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Which GPS for aid with Property Lines?

blottobag 0 Points
edited November -1 in GPS Recommendations

Im new to most things GPS. Im trying to find a GPS that will work under fairly dense tree cover, and will allow me to set waypoints on top of property pins/markers, then allow me to connect the dots so to speak. For instance: I would like to set a point on a pin in the center of the road, walk back to the back pin, and shoot a straight line between them. I realize it will only be accurate to around 10 meters give or take, but I cut timber, and just want to be sure to stay off the neighbors at the location.

Can anyone recommend a decent unit (low cost is preferable) that can do what im asking?

Thanks in advance,

Brandon Johnson
Southern Indiana.


  • Boyd 1999 Points
    You are correct about the accuracy issue, so it's good that you don't expect too much. Beyond that, I don't think you will see a lot of difference in the realtime response of most modern units on the market today.

    I've experimented with this a lot myself, and readings can vary a significantly from day to day. You will probably want to stick with Garmin as the pretty much own the handheld market with the largest selection of models.

    Is $200 in your budget range? The Oregon 450 is currently on sale for $250 at REI through September 6, with a $50 rebate from Garmin. This is an exceptional deal IMO, much cheaper than this model has ever been. If you are looking for realtime tracking performance, I think it may be close to as good as it gets.

    See this: THe 450 is the updated version of the unit I used in this thread, with a better screen and compass but the same chips.

    You may also be able to find the other unit I used in that thread, the 60csx, for around the same price. Some people feel it's the most accurate unit and I have done some other testing with mine where I placed it in a stationary position for around an hour at a time and used a feature where it constantly averages the readings. I got very good results this way, more accurate than the Oregon. But, as you can see in that thread, realtime results walking around were not as good as the Oregon.

    But to further complicate things, Garmin is currently using different chips in the 60csx, so I'm not sure that these results would be repeatable with the new version. And if I understand what you want, you're more interested in accuracy while you walk the property line.

    I think the custom maps and Birdseye features of the Oregon (not available on older or cheaper models) may also be helpful for you, because you could see landmarks on your screen in aerial imagery. See these threads:
  • Just ordered a oregon 450 as you suggested. You may be hearing from me for help, hehe. That seems to be a very good price though, and im grateful for you pointing this out.

  • Boyd 1999 Points
    Cool, let us know if it does what you want. You certainly won't get anything approaching survey grade results, but you seem to have a handle on what to expect.
  • Got it today, have messed with it briefly, but i cant seem to figure out or find in the instructions what i was really wanting. As i said previously, we cut timber, and the next place were fixing to cut has some "unmarked/marked" property lines... meaning, i can find the corners, but the lines within are non-existent.

    What i want is to set points on each corner (there will be 5 corners as there is a 3 acre piece out of one corner), and have the unit snap a virtual straight line between points of the perimeter.

    Since you are more familiar with the Oregon 450, can you advise how i may get these results?

    Your help is appreciated,

  • Boyd 1999 Points
    First you need to establish the points. How do you propose to do that? By actually visiting each property stake? If so, use the menu function to mark a waypoint at each location.

    There are many ways to then use that data. IMO, the best would be to make your own map, but that goes beyond what I can explain in a quick post here. A more simplistic way would be to create a route using the points. So you would go to the route planner and add each of your five points in sequence, with the final point being the start. This should create a pink outline of your property on the screen.

    This has the downside of the GPS thinking you want to travel on this "route" and it may keep trying to give you directions based on how you have things setup.

    It's going to take you awhile to learn how to use this new unit, and realize that it's oriented towards outdoor recreation and not surveying. It will work very well for your purposes, but you need to learn your way around the basics first. When you create waypoints they are saved in a .gpx file. That file can be read by many different sofware packages and the data can then be used to create a map.
  • Thank you for your rapid reply.

