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Old 11th September 2009, 23:10   #1
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Default Which VFM GPS solution for off-roading?

I have always wanted to keep a digital record/track of the trails that we go out to. Now I understand that using GPS, one can keep a log of the trails that one goes out to.

Also, one could use these GPS devices to physically locate trails if one knows the lat/lon coordinates.

I also believe that the GPS solutions sold by companies such as mapmyindia, satnav may not be relevant for off-road use and are for finding directions in cities.

The question I have is:
  • Which are the most VFM solutions for this purpose?
  • What all one should consider when looking to buy a GPS for this purpose? (Like water/shock proof, any more additional features etc)
  • Are the inbuilt mobile phone GPS solutions any good?
  • Will features like WAAS in these GPS devices work in India?
Say for example, which one out of the below 3 would suffice?

How good is garmin GPS 60/72 or garmin etrexH or Garmin Legend

Anyone using them?? Would appreciate inputs..

Last edited by khan_sultan : 11th September 2009 at 23:14.
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Old 11th September 2009, 23:18   #2
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Best way is to prepare Tulip Map for every trail.
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Old 12th September 2009, 00:13   #3
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Hi Shahnawaz,

Presuming that you already have a cellphone with built in gps, the cheapest way to just create tracks of the
off roading trails would be to install the Gmobile XT software by Garmin on your phone.
These tracks can then be loaded on google maps too.
I am running it on my Nokia E71 for almost a year now.
The small screen size is an issue if are trying to navigate, but just for creating tracks it works perfect.

Alternatively, you can get a external gps antennae, connect it to a laptop (or a PDA) and create tracks using the numerous softwares available.

If going in for a Garmin GPS, my vote is for the 76CSX. Retails for around 300 USD online.
The 76CSX is pretty much waterproof, floats in water, has a electronic compass, barometric altimeter, a high sensitivity receiver and records distance down to 0.01 km.
Here is a comparison of features between the 72 and 76csx https://buy.garmin.com/shop/compare....areProduct=351

WAAS is primarily meant for the aviation industry and it covers only the American continent. Without WAAS, at full lock you will get a 3~5 metre locational accuracy.

Cheers

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Last edited by Rudra Sen : 17th September 2009 at 14:05.
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Old 12th September 2009, 02:14   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gotzuk View Post
WAAS is primarily meant for the aviation industry and it covers only the American continent. Without WAAS, at full lock you will get a 3~5 metre locational accuracy.
Cheers
Hi,
sorry, but the above statement is not 100% correct.
The WAAS system is working also in Europe, just change geostationary satellite name to EGNOS, it should be exactly the same with part of Asia including India with the ARTEMIS satellite.
Most of modern Garmin and Magellan are ok with it.
Mobile phone GPS are just good SirfstarIII chipset, but not WAAS enabled AFAIK.
You can get a good GPS, wich is: WAAS enabled, rugged, floats, can have navigation aids with proper software and maps and has internal compass, altimeter, barometer and few other things for around $100 on ebay.
Is the "Magellan Meridian Platinum", I bought one to replace my Meridian Gold, brand new, around $110 an year ago. The only bad thing is that is an obsolete product, but you can still find brand new ones. A real good stuff for adventurer and offroaders.
Have a "google" to it!
Then you put the logs on google maps, et voilá, you have your trail!

Ciao

Ignazio
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Old 12th September 2009, 05:05   #5
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India has its own WAAS compatible system called GAGAN

I don't know how much of the system has actually left the drawing board and has already been implemented. But I read in the satguide forums that the WAAS component is actually operational, though I have not verified it (nor do I know how to verify this). Wiki says the Technology Demonstration System (TDS) signals are being tested. I guess the system is not fully operational because the GSAT-4 satellite hasn't been launched yet.

Edit: Link to the Satguide discussion on Gagan

Last edited by spadival : 12th September 2009 at 05:19.
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Old 12th September 2009, 08:19   #6
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@KS: Personally, for feature and use for finding trails and or off road drives, I'd vote for Garmin76csx. Rugged and reliable and does not need external antenna and still gives accuracy of better than 6 meters. The built in GPS of Nokia's are good and accurate.

I end up using 76csx and a GPS logger with pulse every second for making road books for rallies.
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Old 12th September 2009, 11:15   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gotzuk View Post
WAAS is primarily meant for the aviation industry and it covers only the American continent. Without WAAS, at full lock you will get a 3~5 metre locational accuracy. Cheers
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ignazio View Post
Hi,
sorry, but the above statement is not 100% correct.
The WAAS system is working also in Europe, just change geostationary satellite name to EGNOS, it should be exactly the same with part of Asia including India with the ARTEMIS satellite.
Hi Ignazio,

What part of my statement is incorrect?
a) That "WAAS is primarily meant for the aviation industry"?
b) The geographical coverage of WAAS as "it covers only the American continent"?
c) Or the accuracy level? "Without WAAS, at full lock you will get a 3~5 metre locational accuracy"

Remember, I was talking specifically of WAAS and not making a blanket surmise on all position augmentation satellite services.

