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My solid and no fuss Garmin III is probably due for an upgrade!
But the whole gps/satnav world is a lot more confusing than the last time I looked. Can anybody offer some suggestions as to what model would be great given it will be used in a Land Rover and my requirements are pretty simple:
- Software is Mac OS X friendly (Garmin is, not sure on others)
- Has all basic GPS III stuff like put in waypoints, tracks etc
- Has a decent Sat Nav capability
- Has an external arial available
- Large screen - I'm not sure how large is large ;-)
- If it could also be battery operated that would be cool as well
Anything else that is useful? Any help or suggestion welcomed...
We have gone down the route of a PDA, which to me is much more flexible. We bought it for about £250 I think, although I think they are cheaper. Fits all you categories, although I have no idea how mac friendly it would be, but I'm sure that something must be.
With the PDA you can load much more, and we have Oziexplorer (lots of maps available),Memory Map for the UK which has the whole of UK OS maps, and finally an autorouter called i-go which is a Tom tom equivilant. Obviously you can load whateer you want.
Just a thought. I certainly am happy I went down this route.
PS can use the screen saver for picture of your cats to keep the wife happy!
With the PDA you still have one device. To me my PDA is my hndheld GPS. It is the saem as having Garmin or whatever. One device. The only time i use another device is when I plan routes etc which I do on the laptop, but you can do this as easily on the PDA as you can to a GPS device. my PDA has the GPS chip built in, although you can add an external extenna if you wish ...
I am a fan of it, especailly with the UK OS maps you can have 1:25k high standard UK maps.
OK, thanks Ollie. I didn't realise it was an all in one device (see how much I know about all of this ;-). I think my friend has one of these (I know they are not all the same!) and it is about half the size that I would like for the screen. They are really hand held devices? And to be honest my impression is most of the them run windows or are very windows orientated etc
But I'm willing to be proved wrong, it is worth looking at anyway ;-) Does anybody else have any suggestions?
Yip that's the one I have, the pocket loxx .......
Defo windows based, although I'm not sure whether that will stop it working with a Mac ....
But to be honest, maybe if you are not too fussed about 'playing' with something, and want something that plugs and play out of a box, then a PDA isn't for you. Although I would be surprise that a mac user would be looking for plug and play!
Anyway, give me a shout if you end up going down this route as there are loads of free and cheap software maps available, including these great Russian maps, which come ready calibrated for Ozi explorer ......
- Software is Mac OS X friendly (Garmin is, not sure on others)...
Hi Romingyak - Are you sure? As far as I am aware, you still need to use a windows based system to get all the funtions of Garmin Mapsource - I use VMware Fusion on my Mac to run Windows XP, and that gives me everything PC or Mac.
If you are using the new unit in a (four wheeled) vehicle then a PDA type unit is probably the way to go as people say, but on a bike a hard-drive (opposed to a flash/card memory) will skip and cause problems - it can happen in a 4x4 offroad too.
The ability to load other programmes into a PDA such as the UK O/S Memorymap is also handy, although I would say of limited use on a two inch screen unless you are simply using it to follow a preplanned route. And of course Memory Map is only of use in the UK...
A dedicated GPS unit is still my preferred way of doing it - the software/controls are usually more intuative, and there tends to be a built in robustness to the product too (dust and water proof always handy). Unfortunately ´the majority of the newer ´car´based units tend to have limited track log and long-lat etc abilities, being geared more to on-road navigation...
Also, touch screens will scratch if you use them in dusty conditions - although I use a camera screen film on my Garmin 2610 which works fine.
Sorry if that confuses the issue further? - some more to think about anyway!
I had to take my GPS III apart once and it was nice to see everything was hard wired with no moving parts - do PDA's use Hard drives? I would have thought they would have moved onto flash drives by now.
As a Land Rover dashboard is full of vibrations, dusty and hot something robust is needed.
Even though it is not the newest model on the block, I think it is still hard to beat the (still current) Garmin 276C - there maybe some good deals around now.
