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GPS and geocaching
edited November -1
I have recently picked up geocaching and am thinking I should get a good GPS to go with the sport. I have been using my Android which comes with Google maps and GPS till date but am keen on something more professional. Any ideas?
I am new to geocaching too. I have been geocaching off and on since April of this year. After doing some online research, I picked the Garmin Oregon 550 and it works very well for me. In my opinion, having a unit with an electronic compass is a "must have" for geocaching. With most of the cheaper handhelds, the compass only works when you are moving, but with the electronic compass on the Oregon, it works when you are standing still and that helps point you in the right direction when you are searching for the cache. I also like the camera for recording the geocache finds ... one less thing to carry along. The paperless caching functions work very well (loading pocket queries, recording and uploading the field notes, marking waypoints and entering new waypoints as you work through multi-stage caches, etc.). I use the free Open Street Maps USA for street reference and occasionally for automobile navigation to a cache parking area. I subscribed to Garmin's Birds Eye satellite imagery and like using that overlay for caching on trails and in parks.
My son-in-law caches with me sometimes, and he uses a geocaching app on his Android smart phone (not sure which phone or app). That really works pretty well, except for not having the compass. So he usually relies on me to point us in the right direction with my Oregon.
I cache with my Etrex 20, and find it amazingly accurate. Not sure why it's more accurate than the Etrex Legend H I had before ... possibly the fact it can receive GLONASS as well as GPS, the Garmin Etrex 10/20/30 being the only handhelds that can.
The 20 doesn't have an electronic compass but the 30 has. I've never felt the need for one, I always carry a compass with me but in many years of walking and caching I've only ever needed it twice :wink:
Visit a store (like REI for example) that carries a selection of different models. The eTrex 20 and Oregon 550 are quite different physically, and you probably won't appreciate the differences by looking at specs and pictures.
Garmin suggests the following, and I'd agree that this is a good summary of what's available:
FWIW, amazon has the eTrex 20 for $180, Dakota 20 for $220, eTrex 30 for $247 and Oregon 450 for $280. Personally I like to have the compass feature, although the compass on the eTrex 30 has been the subject of much criticism.
We have seen some good sales on the Oregon 450 in the past - it has frequently dropped to $250 and even $200 when Garmin was offering a rebate. This has resulted in a large user base of Oregon 450 owners.
For starters, decide whether you want a touchscreen or pushbutton interface.
Last week, Amazon had the Oregon 550 for $299 which is the best price I have seen for that unit. But unfortunately, it has gone back up this week. Keep your eye on the Sticky in the GPS Recommendations forum
Good GPS Deals Black Friday GPS Deals
. This is where forum members usually post when they see a bargain. And hopefully we will see some good prices this fall, especially as we get closer to Black Friday and holiday sales.