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Thread: recommend a GPS unit

  1. #1
    MrWhippy Guest

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    ok first things first, i'm a complete newb to this.
    only heard about it the other day when the good lady explained it to me.
    seems she'd seen a thing about geocaching on countryfile.

    so i looked it up on google and i get the idea.
    and we're keen to have a go. we do a fair bit of camping and we think it would tie in to that quite nicely.

    BUT we need to purchase a GPS unit.
    i've been speccing them out but would apreciate a few personal recommendations or warnings.

    so, what's good, and what's best avoided.

    what features are worth having and what features are not worth the extra cash.

    i have seen some lovely looking things topside of 300 quid but realistically 150 ish is the budget. it'd have to be a real good reason to stretch beyond that.

    any views will be warmly received, and thanks for looking.

  2. #2
    MrWhippy Guest

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    might add that i don't "need" it to double up as in car nav.

    and i don't already own a PDA.

    cheers...

  3. #3
    The Hokesters Guest

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    Hi Mr Whippy and welcome to the addiction.

    I would recommend a look at THIS TOPIC on the Geocaching.com forums.

    For a start the cheapest GPSr is fine for geocaching and they start around 45 now. I personally would recommend avoiding black and white mapping devices which is all you would get for your 150 but some people use mapping for getting to caches. B&W mapping is near enough useless for in car navigation.

    In case you get mega hooked (very likely) you should get a GPSr with data cable option so that you can download bulk cache information (.gpx files - but you need to be a premium member of GC.com) which will relieve you of manually inputting the co-ordinates.

    I have a Garmin Geko 301 which is perfect for GCing and is delightfully compact being no bigger than a regular mobile phone although the screen is small if you have poor eyesight.

    I hope that helps.

    Simon

  4. #4
    the_mighty_shark Guest

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    Hi Mr Whippy

    Just wanted to come say, I too saw the article on countryfile and instantly thought it looked like a great pastime.
    to be honest I did not do much homework when I went looking for my GPS apart from looking briefly on line at a couple of sites including the maplins web site.
    I ended up buying mine from Argos as they had quite a selection.
    Finally decided on the Garmin etrex venture.
    rushed out last Friday to pick it up and did my first hunt on Saturday.. was very cold but dry and found the cache quite easily. went out on Sunday and found my second one but this time it took a while longer and I did get a little muddy on route but I'm now well and truly hooked.
    Would love to hear from my fellow newb as I would be interested to know how you got on with your first hunt. that's if like me you just had to rush out and buy your GPS

    the mighty shark (Mark)

  5. #5
    MrWhippy Guest

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    thanks for the replies, very much apreciated.
    as with most new things a lot of the problem is not that you don't now enough, but that you also don't know where to go to find out.

    in the end i plumped for a Garmin eTrex Legend.
    i bought it from http://www.globalpositioningsystems.co.uk which seem to have a good reputation. quick delivery and a reasonable price.

    i paid 194.85 including vat and delivery for the GPSr unit bundled with a data cable and the Metroguide Europe v6 CDs.

    so what do i think, well, i've only had one outing so far, but it's a good device.
    i'm a bit of a tech head at the best of times, but i reckon anyone could learn to operate one of these, it's fairly intuitive once you've learned the basics.

    i'd agree with The Hokesters comment about in car use. the mapping display is pretty good as a handheld but i can imagine it not being good enough for in car nav. but i never intended to use it for that anyway.

    to be honest i also agree you could get by fine for geocaching with a much simpler device. but i had the budget and the permission so i went for this one.

    i'm also well impressed with the data cable connection and metroguide software.
    even without premium membership of GC.com i can download "loc" files for each cache, convert them to GPX format with one of the many free tools out there, and use the Mapsource tool that comes with the Metroguide CDs to upload them to the device.

    i'd also like to mention, for the benefit of other newbs, that this forum is a bit on the quiet side, and you should take a look at the UK board on http://forums.groundspeak.com. not dissing this board, but there seems to be way more traffic there, so well worth a look.

    with regard to our first cache find, it went really well. we took a nice detour into a supermarket carpark as we were coming at the target from our home, which is in the opposite direction from the suggested route for that cache. got a bit stuck as couldn't get where we wanted to and so had a bit of backtracking to do.
    also didn't get to see the impressive scenery until we were right on top of the cache. but found it no problems. the receiver got us to within 5 metres when we spotted it, had it been a little less visible i think the gps would have got us closer still.

    the only downside to the whole experience is i'm very busy at the moment, and my only spare day this week is prebooked helping the brother in law move house (though i wonder, maybe i should check if there are any caches near his new house, and do them during my lunch break). so we got to wait a while before we can get back out. but we're pretty much hooked already.

    so thanks and hope to see you all in the game...

  6. #6
    JonandBecci Guest

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    My first post... After hours of reading reviews on gps handhelds and trying to find the best value for about 100quid I realised to get the really useful features I needed to spend a little more.

    I wanted intergrated memory, mapping capability and connectivity to my pc.
    I hope the Etrex Legend does everything I need, fingers crossed it arrives tomorrow from www.globalpositioningsystems.co.uk cost me 135. Closer to 200 on the highstreet.

    Will do my 1st cache with it asap : and let you know how I get on. If anyone knows any good caches around the Malverns, can you let me know the details?

    Ta JP

  7. #7
    MrWhippy Guest

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    and just another quick tip for my fellow newb's.

    once your shiny new GPS unit has been ordered and your waiting for delivery, now's a good time to start planning your first cache hunt so enter your postcode in the zip code field here http://www.geocaching.com/seek/ and you'll get a list of all the caches nearest to your location.

    if you register for an account on that site (which is free) you can log your cache finds as you discover them, which gives you a nice online log of how well your doing. saves having to write 'em all down.


  8. #8

    Join Date
    Jun 2003
    Location
    Bedfordshire, UK
    Posts
    118

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    Originally posted by JonandBecci@Feb 23 2005, 05:11 PM
    My first post... After hours of reading reviews on gps handhelds and trying to find the best value for about 100quid I realised to get the really useful features I needed to spend a little more.

    I wanted intergrated memory, mapping capability and connectivity to my pc.
    I hope the Etrex Legend does everything I need, fingers crossed it arrives tomorrow from www.globalpositioningsystems.co.uk cost me 135. Closer to 200 on the highstreet.

    Will do my 1st cache with it asap : and let you know how I get on. If anyone knows any good caches around the Malverns, can you let me know the details?

    Ta JP
    Hi Guys,
    Welcome to the sport/hobby/addiction. From the price you've paid I suspect that you've bought the 'older' Legend not the newer Legend 'C'.
    I've been using a Legend since I started caching in 2003 and to be honest, it's done everything I needed with no problems what so ever.
    The base map that comes pre-loaded is, however, a load of old tosh and is only useful for the most basic of navigation tasks. If you want to use your new toy for navigating around our roads and lanes, you'll need one of Garmin's MapSource products. As the Legend only has 8Mb of memory, the most sensible solution would be the Roads & Recreation version. I don't think this is available new any more but you should be able to pick one up reasonably cheaply on Ebay. The map tiles in this version take up less memory space than the MetroGuide or City Select versions and you can load a bigger area of maps into you limited memory. If you have any problems or need any help, e-mail me via my profile on geocaching.com
    John
    Age and treachery will always triumph over youth and ability.

  9. #9
    JonandBecci Guest

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    Thanks for the advice, I am taking the ball and chain on our first hunt tomorrow! If you don't hear from me for a few days - I am still out there

    JP

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