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post #5 of (permalink) Old 02-23-2010, 09:41 AM
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NancyJ's Avatar
Join Date: Jun 2003
Location: South Carolina
Posts: 16,483
The main thing I would look for is good reception under heavy cover - my forerunner is just not any good at all in heavy woods - even though it is a waas enabled unit and waas is helpful in my locale. Mine is 3 years old; newer units may be better. I still carry it as a backup though on my shoulder strap since it is so cheap and light.

The other thing I would look for is ONLY take one where you can download the data via USB.

I assume you are on a team? They probably have mapping software. We standardized our team to 60 series to simplify rapid downloads of data as switching between units can be a hassle on a search and we can make handy reference cards plus you can display two coordinate systems on the unit simultaneously which is a REAL plus since our state police are standardized to DD. MM.MMM and we use UTM because it is superior for mapping. The FEMA standard is [at least from a FEMA course I took] NGRS but it is really just a variant of UTM and is also available on the units.

Plus the antenna works really well in the woods. Unless things have changed, units iwth a quad helix antenna get better reception and are designed to be carried vertically such as in a radio harness or pack strap whereas the eTrex is designed to be carried horizontal and has a patch antenna.

I actually like to take the active log and use start and stop times to "clip" the track. If you "save" a track, the garmins strip
the time and speed data but the active log has a lot of information. If you use the mapsource garmin utility, [or g7towin] you can save that as a csv file to have all that info**. I would also download g7towin which is free because you can take a *.gpx file [that is how I would save the active log] and convert it to many formats......

**the thing about that is that GPS units do sometimes throw spurious random points that you can edit out of the data in a utility but not on a maptech map. A good mapping sofware that is far cheaper than maptech is There is a free demo. More of a learning curve than maptech but there is a LOT you can do with it such as lay aerials over tops and adjust transparency as well as calibrate user maps such as trail maps to lay on top of the other maps.

Sorry for the extensive rambling. Maps are "my thing" at the IC as I work a cadaver dog but work at IC during live searches, so I have had to pick up a lot on that topic.


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