It has the Garmin rugged build quality and operating system, proper buttons and largish good resolution colour screen - it even has some built in rechargeable battery capacity for temporary use outside the vehicle, albeit a bit large for hiking.
The optional windscreen sucker mount antenna works well through a Defender windscreen.
These anttenae are cheap enough on eBay now - I would take a spare, as for some reason I had one fail on me - maybe just bad luck..? https://buy.garmin.com/shop/shop.do?cID=148&pID=233
Garmin consider it more of a marine unit, but it can take the optional detailed road maps and offer Autorouting if required around town - but not strictly necessary for overlanding.
The standard built-in world base map is basic but still useful.
Whilst I haven't done it, I believe there is a donation based 3rd party download map of the world that works on Garmins - something like 'Sweaty Biker' or something - threads in this section of the HUBB.
I quite like trying out GPS systems.
I actually use a TomTom OneXL around town - it is very easy and quick to use, but not for serious overlanding.
I have played with a PDA setup - I don't think you would want to depend on them in serious overlanding situations - there are question marks over the stability of the operating system, and reliability in heat/vibration/dust conditions.
The downside of the Garmin 276C is that it doesn't take SD or similar memory cards, but needs exlusive Garmin memory sticks - but there are good deals on eBay for these.
Defender 130 camper Intro
I'm looking at the 276C - as you suggest it seems suitable - though the cost seems a little high for a cheapskate like myself ;-) I guess you are paying for the marine features a little as well.
When you say Garmin cards, are these normal flash type cards that have to be formatted a certain Garmin way, or is there whole design different from anything else? What is a rough cost for the cards on ebay etc?
The Garmin Data Cards for the 276C are unfortunately a unique Garmin design.
You can't use any other cards and they are expensive.
Years ago I bought a 512Mb version for approx £100 off eBay, which believe it or not was a very good deal..!
Just checked - not much on eBay just now, but Amazon are selling a 128Mb version for a whopping £55..!
Alternative suppliers on Nextag are here (make sure you don't look at the SD ones): Garmin 128MB Data Card: Compare Prices, View Price History and Read Reviews at NexTag
There is a guy who modified cheaper memory cards in to Garmin Data Card format here: DIY Garmin Datacard
This makes the otherwise excellent 276C seem a bit expensive if many memory cards are needed for a big trip.
Maybe you could just do with one proper Garmin Data Card and dowload maps from a PC as you go..?
My 512Mb card holds UK, Ireland, France, Belgium and Spain - bear in mind that is an awful lot of road detail, so I would assume SmellyBiker would be less memory hungry.
If you didn't need the big screen of a 276C, you could go for the excellent Garmin 60CSx, which takes much cheaper SD (I think) memory cards, and is great for hiking.
That is a bummer - the 276 or 278 seem to be about what I'm after, but with their high price and 'old tech' over priced cards it's hard to think it's the perfect solution. I could manage the high price if the cards were cheap, but there is usually a compromise to be made ;-)
As the newer models are using SD cards, here's hoping they update the 276/278 with a more modern version soon...
The maps you mention have to also be official Garmin maps? Or can I use other types of maps?
Yes I agree - a nice updated 276C or similar which takes sensibly priced SD or similar memory cards would be ideal - maybe one day, but will no doubt have a suitably expensive initial price tag.
Garmin used to have a link on their website for 3rd party 'approved' compatible maps.
Just checked and could not find it.
Did a Google search and the link below is indeed off the offical Garmin website and references 3rd party compatible maps - but is well hidden using the standard site navigation menus:
No doubt the above are pricey as well.
Smelly biker also works.
Also worth checking Tracks4Africa layer on Google Earth - maybe that is also compatible..?
The below link claims to be an impressive list of Garmin compatible maps for personal use for free download - worth checking out: Welcome to MapCenter
Looks like there could be other free sources - try Googling 'Garmin compatible maps'.
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