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A Real Winner.
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Yes, I know GPS has come up over and over again. I keep waiting and waiting, but it just seems like everything else, the longer I wait, the cooler more expensive stuff keeps coming out. Anyhow, this is what I want to do:

-Download and make maps of my local trails
-I want something portable
-I want something that can show me where I am
-Must get good, if not excellent, reception in trees
-The more I can do with my computer, the better

Here is what I have it narrowed down to:
Garmin Forerunner 205
Edge 205
Rino 530
Venture CX

Has anyone used any or all of these? What are the pros and cons? Is it worth it to pay $$$ for a nice unit? Or will something like the Forerunner 101 work pretty good?
 

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since 4/10/2009
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Of the group you mentioned, the forerunner and the venture will have the worst reception.

The Rino and the Edge have LiIon batteries (no field replacement of simple AA's).

The Edge is not very good for making maps (but is very good as a training computer). You can do it, but there are better ways. It also doesn't give you the best location display.

You certainly get what you pay for. For what you're looking for, I would suggest the Garmin GPSMap 60CSX. It has good mapping functions, and is portable (it's smaller than the Rino 530). Onboard memory plus removable chip means you can carry TONS of basemap data with you, so there will be no question about where you are. This unit gets better reception than ALL of the models you listed (owing to the fact that it uses both the quad helix antenna (Rino) and the SiRf chip (Edge)), and even gives you the option of an external antenna for even better reception.

That said, there are much better receivers out there, but they'll be priced much more than the $500 price tag on the 60CSX (and consequently, they're not considered consumer level products, so you have to source them elsewhere).
 

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I have a Forerunner 305, and you won't be able to tell where you are. I think most of the bike/fitness GPS' have a map, but it isn't really workable. There are no points of reference. It's just a trail of where you are and have been. When uploaded to the computer it puts it in a real map and will show freeways/roads.

It's totally perfect for what I wanted - fitness GPS.

Hubby has the Edge, and it's still more of a fitness thing. The bonus with that is that you can do waypoints and upload to something such as Geoladders (if you're in So Cal or surrounding it's a nice trail info GPS site). I also think you can download maps to the unit and use that to help navigate, but I don't have experience with this. He loves it, though. He also has a regular unit that's larger and not really meant to be mounted on the handlebar/stem of a bike that worked okay (still lost signal in the trees), but had to be put in the Camelbak or pocket. However, you may need something like that if you want to know where you're at.

He did get the MapSource for the Edge, so it may have better maps now where you can download the detailed maps for where you'll be, I'm not entirely sure.

But, I'd say those two might be better if you're leaning toward the fitness/cadence aspect more than GPS maps. I think with the purchase of the additional software (not cheap) the Edge is much more functional computer-wise.
 

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NateHawk said:
Of the group you mentioned, the forerunner and the venture will have the worst reception.

The Rino and the Edge have LiIon batteries (no field replacement of simple AA's).

The Edge is not very good for making maps (but is very good as a training computer). You can do it, but there are better ways. It also doesn't give you the best location display.

You certainly get what you pay for. For what you're looking for, I would suggest the Garmin GPSMap 60CSX. It has good mapping functions, and is portable (it's smaller than the Rino 530). Onboard memory plus removable chip means you can carry TONS of basemap data with you, so there will be no question about where you are. This unit gets better reception than ALL of the models you listed (owing to the fact that it uses both the quad helix antenna (Rino) and the SiRf chip (Edge)), and even gives you the option of an external antenna for even better reception.

That said, there are much better receivers out there, but they'll be priced much more than the $500 price tag on the 60CSX (and consequently, they're not considered consumer level products, so you have to source them elsewhere).
I have the slightly older Garmin GPS Map 60c. It is great. You will not regret it and I imagine the 60CSX can only be better.
 

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I do almost the exact same things with my GPS. TOPO maps are a must.

Garmin is a good brand. They have the best products, prices and technical support.

I own a eTrex Legend C.

It is great for making maps. the only downfalls are no antenna and limited map storage.

I did a recepcion test. I turned by GPS on at the same time as Map 60C while indoors. Mine got satellites much faster. I don't think the antennas help in that way however they may help while in heavy trees.

If going with TOPO maps (which I strongly recomend) a GPS with a colour screen is crutial. Thats the only reason I won't buy an edge. I think that theres no point in having lakes and topo lines if they are all black and white. The colour screen makes distinguishing them easy.

If I were to buy a new GPS it would be an eTrex Legend or Vista CSX (Map 60CSX if you want an antenna). They both have memory card slots. I would buy a 512mb or larger memory card becasue it would allow me to load all the maps I would ever need. I currently have to load different maps on depending on where I am becasue I only have 24mb of internal storage.

Once you have the track on your computer you will need a mapping program. The garmin application is good for stroring and reviewing tracks but isnt good for printing. Mine won't show the tracks on the printed map. I've herd Aussie Explorer si the best mapping program. You scan in a topo map or areal photograph and mark several referance points on it. Then it will load the tracks directly off your gps. You can give different track, different colours and such.

If you ahve any other questions, email me.
 

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Make some music
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Garmin e-Trex Legend

I wanted mapping for low bucks.

