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#902277 - 06/17/04 05:09 PM Anyone got a GPS?
wghornsby Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/26/01
Posts: 201
Loc: KY
It's riding time, and I love getting my motorcycle out on any old country road and getting myself lost. I typically take a map with me but this is a pain in the neck, and got me wondering if GPS technology has improved past the point of just identifying what latitude and longitude you're at.

Wow, I've been out of it--the stuff that's out now looks incredible, full-color maps, zooming in and out, etc. Here's an example of something I ran across.

http://www.magellangps.com/en/products/product.asp?PRODID=917

Does anyone have any experience with these new models? Do they work as well as they look? What's good, what's bad, or anything else you can share?

THANKS!!!!! w.g.--a motorcycle-ridin' piano-playin' fool
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wgh

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#902278 - 06/17/04 05:46 PM Re: Anyone got a GPS?
DT Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/01/01
Posts: 1478
Loc: Illinois
Oh, Klavierbauer, where are you?


It seems like at all the big cross-country races, e.g. Baja, every bike has GPS on it.

From what I've read, the technology is pretty good but buy the maps can get expensive, depending on the unit you have.
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#902279 - 06/18/04 11:16 AM Re: Anyone got a GPS?
wghornsby Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/26/01
Posts: 201
Loc: KY
Thanks DT. And if anyone owns one, how accurately are you located on the map display, and how clearly can you see the map?
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wgh

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#902280 - 06/18/04 10:29 PM Re: Anyone got a GPS?
Palindrome Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/22/01
Posts: 3916
Loc: Chicago, IL USA
I have one but I don't know where it is. \:D
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There is no end of learning. -Robert Schumann Rules for Young Musicians

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#902281 - 06/18/04 10:33 PM Re: Anyone got a GPS?
KlavierBauer Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/06/02
Posts: 3773
Loc: Boulder, Colorado
I was looking at these quite a bit a few months ago.
It seems that most units in the median price range are pretty accurate/comparable.

I think they're accurate to whithin several meters assuming they have a clear connection, and that extra service (I forget the acronym, sorry).

Yeah, for a couple of hundred dollars you can get something with maps, water proof, and made to take you on your geo-caching, or biking adventures!
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#902282 - 06/21/04 02:30 PM Re: Anyone got a GPS?
Improviso Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/19/04
Posts: 1484
Most GPS receivers you buy today are 12 channels with WAAS capability. With WAAS built-in, accuracy is 9 feet (3 meters for the metric heads). And yes, they are as good as they look. I've been using them for years. For biking, look at the Garmin Street Pilot (www.garmin.com)

I've explored many a neat little town with my GPS chartplotter, finding streets and out-of-the-way places I would have never known were there, if not for looking at the screen and saying "Hmmm. Wonder what's down that road".

Even though they are more expensive, if you can spring the bucks, go color. Visually, it easier to interpret the screen at a glance.
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#902283 - 06/21/04 02:47 PM Re: Anyone got a GPS?
JohnC Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/10/02
Posts: 1672
Loc: Lower Left Coast
 Quote:
Originally posted by KlavierBauer:

It seems that most units in the median price range are pretty accurate/comparable.

[/b]
KB, what do you consider the median proce range? I've seen people use them on bicycles but more for downloading purposes so as to plot things like distance climbed and degree of climb over a complete ride.

Any thoughts as to what works best for a bicycle? I can always use a new toy. ;\)
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#902284 - 06/21/04 10:34 PM Re: Anyone got a GPS?
DT Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/01/01
Posts: 1478
Loc: Illinois
 Quote:
Originally posted by Improviso:
Most GPS receivers you buy today are 12 channels with WAAS capability. With WAAS built-in, accuracy is 9 feet (3 meters for the metric heads). [/b]
That degree of accuracy depends on the unit being able to pick up three satellites. Tall buildings and lot trees can interfere and reduce the accuracy. The ones actually made for mobile navigation (cars and motorcycles) have better antennae and more easily read screens than do the hiker handhelds.

I'm sure there are some sites out there dedicated to GPS devices with ratings, etc. Google away.
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#902285 - 06/21/04 10:44 PM Re: Anyone got a GPS?
JBryan Offline
9000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/19/02
Posts: 9798
Loc: Oklahoma City
I used a GPS quite extensively while I was working in China. I still have it, a Garmin 45XL. A dinosaur by today's standards. I logged over 10,000 km on Chinese roads with that thing and I had it running less than half the time. The Air Force still had SA on at that time but it was quite accurate enough for my work. However, it was useless as far as elevation was concerned.There were times it even told me I was underground (minus elevation). Even today the elevation readings you get are going to be mostly erroneous unless you have at least four satellites with good geometry. I would never depend on a GPS for other than Lat/Long and leave elevation to topo maps or DEMS.
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#902286 - 06/21/04 11:32 PM Re: Anyone got a GPS?
JPM Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/24/03
Posts: 1010
Loc: NM, GE & Wash. DC
Garmin has some good units. Makes getting around Europe a breeze. Extra map sets are pretty pricey though. Satellite coverage is not a problem in Europe. I rarely have been anyplace (other than narrow alpine valleys, some city centers with tall buildings, and tunnels) where the GPS receiver isn't picking up at least two birds. You can find a new Garmin Street Pilot 2620 (the top of the line model) for about $750-850 on ebay these days.