    I have considered going to the site and obtain points manually, but for my purposes today i'm messing with coordinates obtained through a gis website for the county the property is located. Im not sure how accurate i can get the points with my mouse and the limited amount of zoom available on their site, but i have actually 6 points to reference from.

    I understand the idea of the route planner, i had considered this prior to my post. I am now intrigued with the map making. Are you saying that i can export my route, put it onto a map and then import it back to the gps?

    I can foresee the directions popping up all the time being a bother. Basically, i just want these "pink lines" and no gibberish... that way when were in the woods, we will have a just of where we can cut, and were to avoid... not to mention fall a tree on a hostile neighbors property.

  • Boyd 1999 Points
    I think you may have to disable an option to display guidance text. Haven't used my Oregon for awhile, don't remember the details.

    If you would like to create waypoints directly on the device, press Mark Waypoint > Save and Edit > Change Location. You can now enter whatever coordinates you like and save the point. You can also enter any name you want.

    To make a rudimentary map, connect the Oregon and look inside the GPX folder that is inside the Garmin folder. You will find a file with today's date like Waypoints_01-SEP-11.gpx. THis file will contain all the waypoints you created today.

    Download the free trial of Mapwel here:

    It will import the GPX file and you can use the line tool to connect the dots. You could use the other tools to draw additional property features if you like. The user defined styles feature lets you customize the appearance.

    You then send the map to your GPS. You could make the map with a transparent background, so that it will display on top of another map or aerial image (you would create this separately, or just subscribe to Birdseye for full coverage).

    Mapwel is free for use on the computer but you must purchase to send the map to your GPS. There are other ways to do this also, this is just one idea.
  • I think I do what you want to do. I will lay out an electronic fence on my GPS60c for a plot of land so that in the future I can refer to it on the GPS map and know where I am to an imaginary fence from point A to B to C and so on.

    Here is what I do. First make sure that WAAS is enabled. You should be able to find a feature called TRACKS in your menu. This is a recording of your trail as you walk around and can be saved for future reference.

    Lets say you have a square piece of acreage that you want to know if you are near the fence-line. If you walk the corners of the land, the TRACKS function will record that trail and become a map of the land so that even if you can't see the corners of the land, the TRACKS will show on the map that you are near the boundaries.

    To make it a little easier, what I'd do is walk to each corner or surveyor marker and make a way-point. This will become an permanent marker on your GPS. Then "Go TO" each marker from a previous one as direct as possible and you will have created you breadcrumbs or TRACK which can be saved and show up on the map screen. Now you can look at the screen and always know how close you are to the boundary. Just be sure to start with a new TRACK screen and be sure to save it. You may have a function to make the TRACKS visible all the time or not.

    Also, your GPS might also calculate how many acres your tracks encompass. At least mine does.
  • Joseph 1 Point
    @Brandon - You and I are both interested in using a GPS to locate approximate property lines. Although I have a different GPS than you (I bought an Oregon 600) often a lot of the firmware options are the same between different models.

    I use a GPX file that has (1) a waypoint at each property corner and (2) a routepoint at each property corner. I load that file into my GPS and then make the route 'active'. To turn off the annoying popups when a route is active I did:
    Setup ==> System==>Routing, and then
    Activity ==> Direct routing
    Route transitions ==> Manual
    Lock on road ==> No

    Here is a link to some tips I put together for using a consumer GPS to locate approximate property lines:
    Be sure to read about the "off course" data field on page 8.
    Caution - The "off course" data field is not related to a route. Instead, it is related to an active ' go to'.

    Finally, I wish Garmin would tweak the firmware so we could (1) pick one leg of a route [i.e. property line], (2) make that leg the active one and (3) display the perpendicular distance from our location to that active leg. This would be ideal for working with approximate property lines. My old Magellan GPS had that feature and I believe Garmin GPSs made for flying and boating have that feature so flyers and boaters know how far they have strayed from their planned route.

  • I use myland app for that purpose. Simple and effective, i guess it can help you guys too...
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