[Cdt-l] GPS and Maps (howzit done?)

Frank Gilliland frankgilliland at comcast.net
Wed Dec 9 09:52:56 CST 2009


First off Good luck on your 2010 hike.  I hope to see you in Wyoming and Colorado......

Well I see that Garmin has once again changed everything concerning their software.  I have the HCx and really am happy with how the unit works.  Good reception, good battery life and so far no big issues.  I am using the older Topo US 2008 map software. This map software is cranky and sometimes aggravating.  But it does provide a fairly good topo map and tools to load and unload data.

Now Garmin has a version called: Topo United States 100K (Similar in format to USGS 1:100,000 scale on topographic paper maps) and regional versions called:  Topo U.S. 24K (Similar in format to USGS 1:24,000-scale topographic paper maps) for $130 each.  Wow that seems expensive.....Get the DVD     DO NOT GET THE MICRO SD!!!!!!!! of what ever version(s) you purchase.  The DVD does require a PC, but it gives you much more flexibility. IMO

That said, Garmin (and all other gps makers) have made operation and user interface into a royal pain.  Much like Scientific calculators that have more functions than the average user needs.  All GPS units are full of functions and sub menus that are only fully understood by the ultra geek or the technicians who wrote the code!

Every time I figure out how to add a map or a track or a route or a way point or a POI, then Garmin tweaks their software to the point that I can't explain it to anyone.  

So there is no simple answer.  You have to just bite the bullet and buy a GPS, buy the software and learn as you go.  Your knowledge of how to use the GPS may be a matter of getting lost or not.  If you make a mistake at home it is just money.  If you make a mistake in the field, well you know what the results could be.

I have hiked all of the PCT and now parts of the CDT and I am really glad to have the GPS as a "Second Opinion".  Always have a set of maps and compass (no batteries Required)  

If any one has any specific questions about Garmin's or how to load a Track of the CDT or convert waypoints to POI points etc., feel free to contact me off-list:

Frank "StarMan"

frankgilliland   (at)   comcast.net    

I'm buying my GPS for the CDT 2010. I'm leaning towards the Garmin Vista HCx. But what do I do for maps for the unit? Do people really buy the TOPO Mountain South, Central and North 24k memory cards? That's $300 extra dollars! 


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