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  1. #1
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    GPS noob needs some help

    So I ordered myself a 60csx because I like gadgets and have little self control. My issue is I have very little knowledge of handheld GPS stuff and would like to get this thing up and running as soon as I get it. I'd consider myself tech savy but this is a totally new frontier for me so I'm lost. Only uses are going to be riding, hiking and a kayak trip on occasion. Hopefully someone can help me with the following

    - I've read the reviews saying the maps that come on it suck so I want to get something to load on the unit right away but don't know which to pick. Are there any alternatives to the outrageougly expensive garmin maps? The garmin site has downloads as well as dvd, I'm guessing the dvd loads on the pc too?(just didn't get that)

    - I want to track my rides and routes and such, do I need software to do that or does it come with it? Is there something easy that is third party I can download?

    - Can I download routes from somewhere for hikes and rides in new places and use the gps to navigate like the one in my truck?

    - Anything else I should know or is there anywhere good to look and get info on this stuff?
    Last edited by njhcx4xlife; 06-17-2009 at 07:18 AM.
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  2. #2
    MTC rep for LPCPCAC
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    As you discovered, there is a bit of a learning curve. It is not too steep but it will take a little getting used to. I have the same unit and have been very happy with its performace.
    So, here are a few answers to your questions. Just remember these are not the only possiblilities, just what I do.

    - I've read the reviews saying the maps that come on it suck so I want to get something to load on the unit right away but don't know which to pick. Are there any alternatives to the outrageougly expensive garmin maps? The garmin site has downloads as well as dvd, I'm guessing the dvd loads on the pc too?(just didn't get that)

    One place you can go for FREE topo maps is http://www.gpsfiledepot.com There are quite a few state topo maps. This will give you the contours you are looking for at or greater than resolution Garmin offers for $$$. If you want trail maps, you can download all sorts of trails for free from motionbased.com or geoladders or even garmin has a site that is supposed to replace motionbased but I have not tried it yet. I'm sure somebody will chime in on that. Most of these sites give you the option to download it in a compatible gps file so you can upload it to your unit easily through mapsource.

    - I want to track my rides and routes and such, do I need software to do that or does it come with it? Is there something easy that is third party I can download?

    I use google earth. It is probably the easiest and best yet FREE way to see your ride in 3D. Download the GE app and you can connect your GPS to the PC and use the utility in GE to transfer your rides.

    - Can I download routes from somewhere for hikes and rides in new places and use the gps to navigate like the one in my truck?

    Use some of the sites I mentioned above for the hikes/rides. As far as using the 60CSx for road navigation, you may want to find a map that allows trip planing. It will allow you to pick a start and finish point and then plot the trip using roads. There are a few out there but I have not tried any. You could plot it by hand in Mapsource and then upload the route to the GSP. At least you could tell if you are on track or not.

    Good luck and have fun. It will eat up a lot of your time but it is all fun. Lots of learning to do.
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  3. #3
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    Damn, no that is a thorough answer. Thanks a lot, it is really appreciated, especially the free topos and such.

    As for the on the road routes no need for any of that, was just using the gps in my truck as an example of what I was looking for in terms of the trails that can be uploaded and turn by turn directions or something of the sort. I like the idea of being able to load a trail in a gps when I go somewhere new and having it tell me where to go to stay on route.

    Thanks again for the help too.

    EDIT: removed a question... found the answer to it.
    Last edited by njhcx4xlife; 06-17-2009 at 11:56 AM.
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  4. #4
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    The GPS will not navigate a trail track the same way it navigates a routable road. They each work a bit differently. The Garmin maps really aren't that expensive, to be honest. GIS (Geographic information systems) software on the whole is VERY expensive. Let's say, the most common software package used these days, ESRI's ArcView usually costs over $2,000, especially if you look at one of the more feature-rich licenses like ArcInfo. Some data is free, but the really high quality stuff can cost thousands, too...for just a single county. So, for Garmin to charge about $100 for the whole country is not so unreasonable.

    You can get free maps, GIS-savvy folks have figured out the digitization process, and how to convert to Garmin compatible formats. Only issue is that the maps may not be consistent. They're often made by different people (it's pretty time consuming) so if you're using two map segments made by different folks, you could have different levels of detail in each segment. Not common, but it happens. As for me, it's easier to use Garmin maps, so that's what I use. I don't have time to futz with that stuff all the time. I also have the City Navigator maps that do street directions. Nobody's figured out how to replicate those for free yet, as far as I know. I can't imagine the workload involved, either..whew.

    You can use the included software to download your tracks, but at that point something third-party is probably going to be better. There are lots of options if you're a PC user...not so many for Mac.

    There are a few sites out there to download tracks, but again the GPS will not navigate them the same way it navigates using City Nav maps. Those tracks are also of variable quality. I downloaded one of a hike at Dolly Sods wilderness and the dude bushwhacked everywhere to the point that the GPS track was useless for navigating.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by NateHawk
    The GPS will not navigate a trail track the same way it navigates a routable road. They each work a bit differently.
    Thanks for the input Nate. I'm not expecting turn by turn directions but enough guidance that I know to make a right or left at an intersection. If these operate anything like the GPS on my boat then I'm guessing it just points you in the general direction and not "turn by turn". General direction is enough for me so if the arrow points right I'm obviously not taking the trail to the left. Any suggestiong on the third party software to download my track and is this the same thing i need to load them on my gps or if that done with the software that comes with the gps?


    Which Garmin map will give me topo for the whole country? I don't mind supporting them but maybe I was looking in the wrong section or reading the web-site wrong because it seemed like around 100 for each region.
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  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by njhcx4xlife
    Thanks for the input Nate. I'm not expecting turn by turn directions but enough guidance that I know to make a right or left at an intersection. If these operate anything like the GPS on my boat then I'm guessing it just points you in the general direction and not "turn by turn". General direction is enough for me so if the arrow points right I'm obviously not taking the trail to the left. Any suggestiong on the third party software to download my track and is this the same thing i need to load them on my gps or if that done with the software that comes with the gps?


    Which Garmin map will give me topo for the whole country? I don't mind supporting them but maybe I was looking in the wrong section or reading the web-site wrong because it seemed like around 100 for each region.

    If you tell it to follow a track, you'll get a little compass screen which will point in the direction you need to go. You NEED an electronic compass for the best use of this feature. A GPS without an electronic compass needs to be moving to tell you which way to go. If you occasionally stop and rotate to check direction, only an electronic compass will work.

    There are so many third party programs it's hard to make a recommendation. Google Earth, National Geographic Topo!, Topofusion, etc all have pros and cons to them. The Garmin maps that cover the whole country are the 100k topos or City Navigator. Sometimes the City Nav maps are enough for me (like when I'm paddling the river...the maps show the river and any possible road crossings but don't get crazy with extra clutter), and sometimes I need contours. Some people like the 24k scale better, but I don't like it for my GPS (76CSx). The screen is too small to show the detail at the zoom level I prefer to use. If I need better detail, I prefer it on bigger paper maps where I can see a larger area, so sometimes I carry the GPS WITH a 24k paper map (mostly when hiking).

  7. #7
    GPS_dr
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    I usually just follow the tracks visually.

    Prefer map page to compass page, don't need an arrow to show the obvious.
    Have to be aware of map being set to course/track up or N up setting though.
    2,000+ miles free Colorado FrontRange GPS enabled bike trails w/map overlays.
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