/ GPS for Expedition Use

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purplemonkeyelephant - on 21 Jul 2016
So I'm looking into getting a GPS for everything from a hillwalking backup, to expedition use. I'm a total GPS noob and I'm searching in the dark really, so all advice appreciated!!

What I want:
Colour screen
Battery capabilities that will work in extremes
Really easy to use - all I imagine wanting it for is tracking my location, setting targets and knowing how far I've travelled from camp to camp throughout the day, good use in very remote areas/greater ranges. Accuracy should come as standard.

I was looking at the Garmin GPSMAP 64s. I've seen lots of guides using it and it seems pretty popular. Thoughts for or against?

Also I was looking on the Garmin website and it doesn't seem to list Russia, Nepal etc in their map store. Where do people usually get their maps from, and do you have any issues using third party maps?
OwenM - on 21 Jul 2016
In reply to purplemonkeyelephant:

The GPSMAP 64s is quite old now I'd look at something a bit more up to date, Oregon or Montana 610.

I've been looking for a map card for Sarek national park in Sweden, Garmin only sell two cards Sweden North or Sweden South 180 each. I also have a Satmap but they wanted 140 for a card of just some of the northern mountains. Then I found that viewranger (which runs on a smartphone) do a free map of Sarek NP and 9 bought the tiles for the rest of my route. Garmin GPS's are water and shock proof which phones aren't but if you're having trouble finding mapping their worth a look.
JEF on 21 Jul 2016
In reply to OwenM:

> The GPSMAP 64s is quite old now I'd look at something a bit more up to date, Oregon or Montana 610.


I had a Garmin Oregon for a short while but took it back to the shop after about two weeks. I hated it; the touch screen needed to be locked all the time to prevent unwittingly marking waypoints. Unlocking the screen when you need to use it was fussy. Your location icon could be changed to a spaceship, beach ball or other pointless thing, I wanted a navigation aid not a toy.
I now have the Garmin etrex 20, which I find much better.

purplemonkeyelephant - on 21 Jul 2016
In reply to OwenM:

Wow it sounds complicated and expensive to sort out a GPS for an expedition... It's quite offputting to think that if I travel to different areas of the world that I could be spending many hundreds of pounds buying a few maps, even for fairly small regions.

Is there really no options, say I wanted a GPS map for Baffin Island or something. Where would people go for that?
purplemonkeyelephant - on 21 Jul 2016
In reply to purplemonkeyelephant:

Oh also not really into touch screen devices. In extreme cold I'd prefer to be able to use it with gloves if need be. What are the benefits that come with newer devices? Better accuracy? More apps?
Damo on 22 Jul 2016
In reply to purplemonkeyelephant:

I use a Garmin eTrex30 and recommend it. Larger touch screens are bad with gloves on, use power, can be hard to see, and break.

Do you really want maps on the device? Sort it out on Google Earth before you go, where you can see it properly. Choose points you might need - river junctions, villages, glacier snouts etc - and export them into something like Garmin Base Camp to put into your eTrex, so you can navigate to them once in the field.
purplemonkeyelephant - on 22 Jul 2016
In reply to Damo:

Cheers for the advice. I guess making waypoints in advance certainly is a way around, it just seems nuts that Google has free maps for the entire world and I can't get a proprietary map for a 250 GPS. I mean, on Google I can look at remote mountain ranges in 3D and work out a lot of details. Whilst I may not need the detail on some trips it would be nice to know I have it if need be!
Damo on 22 Jul 2016
In reply to purplemonkeyelephant:

> ... it just seems nuts that Google has free maps for the entire world and I can't get a proprietary map for a 250 GPS. ...

No, actually that there is just the reason. Why would any company make a map when you get it for free online?
captain paranoia - on 22 Jul 2016
In reply to purplemonkeyelephant:

> Google has free maps for the entire world and I can't get a proprietary map for a 250 GPS.

Does your GPS give you adverts? Does it collect information on you it can sell to advertisers?

Different products, different business models, I'm afraid...

There are many open-source mapping projects, based on processing the SRTM DEM data to create a 3D topographic base map, and then crowd-sourcing the addition of man-made and natural features. e.g. OpenStreetMap and its offspring.

