GPS

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Postby Hikin_Jim » Sat Nov 23, 2013 9:51 pm

Fascinating graphs, Chevy.

I like the idea that you're using your GPS as a trip recorder. That's what I'd like to do with mine. The 25 hour battery life of a lot of the Garmin eTrex units is kind of limiting. I mean it's fine for day hikes, but if one goes out on a week long trek, one has to bring a set of batteries basically for every other day. A 7 day trek would require 4 sets of batteries. And I assume you'd get considerably less battery life in cold weather. No wonder I've seen PCT'ers with solar panels slung on the back of their packs!

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Postby 63ChevyII » Sat Nov 23, 2013 10:05 pm

Thanks HJ! Btw... I have a new version of that Skyline map if you want to update the one on your website.

I think most units are also limited by how many trackpoints they can store. The fewer trackpoints, the less accurate the miles and track are. This would probably be an issue over a week long trip, depending on how accurate you want your info to be.


Hikin_Jim wrote:A GPS would also be handy in a white out or if one were in a hurry. Doing nav by hand does take time and effort.


If I ever meet you in person, I have a story about this for you. It involves a group trying to find their way off of Rabbit Peak in a rain storm.
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Postby OtherHand » Sat Nov 23, 2013 10:46 pm

Hikin_Jim wrote:Fascinating graphs, Chevy.

I like the idea that you're using your GPS as a trip recorder. That's what I'd like to do with mine. The 25 hour battery life of a lot of the Garmin eTrex units is kind of limiting. I mean it's fine for day hikes, but if one goes out on a week long trek, one has to bring a set of batteries basically for every other day. A 7 day trek would require 4 sets of batteries. And I assume you'd get considerably less battery life in cold weather. No wonder I've seen PCT'ers with solar panels slung on the back of their packs!

HJ


I think all Garmins have some sort of power saver mode which increases their sampling interval and puts the unit to sleep in between. This greatly increases recording time at the expense of less points. I think one set of lithium batteries with the unit running on power saver would last a week's worth of hiking. I use rechargeable NiMHs and they easily last a full weekend on standard mode.
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inReach

Postby JohnG » Sun Nov 24, 2013 8:30 am

I have used an inReach for three years now. It does require a subscription. It has helped "wifely" concerns location messages. Battery life is good. I also carry a PLB. One in my back and one in a fanny pack. I usually go solo so I have two chances to be "helped" if necessary.
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Postby 63ChevyII » Mon Nov 25, 2013 2:33 pm

I've been looking at reviews for the Dakota 20 (my gps) and it seems to do ok against other Garmin models.

http://www.outdoorgearlab.com/Handheld- ... -Dakota-20

Like the reviewer here, my biggest complaint is the touch screen. I don't have large hands/fingers, but I still have a tough getting getting the thing to do what I want sometimes.

One thing that confuses me is the use of 'memory.' Maybe one of you that is more familiar with how these things work can fill me in.

(1) My device's 'track log' can store '10,000 points, 200 saved tracks.' Can this capacity be increased by adding a micro SD?
This is what the manual says:
the memory cards can be used to store files such as images, cartridges, geocaches, routes, waypoints, and custom POIs

The reason why I ask is that I would like to get a more accurate track for Skyline (for my own use), and am wondering how much I can decrease the interval without exceeding the # points that can be saved.

(2) If I load a previous track to use as a map to follow on my trip, does this use up my available points?

(3) What is the difference between a route and a track?


Here are the specs for the device:
https://buy.garmin.com/en-US/US/on-the- ... 30926.html

Thanks for the input!
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Postby zippetydude » Mon Nov 25, 2013 3:03 pm

Chevy, like HJ I like your graphs. Nicely done, and it creates a clearer comparison than I had seen before. I can't answer any of your questions, but I'm looking forward to seeing the answers as well.

BTW, since my budget was very limited (I just couldn't see putting hundreds of dollars into a GPS that I will probably only use a few days a year) I looked on eBay and got a Magellan eXplorist 310 for $49.00. It'll suffice for my needs as far as I can tell. If not, I've found that I can buy something on eBay (as long as it's not brand new), use it for a year or two, and then sell it for roughly the same as I paid for it. Sorta like renting a camera, ipod or GPS unit for a couple years and the total cost coming to about $5.00 - $10.00. Can't beat that!

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Postby 63ChevyII » Mon Nov 25, 2013 4:20 pm

Thanks Z

Sounds like you found a great deal on that GPS. When possible, I tend to go the used/refurbished route on electronic, esp cameras.
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Postby OtherHand » Mon Nov 25, 2013 5:43 pm

When Garmin specifies a maximum number of track points it means how many points it can have on a single track, in this case 10,000, and that's...well, craploads. More than you can possibly need. It also says it can hold up to 200 "saved" tracks. These are tracks you can have in the memory and turn on and off. Again, craploads. As a point of reference one of my older Garmins is limited to 20 saved tracks of a maximum of 400 points each. It always seemed like plenty.

I suspect if you save a lot of tracks with a great many points you would end up storing some of them on a memory card. Also stored maps take up a lot of memory so they usually go on a card. The limits on the number of points and tracks is a hard limit of the GPS unit. You won't be able to exceed them even with a very large memory card. OTOH, if you put in a very small memory card you might not be able to get anywhere near those limits.

You can load a previous track and follow it. But unless you have tracking turned on, you will not be generating a new track. If you do have tracking on, you will be limited to 10,000 points for that track. As another point of reference, if you set the Garmin to record a track point every 10 feet, those 10,000 points will let you record a 18.9 mile track before you hit the track limit.

The difference between a track and a route is odd semantics. My version is that a track is a collection of points made consecutively to define a path. A route is made by taking existing waypoints and specifying a specific sequence of them. In the first instance a series of points are created to define a path. In the second instance EXISTING waypoints are ordered in some way to create a route. I've hardly ever used routes.
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Postby 63ChevyII » Mon Nov 25, 2013 6:18 pm

Thanks OtherHand.

I just used BaseCamp to look at my gpx track from my C2C trip in 2012. I'm not sure what the interval was set to, but the gpx file has less than 2000 trackpoints.

There is an option in BaseCamp to convert a track to a route. I tried it and it reduced the file to 25 points. It seems that it would only be useful to get a general direction, ie 'is the next waypoint to my right or left' but not necessarily useful when trying to pick the 'right' path on something on Skyline (assuming your track has the right one). There is an option to set the maximum number of points. I tried increasing it to 300, 400 & 500, but it does not affect the route. I assume it would only change it if I set it to less than 25.

I just found this document and it echos your understanding of tracks vs. routes.

https://support.garmin.com/support/sear ... 0000000%7D
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Postby 63ChevyII » Mon Nov 25, 2013 6:32 pm

When you save a current track on your GPS unit, am I correct in thinking that it removes a large number of points, thus reducing the mileage and accuracy of the file? Is there a way to prevent this from happening?


I found this page showing the file limitations of several Garmin models:

https://support.garmin.com/support/sear ... 0000000%7D
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