not qualified to repair it". its horse! the unit is not designed to be repairable, but it can be improved: I'll be going down to Maplins to get some silicon to "glue" that silly internal battery. if the next one fails, I won't admit I modified it.
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  #28  
Old 18 Feb 2003
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I may be wrong, but I think that 2cm square "chip" (if that's what you mean!) is the antenna - at least it just kept searching without success for satellites when mine fell off.

I've since buggered up the rubber gasket round mine (and told them as much), and they supplied and fitted a new one FOC.
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  #29  
Old 9 Mar 2003
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I thought the eTrex was getting a rough deal in this thread, but now mine has rapidly deteriorated: the joystick doesn´t click, more and more lines on the LCD don´t work, the power supply died, it turns itself off at random... So, no, it isn´t good enough.

James.
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  #30  
Old 9 Mar 2003
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another followup to my eTrex saga - To recap the first one malfunctioned from the start but it was replaced by a store (REI) for free, and the second one slowly failed in multiple ways until it was completely dead. All this while bikng around North/South America

To their credit Garmin have fixed the unit free of charge - including fedexing back to me in South America. This was unprompted - they offered this when I contacted them again after the unit died.

They replaced "front and rear case, keypad, lens, display, and clickstick cover." Several parts had fallen off the board and they replaced either the board or those parts (their grammer wasn't clear, but I guess the whole board was replaced). Essentially I receieved a new unit back. and they even transferred over my maps, waypoints and routes. excellent service.

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