Cheers
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Old 12th September 2009, 11:33   #8
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I use oziexplorer software on windows CE based GPS. The software has been tailor made for offroading.
Only drawback, these win CE systems are not waterproof.
So other alternative is the garmin based systems, esp those geared towards trekking.
Rugged waterproof units with great features like trail marking etc.,
Some have perimeter scouting modes also(AKA lowrance systems).
But these cost more than twice of the windows CE based units.
If you plan to use one only in car, go for windows CE based units, otherwise go for Garmin or Lowrance mid range units
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Old 12th September 2009, 17:35   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gotzuk View Post
Remember, I was talking specifically of WAAS and not making a blanket surmise on all position augmentation satellite services.
Cheers
Hi mate,
that is where the misunderstanding start from.
Sometimes , I thought that you were talking about general wide area augmentation system, exactly like any gps unit report on its menu. They always indicate WAAS, no matters if you are in America, Asia or Europe.
Hence, if GAGAN is active, any WAAS enabled unit will work in India too!

Ciao!

Ignazio
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Old 12th September 2009, 18:23   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by khan_sultan View Post
Say for example, which one out of the below 3 would suffice?

How good is garmin GPS 60/72 or garmin etrexH or Garmin Legend

Anyone using them?? Would appreciate inputs..
Have used eTrex. It is en excellent device. Positive things about it:
  1. Rugged, can be used in dust,heat,moist conditions.
  2. Battery backup. It takes AA cells, so you can plug new ones anytime. And AA cells are available everywhere.
Negatives:
  1. No USB port. Have to connect it to serial port in PC/Laptop. Some laptops and PCs do not have this port. Though you can buy an adapter that will connect it to USB.
  2. No SD card. So have to connect to PC for importing tracks.
  3. Can not read maps.
More expensive units (like Legend) do not have this limitation.
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Old 13th September 2009, 23:31   #11
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For over a dozen years I have been useing GARMIN units for all my offroad trips.

I store, tracks, routes, and waypoints on either Fugawi or Mapsource a software provided by Garmin ( Trips and Waypoint manager ).

The GPS models I have used all these years are Magellan, Garmin GPS II+, Garmin GPS III+, Garmin GPS V and Garmin 276c. All these units are quite robust for offroad use.

I have used them for a total of 862 trips to the desert so far. Garmin has also been my sponsor for all my offroad events since 1999.

Currently I own and use very frequently the following GPS units,

2 x Units of Garmin GPS II+
Garmin GPS III+
Garmin 276c with city navigator maps and voice aided guidance.

I find the GPS II+ still the best offroad because the track line is thick and visible while driving inside a vehicles cabin easily, day and night time.

For off road driving, where various tracks, WP and routes need to be upleaded / downloaded frequently, a unit with computer interface is a must.

A 12 satellite Garmin model should be sufficient for all off road work.

If you need more details on this subject ask for specific clarifications.
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Old 16th September 2009, 16:48   #12
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It is best to use a Garmin system with WGS1984 datum and lambert projection on maps.

Interface with a computer through USB or garmin serial port cable is essential for storing offroad tracks. FOr laptops, Serial to usb converter cable is also available from Garmin. If anyone has trouble with this software, let me know I will send GARMIN driver files for enabling this.
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Old 29th October 2009, 15:02   #13
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Dear All, can you pls give you inputs on various models' price also. One of online friend suggested me that the cheapest way (INR 3K to 4K) is use GPS device for PC. Can I please know your advice.

Garmin Mobile PC with GPS 20x (GPSCity.com)
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Old 29th October 2009, 15:50   #14
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How can it be cheapest. The cheapest PC costs 20,000rs, and carrying a PC in your car is a bit cumbersome, to say the least.
I say, get a Mio for 100$ or so, unlock it and use software like noniGPS or beeline GPS with google maps
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Old 29th October 2009, 16:25   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tsk1979 View Post
How can it be cheapest. The cheapest PC costs 20,000rs, and carrying a PC in your car is a bit cumbersome, to say the least.
I say, get a Mio for 100$ or so, unlock it and use software like noniGPS or beeline GPS with google maps

You are right ... But I am already having a laptop but yes, carrying a laptop while travlling (that too on off road) is not a good idea. You said Mio can be bought for US$ 100 but AFAIK this is not available in India. I need to know that if I buy a GPS from mapmyindia.com will it make any sence for off road purpose. Can we populate the lin/lag in this GPS and will it work??? I dropped an e-mail to them but no reply after even a couple of reminders. Can anybody give me some info on this.

Also will any GPS mobile handset will be useful?? Does one need to by maps for them?? Which are good options and at what price???

Last edited by DesertKing : 29th October 2009 at 16:33.
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