Manitoba Geocaching Association


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GPS Advice

 
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paullywood



Joined: 18 Mar 2015
Posts: 3

PostPosted: Mar 31, 2015 2:47 pm    Post subject: GPS Advice Reply with quote

Hi all,

First, I am a new member to the board, so thank you for that.

Second, I work for a mapping company and was wondering, what type of GPS units to you guys recommend for geocaching? I have used my phone in the past, but was wondering if there was something better.

- paul
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ertyu



Joined: 25 Apr 2005
Posts: 556
Location: Winnipeg

PostPosted: Apr 02, 2015 1:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

In my opinion smartphones work fairly well but I still prefer the performance and usability of my decades old handheld gps.

Smartphones use the same sensitive receiver as other devices, they even get help from the cell network to lock onto satellites faster than a standalone device. They are let down by their antennas and desire to conserve power. I find they will get you to the spot, but never settle or average down to the true final position, and the update rate will lag movements in the final few feet of search. On the other hand there is access to a wealth of information through (usually paid) apps to get cache listing and filtering, maps, satellite imagery and the like. Of course much of the functionality depends on a data connection or careful preplanning and preloading when available.

A handheld GPS costs a couple hundred dollars, plus any maps or satellite imagery you want to buy. In comparison to a smartphone they are bulky, feel slow and look outdated. The GPS performance tends to be better however, especially with large dedicated antennas. Modern devices can have many different maps and satellite imagery loaded, can contain millions of caches but must have everything preloaded before heading out. Garmin has been considered the leader in the field for some time. Their top geocaching device would likely be the Oregon 6xx series (A good reference for that model -- http://garminoregon6xx.wikispaces.com/). The newer GPSMap 64x series has many of the same features but curiously not all from the Oregon. The Garmin models due tend to linger with firmware bugs for long periods of time, many of which never get fixed, but they don't tend to impact significant usability features. There are other models and manufacturers that exist if you want to research or explore. You can usually find the handheld GPS on display at outdoors stores to try out.
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paullywood



Joined: 18 Mar 2015
Posts: 3

PostPosted: Apr 16, 2015 8:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sorry about the delay in my response. Thank you so much for the GPS information. It's funny, when I started geocaching, I found myself wasting a lot of time trying to find them because the GPS on my phone would jump around a lot. So, I think having a dedicated GPS would help a ton.

I have a question, do you ever find there are issues with the data in the handheld GPS'? Like roads, or more likely, trails and walkways that are missing?
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ertyu



Joined: 25 Apr 2005
Posts: 556
Location: Winnipeg

PostPosted: Apr 17, 2015 2:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

No map is perfect and you shouldn't expect it to be perfect. The maps available for GPS are no different. Things change constantly, mistakes happen, etc. Map updates can be purchased regularly or subscriptions can be bought to get the updates. This doesn't make them any more perfect, but it does bring in a stream of updates and correct more major issues and changes.

As a side note, if you are interested, most, if not all major map providers accept reports of map issues to correct in future updates. It can take some time to incorporate any identified issue, from months to years.
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paullywood



Joined: 18 Mar 2015
Posts: 3

PostPosted: Apr 24, 2015 8:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ha! Don't I know it!

I actually work for a mapping company and I handle a lot of the map issues that our users have. We deal with Garmin a lot. So if you have any issues, let me know!

My experience with geocaching with my phone GPS and the app is that it isn't very accurate in terms of the final few metres, and like I am sure you and others know, that's kind of important!

Thanks again for all the info.
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glacier_ice
Site Admin


Joined: 16 Aug 2007
Posts: 868

PostPosted: Apr 30, 2015 5:03 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sometimes the signal can be really weird. I also rely on the dedicated GPS 99% of the time because of the more reliable accuracy. Then there's the weird 1% where the GPS is spinning me around. I pull out the cell phone and it puts me dead on. However, the cell phone is rarely that accurate the majority of the time.

I find the trump card is battery life anyways. GPS... keeps going and going and going... oh, swap the AA's out and keep going. The cell phone... we've all been there. Smile

_________________
"So do they sometimes hide caches in dog poo like this?" "No, that's real poo. You might want to put that down."
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