I've been using it with LeLorme topo software and been having lots of fun mapping. As with most, the manual is of minimal help and you have to find your own methods by trial. No big deal. My cousin bought a megellan with some topo in it (around $260) sorry I don't remember the name.

It all really gets good when you download the tracks into a computer topo program and start playing with it.
 

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Village Dirtbag
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I'm in a similar situation, and I have my eye on the Garmin eTrex Vista Cx. It seems like a great balance of price, size, and features. It goes for about $350, if I remember properly.

I'm not sure about getting maps for it though...I think you need to spends something like $120 on proprietary software. I imagine all garmins need this. Does anyone know of anywhere the maps can be acquired for less money?
 

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since 4/10/2009
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You can get maps to work with on your computer for free. However, if you actually want to load the maps onto your GPS, you're stuck with the proprietary map software from the manufacturer of your GPS. Eventually, higher processing power and multiple GB of storage will make their way into consumer GPS receivers which will finally make it practical to be able to load raster based maps, but until then, you're stuck with proprietary map software.

Search Froogle, ebay, and other places to try to get a deal, but it'll probably still be somewhere in the vicinity of $100. BTW, sometimes if you're lucky, you can find a package deal where the GPS receiver and the topo software come together in the same package for a LOT less than buying the two separately.
 

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Slowest Rider
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GPSMAP60Csx may not be rugged enough

dan0 said:
if you search the internet you can find the 60csx for under $400, I got 1 a month ago
I was seriously thinking of upgrading my eTrex Vista to the GPSMAP60Csx, which seems to be the cat's meow for GPS geeks. Bigger color screen, replacable memory, new SiRF chip for reception,...

Rich Owings, author of GPS Mapping, and who logs on here as Redwoods Mountain Biker or something like that, owns a 60CSx and has it on the cover of his book.

However, then Dan'ger recently bought one and promptly destroyed it in a few weeks of rough MTB, it gave me pause. My eTrex Vista has been doing fine for 3 years on my handlebars with all sorts of nasty MTB and wrecks. Looking more closely, the eTrex line appears more rugged, with rubberized case and rating for 8 G dynamics that's missing from the 60Csx. Read more of Dan'ger's ill fated trial here.
 

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A Real Winner.
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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Hmmmm, I'm still up in the air about which one to get. Size wise, how big is the 60CsX? Also, can you do mapping with the Forerunner 205? I really like the size of the Forerunner 205 the more I look at it. I would like to start putting together a database of maps in Michigan of the local trails that would be downloadable from my website. Also, is there some sort of recognized file format for GPS maps? Could I have a list of maps on my website of GPS maps that people could download from my website and upload them to their own GPS? Could I use the Forerunner to create these maps? Could I also create printable maps, ie. If someone from out of town comes to Michigan, can I just print them up a map I created with the Forerunner? I guess that I think that the GPS 60CSX might be too big to mount on my handlebar. Has anyone done this? Do you have pics of it mounted?
 

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Slowest Rider
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Answers for questons

sonyisdope said:
Hmmmm, I'm still up in the air about which one to get. Size wise, how big is the 60CsX? Also, can you do mapping with the Forerunner 205? I really like the size of the Forerunner 205 the more I look at it. I would like to start putting together a database of maps in Michigan of the local trails that would be downloadable from my website. Also, is there some sort of recognized file format for GPS maps? Could I have a list of maps on my website of GPS maps that people could download from my website and upload them to their own GPS? Could I use the Forerunner to create these maps? Could I also create printable maps, ie. If someone from out of town comes to Michigan, can I just print them up a map I created with the Forerunner? I guess that I think that the GPS 60CSX might be too big to mount on my handlebar. Has anyone done this? Do you have pics of it mounted?
For dimensions and picture of relative size of eTrex versus the 60Csx, see this thread.

See more about the features of different GPS units and relative value on same thread link. In particular, the wrist mounted units, Foretrex and Forerunner, don't have altimeter or compass. And the Forerunner can't store routes, a critical flaw for navigating. The Foretrex is better and stores routes, but costs more than the eTrex units without a compass or barometer. But either of these units can store tracks and can be used for making maps of the local trails as you desire.

There's become a universal format, gpx, for waypoints, routes, and tracks. A few web sites (like geoladders, topofusion, and Motion Based?) are allowing people to download gpx files. But unfortuantely, there's no good national data base yet, and very few bike routes. I sometimes beg routes from local friends with a GPS. On new routes, I usually still have to figure out waypoints and routes out myself from matching a topo map of the trails I find on the web to Garmin's Topo on my computer screen, and putting points using altitude and landmarks like streams and mountains.

But all the different computer maps are all proprietary format. The only maps that can be downloaded to a Garmin GPS are Garmin MapSource maps, such as the Street maps and Topo maps.

For making maps, look at the excellent book "GPS Mapping: Make your own maps" by Rich Owings, who logs onto MTBR as Redwoods Mtn Biker. See his web site here. The book just came out and gives a lot of information on how to handle GPS data and work properly with the newer web based programs as well. Well worth the purchase.
 

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since 4/10/2009
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The lesson to learn from Dan'ger's situation is that if the GPS isn't designed to handle a lot of shock, it doesn't belong on the handlebars. It's good he bought it from REI and could return it. For the OP, I still recommend the 60CSX if he wants the good reception and the mapping functions.
 
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