Data gathering for mapping is expensive. So you either pay for it from a traditional mapping agency (e.g. OS), get it crowd sourced (OSM), or get a multi-billion-dollar advertising company to pay for it (Google), who will use it to further increase their revenue by selling location-based services.

Problems with more complex mapping GPS receivers are that their screens don't work well in low temperature, and you may have trouble reading them in sunlight. More basic models with simple alphanumeric, dot matrix LCDs can work at lower temperatures, and can be transflective, so illuminated either by a backlight, or by sunlight.
purplemonkeyelephant - on 22 Jul 2016
In reply to captain paranoia:

I understand that nothing is free. My point was that the Garmin map shop doesn't have a single country from Asia...
captain paranoia - on 22 Jul 2016
neuromancer - on 22 Jul 2016
In reply to purplemonkeyelephant:

I have a 64st, nd it's a f*cking nightmare to get maps on.

I've even tried patching the firmware and hacking the Garmin format, but its a nightmare.
purplemonkeyelephant - on 22 Jul 2016
In reply to captain paranoia:

Garminworldmaps seems to be a 3rd party, and the google search just brings up random things. Not an actual map. I even asked garmin on twitter and they said they don't cover Asia.

I did have a look at https://www.openstreetmap.org , can you export that into your GPS?
alikasundara - on 19 Aug 2016
In reply to purplemonkeyelephant:

Have you seen these?
http://garmin.openstreetmap.nl/
https://help.openstreetmap.org/questions/4592/basic-guide-to-download-osm-to-garmin-gps

I don't have a garmin device yet (ended up here looking for a recommendation), so couldn't really try if if works or not.
I'm planning to do some more research this weekend but eTrex30 looks nice.
Need it for a trip to Aconcagua this winter, so it's got to be bombproof. I can't imagine using a touchscreen device in extreme conditions.

purplemonkeyelephant - on 19 Aug 2016
In reply to alikasundara:

Yes I found this site but I just get the feeling it could end up opening a can of worms... I'm generally of the view that spending hundreds on a device means you shouldn't have to hack it to serve it's basic functions. I hope you get it to work though, free maps of the world sounds good to me!
alikasundara - on 19 Aug 2016
In reply to purplemonkeyelephant:

Agreed, the device is expensive enough. I am going to try and upload some of the free maps onto mine, if I buy it.

Just found this old thread http://www.ukclimbing.com/forums/t.php?t=630464
It mentions free pints and talkytoaster as a good map source https://talkytoaster.co.uk/maps/
maybe worth trying...
Mr Eddie - on 20 Aug 2016
In reply to purplemonkeyelephant:

I got a eTrex30 for a trip to Greenland last year.

You can scan maps and load them onto it using google earth which is great in areas that have no base mapping.

If I smashed it I'd buy another.
jac the lassie on 20 Aug 2016
In reply to purplemonkeyelephant:

I've got a gpsmap 62s. Its bomb proof in the cold and wet. However it runs through a pair of AA's in a day and it's not that intuitive to learn to use. I use a combination of Garmin BaseCamp and easy gps to get routes and maps on to it. Garmin BaseCamp is the official method but it can be awkward to use and restrictive when it comes to maps and some gps route files. Easy gps allows me to put other stuff on to the gps unit that Garmin BaseCamp won't.
alikasundara - on 20 Aug 2016
In reply to Mr Eddie:

> I got a eTrex30 for a trip to Greenland last year.

How sturdy and weatherproof is your eTrex30? I saw that you can buy screen protectors for it. Not sure if I even need them? thanks.


L jimredd - on 25 Aug 2016
In reply to Mr Eddie:

I took the same model when I skied to the North Pole in April this year and had no problems. I would recommned lithium batteries for extreme cold environments.
ads.ukclimbing.com
purplemonkeyelephant - on 20 Sep 2016
In reply to alikasundara:

Any luck? I was just reading up about the BirdsEye Satellite Imagery Garmin use in Basecamp (plus a subscription), which is apparently worldwide and could be used for mountain ranges etc. Obviously long treks would probably generate huge filesizes, but it seems a way around that isn't a hack.

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