I like the GPS receivers that talk to you while you drive. "Exit A6 in 500 meters and take A656 in the direction of Heidelberg." They're much more helpful than my previous unit, the Spousal Navigator System Model 1. Those of you that have used the SNS know what I mean. It talks well but is prone to distraction and makes frequent errors, as in "I think we just missed our exit". At times it can be down right user unfriendly too .... "YOU have got us lost again". Nevertheless, I cannot part with my Spousal Navigator as I've grown rather attached to its idiosyncrasies, but will only use it as my backup navigation assistant from now on. ;\)

JP
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-- Claude Debussy

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#902287 - 06/22/04 07:53 AM Re: Anyone got a GPS?
Improviso Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/19/04
Posts: 1484
JB,

I used (and still have) the 45XL. Great little unit. Before they turned SA off for good, the accuracy was about 90 feet for me. With SA off, the accuracy went to 30 feet. Close enough for grenades. Moved up to the Garmin 182C chartplotter 2 years ago and wondered why I didn't do it sooner. I was on a mountain once with an elevation marker. My GPS (182C) was reading within 1 foot of the marker. I take it everywhere in the car. My wife loves playing with the zoom in/out feature.

One of the things that makes GPS useful on trips is the ability to map a route on the computer with Garmin's Metroguide software and then download the route to the GPS unit. So when looking for a unit, see if the manufacturer has computer software for it. It's really nice to upload the track data after a trip and see your whole trip on the screen.
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#902288 - 06/22/04 09:39 AM Re: Anyone got a GPS?
Cindysphinx Offline


Registered: 02/14/03
Posts: 6416
Loc: Washington D.C. Metro
 Quote:
They're much more helpful than my previous unit, the Spousal Navigator System Model 1. Those of you that have used the SNS know what I mean.
Oh, hey. I have one of those older SNS units. Mine is kind of buggy, though. Typical exchanges are:

"You need to turn."

"Right or left?"

"That way. No, the other way! Right! Oh, *great!* You missed the turn."

"You mean that street? I can't get into the other lane that fast! Come *on!* You can't give directions at the last minute like that. Think ahead, man!"

"You want me to drive? Huh? *HUH!?* 'Cause I'll drive. Pull over!"

***************

Yeah, I need one of them newfangled models. ;-)
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#902289 - 06/22/04 09:49 AM Re: Anyone got a GPS?
Rich Galassini Offline
9000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/28/01
Posts: 9362
Loc: Philadelphia/South Jersey
This is interesting. What kind of price range do these sytems sell in? I have no clue.

Also, I have heard of GPS software being available for Palms or Blackberrys (or anything with Bluetooth) - Does anyone have experience with these programs?
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Cunningham Piano Co.
Phila, Pa.
Dir. Line (215) 991-0834
rich@cunninghampiano.com
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#902290 - 06/22/04 10:32 AM Re: Anyone got a GPS?
emmix Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 05/11/04
Posts: 11
I've found this web site very useful:
http://gpsinformation.net
My personal choice: Garmin 2610 (~$770). Works perfectly 99%.
WAAS enabled? I don't think it makes a difference 3 meters vs. 9 meters (while you driving). :rolleyes:

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#902291 - 06/22/04 10:33 AM Re: Anyone got a GPS?
JBryan Offline
9000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/19/02
Posts: 9798
Loc: Oklahoma City
Not unless you want to call cruise missiles down on a tailgater.
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#902292 - 06/22/04 10:34 AM Re: Anyone got a GPS?
Improviso Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/19/04
Posts: 1484
The Garmin Street Pilot GPS's range from $590 to $960.

The Garmin eTrex Vista can be had for around $250. And you can purchase a handlebar mount for it for either a bike or motorcycle.

Check this site for prices. They have usually been the cheapest place I have found for Garmin units. Really depends on what features you want and color units are going to be more expensive.

Garmin GPS Prices
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#902293 - 06/22/04 10:41 AM Re: Anyone got a GPS?
Improviso Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/19/04
Posts: 1484
Rich,

They're now starting to put GPS in cell phones. So the next time you tell the wife you're at work and she says your GPS says you're at the local watering hole, you'll remember to turn it off before leaving work. Talk about "big brother" watching ya... ;\)
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